I lead two very different worship services yesterday.
One was a funeral for a member of my church and a family member of a couple of folks that serve in the music ministries of my church. We did several hymns at the request of the family. Hymnal in hand, I sang with a steady vibrato and hit the high notes with full diaphramic support (yes, I created an adjective there).
Then I led our Midweek Worship service that evening. Totally different. I played my trusty Ovation, and my voice was slightly more pop-ified (did it again).
And after that, I sang in Celebration Choir rehearsal at full power (well, for as long as I could stand it).
I used to say that I wasn’t interested in adapting my voice to a particular situation. My voice is my instrument, and I only “play” it one way. But without my even realizing it, I have developed the habit/technique of singing differently depending on circumstances.
The most amazing example of this phenomenon is Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and the song, Dream On.
Have you ever heard him sing that song live in the post-Janie’s–Got–a–Gun era? It’s spooky. I once heard him sing that song, and he sounded like two different singers within the course of two minutes. He began the song with the voice he currently uses. But on the second verse, he changes his voice to the tone he used when Dream On was originally recorded.
In my last post, I wrote about how some Christians attend certain churches because the crowd does. But I also think that some Christians allow their views to be skewed, depending on their circumstances.
Sometimes, Christians fall out of fellowship with God, which leads to a lifestyle that does not match up to their earlier walk. That happened to me in my mid-twenties. When I went through a difficult period, my new normal was not anything like the strong-in-the-faith Christian boy that I had been (and, by the grace of God and His forgiveness, am today).
There is also situational doctrine, which is a topic that could be a post all by itself. This is where a person’s view of God differs depending on where they attend church, with whom they associate, and/or where they are employed.
I have known people who have worked at churches just for a paycheck. This was especially true in college, when we referred to that as a “church gig.” I wrote about that here and here. I know several musicians that have served or are serving in churches that are either different in their doctrine than the person’s beliefs or that are diametrically opposed to their beliefs. When faced with this kind of opportunity, it is easy to think that your standards are rock-solid, until time and teaching have had an impact on a Christian’s foundation without their knowledge.
Of course, situational doctrine is not solely for those of us in vocational ministry. How many pastors have used the illustration of the guy that tells dirty jokes at the water cooler, only to usher that weekend at church? Sadly, that illustration may not be far off for some reading this today.
What to do to stay true to Christ regardless of circumstances?
- Be aware. Fading in our faith is a slow process, and can be overlooked until it’s too late.
- Be focused. Know what you know to be truth.
- Be vigilant. CONSTANTLY check your beliefs against the Word of God. Not a favorite preacher or teacher. Not a blog. Not a book. The Word.
Let your eyes look directly forward,and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. –Proverbs 4:25-27