I grew-up a Lakers fan. For me most of my experience with enjoying my team came through the radio. You’d try and tune the radio just right depending on where you were in California to hear the classic game call of Chick Hearn and his transition of analysts from Keith Erickson to Stu Lantz. As I got older I began to be able to watch some Lakers games on television. In the late 80’s & early 90’s about half of the Laker road games were broadcast on KCAL channel 9. Before that the only Laker games that I was able to watch were the 3 or 4 a year that NBC broadcast on the Sunday National Game, oh & of course the championships since the Lakers were in the championship 9 out of 12 years in 80’s & early 90’s. But to move-up to about 20 games a year was fantastic.
Jump forward to 2012 at the beginning of this Lakers basketball season fans were up in arms, some were in hysterics. Why? Because there was limited access to Lakers games on television (until just yesterday). You see over the past two decades Lakers fans had been able to enjoy every single game that was played by their beloved professional basketball team on television–the limited coverage days of my childhood were gone and people now had total access. So when this year started and that accesss due to television contracts had changed people didn’t know what to do. They screamed, “it’s not fair” “this is not right” “We deserve better than this.”
Newspaper headlines read:
“Deadlock brings confusion”
“New Lakers Media Deal Holding People Hostage”
“Limits on TV Coverage Have Fans Upset”
Radio was still available, but how dare anyone suggest that the Lakers fans settle for radio!
Lakers fans had decided what they liked and if that is not what they were given they would act irrationally!
They felt ENTITLED to full access & if they couldn’t have it they were going to pout, grump, & raise a ruckus cause that is what entitlement causes!
So what does this have to do with worship?
Well there was a time in history in which you could enter most Protestant churches and worship would be very similar. There may be a difference in teachings here and there but for the most part worship looked the same and sounded the same and felt the same. I grew-up going to churches and for the most part this is how I saw worship, no matter where a person went in my faith practice worship was the same.
Which is why when I was a 4th grader and the new church Celebration Center burst on the scene it blew everyone’s mind! Some in a good way and some in a bad way.
The music was upbeat, with drums, and electric guitars, there was drama, and powerful altar calls. There was standing room only and sometimes we stood for 20 minutes or more just singing. No more was there just a single hymn then sit down, then stand-up to greet your neighbor, then another hymn though you could sit for that hymn. This was all new, but it was really the only place around in the Adventist faith community that was doing worship like this.
Jump forward to 2012 there is now a lot of different styles of worship within Prostestantism, even within Adventism. More and more church goers have experienced and tasted different varieties of worship. And for the most part we all have defined what type of worship we like and what type we don’t like.
And whereas before we were simply satisfied to be worshiping the God of the universe, now many having experienced something else have decided that worshiping the God of the universe in any context is no longer good enough.
You see many folk have decided that if the pastor preaches something they don’t like, or if the music isn’t what they want, or the length of the service is too long, or too short, there aren’t enough prayers, there are too many prayers, the pastor uses powerpoint, he/she doesn’t use powerpoint, (the list could go on and on…) then they’ll pout, grump, & raise a ruckus. Why? Because no longer is worship just about worship.
Worship has become about what we expect it to be–which is Entitlement Worship–when folk feel they have the right to define what worship is and isn’t. What should be preached and what shouldn’t. Whether a service should be long or short. What instruments are sacred & which are secular.
And for some (which is too many) “worshipers” if any one of these things is not what they expect it to be, like entitled Lakers fans, they act irrationally.
Because that is what entitlement does it moves us away from rational thinking to self-centered thinking which is always irrational!
Now in sports this may not be the biggest deal–isn’t all sports fandom in some way self-centered in the long run anyway.
But in worship, the entitled worshiper may just find that they have the exact worship they want, but in the process they’ve stopped worshiping the God of the Universe and have instead established themselves as the “g”od of their worship.
Be careful before you define a worship or leave a worship simply because you don’t like it.
It may just be that is the very place God can keep your worship more about Him & less about you!
No matter how much you may or may not like it!