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In recent years worship has been wrenched from the story of God and has been formed by some of the narratives of contemporary culture. Many find only a cultural manifestation of Christianity that bears no mark of spiritual nourishment or sustenance.

Me-oriented worship is the result of a culturally driven worship. When worship is situated in the culture and not in the story of God, worship becomes focused on the self. It becomes narcissistic. Christopher Lasch points to narcissism as a "metaphor of the human condition."" Certainly from a biblical perspective, sin is fundamentally a rebellion against God, a rebellion that places self at the center. Therefore, we must ask whether it is really a fact that much of our worship has shifted from a focus on God and God's story to a focus on me and my story.

This question is answered by the research of Lester Ruth, professor of worship at Asbury Seminary. Dr. Ruth examined the seventy-two top contemporary songs over a fifteen-year period of time with his primary question being, "Are these songs rooted in the Triune nature and activity of God?" His conclusions are alarming: "None of the songs in the corpus of seventy-two explicitly refer to the Trinity or the Triune nature of God. … Only three songs refer to or name all three persons of the Trinity." While Jesus is named in thirty-two of the songs, the Holy Spirit is named in only two songs. "With so few of the songs naming or worshiping all three persons of the Trinity, it is therefore not surprising to find little remembrance of Triune activity in the corpus." This results in a "de-emphasis on commemorating God's saving activity."

By not situating worship in a recollection of the trinitarian activity to redeem and restore the ...

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God Is Not the Object of Our Worship
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April 2007

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