My family and I attend a church where ear plugs are available at the entrance to our worship center. I’ve never used the earplugs at church but I probably should to preserve my long-term hearing. I know many of you, due to the previous two sentences, have already condemned the church I attend. Let me help by giving you some more ammunition. In addition to the high decibels, each worship song is usually accompanied by a surprisingly sophisticated light show keeping in movement to the vocals, guitars and drums. Occasionally the fog machine is working so hard you can’t see all the way across the worship center.

You might think anything would be acceptable in such a rocking environment. Recently, however, something happened during the worship service which clearly distracted a majority of the people. I will refer to this woman as the “crazy worship lady.” This middle-aged woman only stood about 5’ 4” but her worship packed a disproportionate punch. For unhindered movement she spent the worship time in the middle of the aisle. When the lyrics mentioned “falling before God” she would actually fall on the ground. When a lyric spoke of God being “our everything” she would intensely look around at everyone else making motions that seemed to convey, “you, yeah you, you with me?” Most people didn’t make eye contact hoping she would leave them alone.

When the lyrics moved toward Jesus being victorious she seemed to literally go crazy. She moved her head every which way making her hair look like it was caught in a pulsating blender. She surprised me by having pretty impressive air-time as she jumped up and down during the “Jesus victorious” song. I was surprised, furthermore, to hear her muster enough volume to yell words not on the big screen which I could hear over the loud vocals, guitars and drums. It sounded like she was trying to tell someone something in the middle of all the falling, jumping and hair shaking.

After about ten minutes of this behavior a couple of the burly ushers moved into position close to the crazy worship lady (they obviously don’t call them ushers at a church like this but you know what I’m talking about). The ushers didn’t do anything except keep an eye on her and we were soon seated for the sermon. I was waiting for her to doing something crazy during the sermon and even had a plan in my head how I would help out if she needed to be tackled. She sat calmly during the sermon.

The sermon ended, we gathered our kids from the lower decibel children’s area, and headed back home. En route my wife asked me the question we both knew was coming, “What did you think about that lady?” I knew what she was talking about but just for fun I verified by asking, “You mean the crazy worship lady?” She laughed a little and it was clear we were talking about the same person.

My response was already formed. While watching the crazy worship lady I knew instantly what I thought about her actions. I was able to answer my wife immediately. Before I give you my response, however, I want you to know a little bit of my background.

Some Background

I started my “religious” life going to a Roman Catholic church. My earliest memories of “worship” come from the mass and from a surprisingly skilled nun playing the guitar and singing while we joined along as best we could. From there my family attended a very traditional small town Methodist church. We typically sang through a collection of about 25 hymns. I don’t remember ever singing the 3rd stanza. We always sang 1, 2 and 4. If you are reading this and about to write a hymn don’t spend too much time on the 3rd stanza, everyone will skip it for some unknown reason.

I then went to college and God rescued me from my sins through my risen Savior. The first church I went to as a believer had a blended worship style. Sometimes we sang hymns traditionally, other times we sang hymns which had been “modernized”, but more and more we would sing the newest stuff from the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) scene. A lot of those early songs I fell in love with would now be a cheesy embarrassment if sang in my church today.

I went from the large-gathering CCM’ish scene to my first church out of college consisting of 20 people. I was in Madison, WI and the pastor was a relative of the family so I felt obligated to check it out. The worship pastor, campus pastor, executive pastor and senior pastor were all the same guy. Many times our singing would be accompanied by a karaoke-style tape.

From there my job moved me to another state and another church. This church had a lot of great things going for it but had a background many people today would consider strange. The older people in the church, especially, still thought it was of the devil to watch a movie, listen to any kind of contemporary music and dance. When the church eventually added drums to the worship team many of the key families left the church.

The Lord then led me to Dallas Theological Seminary. I’ve overheard Chuck Swindoll say he feels the closest to heaven when singing, “It is Well with my Soul” in the Dallas Seminary chapel. Every chapel service consists of one and only one hymn usually sung a cappella by 400+ people. During my seven years of seminary (slow learner) our church had a symphony. Yes, you heard me correctly. Violins, oboes, trumpets, trombones, and timpani we had it all. In addition to the symphony stood the 100 member choir belting forth 1, 2 and 4 stanza hymns.

True Worship

Ok, stay with me. I’m getting very close to answering my wife’s question. What did I think about the crazy worship lady? I have one more experience I first need to get off my chest. I’ve been reading through the newest edition of Christianity Today. I came across an interview with T. David Gordon regarding his book Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns. Dr. Gordon makes the statement contemporary worship music should only be permissible if it will prevent a church from splitting. He then goes on to say the reason churches are not hymn-only is due to a lack of musical education. If a church wants to rediscover deep worship they need to re-educate their people away from pop-culture music to a deeper ability in joining the musical excellence found in hymns.

What about the Crazy Lady?

I would primarily concede Dr. Gordon’s arguments if we were gathering to worship music. We do not, however, gather to worship music. Let me say that again. When the local church gathers together for communal worship the object is not music. The local community gathers to collectively worship a living triune God.

My first response: annoyance. How could this lady be so selfish? She doesn’t even know she’s so distracting. The angry faces from people all around her made it clear I wasn’t the only person initially annoyed.

As I looked over again to the crazy worship lady I was convicted. Why am I not like her? Is my primary interest sounding good and looking normal? This lady had gathered together with a heart prepared to give right allegiance to her living God. She was ruined by a massive God. She couldn’t stand upright and sing about His greatness. It was as if Isaiah was falling on his face right before my eyes (Isaiah 6:5). When singing the “Jesus Victorious” song I was watching David dancing in the delight of the Lord (2 Samuel 6:14).

I had to ask myself, “If I was Jesus what would I think of the crazy worship lady?” I thought of the Moravian missionaries leaving their comfortable surroundings proclaiming, “May the lamb who was slain receive the reward of his suffering.” I was watching a woman give Jesus the reward of His suffering. She cared more about God than her surroundings.

I turned my gaze to heaven with tears running down my face and let Jesus know He’s victorious in my life as well. Years spent studying Greek, Hebrew, Church History and Systematic Theology continue to bless my soul. The Crazy Worship Lady, however, helped educate me toward the heart of worship.

My response to my wife, “In short, I thought she was great. We need her in this church.”

I hope your church has at least one crazy worship lady. Maybe you’re that lady? What do you think?


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    110 replies to "The Crazy Worship Lady"

    • Jamie Niebergall

      Great insights Tim, thank you! And for the record, I wanna be a crazy worship lady… 😉

      • Tim Kimberley

        Mr. Niebergall,

        Thanks for being so manly that you want to be the crazy worship lady!

        -Tim

    • Jeanette Ross

      We have a kid with Downs Syndrome at our church. He is always at the front of the church during worship waving his arms and pounding his chest. I have never seen a more passionate worshipper- “arms high and heart abandoned In awe of the One who gave it all” It is most beautiful.

    • Steve Holland

      I was pleasently suprised by your response. I’m from a Baptist background ( 43 years). We are way to stiff in our worship and this lady was willing to be undignified all for Christ. Good article.

    • Mike

      I’m torn about this one.

      We have “Opera Lady” in our church. She sings 5 times as loud as anyone else and in an drawn-out operatic style, often overpowering the singers on stage with their mikes.

