Monthly Archives: January 2012

Desiring the Kingdom Part 2

In our last post, we looked at Jamie Smith’s presentation of the important role that liturgies, both secular and sacred, play in our lives. We spent a large portion of our time on an imaginary trip to the mall where we explored the liturgy of the market. We also attempted to grasp Smith’s anthropological description of mankind as human-as-lover that is central in his work. In this second part, we will walk through chapter 2 where Smith gives us a deeper explanation of the impact that our daily, embodied practices have on our lives. Also, we will examine chapter 3 where Smith explains the most significant liturgies in our cultural setting, which are the liturgy of the market, the liturgy of the military-entertainment complex, and the liturgy of the university.

Before we discuss liturgies, however, we must begin with practices. Humans are creatures who function in the world primarily at the level of love or desire. As such loving beings, we are creatures of habit. The habits that now make up our lives are actually the products of the thick and thin practices at work in our lives. Thin practices, according to Smith, are the mundane routines that pervade our daily existence, such as how we brush our teeth or how and when we choose to exercise. We do not often think about our thin practices, we just do them. This truth extends beyond our daily routine to other aspects of our lives. For example, the ethos of our work environment is presented in a set of thin practices. The things that we do to comply with the employee manual are designed to make us into “good” employees. Practices like the employee manual are shaping us at the unconscious level because a set of thin practices often coalesce into a more coherent set of rituals that are really formative, even if we are not aware of them.

On the other hand, we also have thick practices in our lives. These are meaningful actions we undertake in order to be transformed in their image. Practices like these carry within them a vision of the good life, and over time we begin to shape ourselves to fit this vision. Many of our thick practices come together to constitute a liturgy, and these liturgies become all encompassing and essential to our lives. Not all these liturgies are religious in a certain sense, but they do demand our ultimate allegiance or loyalty. Most of us actually lead compartmentalized lives where competing liturgies fight for our ultimate love. Smith points out that these competing liturgies form when our thin practices actually come together and form a liturgy that begins to influence us without our knowledge.

The solution to all this malformation and loyalty to the wrong kingdom is to realize that the church’s liturgy is the natural inoculation against the secular liturgies of our age. The church’s liturgy, however, has three very strong opponents in the current cultural landscape of the West. The market, the nation, and the university all want our love, our worship, and they have all gone to great lengths to ensure their dominance. Many churches, however, have not realized the significance of their worship practices as a counter-formation against the liturgies of the world.

In chapter 3, Smith discusses the three most significant liturgies in our cultural context. We have already discussed the liturgy of the mall in our first post, so there is no need to address that liturgy again. However, living in a post 9/11 world means that we have all been influenced by another strong liturgical force. A renewed form of nationalism has seen American military interest wed to the protection of global capitalism. Smith posits that the liturgy of nationalism helps cultivate a belief that violence and sacrifice are necessary goods. Surprisingly, Smith sees this liturgy at work in both blatant displays of military power, flag rituals and the ceremonies of our sporting events. He even sees this liturgy at work in the elementary classroom via the pledge of allegiance. Smith points out that the pledge functions as a creed, that is, it is a narrative that seeks to shape our lives and mold us into a certain type of people. This begs the question, are we teaching our families the creed? Are we shaping our household to be loyal servants of King Jesus, or do we really love another kingdom?

Smith identifies another competing liturgy at work in the American university system. This liturgy is somewhat different as it is not focused on the self-preservation of an institution. Rather, the liturgy of the university serves as an incubator for the market’s liturgy. It is in the university where we receive not only the information critical for our career paths, but also the formation necessary to be the type of people the market needs. The frantic pace and rigorous requirements prepare us for a life of service in corporate America. In higher education, we get our first taste of what it means to work without any hope of a Sabbath. This rigor makes us ready to participate in the liturgy of the extended work weak that places our families on the altar of sacrifice. Smith has given us three examples of alternative liturgies at work all around us. In our next post, Brian will walk us through Smith’s solution, which is a robust and energized Christian liturgy.

1. Now that we have seen the three major liturgies of our culture, can you look back and see how each of these have been at work in your formation as a person?

2. Which of these cultural liturgies do you identify as being the most influential? Do you find the emerging union of the nationalistic and market driven liturgies as problematic?

The Rev. Donnie McDaniel is a recent graduate of Southeastern Seminary and a recently ordained Deacon, but primarily he is a husband to Shannon and a father to Mackenna, Katie, and T.J. He serves in the Deacon rotation at All Saints and helps out in other areas as needed.

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The Daily Office Lectionary :: Receive daily emails with the readings! It is that easy!

This past Sunday Steve challenged us to commit to listening to words of Jesus – words that are not just powerful – but create and change and affect reality! When God said Let there be light – it happened! 

