“If you get the chance, we’d humbly request that our ‘worship hoedown’ be mentioned from stage, or added into your service announcement slides. Or, if you really wanna champion this rodeo, you could show a short video we would provide in the weeks leading up to the event!”

I need to put my cards on the table…and when they’re down, you will quickly learn that I am an inverted snob. This invitation to Tim & The Glory Boys and their Buffalo Roadshow gives me hives, as does “worship hoedown,” and the destruction of the English language. I am either too old or too civilized, but more likely too ANYTHING for this kind of thing to be a meaningful invitation for praising God. I am left with the feeling that this is a desperate attempt to convert the unconverted, describing God as nothing different than who we already are.  This invitation provides little challenge for us or the world to be altered by a choice for a life lived in Christ.

I have spent a good portion of the past 20 years of my ministry trying to stave off the proclivity of many in the church to adapt some of the worst aspects of our culture into worship. I willingly admit that this latest rant is not much different than many of my other ones, save perhaps for one exception. In the past five years or so, there has been a pendulum shift. Nothing major or earth-shattering. People are not coming to the Anglican church for the first time, or returning to their roots, in massive numbers; far from it. But I have experienced a not insignificant number of seekers drifting away from the likes of Tim & The Glory Boys, and drifting toward what many of them refer to as a “sense of the sacred.” They experience this in both the liturgy of the Anglican church, and our more traditional worship space. Younger people tell me they spend their entire week in front of a screen; they don’t want to spend their worship time in that place, too. Older people tell me they are looking for substance rather than glossy packaging.

I am not an ostrich, burying my head in the sand.  I focus on what we say and do, rather than how we look and sound. I’m confident it’s what we all should be doing.

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Nissa Basbaum
The Very Rev. Nissa Basbaum is dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Michael and All Angels, diocese of Kootenay.

6 COMMENTS

  1. “Every man prays in his own language, and there is no language that God does not understand.” — Duke Ellington.

  2. Nissa,
    Couldn’t agree with you more, thanks for saying so! I go one more step, to ask myself anymore what are we doing spending so much time planning our praising & praying to “God”, for I think we need to be listening not telling God how wonderful she is, or asking her for this and that!

    Karen Pidcock
    Kaslo, BC

    • Karen,
      Why are you referring to God as “she”. Whenever the Holy Bible gives any indication to the gender of God it is always in the masculine. “Our Father, who art in heaven…”
      Perhaps this “political correctness” is a big part of the problem in why so many people have left the Anglican Church of Canada and are not coming back.
      Allan

  3. Hmm, doesn’t sound like inverted snobbery to me. Just old-fashioned straight-up snobbery.

    We Anglicans tend to be proud of our church’s image liberal, inclusive, accepting, tolerant, welcoming, open-minded, generous, and all that other good stuff. But for some reason, these don’t apply to Tim and the Glory Boys.

    You say, “this is a desperate attempt to convert the unconverted, describing God as nothing different than who we already are. This invitation provides little challenge for us or the world to be altered by a choice for a life lived in Christ.”

    Goodness, what a damning attitude! Such intolerance! And with absolutely no evidence to back it up! So I have to ask, How on earth could you know these things? Is it the name, Tim and the Glory Boys, that bothers you? Is it the joi de vivre evident in their videos that offends Anglican sensibilities?

    I challenge you to go and check them out. Frankly, I don’t think I would like the music either, and the culture is not my culture. But my theology tells me God is bigger than my personal tastes, and God works through things and people of which I deeply disapprove. It may irritate me, but that’s God’s prerogative, and it reminds me to work on being humble and open-minded.

    Unless we are a bit more truly liberal, we are simply confirming the old gibe, “The Anglican Church: Worshipping God with a Slightly Superior Attitude since 1534.”

    • John,
      Your perspective of the Anglican Church of Canada being “…inclusive, accepting, tolerant, welcoming, open-minded…” is not what I have experienced. As a Christian that believes the Holy Bible is authored by God, and also believing that only Christians go to heaven I have been made to feel outcast, unaccepted, not-tolerated, and unwelcome by a group of people that are incredibly closed minded against anything that does not fit in with their liberalism.
      To claim to be “…inclusive, accepting, tolerant, welcoming, open-minded…” is a remarkable contrast against the way that Rev. Jacob Worley was treated.
      Allan

      • The comment was tongue in cheek. I have also had experience of a “liberalism” that is exclusive, intolerant, closed-minded, etc. It’s a kind of fundamentalist liberalism that is as concerning as conservative fundamentalism.

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