Hello, everyone. This blog has moved to JOHNVOELZ.COM!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Worship in the Noise

What a vacation this has been! I have been spending plenty of time building out my basement over the past 2+ weeks. I'll post some b4 and after pictures soon. I also took a vacation from blogging during that time.

What's in my head? Hmmm . . .

The single, "Hope" is out. We have heard it on local radio and it has been promoted in connection with Relay for Life. I did a couple of radio interviews with it. We are hoping it gets some national attention. All the money goes to the American Cancer Society. This song turned out awesome! Pick up your copy from the site here. Shoot, buy multiple copies and give them away. They are only five bucks a piece.

I am reading the book, "Bono--in conversation with MICHA ASSAYAS." You must read this book. My favorite part thus far is a conversation between Bono and his father. Here's the quote: "There's on thing I envy of you. I don't envy anything else," he said to me one time. But think about it: I was singing, doing all the things he would have loved to have done, had a creative life. He said: "You do seem to have a relationship with God." I said: "Didn't you ever have one?" He said: "No." And I said: "But, you have been a Catholic for most of your life." --"Yeah, lots of people are Catholic. It was a one-way conversation . . . You seem to hear something back from the silence!" The thing that struck me here was not the Catholic reference--Bono isn't Catholic bashing. It was the one-way conversation thing. I have been thinking a lot about listening to God. I guess I have been . . . listening.

I have had plenty of time to listen in my basement. I made a conscious decision this last week to turn off the tunes while in the basement and listen--not that you can't listen to God with noise. As a matter of fact, God often speaks to me in the noise. I just wanted to do a different kind of listening. There is a reason why we switch the location of our staff meeting each week. It gets boring in one spot. It seems tedious in the same place. It can get monotonous. Sometimes, I have to admit that my time with God can get like that. Someone once told me the best way to meet with God is to find a spot you can always come back to--a familiar place where you create a habit of meeting with God. I can see what they were after. They had their spot in the corner of the den with their coffee and their Bible. It worked for them. Ummmm . . . not so for me. I need to change it up. Sure, I have my favorite spots that I return to, but I have found I need variety. If I took my wife on dates to the same place time and time again, it would become stale. We'd talk about the same things. We'd go through the motions. Same with me and God. Or I should say--same with me.

One thing I have learned, however: worship is not about escape. Worship is response regardless of our situation or surroundings (yes, I said regardless--not "ir-regardless" which is not a word. Doesn't it bug you when people say that?) If we find we always need to "escape" to hear God, we will be sorely disappointed. Remember listening to record albums? Did you ever do that? (there's a good way to see what demographic is reading my blog). I got a good piece of advice once about worship and records. Worship is not about eliminating the scratches and listening to the music. Worship is about hearing the music in the midst of scratches. Worship is about tuning in to the music and responding regardless of the hissing, popping, and scratching. All analogies break down at some point, but that one has stuck with me.

One of the best things I ever did in College was an assignment where I had to visit five different churches--all outside my comfort zone--within the Christian faith. We had to write a three page report after our visit that answered one question--the only question we could ask when we visited. The question was: "What do I have in common with these people?" It gave me such perspective. It has become a guiding question for me when I meet with people to talk about spiritual things. I am convicted if our experience with God is too closely tied to what we are familiar with, we are in trouble.

So here I sit, talking about familiarity and complacency. Talking about variety and spice. Talking about changing up our environment and challenging ourselves. Talking about meeting with God in fresh ways and in different surroundings. I say all this while sitting at Beaners Coffee in Jackson, Mi.--the place I go to everyday and order the same drink. Go figure. I'll live with the tension.


Anonymous said...

Hi JVo,
Aren't basements great? I miss mine in MO. I also miss my Dad. As you know, he died of cancer in March, on my birthday. I bought several of your HoPe cds thinking about him. Now I observe my Mother slipping further into the chaos of dementia and I am thankful that I can find order in the clutter of NOISE. I pray that God will continue to grant me holy ear-plugs so I may hear and worship Him through the noise till the day he takes me home. Basements are quite. So is fallen snow. Ready for another MI winter?