      I want to assign pure motives to her, as you’ve so charitably done in your case. I want to take the humble position you have, letting her enthusiasm convict my own heart. That seems the safest route to take, since we all care too much for the opinions of man anyway.

      On the other hand, sometimes I want to quietly focus on the words to a song or try to commune with the Lord through music and I can’t even hear myself think because of “Our Goooooooood isssss faiiiiithfuuuuuuuul!” coming from 30 rows away.

      I’ve got to think there’s some kind of a balance to strive for here. Perhaps it falls under having order in the church, along the lines of Paul’s instructions regarding spiritual gifts?

    • Victoria Ingebretsen

      I love your heartfelt response to the crazy worship lady. I also wish I was free enough at church to worship my savior the way I imagine I will when face to face with him. He deserves no less from me now.

    • Amy Engle

      You know Tim, I knew you were going to have that conclusion! I remember my first experience worshiping in a AG church. I thought at first that the people were very strange in how “openly” they worshiped, but what impressed me was that as I stayed for over a year and got to know them, I was convinced that I had never met people who were so like Jesus in every thing they said, did and the way they loved Jesus and people. They were a mirror of Jesus. I find myself comparing every church I visit now to this one b/c even though they were a little “different” or “hyper” in their worship, I knew that what they sang about they lived out in everyday life. I have never seen Jesus so clearly since then. The crazy worship lady sounds a little eccentric, but if she truly is as passionate for Christ in her daily living as she is in her worship, she would be a good example to follow!

    • Tim Kimberley

      Mike,

      Well said. If this lady truly had a mental illness or if she appeared to be clearly disruptive due to impure motives my response would have been more nuanced.

      Here’s my challenge though…if we all would worship God with hearts more like Isaiah…with eyes of faith placing us in the throne room of heaven only by the blood of Christ …the crazy worship lady wouldn’t be as surprising. If the collective church had a pendulum I would think it would typically be swinging more in the dead worship side than the too crazy side.

      We need to make sure we’re not too “safe” before the lion of the tribe of Judah.

      -Tim

    • Beth

      I personally think that if someone wants to really go crazy, they can do it in their own home. Passion is good, but being a distraction is bad. Everyone is gathered to worship God, and I would find that nearly impossible with Crazy Worship Lady demanding my attention instead of letting me focus on God.

      I think that making that much of a scene takes everyone’s focus away from worship and puts it on you. It strikes me as selfish to disrupt the people around you like that.

    • John From Down Under

      Tim – I heard a grenade go off when I read your post. A few observations if I may.

      Firstly, before you read the following sentence please know it is aimed as a compliment. You begin to sound like Michael Patton, in fact if you hadn’t put your name on the top, I would have thought it was one of his posts. The osmosis process works 🙂

      Secondly, I spent a good chunk of my church life in circus evangelicus surrounded by folks who ‘cared more about God than their surroundings’. I would never dare to ‘invite a friend’ to come along (even if we knew that the sermon would hit at least the 4th concentric circle from the target, as far as biblical preaching goes), out of sheer embarrassment and the unpredictability of the cringe-alert from people who behave as if they’re in a trance and resemble those Indian mystic cult ceremonies.

      In a private setting, do somersaults for all I care, but in corporate worship some order is appropriate. I don’t mean crusty, wooden stiffness

    • Tim Kimberley

      Beth,

      I completely hear what you’re saying. I admit this article is not fully objective. There is a lot of room for discussion. My question…do you feel like you worship Jesus now the same way you will after the wedding feast of the lamb? He gets up on a stage and welcomes you to paradise. We are only there by His blood. Some music then starts, angels are intermixed throughout the great crowd. We then open our mouths and hearts to worship Him as He delightfully receives it…do you worship on Sunday in the same way you might one day in glory? I know the question is fully hypothetical but please chew on it and let me know your thoughts…

      -Tim

    • Tim Kimberley

      John,

      Thanks for the compliment. Michael’s writing style is worthy of emulating…I’m honored. I just hope I don’t pick up all his habits! 🙂 I joke because I love.

      I hear you about the circus environment. Instead of trying to “normalize” everyone I think the worship pastor and teaching pastor should be very intentional to teach the people in the church authentic worship. How often have you heard good exegetical/expositional teaching on practical ways we worship. Seeing people week after week standing there emotionless, not even speaking the words sipping their coffee should be just as concerning.

      just some thoughts,
      Tim

    • Esther

      Well…let me say that I have, in the past, been the “crazy worship lady”! I loved dancing before the Lord, signing and singing the songs, and matching actions to words. I probably wasn’t quite as demonstrative as this dear soul, but I approached it.

      I am no longer that person, for various reasons. I’m not saying that being that person was bad or that people who are like that are bad, but here’s my question:

      Maybe I cared about God more than about what people thought back then. But I wonder if I just really enjoyed the high I got from worshiping that way? If so, I wasn’t worshiping God…I was worshiping me.

      Bad plan.

      And what if I just wanted to show others that I was more demonstrative, and therefore perhaps more spiritual, than they were?

      Also a wrong motive.

      So I’m not sure anymore what is good and right, as concerns individual worship in a service.

      Crazy worship ladies need to search their hearts, too.

      • Tim Kimberley

        Esther,

        Well said, yes, we shouldn’t be manufacturing these actions. They need to flow from a sincere heart.

    • Beth

      I agree with John From Down Under: “In a private setting, do somersaults for all I care, but in corporate worship some order is appropriate.”

      Worship in Heaven will undoubtedly be different from worship on earth. More sober hymns one church are different from louder, high energy contemporary worship. Jumping around screaming would not be appropriate in a worship service of hymns because it would put everyone’s focus on you and away from God. It would, however, be appropriate at a contemporary Christian rock concert.

      The question isn’t “Is this how I’m going to worship in Heaven?” The question is “am I being sincere and heartfelt in my worship yet considerate of those around me?” There is a place for being “crazy,” but keeping other people from being able to worship is not appropriate.

      • Tim Kimberley

        Beth,

        Thanks for the discussion. I imagine we would worship sincere, heartfelt and considerate of others in heaven as well. I think, as I mentioned in a previous comment the leaders of the church can really help the community worship in spirit and in truth. If this lady continued to draw a lot of focus I would meet with her privately and find out her story. There’s a good chance the next Sunday I’d have her come up for everyone to meet her and learn about her story. There are people in our church that have been freed from some tremendous darkness. When I see them worship I am usually drawn to worship God myself more passionately.

        -Tim

    • Mike

      Our experience definitely plays a big role in how we view this issue. Coming from a super energetic, highly emotional worship background myself, I’ve seen some of the downsides to this approach. I’m now very appreciative of the quiet, reflective side to worship and am sensitive to the problems that the other can bring with it.

      On the other hand, I’ve often heard people tell me how they came from a “stodgy” or “dry” worship background and are so appreciative of outgoing worship full of the “joy of the Lord.”

      Again, it seems there’s a place for both and some type of balance is in order.

