Matt has a good post on the tendency of “post-evangelical” types to insist on “the need to shape our imagination via liturgy and creativity.” There is certainly a great deal of fixation these days on the church/liturgy/sacraments as constituting an alternative “habitable world” (as Hauerwas tends to say) to that of “modernity.” Matt points out one of the dangers of this sort of orientation:
This apocalyptic imagination can, however, be lured into living within the mere imagination of another world rather than doing the hard work of beginning to live now as if the world to come is in some way really here. This is what Christian theology means when it tells us about the kingdom of God being both near and yet delayed. It requires both tremendous imagination and tenacity to live in the tension of the world to come being partly here but not fully realized.
It is too often the case, however, to choose one of two things that should be held together. I can easily think of those who work hard with no imagination, and those with well-developed imaginations who wouldn’t imagine doing anything practical to change the world around them. Although we live in a world filled with non-imaginative workers, I still hold that imagination without work devolves into a sad impotence.
Or perhaps it inculcates more than just impotence: an over-active liturgical imagination that does not give proper attention to the contingencies of our own time and place could also be argued to foster outright blindness to the very real work the gospel may be calling us to in the world. Not that this is the fault of liturgy in itself, the point is simply that we often seem to want it to do far more heavy lifting than it could possibly do. After all, we should never forget that there was a hell of a lot of Eucharist going on in Nazi Germany and only rarely did it seem to help cultivate any kind of morally significant alternative world.