Thursday, 9 February 2012

but I don't like it... thoughts on inclusive worship

Teasing out some thoughts once more with regard to matters of inclusivity/ inclusion with regard to worship - more as a 'note to self for future' post.

Can a congregation ever be fully inclusive?
Is a congregation ever completely 'of one mind' in all things?

I'm inclined to think 'no' and 'no' - sometimes not for lack of trying... and sometimes for lack of trying!

I am coming to the opinion that we hang a lot on 'being inclusive' and that we hang an even heavier load on one act of worship. 
We want worship to be:
vibrant and exciting;
a place of quiet contemplation;
filled with children and young people...
or rather that the ones we have were not quite so noisy thanks;
we want symbols - candles, stones, incense: a sensory feast;
we want simplicity and none of this cluttering up the place;
a solid teaching sermon;
a place to hear our shared faith stories;
we want to be entertained...
we want to be doing the entertaining;
we want to be up close and personal to God with us...
we prefer the awesome mystery of God transcendent;
we like the sense of gathering as a community and chatting with and seeing friends;
we'd rather be left to worship in peace, and don't share the peace with me thanks very much.

All this?
All this to try to pack into one hour of worship?
No.  I don't think so.
Let's liberate that one hour in a week consisting of 168,
in a month comprised of c.730,
in a year containing c. 8 766.
Let's shoot for a variety of ways over a period of time in which we gather together to give our focus to God.  And even then:
we want worship to be a consistent experience every time...
we like to mix it up a little.

Let's be a little kinder on ourselves as folk who conduct worship and as people who are led in worship...and recognise the parodox of inclusivity:
inclusivity is not 'one size fits all';
there is no magic formula.
The annoying thing about celebrating diversity is that annoyingly, everyone has different ways/ preferences when it comes to worship.
And maybe focus less on what we're 'getting out of worship' and instead on what we're putting into it? 
Dunno, maybe could work...

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