In Nathan Chase’s recent post he links his very interesting paper on the Congolese Rite of Mass. In that paper he concludes with the comment that the solution to the lack of relevance of the liturgy to modern Americans “is not to import the Zaire Usage into the United States, but to use the principles found in its creative genius to develop a liturgical expression which speaks to today’s Americans.”
I am not entirely convinced by this claim, in part because the situations in Africa and the U.S. are different in ways that might not make the principles employed in Congo applicable to the U.S. In the former case you have a pre-Christian religious culture serving as a source of symbol and ritual to be drawn upon, while in the latter case you have an increasingly post-Christian culture in which the dominant symbols and rituals are often simply pale vestiges of Christian symbols and rituals (think of the secular celebration of Christmas, for example).
But, putting aside my doubts for the moment, I would be interested in hearing from people of things they think could or should be changed in the liturgy in order to inculturate it for America (or some cognate contemporary western society). I’m not so much interested in what you think would be a good reform, but specifically how this would be a form of inculturation. So, making the Gloria optional on Sundays in Ordinary Time might or might not be a good liturgical reform, but how would it be “a liturgical expression which speaks to today’s Americans”?