Forces Outside North America Will Impact Our Worship in the Future Dockery Says in Charleston

Dr. David Dockery traced the major changes in worship over the last two thousand years starting with synagogue and temple worship and then anticipated future changes as great shifts in the Christian community are unfolding. He was speaking at the 20th Annual John A. Hamrick Lectureship held at First Baptist Church of Charleston on January 18 and 19.

He said that very few Baptist churches maintain the formal worship style practiced at First Baptist Church of Charleston and that guitars, drums and pianos have replaced organs in most more contemporary churches. The Pentecostals have had major sway in recent years, but that the future will be shaped by religious forces outside North America, especially Latin America, Asia and Africa. Secularism is outpacing Christianity three to one in North America.

He encouraged his listeners not to lose heart and suggested that the church needs to refocus on worship of God as its major function and that there needs to be an emphasis on the reading of scripture and enlightened preaching.  “The head is neglected in much of contemporize worship where emotion is the major component and that needs to change in favor of a more balanced approach.  Worshipers need to prepare for worship. Denominationalism as we know it is giving way to other types of structure and is becoming less and less important. The type of revivalism demonstrated by Billy Graham will no longer be effective even though Dr. Graham is my personal hero, “he said.

David Dockery is president of Trinity International University in Chicago and former president of Union University in Tennessee.

Dr. Dockery was introduced by Dr. Don Gardner and Dr. Doug Hunter, Executive Director of the Whitfield Center for Christian Leadership at Charleston Southern University. David Templeton, Minister of Music and Worship at First Baptist Church, provided special music.

The lectures honor the memory of long time pastor and the founding president of what is now Charleston Southern University, Dr. John A. Hamrick.

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Twelve Days of Christmas – Follow Through

How do we make the generous joyful spirit of Christmas last throughout the year?  We can resolve that gratitude will be our guiding principle and that we will pay our gratitude forward with random acts of kindness. Why not spread The Twelve Days of Christmas across the entire year? Choose a number between one and thirty. I choose 17 because my wife’s birthday is on March 17th. 

My first of the extended Twelve Days of Christmas came on January 17th which is the date I have chosen for each month. I am happy to report that I did follow through and it does feel good.

I have marked my 2015 calendar for each of the twelve months as a way of extending the wonderful spirit of Christmas throughout the entire year. My hope is that others will join in the spirit and make it a wonderful time for all of us. It does not need to be a grand gesture. Just make it something simple. Something you will do.

I am writing this as a part of my accountability to myself to remind me to follow through.

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One River, One Boat by Marjory Wentworth – Poet Laureate of SC

My thanks to Marjory Wentworth for permission to use her poem. I think you will agree it speaks volumes about our history, our shame and our pain.

Because our history is a knot

we try to unravel, while others

try to tighten it, we tire easily

and fray the cords that bind us.

 

The cord is a slow moving river,

spiraling across the land

in a succession of S’s,

splintering near the sea.

 

Picture us all, crowded onto a boat

at the last bend in the river:

watch children stepping off the school bus,

parents late for work, grandparents

fishing for favorite memories,

teachers tapping their desks

with red pens, firemen suiting up

to save us, nurses making rounds,

 

baristas grinding coffee beans,

dockworkers unloading apartment size

containers of computers and toys

from factories across the sea.

Every morning a different veteran

stands at the base of the bridge

holding a cardboard sign

with misspelled words and an empty cup.

 

In fields at daybreak, rows of migrant

farm workers standing on ladders, break open

iced peach blossoms; their breath rising

and resting above the frozen fields like clouds.

 

A jonboat drifts down the river.

Inside, a small boy lies on his back;

hand laced behind his head, he watches

stars fade from the sky and dreams.

Consider the prophet John, calling us

from the edge of the wilderness to name

the harm that has been done, to make it

plain, and enter the river and rise.

 

It is not about asking for forgiveness.

It is not about bowing our heads in shame;

because it all begins and ends here:

while workers unearth trenches

 

at Gadsden’s Wharf, where 100,000

Africans were imprisoned within brick walls

awaiting auction, death, or worse.

Where the dead were thrown into the water,

 

and the river clogged with corpses

has kept centuries of silence.

It is time to gather at the water’s edge,

and toss wreaths into this watery grave.

 

And it is time to praise the judge

who cleared George Stinney’s name,

seventy years after the fact,

we honor him; we pray.

 

Here, where the Confederate flag still flies

beside the Statehouse, haunted by our past,

conflicted about the future; at the heart

of it, we are at war with ourselves

 

huddled together on this boat

handed down to us – stuck

at the last bend of a wide river

splintering near the sea.

By Marjory Wentworth

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Keep the Twelve Days of Christmas Going All Year

How do we make the generous joyful spirit of Christmas last throughout the year?  We can resolve that gratitude will be our guiding principle and that we will pay our gratitude forward with random acts of kindness. Why not spread The Twelve Days of Christmas across the entire year? Choose a number between one and thirty. I choose 17 because my wife’s birthday is on March 17th. But you select any date you want.  Go through your calendar for the New Year and mark each of your dates. Mine reads January 17, February 17, March 17, etc.

When each of your Twelve Days of Christmas rolls around that is your signal to perform a random act of kindness. You do not need a reason. You may not even know the person. Just do something nice for the person. It need not cost any money or it may involve a small amount. That is totally up to you.  Give a neighbor a ride to her or his doctor. Send a note to a long ago friend. Invite someone to lunch. Keep it simple. Make certain that the person understands that no payback is expected. You can encourage him or her to pay it forward to someone else. If you follow this method faithfully, by the time next Christmas rolls around you will have developed and adopted the practice. If you somehow miss a date, just do it another day. We can make the Christmas spirit last all year.

Keep a record of what happens in response to your acts of kindness. How did each act make you feel? Share your experiences with others as a way of spreading the participation. Never reveal the names of those involved in your acts. If you have trouble thinking of inexpensive acts of kindness, consult my little book, Random Acts Of Kindness. None of the suggestions costs any money at all.

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