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quod pro nobis traditum est

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Changing the Name

"de ecclesia et liturgia" ("on church and liturgy") has been the name of this blog for many years. The church fathers would write on various topics of theology, philosophy, etc. They would title their reflections or thoughts "de ...", or, "on/of ..." I followed that example in naming this blog years ago.

Part of the reason for coming up with the original name came from years of discussing the liturgy online. Originally, and a bit naïvely, hoping for simple discussion that would encourage the learning of and continuation of the liturgy in a church body that was abandoning in practice what I now find in reality is a logical conclusion to things abandoned 500 years ago. The idea was as the Scripture encourages, to pass on the faith to future generations. This is done best in the church's life together in the liturgy through the hearing of the Word and the reception of the blessed Eucharist. The faith is intertwined with the things of God.

As a pastor the liturgy woke me up to the faith. I had been well-versed in my faith. This comes naturally ("my") in today's Christian experience. Saying the Creed in front of people on a regular basis forced me to think more deeply on the content of the faith. Following a discipline, a ritual, as we have in the liturgy helped me to think outside of myself. This is a scary thing, especially when faith has been so internalized that one becomes unable to distinguish between the faith and one's own feelings. Faith in this thinking is seen as one's own. This, is the plight of modern Christianity, an individualized retreat from the faith. It does not happen suddenly but gradually. First the church's worship needs to become more inviting and more entertaining. Then there is no longer a distinction between the church's worship and the entertainment that is desired and received the other six days of the week. This is what I like to call, the "secular church." One loses out more and more of the substance of the faith while individually feeling better about one's own faith, even finding the faith to have value as entertainment.

Today it is no longer the culture, but the Church which has become so close to the culture, that is going on in so many directions. Discussing the liturgy only goes so far. One really cannot explain mystery and reverence and silence and hearing and prayer when the faith becomes dis-associated from the Church and her liturgy and becomes associated with the latest musical and technological trends. Yet, not to despair. The very flight from the traditional liturgy by some has made the liturgy even more distinct and relevant today, the very reason for its existence in the first place. If it is now new and different, this is a tragedy. Yet, on the other hand, it is finally able to speak clearly again.

These thoughts come by way of explanation for a change in name for this blog. A blog is made up of one's own impressions, reflections and thoughts. This reason alone is enough to change the name. I cannot speak for the whole Church on such matters as the Church and the liturgy. These are weighty topics. Yet in my own religious tradition, liturgy and its parts are relativized and dismissed with a simple rationalization of "adiaphora." Passing on the faith and de-constructionism are constantly at heads. A "tradition of reaction" develops which loses sight of the faith that the liturgy is meant to uphold for fear that the liturgy is somehow only Law. While I may have become more distant from the discussion of these matters I still believe that the faith and the liturgy and the Church are inter-connected, that discussing the liturgy in terms of the faith ought not be seen as an affront to either those who specialize in studies of Scripture or those who study dogmatics, church history, theology or any other field. The liturgy is not the only means of passing on the faith but neither is learning the faith separated from the life of the Church. The Creed is very profound but it really focuses on only two major tenets of the Church's faith, the nature of God and that of His Son. Lex orandi, lex credendi.

I no longer find it necessary to weigh on topics that are of greater value when I can use a blog to reflect on a variety of topics. This does not mean I may not address matters of church and liturgy from time to time. It is now more a matter of freeing the blog to expand on a variety of topics, mostly related to theology, philosophy, history, religion and Church.

Also, there will not be confusion with the new name, "May's Blog," that you are simply getting my reflections, impressions, and thoughts, whether they sound esoteric or simple.