Friday, December 10, 2010

Re: Confessions of a Former Worship Leader

Comments in response to Confessions of a Former Worship Leader
Interesting reflections, but he doesn't even address the way this is just the latest permutation of the age old debate between spontaneous worship and planned worship. You might think of the mic placement as a kind of planned liturgy. It only seems phony in the context of a tradition that presupposes deeper authenticity for "spontaneous" worship and regards planning as manipulation.

Further, you could also see the reading of the law as a use of a new technology, the written word read aloud, used to manipulate the emotions of the people, in the same way some critique the use of video in worship today. His application of Ezra's response is good, but his sense of conflict and manipulation hint at a fairly myopic view of worship. Lets all take a step back out of the microcosms of our communities and look at how worship functions globally, for all humanity, across religious traditions and across history. Only then can we discern what are the key issues for our particular context. Once you recognize that worship is something humans do, on our own terms, by our own imaginations, as a means to reaching out to God, it becomes a matter of pragmatics. What works to help us connect to God and to provide contexts for transformative encounters with God? For some that might be reading the law all day, for others that might mean an emotional crescendo, for others that might mean a tent playing trance music with visuals.

As a low-church baptist this is an easy move for me to make, but I think it's a helpful one if we want to move past worship wars and into asking serious questions about how worship functions and shapes our communities.

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