Analog And Digital Worship Theology
February 23, 2018 at 10:28 pm #74675
THE CIRCULAR DANCE
It is a desire to return to love, to return to the dance, to return to the life of adoration (and the life that flows among us when we live in this state) for which we are made. Worship is the completing of the circle of love into which we have been invited by a self-revealing God. To misunderstand worship, to fail to articulate its content and themes well, is to fail to find the meaning pregnant in every spousal kiss, act of kindness, mundane chore, serendipitous glance and invigorating breath.
Everything we are, and everything we do, hinges on our conscious approach to developing a living theology of worship that takes into account the wildest gifts and deepest rifts that exist in the human consciousness – and in the creation in which we find ourselves.
If theology is approached as a systematic math equation, leading us to a true understanding of God and our place in His world, then it had better be the longest, most obtuse, most breathtaking and infinite math equation of them all! The reason we as human beings are storytelling creatures (and are drawn to stories like bees to honey), is because we innately understand that we live in a relational narrative, rather than simply living in a concise equation.
DIGITAL AND ANALOG STORIES
Theology that is digital – that is all 1’s and 0’s – makes no living sense to this generation. Digital theology is surgically precise theology. It is manifest in ways of seeing, thinking and talking about God that leave little room for error, aberration or dissonance. Something in our makeup tells us that holy mysteries, as Peterson puts it, should never be reduced to slogans or simple answers.
Analog theology, however, is filled with the hiss and the sounds of the stories in which we live. In analog recording, there is no objective, musical “perfection” with which all things line up neatly and are defined as “the perfect music.” There are options, with principles leading, guiding and ultimately shaping the music.
The stories of your life and mine are filled with the raw noise of experience, and the experience of those who have gone before us. The Bible seems to affirm that this kind of experience is not only common, but it may be at the very center of the way that God interacts with His world.
THE WORSHIP STORY HAS A HISS
Theology that is rich, strong, true, and ultimately biblical, is theology that holds in it the analog hiss – the mystery, the wonder, the pain of being a human being in a tumultuous cosmic story. Life is more like the rapids of a grand river than a static puddle. Life can be an exhilarating, wild rush in frothing waters – but it will kill you if you don’t hold on to the handles.
Theology should be enrobed in this same sense of adventure, progression, unpredictability and thrill. The best of biblical worship theology will do the same – it will not see the scriptures as cold, hard statements of steel, but rather as an Artist’s pointers toward a God that renders us speechless when in His Presence.
If worship theology will begin to take us toward envisioning the God of heaven and the earth from the foundation of expressed revelation (the Scriptures), then we had better get this straight from the top. Any journey in worship theology worth our time will be messy, wonderful, exhilarating and possibly sickening at times. Worship theology that is pristine and polished is all 1’s and 0’s – helpful for doing the math of theology, but ultimately inadequate for incarnationally living it out in the world we inhabit.
That world is full of life, death, miracles, the mundane, faith, fear, desolation and consolation.
To say it one more way, if for a moment we believe that essence of worship can be fully captured in a few slogans, scriptures or quick statements, then we had better dismiss the complexity inherent to the cosmos, or even the incomparable mystery of the Sovereign Father, Resurrected Son and Indwelling Spirit active in this very moment of your life and mine.
(excerpted from Stumbling Into Mystery: Toward A Theology Of Worship ebook)
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