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Monday, August 31, 2009
Worship seed thought: Doxological Excellence v. Performative Perfectionism
In worship, as in life, we often mistake the counterfeit for the real thing. (In worship we call that idolatry.) For instance, we often confuse excellence with perfection. Perfection breeds perfectionism which commonly leads to procrastination. The deep fear of not getting it perfect stymies initiative. The problem? Perfection (and it's ism) breeds the idolatry of performance. What we want is doxological excellence. Excellence requires nurturing a context of Creative Love.

Performative perfection keeps the focus on the performer. Doxological excellence forgets self and focuses on the (O)ther.

Perfection is error free. Excellence almost requires failure. Our target: not error-free but effort-full. Doxological excellence comes from holy risk taking. Holy risk taking can only happen in an "environment of grace" and through "relationships of trust."

Can you think of any examples where you've seen this idea at work?


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posted by John David Walt | at 8/31/2009 06:54:00 AM

 

3 Comments:

Anonymous guy m williams said...

This is a helpful distinction, JD. I appreciate it in particular b/c I have a love/hate relationship with "excellence" b/c it sometimes seems to entail the sacrifice of authenticity. But the tension I've felt about making authenticity and excellence oppositional is clarified as tension about a false dichotomy, the way I read your thoughts here. authenticity vs. "performance perfectionism" would be properly in opposition, however. That resonates.

11:27 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really relate to the thoughts here,there being a strong tendency to perfectionism in me which is actually far from liberating. 'Effort-full, not error-free' is a really neat way of summing this up!!

The perfectionist in me would just ask you to differentiate between its (the possessive form) and it's (the abbreviation for it is or it has). Sorry.

Keep Singing

2:05 AM EDT  
Blogger ziondreamer said...

As a producer, so much of my job feels like performance. I fall into the perfectionist trap easily.

I work toward excellence and I pay such close attention to detail. I check and double-check for errors. I make notes so that those errors don't happen again next time. From my behind-the-scenes technical perspective, mistakes equal distraction for the worshipper.

I constantly have to remind my teams (and myself) why we do what we do. I do a good job of encouraging tech teams, "when we do our jobs well, we help set the stage for people to encounter Jesus".

Not sure I ever go beyond that. This post challenges me to think through that. Thanks!

1:02 AM EDT  

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