Chapel Doesn’t Need to Be That Hard, by Pr. Ben Ball

This is a comment (# 55) posted by Pastor Ben Ball of St. Paul’s Brookfield, Illinois in response to the contextualization gobbledygook used to defend the new chapel practices at the seminary in St. Louis.

Pastor Ball did not intend this as a post. I (Pastor Rossow) have simply copied it from the comment section. It is written in the less formal style of a comment.

To help the reader understand the first paragraph below know that Pastor Ball is responding to a rhetorical question that he asked in the comment string about the use of “Latina” and “Latino” in the seminary’s document. His question was mistaken to be a non-rhetorical question. Paragraphs two and following speak for themselves.

Jason, et al.-
yes, thank you for responding, I do know that.  I was attempting to show how unfruitful an excercise it is to contextualize male Latin culture, female Latin culture, Nicaraguan, Puerto Rican, Guatemalan, Mexican (of various regions) Peruvian, Honduran etc……, where would such a thing end?  Why chapel has to be so difficult is still the unanswered question.

At our parish school we have daily chapel.  The children come from a variety of backgrounds, modern Anglo, post-modern Anglo (Anglo being the term for all white people I guess, although there are white people who are not Anglo present, but Italian, Irish, German, Czech, Slovak, Scottish etc.), plus Mexican, Nicaraguan, African American, Filipino people, etc.  Plus people who never even consider what they “are” other than Christian, because this is what we are trying to teach in the first place.  For example if you asked my daughter who is in kindergarten what she is, I guarantee you would get a blank stare in return, and she is a smart kid.

And how does chapel work?  There are hymn numbers and page numbers put up on a hymn board, and there are handouts with the Psalter printed out for chanting because we use The Lutheran Hymnal, copies of which all the literate children have and carry into chapel themselves with pages marked and ready to go.  And the Word of God is preached by the pastors- every day.  And the organ plays, and the children sing Lutheran Hymns, even TLH 260 (check that one out, it’s by a guy named Martin Luther and it isn’t in LSB).  On the Feast Days of Christ, and some other feasts, the Sacrament of the Altar is offered.  It is chapel, at a Lutheran School, with people coming from different cultures.   And members of the congregation show up to join in, and parents of the children and anyone who rolls in off the street is welcome it is at 9:00am every day.   It isn’t that hard.

Chapel – A Bible, a hymnal, a hymnboard, an organ (sometimes a piano), a preacher, the children of God gathered, the Gospel preached.  It really isn’t that difficult.

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