Ship of Fools: Central Christian Church, Glendale, Arizona, USA


imageShip of Fools: Central Christian Church, Glendale, Arizona, USA

The wonder of Christmas preached to a numbing drum beat

Read the full Mystery Worshipper report here


Comments

  • DeanKuestDeanKuest Shipmate Posts: 1
    Thank you for visiting and writing this review! We are far from a perfect place and are always open to critique/criticism that helps us see ourselves as someone walking through the door for the first time might see us. That is the beauty of the Mystery Worshipper.
    I hope that you will find your way back again...you missed out on your ornament that we handed out at the door at the end of service. I'll save one for you. :)
    Have a Merry Christmas!
  • Those lines of Emily Dickinson so sum up how I feel about loud drum kits - well, most drum kits really - to accompany church music. A jazz drum kit is just too insistent, too egotistical, and almost always played too loud.

    I must look up the rest of that poem.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    Not to go off on a tangent about Emily Dickinson, but that poem is one of my favorites, and so sums up the feeling of "inner brooding" that many of us feel sometimes. Do look it up -- and look up "Some keep the Sabbath going to church" as well -- another of my favorites.
  • As a drummer and former Catholic, I completely understand your sentiment regarding loud drums! When I was growing up in the Catholic faith, Mass was always a very special (if too long!) time for me. I loved the deep, silent Mystery, the traditional hymns that never made me feel as though I were a horrible sinner but a much beloved child of God. Christmas was especially lovely. The Advent candles, the wreaths, the festive, but holy air permeating everything...

    I do remember one memorable Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve...some person had set up a blue sparkle drum kit near the altar! Almost all the "old timers" (including my mother) were scandalized. I was intrigued but worried. Would the drums be too loud? Would the priest get annoyed and denounce the proceedings?! No! The drummer played with brushes and the acoustic guitar player played softly and "Silent Night" was sung acapella and all was right with the world. This was probably the introduction of the "Folk Mass" that was gaining popularity in our little part of the Virginia/D.C./Maryland part of the country in the early 1970's.

    Drums can be beautifully played so as not to blast anyone's hearing or hearing aids. Unfortunately, drums can also be hit as hard as humanly possible. I really do not like "Praise Bands" of any sort. Gregorian chants are more to my liking.
  • I also fall on the side for whom drum kits and most “praise songs” (as well as “times of worship/praise” to mean blocks of praise songs at the start of the service) would be a huge turn-off. But I’m glad they’re there for those whose spiritual life is enriched by them.

    But I’m afraid I really don’t get the idea of Communion by putting the elements on tables in the back and inviting people to help themselves—and without prayer or the Warrant/words of institution. That just seems bizarre to me, not to mention at odds with almost two millennia of Christian practice. Does anyone know the theology or ecclesiology behind it?

  • Agreed. It does seem a bit odd, given (as @Nick Tamen says) the Christian millennia during which the Eucharist (in some form or other) has been - and is - The Norm.

    Even the Dominical Words only, and perhaps some form of extempore prayer, are needed, surely, to give the elements some relevance.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    As I mentioned in my report, the pastor did say that the bread was the Body of Christ and that the juice was the Blood of Christ. How they got that way, though, wasn't clear.

    It seems to me that self-serve communion from a back table is not the way that Jesus wanted it to be done, judging from 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 and other accounts of what we've come to call the Last Supper.

    I'm encouraged that the pastor was moved to file the comment that he filed above. I will visit this church again ("Be vigilant, for you know neither the day nor the hour") to see if anything has changed.
  • Re. self-serve communion: know this is a tricky area, but surely the bread and wine (whatever else they are) are symbols?
  • Urganda wrote: »
    Re. self-serve communion: know this is a tricky area, but surely the bread and wine (whatever else they are) are symbols?
    I think that it’s a fairly safe assumption that this church’s understanding would be memorialize and that the bread and cup are symbolic. But maybe not.

    I'm encouraged that the pastor was moved to file the comment that he filed above.
    I was glad to see his comment too, and that’s one reason I asked about the theology or ecclesiology behind this particular practice. I thought that if @DeanKuest is still reading, he might be able to shed some light.

  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Urganda wrote: »
    Re. self-serve communion: know this is a tricky area, but surely the bread and wine (whatever else they are) are symbols?
    I think that it’s a fairly safe assumption that this church’s understanding would be memorialize and that the bread and cup are symbolic. But maybe not.
    As I said above and in the report, and unless I misheard the pastor, he did say that the bread "was" the Body of Christ and that the juice "was" the Blood of Christ.
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Urganda wrote: »
    Re. self-serve communion: know this is a tricky area, but surely the bread and wine (whatever else they are) are symbols?
    I think that it’s a fairly safe assumption that this church’s understanding would be memorialize and that the bread and cup are symbolic. But maybe not.
    As I said above and in the report, and unless I misheard the pastor, he did say that the bread "was" the Body of Christ and that the juice "was" the Blood of Christ.
    And that was a large part of the reason for my “But maybe not.” That said, I’ve heard similar language used by those I knew for sure to hold memorialist understanding. After all, the memorialist understanding interprets Jesus’ “This is my body/This is my blood” to mean “this represents my body/this represents my blood.”

    I see on their website that they believe baptism “symbolically represents a believer’s identification of Christ’s death and resurrection. It proclaims how we have died to our old self and have new life through Jesus Christ.” (I can’t find anything on their website about their understanding of communion.). My experience is that that kind of understanding of baptism typically goes with a memorialist understanding of communion, as does the practice of what we’ve been calling self-serve communion. But again, maybe not in this case. Hence my curiosity.

  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    I will pay close attention on my return visit.
  • As someone once said in very different circumstances, 'I agree with Nick.'
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    I made a return visit this morning.

    Still only two benches in the lobby, but today they were mercifully empty of young people oblivious to the seniors in their midst who would have welcomed a seat. In fact, the lobby was pretty empty of anyone. (The auditorium did fill up nicely, though, as the music portion progressed.)

    I wouldn't call the pastries day-old. I'd call them week-old. Instead of charging me $1.00 for a cinnamon bun, they should have paid me $1.00 to take one off their hands so they wouldn't have to hold it over for yet another week.

    The music was all hard Christian rock, very uninspiring at least to me. The drums were enclosed in the obligatory Plexiglas shield but, if anything, were even louder than they were at my last visit.

    Communion was handled differently. The pastor said that the elements represented the fact that Jesus gives us all that we need. No words of institution were spoken; no mention today of the Body and Blood, as mention was made during my last visit. Instead of self-serve, ushers handed a tray of bread morsels and a ceramic goblet of grape juice to the first person in each row. We helped ourselves and then held the tray for the person next to us.

    The sermon was again by the senior pastor via video feed.

    The campus pastor made an interesting comment: "It's hard to connect when everyone around you is going in a different direction." We're all headed in the same direction, but I prefer to get there via a different route. I won't be back.
  • I may have mentioned before but I enjoyed once a talk given by an evangelical pastor to the local Newman society. His brief was to tell us about his church community and what it stood for. He told us that his church was not like any Catholic church he had ever visited. there would be no crosses, no statues, no holy pictures, no sign of symbols, simply the pure Word of God would be preached.
    During a break in the proceedings I asked him, if the community celebrated communion.
    Sure, he said, but it is only a symbol. I thought you didn't have any symbols, I said.
  • :lol:

    What was his reply, or reaction?
  • We both laughed and he said 'touche'
  • :lol: again!
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