Once again I am non plussed by something that just happened to come under my eye. As ever I find it in the NYTimes, which is the only thing I read reliably, and even that I do not read completely. Hardly enough to justify the trees killed for the cause.
Anyway, I found a cool piece from last Saturday, the regular time for the "On Religion" column to appear.
(Parenthetically, this is all the Times does about religion on a regular basis, contrasted with the weekly section nearly ten times as large published in my local newspaper. But the inverse proportion is also true. The Times has ten times more actual news, so it evens out I guess.)
This past Saturday, religion editor Samuel G. Freedman wrote about Shekinah Ministries in Queens NY. It is about a rising young pastor named Din Tolbert, but what struck me was the sort of congregation he serves and leads. Go and read it, and then come back and finish this post.
Yes, I mean that. Here's the link
Done? If not the rest of this post is useless, so go and read it. Really.
hmmmm................. hmmmmm............ hmmmmm.................
Ok, are you ready?
How cool is this? An entire congregation under 25, and they do it all, and well. That's exciting, but what excited me was that their worship life is in their hands. They create the experience, shape it, lead it, do it, and the preacher is just that and only that.
They own their worship.
My generation, and those before me by several generations, partake of worship, but they rarely take part, and even more rarely take a part (though there is an equally long tradition of worshippers 'taking apart' worship services afterward.)
My tradition talks about democratic religion, but when it comes to worship we very much rely upon the experts (clergy, musicians, ushers, etc). Why this is true would take more than a simple blog post to examine. But part of me wonders whether it has to be this way, even whether it ought to be this way?
Ponder this, readers. Ask your friends to read the article and ask whether or not we in the liberal wing of the religious world should not learn from this radical experiment in spiritual trust, in faith not in technical expertise but in spiritual and moral honesty.
I know it makes me pause. Tell me how you feel. Really.