Can one who is agnostic be a church musician?
Archive for January 13th, 2010
Paul Westermeyer writes: “I have not seen a definitive document and am told there is no such thing yet available, but I assume the reports are true that you plan unilaterally to re-work the common English translations of the Ordinary of the Mass. May I express my pain?”
One of the great joys that I have experienced in my life of faith has been the ability to join with Roman Catholics and Christians of several differing traditions in occasions of worship, including ecumenical events, and to already know the words of many of the prayers and other liturgical texts. As a result of what has appeared to many Christians as a unilateral liturgical move, Presbyterian scholar of liturgy Horace Allen claimed that “the entire ecumenical liturgical conversation and dialogue is over-finished, dead, done.” While I find that sentiment somewhat premature, I do think its survival is not automatically assured any longer without serious attention and sustained reflection and conversation by those of us who remain committed to the liturgical implications of the pursuit of full, visible Christian unity.
I’m talking about those moments in the privacy of a corner couch, a daily commute, or a kitchen stove when one has no written text, no hymnal, no breviary to rely on to speak one’s thoughts in private, ritual prayer to God. Just how do everyday people without theological degrees or a liturgical library learn to pray in their every day experience?