500 Years of Reformation and the Gift of Ecumenism

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The Chapel of St. Ignatius; Seattle University

A Pentecostal Bishop, a Lutheran Bishop, together with the Society of Jesus, all assembled in one chapel; this is the picture of ecumenical worship. In a countercultural resistance of hegemonic paternalism, each is fully respected for embodying their faith, tradition, and culture. No one diminished by religious privilege, supremacy and dogmatism, rather celebrated and honored for the richness they bring to the table. In marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, the School of Theology and Ministry of Seattle University is endeavoring to live into the prophetic call of what ecumenism can be in the world.

Ecumenism is grounded in the principle that divisions among Christians openly contradict the will of Christ, scandalize the world, and damage the holy cause of preaching the Gospel to every creature. Pope John XXIII noted the need for ecumenism by acknowledging that, unfortunately, the entire Christian family has not yet attained visible unity in truth (Cassidy 2005). To fully understand the heartbeat of ecumenical liturgy and worship one must consider that its aim of preserving unity in essentials does not contradict or disrupt the work of each one in the church, according to the office entrusted to him, preserving proper freedom in the various forms of spiritual life and discipline (Cope 1997). The work of ecumenical gatherings is to fully acknowledge that we can be one with even in moments we are not one of; this is the full and faithful witness of the Church.

Authentic worship involves the transformation of cultural patterns that idolize the self or a particular group at the expense of wider humanity (Wilkey 2014). Cultures are not foreign countries to Christians, they are homelands that Christians are called to engage with an eye toward radical transformation. What it means in this moment for our liturgical gatherings to be impactful is that they actively engage the countercultural work of unity. True unity in worship allows for each participant to bring their whole selves to the work. Not everyone finds the ecumenical moment their home, but everyone is at home because the entire person is invited to embody their selfhood in relationship to the Divine. Always a way must be found for bringing into one’s solitary place the settled look from another’s face, for getting the quiet sanction of another’s grace to undergird the meaning of self (Thurman 1984). The light of Christ is magnified when we lift one another and celebrate the richness of our diversity.

The prophetic call of the Reformation in this sociopolitical moment is a call to the church to be her highest and most authentic self. There are more than 250 denominations or religious bodies listed in the 12th edition of the Handbook of Denominations in the United States (more in the 13th edition), and each of them offer some distinction in human relationship with the Divine and yet all are bound together in one universal mystical body of Christ. It must never be forgotten that the church is the community of God’s faithful people everywhere.

As we remember Martin Luther’s 95 theses and its import to the life of the church today, let us be mindful that human beings cannot incorporate all that we are into wholeness by ourselves. Let us remember the role of the church must be to become the place where disparate parts of our humanity can be bound together and then kept from being separated again (Spong 2001). In order for the church to accurately reflect the liberative message of the Gospel of the Christ, church must be fully reflective of the particulars of all God’s offspring, working in harmony as siblings rooted and built up in Christ Jesus.

Works Cited

Cassidy, Edward Idris. 2005. Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue. Mahwah: Paulist Press.

Cope, Michael Kinnamon and Brian E. 1997. The Ecumenical Movement: An Anthology of Key Texts and Voices. Geneva: WCC Publications.

Spong, John Shelby. 2001. A New Christianity For A New World. New York: Harper Collins.

Thurman, Howard. 1984. For the Inward Journey. Richmond, IN: Friends United Press.

Wilkey, Gláucia Vasconcelos, ed. 2014. Worship and Culture: Foreign Country or Homeland. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

 

Peace Is Possible,

+ Edward Donalson III, DMin | Director of Liturgy and Worship | Assistant Clinical Professor 

SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY AND MINISTRY | SEATTLE UNIVERSITY 901 12th Avenue,  Follow the school on social media: Facebook | Twitter |  Instagram  | YouTube | LinkedIn | Vimeo 

 

 

 

 

Worship & Liturgy Announcements

The Model Prayer

22413905284_1cfb74bc7e_oThere is a palpable energy that electrifies college campuses during the first week of school. Somehow the mystical vitality of expectation mingles with apprehension in a way that makes one aware that life happens in the tension of both. I have been watching students as they move about the campus of Seattle University to manage activities   to housing, classes, and campus life in general; all the while noting maybe for the first time that this pace is about more than those immediate issues. Students seem to be pushed forward by the urgency of now. It is this particular moment in human history that seems to be driving students away from one thing and toward another. What I am really observing is the historical context that gives meaning to movement of the people.

