Last week’s post about a Matt Harrison presidency and what that would mean for the local parish has led to a helpful exchange between Cantor Phillip Magness of Bethany – Naperville, Illinois and BJS regular “George of Wheaton.” The exchange resulted in Magness describing how a “non-traditional Lutheran church” can be slowly and deliberately re-made into a church that practices historic Lutheranism.
The exchange began with this assertion from Magness:
December 18th, 2009 at 11:32 | #21…So “traditional” worship is not necessarily the answer. The answer is simply…..Lutheran worship. Not high church, not low church, not organ church, not radio-music church. Just Lutheran worship. The attendant details (ceremonies, music, art, vestments) may be simple or elaborate, but the piety is unmistakable. It may or may not be your actual grandfather’s church.
Then “George in Wheaton” asked for clarification.
December 18th, 2009 at 12:23 | #24#21 – Phil, I’m not sure I understand your point. This Summer I attended a service in a small LCMS church building that was apparently only recently constructed by a congregation that had begun as a mission plant some 12-15 years ago. The “sanctuary” area consisted of a modest size area with folding chairs and a platformed area at the front. There was no cross, no pulpit, and only three strange-looking plant stand-like objects that had been clustered together with a couple of candles on top which I guess was supposed to pass for an altar. Next to those was an electronic keyboard, a “rhythm section,” and three “praise team” worship leaders. Behind the “altar” was a recessed area that I assumed could be used to house a baptistry (perhaps they used a church building contractor who sold them a cookie cutter architecture that would work just as well in any run-of-the-mill evangelical congregation). Perhaps one day they even envision furnishing it with a dunk tank – who knows.
That led to Cantor Magness describing the slow, deliberate path back to Lutheran normalcy. Cantor Magness has experience with this. He has served in several different congregations where he has refined the worship to better reflect authentic Lutheranism. Here is his response to George which we offer as a primer for pastors, musicians and laity everywhere who are faced with the daunting task of reforming a parish that has lost its Lutheran soul.
December 20th, 2009 at 16:45 | #41Hi George,