Last night we had a good discussion at home group about different styles of worship. This was a pretty good topic of discussion to help to get to know one another better. Think of it like the learning styles theory. It also reveals what are our strengths and diversity as a community.
The styles that were brought up and discussed were:
1. Nature and Beauty (Someone who appreciates the beauty of God's creation)
2. Thinker (Someone who spends time in thought and prayer)
3. Contemplate (Someone who takes time and rationalizes worship)
4. Aesthetic (someone who worships through touch, feel, sight and sound)
5. Caregiver (someone who worships through caring for others in need)
6. Activist (someone who worships through social causes)
7. Enthusiastic (someone who is just always energized to go out and win over followers)
8. Ritualistic (worship through rituals)
(There might have been a few more, but this is all I can remember)
We then needed to discuss which of these styles we were most comfortable in with the idea that we should do what ever brings us closer to God. After doing a little self analyzing, I felt like I was a little of everything except enthusiastic (most people felt the same way). This may sound bad, but I've not very good at showing my enthusiasm toward the Lord (at least to others). I attribute some of this to the fact that I was brought up in a Catholic Church were ritualism is important than enthusiasm. However since breaking away from the Catholic Church, I feel I've been pretty harsh on it. Now that I'm a little older (and hopefully wiser) I can really see the beauty in some of the rituals and how for some people can find that can be comforting.
The rest of the worship styles I feel I can fit into pretty well. I feel that I lean heavy towards the aesthetic worship style. Weather it is in the beauty of a painting from Monet or Van Gogh, or a beautiful song that hits the right chords, sight and sound can be a window into God's creation. You can hear the beauty of God in a quiet Over the Rhine song, the sound scape of Sigur Ros, the genius of Radiohead, or a spiritual charged u2 concert (which I've always said is as close to a spiritual experience as you can get).
I've found some spiritual meaning in my work with children as part activist and caregiver. Other times, post from Shakedust or Pastor Rick's sermons turn me into a thinker or contemplater. Most recently, I can really get closer to God through nature. This is largely due to the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. When our group was talking this, we took a minute to listen to the wind blow through the pine trees outside. It was quiet beautiful to listen to the pines sway in the cold wind outside. Many people compare it to a whisper. Seeing some of the waterfalls around here, you realize that God is the greatest artist of all, and he takes time and detail with his work. You can travel to the top of the Columbia Gorge and take in His majesty or go down to the ocean and see His fury.
I think the real danger is getting pigeonholed in one style. If all you are is about sensory worship, do you miss the opportunities to help those in need? If all you are about is worshipping through helping others and being an activist, do you miss the chance to worship the beauty of God's creation? Does it do good to over think God's wonder that we loss all enthusiasm towards Him. If we are overly enthusiastic is it realistic to never question God? I think ideally, we need to be strong in all areas of worship.