By Alexander Carpenter
Greetings from New York City. I am here for a week on an Arts and
Religion junket - makin' grad school pay off. On Sunday morning the
class visited the Middle Collegiate church on the Lower East Side.
(Don't worry Cliff, I'll always be a Seventh-day Darwinian. : ) If you are a pastor or have a pastor's ear, or have some say somewhere in worship, visit Middle Church's
web site. A gospel choir, a puppet show, a killer epiphany homily
on the flesh and Christ with a performance of a Baby Sugg sermon from
Toni Morrison's Beloved and a fellowship dinner all without a single praise song, alter call, or frou-frou moment.
In an Adventist world where too many leaders are trying to play
catch up to evangelical language and largeness, this growing,
inclusive arts-centered church gets worshipping God just about right. The latria of God by a church in space and time is an art and despite the
first-century golden-age myths of Christian Restorationism, the grace of God must be imagined in community or
it doesn't exist. I'll posit that excellence in the arts converts the rhetoric
of welcoming into what might be called holy atmosphere.
Photo by Cliff Goldstein
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