    • Jim Zeirke

      I’m a little bothered when we decide that the person who is all sorts of demonstrative is having an “authentic worship experience” when those who are more restrained are not. I raise my hands and at times am known to shout a “Yeah God!” or two. But overall, my worship is pretty sedate compared to this gal and a few folks in my former church. True worship, we are told, is in spirit and in truth. I don’t see anything that says that it must be doing all sorts of gymnastics, both physical and emotional. In a former church, folks would fawn all over people, typically female, who acted out worship. They are real worshippers, folks would say. How would they know? How would they know that folks who are much more sedate aren’t expressing a MORE profound worship of the Lord than those who aren’t?

    • Dr Michael

      Tim, we don’t gather to worship music, but we also don’t gather to worship by watching the crazy lady worship. How many people were watching her to see what was going to happen next, instead of worshiping God in spirit (in their hearts)?

      “for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints…all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.” 1 Cor. 14

      The fact that two security guards had to watch her indicates it was not orderly.

    • Beth

      It seems like there must be some sort of selfishness at work when someone is being demonstrative to the point of being distracting and KNOWS that they’re being distracting. Either they’re trying to prove how spiritual they are, or they think that their spiritual needs are more important than those of the people around them.

      If someone needs to act a certain way to feel closest to God, they can do it at home or some other more appropriate venue. Worship shouldn’t be confined to Sunday morning, after all.

      While part of group worship, be respectful to the group.

    • minimus

      So where does 1 Corinthians 14:15 fit in?

      Good on you for referencing David’s dance….however, it seems my Spirit-filled church has a lot more order than your noncharismatic church…curious..m

    • John From Down Under

      Seeing people week after week standing there emotionless , not even speaking… should be just as concerning.

      I agree…to a point, but this opens the discussion further. What’s the definition of an emotionless response? Not singing loud enough, waving your arms wide enough, not swinging from right to left? Would a more restrained worshiper be less emotionally engaged?

      Also, how about someone who had a bad week and does not want to pretend being chirpy, or someone who can’t ‘participate’ because the song lyrics are too me-centered & not Christ exalting?

      Now let me throw this in as an antipodean observer of American religious culture. African American worship services are by default the liveliest! Is this because blacks are more spiritual than whites, or is it a byproduct of their cultural expression? I see unregenerate Hollywood actors emulate this style (& I still love it 🙂 ) Chinese would be more reserved, so would the British (except for soccer hooligans!)

    • Bob

      Where’s the donuts ?

    • Scott Shaffer

      You lost me at “ear plugs are available”. And, those burly guys no one wants to call ushers? That’s because they’re really bouncers. 🙂

    • Donna

      I many times have been moved by worship songs to want to dance in the isles. But instead I dance in my heart and mind as I sing.
      I have also wanted to walk the isle and go forward as I sing songs that move me but again, I do it in my heart and mind.
      For I know in my worldly state what I would want to give to God for His glory, I would take all or some of that for my own glory. It is my sin nature to show how “religious” and “dedicated” I am to my Lord to other people. God knows my relationship to Him before I ever open my mouth to sing.

    • C Michael Patton

      Great stuff. While I would try (and have tried) to have the perspective
      “why not?”, I normally end up with some senerio where she is out of order. I mean why not do it during the sermon too?

    • Alex Jordan

      Michael,

      As usual, a thought-provoking post. I have mixed feelings though, about “crazy worship ladies”. I’m not sure we can or should correlate how genuinely worshipful the service is (or worshipers in the service are) based solely on outward actions. I think that certainly God wants us to be ourselves and to be authentic before Him. So I think we should feel free to worship exuberantly, when the Spirit is moving our mind and heart in this way, or perhaps in a more subdued and humble posture, when the Spirit convicts of sin or inspires reverence for God.

      Whatever we do, it really should be to bring God glory and to honor Him, not to try to impress anyone around us. Yet at the same time, we must be sensitive to the mood of the others in worship around us. We are worshipers together, after all, not solo. It is isn’t just about me and God, it’s about us and our God.

    • Lisa Robinson

      Tim,

      I’m torn about this. On the heels of hearing Mark Bailey’s lecture on Luke 7:36-50, it affirmed that our Lord is worthy of the highest praise and worship. Bowing before him, lifting our hands, and verbal proclamations are but reasonable responses.

      But like John from Down Under, I spent a number of years in Charismatic circles. I think people in that setting can become very ritualistic in the flagrant worship such that a lack of it is perceived as not worshiping. Even in a setting where the activity you described would be normal, I found that some persisted in being loud with their praise. At times it was a distraction.

      So I do think there is something to be said for consideration of the setting, modelling the Philippians 2 attitude – place others interest above your own. Just because we are not going crazy with the physical motions or loud praises does not mean the worship is an less. It’s a tough call though because I freely do these things in private…

    • Lisa Robinson

      and would urge others to do the same out of heart-felt submission and adoration to our Lord.

    • leavingthegray

      I think this is an interesting discussion. The post is thought provoking about how we express our worship, while many of the comments posted here are helping to show that our worship should not be limited to what is “normal” in our church environments, yet that we should also be aware how our expression may cause others to stumble and distract people from the God we intend to worship.
      Frankly, i’m a little put off by this ongoing internal debate that continues to divide churches and dominate the attention of the body of Christ. Why is it that we can’t impart more grace to one another on an issue that is simply not the most important issue? I’m thankful for the diversity of expression, and thankful for the freedom that we have in Christ to express our love for Him.

      • Tim Kimberley

        Chris,

        I like when you said: I’m thankful for the diversity of expression, and thankful for the freedom that we have in Christ to express our love for Him.

        My ultimate hope in this post is that we’ll examine the authenticity of our worship (personal and corporate), show grace towards others, and let others spur our hearts to worship God.

        – Tim

    • Esther

      That is exactly what we need this article to do for us, Tim.

      Beth alluded to something that I think we, in our westernized culture of individualism, forget: we do not gather as believers to worship God as individuals. We should be worshiping as individuals 24/7. When we gather, we gather as His Bride…and we should worship ~together~.

      So perhaps it is important to restrain our individual worship for the sake of those gathered with us, and join our hearts, voices, and worship expressions into a unity of worship–whether that individual worship is “me-sitting-here-quietly-focused-on-God-please-don’t-disturb” or “me-in-the-aisle-dancing-because-I’m-so-joyful”.

    • Laurie M.

      Love this post!!

    • Luke N

      Tim, The post provides a good perspective that I think some people need. However, it seems that such a thing may be “causing a brother to stumble”. In doing theology, we discover that many things are acceptable in a Christian’s life, that many Christians would consider “of the devil” (including CCM). But we do not just go around using certain offensive language or flaunting the fact that we watch South Park or Family Guy.

      I’m talking to both sides of the debate, though, here. Those “crazy worship ladies” need to realize when they might be causing a brother (or sister) to stumble, and humbly back off. Likewise, fellow worshipers need to realize that not every “crazy worship lady” is worthy of distracting them from worshiping the living, triune God.

      There is a balance here. The “crazy worship ladies” can worship God authentically in a way that is not distracting to those who are not trying to be distracted.

      “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.”

    • Carrie

      This just came to mind, otherwise I would have told you earlier today. I remember once being at a Ravi Zacharias speaking engagement. In between speakers, Mac Powell (or is it Matt?) from Third Day sang God of Wonders. As he sang (which by the way, it is my favorite contemporary worship song – yes I do like one Christian song!) I found myself, with eyes closed, tears streaming, hands way up in the air. I came to find I was the only person with hands raised (my friend informed me of that on the ride home.) This wasn’t at a church either. It was at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. I suppose in that context, I could have easily been thought to be the “crazy worship lady”.

