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Words cannot describe…

Mesmerising.  Like a car crash.

You'll have probably seen enough after about 4 minutes.

From here, via The Old Adam.

Even in the psychadelic imaginings of HR Puffenstuff, never did they conceive of something as bizzare as this.

I can't even think of the correct interrogative to attach to those puppets.






0 thoughts on “Words cannot describe…

  1. Si

    4 minutes? I'd seen enough after 40 seconds. That said, I still ended up watching the whole thing trying to laugh at the stupidity and cry at the blasphemy at the same time, and failing to do either. 4 minutes was when the woman started talking about Jesus healing the leper of a social disease and was probably the worst individual bit (the puppets and dancers are tolerable, just about, in moderation), so I can see why you'd want to give up there.

    Were they singing the same verse of the song over and over again at the beginning? The cuts helped, as before the priest/clown/demon* came in must have been 4 or 5 minutes of singing that song. The congregation didn't seem to care about the puppets - not giving them any attention but looking down and mumbling the words!

    When the priest came in being led by the Bible, the bible holder ran past everyone (so they wouldn't stand up for him?) and then people stood up as the clown went past them. Complete and utter botching of that bit of liturgy! Respect the demon, have the Word be like an embarrassment - a summary of the whole thing.

    My respect for flag dancers has gone up!

    (*delete as applicable)

  2. codepoke

    They are definitely trying to do too many things at once.

    First the spoken message: It sounds very much like a vanilla Christian cult of some sort. Loads of the right words mixed with a promise of doing things more perfectly by starting from this new beginning.

    Second the pitch: You can get people to do an awful lot if you can sell them on your passion to fix what's broken out there. Getting Westerners to dance and chant is not that difficult if you can first get them to agree that everyone else is displeasing God. And the general reaction to this video is a clear example of how easy it is to get Westerners to criticize.

    Third the dance: I've been giving dance some thought recently. Do you realize every culture in the world, including all European cultures, has a history of communal dance? Even America still has a few octogenarians who remember a time when dance was of some importance in America. I'm thinking dance is a very human thing, a part of the image of God we've utterly lost.

    Fourth the abused/abusive/abusing puppets: This is my last chance to remain part of the cool crowd, and insult the puppets mercilessly, but I know my place in society. I'll not try to ascend above myself. I did not see the puppets do anything particularly informative or evocative. They seemed to be functioning more as parade floats than as participants of any real activity. That said, the video might exclude something useful they did. In general, though, it can be really helpful in getting people to move to have someone competent up front leading them in doing so. Costumed people are generally less inhibited and therefore make convenient leaders of such activities (hence mascots for sports teams.)

    My philosophy on food is simple. If folk have been eating it for 6000 years, I'm going to eat it. (Think bacon, butter, raw milk, roasts.) If it was invented at the beginning of the industrial age to simplify someone's manufacturing process, I'm not interested. (Think high fructose corn syrup, margarine, minute rice, white bread, lunch meats that never spoil.)

    That same thinking pushes me with communal activities. People have been singing, dancing, and having fun together for 6000 years. We were made for that. People have been mesmerized by YouTube for what, 4 years? TV for 60? And all for the convenience of people with a product to sell. 300 million Americans faithfully consume content provided to them free of charge by advertising dollars. We've traded all meaningful communal activity for customized individual entertainment.

    Yep, the group staging this performance seems to have achieved an epic fail. I didn't hear any usable truth about our Lord in the 10 minutes of video someone chose to show us. That's a disaster. The rest? The chanting and dancing? Why doesn't it make anyone else ask the obvious question? How did they get so many people to pay to be in that room? And why the preponderance of old folk?

    I believe the old folk remember what life used to be like when people spent time doing stuff with the community. Furthermore, I believe this is the key to evangelism in our generation. No. Not puppets, but communal involvement in participatory activity - real flesh and blood interaction as part of a committed community.

  3. Otepoti

    Deeply thankful this morning for the regulative principle of worship. I would never want to take part in such a service. In my church, I'm not likely to have to.


    Codepoke raises good points about the passivity of Western culture. Perhaps my eagerness to be a pew-sitter, albeit an attentive and sincere one, is more a measure of my cultural background than my devotion to the Lord.


    I wonder what the young boy took away from it?

  4. Glen

    Codepoke always raises good points. I do feel though that the puppets (aptly likened by Codepoke himself to football mascots!) are a bridge too far. If it were just the dancing or the sermon I wouldn't have posted it. But the HR Puffenstuff puppets...

