At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Since I'm hanging with the Calvinists I've taken an interest in some of their theological distinctives. Which is not to say that I agree with them. A Calvinist writes in defense of their minimalist worship service:

High church worship begins with alleged mystery and continues along a path of allusion wherein the true God is not directly encountered. Informed worship, on the other hand, begins with a direct encounter between God and His people through His own Word, and brings God and His people closer throughout worship by the very same means. It begins & ends with covenant clarity: I am your God, you are my people. Amen.

High church worship, by depending upon symbol, mystery and allusion, hides God and His Word behind incense, altars, confessionals, pantheons of saints, robes, colors, candles, and magic formulas. It is pure show business, keeping the true God apart from the people. High church worshippers are taught in one thousand gross and subtle ways that the God who created the world cannot be approached directly.

I'll need to mull over it a bit but my initial reaction is that I'll never be a good Calvinist. Schlissel assumes that the sensuous hides God; I assume it reveals Him. My view, I think, is more consistent with the Incarnation, according to which those who have seen the Son have seen the Father, and with the Christian concept of the afterlife, which is not purely spiritual but involves "a new heaven and a new earth." (Augustine suggests that as we "see" the souls of other people via their bodily behavior, so in heaven we shall see God through His governance of the post-Resurrection universe.)


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