      IT is hard to pin down whether or not something is genuine (I know my moment of “letting loose” was). Since we can’t know for sure if indeed the “craziness” is legit, and if what they are doing isn’t counter-biblical, then we should just thank God for moving in such ways and rejoice in it.

    • John From Down Under

      Take note of comment # 27 Tim – someone else thought you are Michael too 😉

    • Adulcia

      Many years ago the church I was attending was having many disagreements about the volume and style of the music – mostly the over 60’s complaining the music was too loud and more hymns were needed.
      One prayer meeting, someone asked the eldest member of the congregation – a 93 year old – what her opinion was. Her answer has always stuck in my mind “I just concentrate on the words and Jesus”.
      I think worship is our heart towards God, and the music is just a media that sometimes helps us to express that. Worship is the every day living with the awareness of the presence of God, and occasionally we sing about it.

    • Anselm

      I usually lurk and don’t respond but I in this case I could not disagree more with Tim’s conclusion.

      I have read numerous authors state something similar to Tim’s conclusion but I think this conclusion lacks an understanding about what the Sunday service is….the “whole” church worshipping together. Not just the Lady worshipping, not just me worshipping…but the whole church (past, present, and future) in unison ascending Mt. Zion and worshiping as ONE body.

      I believe the Hebrew author makes this clear in his book. When we make worship about the individual and what the individual wants then we might as well do away with the assembly all together. After all if it’s really all about me and my experience then I can just stay at home and listen to some CCM on my ipod and rock away.

      The ushers should have escorted her out to the nursery. Time for the church to leave nursery behavior in the nursery.

    • FDR

      Does Crazy worship lady worship like that during hymns as well. Or just during upbeat music. Also what does worship without music look like because most of the worship in the Bible is without music.. just wondering.. Also, we had Superman in out church during a Praise and Worship time, but he was high…

    • Curt Parton

      I appreciate Tim’s desire to humbly accept and even be inspired by someone else’s exuberant expression of worship. But there is a real need for balance here, and Paul addressed it really well in 1 Cor 14. He wants to provide the freedom for everyone to exercise their gifts in worship, but he also provides restraining guidelines. Apparently, he was concerned about ‘crazy worship people’ all speaking in tongues at the same time, so he tells them ‘one at a time, and if there’s no interpreter keep your praying in tongues between yourself and God.’ He limits individual participation in worship, and his criteria is what will be most edifying to the corporate body.

      There are ways that I express my love for my wife that are beautiful and wonderful, but much more appropriate in private than in public. Likewise, there are ways we express our love for God that are beautiful and wonderful, but much more appropriate in private. Corporate worship is not for our personal spiritual…

    • Curt Parton

      . . . gratification.

      [I was supposed to have 4 characters available. Frustrating.]

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    • Jim Zeirke

      I spent a lot of years in a church where the ear plugs would have been welcome–during the sermon. Your “fog machine” perfectly describes the pastor that we had. Nonetheless, I just want to reinforce what I said earlier: Physical expressions of worship are not more authentic worship than quiet contemplation. I’ve been in churches where they taught and encouraged physical manifestations in worship, where the worship leader very much discouraged, if not disparaged, folks who chose to sit quietly and encounter God in worship. I am not saying one is better, or more correct, than the other. If “crazy church lady” was next to me, I’d probably get up and move to another seat rather than create a scene. More often than not I find that is what happens. The physical worship folks rarely seem to get up and move so as not to disturb the quiet contemplation folks.

    • Tim Kimberley

      Great discussion. Regarding orderliness, we must agree that’s pretty culturally subjective. Paul doesn’t tell the Corinthians to stop what they’re doing, he just gives them some boundaries.

      How do we culturally interact in corporate settings? College Basketball, College Football, professional sports gatherings, concerts…filled with ordinary people jumping up and down, screaming, being expressive. The next day someone asks you about your corporate experience. Do you usually say it was disorderly, distracting and chaotic? Do you complain the fans around you should have been only excited on the inside? No, you say it was great. The fans helped you “get into it.” I think it’s a lot easier to make a biblical case these things can become idols. For many people they are worshiping these teams and people. The same people stand expressionless before their Creator. Even if a song, quoting Psalms, says raise our hands we think, “I’m raising the hands of my heart.”

    • Chuck

      There surely needs to be a healthy dose of liberty mixed into whatever answer is supplied to your question. However, I have to say that I am probably (but unashamedly) too “presbyterian” to be comfortable with what you describe. 1 Cor 14: 40 rings true for me and this exuberant response would likely fall a bit outside those boundries as I understand what Paul teaches in the verses coming earlier in that chapter.

      Where this seems especially out of whack for me is your description of her apparent efforts to engage her fellow worshippers. Were she solely directing her physical expressions to God, it would be one thing, but that makes this seem altogether different. If this expression were normative for this gathering of the saints, I would probably find another place to worship, with a bit more order.

    • Tim Kimberley

      I’m not advocating we all become like The Crazy Worship Lady every Sunday. I’m advocating for each one of us to evaluate our heart for worship. I don’t think our most expressive worship should be reserved for “at home use.” That’s like telling a college basketball fan to cheer the hardest at home by yourself, when all the fans are gathered together before your beloved team you should be reserved and contemplative. I say be contemplative at both places but corporate worship is a special time where all local believers gather to give their Savior the worship He is due.

      As Lucy and Mr. Tumnus were discussing the Lion of the tribe of Judah let us remember them telling us, “He’s not a tame lion…No, but He is good.”

      I know we’ll have some disagreements here and there about the Crazy Worship Lady but please stop and ask yourself, “Has my corporate worship become too tame? Do I worship my local sports team more passionately than the Savior of my soul?”

      -Tim

    • Gary

      I come from 1,2, 4 Baptist tradition, but spent 14 years on the worship team in an atmosphere of absolute worship freedom. It was both wonderful and a place where a newbie or unsaved might be uncomfortable; but, usually it was a traditional worshiper who was intensely uncomfortable. We live in a society where the “fear of man” is ubiquitous, and the fear of God is casual. Paul said he was “all things to all people so that by any means he might save some.” There will always be the Michals who despise Davids’ dance, however there is also a time to dance–in the church it must be both decent and orderly. The lady’s unbridled expression of worship effected everyone around her, some to the good (you) some to anger. Each of us has a God-given personality–each church does too. Each must define its mission and method of how to reach the lost around them and create within that method as much freedom as possible, while each member owns the mission and denies themselves as necessary.

    • Lisa Robinson

      I think the comments that uphold freedom of worship miss the point. Paul says that we do have freedom but shouldn’t use our freedom as an opportunity for the flesh but love and serve one another (Galatians 5:13). If we take the position that we should be allowed to do as we please in a corporate setting, I think that can invite taking an opportunity for the flesh because it focuses on what WE as individuals want to do without regard for others. But as others noted, when we come together there has to be regard for the corporate setting and how we are impacting others. It is not a time for individualism.

      That’s not to suggest that one cannot worship God or should curtail worship. But being mindful of how our movements or noise affects others are just as worshipful in regard to loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves.

