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Dude, where’s my liturgy?

There’s been lots of really great discussion that’s arisen from my recent post on the (in)ability of liturgical practices as such to produce transformation in Christian ecclesial life. I’ve appreciated it all very much. But one question I’ve had as a result of some comments around the blogosphere concern statements like the following:

“The real issue is not whether we have a liturgy or not, but whether or not our liturgy good or bad. It’s really a question of whose liturgy, which liturgy. After all nothing is non-liturgical, for as well all know, everything is thoroughly liturgical.”

My question: What exactly does “liturgical” mean in this sort of question? Because I have no idea and I suspect the posers of such question don’t either. This sort of rhetorical trope seems to me to function as a way of avoiding arguments rather than engaging in them and I don’t really know what to do with it.

42 Comments

  1. Andrew wrote:

    I just finished up a class where this question – what does “liturgy” mean – was central to our reading and discussion. I’m not sure what most folks mean when they “wax liturgical” but I when I use these terms (liturgy, liturgical), I mean inward and outward performance of worship practices by a gathered Christian community. Such “performance” is necessarily corporate in nature and refers to specific worship practices such as corporate prayer, proclamation, bodily rituals, etc.

    I’m not sure what the person posing that question means by “liturgical” but I’m not sure I agree with the contention that there is nothing that is “non-liturgical.” It would seem that one would need to be in a mode of gathered worship for everything and all experiences to be counted as actually liturgical. It also seems that the person posing this question has in mind a general proclivity toward “spiritual experience” in everyday life which does not necessarily include gathered (i.e. corporate) worship practice as its defining mark (i.e. it might be spiritual but it wouldn’t be (to my mind) properly liturgical.

    Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Permalink
  2. WTM wrote:

    I think the claim being made (“nothing is non-liturgical,” etc.) is specific to times of communal gathering and activity. In other words, I suspect that what “liturgy” means in these question is simply something like “religious ritual.” In this sense, the claim is true: one could have more or less developed ritual, one could have ritual as the result of greater or lesser reflection, but you always have ritual – even if so minimalist as to be invisible (of course, we know that no symbols in the worship space is as much a symbol as any painting you might hang up – same principle applies).

    Of course, this claim carries no force insofar as it is purely phenomenological. I imagine you would agree that to the extent that a community ritualizes its common life, it out to be reflective about it. But then the argument becomes one of which available liturgy is more theologically appropriate or capable of doing the work we expect it to, the premises of which argument are precisely the things you called into question in your original post.

    Summary – such complaints are not cogent counter-arguments.

    P.S. If by “liturgy” they mean “service to God” (Gk: leitourgia), then they have sufficiently detached the term from its ritual context, and we might as well just start talking about ethics.

    Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Permalink
  3. Halden wrote:

    I agree. It seems to me that one of the worst things about this argument is that it reduces everything to different forms of the same sociological phenomenon. And thus we are left with nothing more than another atheological sort of rendition of the immanent frame in which we just reorganize the furniture.

    If everything is liturgy then nothing is liturgy.

    Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Permalink
  4. Hill wrote:

    Can you point out a specific instance of this argument being made? I find it hard to believe anyone is actually saying what you claim they are saying.

    Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 9:52 pm | Permalink
  5. Halden wrote:

    Obviously I’m distilling a number of comments made around the blogsphere, but one comment made here argued that “the question is not whether we mark time, but how, or whether we have a liturgy but which one” and another elsewhere claimed that “there is no such thing as an a-liturgical moment.” Then there was another that claimed that “the issue is not whether or not we have a liturgy, but whether or not it’s a good one.” Those were a couple of the arguments made in direct response that post that I had in mind.

    However I should say that the whole “everything is liturgical” argument is one that seems to me to be pretty widely used in a variety of published works.

    Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 10:04 pm | Permalink
  6. Hill wrote:

    It’s not clear to me that you understand what the first guy is saying. On the other hand, I have no idea what the second guy is saying. The “everything is liturgical” “argument” (if you want to call it that) is itself a counter argument put forth against claims usually made by evangelicals, but also others, that they are opposed to ritual. That human life, both religious and otherwise, is dominated by ritual is something that only the ignorant fail to realize. This is a basic, empirical anthropological truth This is what is meant by “everything is liturgical” but you have yet to provide a cogent example of an argument being made that bears any resemblance to your “distillation” (more accurately, conflation, or strawman) above.

    Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Permalink
  7. Halden wrote:

    I’m pretty sure I understand what’s being said in that comment, but thanks.

    And my problem is not with the idea that ritual is a pervasive anthropological phenomenon. So’s violence, patriarchy, murder, rape, and a whole host of other things. My problem is with the un-argued, un-supported, and commonly-assumed notion that the transformation of human beings into the image of Christ must be determined on the basis of some commonly-experienced cultural phenomenon.

    Of course ritual is a “basic anthropological truth”. But whoever said that basic anthropological truths are somehow benign instances that reveal God’s desire for human life? In an odd way you’ve actually just identified the problem I’m getting at here, namely the assumption that widespread cultural phenomenon should be hermeneutically used to determine what Jesus and the Gospel have to mean.

    Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Permalink
  8. Halden wrote:

    Also, to be clear, are you saying that liturgy=ritual?

    Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Permalink
  9. Hill wrote:

    I actually misread one of your sentence due to a combination of reading this on my phone and a missing article. My apologies.

    Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Permalink
  10. Halden wrote:

    I do not accept that apology and will not be satisfied until we have feasted on a whole roasted pig together this summer (yes, the plans are in the works).

    Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 10:27 pm | Permalink
  11. Hill wrote:

    The argument being made above isn’t about the efficacy of liturgy, though. I totally buy that one and understand having a problem with it, or at least wanting to be very circumspect. All I’m saying is that corporate worship is necessarily liturgical, in view of the definition of the word, although this point is often denied, or the ritual character effaced or obscured. It is in this context that the claim “everything is liturgical” is typically made. We respond to and express our pieties liturgically, and I take that to be a fairly trivial statement.

    I know how you feel about this and I am in substantial agreement, but the specific issue you have addressed in this blog post seems to be different, and somewhat triflin’, as they say.

    Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 10:31 pm | Permalink
  12. Hill wrote:

    I cooked a 2″ thick 18 oz. NY strip last night. Almost killed me but I thought of you and meat induced doxology.

    Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Permalink
  13. Halden wrote:

    I guess I feel like the argument of “inevitability” is all too quickly translated into the argument of “efficacy” in these sorts of discussions.

    In other words, I wonder what the argument of inevitability is supposed to do if not valorize that which is proclaimed to be inevitable.

    Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Permalink
  14. Hill wrote:

    I personally wouldn’t make that leap but I see what you mean.

    Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Permalink
  15. Halden wrote:

    Sounds awsomely awesome. I made (among other things) an amazing appetizer platter for Christmas Eve that included candied bacon. It was every bit as good as it sounds.

    Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 10:41 pm | Permalink
  16. There was a sociology/religious studies course I that took in college with the expectation that it would be interesting but not particularly useful as far as my own spiritual development was concerned. It turned out to offer quite a bit of insight, though.

    I’ve been told that his viewpoint has fallen out of vogue in academic circles, but I thought Rudolph Eliade’s The Sacred and the Profane was quite useful to me. Specifically, the way he developed the notion of cyclical time, where archaic religious practitioners saw themselves as participating in a re-living of some divine archetype. I won’t try to reconstruct the whole theory here, as I assume a lot of readers are already familiar with it. The point is that it gave a context that allowed much of the old testament to make more sense to me. Ecclesiastes, in particular, makes way more sense if you work from that mental framework.

    Anyway, despite the fact that I now kind of understand a cyclical view of time, and I try to interpret scripture with that perspective, I don’t actually view time that way. Even when I have adhered pretty tightly to a liturgical Christian calendar, I get up in the morning with the perspective that my life is a short segment in a long, linear narrative. Even if I were cloistered away in a monastery, devoting my life to the rhythm of the liturgical calendar, I wonder if I could every really separate myself from such a fundamental cultural assumption.

    So, relating this to the discussion at hand: Can we really expect cycles of the liturgical calendar to “work” for us if deep down, we don’t really believe our lives are cyclical?

    Sunday, December 26, 2010 at 12:25 am | Permalink
  17. Hill wrote:

    I think I would sum up my feelings by saying that I’m much more concerned about the harm which may be done by failing to be mindful of the inherently ritualistic character of both life and worship than I am hopeful about the good things that come from “getting it right.”

