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Protestant Paradigm for worship
http://forums.avemariaradio.net/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=62354
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Author:  FotBG [ Thu Nov 09, 2006 10:36 am ]
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I think we have to go deeper than the music. I have some things to say about music, but if I have time I'll put them in the other thread.

At the heart of Catholic and Protestant (specifically Evangelical) worship respectively there is a different understanding of divine grace. There is a different understanding of the dialogue, the 'give and take' between the Bride and the Bridegroom.

The defining focus of Evangelical worship IMHO stems from what it means to be saved - which means that grace is 'imputed' to a person. There are many congregations that teach that once you are saved, you can't get 'unsaved.' So the texts of their worship music is usually limited to "God, You're so awesome! How wonderful that You did what You did for me. Thanks for saving me. Did I mention how awesome you were?"

Along with this the homilies are often geared towards the solely evangelistic topic of getting saved and what it means to be saved. Other aspects of the relationship between God and His Church are usually a secondary focus. I'm not saying that they are not focused on or never mentioned, but they are secondary to the fact of getting saved.

Catholic worship encompasses every aspect of the relationship between God and His Church. If we look at the texts of our prayers there are aspects of primarily of sacrifice, incarnation and ecclesiology - and all this is expressed in a trinitarian format: "Through Him, with Him, in Him in the unity of the Holy Spirit all glory and honro is Yours, almighty Father..." Additionally their are other necessary aspects of contemplation, purgation, transformation, good works, repentance, conversion, penance, service, the Beatitudes, the Decalogue, etc. These aspects are integral to the relationship and so they are also expressed in the liturgy.

These aspects usually are not the focus of an Evangelical worship service (they can be, but I haven't seen it that often), so the prayers, the sermon, the interpretation of Scripture, the music, the art and environment, the spirituality can be lacking in these areas. Also the Trinitarian foundation of worship can sometimes be a little lopsided or truncated.

Author:  Nick Alexander [ Thu Nov 09, 2006 10:57 am ]
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I can't speak for Father, but I'm not sure that the paradigm that you present is the struggle that he is currently experiencing. But perhaps you mean it that an Evangelical's simple theology pervades the themes in music, that are often found in contemporary songs today.

To whit; not every song is going to cover every single aspect of the Christian life. Not every song is going to touch upon "contemplation, purgation, transformation, good works, repentance, conversion, penance, service, the Beatitudes, the Decalogue, etc." I also don't have a problem with songs that go "God, You're so awesome! How wonderful that You did what You did for me. Thanks for saving me. Did I mention how awesome you were?" as long as it's understood that it is but one part of the Christian hymnody. It is an extention of many of the Psalms (like Psalm 150) as well as many great hymns (How Great Thou Art, for example).

On that note, may I suggest that the Evangelical Community (as far as I see it), has grown a whole lot more than you have expected. Witness the phenomenal success of "The Purpose Driven Life", which touches upon those very same issues that you addressed earlier. I don't agree with everything in TPDL, mind you, but it is a huge step forward in addressing the entirity of the Christian walk, not merely if somebody is "saved" or not.

This is just one part of the new wave of Evangelicalism... incorporating social action into their beliefs. Another new wave of Evangelicalism is the current fixation on ancient liturgies, currently embraced by postmoderns.

Although, as Catholics, we do not share the doctrinal deficiencies of our Evangelical brothers, we can certainly admire how they are using their limited gifts in order to advance the Gospel (in many ways better than we do!). And although I recognize that your experiences of an evangelical church are authentic, I would say be greatly encouraged by some of the new movements within Evangelicalism. There may be some more bridges built between the two.

Author:  FotBG [ Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:38 am ]
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Quote:
I can't speak for Father, but I'm not sure that the paradigm that you present is the struggle that he is currently experiencing. But perhaps you mean it that an Evangelical's simple theology pervades the themes in music, that are often found in contemporary songs today.


Yes, but I don't know if I would call their theology simple. Truncated or oversimplified maybe, but not simple.

Quote:
To whit; not every song is going to cover every single aspect of the Christian life. Not every song is going to touch upon "contemplation, purgation, transformation, good works, repentance, conversion, penance, service, the Beatitudes, the Decalogue, etc."


True. And as I mentioned parenthetically, I'm painting with broad brushstrokes but there are finer points where there worship is more reflective of these things. Individual songs, or pastors or moments of worship that touch upon these things. In particular I can think of the song 'How Beautiful' by Twila Paris - the song touches on the themes of the mystical body of Christ, the Church and how she participates in His sacrifice. I also read an article where IIRC Christ Tomlin was working with a community that was doing an evening prayer service that started with a contemporary version of the Phos Hilaron ('O radiant Light, o sun divine...). Now these are two examples where Evangelical worship reflects the Catholic view a little more closely.

Even within those aspects of worship that are more Evengelical, I wouldn't reject those simply because of an overarching characteristic. Those elements should be incorporated into the greater whole.


Quote:
I also don't have a problem with songs that go "God, You're so awesome! How wonderful that You did what You did for me. Thanks for saving me. Did I mention how awesome you were?" as long as it's understood that it is but one part of the Christian hymnody. It is an extention of many of the Psalms (like Psalm 150) as well as many great hymns (How Great Thou Art, for example).


Indeed. I didn't intend to sound like I was belittling these songs. As a music director I have used them before. All I am saying that in a dialogue that encompasses every aspect of the 'relationship' - these songs only reflect one aspect of that relationship. Yet from what I have seen most of the Evengelical repertoire focuses on this aspect. If I look in the typical music collection published by Worshiptogether.com or Vertical or any of the other Evangelical music publishers the bulk of the repertoire is built off of this theme. The songs aren't bad. Many of them are quite good. It just doesn't reflect a balanced musical diet.


Quote:
Although, as Catholics, we do not share the doctrinal deficiencies of our Evangelical brothers, we can certainly admire how they are using their limited gifts in order to advance the Gospel (in many ways better than we do!).



Agreed. I once heard Scott Hahn say something to the effect that Protestants get an aweful lot done even with their incomplete deck of cards. Catholics on the other hand have the full deck, but we've forgotten how to use it - we're too busy fiddling around with the joker or the ace of spades.

Author:  anawim [ Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:54 am ]
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TP wrote:
Greetings,

The purpose for this post is to say that if it come down that we are to use the Roman Gradual, or have Chant at Mass, the PEOPLE will NOT be ready for it. They do not have a catholic understanding of liturgy.

This is NOT something that can be fixed with one homily or an adult ed class, but this idea of liturgy becomes who we are. It is an existential thing, not just a knowledge thing.

peace


This can be said for all aspects of the Liturgy, not just music.

However, when we started using the Novus Ordo 35+/- years ago, nobody said, 'well, they're not ready for it'. We had it foisted on us all at once, whether we like it or not. Maybe not the best way of doing things, but back then, we didn't question the decisions of the Church. We did what we were told.

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