    • Curt Parton

      Tim, I agree with a lot of what you’re saying, but I think we need to always keep in mind the scriptural criteria of ‘what is most edifying for the gathered body?’ I’m not advocating limiting corporate worship expressions to what is reserved and contemplative (that’s one side of a false dilemma), but when scripture emphasizes both freedom and restraint, we must too.

      None of us should despise a brother or sister because the extreme nature of their expression of worship. But that doesn’t mean that all expressions of worship are appropriate in the public church gathering—in fact, we know that’s not the case.

      And I have to challenge the comparison with the public sports event. On what basis do we make this the standard for worship in a church gathering? I’ve heard this before, but I haven’t heard a case made for it as a valid standard for us. Can we just pick out any public gathering and make it a standard for comparison for the church? Why not a symphony instead of a…

    • Curt Parton

      It’s easy for us to begin worshiping worship instead of worshiping God. If my expression of worship in the corporate gathering draws attention away from God and to me, then this has reached a level of distraction where it is neither glorifying to God nor edifying for the church.

      Yes, we should be open to exuberant expressions of worship, but we must also seek worship in a way that is most conducive to corporate worship of God.

    • Curt Parton

      Nicely said, Lisa.

    • Carrie

      Well to those who are harping on “this women drew attention to herself and took the spotlight off of God” …

      it would seem in Tim’s case, this woman’s actions ultimately drew his own attention towards God. It would appear it prompted Tim to reflect on his own worship of God.

      So how do you account for that?

    • Phil McCheddar

      I think it is always desirable for us to worship God with a wholehearted, single-minded, passionate spirit – the sort of spirit portrayed by the Crazy Worship Lady’s actions. However, those outward actions in themselves are not proof of a genuinely passionate spirit inside, just as it is possible to give away all your money or sacrifice your body to be burned without necessarily having love (1 Cor 13). Conversely it is possible for us to worship God with a passionate, fervent spirit while standing still and looking staid.

      I think Tim is rightly encouraging us to engage our whole self in sincere, ardent worship and not just let it be an intellectual exercise or an absent-minded empty ritual. But how we express that spirit of worship is a separate question. The expressiveness of our actions, or our lack thereof, need not restrict the type of spirit with which we worship. The outward form of our worship should be regulated by a consideration for the people around us.

    • Gary Zimmerli

      It seems to me, not having been there or seen her, that in her mind it was all about her. And I don’t think we need that.

    • Jim Zeirke

      I’ve worshiped in both reserved Congregationalist settings and wide-open charismatic settings. What always kind of sticks with me is that in the charismatic setting I frequently had folks say “Didn’t you just feel the Lord’s presence?” I was always polite in my response “Yes, I did.” But it bothers me when folks worship for effect–the effect on themselves. Shouldn’t we be worshiping for the effect that it has ON GOD? Besides, God tells us that He is always present. Where did we get the idea that we had to contort ourselves in order for Him to grace us with His presence?

    • Jeff

      While this lady may indeed have a mental illness, I couldn’t help but think of David dancing before the Lord as the ark was carried into Jerusalem. When his wife accused him she was barren the rest of her life.

    • Tim Kimberley

      Lisa and Curt,

      I want you to know that it was obvious this lady wasn’t being selfish. If you were to talk with her afterward I imagine she would be embarrassed that you were disappointed by her behavior. Her response would probably be, “I’m sorry, I just got lost in God.” Should I tell her, “Apology accepted, just don’t let it happen again.” Of course there are scriptural boundaries but as I’ve worshiped with people in Developing countries I’ve come to realize I don’t think most churches in America come close to approaching those boundaries. But yes, within some charismatic waves things have been taken to extreme…I’m not talking about letting people bark in tongues.

      In no way am I saying we should worship worship. Many times I’ve been in a worship service w/Chuck Swindoll and watched him sobbing in the middle of a hymn…he’s the loudest person in the room. I don’t condemn him…through seeing him I was encouraged to examine my worship of a living God…

    • Carrie

      Look at these crazy people …

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIrxjUijoV8

      They need to take it down a notch.

    • Curt Parton

      I hear you, Tim. I think Paul’s approach in 1 Cor 12-14 of dealing with two opposing extremes is applicable to the church today. While there are many churches who seek extreme experiences to somehow validate their worship, there are also many churches that are frightened and even judgmental about anything outside of their box.

      As a pastor, though, I need to—and have a scriptural responsibility to—provide atmosphere of freedom in worship while intentionally guarding against extremes that will distract others from worshiping God. When something or someone distracts others from their ability to share in the study of God’s Word, I have an obligation to deal—lovingly and gently—with that distraction. The same is true if someone is distracting others from worshiping God through music, etc.

    • Curt Parton

      We also need to be careful how much we base on the accunt of David dancing with all his might. Don’t forget that this is a narrative account, not a didactic passage. I don’t recall anything in the account affirming David’s exuberance as a pattern for us to follow. It’s clear that Michal was cursed for despising David in her heart. That’s a far cry from discussing the appropriateness or inappropriateness of a method of worship. Just because someone in a biblical narrative does something doesn’t establish it as a pattern for us to follow.

      And one more thing, I’m sure that many of the Corinthians who were all speaking in tongues at once had the best of intentions. But having good intentions doesn’t necessarily mean that your actions will be appropriate. If I am the one observing, I shouldn’t condemn. But I myself should seek to worship in a way that will be most edifying to my brothers and sisters. And church pastors have the duty of facilitating this balance.

    • mbaker

      After being in all kinds of worship services, I see that worship often sets the tone for the sermon by either preparing people to receive the word of God or turning them off, a point often overlooked I fear.

      Overly emotional responses to music do not necessarily indicate the true inner level of devotion to God, simply because a pretty secular song can also move us to tears or to dancing and clapping and stomping our feet, whether we’re believers or not.

      Only God can gauge the true devotion of a heart turned toward Him, whether we clap, stand quietly or don’t sing at all, which I don’t sometimes simply because I love hearing all the other voices raised in harmony. It blesses me greatly to bow my head sometimes and just listen, and I hope it does God.

      I have seen lots of ‘crazy worship ladies’ over the years. Their running the aisles can actually be as distracting to others as parents who let their children do the same. How many churches would permit that?

    • Lisa Robinson

      No, I’m not suggesting that the lady was being selfish or trying to draw attention to herself. But I am suggesting that we should be mindful of how our actions correlate to the corporate setting. I can’t speak to people’s motives. But I also realize I’m influenced by previous experience where body movements and noise level correlated to our level of worship. If somebody was uncomfortable with that, they were the ones that didn’t get it and needed to get with the worship program.

      I also think its a matter of distraction not necessarily how one worships. A fellow classmate commented recently how when he spent 6 months in Africa, he had to adjust to a different style of corporate worship, otherwise he would have stood out.

      My church is fairly subdued during worship although people raise their hands. But there is this one lady who sits up front, and even when no one else is standing, she will stand and lift her arms straight up to the sky. It deviates but its not…

    • Lisa Robinson

      distracting. In fact, I am always impressed with her expressions of worship. But I think it would be different if she were moving around or getting others to join in. At that point, it would be a distraction.

