James K.A. Smith from Calvin College writes for Duke Divinity's Faith and Leadership about how innovation requires grounding in tradition if it is going to truly flourish. The article is entitled, "Tradition for Innovation" and I guess I'm posting it because I really agree with the core of what he's saying. Here are some of his thoughts:
"The entrepreneurial independence of evangelical spirituality leaves room for all kinds of congregational startups that require little if any institutional support. Catering to increasingly specialized “niche” audiences, these startups are not beholden to liturgical forms or institutional legacies. Indeed, many proudly announce their desire to 'reinvent church.'”
"If the church is going to send out 'restorers' who engage culture for the common good, we need to recover and remember the rich imaginative practices of historic Christian worship that carry the unique story of the gospel."
Smith also describes "many ways in which the liturgical tradition nurtures and replenishes the imagination:"
"• Kneeling in confession and voicing “the things we have done and the things we have left undone …” tangibly and viscerally impresses upon us the brokenness of our world and humbles our own pretensions;
• Pledging allegiance in the Creed is a political act -- a reminder that we are citizens of a coming kingdom, curtailing our temptation to overidentify with any configuration of the earthly city;
• The rite of baptism, where the congregation vows to help raise a child alongside the parents, is just the liturgical formation we need to be a people who can support those raising children with intellectual disabilities or other special needs;
• Sitting at the Lord’s Table with the risen King, where all are invited to eat, is a tactile reminder of the just, abundant world that God longs for."
Read the whole article here
This is the quote I wish I could have tweeted but it was past the character count.
"We cannot hope to re-create the world if we are constantly reinventing “church.” Instead, we will reinvent ourselves right out of the story. Liturgical tradition is the platform for imaginative innovation."