Posts Tagged ‘Vineyard’

We have been going through a series at church on the Life of David: Living a Dangerously Passionate Life. Last week’s sermon was on the topic of David the worshipper and worshipping without limits. The question asked was when it comes to worship how far is too far? Does God place a limit to our worship? I mean after being a Christian for 14 years I have seen it all from crazy sock worship to the holy ghost hokey pokey. There are many things that have made me cringe when it comes to Christian worship but I would have to say that when it is true and genuine worship there are no limits to its expression because we serve a limitless God.

That being said I would like to draw attention to the Vineyard emphasis on worship minus hype. From my perspective as an African American I struggle with the perspective and practice of worship minus hype. God deserves hype. In other words if we cannot hype God up and get crazy about God then he does not deserve to be called God. One of the tendencies I see is that because the Vineyard emerged in white suburbia Jesus is seen more as a friend. Intimacy and friendship with God prized and consequently we do not hype up our friends. It seems like empty flattery and disingenuous. It also leads to a comfort and inactivity because after all, our friends will always be there. In other words God can become in danger of being taken for granted

On the other end of the spectrum I think the African American church see Jesus more as king. The one who deserves to be made much of. So we dance and sing and shout because the King has given us victory. It is natural to look to Jesus as king when you are on the edge of poverty and despair. It means that God is someone to be reckoned with and deserves all that we have. It means that sometimes God deserves a praise break At the same time it can turn God into a cosmic vending machine and put the focus on what he gives and does versus who he is. It also can lead to worship that is just mindless activity and no intimacy.

No doubt none of these different traditions would deny the perspective of Jesus as king or as a friend but I do believe that in each one perspective on Jesus is usually overemphasized over the other. And although we may affirm all of who Christ is what we say is very different from what we do and our theology is usually expressed in our praxis.

What do you think? Can God be worshipped without hype? What is the Vineyard missing out on by not celebrating Jesus as king? What is the African American church missing out on by not focusing on Jesus as friend? Do you think this is a fair representation of the two traditions? Is it possible to blend the two traditions together?

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I just came back from the Vineyard National Leadership Conference and I have to admit that I have been struggling about my church affiliation. To be a part of the Vineyard as an African American man almost feels like treason to my race and also a long distance trip to Mars: very lonely. But as we drove to Phoenix and I wrestled with this issue I realized there was a reason why I wanted to be in the Vineyard and there are great things that people in the Vineyard have deposited in me. So here are seven things I have learned from being a part of the Vineyard:

1. How to pray for people effectively

2. How to think about the kingdom of God

3. How to embrace theological diversity

4. How to be authentic

5. How to think both/and

6. How to fail and still honor God in the process

7. How to appreciate good wine and beer 🙂

I think it is important to know why we are in a particular church or denomination (although the Vineyard is not a denomination 🙂 and to weigh those reasons against what makes sense biblically and practically. Some are in a particular church tradition because they inherited it from their parents. Others are in it because of a particular preacher or that’s all they know. What about you what do you appreciate about the tribe that you are a part of?