Monday, January 21, 2008

What I'm thinking about today

Worship at its core is participatory. The very basic component of worship is that of God’s action and our response. So often, worship turns into an event where a few people do a whole lot of acting and a whole lot of people watch. This would be a fundamental difference between worship and entertainment. So, why does worship seem to frequently degrade into entertainment?
Perhaps entertainment is not the right word. Perhaps that’s just the form that passive worship has taken in our time. Was the passive worship that pervaded the Christian world throughout the Middle Ages a form of entertainment? That was less about mere entertainment and more about fulfilling a supposed duty imposed by someone else. The duty or duties were not performed because it was a law. The people had been successfully convinced that these duties would buy their way out of the burning fires of damnation. Worship had become an act of propitiation. Worship was no longer an act of thanksgiving. The Christian life was no longer a Eucharistic one. And isn’t that kind of worship the very kind that had such a death grip on the people when Jesus came into our world: worship as propitiation instead of thanksgiving? There are plenty of examples in the Old Testament of worship that was full of thanksgiving. So, again worship had degraded from thanksgiving to propitiation.
In our current times, instead of worship as propitiation imposed by the Pharisees or the Roman Church, worship has degraded from thanksgiving into entertainment. The shift from thanksgiving to entertainment, just as it has been in the past, is a slow and mostly innocent process. In times past, at least, we could point with blaming fingers to certain people and/or groups of people. But, entertainment, and the cultural mentality surrounding it is much more sly and subversive. It’s much more difficult to find the problem and root it out.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I will survive... I think

Hello out there. I hope everyone hasn't given up on me. Sally, thank you for asking how I'm doing. That is such a blessing to me to know that you and others are pulling for me right now. Here's how it goes: slowly and painfully. I've come to the realization that I probably will not finish in time to graduate this June. For that to happen, I have to have everything turned into my adviser by March 1st. Unless I figure out how to stop time between now and then, I'm pretty sure I won't have it done. It doesn't help that Lent and Easter are SO. FREAKING. EARLY. THIS. YEAR!

It seems that I've spent a lot of time getting worked up over trying to accomplish this project instead of just doing the work and so I've managed to build it up in my head as this huge insurmountable task. My study times tend to involve me staring at my computer screen for long periods of time, punctuated by email checking and web surfing. In the process of psyching myself out, I've also managed to wear down my immune system, so for the first time in 15 years I've been sick. Since December 28th. I'm not exaggerating that it's been 15 years, it really has. I can't remember the last time I ran a fever, or produced this amount green gunk. I so want to have my life back.

Anyway, one day at a time, right? Today, I sent to my adviser part of Chapter 2 - 20 pages of it. Just so he can see where I am and make sure I'm on track. And, if a day goes by that I just don't have the emotional energy to work on it, then I won't and I won't beat myself up for it. Some days, even if I have 2 hours at the end of it to study, there's just nothing left inside.

so, that's how I am.

If you're at all interested, you can view what I've written so far on my google pages site. click here and then follow the link to Chapter2Jan1908.pdf.

Keep praying for me. God is faithful and just, his mercies are new every morning.