During an evening walk in our neighborhood, I felt—more than heard—the THUMP, THUMP, THUMP of deep bass notes. Some inconsiderate neighbors had cranked their music up to a window-shaking-TEN.

Nearing the source of the clamor, I was surprised to speaker-musicrecognize the unmistakable sound of a Chris Tomlin song. An aspiring singer accompanied by guitar, bass, and drums belted out a number by the contemporary Christian artist. I glanced through an adjoining yard and identified the culprits.

A family in our subdivision hosts a weekly small group for a megachurch in the area. The meetings closely resemble the home churches of first century Christianity. The gatherings encourage mutual support and accountability along with worship and study.

The scene inspired mixed feelings in me.

On the one hand, God created us as individuals in need of relationship. At the inauguration of his public ministry, Jesus formed an inner core of disciples. Each believer needs a wider community of faith, and I regularly encourage Christians to get involved in a small group.

On the other hand, claiming the title of Christian puts a believer on public display. People watch closely to see if we walk the walk or just talk the talk. Jesus said that love is the chief mark of Christian discipleship.

So what to think about the witness of my neighbors that balmy evening?

If asked, the people at the home church might describe their warm fellowship, insightful teaching, and inspiring prayers. If asked, the neighbors in the subdivision might grumble about the on-street parking, loud singing, and bass-beat music.

Christians can be right and righteous. At the same time, we can be wrong and self-righteous. Sometimes a thin line only a Pharisee could discern divides the two.

I’m not sure of the question—much less the answer. However, the deep-toned rhythm of contemporary Christian music followed me all the way home.

5 thoughts on “Witness

  1. You’ve left me with many thoughts to ponder. My first thought is first century Christian’s did not have electricity so the thumping bass would have been a non issue! If I were their neighbor I could fully support the meetings in the home. However my last thought is if I were sitting on my screened porch as I often do, reading and listening to birds, loud music, Chris Tomlin or not would not make me happy. So what does that say about me? Don’t answer that!


  2. I don’t know about that. I tend to be more sympathetic to those hosting the home church meeting.

    Unrelated, I must admit I’ve been tempted at times to invest $1,000 in an sound system for my truck so I could drive around with my windows down and 91.5 or the FISH blaring! But perhaps my motive for doing so is not the purest (never mind I would never spend that king of money on a roving sound system!).


  3. Hmm
    As I attend one of those churches regularly along with ours too. I’ve become very used to hearing and feeling that kick drum as I run Graphics for songs such as Chris Tomlin. If I’m not feeling it well it’s just not working for me. I’m sure my neighbors have heard from my house and my truck The Fish playing. I find it interesting how Worship has changed and Chrstians and non-Christians judge one another based on their own opinions. I’m just glad there is worship music that reaches everyone. I personally would have danced right on in to that small group and enjoyed their music but I do understand we all like what we like, but ain’t it great we can have a party and play Christian music. I’ve become a modern worship girl. I do love modern music I can feel.


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