    • Val

      Good Post
      …and LOL at singing versus 1,2, and 4 – who ever came up with this popular method? I used to go to a church full of crazy worship ladies – it had pitfalls for sure, but allowed me to freely worship God when he told me to (never needed to worry about attracting undo attention since others were always worshiping more visibly). I miss that freedom!

    • Steve Martin

      The music, the beat, the lights, the charged atmosphere…can all overwhelm the Word.

      The Church ought be counter-cultural. Instead we give ourselves over to the culture, lock, stock and barrel,

    • george57

      well ,here is a true tale that happened last sunday, in my church, its normal in all ways, we do just hymns , with a keyboard player, in middle of the service, maybe a little near the end of it [ breaking the bread ] this old lady walked in the front door ,walked down the aisle ,and sat down, she did not make a sound, she never done any dancing, she just sat down, yet lots of eyes were fixed on old lady, WHY YOU ASK, well could it be the DOG, she had with her, yes no kidding, she this quiet old lady, had not understood, at all the worship of god, service, but after the service, we had the fun-time of our lifes, some of the jokes, were great, MAYBE people we are just too uptight, and its time for us to chill- out, we are all not the same, but none of us is without SIN, i was in a tongues type church for 6 years, and apart from the doctrine sometimes far from the bible truth , having the music set on the stage, like +the lighting we sometimes made it like a rock show, god bless

    • Dr Michael

      Carrie, lot’s of things can draw our “own attention towards God”, but none of them are things I wished occurred everyday…earthquakes, hurricanes, death, demonic activity, etc.

    • Having been involved in worship from different sides I think it is common for people on both sides to be judgmental and both sides to take things to extremes. The description 1 Corinthians 14:26-40 sounds fairly informal. But it is easy to read in our idea of worship. It is unfair to jump to the conclusion is self promoting, because they do not worship our way. Before it talks about the weaker brother (Who is the weaker brother here?), it tells us not to judge or look down on others (Romans 14:1-12).

    • Carrie

      Dr. Michael,

      That’s a sound analogy.

    • jim

      Didn’t have the time to read all the responses but rather just a few here and there. Good article Tim, but I don’t think I could worship with the distractions. I’m not about to judge this Crazy lady’s heart or her intent in how she worships but it certainly wouldn’t be my approach to worship. I believe that is why we have different worship times ( contemporary/ traditional, etc.) where by christians of like mindedness can express their worship with those like minded. We’re all folks with different personalities and worship appetites. Birds of a feather flock together works for me.

    • annie

      In heaven, we will all be crazy worship ladies. I have always had this kind of heart of worship but could never fully unleash it because of a fear of man (all of the reactions to c.w.l. you noted in your article). I find that worship in my own living room is freer and fuller and more blessed than any I could have in a church. But God in His mercy understands and accepts and most importantly SEES what is in our hearts. That’s why it’s most important to have our heart right as we worship.

      P.S. I did not like the way you opened and ran your article as if to criticize this woman and then flipped it at the end. It rang very false to me.

    • Patrick

      I mostly agree (of course I couldn’t attend any church that had a fog machine) but one thing always stands out to me. Most “Crazy Worship Ladies” never ever get excited about the sermon. I mean, come on, God is feeding his sheep through his messenger with the very words of God! Worship in Spirit AND Truth. We need to lift our hands toward heaven, praise the LORD, shout, holler “amen”, and have tears just as much when the bible is being applied to hearts as when the music is playing. Watch what it does for your Pastor. He’ll stop teaching and go to PREACHIN!

    • thrufaithalone

      The “crazy” worship lady sounds much like David when he danced before the Lord.
      That said, there are some that actually do worship the music. There is a forum on the topic about loud music (sorry, I don’t have the web address handy) and many speak only about the drums, the bass, the experience of the music (not worship) – like they are hypnotized – but sadly, they say nothing about the Savior. It’s good to hear there are those who stay focused on the message/lyrics.
      “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Jn 4:23-24
      “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27

    • C. Barton

      Sure – I’ve seen people with demonstrative worship styles, and wonder if I really can make a value judgement for those who are more physical or energetic? The quality of worship comes from my closeness to God and my delight in Him, whether you can see it or not.
      Yet, in the Psalms, they tell us over and over again to make a loud noise, play music, raise hands, etc., so I think that God likes us to show sincere joy and enthusiasm when it is present!
      Disruption can be dealt with discreetly and with the proper decorum – if someone consistently spoils another’s worship time, it must be addressed.

    • M Burke

      Wasn’t she just doing what people do to that kind of music generally? Why are you surprised that crazy worship lady goes crazy during crazy worship?

    • Cathy

      I agree that the music is not being worshipped and making a joyful noise to the Lord is something I do well. Perhaps it was a time that the Holy Spirit was working for the Crazy Lady. I would have prayed for her that the Holy Sprirt lead her to, or not do.
      If it’s ok w/God it’s ok w/me.

    • Kristen

      Personally, I have a bigger issue with the visual trappings of lights and fog than I do with people being “overly” (quotation marks intended!) expressive in their worship time.

      I don’t think real worship can only be expressed physically in one way, or even several ways, in order to count. I can’t judge a person’s quality of worship by the way it looks. Whether it is genuine or not, God knows, and he’s the one whose approval matters.

      In my personal experience, when I am truly worshiping — whether with hands in the air or clasped in my lap or anything in between — I couldn’t care less what the people around me are doing. If our corporate eyes are fixed on the Lord, why should we be concerned about being distracted by our surroundings at all? Maybe if we are, we’ve got our eyes on the wrong things.

    • James O'Brien

      Madison Wisconsin, God is so Good. I wish God would have crossed our paths. My God always keep our hearts and minds open to understand worship is unto Him, it is about Him. Praise God that it is

    • Rose

      I worship the God of order and a sound mind, not confusion.

    • Tim Kimberley

      Great things to discuss and think about. Rose, I agree with our need to worship God in Spirit and Truth. Yes, God is a God of order. But one of the challenges from my post is to wonder if we’ve used order, soundness and confusion to tame our worship experience. I’m not advocating chaos but our human experience reveals many times where we are corporately passionate (sporting events, concerts, etc…) but we would still consider the environment orderly. Even something as tame as a symphony performance will usually find someone “looking” more passionate than many people during a worship time of our living God.

      I know man looks at the outside and God looks at the heart but any pastor who looks into the faces of his congregation can tell you after a while you do learn quite a bit about a person’s heart by looking at their facial expression and body posture.

      -Tim

    • Bob T.

      There are passages of scripture that have rarely been applied to our NT worship but should be. Matthew 6:1-18 persuades us to let our giving, prayer, and fasting be between God and us. It does so with a context of our public religious behavior. Second premise application to our public worship gives us a loud and clear admonition. Our focus should be on God. We have a duty to make ourselves as inconspicuous as possible. Other passages with first premise application define worship.

      If a person does not wish to judge the ladies motives they still have a duty to judge her seen behavior and its effects on the worshippers.

