We worship in a structured, liturgical fashion, while all around us, our culture celebrates informality, relaxation and spontaneity. We insist on defining the "marks" of the Church as oneness, holiness, and catholicity; the rest of American religion defines them (as Duane Arnold and George Fry have wryly suggested) as "upbeat music, adequate parking, a warm welcome, and a dynamic sermon."Go there.
We Canadian Anglicans share the problem of declining numbers in our churches. Anthony, my son, has been reading Dutch Sheets on new-wine and the kind of wine-skins that can hold it:
As member of an Anglican church I often think about the importance of tradition in our forms of worship. I can see richness in this tradition which I think is good. Sometimes though I think I see more of an inability to be flexible and up with the times. I see people gripping “the ways it’s been” so hard that they become convinced that they are gripping God himself when they are clearly not.Go there.
Ruth Gledhill keeps popping up in my exploriblogging. She writes for The Times. Here she reports on prayers for the Stations of the Cross at the Vatican:
At the Third Station of the Cross, where Jesus falls for the first time, Archbishop Comastri has written: “Lord, we have lost our sense of sin. Today a slick campaign of propaganda is spreading an inane apologia of evil, a senseless cult of Satan, a mindless desire for transgression, a dishonest and frivolous freedom, exalting impulsiveness, immorality and selfishness as if they were new heights of sophistication.”Now there is an example of fearless, counter-cultural, Christian leadership. Lord, have mercy on us all.
At the Fourth Station, where Jesus is helped by Simon the Cyrene to carry the cross, Pope Benedict and his followers will pray: “Lord Jesus, our affluence is making us less human, our entertainment has become a drug, a source of alienation, and our society’s incessant, tedious message is an invitation to die of selfishness.”
One of the strongest meditations warns against the attack on the family. “Today we seem to be witnessing a kind of anti-Genesis, a counter-plan, a diabolical pride aimed at eliminating the family.”
There is a moving meditation for the Eighth Station, where Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem, describing the “River of tears shed by mothers, mothers of the crucified, mothers of murderers, mothers of drug addicts, mothers of terrorists, mothers of rapists, mothers of psychopaths, but mothers all the same”.