When the Essentials are blurred - A church in Masillon, Ohio upsets their community by their noise

I saw a special on this story on one of the morning shows and it just rubbed me wrong.

I would advise the church to cut back on the noise, reach a compromise with the community to only be noisy for a certain period of time (currently their "loud" service is three hours long), and to extend an arm of blessing to those that are "persecuting" them. In the interview on the television, the minister showed no sign of understanding the complaints of the people in the community around the church and declared that he was willing to go to jail for the gospel.

Jesus taught "Blessed are the peacemakers" and here I see His Church causing strife over the noise volume they want to participate in.

Is worshipping loudly part of the gospel? This issue, like many, comes to the heart of what is essential. Is it essential for us to be loud in order to worship God effectively?

How do we decide the essentials? I still have yet to hear a good explanation to that question despite being in a church movement that teaches "In essentials, unity. In opinions, liberty. In all things love."

Yet we all hold firmly to what we believe are the essentials and we will not compromise. The problem is not in avoiding compromise; it is in having the wrongs essentials in which we refuse to budge. Worshipping "loudly" does not seem to be one of those essentials. Loving God through loving our neighbor and avoiding idols seems to be central to what is essential.

I think the most authentic form of worship is loving our neighbors, which this behavior goes directly against. A church that is supposed to be focused on loving its neighbors is turning them away from God and His Church by annoying them with a non-essential. When our neighbors are offended by our actions as "worshippers" and those actions are not an essential, then something is drastically wrong. It seems like an idol has been established and that idol is their method of musical worship.

I pray for peace.

Romans 12 "I appeal to you therefore brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God--what is good and acceptable and perfect...Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.

"Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all."

"If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." No, "if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Watch out for the potholes.