    Sunday, December 26, 2010 at 5:53 am | Permalink
  18. ken oakes wrote:

    best post title of all time (hey!), all time (hey!).

    Sunday, December 26, 2010 at 9:47 am | Permalink
  19. Bud wrote:

    why don’t you show us empirically how your approach — whatvere that is — is any better.

    Sunday, December 26, 2010 at 10:23 am | Permalink
  20. Halden wrote:

    Because I’m not the one claiming to have a method that can be shown to “work” in the way that liturgical enthusiasts claim for their own proposals. In fact, part of the point is that claiming to have at our disposal a”solution” to such problems is itself a theological mistake.

    Sunday, December 26, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Permalink
  21. WTM wrote:

    I can’t help but feel as though people are misinterpreting Halden’s posts. He has undertaken to demythologize the liturgy, not chuck it wholesale. The point is this: if we are to benefit from the liturgy, we need to do away with overblown expectations about what it can accomplish. The parallel here is to the Reformers’ demythologization of the sacraments (which Barth carried forward to the bitter end) – they do not produce effects ex opere operato.

    Given Halden’s demythologization, we can have a discussion about liturgy on a new, solid, and level footing (ancient liturgies are not automatically privileged although, of course, neither are newer ones). In this discussion, and to echo Nate and DWC from the comments to the previous post, “witness” is likely the most helpful category under which to think through these things.

    Sunday, December 26, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Permalink
  22. dan wrote:

    I believe that those who stress the importance or the ubiquity of liturgy do so with the understanding that a liturgy is some sort of performance that inscribes meaning onto time/space. This is then repeated throughout the calendar year in order to produce certain forms of subjectivity. Thus, you have the liturgy of American nationalism (9/11 remembrance, independence day, veterans day, etc., etc.), liturgies of contemporary capitalism (thanksgiving, christmas, easter, etc., etc.), and the liturgies of the Christian churches which are then said to counter these other idolatrous performances.

    I’m fairly sympathetic to this position, even if it overstates its efficacy (as we all explored in your prior post). That said, recognizing the overblown nature of claims made about Christian liturgies should maybe make us back up and question the nature of the claims made about the liturgies associated with nationalism or capitalism. Maybe the reason why we remained entrenched in the violence of those systems is not because our subjectivities have been disciplined by their liturgical performances but because we’re just a bunch of selfish and lazy motherfuckers who don’t actually really give much of a damn about anybody else. Maybe claims of a liturgical nature end up just giving us an excuse or an easy out. They also redirect our energy — as one commentator noted on your prior post. Instead of doing things like pursuing material solidarity with the poor we do things like make sure we don’t celebrate Independence Day or we create some sort of cruciform ritual performance to enact on Independence Day and so on.

    Sunday, December 26, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Permalink
  23. Tony Hunt wrote:

    If I was to answer it I’d say pretty much what Dan said, though I’d probably would’ve said motherfucker at least two more times and I probably wouldn’t understate the efficacy (lord knows all but the Christian liturgies work!)

    Sunday, December 26, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Permalink
  24. Indulge me once more as I amble again down Heidegger’s “fieldpath” that I referenced in the previous post. Me and the grandkids watched the original “Charlie Brown Christmas” (1964) last night. In short, CB is angst ridden about the “true meaning of Christmas” in a consumer capitalist society. He visits Lucy’s psychiatry booth and she ultimately prescribed that the way for CB to resolve his anxiety is through liturgical participation (in this case it was to direct the Christmas play). However, rather than relieving his anxiety it only increases as he is unable to control the performance or the actors, mostly because he doesn’t know what story he is trying to tell. Even Snoopy has bought into the commercialized narrative of Christmas and garishly adorned his doghouse and promoted a decoration contest! Cut to (‘radically orthodox’?) CB picking the most pathetic, broken down, ‘real’ little Christmas tree instead of a glitzy, ‘fake,’ aluminum tree in an attempt to enthuse Christmas with some authenticity. However, CB’s tree is so lame and wimpy it won’t host even a single decoration without collapsing and CB sulks away even more dejected (just what is it that can transubstantiate a ‘tree’ into a “Christmas tree?”). Cut to my lovely wife telling me to stop talking thru the whole movie and let the kids enjoy themselves without my didactic pontificating. Cut to Linus finally reading a traditional narrative of a baby in a manger, lowing cattle, twinkling stars, wise men, etc., that chastises and enlightens all the kids including the skeptical (rational materialist) Lucy. Then the entire kiddie community inspired by Linus’s recitation reappropriates the decorations from Snoopy’s prize winning doghouse, and with Linus’s security blanket anchoring the base of the tree, they figure out how to take and implement those profane decorations onto CB’s pathetic little tree. Angst resolved, Christmas saved, CB’s faith is restored as they all sing together “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” (***note: not to the original melody written by the morose Charles Wesley but the more upbeat version by Moses Mendelssohn’s grandson Felix, a Lutheran convert from Judaism–transitioning from ‘Tu B’Sheva’ to ‘O Tenenbaum!’). Blessed holydays all.