He challenged the church to follow the daily office lectionary. This way of daily Bible reading is found in the back of the Book of Common Prayer. It is a great tool given to us from the wisdom of the church and consists of an Old Testament reading, Psalm(s), New Testament reading, and a Gospel reading. The readings follow the church calendar and emphasize the themes of the liturgical seasons and thus invite us deeper into the scripture and into the life of Jesus.

If you turn to page 935 of your Book of Common Prayer you can find the daily office lectionary, but the table can be confusing to figure out what to read.

To make things really easy a couple in our church has a ministry in which they email the daily office lectionary to you each day! Mark and LIz Harbaugh have over a thousand subscribers and are passionate about providing the daily office lectionary scriptures in a way that is easy and formative. Every night at 1 am you will receive an email with the scriptures for the day after you subscribe – it is the simple! 

Click HERE to subscribe! 

 

Concerning the Daily Office Lectionary – taken from the Book of Common Prayer page 934 

The Daily Office Lectionary is arranged in a two-year cycle. Year One begins on the First Sunday of Advent preceding odd-numbered years, and Year Two begins on the First Sunday of Advent preceding even-numbered years. (Thus, on the First Sunday of Advent, 1976, the Lectionary for Year One is begun.)

Three Readings are provided for each Sunday and weekday in each of the two years. Two of the Readings may be used in the morning and one in the evening; or, if the Office is read only once in the day, all three Readings may be used. When the Office is read twice in the day, it is suggested that the Gospel Reading be used in the evening in Year One, and in the morning in Year Two. If two Readings are desired at both Offices, the Old Testament Reading for the alternate year is used as the First Reading at Evening Prayer.

When more than one Reading is used at an Office, the first is always from the Old Testament (or the Apocrypha).

When a Major Feast interrupts the sequence of Readings, they may be re-ordered by lengthening, combining, or omitting some of them, to secure continuity or avoid repitition.

Any Reading may be lengthened at discretion. Suggested lengthenings are shown in parentheses.

In this Lectionary (except in the weeks from 4 Advent to 1 Epiphany, and Palm Sunday to 2 Easter) , the Psalms are arranged in a seven-week pattern which recurs throughout the year, except for appropriate variations in Lent and Easter Season.

In the citation of the Psalms, those for the morning are given first, and then those for the evening. At the discretion of the officiant, however, any of the Psalms appointed for a given day may be used in the morning or in the evening. Likewise, Psalms appointed for any day may be used on any other day in the same week, except on major Holy Days.

Brackets and parentheses are used (brackets in the case of whole Psalms, parentheses in the case of verses) to indicate Psalms and verses of Psalms which may be omitted. In some instances, the entire portion of the Psalter assigned to a given Office has been bracketed, and alternative Psalmody provided. Those who desire to recite the Psalter in its entirety should, in each instance, use the bracketed Psalms rather than the alternatives.

Antiphons drawn from the Psalms themselves, or from the opening sentences given in the Offices, or from other passages of Scripture, may be used with the Psalms and biblical Canticles. The antiphons may be sung or said at the beginning and end of each Psalm or Canticle, or may be used as refrains after each verse or group of verses.

On Special Occasions, the officiant may select suitable Psalms and Readings.

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Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Patrick.

Patrick Kelly died early this morning at 4;10 am. Please pray for The Kelly Family!

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Patrick. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.

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Join All Saints Church on Facebook

Click HERE  to join the ALL SAINTS CHURCH Group on Facebook. Everyone is doing it.

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Desiring the Kingdom

This post will begin a three part series on James K. A. Smith’s book Desiring the Kingdom. Smith provides us with some food for thought about how both  our worship together on Sunday mornings and our activities throughout the week form our desires and habits. Today,  Rev. Donnie McDaniel provides us with an overview of the introductory chapters of the book. There are some questions at the end of the post. Join in the discussion!

Smith, James K. A. Desiring the Kingdom. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009.

What if liturgy was more important than we had ever imagined? What if, rather than just being a mundane and unimportant set of rituals, the liturgy was absolutely essential in forming us into citizens of God’s kingdom? James K. A. Smith in his Desiring the Kingdom posits precisely this vision of the liturgy. Smith writes:

The core claim of this book is that liturgies—whether ‘sacred’ or ‘secular’—shape and constitute our identities by forming our most fundamental desires and our most basic attunement to the world. In short, liturgies make us certain kinds of people, and what defines us is what we love. They do this because we are the sorts of animals whose orientation to the world is shaped from the body up more than from the head down. (25)

Smith’s belief in the liturgy’s importance arises out of his conviction that humanity is best classified as homo liturgicus. This anthropology is offered in contrast to the main conception of humanity that has dominated western thought—the human-as-thinker model (I think, therefore I am) and its popular Christian counterpart the human-as-believer model. Smith breaks down his work into two parts, and this post will deal with the introduction and chapter 1, while subsequent posts will deal with the other portions of the book. At the end of each post, there will be some engaging questions. We invite you to the conversation and would love to hear from you.

