a couple of weeks ago my car’s radio antenna suffered a catastrophic collision with my canoe. the result has been that i am now constantly listening to podcasts on my ipod. today i was listening to talk of the nation as it described the national geographic show “factory floor.” the show details the process of mass producing items. during the interview concerning the show the producer kept describing how the engineers behind the mass production are neurotic about perfection. he described several situations of factories doing whatever was necessary to turn out the exact same product with no defects thousands at a time. he described a pasta plant that takes a photo of every grain of wheat that is used in producing their pasta. they want to remove any dark or defective grains from their process so that all the pasta is “perfect.” in an effort to achieve this they automate everything they can and remove as many human interactions as possible.
of course, while such mass produced pasta may be “perfect” it is also bland and boring. when people think of great pasta it is usually homemade. of course, homemade pasta isn’t perfect. it has irregularities, inconsistencies, and imperfections within it. not being the same lends to the the reality and quality of homemade pasta versus mass produced pasta which may always tastes the exact same but could never stand up against good quality hand made pasta.
i wonder if the same isn’t true with ministry and more particularly with worship. i’ve been around places that produce “perfect” worship and ministry. it is always consistent. the mistakes have all been worked out or hidden. the transitions cause everything to flow from one element to the next without a second’s pause. the intonations, gestures, and looks of the leaders are planned down to the last detail. it’s been worked out and designed so that it will be perfect each and every week. of course, i think worship like this is also usually pretty bland because of all of that. there’s no art, no hands involved within it. i like ministry and worship when it is a little “gritty.” i don’t mean by this that it is sloppy and not well done. just that it’s not overly ‘processed.” just like homemade pasta you can do things in worship and ministry in a high quality manner that are still not overly processed. i hope that’s what we do at tapestry.