No. There’s No Plank In My Eye.

 

Stack of Wood Planks

I post a humble article about rethinking church worship service…

It BLOWS UP!

Conclusion: Church worship stirs passion.

Sadly, Passion’s companion is seldom Reasonableness.

During the recent debate over the state of modern worship, this quote was tossed into the discussion:

“We Christians sure are good at spotting the specks despite our planks, aren’t we?”

Whenever believers debate, inevitably someone lobs this pious pipe bomb into the conversation.

Always thrown from the holy high-ground, it is intended to silence arguments.

As if a disagreement is a sin.

Ultimately these words steer the discourse toward the most misunderstood, misquoted and misused mandate in all of Christendom:

“Don’t judge.”

Never seen in its natural habitat of context, the command is the chosen weapon of neophyte Bible warriors wanting to participate in conversations without the encumbrance of cogent thought.

These folks hold to the delusion that I need to constantly be reminded that I’m not perfect.

Further, they suggest that imperfection disqualifies me from commentary on the subject at hand.

After all, there’s a plank in my eye, right?

Wrong.

Here’s the whole judge/speck/plank story as Jesus laid it out:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

When I judge you, I need to be prepared for equal scrutinization and criticism coming back at me.

So…

…as long as I’m not shooting my neighbor’s pets, I can tell you it’s wrong to shoot my dog.

…if I’m not watching Game of Thrones, I can tell you it’s trashy porn and you shouldn’t watch it.

…if I’m not unfaithful to my wife, I can tell you it’s wrong to cheat on your wife.

Not only that…

…I’m actually SUPPOSED to criticize.

 

It’s an act of kindness when I judge that you need a speck removed.

Here’s the important, final point:

Criticising ideas, methods, processes or concepts is not judging you.

Your doctrine, philosophy and point of view are not sacred.

The worship service is not rendered with ‘Thus Saith The Lord’.

Do you want to be told when there’s something stuck in your teeth?

Do you want to be told when your pants are unzipped?

If your idea is stupid…

…don’t you want to know?

Instead of being angry, you ought to thank me.

 

I would do the same for you.


13 thoughts on “No. There’s No Plank In My Eye.

  1. I thought that your article about worship was thought provoking, and the thing that struck me about it was that in spite of the fact that you don’t feel that you can participate in your church’s worship, you keep showing up. There will always be things that we don’t love about our churches, but humility would cause a person to show up anyway and serve. Yes,try to change things, but if I don’t get my way, can I still be part of a body where truth is proclaimed? I certainly hope so!

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    1. Thanks for that, Brooke.

      I think Church is family. I’m not 100% happy with procedures and processes but that’s not good reason to abandon the group.

      Besides, it would be hypocritical to preach unity in worship then leave when everyone doesn’t agree with me.

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  2. I’m so over the “don’t judge” line that people use. As Christians, we are to be discerning. Sometimes that can turn into a critical spirit (guilty!), but we shouldn’t take everything at face value.
    Church should be focused on the Gospel, and often times things like music style become priority over the gospel. The gospel is attractive enough, you don’t need to add smoke, lights, traditions, etc to make it better.

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  3. I’m a Buddhist leaning agnostic who was raised in a mainstream, non-evangelical, Christian denomination. My problems with organized religion, Christianity in particular, are numerous but the tipping point for me happened when churches started becoming houses of entertainment instead of houses of worship. For me, one’s connection to God requires deliberate contemplation, looking inside oneself and quiet listening for spiritual guidance. in order to become a better person and relate more lovingly with the rest of the world. It also requires being able to ask hard questions and not getting a complete answer. Understanding that sometimes the answer to a prayer is no. None of this can happen when attending a rock concert.

    When the focus of a church is THE BAND, it has lost its way. Church leaders who use musicians to increase attendance are 1) attracting and encouraging the most shallow kind of “Christian” and 2) ignoring Christ’s mission and message. I love beautiful music. I love beautiful church music. But the music should be a compliment to the message, not the message itself. When that happens, the church stops being a church and becomes just another venue for entertainment.

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    1. Thanks, Kathryn. I appreciate your thoughtful comments.

      I’m not certain we can know the attitude of anyone by observing their particular worship style. I don’t think upbeat worship means the worshiper is shallow or that they’re ignoring the central message of Christianity. I have to make sure that I’m not pushing my preferences on the rest of the gang. That’s what I’m criticizing them for doing in the first place!

      I really like your attitude about tough questions and incomplete answers. Flannery O’Connor said, “A God that you understand will always be less than you”. Honestly, I think we’re all leaning a little agnostic.

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  4. Thank you for your clarity of scriptural understanding, and of rational thought. Both articles are spot-on. We are not to judge people’s souls – only God can do that, truly. You are correct that we believers are commanded to help our brothers & sisters, in love, using scripture to help them see an error…. and that absolutely goes in both directions.

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  5. I loved your previous article. Even as a worship leader, I question a lot of the things the industry pushes for. I was very encouraged by your forthrightness in that article, and it challenged me, and I was going to comment on it… Until I saw you had over a hundred comments and decided you’d be best off without the extra noise. Christians can be worse than a flock of seagulls at times…

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  6. Seems to me the last part of Jesus’ ‘Judge not’ teaching puts it all in context. ‘First remove the plank from your own eye so you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s I’. You have it right. It makes sense that if I stumble, a brother who is strong in that area can help me, just as i can help him in an area he is weak, but I am strong.

    As for the previous article, Psalm 100 says to ‘…enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.’ To me, this is how we enter His presence, and is why we would want to have worship before the Bible study (sermon). It doesn’t matter the skills of the teacher if God is present. Billy Graham could flop every time if God wasn’t there, opening heart to His Word.

    In church, the purpose of worship is to enter His presence to make the preaching of His Word most effective.

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