Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thawing the "Frozen Chosen"

A fellow elder introduced me to a long list of comical nomenclature used to describe the Presbyterian faith one day. I was shocked at just how many of these adjectives actually come very close to describing the attitudes, practices and habits involved with our systematic approach to faith. My favorite is “the Frozen Chosen.” This pair of words attempts to describe many facets of our denomination and our very systematic approach to our worship and is not very compassionate in nature. Let’s see if I can break this up a bit and address the two words separately.

The word Frozen brings about feelings of cold, rigid and stiff. How many times have you heard someone say that something or someone is “frozen stiff.” We often think of things being hard to the touch and very unyielding when we conjure up images of frozen material. This could be saying that as Presbyterians, we are very set in our ways, our opinions, our attitudes about how this world is and how this world needs to be. There are very few correct ways to worship, and we have the rights to one of the few. This may be how other believers and unbelievers see our denomination. I, for one, do not like being referred to as someone who is stoic and somewhat set in my ways with regards to worshiping and praising our Lord. This is not a very “complimentary” adjective to describe our faith and our method of worship and does not come close to describing our compassionate feelings for the world around us.

The word Chosen conjures up the elite or privileged group of worshipers who have reservations already confirmed in Heaven and really have no need of further approval. This is also not very complimentary due to the fact that we are all sinners and fall short of meeting the ultimate goal of bringing praise and glory to God. We all would like to feel as if we are doing what it takes to be one of the selected few when it comes time to stand before God and answer to all that we have done, but I personally do not see that happening.

I feel that I have a long way to go before I can even come close to standing before God and giving him my excuses for being “frozen” at times, cold to the touch of someone needing a warm, compassionate embrace. I’m sure He will have questions concerning my overconfidence at times and will be direct when He asks the question, “what makes you any better than your friend and neighbor?” How can I prove that I have lived the life of a “good and faithful servant” so that He will welcome me in to his paradise?

I know that most Presbyterians and even most Christians do not have traits that would identify them as “Frozen,” or consider themselves among the “Chosen.” I am fairly confident that this nomenclature can only be applied to a few misled souls who tend to see themselves as privileged children of God. I feel that we, as Presbyterians, need to break free of this frosty description and loosen our minds when it comes to our praise and worship of our great and awesome God. One of the ways we could do this is in our music. When I listen to contemporary Christian music, I’m able to enjoy the Lord, embrace His glory and take in all that He has to offer. If you actually listen to the words of some of the more popular groups, you will find biblically based, heartwarming lyrics that speak to the soul. Groups like Mercy Me, Third Day, Casting Crowns and others are singing praises just as the psalmists did when they penned their praise to our King, just to a different beat. It’s amazing to attend a concert of any of these groups and see families, seniors, teenagers, young children and parents all singing the same songs, the same lyrics and dancing to the same rhythm, just as God would want it to be.

I recently attended the Life and Faith Tour at the Richmond International Raceway. This was a strange venue for a Christian program, but one that the promoters went to great lengths to have a show that provided a chance to worship, praise, laugh, learn, and sing, all in one day. This program was extremely entertaining and definitely worth the ticket price. The program included Christian comedians, Christian authors, entertainers, gospel groups, and my favorite contemporary Christian groups all wrapped up on two stages. It was an awesome experience, one that I will not soon forget.

I just wonder how many “Frozen Chosen” were in attendance. Maybe we were there staffing the snow cone booth :)

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