It was a rockin good time. The band was red hot. The crowd was singing and dancing, up on their feet the entire time. It was Rock Shabbat at the local synagogue and Marilyn didn’t like it one bit.

“What happened to serenity, sanctity and sermons? I want my old melodies back, the ones I remember from my childhood. It’s dis-respectful, that what it is, this is not prayer. Definitely not!”

This scene has been playing out in churches, synagogues and other houses of worship since the mid-seventies when rock music found a home in the contemporary prayer service. Forty years later, Marilyn and many like her, young and old, are still arguing about the right way to worship.

Are the fuddy-duddys right? Is there something missing when the holy gets all mixed up in language, dress and music that is somehow… ordinary? The popularity of the traditional service is a nod to fuddy-duddys everywhere who stick to their notion that prayer should look, sound and feel like old-time religion. And still, for many, rock music, blue jeans and twitter belong in their sacred place and for them, it is a blessing.

Keep it Simple

Treat your neighbors as yourself.
Don't lie or steal.
Honor your parents.
They seem pretty straightforward
right up until I seek clarification,
that will help me find
loopholes and exceptions.
Just who are my neighbors?
Do white lies count?
Help me simplify my obedience
instead of complicating it
with qualifications and quantification.
You can help me do this
if only I will meet Your gaze,
releasing my focus from the minutiae
I use as a distraction
from what I know You want.-Sue Bradford Edwards 


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