Wednesday, October 01, 2014

NuDunker Follow-Up: Worship & Submission?

Last week, the NuDunkers had a Hangout conversation around the topic of worship & authority. Unfortunately the last ten or so minutes of our chat got cut from the stream & recording, but have no fear: I am here to re-cap those lost moments for the world! First, here's the video:

The video ends during a discussion about how to call and form leaders who wield authority in worship in good and nurturing ways, and I was just about to share Monica's comment, which was:

I'm thinking about quality of worship from some of the panel comments. We have some conversations at Bethany about "good" worship. It's about as squirrely as good art. Who is able to judge good vs/bad worship. Do we just know good when we see or experience it? I agree with Dana's blog, that sometimes the best worship includes interruptions, includes the new reader that stumble over words, etc. 

Who judges whether worship is good or bad? In conversation about how to call leaders, and making space for other voices, we began to talk a little about what it might mean to call and include leaders in worship whose style or theology or culture or preference might be very different from our own. What would that mean for creating worship services or experiences with cohesive structure or theme? Whose responsibility is it to invite, to form, to hold a thing together?

Then, Brian returned to us and we realized that we weren't online anymore. Alas! So many questions, so few answers.

One piece of the conversation that has had me thinking for the last week is about the authorities that are always present in worship, whether explicit or assumed. I rail against external authorities attempting to assert themselves onto a communal situation, but was grateful for the reminders from my sister and brothers of the reality that we are always worshipping something, that authority and power are constant dynamics, that the question is not IF we ought to have some authority in the way we are worshipping but WHICH ONE.

And, when we start thinking like that, I start wondering which authorities are already governing our worship as people of God, which authorities we are obligingly (if unwittingly) submitting our worship and ourselves unto. So I started a list:

The Market - we talked a bit about consumeristic assumptions of worship in the Hangout.
Our Emotions
The Holy Spirit - one would hope.
Pastoral Preference
The Lectionary
Institutional Power Structures
Our Intellect
A Sense of Propriety
World Events

What else? What governs our worship? What authorities are in play when we gather together?

And, I suppose, the next question is: how do those authorities function? Do they play nice together? Are they in conflict? Which ones should we be wary of? Which ones should we work harder to submit ourselves?

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