April 25, 2009

highs and lows of church

C. Wess Daniels' most recent video post on the subject of worship got me thinking about a few things. I love it in Daniels' video when he says that he is growing to appreciate both liturgy and unprogrammed forms of worship. This may seem contradictory. But it is more common than you may have thought. Lots of people seem to simultaneously appreciate highly participatory, egalitarian forms of worship while also appreciating liturgical practices as well. A year ago I was at the going way party for my Episcopal friend Mike Angell at Blue Foot. I talked, for quite some time, with a priest about the work of James McClendon. Even as a committed Episcopal, he appreciated Anabaptist theology. This also reminds of the radio interview that Jarrod McKenna did in which another proponent for Anabaptist theology and practice was an Anglican. Or the N.T. Wright lectures to an emerging church group where he says that he finds it odd that many young people attracted to his writing have ecclesiological ties to Anabaptism yet he is an Anglican bishop "living in a castle." Many of the people that I've been tracking with for 7 years or so lead communities that look and feel like churches tied to Free Church traditions. Yet, many of us appreciate and follow liturgical traditions such as praying the hours, the Lectionary, celebrating Eucharist/Lord's Table at each meeting, etc. And there are now prayer books coming from "low church" traditions such as the Missio Dei Breviary and the Anabaptist Prayer Book. At one time, this would have seemed odd for the melding of such different traditions. But it doesn't seem to be the case any longer. It used to be "either/or" but it seems more frequent to be "both/and" today. This certainly has something to do with our culture and this particular point in history. But it also says something about the meaning of denominations and traditions. And it says something about the state of the Church as well. And this dialog mostly leaves out the forms of worship that have been developed in recent history among evangelical traditions (which is interesting, but probably a good thing in my opinion)... But I'm interested in what others have to say this morning... What do you think?

1 comment :

Josh Brisby said...

Hey Jason, we should totally have dinner sometime. I was raised Baptist and came to the Reformed faith in 1996...was Reformed Baptist for quite a while until a year ago. Wrestled with the infant baptism issue for nine years. I too am coming to really love and appreciate liturgical worship. Let me know if you'd ever like to hang out sometime or discuss and bounce ideas off of each other.

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