As I contemplate the historical context of our students, my mind naturally begins to make some comparison with the context of the followers of Jesus. Jesus, the Palestinian Jew, born under Roman occupation into the experience of poverty lived under leadership very similar to what we are experiencing in the United States now. The people of Jesus suffered under those who were able to use force; their social position no doubt gave rise to resentment and clannishness (Fromm 1966). The ruling Roman elites made up one percent of the population while the overwhelming majority of the populace lived under the system of poverty that uber-wealth creates. Caesar built towering buildings that bore his name and furnished them in gold and it is against this backdrop that Jesus began to teach.

Prayer was and is essential to Jewish faith and culture. The practice of prayer was a topic that intrigued the followers of Jesus as they sought to understand this new way of being in the world suggested by his radically subversive and transgressive teachings. His teaching on prayer would be no different, it too would be radically subversive and transgressive. On at least two occasions recorded in Matthew 6 and Luke 11, Jesus gave a model of prayer. The two accounts have some differences, but the similarities are noteworthy:

  1. Our Father
  2. Hallow Your name
  3. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
  4. Provide daily bread
  5. Forgive our debts
  6. We have forgiven debts
  7. Keep us from temptation

The message was clear: Caesar is not the source, and the Roman system (or any system) that creates the experience of poverty for so many is not righteous. Everyone should have their needs met and we should be aware of the ways we are hindering others from having their needs met. There are consequences to injustice and those consequences negatively impact the individual and the community. The core meaning of both versions of the prayer is the same: treat your neighbors and their needs as Holy, that is, by striving to fulfill their needs as if serving God (Jr. 2006).The more I think about the state of the world the more I return to the model of prayer that was taught by Jesus and realize that we have forsaken the true nature of that prayer in most of our liturgical settings. What was once a powerful text of resistance has become in many cases a vain recitation in service of empire. We live in an era of imperialist white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy where hate speech and vitriol is being normalized daily.  The vitality of the church and her return to relevance is predicated upon our decision to engage the context of these words by engaging our own context. While pondering these thoughts I approached the adult Sunday School class of my local congregation to see if we could find words that would mirror those of Jesus and articulate our own radically subversive and transgressive prayer for our world today. Here is what one Seattle congregation is praying in these challenging times. I invite you to pray along with us:

Our God, who is known by many names, we give reverence to you, thy kindom come, without empire. Provide daily bread because everyone seeks to flourish. Deliver us from predatory lending and the sins of unrestricted capitalism. Make us mindful of the ways we participated in an unjust system. Deliver us from the effects of oppression, the kindom is one, the power is universal, the glory is divine! Amen.

Peace Is Possible,

donalson signaure small

Bishop Edward Donalson, III, DMin | Director of Liturgy and Worship | Assistant Clinical Professor 

SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY AND MINISTRY | SEATTLE UNIVERSITY 901 12th Avenue, Seattle WA 98122-1090 Office (206) 296-6357  |  donalso1@seattleu.edu  www.worshipandliturgysustm.com Follow the school on social media: Facebook | Twitter |  Instagram  | YouTube | LinkedIn | Vimeo 

 

Works Cited

Fromm, Erich. 1966. You Shall Be As God’s: A Radical Interpretation of the Old Testament and its tradition. New York: Fawcett Premier.

Jr., Obery M. Hendricks. 2006. The Politics of Jesus. New York: Three Leaves Press.

 

Worship & Liturgy Announcements

A Call to the Prophets

bald-eagle-flying

As I sit here contemplating the magnitude of pain associated with the sinister act of terrorism the world experienced yesterday I am more convinced than ever that religious dialogue must reclaim its prophetic voice. Manchester may have been the site of a bombing, but what ails this society cannot be limited to a specific act or location. There is a cancerous evil eating away at the fabric of our global community. This violent lovelessness experienced as terrorism, extreme capitalism, imperialism, and a host of other social ills is fueled in part by extreme religious fundamentalism in multiple faith traditions.  Extreme fundamentalism can be identified in any religion by a fixation on specific concepts, rituals, and forms of conduct and thereby is not the sole burden of any one particular faith tradition (Soelle 2001).  I am left in my musing with a call for prophetic voices who will both decry the current state of abysmal folly and paint for us a picture of a preferable future.

