WOW WOW WOW, did I just have my mind blown. I am no fan of liturgy, being a housechurch-loving charismatic, but man, as one arguing for the scriptures to be read in some less literal ways in places, Bill Heroman sure did just blow my mind with his post.
Behold the beginning of his genius entry:
The more Christians turn away from liturgy, the more they turn toward literality, because the less people assemble around doing things in a uniform manner, the more their group identity must depend upon saying things in a unified manner. Thus, to abandon the active rituals of worship and gathering, to some degree or another, is inevitably to move in equal measure towards the ritualization of words, whether that takes the shape of emphasizing details of doctrine, or requiring allegiance to a more carefully worded creed, or a full on verbal legalism, or a strict focus on mission statements, or requiring that certain prayers always be said with the right words and approved phrasings, or any similar pattern. These kinds of expressions seem righteous to some and peculiar to others, but the fact is that such forms of verbal uniformity are every bit as endemic to human groupiness as any traditional uniformity of liturgical custom. However, what takes this all one step further is the quixotic desire held by many “low church” Protestants to avoid thinking of themselves as “religious” or “liturgical” or “ritualistic” and so forth, which requires an alternative way to justify their increasingly mundade and repetitive speech-acts as both proper and necessary. If the human dynamics of group activity can’t be allowed to justify a modest amount of acceptance for ritual, then the required explanation is bound to contrive a divine requirement for their strain of verbal fixation, and this leads naturally to insisting on things like strict verbal interpretation, literalism, positivism, and precise definitions of words, all of which belies the true nature of what words actually are, which is tools. Eventually, instead of using words reasonably and flexibly – to refer, to allude, to describe, and to label – some social circles develop customs in which certain words serve as nothing more than tags for a collection of ideas, placeholders for concepts, which become further removed from any basis in reality.
If your appetite has been whet for more, click here to go to his blog and continue reading: http://www.billheroman.com/2014/03/a-liturgy-of-literality-uniformity-in.html
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