Worship Study 9

Posted on 11 Mar 2011

This is the second meeting we have on the 6th Conviction “Disciplined creativity in the arts” under the ten core convictions of worship. This is in Feb 2011.

The 6th Conviction is defined as follows: Worship is enriched by artistic creativity in many genres and media, not as ends to themselves or as open-ended individual inspirations, but all disciplined by the nature of worship as a prophetic and priestly activity.

MinZhi: Whose Art? Which Church? : http://worshipsymposium.org/archive/187
MinZhi starts off the session by talking about the social problems that might arise in designing Art in church. The problem arises firstly because it is a collaboration. Yet, do we see the church as the universal body of Christ or as a local gathering of Christians? The theology of the church will shape the level of accommodation and compromise that enters into the artwork. The second issue arises from the Art system itself. Should it be representative or abstract? Should it be Art influencing the church or vice versa?

Cathy: Good Taste BAd Taste: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/good-taste-bad-taste-and-christian-taste
Cathy continue the discussion with the article about what is Christian Taste. To ensure that the team of artist can work together well and produce good work, there are four important steps.
a. There should be reasoning together
We must get people to engage themselves in the discussion. Learn “teeth without fangs”.
b. Honoring the other
There are 4 major pitfalls to avoid. Artwork that is merely artistic, merely religious, intolerant of others, or indiscriminate in nature.
c. Asking valuable questions
e.g. It is only one perspective? Is it profound enough such that we can grow into, and not grow out of? Why should we do it?
d. Consider the context
The work must fit the flow of the service, good use of tone, and address cross-cultural context.
Overall, the culture should be non-elitist (it should not be insistent on certain forms), have multiple forms, it should be okay to explain or (inversely) to criticize.

AiLian: Art that Preaches: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/art-that-preaches
AiLian shares with us from the article that Art tells us what God has done for us. They should be a vessel that points us to the creator. There are 4 points to note.
a. We should see ourselves in the gospel story.
b. Thus the art makes what is invisible visible
c. We can also recover the riches of symbols.
d. We can learn to read the images like a letter

SinLiang: Participation in Worship: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/participation-in-worship-more-than-doing/
This is Sin Liang’s summary:
One of the most oft-quoted phrases of the Second Vatican Council is “full, conscious, and active participation. Many if not most Christian denominations are struggling between contemporary vs. traditional worship style battles.
What, really, is worship participation? We conclude with some comments about how this helps us come to a new self-understanding. “Full, conscious, and active”
“Active” participation inclusion of the attitudes and silence in this list of active worship elements.
First, let’s attend to attitude. Sometimes we are not aware how our attitude affects others: if I am bored; if I am angry; if I am enthusiastic,; if I am grateful,; if I am filled with praise; if I am genuinely concerned for others when I make intercession; if I am committed to being there. All this makes a difference not only by affecting others’ participation ability, but it also affects how we are as the church, the body of Christ.
Second, let’s attend to silence. We might think of silence as a time to do nothing, to vegetate. Silence included with elements of active participation suggests otherwise. In the silence something is to happenactively. Silence, in other words, is a time to do something (pray, contemplate, encounter) and to be someone (creature still before the Creator). Ironically, the moments of silence which we build into our worship services may well become the most engaging, active participation!
“Active” participation challenges us to get involved, be engaged, do the worship service.
“Conscious” participation. As the word “conscious” implies, we are speaking here of awareness, of deliberate effort. In fact, in the very call to worship we are invited to gather and present ourselves before the Lord-ultimately to say yes to the divine activity in which we are about to engage ourselves. “Conscious” participation requires of us a surrender of ourselves to the worship event.
The real work of worship is not so much our active participation (as challenging and demanding as that may well be) as it is the work of surrendering ourselves to God’s presence and God’s action
“Full” participation. Active engagement and conscious surrender both take us beyond ourselves. Full participation, then, has to do with how God transforms us through the worship event into being more perfect members of the body of Christ.
Worship involves a bi-directional giving. We give God ourselves in praise and thanks; God gives us Godself as a share in divine life which transforms us into an ever-deepening identity as children of God.

WanLeng: Embodied Preaching: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/todd-farley-on-embodied-preaching
WanLeng reminds us from the article that what is visual speaks to us even more than words. There are 3 elements to embodied preaching. 1. God to us (We must breath life into the reading of the text, with gestures and body language. Use the space.). 2. Us to God 3. Us to each other (we express our praise to God to others around us).

We end with a discussion of our current worship environment. Our assessment is that the current environment is unfocused, disjointed and messy. A lot needs to be done for people to navigate easily and know the movement of the church. Some of the places are also bare and unfriendly. The Auditorium setting is the most conducive for worship.
With all these in mind, our action plan is to invite MinZhi to draft out the long term goals of the worship environment committee.

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