For it is by grace you have been saved...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Freudian Slips in Worship?

You've heard of the Freudian slip, right?  Saying something you didn't intend to say, calling someone by a wrong name, and realizing that there is a connection to your subconscious thoughts.  You call your wife by your ex-girlfriends name, and they say this means you're still thinking about that ex.  Or you say something wrongly and they suggest this is what you actually think.  According to Freud, unacceptable thoughts or beliefs are supposedly withheld from our conscious awareness, and these slips help reveal what is hidden in the unconscious.

I'm no psychology expert, but I know the term, have seen it at work, and even when the slip was just that, a slip, it's fun to tease someone about what their subconscious mind is at work doing.  But how often are these slips legitimate, and can they happen in our worship?

Recently I read a post about "accidental heresy" in worship.  Worship leaders snitched on themselves about little slips they've made in songs, prayers, etc. during worship services.  Sometimes is just getting the lyrics wrong.  Sometimes it's just switching a word or two.  It's all in good fun.  And yet, I wonder...

Could it be that some of these things are real Freudian slips at work?  I don't know any of the folks who shared these slips; don't know their hearts; so I don't mean to be accusing anyone of anything.  And yet when we look at some of these slips, do they not reveal what many in the church actually are thinking?  Consider some of these examples of what was accidentally uttered in worship:

"I see a generation rising up to take their place with selfish faith."

"Not because of what You've done, but because of who I am."

"I'd rather have silver than Jesus or gold."

I once asked a congregation to "Stand and worship us," rather than "Stand and worship with us."

"Lord, align Your will with ours."

"God, that you would decrease so that I may increase..." 

Again, I don’t know any of these folks.  I know we all just have a slip of the tongue sometimes.  It happens.  But let’s be honest.  Don’t some of these statements reflect the heart of so many in the church today?  Isn’t some of this the very message being given off in some of our churches? 

Isn’t it true that we are raising up a generation of folks with a selfish faith?  Isn’t it true that some worship leaders want the attention for themselves?  Isn’t it true that many want silver more than Jesus, that we want God’s will to align with ours, that we want ourselves to increase, etc.? 

Could it be that some of these statements are simply reflecting the subconscious thoughts and feelings of many in the church today?  Maybe even our own hearts, if we’re honest?

So much of what goes on in the church today has become so man-centered, so emotion-centered, so self-satisfying.  It’s about me, and my wants, and my pleasure, and what God can do for me, and how I feel about it all.  Is it any wonder that statements like this might slip out.?

I don’t have anything really profound to say about all this.  It just made me think.  It made me do a little heart searching to see if my worship really is centered on Christ and His glory, of if there might be a little of this in my heart as well.  I think it’s good to do a little self evaluation from time to time. 

So, that’s all.  I hope this sparks a little self-evaluation in you as well.  Are we truly Christ-centered in all we do, and do we accurately project that to others as well?  Just a little food for thought.  (And remember that if your self-evaluation turns up anything unwelcome, just blame your parents like all good psychologists would have you do!)

1 comment:

The Nadir said...

I think that was one of the reasons that they forbade music, once upon a time, during worship. Like C.S. Lewis says, or rather Screwtape's Uncle, as long as people are focusing on each other, who those people are, how good the poetry is, and the building; it doesn't matter if they attend church.

In the older times, you would in the very least get bored if you were not captivated by God like the Puritans were. Now, with emotional lyrics, extended solos, pop-sermons and more philosophy and less Word of God, you feel something. Before you would go home hungry if you didn't eat, now you get junk food.

I'm not saying all churches are like this, but what I am saying is that something has changed in our conception of worship and God, that we find nothing wrong with the fact that nothing preached points out anything wrong in our lives.
Good and sobering post, Scott.