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Sunday 5 July 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.

My book

Hi everyone

I thought I'd better spruik my book - just so that I get to break even!

The book is called The Bonds of Freedom: vows, sacraments and the formation of the Christian self. It's about a number of things:
  1. The way that making promises always implies a kind of nascent faith in the Jewish and Christian God;
  2. The way in which making a promise changes the nature of both our relationships and ourselves;
  3. The particularly powerful form of promising inscribed in Christian worship, particularly in baptism and the Eucharist.

To find out more, browse to


Hi everyone, and welcome to my new blog, Uncommon Prayers. I'm hoping to use this to get my writing going again. I feel like I'm seriously out of the habit and need to do something to remedy the situation immediately!

I hope you'll subscribe and contribute to the discussion.