      Leaders in the church should seek out this “crazy lady” and seek to minister to her and discuss her behavior. Also, this lady may in reality be “crazy.” Perhaps she suffers from mental illness and needs help. We have a duty to lovingly but with discernment counsel this woman. We also have a duty to be able to recognize what is totally unacceptable behavior in true…

    • Ernest

      Awsome topic Tim! I was saved in a charismatic church and still attend that church while attending a “seeker sensitive” mega church and a small group part of a more missional church. So I have 3 totally different worship experiences each week. What i have found is the “quiet” contemplative worship has as “authentic” an “experience” as the “crazy worship lady” as the “crying people”. The problem occurs when types begin to devalue one another.
      Me and my fiancee are more passionate worshippers and sit in the front row of the mega church to freely worship and not feel constrained by the fellow 3000 worshippers. I personally feel weird raising my hands or jumping alone, so we sit in front and imagine everyone else is doing the same! Lol. The Pastor has personally thanked us frequently for our worship and saves us seets in front each week! Lol

    • Nelson

      Love God with your being and the 2nd is like the previous love man. Then its obvious that our worship of God will complement others in the worship with us.

      Looks like she did that for you Tim for her presence demanded of you honesty. I don’t know what it did to the “ushers” beside her.

      I would also think, that since God loves variety – he surely loves the headbangers with the “uptight.” I’ve also noticed that headbangers appreciate insights from those of v1,2, and 4 and those of 1,2,& 4 are challenged by the headbangers.

      What will heaven be like? I think of 1 Cor 2:9
      No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.

      I’m open to the shock of having missed it completely. But trusting the the Spirits leading… I worship

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      Hi Tim Kimberley,

      What do you think of the perspective in this post: The Sacred Swoon?

    • Katie

      I’m late here…just happened across this post… my thoughts?

      If crazy worship lady is genuinely worshiping from her heart,, then good for her.

      Better for her would be to operate in love and worship her God by loving His people around them.

      I used to be part of a dance team. I’ve grown up in churches where arm raising and dancing is accepted.

      I married a man who finds women dancing in worship…even if they’re fully clothed in long wide dresses that totally disguise their form…extremely distracting. He says that, by looking around the churches then, and seeing how many men were studiously NOT watching the dancer, that he wasn’t alone.

      So now what is worshiping God? Worshiping Him “in freedom?” Or worshiping Him by laying down myself for the sake of my brothers in Christ?

    • Katie

      Also… I’m beginning to think that, in many circles, the quieter worshipers are sometimes less judgmental than those of us who think we’re free. Because we can and do and enjoy worshiping with expression and emotion, we think that those who are standing quietly are holding back and not worshiping…when the truth is that there are just as many verses talking about standing and awe and quietness and stillness before God.

      I think we ALL need to A) quit judging other people’s worship, for either good or bad, and B) quit feeling guilty about our own based on somebody else’s. (I know that God can sometimes speak to our own heart using someone else’s life, and I’m not discounting that. But I think most of our thoughts about other people’s worship are NOT Holy Spirit inspired.)

      I like what the 93 year old woman said. “I just concentrate and Jesus and the words.” May we all do that and remember that the purpose of gathering together is to BUILD EACH OTHER UP.

    • Katie

      I should also add that I think God leads different churches to worship in different ways, for exactly the reasons that so many here mention. What is distracting to one is not to others. What helps one to worship does not help another. It is a GOOD thing that African churches worship in the way that their people can more easily do so, and it is GOOD if a Baptist church worships in a way that makes it easy for their congregation members to do so. And it is GOOD when a contemporary church worships in a way that enables their members to meet God.

      Why do we all sometimes talk as though, because we don’t all worship the same way, we’re not all worshiping the way God wants us to? I say that God wants millions of churches to worship in millions of different ways. Because only the variety of expression can come even close to giving Him what He’s worthy of.

    • Tammy Bennett

      I had come from a full gospel background, and started attending a church recently where I would be safe saying, we have many crazy worship people! After attending this church the first time God made it very clear to me, how I have put Him into a box. Sadly enough many of us have created our own ideas of what worship, or church should look like. But, if you seek God for truth on this, He will be faithful to show you exactly that. He wants every single part of our lives, and why shouldn’t our worship be ratical? We serve a ratical God, and in this day and age, because of hardend hearts, I believe crazy or ratical is exactly what it is going to take to shake the heart of this world!!!

    • Lisa Robinson

      Hi Tammy, I have an honest question for you. Let’s say there are two Christians in a worship service. One does not necessarily use body motions but his heart is wide open in submission to Christ and adoration of God. Because of that worship experience, he has a fruitful week in obedience to the gospel and maybe even repenting things that have hindered him.

      Now let’s say you have someone in the same worship service who is engaged in radical praise and worship, to the extent that there is little reflection on submission to God only that they are not putting God in a box. As a consequence, that person leaves the worship service unchanged and bearing little fruit that week.

      Which Christian has engaged in a greater level of worship and which Christian has put God in a box?

      Perhaps we should be careful in ascribing a particular methodology to worship as what God wants.

    • Sharon Coleman

      I was raised Southern Baptist, only the men allowed to speak in church. We sang all the traditional hymns, which I love to this day. As I grew older, I attended Baptist churches from Texas to Oklahoma. I wound up converting to a non-denominational church in 1988. Praise and worship were a big thing, & I loved it. I live in Texas again, and attend First Freewill Baptist in Bowie TX. We do the old hymns, but we incorporate the new stuff. As long as the spirit is toward Jesus, & the worship there-of, I am all for it. I refuse to prohibit another persons type of worship toward Christ. Crazy lady or not, sounds to me like she loves Jesus. That’s what it’s all about. Raising hands, jumping, dancing, singing, lying prostate on the floor–if it’s worshipping our Creator & Savior, we would be CRAZY NOT TO.

    • connie schnebly

      I attend a charasmatic church that is very orderly, however occasionally we have a ‘crazy worship lady’. Unfortunately, my son-in-law attended when she was overly zealous and refuses to return to church. How tragic.

    • Roland Pittman

      Many acts of ecstasy are similar in form and appearance to heathen practices of worship. The description of the “crazy woman” could as easily be described by someone observing a dervish whirling. The writer, I think, needs to connect this act or practice to Christianity and Biblical teaching.

      1. What was Biblical or spiritual about the practice?
      2. What is the Biblical basis or understanding of this behavior?
      3. How is this different from pagan/heathen behavior that is similar in appearance.
      4. How is this behavior the worship of God?

      Someone has aptly observed, “What we call worship is often more about is pleasing to me rather than what is pleasing to God.”

    • cherylu

      Roland,

      Thanks for voicing concerns and questions I have had running around in my mind to but hadn’t sat down here and expressed. I think your questions and concerns are very valid ones.

    • Richard Mathewson

      Greetings,
      I enjoy reading about other believer’s experiences in our community of the ekklesia. As every believer makes the ekklesia of the New Testament, the body of Jesus, we must utilize every opportunity to reach out and share our stories for the edification and exhortation of every believer, the body.

      I must also establish my own position in our community of faith. While I am not opposed to blended worship, I am opposed to constructed and organized (pre-planned) worship. Paul was specifically discussing the presentation and order of spiritual gifts being exercised when he stated there must be order in church. Scripture must be interpreted in context to avoid literary mistakes and missed meaning.

      This woman was drunk with the blood of Jesus and this should serve as a lesson of conviction to every believer who reads the Bible. We must be careful to avoid judging another’s style of worship and instead ask God if we must change our own. http://www.theologyoftruth.com

    • cherylu

      drunk with the blood of Jesus

      What??