My own faith tradition is full of prophets of one sort or another, but has failed miserably in its ability to remain true to the prophetic paradigm of its founder. A prophet is person who threatens culture’s power structure by holding up a mirror to its folly and showing where such folly leads (Pearce 2002). However, a true prophet does not stop there, it is their task to then forecast and proclaim an image of the future where the present impediments to human flourishing cease to be. This in the end is what Christian faith as a prophetic religion is all about—being of God, for the sake of human flourishing (Volf 2011).  Whether Christian or not, “God,” in religious consciousness, names that power which is the foundation not only of existence, but of liberation, enlightenment, and healing (Farley 1990). The prophetic voice always points people Godward.

In our churches, temples, mosques, synagogues, and other houses of worship have we truly made room for the prophetic voice? Prophets take risks and speak out in righteous indignation against society’s treatment of the poor, even risking their lives, because courage is the primary test of prophesy. In some sectors of faith communities people who mysteriously and magically call out phone numbers or tell of new cars are calling themselves prophets, but this totally misses the mark of the true prophetic voice. Prophets understand that suffering is the inevitable fate of those who stand up to the forces of hatred (Cone 2011). Suffering or not, we must stand up and we must make communities where standing up to injustice is not just the norm, but the required. A prophet and a prophetic people will speak back to the interlocking systems of our world’s politic by lifting the voices of those most marginalized by the insidious nature of imperialist white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchal norms. Each community will have to ask itself, what ways are we inviting and welcoming prophetic inspiration in our fellowship, music, teaching, preaching, and even Eucharistic moments?

Because religion in many spheres has been hijacked by hate, we who are justice-loving religious practitioners must provide prophetic insight not limited to what injustice looks like, we must engage a narrative of justice loving.  Salvation can no longer be solely the work of inward calmness or an invisible cure in the afterworld, it must engage a more just and humane here and now.  We must become godlike by entering the depths of pain and oppression and working to liberate humanity from all human evils (Hopkins 1999).  Prophetic work must focus on salvation, which is both to be saved from oppressive systems of domination and to be saved to self-love and the ethic of neighbor love. Our world is looking for prophets who will speak of an eschatological moment where the Kindom of God comes for all the wretched of the earth. The world longs for prophetic voices that recognize the DNA of our thinking, those powerful and pervasive prejudgments based on race, gender, sexuality, and religious constructs that comprise an active epistemic framework affecting what we see and how we engage the world are all bending toward new realities (Kornegay 2013).  May our houses of worship become the epicenter of prophetic declarations of goodwill and peace on earth.

Peace Is Possible,

+Donalson

 

Bishop Edward Donalson, III | Director of Liturgy and Worship | Assistant Clinical Professor
SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY AND MINISTRY | SEATTLE UNIVERSITY

Works Cited

Cone, James. 2011. The Cross and The Lynching Tree. Maryknoll: Orbis.

Farley, Wendy. 1990. Tragic Vision and Divine Compassion: A Contemporary Theodicy. Louisville: John Knox Publishing.

Hopkins, Dwight N. 1999. Introducing Black theology of Liberaton . Maryknoll: Orbis Books.

Jr., El Kornegay. 2013. A Queering of Black Theology: James Baldwin’s Blues Project and Gospel Prose. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Pearce, Joseph Clinton. 2002. The Biology of Transcendence: A Blueprint of the Human Spirit. Rochester: Park Street press.

Soelle, Dorothee. 2001. The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

Volf, Miroslav. 2011. A Pulic Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good . Grand Rapids: Brazos Press.

 

Worship & Liturgy Announcements

Graduation Reflections

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Over the course of the next few weeks seminaries and schools of theology across the nation will be holding graduations. Sending out into the world people who are academically trained as theologians and ministry practitioners, these institutions will begin preparing for a new group of eager minds to mold. I am curious as I contemplate this season of transition, whether these students have been prepared to face the challenges of ministry in our present global sociopolitical context.

Anyone who follows my work knows that I am particularly concerned with imperialist white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy and the ways in which interlocking systems of marginalization continue to collude to further disenfranchise a multitude of people. A quick glance at my work will reveal a strong cultural critique from a liberative lens, but what may not be a clear is my deep concern for tradition, legacy, and heritage. I do not hold a socially progressive lens in polarity to a deeply traditioned orientation, I see the two engaged in a sacred dance requiring each to hold tension with the other. Seminarians are graduating into a crisis that falls in the midst of that sacred tension; I fear many do not know it.

