OK, it’s almost 4:30am and I still haven’t gone to bed. However, I felt that I had to post this Hauerwas quote, which has been doing the circuit of the blogs [HT: John Barach].
One reason why we Christians argue so much about which hymn to sing, which liturgy to follow, which way to worship is that the commandments teach us to believe that bad liturgy eventually leads to bad ethics. You begin by singing some sappy, sentimental hymn, then you pray some pointless prayer, and the next thing you know you have murdered your best friend. — Stanley Hauerwas, The Truth About God: The Ten Commandments in Christian Life, p.89
Couldn’t agree more!
We don’t take the issue of liturgy anywhere near as seriously as we ought to do. I believe that the bad taste in liturgy and hymnody demonstrated by so many modern congregations should be every bit as troubling to us as their weak ethical and doctrinal standards (Dennis commented on this a while back). Beauty, goodness and truth stand or fall together. The aesthetical crimes that one witnesses in the evangelical subculture — look in the trinket or art areas of your local Christian store to get a sense of what I am referring to — are indicative of a rottenness in heart of the movement itself. The narcissistic aesthetic of much of the subculture of evangelicalism, seen in the appeal of kitsch and of art that involves little more than its own self-projections, is evidence enough of a serious departure from Christian orthodoxy.