  5. Otepoti

    Useful for parish concert afternoons, though.

    Perhaps for a Brobdignagian version of -

    "High on a hill lived a lonely goatherd" - ;-D

    But, seriously Glen, absent the regulative principle, how do you go about drawing the line? Aren't you always going to be defining and redefining appropriate practice for worship?

    Or not?

  6. Glen

    Well everyone wants to draw lines. And the good people want to draw lines 'according to the bible' (whatever that means). And don't forget there are different versions of the regulative principle. So you find yourself having to draw lines between different versions of regulative principles! And of course you want to do that 'according to Scripture' - but the normative camp wants to draw lines according to Scripture too.

    Just think how hard it is to get consensus on what's being described (prescribed?) even in a central text like Acts 2:42-47. Or what's going on in 1 Corinthians 14 - or how that should apply to the local presbyterian church. Or think of baptism wars! Yikes.

    What's going to unite such disparate groups? I dunno - but probably a common concern that giant suited dance mascots is positively unedifying.

    The dancing is an interesting case - is a person's regulative principle inclusive of the OT? That might make a difference to whether a regulative person admits it. From my small knowledge of the Federal Vision movement, they'd like to see OT worship taken very seriously as a paradigm for our worship - and they claim to be following a regulative principle too.

    And they point out that in Esther people start celebrating religious festivals without a word from the LORD (and without His disapproval either). They make an interesting case for saying that the regulative principle, as strictly defined by some, just doesn't actually hold in the bible itself.

    Interesting stuff.

  7. Otepoti

    Oooh, swatting the ball back to the Reformed and Presbyterian court.

    No fair! I asked you first.

    Yes, it did occur to me that the regulative principle falls by the same sword as Ayers' (? Epistemology 101 long time gone) verifiability principle, viz., that you can use it to verify/regulate everything except the principle itself.

    But then I said to myself, don't be silly. If we always waited for a bootstrap, we'd end up in infinite regression and dinner would never get on the table.

    We would never even START to worship, and we would starve.

    As for "good people wanting to draw lines", I see no good people! I see sinners saved by God's grace, commanded to worship, and gratefully wanting to best please Him in the way they do that.

    The line drawing has to be done by the folk who DON'T admit of a regulative principle. "Sacred dance, OK. Then, what kind? Indian temple dance, with the Lord Jesus substituted for the Lord Krishna? Striptease? (It could express the nakedness of the soul before the Lord...) And what about costumes - up to here or down to there?"

    It doesn't take long before you are dying the death of a thousand qualifications. Time to abandon ship and swim back, thankfully, to the regulative principle.

    Now, as to WHICH regulative principle -

    Given that Christians of the reformed persuasion see temple worship as fulfilled by the once and perfect sacrifice of Christ, it seems to follow that Sunday worship is of the synagogue pattern, thus including, mutatis mutandis, all synagogue elements of prayer, praise and expounding of the Word, while omitting those belonging solely to the temple.

    I see this as a tremendous joy, a harbour rather than a prison. If I err too much on the side of caution, I hope that can be forgiven me.

    But it seems to me that the regulative principle, however misguided or misapplied, supplies sounder grounds for avoiding worship shenanigans than any objection simply on grounds of taste. There's always some dear soul who confuses being childlike with being childish, and says, "But I LIKE giant puppets."

    Well. It's easy to talk a good worship. Doing it is another matter.

    Always good talking with you.

  8. Otepoti

    Ah, I forgot my new meme of a "Sound of Music" reference with every comment -:

    The regulative principle is like doh-re-mi. It provides the sound framework for all singing. (Nobody mention Arab quarter-tones, please). It's not constricting; it's releasing, as the Von Trapp children found.



  9. codepoke

    > Well everyone wants to draw lines.



    I think it's more accurate to say some want to draw lines, some needs lines drawn, and some reject every line they can. The job of a leadership TEAM is to make sure it's populated with some from each of those categories so there's a wise balance of line and lineless.

    It's the least you can do for me and Missy. :-)

  10. Missy

    Yeah! I DO like rejecting lines!

    Honestly, I grew up in a baptist church where puppets were often an integral element of learning and worship. It's weird, but I think the puppets in this thing seem the most worshipful of something other than themself or the participants. This vid illustrates very well the difficulty I have with corporate worship in general. It's near impossible to separate the worship "style" with the glory of self. I imagine the dancers - who get to show off their talent and personal worship style and seem to usher inevery element of "liturgy" planned most of this. Probably anguished over every detail. How often does the plan of worship process witness little power plays as each person involved try to develop it towards their own talents/strengths/preferences? I've refused to participate in the process repeatedly as I watch people desparate to create a worship experience they think everyone should have.