Our global community is in a time of unrest. The sociopolitical realities across the world are creating a common existential crisis. From Brexit, to the election of Donald Trump, to hyperinflation in Zimbabwe, humanity is wrestling with the very foundations of safety and human flourishing. At the same time religious education has focused its attention on preparing students for job placement after graduation. Often at the expense of deep education of the soul many seminaries are offering shallow schooling of the mind.  This education versus schooling is in my opinion held by many institutions as a binary construct that favors a false dichotomy of  head over heart.  The need for institutions to be financially sustainable has put unjust pressure on them to fill seats and sometimes the filling of seats disallows the filling of hearts.

As a Bishop and educator, I would like to invite us into a deeper exploration beyond binaries.  Here at Seattle University the faculty and staff are constantly in dialogue around how to provide students with education that is formation oriented while preparing them for real-world job placement. My own bias says that the School of Theology and Ministry is doing a stellar job of living into that tension. Nevertheless, I am deeply troubled as I take in the national landscape of religious education.

I believe viable theology has a reciprocal relationship with the community with which it interacts, and the current sociopolitical climate of the global community demands extensive education in liberation theology with a resistance edge.  The principal insight of liberation theology insists that redemption is not only the rescue of certain individuals for eternal life in another world, but the fulfillment of all humanity in the political and social realities of this world  (McFague 1987). A spirituality of resistance implies that if an oppressed people have pride in their own culture and heritage, as well as the knowledge that they are children of God, then they will not be as vulnerable to the oppressive structures, systems, and ideologies that attempt to convince them that they are nobody, and that their lives are not worth living (Douglas 1994).

The Kindom of God is neither the thesis of individual enterprise nor the antithesis of collective enterprise, but a synthesis that reconciles the truth of both (King 2015). If seminaries and schools of theology are to indeed prepare graduates to find gainful employment while building a more just and human world, it is my opinion that they must redouble their efforts and commitment to teaching through a liberation lens, in a world where so many are so broken by so few. To the class of 2017, may you indeed be empowered to live the Spirit in the world!

Peace Is Possible,

+Donalson

 

Bishop Edward Donalson, III | Director of Liturgy and Worship | Assistant Clinical Professor
SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY AND MINISTRY | SEATTLE UNIVERSITY

Works Cited

Douglas, Kelly Brown. 1994. The Black Christ. MaryKnoll: Orbis Books.

King, Martin Luther. 2015. The Radical King. Edited by Cornel West. Boston: Beacon Press.

McFague, Sallie. 1987. Models of God: Theology for an Ecological, Nuclear Age. Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

 

 

 

Worship & Liturgy Announcements

The Invitation and Danger of The Internet

Globe-in-hand

We live in a world which has been made microscopic by the advent of the internet and even more so by social media. For those of us who tweet, the vastness of our humanities has been reduced to one hundred and forty characters. People and their experience have been truncated to FaceBook statuses and Instagram posts. Much of who we are is subjected to “likes” by followers or “friends.” With the great majority, we share no actual lived experience. This is our new normal; and what it means to be “in community” has changed. Social media platforms are in some ways our new congregations.

As we think about our current worship communities in the technological age, we must be acutely aware that at any moment a snippet of our liturgy, or the full liturgy, may be captured online and shared across the world. In that moment the world will make a decision about who we are and what we represent.  Cell phones and other recording devices abound in every congregation, at all times. It would be wise to give attention to that truth as we think through our liturgical moments.

Are our liturgies capacious enough to hold and honor the diversity of a vast audience? There are questions that must be asked of all of our congregations such as; do we still sing songs that lyrically privilege whiteness on a color hierarchy?  That is not just a question for white mainline protestant churches alone. Oppression sickness has so infiltrated all of Christendom that Black, Asian, and Indigenous congregations are all steeped in hymnody that is damaging to the collective psyche.  It is internalized oppression when any group thinks the same way about themselves as the oppressor. This leads to oppression sickness that causes the oppressed to mimic the oppression of the oppressor.  The effort to mimic dominant culture has greatly infected many church traditions with classism, sexism, heteroprivilege and more. Unfortunately, inferior feeling groups often seek to make someone else more inferior (Flunder 2005). The result of this sickness is that we lack the moral tenacity and vigilance to self-critique our enculturated expressions of worship.

We must interrogate our liturgies to discover where we both portray and betray the Gospel message. I shudder to think of the microaggressions, microassualts, and micoinvalidations that our congregations may unintentionally be transmitting to the world via our social media and our other online presence. The church in our time must be very mindful of ideological hegemony. Ideological hegemony is descriptive of those systems of practices, meanings, and values which provide legitimacy to the dominant society’s institutional arrangements and interest (Yarber 2015). It is easy for us to become blind to our own insensitivity when we are not diligent in checking our own privilege and our own lenses.

