Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Class notes

We're discussing music, and someone asks about too much talking (prayers) "interrupting" my experience of coming into the presence of God.

So many things to say...the professor, rightly, said that it's dangerous to go down the road of my experience being the center of worship. He also instructed us away from trying to make something emotional happen during music.

But the thing that didn't get said, that I wonder about, is what exactly does it mean to "come into the presence of God." I mean, what are we actually DOING there? Because if we're just "basking" in the presence, I wonder if we're just rocking out, having some kind of emotional experience no different from a secular rock concert. There must be something we are doing - and that's what we're learning. We do things in God's presence - not just adoration, but also thanksgiving, confession, dedication, offering, etc. And we must attend to the things we are doing, not just how we are feeling!

Brian McLaren talks about post-protestant worship, saying forms of worship are not biblically mandated and necessarily evolve. Worship as spiritual formation. Doing things I may or may not feel like doing to bond to what they represent. Um, yeah, that would be the anglican church. How about PRE-protestant!!

If worship is spiritual formation, and if it evolves, then can we agree that theology can also evolve along with it? That is, can our understanding of God's work in the world grow and change through the years (as it has already), and maybe even our understanding of who God is? Can we deal with new things like the "gay issue" and open theism by realizing that as a church, we are growing up? Over 2000 years God has allowed us to grow up from a baby church into, well, we're probably in our teenage years. And God gives us more as we can handle it. And we learn what that is through worship. Which evolves. It's the circle of life, baby.

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