I have guest posted over on Theopolis Institute again, this time the first part of a two part series on the need to be reflective about the ways that and reasons why we use historic liturgical traditions in contemporary Christian worship.
The turn to historic liturgies among many today has been shaped by a need created by expressive individualism’s quest for authenticity. Plagued by a disquieting sense of inauthenticity amidst the simulacra of postmodern consumer culture, many in quest of traditional liturgy can be like the stereotypical hipster who seeks out ‘honest’ and ‘authentic’ vintage styles in the thrift store. Traditional liturgy can become yet another element within the culture of mutual display, a lifestyle choice, or something that we consume, to display our personal taste and liturgical refinement, socio-economic class, and ecclesiastical pedigree.
In some contexts, the appeal of the liturgies of the past may also be encouraged by their possession of an awe-inspiring dignity and grandeur that is often lacking within many of their successors. On account of their informality and eschewing of mystery in favour of conscious participation, many modern liturgies leave people feeling vulnerable to the stifling immanence of our secular age. By contrast, the solemnity and majesty of many traditional liturgies serve as a bulwark against this sense, offering, at the very least, an ersatz aesthetic transcendence.
Read the whole piece here.