By The End Of This Week

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.


Sheltering Mercy and Endless Grace help us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation. Sheltering Mercy helps the reader pray Psalms 1-75; Endless Grace leads in prayer through Psalms 76-150.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. Each book contains 75 prayers drawn from the Book of Psalms, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning there. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

These artful, poetic, and classic devotional books are a perfect gift, and feature compelling stunning illustrations and hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms. Co-written with Ryan Whitaker Smith, Brazos Publishing.

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