I am always looking at expressions of hospitality that God can use to help us embrace and welcome our neighbors in order that they can come to know God. I seek to better understand what loving God and loving our neighbor as expressions of God’s hospitable character looks like in my life; in my home and in the Body of Christ when we meet together. So this caught my attention.
In an article talking about ways churches can be more welcoming, I came across the following quote:
“Remember services can be too loud or bright as well as too soft or dim. If you’re doing strobe lights or similar effects for special occasions and services, be certain to post signage at the entrances to warn those who are seizure prone.”
What’s wrong with this picture? Is this really what Christ died for?
Our love affair with over-the-top staging extravaganzas for congregational singing now simply must include programmed strobing, laser lights that shine directly into the eyes of the audience. But since it can cause seizures, we also now must post signs warning off people before they come in. Doesn’t this communicate a message counter to the hospitable and inclusive message of the Gospel? Are we actually saying that anyone with any type of potential brain dysfunction is not welcome? How do we know what we as individuals may be susceptible to with regards to our brain function?
In an article titled: Seizure Disorders by Bola Adamolekun, MD, Clinical Professor of Neurology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, he states that:
“Normal brain function requires an orderly, organized, coordinated discharge of electrical impulses. Electrical impulses enable the brain to communicate with the spinal cord, nerves, and muscles as well as within itself. Seizures may result when the brain’s electrical activity is disrupted.”
I can’t help but question if intentionally creating an environment in church which deliberately disrupts God’s incredibly designed, orderly and complex function within the human brain is really what God calls us to. Isn’t that the same kind of escapism or disconnect that any kind of substance abuse or adrenaline addictive behavior creates? Would it be considered heresy to question if maybe less is more?
Add to this the fact that a very loud bass beat can cause a person’s heart rhythm to be disrupted; or that listening at high decibels damages hearing; and I have to ask myself this as well: Why are we as the Body of Christ not only seeking this kind of experience, but assigning it some sort of spiritual elevation as the official form for “worshiping” God?
Why are we so enamored with the form that it is being replicated in every supposed “seeker friendly” church? Is this really living out hospitality as the corporate Bride of Christ?
I wonder what Jesus would do if he walked into my church service? Would he have compassion on those who were not welcomed? Is the target audience so much more worthy of our costly show as to not mind the assault on their Divinely created bodies?
Before you get too off-track about the concern I am raising; I want you to know I am totally amazed at how music is a compliment to human brain function and a beautiful expression of our love and praise to God. In fact; check out this article on just how amazing music is in assisting, healing and improving brain function: https://www.thebestbrainpossible.com/how-listening-to-music-benefits-your-brain/
Music’s effect on our brain is certainly a tribute to the orderly and complex masterpiece of creation that we are and music is not the issue I am raising here. We are made in God’s image and reflect the glory of His handiwork and the ability to create and express through music is a wonderful gift to us.
My concern is that the choices we are making and justifying need to be fully in one accord with God's design and purpose. Would it really be over the top to ask if we could exercise just a little wisdom in the choices of how we stimulate the musical manifestation of praising our Creator and Eternal King?
Shouldn’t our hospitality in all forms of expression reflect harmony with creation as we build discipling relationships; some of which begin at church when we welcome new neighbors from our community?
As we enter into the days leading up to the celebration of the birth of our Savior, I look forward to the incredible variety of ways our joy in Christ's sacrificial love for us finds expression, especially in music.
So I pose this one last question to generate thought and discussion in your church:
Could creating an atmosphere of hospitality and welcome to your community be more in tune with creation without compromising your joy, your celebration and your purpose?