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By Rev. Dr. Jim Marriot
Culture matters. Context matters. Through certain practices, we can learn to value culture. We can learn to value the uniqueness of culture that guards us from cultural elitism. We can learn to value the inherent meanings of cultural symbols that keeps us from misappropriating culture. This, as the Newsboys so eloquently taught us years ago, is truly how we learn to sing the “song of the redeemed.”
By Rev. Dr. David W. Loy
Worship is never theologically neutral. Every worship form can be analyzed in terms of its pragmatics—that is, what it seeks to accomplish. Analyzing the pragmatics of the service will uncover the theological presuppositions lurking beneath the surface of the worship form. Does the service seek to elicit a response from worshipers? This suggests one understanding of worship. Does the service aim to proclaim forgiveness? This suggests a different understanding of worship. Those who plan worship can analyze the worship forms they use to see whether the pragmatics stand up to theological scrutiny.
By Rev. Steve Zank
Leaders of congregational singing take on a meaningful but difficult role in the church. For example, they must plan services for the whole congregation while the people often disagree about which songs are meaningful/appropriate in church. While many of these disagreements are unavoidable and reflect clashing theological traditions, there is another force at work in the way songs are appropriated in the church. Namely, even though individuals come together to express their common faith in worship, worship remains the expression of distinct individuals. This phenomenon is explored through the popular worship song: "Reckless Love."
By Jon Jordening
In our common life as Christians we encourage one another as baptized brothers and sisters in Christ, to regularly join together with thankful hearts in the presence of the Triune God. Worship, as celebration, expresses the love we have for Father, Son, and Spirit. But that’s only half of the story of worship. The reason WHY we gather is the most important part –– He first loved us in his Son, Jesus!