Special and the church — 7 Comments

  1. It seems that always the “random” church services are those which make the biggest impact… do something a little different and people come alert, make comments afterwards and remember! I’m not talking wild or dramatic… just…. do the talk for children from the baptistery…. or speak from under one of the windows that illustrates a point…. or, like yesterday, explain why the hymns were written and how they can be used in personal devotion…
    I love random….. the unexpected… creativity….

  2. I think I do know what your unnamed interlocutor meant by ‘over-determining the liturgy’: if you explain what you’re doing, then you can make people think when maybe otherwise they wouldn’t have done, but on the other hand they are thinking what you told them to think – and that might mean cutting off valuable meanings and insights and restricting responses.

    You always seem very impatient with tradition and set forms, but I think they can be inspiring, and I don’t find them dull. They give us a point of contact with the other people who share them now and have shared them through past centuries; and when you say words often you can start to sound their depths and understand them in richer ways. (I’ve found this in particular when learning lines for plays: by the time I came to the performance I’d feel I had built up a much deeper sense of the meaning of what I was saying than I had started with.) I’m not saying one can’t get stale or descend into empty routine. But I think what we should aim for as an alternative to empty routine is not to jettison the forms but to fill them

  3. The problem is in filling them. There is often form without substance. The Anglo-Catholic movement in England was imbued with deep spirituality. What has emerged in the Church of Ireland in many places is a sort of pseudo-Catholicism, a concern with details of the liturgy without the discipline or ministry that undergirded that ministry in times past.

  4. Are you talking Presbyterian?????? Plain Protestant is Church of Ireland isn’t it? I thought keeping very much to Church of Ireland rigid guide lines was Conformist.

  5. A Presbyterian friend became very annoyed when I once called him a non-conformist! Presbyterians, he told me, were Dissenters.

    Conformity seems adhering to a bland consensus. Sometimes I feel like the old priest in Brian Moore’s ‘Catholics’ (though with hopefully more faith than he).

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