Worship is a verb

John 9:31: “If anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.”

Frances J. Roberts writing as Jesus speaking to His Bride in response to John 9:31…

“My will is not a place, but a condition. Do not ask Me where and when, but ask Me how. You will discover blessing in every place, and any place, if your spirit is in tune with Me. No place or time is more hollowed than another when you are truly in love with me.”
– F.J. Roberts

Worship is a state of mind, a meditation of the heart, and action of our bodies. Worship is a verb. It is active. The act of moving, breathing, gazing with our full attention outside of ourselves onto another… is this then the purest form of worship? When I think of worshiping, almost by default I relate it to acting. The best acting I have ever seen, professionally or by kids playing in the back yard, is when the actor is completely unaware of themselves. The actor has an action, a verb, and they are committed to playing that action. To do this affectively, there cannot even be a hint self-awareness of selfishness, otherwise you have lost the whole purpose, which is, do your part to tell the story. Similarly when it comes to worship (whether that’s a Sunday service, studying for a test, painting a picture, or embracing someone), I think it’s our natural human tendency to make that “thing” revolve around us and our circumstances. But if we could make it the practice of our lives to breath, sing, exercise with Love as our motivation, our action to perform, I believe we would begin to get a fresh revelation of who God is and who we were created to be.

I love Uta…

Bib:
Come Away My Beloved. Barbour Pub, 2008. Print.
The Holy Bible. New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1983. Print.

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Some questions…

Contemporary American Christian culture has become quite a theatrical production specifically within the last thirty years. The distinguishing characteristics between what Christians define as ‘worship’ and a secular rock concert have become very gray. Similarly an Evangelical Church’s Christmas production of the birth of Christ, for example, seems to carry as much weight and impact on some congregations as a community theatres production of, Oklahoma (AKA everyone tries to stay awake out of respect because it’s a classic). Groups such as Hillsong United, The David Crowder Band, and various artists from the IHOP (International House of Prayer) beg the question: What is the difference between worship and performance? In a world that is progressively exposed to visual media, Christian culture has becoming increasing obsessed with the appearance of worship rather than the authentic act of worship, to the degree that Sunday mornings feel more like a Sunday matinée at the theatre.

Questions on my mind…

What is the difference between worshiping God, and performing a Christian song?

What is the distinction between performing a monologue and preaching a sermon?

Is a church service a show?

Could a theatrical performance be used as a portal to experience the presence of God?

If you ask anyone who is close to me they will tell you these kinds of questions have been consuming me for the last few years. As a follower of Christ who has a passion for the performing arts this particular topic is very tender in my heart, the subject of which has recently ignited great conversations and debates amongst my family and friends (which was actually my hope). The ebb and flow of these questions in my thoughts have uncovered some deep seeded truths. I have felt great conviction on the simplest levels of defining what is means to be genuine, open, and sincere to everyone I meet. As my relationship with the Lord grows and my understanding of the theories, practices and art of theatrical performance expands I hope to be changed from the inside out. My hearts desire is to worship Him as He deserves to be worshiped and to create performances which do the same.

‘Why is my user name practicingpadawan’ you ask? Oh, well, practicing according to Dictionary.com means: “actively working at a profession, especially medicine or law.” I’m not convinced about that “especially medicine or law” business, but truth be told, I hate practicing. It’s true. I shared a little revelation I got my with my mom the other day about practicing: I think I have been living most of my life in denial about achieving goals and the forward motion of life. I’ve basically been feeding myself a lie about hard work and what it means to practice your art. The lie is, your raw talent, connections and the grace of God will get you your dreams. The truth is, those things I mentioned are true but with out active steps of faith, practicing to the best of your abilities and a healthy humility those other things will not build the momentum of excellence to move the world. I have to learn to love to practice and practice well. Padawan, according to Wookieepedia.com referse to a Force-sensitive adolescent who has begun one-on-one instruction with a Jedi Master. Having passed the Initiate trials and ascended in rank from an Initiate, Padawans are given more responsibilities within the Jedi Order but are still subject to the demands of their master. In my imagination I like to think of the Force as the Holy Spirit. Thus you have practicingpadawan – that’s me! Yes, I am a nerd. Yes, I love Jesus. Yes, I love theatre. This is the moment you must decided if you are going to continue to follow this blog. THE POINT OF NO RETURN. ; )

May the Force be with you.

Related Clips: (one of my favs)

Blogging

I was informed by a book called, Strength Finder 2.0 that my personality would benefit from blogging my ideas, inspirations, and stumbling points. Unbeknownst to Strength Finder 2.0 I have been against the idea of blogging for quite some time. I suppose in my brain I’ve always associated blogging with over emotional teens, people who have no lives, or people who appear to have crazy-awesome-adventure-filled lives-and-you-envy-them-so-much-you-could-barf.  Why the change of heart, you might ask? Well, I’ll tell you:

One: Julie and Julie – love

Two: Come Fall 2011 I will be knee deep into research pertaining to my thesis topic. Before the storm comes, I need to wrestle with some ideas pertaining to the arts, Christianity, and the definition of worship.

Three: I believe it takes a village. However this thesis turns out, I want to walk away from it in a year confident that I did my research, asked the hard questions and discussed them thoroughly with family, friends and people I don’t know.

This blog is designated to my reflections from my summer reading list: subjects will include theories of theatre, performance theory, the spirit of performance versus the spirit of worship, being a Christian in the art, with a few detour blogs along the way I’m sure. This blog will be quickly become a haven of hashing out mental blocks, attempting to put the puzzle pieces together and rejoicing over nuggets of gold!  I look forward to the adventure.

I anticipate lots of miss spellings (Considering I am dyslexic. How did I get into Graduate School? Grace.), also random Star Wars references and occasional passages that you, dear reader will not understand unless you sing at the top of your lungs what I have just written.

I am now, a blogger.