As I continue to work through the love/worship styles, I thought I would go for some contrast. Today, we’re going to examine the characteristics, the pros and cons of a Pragma worshipper. Eros was all about a sensual, engrossing worship encounter, but Pragma is time-honored and more detached. Pragma is intellectual and intentional and the relationship created therein must meet the needs of those involved.
Pragma gives us the word “pragmatic” and that connotes rationality, reasonable thought and usefulness. Usually, practical people are down to earth and traditional. Pragmata (Pragma lovers/worshippers, plural), tend to be planners. According to Lee, in his book, Colors of Love, Pragma lovers don’t stray as often, because they’ve already made the comparisons and weighed the costs and benefits. How does that translate to worship? What are the disadvantages and advantages to being a Pragma worshipper?
*All gold-diggers are Pragma lovers, but not all Pragma lovers are gold-diggers. Pragma worship (and love) is concerned with getting the best deal. Pragma worshippers might, at worst, be looking for the country club experience, rather than the Jesus experience. You can identify them because they are scanning the crowds for the nearest Congressman or CEO, while everyone else is singing. If you choose worship based on the number of influential movers and shakers (in the financial sense, not Spiritual fervor) on the pew next to you, you…. might be a Pragma worshipper.
*Pragma worship would be reserved and detached, leaving depth of feeling and passion behind. Leave it up to a foul-mouthed, British transvestite to sum it up so well (warning, clicking on this link, you’ll see a man in make-up and he says one bad word): “There’s something weird, something phenomenally dreary about Christian singing…And the Church of England, well, all those sort of Christian religions, which is mainly Caucasian white people, with all the power and money – enough power and money to make Solomon blush, and they’re all singing, ( dirge-like ) “Oh, God, our hope in ages past, our hope for years…” They’re the only groups of people who could sing, “Hallelujah” without feeling like it’s a “Hallelujah!” thing. ( drearily ) “Hallelujah, hallelujah, joyfully we lark about.” It’s just not kicking, is it?God must be up there, going, “What on Earth is that?”
*If your worship leader sounds like Ben Stein on Xanax, he or she might fit the pragma worship schema. Worship that is entirely practical, entirely socially acceptable, entirely devoid of emotion might sound clinical and calculating, but there are advantages to Pragma and a way to do Pragma worship right.
*Pragma worship is intellectual. Pragma lovers take an objective stance on love – they are looking for someone who will understand and meet their needs. Pragmata weigh the costs and benefits of the relationship BEFORE they enter in, and so, since they have processed the net outcome prior to giving their love/worship, they go in with their eyes wide open and they are less likely to leave. Pragma has the potential for long-term satisfaction.
*Pragma worshippers want to meet a common goal – they may not appear demonstrative in raising their hands or get choked up during a particularly heartfelt rendition of “How Great Thou Art,” but they are there to serve the body of Christ because they’ve made the commitment. Their worship comes from the work of their hands or investment of their time.
*To newer upstart denominations with their flashier bands and a hip, cultivated look on stage, Pragma worship looks bland and boring. To the liturgical churches with deep roots in the past and pride in the continuation of a long-line of apostolic credo, it looks like blessed tradition. As one who has switched, only recently, from the former to the latter, I can say that a traditional worship going back thousands of years, makes me feel connected to my brothers and sisters in Christ every bit as much as mood lighting and synthesized notes.
In order to bring out the best in Pragma worship, they should focus on the best of what tradition has brought us: truly inspired hymns, quality study of the Scripture and having tested what else existed out there, and found it lacking.
Does Pragma sound more like you? Yesterday, SCL covered a dearth of church organists, only to find that hearty breed alive and well. Do we write off Pragma too quickly in today’s worship climate?