    I guess what I'm saying is, this exact same service could one time be filled with a pleasing sacrificial odor to the Glory of Christ - and then another time just filled with the gut-wrenching odor of corporate pride. I find in our corporate worship, the first is very rare.

  11. Glen

    We've all got lines though don't you think? Personally I like the analogy of emphasizing a circle's centre rather than its perimeter etc etc. All well and good. But at the end of the day you will have to call something out of bounds, no? What do we think of Yahweh Yoga for instance? Instead of Sufi Whirling, perhaps we could have Jesus Whirling?

    Or - and maybe this will strike closer to home for Codepoke - what if we decide to go to multi-site campuses with video semons beamed in. Heck, why not beam in the worship band? Heck, why not do the whole thing online anyway, we all want to incorporate the wonders of social media into our worshipping life don't we?

    I'm fishing here Code ;-) - I'm pretty sure there'll be 'flags on the play' raining down from your general direction no?

  12. Otepoti

    Glen, my man, what are you THINKING of?

    It's Saturday night, GMT. Stop being "wrong on the internet" and take Emma out.

    I'll babysit the blog for you.

    Codepoke, you're on Saturday night minus six, so make plans with your significant other NOW.

    If either of you spends anymore time in front of your computer, your spouse will get sick of the sight of the back of your neck, and start giving you a home haircut.

    That's what happened to someone I know...

    Missy, I don't know where you are, but I believe the Salzburg Marionetten Theater is a jolly good night out.

    Heh, heh. Sound of Music reference: check.

  13. Missy

    Otepoti, I so would LOVE to go there! We have a family estate in Austria, so maybe someday I will. But for now, I will sit in bed with the hubby on twin lap tops sharing funny youtubes videos, in rainy New England. :)

  14. codepoke

    Thanks for the refreshing laughs, Glen.

    Maybe I'll rise to the bait in the next day or two. Tonight, I ain't got it in me, but there's got to be some kind of fun to have in discussing dervishes. I'll look forward.

  15. Dana

    LOL. Codepoke's "significant other" here.

    Kevin didn't respond to your comment earlier, Otepoti, because we were out to eat at a nice (Australian-imitation) restaurant.

    Now here we sit, at our separate computers, because I'm trying to finish up the PowerPoint for church tomorrow. But at least we're computing together :-), right?

    By the way, the powers to be at church told me to feel free to animate the PowerPoint....Maybe I could pop in some video of lifesize Puppet Jesus?

  16. Otepoti

    Hi, Dana,

    An AUSTRALIAN restaurant, eh?

    (Sucks breath between teeth, screws up face)

    I ... forgive ... you ...

    A NEW ZEALAND restaurant would be hard to find, but, I am almost sure, far superior to the corked hat/corked wine/ kangaroo decor sort.

    Now, if you had only gone to an AUSTRIAN restaurant instead, it would have been far easier for me to make the "Sound of Music" reference.


  17. Paul Huxley

    I still say Regulative Principle FTW.

    Glen, there's only one way to explain all the comments on this post. Somewhere in your youth or childhood, you must have done something good.

  18. Otepoti

    Bother you, Paul - you gazumped me. I was saving that line for some future discussion of total depravity.

    Go find your OWN running joke -

    Follow every rainbow, till you find your meme.

  19. codepoke

    What were we talking about? Tasmanian Dervishes escaping from Nazi's through Austrian Idol events, right?

    You guys are hilarious. :-)

    [Insert obligatory rant against social media]

    I'd like to go back to the boring old chat of Whirlers for Jesus, Yahwehian Yoginis, and the center of the circle.

    Missy's point was that each of us tries to drag everyone over to the kind of worship that sends a happy chill down our own spine. Glen's is that there have to be lines. And I don't see where those things are really in conflict so much as healthy tension - or could be if we were given such an opportunity.

    We really, really, really need the warm press of human interaction in our lives.

    I don't need puppets in my life, but I do need a chance to rub shoulders with people who do. What better way than to let them put on a puppet show for me? The fact is, we're carnal and prone to image worship, so we need line-drawers too. The scriptures are up to that tension, though, because the prophets are subject to the prophets. Paul expected there to be people who wandered over lines and needed to be drawn back, but he encouraged everyone to contribute.

    For the record, I'd rather see dance in a social setting than a worshipful one, but then I think the church should be social as well as worshipful.

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