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Essay about A Look at Western and Eastern Worship

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The Western church is described as being smaller in land mass, and less diverse (Shields, & Butzu, 2007, p. 103). The Eastern church is described as being quite vast, and full of different types of people (each with their own languages and customs that had an effect on the development of their worship styles and methods). Further we discover that the West had celebrated a time of peace (Christianity was legal, so there was a significant decrease in martyrdom), conversely the Eastern church was geographically located closely to an Islamic population, which meant it had a large military in comparison to the West. I should also point out that there was a shift in this time-period of the church providing what can be described as a governmental role, so in a very practical way being a bishop in the East could mean sending troops to defend members of your church (Shields, & Butzu, 2007, p. 103).
All of the previously mentioned details may seem insignificant when I am suppose to be making observations on the differences between worship practices, but I think it played a significant role in how the church developed. The authors of this book points out that, "...conversion to Christianity...was also a requirement if one wished to climb the political ladder." (Shields, & Butzu, 2007, p. 101).
So we see what I would describe as a picture of a group of people who moved toward the faith mainly because of social and political reasons. I mean if I am a spiritually dead person and I know that a group of Muslims are intending on leading an invasion to take over my land, that I ought to "join up" with the "Christians" for the sake of staying alive. Frankly, I think that means a lot of spiritually dead people ended up as church members...


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...ause people to focus on performing religious activities, rather than truly worship God. For example, in the past I went to a Lutheran Church that had a special service that basically started out in darkness, with only candles, and as the service progressed the sanctuary gets brighter and brighter (representing Jesus being raised from the dead and joining the disciples); I think that was okay, but it is not something I think is the way to go for the "average" service, so I am thinking I would feel out of place with my Eastern Christian brothers and sisters.
As I have read through the differences in these churches I think if I were to go back I would have to lean towards the Western church as it sounds closer to my theological convictions, but I would say that my Eastern brothers and sisters do add some insight into the discussion about how to facilitate worship.


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