Our new worship leader seems really cool. I have only heard two worship services so far with him at the helm, but he’s not like other worship leaders I’ve met. I realized that there are more than one type of worship, and that calls for more than one type of worship leader. Worship to God is an expression of love, and I thought that since there are different types of love, there are probably different worship styles that correlate. Comprende? I thought I would do a little study based on Lee’s six types of love (1970s sociological theory)… starting with Eros – a love based on beauty and sexuality.
I start with the most difficult type of love to deal with in Christianity – mostly difficult because we avoid discussion of it completely. Eros was the god of love, in Greece, and was reputed to be the most beautiful of all Olympic deity. While we take the word “erotic” from Eros, it’s not really because Eros himself was overtly sexual. In fact, he “was generally believed to be the deity who caused the love of beauty, healing, freedom, and many other good things, as well as the love between people.”
With all six of these types of love, there is an upside and a downside. Let’s examine the potential pros and cons of an Eros worship style:
*There is a potential with this worship style to imagine that Jesus is your hottie hott hot boyfriend that you looooouuuurrrrvvvveee. You’ve seen the smooth-skinned, blue-eyed Jesus portrait, reinforced that portrayal by watching The Passion of the Christ, and voila – you just turned “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” into Marilyn’s version of “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”
*Eros worshippers not only have the iconic blond-haired Jesus pic framed in their room, they are belting out the praise music like a flirty invitation. If this worship style was a pop star, it would be Katy Perry, a little too racy for Kid’s Church (or Sesame Street), a bit too much fervor in the delivery of lines like the following, from the Intimacy 2 Worship CD from Vineyard Music, which was banned from Wal-Mart.
I have found the love of my desire (Jesus)
I’m caught up in the passion of an ever-flaming fire (We’re lovesick)
Captured by a pure and holy gaze (You’re beauty ravishes me)
Frightened by your beauty but I just can’t look away
Burning, oh I’m burning
My heart becomes and instant flame
At the very mention of Your name
* Beauty fades and sex wanes – and so does the ability to continue to maintain that much burning passion for a Jesus who is a male pin-up. Eros worshippers are going to have to focus on the other aspects of Eros, in order to be Eros worshippers for life.
*Focus on the inner beauty can bring a true and lasting love. True and lasting love for the Savior produces true and lasting worship in the believer. There are facets to Jesus, like a finely cut diamond, with depth and luster and sparkle and fire. If we are to love him for his beauty and praise him in that way, let it be for the beauty of his spirit, his loving kindness and his sacrifice.
* Eros lovers tend to see their partner as their designed mate. They were “meant for each other.” I think that sounds a lot like the “God-shaped hole” of Pascal, Augustine and C.S. Lewis. We are all wandering around out there, looking for the perfect match to our brokenness. Once found, the worship of that perfection would express itself as Eros.
*A Goodboy and Booth-Butterfield (is there any better writing partnership than that?) 2009 study, suggested that Eros lovers desire more closeness in their relationships. If we focus on closeness in our worship, indistinguishable oneness, then we have accomplished what worship was designed to do, bring us into communion with Christ.
Does the Eros worship style sound like you? Does it sound like someone you know?
****Just to be clear, I do not think our new worship leader is an Eros worshipper. He just caused me to notice different worship styles, and I started with this one.****