November 22, 2015

With God

I often get asked how I ended up in the Episcopal Church. Much of it has to do with what we do when we gather on Sundays–what we call, "worship."

I grew up in a Christian congregation that most would call evangelical. My extended family are mostly Pentecostals.

Evangelicals primarily interpret their liturgy as something for God. We are worshiping God, God is the receiver of our worship.

Pentecostal and charismatic traditions add another layer of this, believing that the Holy Spirit indwells herself in individuals in particular manifestations in response to worship.

While there are aspects to both evangelical and pentecostal worship that I love–and, quite frankly, miss badly, they are easily made into sanctified commercial relationships with the divine. That, I'm not a fan of.

On the other hand, Episcopalians–and presumably other more "liturgical" traditions, primarily interpret their liturgy as something with God. We are working with God in worship. There is an absence of commodification that means a lot to me. Now, its often painfully dull and long but the aspect of action with God is beautiful.

This distinction is critical for understanding the primary difference of posture and approach to these worship styles. It does not mean they're exclusive of each other but they allude to a different starting point and that makes a big difference to me.

NOTE: I did a series on worship with my friend, Mike a while back. There's a lot more on this subject there.

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