Can Ritual Be Redeemed? James KA Smith Things So.

Today, I’m reflecting on this talk by author @James_KA_Smith about ritual.

So much of the contemporary church is allergic to things that feel like the all-too-quickly condemned old, dying denominational church expression:

Liturgy.

Ritual.

Habit.

Surely, our mainline denominational churches aren’t doing a good job of passing the baton forward to the next generation.  That’s a completely different discussion.

But perhaps rituals/habits are a scapegoat for something else and we’re missing out on something big in our faith?

 

james ka smith the spiritual power of habit

 

My latest ponderings on the liturgy of the contemporary Christian church experience is regarding the lack of soul and worship in the ironically claimed label – “worship” (music) portion of the church service.

Everyone acknowledges the risks of turning it into a performance / spectator activity instead of true worship.  But no one seems to be doing anything about it.

The question is: Is there something to the physical habit of picking up lyrics, and having everyone in the room singing out loud, together, as a body? Does that embodied activity of the “old” church with their dusty old hymn books actually contain something that we have thrown out in complete error and negligence?

James has a book that pitches the spiritual power of habit — It’s called: You Are What You Love.  We know habit is powerful in other areas, is it unreasonable to look at it from a faith perspective to redeem ritual?

 

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