Blasphemy By Your Words: Lying In Church In The Name Of Worship
The Christians among you may be well aware of the story of Ananias and his wife Sapphira who lived in the era of the early Church. Ananias and Sapphira upon selling a possession, chose to keep a portion of the proceeds for themselves. They then offered the remaining net to church. According to the account of Jesus of Nazareth’s apostle- doubting Peter- man and wife, three hours apart, collapsed to their deaths for lying to the church that the presented sum, was the entire returns from their transaction. Not the first recording of blasphemy, but definitely one of the earliest recordings of faithfuls who lied in church in the name of worship.Forgive my sorry attempt at a sermon. So that you follow along, this article is not about tithe paying neither is it a sermon. We live in a world where celebrity pastors complete with the whole package of a trophy wife, private jets, a fair share of scandal, and just like their counterparts in the secular world, the occasional beef among the A-list.
All that pastor drama would make good fodder for an unforgettable post, but this article is not about that either. This article stems from a thought that occurred to me when I recently was nourishing my Christian faith. The preacher’s sermon that fine Easter Sunday ignited a thought. What if the events of Ananias and Sapphira’s were to replay themselves today?
Sex scandals, Empty pews and Science
From this tale of blasphemy of Ananias and his wife, flash forward to the 21st Century. Today, as it was then, the church is as much under siege as it was in its infancy and adolescence. The christian fraternity is not only fighting claims of defacing events among the ranks of church leaders but the church also has had to contend with dwindling numbers in the pews.
Scandals such as the much hushed child abuse scandal in the Catholic church has left an unmissable and unsightly blotch on the fabric of the worlds largest Christian grouping. Much like an ink stain on the breast pocket of a white shirt.
As regards dwindling numbers in the pews, most believers site the rigors of 21st century life as the reason behind their missing act. Many however will point at the indiscretions of the church. Still to some, the church and it’s teachings have simply no place in modern life. Not with all these advances in technology.
Not with the observable trend of a power imbalance increasingly in favor of science in the fluid science and society paradigm. In a world where science on hitherto taboo subjects is gaining acceptance. Like the 2010 Medicine Nobel Price winner- proud father of 4 million test tube babies. Or as gene editing promises to give mere men to nee human life, they ask: Who is this God fellow ?
Still, All Are Welcome
Paradoxically though, as numbers do not lie, a sizable proportion of the world’s population profess the Christian faith. This may not be news for all its faults, Christianity portrays itself as an all inclusive religion.The place of christian worship is not a preserve of the pious and faultless souls.
It is also home to believers who may have more than a couple of faults. The thief who in the line of ‘duty’ may have educated the poor. The harlot who if they don’t help themselves with the possessions of their clients, face the angry fist of a pimp. Even the ordinary man/woman who time and again falls to the temptations of human desires.
Increasingly there are ideologically Christian leaning churches which secular views on contemporary moral issues. Churches that are liberal on LBGT rights, celibacy among the clergy and even the dicey issue of wealth and Christ prescribed life of minimal wants. What then you might wonder, with all this choice, does it mean to commit blasphemy in the 21st century?
Modern Christian Rituals: How Singing of Church Hymns can Lead to Blasphemy
In spite of the confusing gerrymandering, come Sunday morning, faithful and believers by design, all and sundry, in their billions ritually gather in various halls of worship. As is the norm in Christian worship, the familiar words of a praise song soon fill the lungs of all gathered. And in unison, worship ensues.
You see, church hymns are simple to follow and memorize. Even after a hiatus of several years, anyone brought up the christian way can walk into any church and join in the singing. Moreover, if it happens that one falters in their singing, the safety of numbers provided by the unison of the congregation is more than a capable disguise.
It is said that in singing, the performer owns the words to the song. It is by this fact that popular musicians forever fight accusations of Illuminati. This is why the book of psalms by David occupies utmost importance among Christians. It is the reason why a well belted love song is a sure knee breaking and heart chord strumming romantic gesture. Incidentally, this is also happens to be where the problem lies with ‘mindless’ singing in the church. When we unwittingly commit blasphemy.
How so? Simply because so few among the congregation actually pay attention to the words of the church hymn. They are just words to many. Words with no meaning or consequence when uttered. Words which incidentally, they own with every purse of their lips.
This article ends with a point to mull over: This kind of conscienceless singing in the church; is it blasphemous lies or faithful worship? That verdict I leave it you.