Tag Archives: liturgy

A good and bad way to use Lent

A good and bad way to use Lent

It’s that time of year again, a time when Evangelical Christians debate whether or not it is a good thing to observe Lent. My answer to that question is always the same: it depends on what you mean by “Lent” and “observe.” Here is a short note I have sent our congregation on occasion to… Continue Reading

Liturgy as an appropriate unifier

Liturgy as an appropriate unifier

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Worship and Doctrinal Distinctives You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

God wants his people to be unified, but some doctrinal and practical matters are important enough that secondary division is necessary. Such is the case with issues such as baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the regulative principle. However, even when God’s people must separate over important matters, it is always a good thing when they… Continue Reading

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down

In many Christian traditions today is Ash Wednesday, beginning the season of Lent. Over the past several years, there has been an increasing interest in Lent within evangelical churches. It has apparently now become “hip” to add to corporate worship elements from ancient liturgical practices. Children of the Reformation have traditionally rejected Lent. In fact, eating… Continue Reading

Knowledge Without Skill

Knowledge Without Skill

Both of my children take Suzuki strings lessons, Caleb on cello and Kate on violin. Part of the Suzuki philosophy (which happens to match perfectly with our parenting philosophy) is that a parent attends the child’s lesson in its entirety, takes careful notes, and then practices each day at home with the child. In essence,… Continue Reading

Virtue Formation Through Liturgy in Our Homeschool Morning Time

Virtue Formation Through Liturgy in Our Homeschool Morning Time

  Earlier this month I had the privilege to speak at a women’s conference for ten like-minded Fort Worth churches. I spoke on family worship in the home–developing daily habits, or liturgies (which can be defined as habitual group actions), reflective of the gospel and of the church’s worship in order to cultivate Christlikeness in… Continue Reading

Stop inviting God to your worship

Stop inviting God to your worship

We hear it all the time in corporate worship services: “God, we invite you to come as we worship you.” “God, fill this place as we worship.” “God, you are welcome here. Come down as we worship you.” The motivation is, of course, noble: we want to commune with God in worship. We don’t worship… Continue Reading

Practice Makes Perfect: Culture and the Liturgies of Life

Practice Makes Perfect: Culture and the Liturgies of Life

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Practice Makes Perfect You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

So here are the primary points of my argument: Culture is the behavior of a people. The formation of certain kinds of behaviors falls squarely in the nature, purpose, and mission of churches. The cultivation of holy living necessarily involves shaping the inclinations of hearts. The heart’s inclinations are shaped through habitual practices. Liturgies are… Continue Reading

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Practice Makes Perfect You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Over the past several weeks I have been making the argument that in order to shape the behavior–the culture–of a people, we must give attention to the inclinations of their hearts, and such inclincations are shaped through habits. Let us bring this full circle. I have argued that liturgies form us because they embody beliefs… Continue Reading

Reenactment

Reenactment

This entry is part 8 of 10 in the series Practice Makes Perfect You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

We saw last week that in order to counteract the negative effects of worldly liturgies, the liturgies of our churches must be shaped by Scripture. So let us specifically consider the liturgies in Scripture for a moment. The Mosaic Law is filled with them, and these liturgies help us to see both the purpose of… Continue Reading

Corporate Worship is Formative

Corporate Worship is Formative

This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series Practice Makes Perfect You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week I mentioned that we are inevitably shaped by worldly liturgies, and so we need something to counteract this. This is where it will be useful to narrow the definition of leitourgia to how it has been used at least since the LXX as the work of the people in corporate worship. Most evangelicals… Continue Reading

Worldly Liturgies

Worldly Liturgies

This entry is part 6 of 10 in the series Practice Makes Perfect You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Our aim over the past several weeks has been to discover how Christians can cultivate higher inclinations toward what is true and good, but we must recognize that the reverse also happens—deformation of our inclinations. Again, our actions are not always the outcome of rational choices, and this is true of sinful behavior as well. Sometimes… Continue Reading

The Form of the Liturgy

The Form of the Liturgy

This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series Practice Makes Perfect You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Behavior is shaped by liturgies because, as Lewis stated, our inclinations are organized through trained habits, and habits are formed through rituals. And it is the shape of those rituals that cultivates the habits, because the form of the liturgy embodies certain values. Allow me to illustrate. Imagine a dense forest separating two cities. In… Continue Reading

A Thousand Throwaway I Love Yous

A Thousand Throwaway I Love Yous

In a healthy marriage, there are a thousand throwaway I love yous. This demands explanation, and there’s probably a better wording to make this point. But there’s also a certain rhetorical power to stating it this way, and so it stays for now. I’ll illustrate what I’m after this way. Imagine this scene: I am at… Continue Reading

The People’s Work

The People’s Work

This entry is part 4 of 10 in the series Practice Makes Perfect You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Perhaps one of the best ways to help us contemplate how behavior is shaped in the way that I have been explaining over the past several weeks is by considering the nature of behavior as we discussed it a few weeks back. I have suggested that culture is the behavior of a people. It is the ergon… Continue Reading