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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Alternative worship

There is considerable interest in 'alternative worship' at present. For some, it is a potential saviour for these shrinking and ageing congregations of ours. For others, it offers a place of refuge from all that is dead and institutional about the church. But what is alternative worship? What is it 'alternative' to, exactly? And what makes it 'worship'? In an article I am currently writing for the journal Cross Purposes, I hope to show that the alternative worship movement offers the church a very mixed blessing. It's emphasis on worshipping in body (as well as mind), with the whole range of our senses engaged, is very laudible. That approach not only engages the hearts and minds of many searching souls, but it also returns to worship a genuine sense of the 'word becoming flesh' and 'dwelling among us'. Still, for all their bodily creativity and contemporary sensibility, alternative worship events are very often guilty of failing to tell a genuinely Christian story about the world, about ourselves, and about God. While such events may therefore qualify as wonderfully postmodern rituals, I will argue, their identity as acts of Christian worship are open to question.

1 comment:

  1. Great idea Gaz. Hope to contirbute soonish. Haven't read your book yet but its on my list of 'will soon.