Wednesday, November 16, 2005

more on the emergent conversation day

Jonny has reminded me that there is some stuff that really chimes in with what we were talking about on Saturday in the introduction to his book 'Alternative Worship'. Reading his blog post sent me back to re-read it, and i wish I had done so before we went to St Albans as it's really relevant to what we were talking about. here's an excerpt:

"Alternative worship was 'post-charismatic', particularly in the determination of most groups to reject the culture of chorus singing and the worship group with worship leader. We have already noted the time lag between the musical forms (soft rock, easy listening) adopted by the charismatic renewal and the forms current in 'secular youth music'. There was a reaction against a performance-based musical idiom, in favour of one oriented to communal celebration and participation. People were also reacting against a model of the working of the Holy Spirit which stressed immediacy, spontaneity and extemporizing as the true signs of 'the Spirit moving'. The charismatic renewal contained an explicit critique of liturgical tradition as 'formal therefore unfree'. Most alternative worship groups have rejected this opposition and turned to embrace form, set prayers and liturgical patterns. Both the turn from choruses and the turn from an exclusive emphasis on 'free prayer' reflected an aesthetic and a spiritual disillusionment with these forms; a sense that they had produced a culture of banality in worship. A number of groups have retained a strong affinity with the theology of charismatic renewal, which they seek to explore within a new cultural mix."


I found that to be a helpful summary of some of the stuff we were talking about on Saturday.

I am still trying to discover, though, more groups like the one Jonny mentions at the end there - having a strong affinity with the theology of charismatic renewal but seeking to explore that within a new cultural mix. I'm sure there must be more groups out there like that - perhaps similar to us in hOME in wanting to explore the intersection of ancient/future liturgical forms whilst holding on to a charismatic spirituality - I just haven't found many yet. If that describes you, get in touch.

2 comments:

Thomas said...

I hope that our church is continually trying to keep the balance and find the richness both in ancient practices and our charismatic background, but it is really hard and we often fail in doing it, because we were brought up in the charismatic and it is just easy to slip back in to that...

James Horn said...

Although not actively doing it yet, I really feel that this is a way we should be going. Our church has (over the last year or so) been experimenting with a 'new expression of church' that has taken the form of an alternative worship evening. The trouble is that it has slipped from a visionary idea into a standard archetype - moody lighting, slightly louder music, unstructured format etc.

I have been a lead worshipper for this service but am on a break at the moment and have used this time to reflect on what we are setting out to achieve - I've always been fascinated with what you're all doing down in Oxford and have been wondering how the ethos could be reflected in what we do where we are (Coventry). I think half the problem is that people here are still aiming for some mythical worship service that we're not going to be able to provide - a sort of weekly New Wine/Soul Survivor event with amazing loud music and stirring altar-calling preaches. I just feel that we're shooting towards an unreachable target...

I've got lots of other thoughts about this but don't have time to write a coherent post now so I'll leave it - I'll be back though...