    Sunday, December 26, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Permalink
  25. Bud wrote:

    “We do better to simply cry out for God’s coming than to make peace with God’s absence by fixating on our celebrations, with all their traditions and trappings. … Advent … wants us to talk about God, to cry out for God, to long for God, to have literally no hope if God is not coming to us in a way exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we could every ask or think — even in our greatest liturgical calendars and celebrations.”

    my point is that this doesn’t work either. and by “work” I mean both empirically and whatever you’re advocating. both proposals are bunk. no hope but God? i would prefer to have no hope at all.

    Sunday, December 26, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Permalink
  26. kenny chmiel wrote:

    Just spent my first Christmas in Oslo, Norway. The wife and I went to the “juleGudstjeneste” (Christmas service) in the State Lutheran Church and the liturgy caused a deep sense (empirical enough?) of community and connection to the Lord and his Body, which snapped me out of my winter depression (it is really cold here and dark). Point is, Couldn’t really support “capitalism” by going to the stores for those Christmas gifts after service (like I did in America) being that that demon is chained (everything is closed) in a Socialist country. Second point is, it takes a whole society (Church and State) to fight “capitalism” if fighting “capitalism” is what we are really trying to accomplish as graced humans. Church Liturgy and Ethical State Laws Seem to have a pretty powerful effect on the people here.
    liturgy means this liturgy |ˈlitərjē|
    noun ( pl. -gies)
    1 a form or formulary according to which public religious worship, esp. Christian worship, is conducted.
    • a religious service conducted according to such a form or formulary.
    • ( the Liturgy) the Eucharistic service of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
    2 (in ancient Athens) a public office or duty performed voluntarily by a rich Athenian.
    DERIVATIVES
    liturgist noun
    ORIGIN mid 16th cent.: via French or late Latin from Greek leitourgia ‘public service, worship of the gods,’ from leitourgos ‘minister,’ from lēitos ‘public’ + -ergos ‘working.’

    Monday, December 27, 2010 at 5:32 am | Permalink
  27. Bobby Grow wrote:

    Kenny,

    Didn’t you already say this ;-)?

    Monday, December 27, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Permalink
  28. Bobby Grow wrote:

    I agree, it seems to say all is “liturgy,” is a non-starter. The fact that we can say liturgy, and folks recognize that this is typically tied to a religious (and in the West, Christian) event (per the WTM’s point) is a given.

    My point on my other comment (in the previous thread), and quoting I Cor. 10.31 was intended to communicate that it is the agent who acts; and from whence they act as already formed persons (who are still forming) that will affect one’s liturgy one way or the other. In other words, if I understood you right, Halden, this is what you were saying. That it’s not the liturgy that shapes, it’s the person’s who shape the particular liturgy that matters (like Jesus’ point to the Pharisees, “dead man’s bones”). Or, if people don’t already have the Spirit of Christ; then liturgy won’t matter. And even if they do have the Spirit of Christ, liturgy won’t do the heavy lifting that folks hope or believe it will.

    Btw, I agree with the idea of witness bearing and liturgy as well. It’s like baptism.

    Monday, December 27, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Permalink
  29. if we weren’t talking about the church’s liturgy (by supposed liturgical enthusiasts), but instead talked about the liturgy of American Capitalism to product a nationalistic-consumer subjectivity, would we really say it “has no empirical results”?

    The real problem with churchy liturgy is not in its lack of empirical results (because techno-America has great results), but in the lack of integration with life. The church’s liturgies are not integrate enough.

