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Monday, October 31, 2005
Three Questions for Worship
Narrative Theology-- Trinitarian Spirituality--Missiological Vision. This is how we are thinking about worship. Three basic questions: What are we remembering? How are we entering into and experiencing the Presence of God? How are we engaging the World? For me, if we aren't remembering the Story in worship-- not our derivative notions of God extracted from the Story but the actual texture of the narrative itself then it's not Christian. If we aren't experiencing God as Trinity-- active, experiential participation in the Father's relationship with the Son through the power of the Spirit, it's not Christian. If we aren't actively engaging the World-- voicing the cries of the voiceless, interceding for the whole Creation, and so forth, it's not Christian worship.

There are many ways to "experience" God short of Christian, which is the only true eternal life. My growing assessment of much so-called Christian worship in the North American context is rooted in philosophical constructs about God rather than actual remembrance of the Story; in a largely unitarian scope of spirituality and is missionally bankrupt-- an affirmation of the status quo. It is really scary how close real idolatry is to true worship. They are so close together that we scarcely recognize the difference. The truth about idolatry is that most of the time we don't actually know we are mixed up in it. I am convinced that noone sets out to knowingly worship an idol. The worship of idols comes from our pervasive quest for security. We recreate God into an apparition of that which we think will give us security and we call that God and proceed to worship that. One of our seminary students recently wrote a poem that gets at something of this idea. You can see the work on our seminary poetry blog

Idolatry is what enables us to go to worship and say things like, "It's not about me. It's all about you God," and yet in the most stunning ways make the worship completely referenced around ourselves. More on the fallacy of the statement "It's not about me. It's all about you," later.

So try asking these questions about corporate worship experiences-- but it's critical you ask them without a critical spirit. Invite the Holy Spirit to birth in you a way of appreciative inquiry so that you might identify the work of God and be both affirming and encouraging rather than critical, condemning, judgmental and accusatory.
posted by John David Walt | at 10/31/2005 10:40:00 PM



Blogger andy cunningham said...

I like the trinitarian, missiological, narrative approach to worship. It seems to be all-encompassing and more wholistic in scope.

I'm interested in hearing more about your liturgical year...of course, this blog is not about me, though

3:09 PM EST  
Blogger gmw said...

yes, all about the narrative, trinitarian and missiological catagories. perhaps these could be a subversive way to reach and undertake the constant work of conversion within the church, especially us in old, established congregations...kind of Eugene-esque with the subversion...

11:25 PM EST  
Blogger DGH said...

sooooo, how can you take this worship and live it communally as a lifestyle of experience?

I want to not only express it in my worship...I desire to live it and allow others to live it with me in this thing called life!


12:51 AM EST  
Blogger JohnDeere said...

Eugeneesque-- very nice Guy. As for DG's question-- This idea of Trinitarian spirituality comes from Jesus prayer-- I pray that all of them may be one Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (john 17)

A Trinitarian spirituality is all about a communal lifestyle of experience-- you have nailed it with these words. see the next post.

10:05 PM EST  

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