The Next 500 Years

Today this blog is going public, and its my hope that it enters an emerging conversation among friends globally. I’ll post almost daily, forever. Yep.

Why a blog? I want to stimulate, and be shaped by, thinking related to the “now” of worship, and how it relates to the “then” of worship in the earth — 500 years from now. As well, thoughts on cultural formation/transformation, contemporary Christian mindset and the miracle that is a human being will be bounced around.

Why 500 years? There is nothing magical about the number, except that it is not mistaken, historically, to percieve that significant social and cultural change occurs in larger time increments – though sped up significantly in our day.

I can’t imagine seeing 1000 years down the road; it would be unrealistic on so many levels.

To build things for the next 50 years feels short-sighted.

Yet, to see 500 years down the road, a series of generations of children and great grandchildren, and so on — this seems to be an important and possible way to view the decisions you and I will make today about worship. Trans-generational thinking. This is good.

Today, the contemporary expression of worship in the Church has added on to the greater body of worship work throughout history. It has brought fresh unity, commonality, diversity, immanence, mindset and exuberance into the system — in many ways a reaction to the rationalities of modernism. (I for one am thankful that the arts and conceptual thinking have once again been invited into the cultural front-seat.)

After postmodernism, other cultural shifts will be reactions to our re-visitation of mystery, wonder and the right brain, and a neo-modernism may take place. After that, a neo-post-neo-modernism, and so on.

So, my interest is this: what remains true, for all time, about the human heart postured in worship before God? Are the convergences taking place now, of ancient forms and contemporary forms, large enough ideas to sustain a vision of God and our friendship/followership with Him in a changing cultural future? Could all those struggling with “church” as they know it find a home in a “Church” redefined?

The novelty must wear off, and worship training events and seminars must think more distantly than the next year, 10 years or 50 years. We must build our development and enrichment, our art and our liturgics, our Christian worldview, in view of themes that will still be vital 500 years from now. I’m committed, and I know others who are. Join the conversation.

RELEASES FEB. 8, 2022 | Brazos press

Sheltering Mercy helps 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.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. This book contains 75 prayers drawn from Psalms 1-75, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning in the Psalms. 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.

This artful, poetic, and classic devotional book features compelling custom illustrations and foil-stamped hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms. Co-written with Ryan Whitaker Smith, Brazos Publishing.

Pre-Order below, and join my email list, to get author notes and updates about the book and events around it. If purchasing for Christmas gifts, soon you’ll be able to download a Christmas Gift Certificate PDF here so you have something for under the tree!).

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