The internet offers religion an opportunity to craft a new narrative. For far too many, religion has been the coping mechanism, or human response to the trauma of self-consciousness; designed to keep internal and external hysteria under control. Because of this function of religion as the security system of human life, many have been guilty of shaping God and worship after their own image (Spong 1998). We can change this limited and limiting portrayal of religion by creating liturgical moments informed by a theology which is a self-conscious awareness that all of us can be God bearers and life givers—and that our deepest religious task is to give ourselves away.

In this sense the church must itself play the role of rescuer by reaching out to those who seem to be marginalized and dispossessed.  We human beings cannot incorporate all that we are into wholeness by ourselves; we need community. The primary task of the faith community then is to assist in the creation of wholeness (Spong 2001). Our online presence then is to be the place where each person is nurtured into being. Every facet of our liturgical process, which can at any moment be captured and transmitted to the world, must be consumed with honoring the Divine by making room for all of God’s beloved community. Ask yourself today “is my worship community ready for the world?”

 

Peace Is Possible,

+Donalson

 

Bishop Edward Donalson, III | Director of Liturgy and Worship | Assistant Clinical Professor
SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY AND MINISTRY | SEATTLE UNIVERSITY

Works Cited

Flunder, Yvette A. 2005. Where the Edge Gathers: Building a Community of Radical Inclusion. Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press.

Spong, John Shelby. 2001. A New Christianity For A New World. New York: Harper Collins.

—. 1998. Why Christianity Must Change or Die. New York: HarperSanFrancisco.

Yarber, Cody J. Sanders & Angela. 2015. Microaggressions in Ministry: Confronting the Hidden Violence of Everyday Church. Louisville : Westminister John Knox Press.

 

 

 

 

Worship & Liturgy Announcements

Center for Religious Wisdom and World Affairs

Happy_Passover

 

This week Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry will convene the inaugural symposium of The Center for Religious Wisdom and World Affairs.  Everyone on campus is infused with a palpable excitement about the collaboration of faculty, students, staff, scholars and religious leaders from around world and their engagement of the subject of homelessness. The Center synthesizes three resources – civically engaged academic scholarship, faith-based action and theological education.  It seeks to help faith-based leaders and activists become more thoughtful in their social action; scholars to become more relevant in their research and attentive to practical application of their thought; and students to learn from this interchange and become smart and effective “public” theologians capable of presenting the wisdom of religious traditions to the broader community.

 

As we move into the launch of this new and innovative endeavor I am curious about whether or not our liturgies in our faith communities take seriously this idea of religious wisdom engaging world affairs?  Does the hymnody of the week speak to the news cycle of that week, while at the same time address the broad existential realities of the human condition?  Is the preaching informing a response to moral questions about the economy or military acts? If the church is a community of people bond together by their willingness to journey into the meaning and mystery of God, then should not our corporate worship experiences be directed toward the meaning of God as it relates to our present realities (Spong 2001)?  This work of engaging society in gospel values that the new center is undertaking should be a part of the work of every local congregation.

 

I believe our world would change drastically if only the wisdom found in our religious traditions was lifted to the forefront of public discourse. Postmodern culture is one where social identity is formed through mass –mediated images and where culture and economy have merged to form a single sphere (hooks 1990). The mass media dwells on and perpetuates an ethic of domination and violence because our image makers have more intimate knowledge of these realities than they have with the realities of love  (hooks 2000).  Every major religion has some teaching on self-love and neighbor love, these values alone have the potential of reshaping our world toward a more just and humane society.   If the work of the image makers was informed by a love ethic they would consider it important to think critically about the images they are creating. The shape of our culture would be completely different if religion and its values began to inform how we think and act in everyday life.

Eric Lincoln suggests that viable religion has a working reciprocity with the culture that produces it or with which it interacts (Lincoln 1984). What causes us to be a church, synagogue, mosque, or temple that is alive, vibrant, and engaged in relevant work, is our ability to present a clear message of how our spiritual tradition offers a preferable picture of society. We become prophetic as a people when we threaten culture’s power structure by holding up a mirror to its folly and showing where such folly leads (Pearce 2002). There is a need to revitalize the prophetic witness of religion in today’s culture, and endeavors such as The Center for Religious Wisdom and World Affairs are powerful answers to that call. I wonder what it would look like for our local congregations to engage the work of public witness in ways that lift gospel values to the forefront of public discourse?  How would the sociopolitical landscape of our cities, states and country be different if we took seriously the task of emphasizing in the commons the best values and norms of our various religious traditions? This week as you contemplate the liturgical life of your local community I invite you to ask these and other questions that will spur an active engagement in the betterment of the world.

