Sunday, February 17, 2008

Repeat this liturgy...if you want to live.

"The higher Christian churches - where, if anywhere, I belong - come at God with an unwarranted air of professionalism, with authority and pomp, as though they knew what they were doing, as though people in themselves were an appropriate set of creatures to have dealings with God.  I often think of the set pieces of liturgy as certain words which people have successfully addressed to God without their getting killed.  In the high churches they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a strand of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger.  If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked.  But in the low churches you expect it any minute.  This is the beginning of wisdom."

- Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

dillard is crap.

Dana said...

at least sign your name when you bash an author, J.

thedesertvoice said...

This entire quote is dismissive of tradition and its formative power -- and frankly it is offensive.

She says, 'I often think of the set pieces of liturgy as certain words which people have successfully addressed to God without their getting killed.'

I often think of the set pieces of liturgy as certain words that people have sincerely addressed to God without which they wouldn't know who they were. They serve as a reminder, but more than that, they project a hope and a future.

She says she belongs to the 'higher churches', but she mocks the fact that 'people [are] in themselves... an appropriate set of creatures to have dealings with God.' If we are anything 'in ourselves', we are the image of God -- and God godself took our form in Jesus Christ.

If she did come from the 'higher churches', she didn't pay attention. She says, 'In the high churches they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a strand of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger.' What the hell is that supposed to mean?

Finally, two things: if God blasted anything we would all be, I believe, genuinely shocked, and the 'low churches' hardly have the memory to expect anything.

All of which is to say that Dillard is contrived and shallow, flowery words that don't really have much depth to them -- except for what the reader adds to the rhetoric.

Or, summed up: Dillard is crap.