Archive for November 7th, 2009

Talking Theology

November 7, 2009

SuperStock_990-2182I learned during years of theological study that it is possible to give a “theological account” of almost anything and even make it sound cogent. Of course everything that sounds cogent is not necessarily true. In my morning paper I read the following account from a local Church. It was under the heading, “Cafe Worship”:

Cafe Worship is an interactive church service designed to engage all five senses. Instead of pews, congregants sit at round tables and interrelate through various exercises created to encourage deeper spiritual awareness. “Sometimes we forget that prayer can be more than just words”….”Prayer can be song, or it can be moving our bodies in an attitude of prayer. If you feel like you’re lacking in the ‘ability to move’ department, you can sing. If you feel like you’re lacking in the singing department, you can move. If you feel like you’re lacking in all of those departments, you can listen. Listening is also prayer”….At Cafe Worship, you’re still having a real worship service”…”but…you’re going to feel bread, and drink coffee, and look across the table into other people’s faces as people of God. It’s funny how intimate that is, to actually look someone in the eyes.”

The idea of Cafe Worship came as a response…to be inclusive toward all people.

If you’re going to have an open and inclusive theology or version of Christianity, you want your worship service to be open and inclusive as well…”

Of course, it is easy from an Orthodox perspective to view such theological accounts and worship arrangements from a self-satisfied distance. I believe myself to be fortunate that there are no ‘worship decisions’ to be made on a Sunday morning. The liturgy is the liturgy. But distractions abound – particularly within our own minds. We are all frequent customers of the “Cafe of the Mind,” in which we can judge others and generally distract ourselves either with our dissatisfaction with the past or our anxieties for the future. I could probably find a way to theologically describe such anger and worry as “worship” but it would not make it so.

Worship is communion with God in which we offer to Him all that we are and have. It is the “sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.”

On the other hand, we live in a very broken world. For most of the modern world, inherited traditions have disintegrated and those who seek God are left with no marked trails for the journey. The journey is made all the more difficult by the fact that one finds so few authentic Christians along the way. I cannot judge the lost – only myself for being less than authentic.