Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Praise Movement

If you've ever taken a basic philosophy class, you've learned about how religious movements reflect (or dictate) the general philosophy of the times.

I was at Apostolic Faith Church last Sunday and we were celebrating 28 years under the Pastorship of Bishop Horace E. Smith. Dr. Carolyn Showell she spoke at length on "The Praise Movement" and I wanted to share my thoughts about it.

She said (paraphrased) that Christianity has seen a lot of movements as of late: The Giving Movement, Prayer Movement, Worship Movement and most recently the Praise Movement (or sometimes we see them together the Praise and Worship Movement), which is why almost every church has a "praise and worship" team now. That's something we didn't see in the church maybe 20 years ago, but it's common practice now. Of course, to be a well rounded Christian you have to engage in all of these activities, but the praise movement is the "it" movement in churches across the country right now.

The service was excellent, but I'm not a "talk me happy" type of person. If I'm going to praise I'm going to praise despite what everyone else is doing AND if I'm going to sit down, I'm going to sit down despite everyone else getting fired up. That's just how I am. So I wasn't "feelin'" like getting up all last Sunday, I mean a genuinely clap here and a sincere "Amen" there, but I wasn't going to stand up throughout the entire sermon, just because it was about "praise."

I was thinking, praise and worship is the time to "praise" and the sermon is the time to get spiritually fed. I was seriously sitting in the pew thinking, why is this lady trying to mix the two? Then it hit me like a light bulb, I'm supposed to praise whether I feel like it or not. You should have seen me pop out of my seat when that thought crossed my mind. It was like "duh" you didn't come to church to sit here and be pretty. God deserves praise and you have to give it to him.

For a bit more background, when I was younger no matter what I did on Saturday night I HAD to go to church on Sunday morning. When I was in high school, my non-church-going cousins and friends thought it was so hypocritcal to party on Saturday night, then go to church on Sunday. (I got started kickin' it at an early age, LOL). As I got older, I kept up this practice (always going to church on Sunday no matter what) and in college my friends joked that they had to get home early on Saturday night because they knew no matter what time they got in, I'd be calling like, "Y'all ready to go to church."

As an adult, living on my own and going to church alone most of the time, I still find it necessary and important to go to church EVERY Sunday. Just like I miss a workout or two during the week, I sometimes miss a Sunday or two during the month, but my goal is always to go every Sunday I have the opportunity.

After hearing the sermon and taking a look at myself, I can honestly say, that this "must go to church attitude" is due to how I interpret "The Praise Movement." I truly believe, that no matter what I do, God still deserves his praise. I don't go to church because I think I'm better than people who don't. I go to church alone, so I'm definitely not trying to prove anything to anyone. I rarely get to church on the same schedule as my friends, so it's not social either. I also don't go to church thinking it's a magic bullet to solve all my problems and make all my dreams come true.

Nope, I go to church to PRAISE!!! Hit me up if you'd ever like to join me. :)

1 comment:

Que.P said...

Let me preface this by saying I wasn't there, so I don't exactly know what was going on, but...

There is nothing I hate more than the person who says, "I'm not going to pump and prime you to give God some praise" but then commences to "pump and prime" UGH!

Yes, you are right. Praise is due whether we feel like it or not, but there is no right or wrong way to praise. And when it's time for the meant and gravy of worship, I'm sitting in my seat with my Bible in one hand and a pen in the other. It is at that point that I begin to worship God through my desire to strengthen my faith. For the Bible says, "faith comes by hearing, an hearing by the Word of God". Yeah, I may be moved to stand during certain parts of the sermon. I may be moved to wave my hand or "cut a step". But let me praise the way I'M moved to praise.

In additon. I take issue with this whole "praise movement" because it seems so bandwagon-ish. Don't praise because it's the "it" think. Praise because you have breath in your body.

And growing up a PK, I too uphold that "must go to church" attitude. I will admit (and thank God for deliverance) I have sat my drunken behind in a choir stand on a Sunday morning praying that I wasn't exhaling tequela. But I had my butt at church! LOL