The Packiam Pickle… (Theology in Worship)
“If I based my theology off the songs you were singing, what kind of faith would I have?” as soon as he said it, I knew I was in for a long night. The quote was from Glenn Packiam. He is a great worship leader and is a pastor atNewLifeChurch inColorado Springs. Glenn as a way to pose a thought; sometimes in question for, sometimes just a statement. But often those thoughts become the things that turn my gears for some time.
When I read Glenn’s first book “Secondhand Jesus” it took a while because he kept challenging my notions of theology. If you haven’t read it, get a copy, sit down with a nice cup (or many cups) of tea and read it. If you don’t know I am an avid tea drinker, so if you need flavor suggestions ask me and I will help you out. But I digress.
Recently, Fred McKinnon and Russ Hutto over at The Worship Community submitted questions from the website’s readers to Glenn. Being the gracious leader he is, he took the time to answer the ten questions in a video. That whole video is available to watch for free over at The Worship Community. But one of the questions was “What do you believe are the core values in developing a worshiping community?” (Worshiping church)
I will attach the video so you can listen to his whole response. You see having been a Worship Leader on Staff at New Life for several years before becoming an associate Pastor, Glenn has a unique perspective. In his answer he discusses Theology, Church History, Worship, Prayer, and Liturgy. Now growing up as a Charismatic/Pentecostal, Liturgy was a terrible word, Church history only went back as far as Azusa, and my theology, well I was a Kid, my mother told me what I believed and I said ok.
In my adult life, all six-ish years of it, I have become much more independent. I started to form my own opinion on theology, church history, liturgy, and the like. Not that I threw away my past, but I reshaped and added to it. These days I love church history, and books that teach me about it. I have grown fond of many of the Liturgies of the past. I am still a Charismatic/Pentecostal, but I learn as much from the writings of the reformation as I do from Bill Johnson or Smith Wigglesworth.
So now you see that I am a unique bubble in my theological world. I have a burning passion for the scripture, and the person of God. But since I fancy myself a worship leader, does my worship reflect my belief system? In the video Glenn quotes some Latin. I love it becase I think other languages especially ones like Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, just sound magnificent. He quotes, “lex orandi lex credendi lex vivendi” The English translation is roughly, “As we worship/pray, we believe, and as we believe we act.”
To quote Michael Scott, “Boom Roasted.” Right there that single simple Latin quote just threw me into a night of theological upheaval. My worship defines my beliefs which shape my actions. Does my worship truly do this?
When David worshiped, people knew something was different. His harp made demons flee (1st Samuel16:23) His worship is the rock upon which much of our theology is built. And his worship has been quoted more than all the great hymns of the Church Ages.
I began to think about the songs that have been impacting me lately. What have I been playing to myself, and in the church? Here is a short list of some songs that I have been doing; ‘Heaven’ and ‘Like a Lion’ by Daniel Bashta, ‘Made Me Glad’ by Merriam Webster, ‘We are an Ark’ by Dave Fitzgerald, ‘Be Thou My Vision’ an Irish Hymn, ‘The Anthem’ by Planetshakers, ‘Still Saving Me’ by Chris McClarney and Dave Fitzgerald, ‘Find my own Flame’ ‘Come Away’ and ‘Let Me In’ By United Pursuit Band.
As I began to think about what this reflects, I began to see an interesting story. It is the story of a broken man who is weak and alone; A King who is in love and wooing his children into his kingdom. Its the Story of redemption and purpose, but also the Story of someone desperate for the presence of his God.
As I piece it together, I see a story unfolding that I am desperate to tell. I was created by God, his child, for his pleasure, and I turned my back on him. I was broken and desperate, and he never gave up on me. He continued to pursue me and draw me into him. He even went so far as to die, on a cross, knowing it was the only way he and I could ever come back to one another. Eventually I relented to his wooing; I gave up my stubborn, stiff necked ways and fell in love with him. I became desperate for him, for his presence.
But, when I share this message, what do others receive? What is the purpose of this message? Do others see the Christian journey though my eyes now because we worship together? Does their concept of God grow, change, and reshape itself? Better yet, as we worship as a community does my view of God change its shape as I interact with the other around me?
There is a lot of talk in the church these days about ‘organic’ church. What is that? Am I even close? There are a lot of questions I have about myself, my faith, my theology, and my church. But there is something I know for sure. Every time I pick up my guitar, and worship the Lord, he comes into the room. Is it because I am great? No! Truth be told, I am not that good at guitar. I know enough to play but not enough to go where I want to go with it.
Glenn, I need some encouragement, because I am losing my grip on reality. I address it to him specifically because he got me thinking about this. He will most likely never read this post and I am ok with that, because I am not writing for him, but because of him.
This blog doesn’t give you an answer, mostly because I do not have one, but I can tell you this. My worship is growing, changing, and I pray it reflects him more and more every day.
Well, as always, thoughts and comments are always welcomed. Now I will leave you with the video and you can think on it as you will. Well, I am off to try and get a copy of The Book of Common Prayers and maybe a copy of Glenn’s newest book Lucky. I want it, just haven’t had the cash to get it yet.