aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Further reflections on church renewal

So, what would a Rompin Liturgical renewal movement embrace? Combining the best of both evangelicalism and liturgicality, I would come up with the following characteristics.

Experience and Sacrament must both be affirmed. Yes, ya gotta be saved. And that can't be scripted. The Spirit is free to awaken at his will and as the individual soul allows the light to come into her dark places. We are to call people to repentance and to an ongoing encounter with the living God. At the same time, we should not try to construct our entire experience of God out of the material in our own souls. That limits God, confines him to the chaotic furnishings of our inner machinery. Rather, we have to balance our freeform encounter with God with the regular encounters with God which he has promised us. The sacraments -- baptism, eucharist -- and the other rites -- such as confirmation and orders -- are given to us as promised encounters with God. They shape us as we need to be shaped.

We must take both the Bible and Tradition (history) seriously. The Bible is not just a beautiful book. While it is not all the same sort of thing, all of it is (in different ways) authoritative. There are facts it affirms which we should take as serious data. There are values it affirms which we should take as serious models. There are stories it offers which define us as surely as the stories our families tell define our families. On the other hand, you can't just take the Bible and a blank sheet of paper and re-create the Church of Jesus Christ. There is an organic unity to the Christian Church, a common history. You can't pick and choose which theologians you will learn from. You can't just begin at the Great Awakening, or the Reformation, or the Council of Trent, or (fill in the date). All of the Church's history must be embraced and wrestled with. The Vincentian canon (semper, ubique, et ab omnibus) must be taken seriously.

We must be accountable both for the doctrine we teach and the life/administration we practice. "Freedom of the pulpit" is not the freedom to just make it up as you go along. And there are expectations about doing the job that must be faced -- for laypersons, for clergy, for denominational leaders. Any renewal movement which is not as willing to be held accountable as to hold others accountable will lead nowhere.

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