I’m finishing up my work for the chapter commissioned by B&H (Broadman Holman) publishers for their book entitled, Perspectives On Christian Worship: Five Views this week.
They kindly gave me an extension, and the chapter plus responses is being accepted as my primary thesis work to complete my Masters here at St. Stephen’s University.
It’s been a good and important ride for me. Writing alongside Dan Kimball and others is a privilege, and I’m noting some key themes:
* The Church/culture interface is the primary issue hiding behind questions of the efficacy of particular models of historical worship expression.
* There is a general confusion of the word “Word,” as it relates to “Word and Sacrament,” “Word as Jesus,” “Word as Scripture,” “Word as Spoken Elaboration on Scripture,” and “Word as God.” In the tumult, there is an elevation of some Word ideas that I think are confusing the dialogue. Those “Words” are not all the same, and we handle them differently.
* The gravitas of certain formats enhance a sense of mystery, wonder and gift in the face of God’s love, often through specialized, sensory ritual. Others are more concerned to make God seem to be “accessible” to the average human being, minimizing the role of a religious professional and elevating the spiritual influencer – enjoining the participation of all saints in the process of worship planning and experience.
* All the traditions have something that shimmers and shines about their movement. All are lacking something only the whole body of worship work can give. All are in process, holding tradition in high tension with innovation, orthodoxy (right belief) in high tension with orthopraxy (right action). In fact, the latter two movements of th piece, contemporary and especially emerging worship, challenge themes in orthodoxy and advocate fresh themes in orthopraxy.
* New forms of high intellectual content/low meditation practice, and low intellectual content/high meditation practice, seem to come and go. We must elevate Great Thinkers and Great Feelers to find our keel evened, it seems, generation to generation.
Just some random thoughts on the morning I teach all day, and write all night.