Friday, April 27, 2007

In Memory of Bob Webber

Today, at 6:10 p.m. Robert E. Webber left this life and his baptism is now complete. Bob was a teacher, mentor and friend. His work for Christ in this world is far reaching. He has taught so many people about the beauty and holiness of worship. He has inspired in the hearts of many a passion for God's people and a passion to lead God's people in true, vibrant, transformational worship. For those of you who don't know Bob, I will include his bio below, taken from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies website.

IWS is where my life intersects with Bob's. From the very first book I read for this degree, my life has changed, and how I do my job has changed. Bob, and the Institute has made my job infinitely more difficult, and infinitely more rewarding. A favorite saying of the students of IWS is that Bob has ruined us. We are ruined for anything other than worship that is rich with Scripture, deep in connection with the Body of all times, pregnant with escatological hope, awe-full of God's beautiful creation, joyfully Eucharistic in response to Jesus death and resurrection and wide open to the powerful wind of the Holy Spirit.

Thank you, Bob for being an instrument for God, for trusting your life to God's will, and for sharing Christ's love through your expansive and graceful work.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died - more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nore demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-35, 37-39)

Dr. Robert E. Webber was born in the Congo of missionary parents, and was raised in the Philadelphia area. He earned the Th.D. from Concordia Theological Seminary, and taught at Covenant College. From 1968 to 2000 he served as Professor of Theology at Wheaton College. He has been appointed William R. and Geraldine D. Myers Professor of Ministry at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, beginning in the fall of 2000. Bob Webber started The Institute for Worship Studies in 1993, and is noted for his "Renew Your Worship!" Workshops across North America. He is the author of numerous books in worship and worship renewal, including Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail, Worship Is a Verb and Worship Old and New. He served as editor of the seven-volume The Complete Library of Christian Worship (Hendrickson, 1993). Among his latest books are Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for Postmodern World (Baker, 1999) and The Younger Evangelicals: Facing the Challenge of the New World (Baker, 2002).

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Approved... sort of

So, yesterday I received the official approval of my thesis proposal from Dr. Borchert after I made a couple of changes. I was going to post the new version on the web page, but for reasons I'm about to explain, I'm going to wait for yet another revision. Last night I had a long conversation with my senior pastor about the project. He and his wife (both equally brilliant scholars and good friends) both took the proposal apart and asked for even more clarification before I proceed with the project. It was painful to go through their comments and realize that I still have a lot of work to do before I do the actual work. But, it was also quite a relief in a sense because knowing that if I do this hard job of really refining and focusing my number 1 goal, then the whole project will be more manageable and more enjoyable. Right now, looking at my original proposal, I feel a lot of fear and doubt about my ability to pull off what my proposal says I'm going to do. But, with the changes and focus that I plan to make in the next 2 days, I think I'll feel a lot better and more confident in my ability to do the job.

so, I hope to have a new proposal posted in a few days. The more work I do now, the easier it will be in the long run.

Here's one change that I'm starting to make. My original "purpose statement" is this:

The purpose of this project is to address the passive nature of our current worship services by designing services that would allow and encourage more participation by the congregation through a trained worship planning team. Worship will therefore support the possibility of transformed lives through the congregants' participation in the act of worship.

The new one, which is still in progress but which I think is moving closer to the really refined and focused goal of the project is this:

The purpose of this project is to explore the connection between participatory worship and transformation in the lives of the congregants. Does participatory worship create more fertile opportunity for God’s transformation than worship that is passive?

Well, that's where I am now...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Thesis Proposal

Ok, for those of you that are interested, you may view my Thesis Proposal here. It has been approved by my thesis adviser and I'm awaiting approval from the thesis director. As significant sections of the thesis get written I will post them on that site for your viewing pleasure. Always feel free to comment either here or in an email to me on anything that you like or dislike, suggestions or inspiration you may have. If you know of any references that you think might be helpful to me that I don't have in my bibliography please share them.

As always, your prayers are a gift and help sustain me through this process.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

First big hurdle

I almost forgot how to log on to write a post! Shame on me.

Tonight I emailed my proposal to my Thesis Directors after receiving an approval from my Thesis Adviser this morning. Yippee....

Now the real work begins.

Here's my plan - I would like to post at least 3 times a week with at least a report of how much time I'm spending on it. My posts may not be very substantive at this point, but I need to have some motivation for working on the project every day for at least an hour a day.

As soon as I figure out how to do it, I will post a link to my Proposal in case anyone wants to read it. If you do read it, I'd love your feedback.