In the introduction, Smith introduces us to liturgy’s importance. He does this not by beginning with the church’s liturgy, but with a much more universal, dare we say catholic, faith—the liturgy of the market as embodied in the mall. Smith demonstrates the liturgy’s importance by making the familiar strange with his invitation us to imagine a trip to the mall. This trip, however, is couched in terms that we usually reserve for the Christian faith. The mall is a “cathedral.” The sales people are evangelists, while the cashiers serve as priests. The items we buy are icons or pictures of the good life. This is a system of salvation by shopping. While picturing the mall like this may at first feel strange, further reflection reveals that the mall does have a liturgy. The mall even has a liturgical year with its own colors. Just imagine with me, the shorts, bright shirts and flip flops of summer unwillingly yielding to the earth-tone sweaters and boots of fall. Next comes the high holy season of the mall, complete with its own series of feasts. One is clothed in orange and black. The next feast is more subdued in its coloring with rich browns and yellows. Finally, the mall’s liturgical year reaches its peak with the supreme shopping season robed in white, green and red. The holy season then blooms into spring with its pastels promising new life and the opportunity for further shopping. There are also a host of smells and sounds that accompany the sights of the mall’s year. It is a liturgical system that is aimed at all of our bodily senses, because it seeks to mold us at the deepest level of our humanity. The liturgy of the mall wants our hearts, that is, it wants our worship.

Smith claims that the secular liturgies have a better understanding of the human condition than the church, because the secular liturgies focus on humanity’s embodiment. Taking our cues from the human-as-thinker anthropology of modernity, the church formulated the human-as-believer model. But our attempt at anthropology was still truncated since it focused only on the cognitive aspects of our beliefs leaving our hearts subject to other liturgies. Smith then claims that the church’s liturgy is the best way to inoculate believers against the competing secular liturgies that are aimed at their hearts.

The author then explains how his anthropology, homo liturgicus or the human-as-lover model, works by reminding us of the community of faith’s importance. Within the church, these communal aspects occur in the Sunday liturgy. Our communal practices in turn should cultivate personal habits in us that should aim our hearts toward God’s kingdom. However, since we all inhabit multiple communities, we have competing visions of the good life. We love rival kings. Smith urges us to reflect upon the church’s liturgy and understand its transformative power as the means to resist the world’s liturgies. We will take a closer look at the world’s liturgies in our next post.

1. Have you ever participated to the mall’s liturgy? Did you realize you were participating in a worship service?

2. Have you ever considered that your liturgy may be affecting your desires and intentions?

The Rev. Donnie McDaniel is a recent graduate of Southeastern Seminary and a recently ordained Deacon, but primarily he is a husband to Shannon and a father to Mackenna, Katie, and T.J. He serves in the Deacon rotation at All Saints and helps out in other areas as needed.

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WORK PARTY TOMORROW AFTER THE 2ND SERVICE!

We need your help tomorrow after the second service!
We are having one last work party to get the new space ready for our dedication service tomorrow at 5pm
Can you come help? Bring some work clothes and we will finish up! Contact Thomas Kortus with any questions: 919-619-5007!

WE NEED YOU!

 

 

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Drink Coffee Do Good! The coffee we drink and sell at ASC

Watch a 75 second video to learn more about the coffee we drink! Click the link below!

Small Things with a Big Impact (75 Seconds)

In April 1994, Rwanda (an African country half the size of the state of Maryland) experienced one of history’s most atrocious genocides. In just 100 days, close to one million ethnic Tutsi and moderate Hutu sympathizers lost their lives to the hands of extremist Hutu militia.

The 1994 genocide that left so many innocent people either dead, orphaned, or widowed has now become a focal point of the global community. In the wake of civil war, Rwanda made a commitment to national restoration. The government called upon the church to lead the country in reconciliation and asked the outside world to support them as it looked to heal and eradicate poverty, disease, and illiteracy.

In 2001, Jonathan Golden, founder of Land of a Thousand Hills, recognized a simple and tangible opportunity to make a difference in the reconciliation of the Rwandan people. This realization led Golden to start a coffee company that pays a fair wage to the farmers of Rwanda, helps them with their basic needs, and brings a quality product to coffee lovers.

The introduction of specialty coffee to the healing fields of Rwanda proved to be an uncommon opportunity for once warring countrymen to not only rebuild their homesteads, but to work together toward lasting peace. A commitment to excellence in coffee has brought dignity and hope to a nation that history suggested would never recover.

Now, Land of a Thousand Hills has reached beyond the borders of Rwanda to bring dignity and hope to Haiti, Thailand, and other parts of the globe. We partner with farmers and local community leaders to develop the coffee into a sustainable income, pay a just Living Wage, and strive to further meet the needs of the people. When you buy Land of a Thousand Hills, you are receiving coffee that is 100% Arabica, fairly traded, and roasted fresh. Your excellent morning cup is offering hope to these developing coffee communities with each purchase.

http://landofathousandhills.com/

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