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A Royal "Waste" of Time: The Splendor of Worshiping God and Being Church for the World

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Following up on her best selling Reaching Out without Dumbing Down, Marva Dawn offers biblically grounded, experience-based insights to help churches navigate beyond today's destructive worship wars and to stimulate renewal in the worship and life of congregations. The first major section of the book examines the postmodern, media-saturated, consumerist culture that makes w Following up on her best selling Reaching Out without Dumbing Down, Marva Dawn offers biblically grounded, experience-based insights to help churches navigate beyond today's destructive worship wars and to stimulate renewal in the worship and life of congregations. The first major section of the book examines the postmodern, media-saturated, consumerist culture that makes worship difficult yet absolutely essential. The next section focuses on keeping God at the center of worship. Other sections of the book explore issues of taste, forming faith in children, word choices, hospitality in worship, and the challenges of "being church for the world." The book also includes nine Scripture-based sermons and questions for further discussion. In contrast to writers who advocate worship for utilitarian purposes, Dawn concentrates on worship's royal dimension, its God-ward focus. A Royal "Waste" of Time amplifies Dawn's earlier argument that churches need to wrangle seriously with the true purpose of worship in order to employ the tools and forms that best enfold participants in the splendor of worshiping God. Only worship filled with the splendor of God, Dawn writes, will lead to genuine adoration of God and faithful formation of his people.


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Following up on her best selling Reaching Out without Dumbing Down, Marva Dawn offers biblically grounded, experience-based insights to help churches navigate beyond today's destructive worship wars and to stimulate renewal in the worship and life of congregations. The first major section of the book examines the postmodern, media-saturated, consumerist culture that makes w Following up on her best selling Reaching Out without Dumbing Down, Marva Dawn offers biblically grounded, experience-based insights to help churches navigate beyond today's destructive worship wars and to stimulate renewal in the worship and life of congregations. The first major section of the book examines the postmodern, media-saturated, consumerist culture that makes worship difficult yet absolutely essential. The next section focuses on keeping God at the center of worship. Other sections of the book explore issues of taste, forming faith in children, word choices, hospitality in worship, and the challenges of "being church for the world." The book also includes nine Scripture-based sermons and questions for further discussion. In contrast to writers who advocate worship for utilitarian purposes, Dawn concentrates on worship's royal dimension, its God-ward focus. A Royal "Waste" of Time amplifies Dawn's earlier argument that churches need to wrangle seriously with the true purpose of worship in order to employ the tools and forms that best enfold participants in the splendor of worshiping God. Only worship filled with the splendor of God, Dawn writes, will lead to genuine adoration of God and faithful formation of his people.

30 review for A Royal "Waste" of Time: The Splendor of Worshiping God and Being Church for the World

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hong

    Insightful and clear, presenting how worship and being Church is meant to be in a way that is not only supported by the Bible, but without the elitist/top-down approach. Instead, Marva Dawn manages to show how the Church-catholic, transcending time and cultures, should continue to learn and grow in worshipping the one true God together. There have been much from this book that I've learnt. Including how worship and evangelism should not be mixed up: praising and honouring God is missional, but i Insightful and clear, presenting how worship and being Church is meant to be in a way that is not only supported by the Bible, but without the elitist/top-down approach. Instead, Marva Dawn manages to show how the Church-catholic, transcending time and cultures, should continue to learn and grow in worshipping the one true God together. There have been much from this book that I've learnt. Including how worship and evangelism should not be mixed up: praising and honouring God is missional, but it is distinct from telling someone else about God. God should be honoured and ought to be the primary AND sole object/subject of our praise in worship. Dawn also includes many many tips/ factors regarding how songs should be chosen, how worship should be planned, which give practical help to applying Biblical truths in contemporary times. I've also learnt that there is a broader/deeper dimension and implication on what we choose to do/how we choose to worship, eg. the use of new media. Last but not least, this book has served a great reminder that Christians ought to be Church for the world, as such, we are called to be apart and different, so it is no surprise that part of our duty is to be different in how we honour and worship God, and not simply be caught up in the wave of technologies clothed in efficiency/low cost etc. Starting with a sermon is wonderful, and the message of the book comes alive through it. Summarising the basic principles and going back to the Bible, so that it is not merely based on personal opinion/taste. Note in reading the book, it might be pretty long, spanning almost 400pages. I'd suggest reading a few chapters at a time, since each chapter is quite short and manageable. The general themes do repeat throughout the chapters so it is possible, I think, to read the parts separately.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Adam Metz

