Thursday, May 16, 2019
We just want to DO something . . .
What is interesting is not the Novus Ordo, which is rather tame and ordinary, but the idea that the people need to do something and want to do something in worship. How many goofy and destructive things have been fostered in the spirit of giving people something to do? Strangely, this principle which was behind so much of the movement to make worship more egalitarian and diverse and to give the people in the pew rights and responsibilities of leadership (time in the spotlight) has not been followed by entertainment worship. In fact, the evangelicals seem to violate every principle of participation. Their music is for entertainment purposes, led by professionals (kids, don't try this at home), replete with professional quality video and audio, on a large stage, with a pastor who preaches by entertaining using Scripture as a pretext for saying what he or she wants to say. About the only thing the people in their cushioned seats do is drink their vitamin water or Starbucks and pay for the entertainment.
We invented the ordination of women because our culture found equality to mean interchangability and was offended by the idea that a woman could not do what a man did. We invented the GLBTQ churches because we found it offensive to think that marriage of one man and one woman (clearly the Biblical norm) was the God ordained form of family or that the church should sanction this above others. We invented all sorts of roles (from lay readers to praise bands) to give our people something to do so that they would not be passive before God. And in doing so, liturgical churches struggle to keep folks while the big box non-denominational evangelicals entertain their people to death while the folks just sit there (oh, and clap and sip their drinks of choice, and pay). Could it be that our people did not want to participate? Did the reformers get it wrong? We do everything in our power to erase the mystery and make worship practical and give people a part to play and still they have not packed the pews. Could it be that we presumed a blip among boomers was the coming thing for all generations?
The only churches who have been able to hold their own in the exodus of Christians from the pews are those where distinct roles between clergy and lay are outlined, where mystery is emphasized, and where God's actions are held higher than our own in worship. We thought (even Lutherans) that the key to growth or retaining our people was giving them something to do. We were wrong. It sort of reminds me when a member revealed that his preparation for first communion was the suggestion that nothing all that important was happening, the bread was not very tasty, the wine icky, and you would feel no different after eating and drinking the Lord's Supper. Don't expect too much because nothing going on in worship is really all that important or earth shattering. Yup, that person may be correct but it is not because they have read the Word of God right or know their liturgy. And it is an easy jump from the idea that God is doing nothing to the idea that I am doing something and what I am doing is the most important thing of all.
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This horrible focus on "giving the laity something to do" is a total contradiction of what the holy and royal priesthood is actually doing in the Divine Service!
While I agree with 95% (notice the significance of 95) of what Pastor Peters says on his daily blog. I beg to differ with his opinion on the Novus Ordo Mass and greater participation of lay people in the mass. For one point, the Catholic Church prior to Vatican II was a stuffy legalistic organization, unfriendly and clergy driven. Believe me I know this from first hand experience. The directional position of the priest had nothing whatsoever to do with the exodus of believers. Vatican II may have opened the door to liberalism, but it certainly offered a breath of fresh air to a church in need of reform or renewal.
Point # 2: The Lutheran belief in the "Priesthood of ALL (emphasis added) believers". This is something that is fast disappearing from the practice of Lutherans. We appear to be heading in the same direction as Rome, let the clergy do everything?
Pastor Peters is muddying the waters in suggesting that lay participation leads to woman's ordination, and the LBGQ nonsense. These are two entirely different theological topics, having nothing to do with the Novus Ordo Mass or lay participation.
No offense Pr. Peters, just friendly dialogue.
Hi to my friend Daniel, who may (will) disagree with me on the Novus Ordo mass.
"was a stuffy legalistic organization, unfriendly and clergy driven."
And you think this is still not true today?
"let the clergy do everything"
This is a false notion of the theology of Scriptural worship in so many ways. Not unlike Luke 10 with Martha. What is greater? Did Jesus come to be served? Instead of a shepherd, a man speaking, acting in the stead of Christ serving His people, better to say, "sit down and be quiet Jesus and let me tell you things and do things." Like "Hey you shepherdman sent here by Christ, step aside and let the sheep do the leading and teaching."
