August 20, 2016

Lost Youth

Some people involved in crafting liturgy find it difficult to accept that they are no longer young. They seek to attract the youth of today by means of the things that attracted them in their own youth. This rarely works well since few things are less attractive to the young than the fashions of their parents' youth; better to aim for the great-grandparents, as fashion tends to skip several generations before it become fashionable again. Besides which, the whole enterprise becomes a too mercantile approach to evangelism. It is not so much the church's task to give people what they want, but to equip them with what they need — not to please themselves, but to serve others. Temple said it best, that the church exists primarily for the good of those not yet its members. “Do that, and you — and the church — will live.”

—expanded from his now lost comment on Facebook about so-called contemporary worship music, most of which dates from before the intended “audience” was born, by Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG 

1 comment:

MarkBrunson said...

I think, in liturgy, we need to stop worrying so much about "crafting" and "updating" and work on explaining to our catechumens . . . and ourselves . . . what they are and mean. Aesthetically, the only thing that never goes out of fashion is the classical, so all this bright, shiny, Star-Trek-TOS vestments and hangings are pointless and illogical. Feel-good "My Buddy Jesus" contemporary hymnody, including that associated with Southern evangelical tradition (camp meeting, gospel, blah-blah) is completely emotion-based, thus transitory and non-transformative. The hymns are not there to make you feel good, or get you going, but to be worship and to focus and center you in that worship. I'm sorry, but all the hand-clapping, bouncy, folksy tunes will not do that. They may make you feel good, but they won't help change you. Enough of it. I don't even like the florid 18th-19th Century settings - sheer emotionalism. Living in south Georgia, with so many new converts coming in from the Baptist and Methodist churches, we are constantly hearing complaints about how "slow and boring" our hymns are. Rather than educating these incomers, we simply dangle camp songs in front of them to keep them entertained.