    • John from Down Under

      95 comments and going…traffic competing with Calvinistic topis!

      @ Richard: “drunk with the blood of Jesus?” This is kinda freaky!!!

      @ Sharon C:“sounds to me like she loves Jesus” As it has been observed in the earlier comments, outward expression is no barometer for devotion. Have you considered the underground church in the former communist USSR who met & worshiped in secret for years? Women wearing head coverings (a cultural norm in the communist 80s) and all of them being quite reserved (some westerners may even find them ‘cold’). They endured persecution and displayed remarkable courage & boldness in the midst of adversity. Same goes for the underground Chinese church under Mao Tse Tung.

      By your definition then, African Americans who are some of the most animated worshipers, must be the most devoted & spiritual Christians on the planet, and the rest of us have a lot of catching up to do!

    • Richard Mathewson

      I commented earlier and used the statement “drunk with the blood of Jesus” to describe the possible status of that woman. This is also known as “filled with the Spirit.” There seems to be some confusion regarding this statement and some are confused about the meaning. I hope I clarified my intention for this choice of wording.

      I am disappointed at how many posts have appeared regarding someone elses’ worship style. Worship is in spirit and truth and music has become more important than the worship described in the New Terstament . We observe concerts and performers of professional grade when we should be all singing with our voices to God. God cannot enter into our worship of Him when we attempt to invoke Him using technology. He created man to relate to Him in spirit and truth. How is electric and manipulated sound spirit and truth.

      http://www.theologyoftruth.com/http://www.facebook.com/pages/Theology-of-Truth/167009843348992

    • John from Down Under

      Richard, I think we figured what you were trying to say, but you chose quite an eccentric way to describe it.

      Many of charismatic heritage and orientation, make the assumption that a vivacious and animated display during ‘worship time’ is a sure sign of spirit infilling. As someone pointed out earlier, many cults have similar types of experiences and so do people who win a car on Oprah or when the Lakers score a point!

      Let’s imagine a congregation of 1000 who ‘feels inspired’ by the crazy worship lady’s experience and decides to join in. Would that look like ‘worship’ to a stranger who walked in or like a group of turrets syndrome sufferers?

    • Lisa Robinson

      Hi Richard,

      Being filled with the Spirit is not being drunk with the blood of Jesus. In fact, I would challenge you to support that on Biblical grounds. Being filled with the Spirit is yielding control to the Spirit, which happens when we surrender to the Spirit. That may or may not result in bodily movements but will necessarily result in worship and bearing fruit. Just because a person is standing still does not mean they are not worshiping God and just because someone is moving about does not mean that they are worshiping Him.

    • Lisa Robinson

      Also Richard (and others who think Spirit-filled means lots of movement), please take a look at this

      http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2010/11/full-gospel-christianity-a-theology-of-more-ii/

    • Kim

      I’m definitely a quiet worshiper but people have different styles of worship. And though CWL may have been a little distracting I am sure she was pleasing to the Lord.

      This story so reminds me of David and Michal in 2 Sam 6. Michal didn’t approve of the way David danced before the Lord publicly … she ended up being set aside.

    • […] third installment kind of touches on Tim’s post, The Crazy Worship Lady.  But it is not to discuss what is or is not appropriate in a worship setting.  As in A Theology […]

    • Adulcia

      I’ve been in services where I would have appreciated airplugs for the way my ears were ringing by the end of the worship. I personally prefer quieter, more contemplative worship, but I can appreciate all styles and personalities.

    • C. Barton

      I was just in a service in which a guy a few seats down was clapping his hands to the music – but his clapping was so loud that it hurt my ears. I didn’t have the wherewithal to ask him to clap quieter, becaus I labor under this idea that if his worship is sincere, he should have that freedom. Maybe I’m wrong?

    • Nate

      I think there are two sides to this. I am the worship arts coordinator at my smaller church, so I have a little perspective on this, as I wrestle with these issues frequently. I appreciate the article and believe there is a lot of truth in it. However, we also need to make sure we’re not allowing someone to be a genuine distraction to others worshiping. Where’s all the fervor during the sermon? Hearing the Word is worship, too. So is doing the Word–does she go nuts when she’s obedient to God? Is her lifestyle even that which is obedient to God in the first place?

      It’s easy to mistake worshiping “worship” and worship music with worshiping God. As my senior pastor puts it, one of the greates miracles possible is for you to go 24 hours a day without sinning because you love God so much. “Therefore, offer your bodies as living sacrifices to God, this is your spiritual act of worship.”

      Just something to chew on.

    • Precious

      I have read most of your comments and all I can say is that I totally agree with Beth at the top messages, IF WE ARE ABOUT TO ENTER INTO GLORY, WOULD WE STAY QUIET OR PRAISE GOD LIKE A CRAZY PERSON for the indescribable joy? Another thing we need to look at is…we better start practicing praising god like a crazy person from now Because in heaven the angels are praising god night and day non-stop but also just as important the bible says that god inhabits the praise of his people. So in short I love this crazy lady worshipper, she actually inspires me with all the attacks of the enemy, I certainly felt free when I praised god like a crazy person

    • jonathancarr

      Tim! This was an awesome article! You should write a book……I was captivated by your writing style/humor.

      I thought of the the woman with the Alabaster box……wasting her worship at Jesus’ feet…..and all those around (mature apostles of Jesus?) were angry with her……but was Jesus?

    • Lora

      I’m not sure what to think about this woman…..its one thing to appreciate enthusiasm, its quite another to embrace it.

      I’m still partial to John Locke’s definition of enthusiasm as a third eye that cannot be used until the light of reason (general revelation) and the light of faith (special revelation) are both extinguished…..

      A woman visited my church and we started becoming friends. During the worship service, she swayed and faced her palms towards the front, rotating them in circles. Then she nudged me to do the same.
      I ignored her.
      Later she asked me what I thought about the worship service. I told her it was okay- it would be nice to sing a hymn now and then. So she told me: God doesn’t use hymns anymore.
      I let it go in one ear and out the other…

      Later she made a comment about our pastor disobeying the Lord because he didn’t raise his hands during the music.
      I tried to ignore that one too……

      Many months later, I realized that the woman claimed to speak for God in many other ways that did not line up with Scripture.

      She wanted to judge and to control my relationship with the Lord.
      Her words said one thing, her behavior said the opposite…..lack of congruency, lack of integrity.
      She resented accountability for her behavior.

      So we remember the words of Jesus: By their fruits you shall know them.

    • C Barton

      Lora: Too bad you “ignored that one . . .”! What a great opportunity to present the pure word of scriptures to her and perhaps make another enemy in the church! Isn’t that exciting?
      We all will realize on that Great Day how many errors in thought and belief we held. That’s why I think it’s good to show tolerance and humility towards others who seem to have an error in doctrine, etc. But telling you that not lifting your arms is sin – that’s just plain annoying. Buzzkill!

    • Ricky

      I believe it all comes down to being in one accord. I long for the day when the Church will worship in unity, in one accord, being lead by the Spirit. When everyone is lead by the Spirit we will have true unified worship, not drone like where everyone is doing the exact same thing but when the time for crazy worship comes no one will be ashamed or afraid to shout to the Lord or dance like David and when the Spirit is leading to a softer meditation on God there wont be others “disrupting” with loud out burst.

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