Thursday, January 15, 2009

Worship

Eugene Peterson quotes Annie Dillard in his book The Contemplative Pastor. 
Dillard says "I know only enough of God to want to worship Him by any means ready to hand....There is one church here so I go to it....It is unfashionable because it is ridiculous. How can searchers after God and seekers after beauty stomach the 'dancing bear act' that is staged in Christian churches, Protestant and Catholic alike, week after week?" Dillard, cheerfully and matter-of-factly, goes anyway. Her tour de force on worship, "An Expedition to the Pole," provides the image and rationale. "Wherever we go, to the North Pole or the church, there seems to be only one business at hand: that of finding workable compromises between the sublimity of our ideas and the absurdity of the fact of us". "Why do we people in churches seem like cheerful, brainless tourists on a packaged tour of the Absolute?...The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies' straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares: they should lash us to our pews. Explorers [to the North Pole] unmindful of 'conditions' died. Why don't similarly unprepared worshipers perish on the spot?"

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