I've been pondering and railing against modern 'worship culture' for years now. Longtime readers of this blog are very familiar with this. I often blame it on lackluster musicianship, overwhelming same-ness in the arrangements (across the board), repetitive and inane lyrics, the overproduced fakeness of the entire culture that apparently only I and a handful of others seem to feel.
The other day, though, I was listening to a song in this genre (for research purposes only), and suddenly I realised why people will say certain songs are 'anointed' or 'so worshipful' -- they're the songs which, for whatever reason (which remains shrouded in mystery even to a person who is very seriously considering making a career out of nonverbal physical demonstrations of emotion), incite them to kneel and/or raise their hands. And suddenly it dawned on me that maybe these people think that is worship -- that physical pose they take while this music is playing. It's a tableau dance, and it doesn't arise out of a spirit of worship, it IS worship. Suddenly the overwhelming aura of fakeness that this entire movement is drowning in made sense.
People, I think we're missing something.
Worship is NOT a certain series of physical movements. It is NOT the act of closing the eyes and swaying. It is NOT the act of kneeling. It is NOT the groans and grimaces. It is NOT the raised hands. It is NOT the sound of the keyboard and the amped up acoustic guitar. It is NOT the light show. Yes, all of these things can be the MANIFESTATION of our worship (or the 'consequences,' if you prefer), but -- and please do not miss this distinction -- worship is not the physical act.
Worship is a heart attitude. I'm not going to go in-depth on this here, but you can find any number of (doctrinally sound) theologians who say this. The physical trappings/outward expressions of worship are a representation, a reflection (to put it another way) of what is going on in your heart -- but they are not worship itself.
Basically -- don't call your weird cultish tableau dance worship. It's not. You can worship in any posture, singing/playing in any genre. But don't shame the ones who aren't 'led' to join your weird cultish folk dance.