Pages Menu
TwitterRssFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 | 4 comments

The Liturgy of Political Discourse

The Liturgy of Political Discourse

The Big Lebowski is one of my and my friend Tyler’s favorite films. It takes very little provocation to get us to watch it, and I’ve even had viewings as close together as a week apart. A film that’s been seen so much reaches a place of comfortable familiarity–one begins to laugh even before the jokes land, and it’s perfectly possible to finish lines (if you want to be that annoying guy). There is something like this that happens in the morass of American political discourse, though it rarely involves laughter. As one grows older, one is bound to notice that American political discourse falls into patterns. That pattern may shift as certain ideologies ebb and flow, but by and large it’s so familiar one feels one really could finish the lines before they’re said. This is particular noticeable as we get nearer to the next American presidential race and political debate begins to move from constant background buzz to the foreground of American life (even for those of us not currently living on...

Read More

Posted by on Jun 22, 2015 | 7 comments

What is Worship?

What is Worship?

  I grew up in a church which was home to two competing attitudes to Christian worship. One of them was expressed when people emerged from a service grumbling that they “didn’t get anything out of” the worship that morning. The other was manifest in a common response to this complaint: “It doesn’t matter whether you got anything out of it. Worship isn’t for your benefit, but for God’s.” These contrasting views made either: (1) pleasing human beings, or (2) pleasing God, to be the primary purpose of worship. In recent years I’ve been led to question both these perspectives.[1] Not because it’s wrong to enjoy worship or to see God as enjoying it, but because both these angles miss something essential about what worship is for, why we were given this gift and discipline as followers of Jesus. In what follows I’m going to say three things worship is not, to clear the ground for a final statement on what I think worship is. Worship is not especially...

Read More

Posted by on Dec 12, 2014 | 0 comments

Advent Longing

Advent Longing

The people of Israel stood facing the Jordan as the spies they had sent into Canaan returned. After a long winding road through the wilderness, they stood on the edge of the Promised Land. But the spies brought a bad report, and the good words of Joshua and Caleb could not comfort the people. They rebelled, and God was angry with them, and they wandered in the desert for 40 years while the rebellious generation died. Moses, who had taken the people out of Egypt, would enact his own rebellion against the Lord, and he too would never see the Promised Land. And though Joshua would enter that land, Hebrews tells us that this would not be the true rest of God (Heb 4:8). Another rest was promised. The people of God had to wait for his coming, a coming that would bring both deliverance and judgement. The people of Israel knew that their God would be faithful, that he would save them from their enemies. They heard the...

Read More

Posted by on Nov 10, 2014 | 3 comments

Will Liturgy Save Us?

Will Liturgy Save Us?

When I entered college, I left the church I had spent most of my youth in. Fairly quickly, I found myself in an Anglican church and developed a deep love for the beauty and theological richness of the liturgy.[1] So much that I had found frustrating in my youth seemed answered in the carefully thought out rhythms of that form of worship. Being an individual chronically prone to philosophizing and theologizing, I naturally started to reflect on all the virtues that come with liturgy—how it teaches us as we worship, how it helps us avoid theological myopia, etc. I even became convinced of the notion that “the law of prayer is the law of belief.” Liturgy wasn’t just something I appreciated, it was objectively better. A big feature in this theory was a particular understanding of religious formation. It isn’t enough for us just to consciously acknowledge something, we need to have it constantly breaking into our lives and shaping us. Liturgy, I believed, had the power to do...

Read More

Posted by on Mar 3, 2014 | 2 comments

Lenten Love

Lenten Love

Lent: forty days of fasting. Jesus’s forty days in the wilderness, Noah’s forty days of rain, Moses’s forty days on Sinai, Elijah’s forty day walk to Horeb, Goliath’s forty days of challenge before the nation of Israel: all of them are forty days of trial building up to an encounter with God’s grace. Yet, the greatest of these is Lent. Lent is the annual enactment of the cost of the love that lies at the foundation of all creation. These are some big claims. In a world where Lent is often no more than the “giving up” of chocolate, coffee, beer, meat, or the internet, it hardly seems fair to compare it to the forty days of rain that annihilated the entire population of the Earth or with Elijah’s forty days without food or water as he hiked through the desert. But, where Elijah ends his forty days with the still small voice, and Goliath’s forty days end with his being slain, and Jesus’s forty days end with his...

Read More