The thought of worship music, testimonies, scripture readings, and reflections as a form of spiritual service to put it bluntly, makes my skin crawl. I always saw those “Jesus Freaks” as aggressive and in-your-face. Yes, I am a Theology major. But to me religion should not be pervasive, but something intimate that comes to an individual when they feel called or connected. I’ve always feared forcing faith on someone who was not comfortable or ready for such a subject matter and worship services were those avenues.

The iPraise service, unlike other similar events, did not make my skin crawl. It was fun and energetic, but also reflective and personal. There was balance between music and reflection; just when I felt the goosebumps beginning to rise, we settled down to hear personal talks by fellow students.

I connected worship music to conservative Christianity, the Christianity that can be seen in Religulous. When I would here it from afar, I’d began constructing a wall of defense to protect myself from the potential onslaught. “Don’t brainwash me! Don’t brainwash me!”, my mind would scream, “I don’t want to succumb to your ignorance!”

Wow! How ignorant could I have been? Worship music is not that bad; it may not be for me, but there is fruit there. It took someone like Josh Brackman, one of the spearheads of the event, who told me that he connects with this music to make it clear to me that I was the one being ignorant to this aspect of faith expression. iPraise was a welcoming and open environment that allowed my discomfort to gain comfort and where my anxiety and frustrations could gain resolution. Thank you for iPraise leaders for opening my eyes to a new expression of faith.

The photo is of the XU Gospel Choir singing at iPraise on Oct. 30th. It was taken by one Bobby Nichols, whose thoughts are shared here.

Bobby Nichols is a senior theology major and CFJ student worker. When not causing a ruckus in the CFJ with an impromptu stand-up routine, Bobby can be found all around campus making people laugh. He spent the summer in China (his video blogs are hilarious) and will be helping administrate this blog… so watch out. Maybe the CFJ blog will find a sense of humor as a result.