Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Concert

On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man." Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died. – Acts 12: 21-23

Today’s Reading: Job 25-27; Acts 12

 Last year I went to the concert of one of my favorite artists. There was a point during the show that everyone in the crowd was chanting his name in unison.

I just stood there and observed the situation. I could feel the energy in the room. It was warm and swirling. There was unsettled electricity in the arena. The air was misty and thick with sweat and emotion. As I watched the crowd sway and chant and lift up their hands I couldn’t help but be reminded of a place where I have seen this before.

In church…

But the feeling was different. This energy was being directed toward one man and he was taking it all in. it somehow felt wrong… very wrong. I started to feel uncomfortable being in the midst of the scene. It felt out of balanced, warped in some kind of way. There was no harmony in it… there was no ebb and flow.

When I have experienced this in places of worship there is always an exchange. The people give the praise to God and God gives something back to the people. It’s a circle. It flows. There is balance.

But here it was a one way street. The people were giving, he was receiving, and I couldn’t help but wonder if the audience left the building with something less than they came with before.

I don’t think this man is “bad” or “evil” or anything like that. He is a person just like you and I and these kinds of things happen every day on smaller levels. Maybe it is at work with a boss dominating her employees and feeding off their desire to please her. Maybe it is a therapist feeding off of the emotional weakness of his clients. Maybe it is a man who only dates women who “need” him so that he can be validated by the energy they invest in him.

Either way it is not healthy. People are not meant to be worshiped. We are not equipped to be gods.

This illustration of Herod is interesting to me for that very reason. God status is too great a burden for a mere mortal to carry. Eventually the person must crumble beneath its weight. 


  1. so, in essence, people are wrong for going to church and saying "Amen" just because the preacher/minister tells them to. Where is God in the temple/church? Is God the preacher/minister? The preacher and the musician you saw in the concert are ponds of the same scenario, just different venues. Both of them are single individuals projecting their perspective/slant/observations/imaginations, etc. to a large audience that reacts. God is the creator of all things, such as his former angel whom we commonly refer to as the devil, as well as you, the preacher and the artist. If that isn't obvious, then I can see why ur point is valid in ur eyes. And you know, in this electronic venue that you have created, you are no different than the artist and the preacher. You are one person presenting to the word. I assume with the intend to gain follows who enjoy what you do. That's what the artist and preacher do.

  2. Well there is an important distinction that I hope I clearly made... Worship belongs to God and God alone.

    It is when the worship is placed on human beings that we have our biggest problem. I have been in churches that were just like that concert... and it was equally sad. But I have been in other churches, or places, or alone in nature, or witnessed conversations between friends where it has been clear to me that the presence of God was there.

    The key issue at hand is what is the focus? Is it on another person or on God.

    Clearly this is a matter of faith and not "fact"... but from what I have experienced I have seen many situations, whether in a church or not, where people have connected with God... and in that connection there was an exchange that transcended human understanding.

    It is sad and wrong when a human being seeks out the glory that only God should have.

    What I am trying to do here is to do my part to engage in the exchange between God and us. There are many that have helped me... perhaps my words will help someone else to be a part of the conversation that is spiritual living.

    And if these words help even one person then every single word that has and will be written in this blog will be worth it.

    Thank you for offering yours.

  3. Indeed it is an act of worship to use our God-given gifts and talents powerfully, as you do in this blog. If we are properly God-focused, we take in the affirmation we receive as confidence-builders to make us go further in using our gifts and talents for His glory. We do not ignore what He gives us, we give Him credit for what He can do through us in the natural realm.

  4. Wow. I was watching a concert by this artist and fell asleep on the couch. My husband woke me up at the point in the concert when everyone began chanting his name. We were both overwhelmed with a feeling that what was happening was wrong...dare I say evil. My jaw just dropped as I read your very similar observation. I love your post and love the point you made in it.

    For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

  5. @Honeybee Yeah it was just not a good feeling. I think it's important to make a distinction between the person being evil and sensing that there might have been some unsavory forces at work in the circumstance.

    That being said... i feel you 100%.

    It just looked and felt so much like worship that I was taken aback.

    I have seen and felt the same thing in a "church" or two as well. When that worship is focused on a human being it is just no bueno all day everyday.

    Thank you for reading!!


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