Every church has some version of a contact card, slip...some way to indicate that you were in attendance and we can get in touch with you. Often absent from that card is a place for "Feedback," but we usually find a place to offer our feedback anyway. For instance, on ours, it's the "Prayer Request" space -- as in I pray God may cause the sun to stand still in the sky so that your sermons won't go past 11 am. I keed, I keed. This is all well & good -- we welcome feedback as it's helpful for us as a young, growing church. Nothing receives more feedback for most churches, ours included, than worship. Songs, styles, and offers to sing, play the triangle, or bang on the cowbell.
A friend sent me a great blog post by a pastor named Anthony Weber, who serves at Church of the Living God in Traverse, Michigan. It especially resonated with me, I admit, because of a couple recent instances of preaching through Malachi in which God shows Himself appealing to an already established norm in culture and then redeeming it for His purposes.
This past week: It was the Suzerain Treaty and the Royal Grant, which God used to construct covenants with his people (Mosaic Covenant mirrored the Suzerain Treaties of the Ancient Near East while the Abrahamic & Davidic covenants were emblematic of Royal Grants of the ANE). Three weeks ago, in the sermon "Priest: A Speaking Role" (Mal. 2:1-9), I spoke about how the gospel wasn't originally a religious or biblical term, but how it was used by Caesar Augustus and others as "objective, history-changing news that would necessarily alter people's lives."
In other words, God never meant to speak in religilous, Christianese language so as to show Himself totally separate from culture, but rather chose & then redeemed the language and norms of the day to make sense of Himself to us -- because He was and is so separate from us He needed to make sense of an Omnipotent, All-knowing, Perfect God to us.
So add "the gospel" to the Weber's list below and give how you and I worship some thought...
(Sidenote: I didn't "link" his blog because it's a facebook blog and I didn't know if/how to link that successfully)