And certainly, since having the laity read, lead, do (children) sermons are direct dismissals of God's Word, and if that's okay, why not women pastors and marriage is your ideas.
"Point # 2: The Lutheran belief in the "Priesthood of ALL (emphasis added) believers". This is something that is fast disappearing from the practice of Lutherans. We appear to be heading in the same direction as Rome, let the clergy do everything?"
And why do you think that having laity doing things in the chancel has anything to do with the priesthood of all believers?
You evidently really don't understand anything at all about the royal priesthood of all believers.
Oh how I break my promises....
Hi Cliff, hope all is well with you.
I agree with Pastor Peters on what he said.
The "95" was not lost on me lol. Yes, you are correct in stating that I disagree with you. As a child of the post Vatican 2 reform (I was born in 1962), all I ever knew was the Novus Ordo Missae. I didn't know any better until I attended a Traditional Mass then my world fell apart. You said, "For one point, the Catholic Church prior to Vatican II was a stuffy legalistic organization, unfriendly and clergy driven. Believe me I know this from first hand experience. The directional position of the priest had nothing whatsoever to do with the exodus of believers. Vatican II may have opened the door to liberalism, but it certainly offered a breath of fresh air to a church in need of reform or renewal. " I am not surprised that you said this as you are a Lutheran after all. I agree that there was a stuffy clericalism present in those days but, and you know this, not all the clergy was "stuffy" or "legalistic." If you are speaking from your own personal experience, there are many others who have had the opposite experience. I hate to belabor this next point, but the priest never had is back towards the people in principle. Theologically speaking both priest and laity faced the same direction of true east or liturgical east. Or both priest and laity were facing Christ in the Tabernacle which is appropriate as prayers are directed to him. Again, I'm sure you know of this explanation.
As far as "opening the door" to the laity for more participation, it had the opposite effect of declining Mass attendance and more improvisations of the liturgy. It is no wonder why people started saying that they would be attending the 10am Show rather than the 10am Mass as Mass has become a spectacle in many churches rather than the prayer that it should be.
There are a whole set of books for the Novus Ordo Missae that when followed to the T, you would think that you are at a traditional Mass. The problem is that these books offer many "options." Many different Eucharistic Prayers, different penitential rites, etc.
Thank God we are seeing a whole new breed of priests coming out of the seminaries who are truly Catholic and Traditional. They want the traditions of the Church, the fullness of the faith and watching them celebrate both Traditional and Novus Ordo masses is inspiring.
First of all it is demeaning and treats laity like children when you feel the need to give them something to do to make them feel important or busy.
Secondly, the priesthood of all believers has nothing whatsoever to do with the particular priesthood of Word and Sacrament and Lutherans do not derive the pastoral office from the spiritual priesthood of all the baptized. In addition, this priesthood is fulfilled first of all by receiving God's gifts with faith and responding with the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. It is lived out not in the chancel but in the home, family, neighborhood, workplace, community, and world. As Luther said, God does not need our good works but our neighbor does.
I should also say that the idea of egalitarianism and giving people something to do and an equal place in the spotlight certainly DID contributed to the ordination of women. Everyone knows that even if they don't want to admit it. Without Scriptural warrant, this practice comes from a false idea of equality and the foolish thought that unless everyone can do the same things, they are not equal.
Pastor Peters is right on about this.
Daniel, it is good to see you commenting on this Lutheran site. Even though we disagree on certain minor points, we both sincerely want what is God pleasing and faithful to tradition. It is good to see a younger person offer opinions on pre-Vatican II liturgy and how you arrived at those decisions. You are upfront and honest not like some who shoot from the shadows.
But I still disagree on the Novus Ordo mass, but we need to be level headed and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us. After all, it is the Lords church, not the invention of men. I attend Catholic mass on many occasions and have attended some Latin services which were quite impressive even if they appeared ancient. I am not against the old ways, just that there is value in certain modern liturgies.
So hope to hear from you again.
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