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The Killing Power of Normality

Stephen's blog at Peaceable Zealot called "Holy Week" has given me reason for a good deal of reflection over the past few days. Nothing could be more expected or more spiritually deadening that the fact that I know, and have long known that Jesus Christ is the risenSon of the Living God. For me, the "aha!" of that truth came decades ago in the frigidly cold waters of a small Kentucky creek, when I willing buried my own life in order to be raised as the slave to a King.
Try as I might, I cannot live forever in the glow of that first touch of grace. The truth is I face the same reality with my marriage, my kids, and just about every other long term interrelationship in my life. The first overwhelming thrill of the new is eventually supplanted by the steady flow of the nice but normal.

I have come to believe that it is ultimately self-serving and destructive to want to live constantly in the breathless ecstasy of that first date.

United We Stand, Divided We Worship

My earliest memories of Sunday worship are rooted in the simple Rawhide Primitive Baptist church just outside Keokee, Virginia. Most people today would find this tradition unfamiliar. No musical instruments were present. The men and women sat on different sides of the building. The singing was a slow wailing melody line (pretty much the same melody was used for all songs) with a "liner" cantillating the lyric phrases -- and all of this in the voicing used in Celtic and traditional Appalachian music.

One memory of those years that also seems to have gone the way of the dodo was the ongoing presence of children in worship. Look down any pew and you'd see adults, old people, teenagers, and children. Sure, some of children wiggled and there was a pretty steady stream of young ones pleading to take a trip to the outhouse (yep, when I said "primitive," I meant it).

Today, in American evangelical churches, families happily wave good-bye to one another as soon as they walk into the lobby, each group scurrying off to their own made-to-order education and worship experiences.