    Example: For Capitalist America, it’s liturgy of time (national and capitalistic, as dan noted) is integrated with the daily/hourly habit our taking out a credit-card and buying stuff (magic!), and our credit-cards are linked to our property (houses/debt), and our property is connected to education (school districts), all of which is still gridded onto socio-econo-racial neighborhoods (space).

    Why do we expect that a 1 1/2 hour liturgy can counteract (empirically) that 24/7 liturgy organizing time/space/body/subjectivity?

    Liturgy, in-itself (if there is such a thing), is not impotent. It is just that for the most part churches suck at liturgy, at integrating liturgy.

    But as for what does liturgy mean? I would say that in most cases liturgy has taken over the semantic field of “ritual” (repeated action creating/giving/expressing meaning [or at least once did for someone), and it really isn’t that confusing to know what it means.

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 7:47 am | Permalink
  30. Hill wrote:

    Riffing on this, and perhaps moving it towards something Halden might be sympathetic to, the issue may be that due to the Church’s presumed monopoly on “liturgy” and frequent invocation of a wide-ranging ex opere operato status for it (as opposed to the narrow technical meaning of ex opere operato), they are just terrible at it (I would roundly affirm this, as a Catholic). All of that being said, I take a healthy and vibrant performance of Christian liturgy as a baseline, simply because the rituals of capitalism and death cannot simply be removed without replacement (given the essentially constitutive role of ritual in human life), and so the liturgy becomes a kind of “daily bread” rather than a magical weapon.

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 8:34 am | Permalink
  31. Rick wrote:

    Bobby’s last point reminds me of this little quatrain from Rumi:

    “Come to the orchard in Spring.
    There is light and wine, and sweethearts in the pomegranate flowers.
    If you do not come, these do not matter.
    If you do come, these do not matter.”

    Isn’t it a both/and, rather than an either/or? I mean, the people who bring something to the liturgy (or to its performance, let’s say) are themselves shaped by some kind of “liturgy.” If all we mean to say is “I object to that bundle of common daily habits, practices and (er) rituals being called ‘liturgy’”–but then decide that it would be better to say that we’re talking about “ethics” instead–okay; but maybe we’re just missing the original point. To suggest that the unnamed ritual of our lives is in fact a “liturgy” is, it seems to me, all about collapsing partitions between “religious” (or “spiritual”) life and non-religious life. Is it an unwise strategy, a “non-starter”? Maybe not. It certainly seems to have started something very interesting on this thread. I hope what we’re doing is exploring it, taking seriously its claim. If it’s true (as I imagine) that liturgy won’t do the heavy lifting that we may want it to do, it seems also true that the “meditations of my heart” in the normal run of the day (shaped as they are by God knows what!) carry a significance that is on a par with the most sacred of priestly offerings we may make to God on the holy days. I don’t know if the proponent(s) intended the point as a means of foreclosing the argument (as someone suggested); but even if he did, must we respond in kind? By dismissing it?

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 8:36 am | Permalink
  32. dbarber wrote:

    so very gentile

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 9:48 am | Permalink
  33. kenny chmiel wrote:

    I think I’m confused.

    Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 5:38 am | Permalink
  34. Bobby Grow wrote:

    Kenny here’s your comment from the previous post:

    Just spent my first Christmas in Oslo, Norway. The wife and I went to the “juleGudstjeneste” (Christmas service) in the State Lutheran Church and the liturgy caused a deep sense (empirical enough?) of community and connection to the Lord and his Body, which snapped me out of my winter depression (it is really cold here and dark). Point is, Couldn’t really support “capitalism” by going to the stores for those Christmas gifts after service (like I did in America) being that that demon is chained (everything is closed) in a Socialist country. Second point is, it takes a whole society (Church and State) to fight “capitalism” if fighting “capitalism” is what we are really trying to accomplish as graced humans. Church Liturgy and Ethical State Laws Seem to have a pretty powerful effect on the people here.

    I was just sayin’ that you had already said the above (except you added the dictionary this time ;-). And you had :-).

    Happy New Year!

    Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 10:34 am | Permalink
  35. Michael wrote:

    Indeed. In fact, if some sort of weekly time threshold at which a repeated action forms someone’s life were to be discovered empirically, I suspect the “religious” rituals practiced by the majority of Western Christians would fail to register, compared to ‘working,’ ‘worrying,’ and ‘watching TV’ (or surfing the internet.) For many, even ‘time spent listening to talk radio while driving to work’ would be significantly more than total time praying or reading scripture, never mind the corporate worship usually implied by liturgy.

    Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 11:19 am | Permalink
  36. Halden wrote:

    Just asking here because I’m curious what people think: Does the difference between capitalist/nationalist ritual (which seems to work) and Christian liturgy (which doesn’t seem to work but is held up as a solution) really just boil down to an issue of quantity of exposure? that seems to be what I’m hearing here, namely that there’s just a lot MORE of the bad ritual and so we can’t expect the less pervasive Christian liturgy to have certain results.

    But isn’t that just putting “ritual” as such and Christian worship on the same immanent level? Isn’t there supposed to be something different about Christian worship? Claims about Christ being really present in the Eucharist, etc. seem to argue that there is something special, unique, about Christian liturgy and sacraments. But if the issue is simply quantity of exposure it sounds like we’re jettisoning all that.

    Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Permalink
  37. Halden wrote:

    Kenny, sorry to ignore your comment for so long. Two things:

    First, as has been noted in these conversations I by no means think that God does not “show up” in liturgy. I only think that God does so freely and in a way that is not reducible to our liturgical practices, or give them some kind of perduring mediatory status.

    Second, I think you sort of make my point for me about the formative power of liturgy vis a vis capitalism. Based solely on your description it seems to me that it is the socialist state laws and practices, not the liturgy that are really doing anything to shape the economic lives of the people in Norway. Doubtless the exact same liturgy was being performed in capitalist countries whose adherents were conducting themselves quite differently. Same liturgy, different political results.

    Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Permalink
  38. Hill wrote:

    Two things: one is a vice versus virtue issue. Since “what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do,” there is an intrinsic ease to the participation in sin and death. The way narrow way, etc.

    Second, I don’t understand the liturgy as having a one way causal relationship with righteousness. As I said before, we cannot help but ritualize our lives, and the Christian liturgy, in its various forms past, present and to come, constitute the intersection of this ritualization with God’s grace, allowing it to become something more, but as you said, not strictly due to some intrinsic dimension of the liturgy. In other words, liturgy at its best is the redemption of human ritual by God. I think there is an element of privileged particularity to certain forms in certain historical contexts, but that itself is the working of providence and can’t be prescribed in a simple way for the rest of temporality as the norm, except in a very general sense.

    Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Permalink
  39. Bobby Grow wrote:

    Rick,

    My point was really one of clarification — for me — to make sure that I was tracking with the basic contour of what Halden was getting at.

    I think your point is rather directed at Halden’s point in this post vs. anything I actually asserted (per se).

    Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Permalink
  40. Bruce Hamill wrote:

    If Hill and Geoffrey are right (and I am inclined to think so) then although christian liturgy doesn’t do the ‘heavy lifting’ sometimes attributed to it (Halden’s point) it is a ritual of attention to God’s apocalytic earth-moving. Thus it both shares something in common with the routines (liturgies) involved in visiting the mall (as ritual) and can be differentiated from them by the nature of it’s ‘object’. At least it seems that this is the case for those sacramental liturgies of attending to ‘the Word’ and participating in the Eucharist. In this case attentive expectation should be sociologically formative under the conditions of the active presence of the triune God.

    Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Permalink
  41. kenny chmiel wrote:

    To the first point, I think that you were right in both of your post’s. I agree that the idea about God being free is correct.

    The second point was a way to say that the State Church (with it’s liturgy) has been an ethical source and cultural current in the political formation of it’s “Political” Democratic Socialism. The Liturgy has cast it’s influence as a whispering Geist and therefore I believe it has done it’s lasting damage (joke) on this culture. My point is, “liturgy” is Powerful and effective to accomplish it’s job – imagination, but to stop with nice stories told in metaphors and think this can accomplish material political betterment in a State is only half of the equation. So We are in agreement about liturgy “kind of.” I think we might disagree about the role and relationship of the State with the liturgy factories (church) though. I see that a society NEED both to shape humans into the nice smelling good boys and girls which make the world a nice place. I think this was what I was saying by relating my experience of living in really nice place and taking part in a life changing liturgy. Where one ends and the other begins is anyone’s guess, but they are both deep currents of in the people here.

    Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Permalink
  42. roger flyer wrote:

    Like six packing your abs…?

    Monday, January 3, 2011 at 6:01 am | Permalink

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