No splash

Photo: Seita/Shutterstock
Published August 23, 2018

“If you get the chance, we’d humbly request that our ‘worship hoedown’ be mentioned from stage, or added into your service announcement slides. Or, if you really wanna champion this rodeo, you could show a short video we would provide in the weeks leading up to the event!”

I need to put my cards on the table…and when they’re down, you will quickly learn that I am an inverted snob. This invitation to Tim & The Glory Boys and their Buffalo Roadshow gives me hives, as does “worship hoedown,” and the destruction of the English language. I am either too old or too civilized, but more likely too ANYTHING for this kind of thing to be a meaningful invitation for praising God. I am left with the feeling that this is a desperate attempt to convert the unconverted, describing God as nothing different than who we already are.  This invitation provides little challenge for us or the world to be altered by a choice for a life lived in Christ.

I have spent a good portion of the past 20 years of my ministry trying to stave off the proclivity of many in the church to adapt some of the worst aspects of our culture into worship. I willingly admit that this latest rant is not much different than many of my other ones, save perhaps for one exception. In the past five years or so, there has been a pendulum shift. Nothing major or earth-shattering. People are not coming to the Anglican church for the first time, or returning to their roots, in massive numbers; far from it. But I have experienced a not insignificant number of seekers drifting away from the likes of Tim & The Glory Boys, and drifting toward what many of them refer to as a “sense of the sacred.” They experience this in both the liturgy of the Anglican church, and our more traditional worship space. Younger people tell me they spend their entire week in front of a screen; they don’t want to spend their worship time in that place, too. Older people tell me they are looking for substance rather than glossy packaging.

I am not an ostrich, burying my head in the sand.  I focus on what we say and do, rather than how we look and sound. I’m confident it’s what we all should be doing.


  • Nissa Basbaum

    The Very Rev. Nissa Basbaum is dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Michael and All Angels, diocese of Kootenay.

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