I’ve got a new piece up at the Cafe. A little background—this one came directly albeit obliquely out of on-going conversations that I’ve been having with Donald Schell (yes, that Donald Schell) about liturgy, faith formation, and the place of tradition in our reflection.
Christopher will also recognize some key items on liturgy and tradition that we’ve been discussing together for quite some time…
Too often discussions about liturgy and worship fall into a set of stale rhetorical traps that pit binaries against each other: traditional/contemporary; Spirit-led/rubric-driven, spontaneous/over-planned, etc. The simple fact is that these are not helpful as blanket categories any more (if ever). What I’m expressing here is a understanding of Christian theology and liturgy that is a contemporary appropriation of traditional materials rooted in a pneumatology that understands the spread of human history as the playground of the Spirit. “Listening to the Spirit” doesn’t just mean cocking your ear now—although that’s an undeniable part of it. Furthermore, while liturgy’s principle aim is the praise and worship of God, we must also attend to its secondary purpose of communal Christian formation.
The bottom line is that if our corporate worship is not playing a major role in our transformation into the mind of Christ than there’s a problem. And the problem isn’t necessarily the liturgy, either—sometimes it’s us!
Lee has pointed to some very good pieces, the first written by bls against the contention made by Philip Turner in “First Things” that a theology suggesting that” God is love, pure and simple”, is “unworkable” (You can read the excerpts she provides there). The second is from Christopher working off of bls’s piece and some questions asked by Lee himself.
I don’t have a whole lot to add that they haven’t already said, and will only offer another bit of gooey liberalism no doubt from a source that no self-respecting “First Things” author would recognize:
221. But St. John goes even further when he affirms that “God is love”:44 God’s very being is love. By sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret:45 God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange.
In my short life, I have learned a few things about love. Most of them have been learned since I got over the shallow notions of romantic love that I was taught by the culture and have been truly formed by my on-going relationship with my wife and my children. For it is through those relationships that I am taught ever more deeply what this little four letter word that we take for granted really means.
Love is hard—because genuine love is always transformative. It changes you: how you think and how you act. Sometimes we pull away from that pain and change whether it comes from God or the humans closest to us.And that leads me to my second point.
I think for many of us, the hardest thing to do with love—is to receive it.
We say that God is love. And we are absolutely right. Now all we have to do is let it into our lives…