    In this follow up to her critically acclaimed book Reaching Out without Dumbing Down, Marva Dawn uses the phrase a "royal 'waste' of time" to consider the role of worship in our lives and in the life of the church. Her main point is that worship doesn't "do" anything. It doesn't earn us a better place with God, it doesn't change the world, but "rather, the entire reason for our worship is that God deserves it" (1). Each section begins with one of Dawn's sermons which is a helpful illustration of In this follow up to her critically acclaimed book Reaching Out without Dumbing Down, Marva Dawn uses the phrase a "royal 'waste' of time" to consider the role of worship in our lives and in the life of the church. Her main point is that worship doesn't "do" anything. It doesn't earn us a better place with God, it doesn't change the world, but "rather, the entire reason for our worship is that God deserves it" (1). Each section begins with one of Dawn's sermons which is a helpful illustration of many of the things she is proposing. She admittedly is a traditionalist and while she often gives a nod to contemporary innovation in worship, it is mostly lost in her appeal to the great worship traditions of the church. There are several times throughout the book when she edges into "Get off my lawn!" territory in her critiques of modern inventions - especially technology. This book was published in 1999, and one is left to wonder of how her extreme critique of technology fairs in today's world over twenty years later. Her upholding of simplicity and the church traditions (and a Wendell Berry like eschewing of technological innovation) is an important perspective and vital message for today's media-saturated culture. That being said, while she claims otherwise throughout the book, there really aren't many places where she lays out middle ground or an openness to where contemporary "improvements" would be helpful. She acknowledges her bias and refers to it throughout, but I'm not sure that her message has aged well with the technological revolution of the twenty years since her writing. It is a helpful guide for affirming principles of the place of worship - and when she's astute in her remarks, they are incredibly moving and wise. There were, however, frequent times when I felt that she was simply too far from the realities facing today's church. (I should add that her familiarity is with high church traditions which are much different than my own, which lends to some of my struggle for following her with in some of her critique. It's a robust book of over 350 pages, but I wonder if Reaching out without Dumbing Down might have aged a little bit better than this one (I haven't read the aforementioned). Regardless, Dawn remains an important thinker on the topic of worship and does provide an astute voice in an ever-changing world.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Daunavan Buyer

    As a worship pastor I have been wanting to read this for a long time. Sadly, it didn’t quite live up to the expectations. While it gave me a lot to think about, I found much of it quite negative and opinionated. I understand some of where she is coming from but it felt like unless “worship” satisfied a very specific niche that she had proposed, it’s not true worship... too bad as this book came highly recommended.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Okay, here's my problem with Marva Dawn: her books contain a dizzying mixture of shining pearls of wisdom with the most ridiculuous and erroneous comments imaginable. My favorite foot-in-mouth moment from this book? "...songs written in the 1800s, when the United States was far more Christian, come from an ethos more conducive to writing faithful [to the scriptures:] texts." Really? the Nineteenth century US was more Christian with our massive slave trade and genocide of native Americans. This e Okay, here's my problem with Marva Dawn: her books contain a dizzying mixture of shining pearls of wisdom with the most ridiculuous and erroneous comments imaginable. My favorite foot-in-mouth moment from this book? "...songs written in the 1800s, when the United States was far more Christian, come from an ethos more conducive to writing faithful [to the scriptures:] texts." Really? the Nineteenth century US was more Christian with our massive slave trade and genocide of native Americans. This era of our history saw the rise of the great evangelists, primarily because the US was so UNchristian. Yet, two pages later, "God is the subject of our worship, for he is the one who makes it possible for us to enter into his presence...How we conduct worship must teach all the participants that and enfold them in that reality." Aside from that this book is a great starting place for worship conversations. It will get you thinking and talking. I wish she would connect her (often very good) opinions to scriptural precedent. I also would be able to take her more seriously if she would simply give up any guise of supporting contemporary styles in worship. Marva, just admit that traditional forms and styles are your preference and refer us to those who can speak intelligently about the ups and downs of contemporary styles and forms!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

    Marva Dawn raises some very valid concerns about worship. It would be more helpful to better define worship apart from liturgical, organ-driven music. Worship is a daily practice and is expressed differently by individuals as they connect with God and give their praise to Him alone.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Olive Chan

    This book is primarily about worship. I hadn't expected that.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Attwood

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mary

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chuck

  10. 5 out of 5

    Julie Allman

  11. 5 out of 5

    Julius

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kendall

  14. 4 out of 5

    CJ

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kristian Kilgore

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mike McVey

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pat

  18. 5 out of 5

    A.L. Awtrey

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ron Short

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ben

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chris Sicks

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stranded in Babylon

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  24. 4 out of 5

    Candace

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ned Bustard

  26. 5 out of 5

    Don

  27. 5 out of 5

    David Sinden

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chet

  29. 5 out of 5

    Derek

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

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