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!