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Friday, June 06, 2008
This is your Brain in Worship

Jennifer George, author of the blog-- lifemuncher, recently began doing some contributing blogging over at a productivity site I enjoy reading called Getting Things Done. (GTD). she's writing in the area of cognitive sciences and human productivity. Here's an excerpt from a recent post of hers over on the GTD site.

According to Gary Marcus’s groundbreaking new book Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind, context is “one of the most powerful cues affecting our memory.” So, if you learn something in a classroom, you’re more likely to remember it in a classroom. If you smelled lavender while memorizing a list of words, lavender will help you recall them. (Study after study proves it.)
Why am I interested in this? Consider the implications for Christian worship. Marcus's assertion about context affecting memory strikes me as a Hebraic notion of formation. The key activity for Hebraic worship can be summed up in one word: Remembering. The personal and corporate memory formed through Christian worship shapes our character, faith, imagination and total sense of personhood. Everything about the worship context literally encodes the memory of our story deep in our mind and heart. Multi-sensory, tactile dimensions of worship take on great significance for the Hebrew mentality. Think burning animal flesh, blood, bitter herbs, tasty lamb, unleavened bread, inscriptions on gates, doorposts, written on foreheads, bound to wrists, inscribed on hands, and so on. The way we practice worship literally changes the shape of our mind through the deep encoding of memory.

As a practical matter, think through the implications of baptism and the Lord's Supper in light of these thoughts.

Pushing out the edge--- what are the implications for the way we do theological education? And what about the theological formation/education that happens in worship?

Are you with me?

posted by John David Walt | at 6/06/2008 12:25:00 PM



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