When The Magician Begins To Believe His Magic

Neville Isdell, who was a retired veteran of Coke was brought back from retirement to be the CEO to bring about a turnaround in Coke, when was asked the reason why Coke began to loose strength during the late 90s by the Economic Times when he was in India recently, said, ‘…When the magician starts to believe the magic, it’s a problem…’

When the executive begins to believe in his power and authority rather than his ability to be agile and innovative, it is a problem. When too much believe is placed in the magic of the brand rather than believing in ones ability to create and foster the brand itself, it is a problem.

I see a parallel between this and the contemporary Christian worship. In contemporary Christian worship the biggest problem is that the, worship leader has begun to believe in the methodology of worship rather than in man’s ‘innate’ ability to wonder at his Maker irrespective of the methodology of worship.

He believes in music to create the spirit of worship and begins to believe in this magic rather than his ‘innate’ ability to worship the Maker with all Truth and Spirit.

Recently, I happened to attend a worship session by a celebrity worship leader. He said, “Don’t worry about the words that you do not know, just catch the spirit of the song. That is enough”. At first sight this seems an innocuous statement and quite pragmatic, one might add, why bother with OHPs and LCDs.

But as on pauses to think over what is being trusted here, one realizes that is all about ‘catching the spirit’. I wonder what spirit is easy enough to ‘catch’. He did not care that his singing was ‘contentless’.

Here the ‘magician beings to believe his magic’ and that is trouble. Big time trouble.

Much of contemporary Christian worship believes in the act of worship rather than the Worshiped. They dont care that their singing is ‘contenless’ as long as the audience is pepped up to a contented frenzy.

Unless we learn to go back and learn from the age old Saint of how they worshiped in Truth by Gregorian chants and Byzantine art, we shall end up missing the important element of Truthful worship – the centrality of God’s greatness which invokes the innate need in man to worship is Maker.

Author: Emmanuel R Paulpeter

I am a writer, spiritual director, life coach and a Church Planter who love all things pop culture, theology and spirituality.

2 thoughts on “When The Magician Begins To Believe His Magic”

  1. Byzantine art was state sponsored propoganda. I am amused that you see honest content in that (ROFL) Byzantine architecture had the church in Istanbul dedicated to Saints Sergius and Bacchus (the God of wine)!


  2. Byzantine art is not the perfect ideal for art, but even in the imperfect, there is wisdom. Any truly wise man has to be humble enough to reach out for that wisdom.The ‘spirit’ of Byzantine art is not about state propoganda or drunken Saints. It is about man’s ‘reverence’ for God depicted in artform because man wanted to show that God, the creator of man’s ability for art was worthy of their artistic ‘reverence’. That was their wisdom, to blithely brush their wisdom aside is to be unwise. In spite of imperfections, contemporary worship too has it wisdom, but that does not justify its imperfections. This article is about imperfections in contemporary worship. Imperfections in Byzantine is a theme for another article.


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