 

Peace Is Possible,

+Donalson

 

Bishop Edward Donalson, III | Director of Liturgy and Worship | Assistant Clinical Professor
SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY AND MINISTRY | SEATTLE UNIVERSITY
 

Works Cited

hooks, bell. 2000. All About Love: New Visions. New York: HarperCollins.

—. 1990. Yearning: Race, Gender and Cultural Politics. Boston: South End Press.

Lincoln, C.Eric. 1984. Race, Religion, and the Continuing American Dilemma. New York: Hill and Wang.

Pearce, Joseph Clinton. 2002. The Biology of Transcendence: A Blueprint of the Human Spirit. Rochester: Park Street press.

Spong, John Shelby. 2001. A New Christianity For A New World. New York: Harper Collins.

 

 

Worship & Liturgy Announcements

Liturgies of Resistance

Liturgies of Resistance-8 5x11_CC-400px

Any liturgical moment that intentionally decenters imperialist white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy as norm and gives voices from the margins room to speak is a liturgy of resistance. Practicing Christians are identified by their involvement with the symbols of particular Christian traditions. There are many Christianities based on the many engagements with ancient text. These ways of being Christian are lived through the patterned symbolic activity that we call ritual or liturgy. It is our liturgies that embody the main theological teachings of our traditions (Empereur 2002). This is the place where the conversation begins for my upcoming course at Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry. As we consider the one set of interlocking political systems that are foundational to our nation’s politics; and we live in a political climate where so much of our populace is being impacted by the collision and/or collusion of these systems, those of us who take ecclesiology seriously must create spaces where resistance takes center stage (hooks 2004). Liturgy is about ritual; it is about holy actions. Christian liturgy is particularly a volunteer gathering of diverse people in local communities enacting a shared vision that always carries public meaning (Lathrup 1993).

Our worship gatherings are some of America’s most intense moments of ritual. Ritual provides the actions and forms through which people meet, carry out social activities, celebrate, and commemorate (Empereur 2002). In this way liturgy lends itself to be a site of prophetic resolve or resistance. I believe that the heart of the gospel is found in Jesus’ message of radical welcome; he consistently identifies with those on the margins. This message of liberation is a prophetic critique of the society which Jesus encountered as well as the world we face today. The tasks of our liturgies, then, is to empower the community of those gathered to engage the principles of Jesus message of liberation. In this way the church becomes a real, visible, embodied presence of Christ’s body in the world, i.e., the sacramental presence of God on earth as it is in Heaven (Pecknold 2010).

We live in an epoch that demands a countercultural prophetic critique of the systems of domination that threaten to hamper human flourishing. Our liturgical moments must involve the transformation of cultural patterns that idolize the self or the local group at the expense of a wider humanity, or give central place to the acquisition of wealth at the expense of the care of the earth and its poor (Wilkey 2014). Our conversation on May 30-June 2 will focus on strategies of resistance from the past and present, with an eye toward the future. Whether it be the music selection, the text for preaching, or the drama presentation in your local church context, each can be a transformative countercultural moment of resistance. Often our resistance is as simple as changing the lyrics of a hymn that excludes our siblings based on gender or that dismisses our siblings based on race. Our resistance can be as profound as changing the bread we serve at the moment of communion. Wherever we discover systems of oppression, domination, or subjugation that marginalize, disenfranchise, and alienate people from experiencing the fullness of human flourishing, the Church is called to rituals of resistance. This week ask yourself and your worship planning team in what way will our liturgy allow the suffering to speak?

Peace Is Possible,
+Donalson

Bishop Edward Donalson, III | Director of Liturgy and Worship | Assistant Clinical Professor
SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY AND MINISTRY | SEATTLE UNIVERSITY

Works Cited
Empereur, James L. 2002. Spiritual Direction and the Gay Person. New York: The Continuum Publishing Company.
hooks, bell. 2004. The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love. New York: Washington Square Press.
Lathrup, Gordon W. 1993. Holy Things. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.
Pecknold, C.C. 2010. Christianity nd Politics: A Brief Guide to History. Eugene: Cascade Books.
Wilkey, Gláucia Vasconcelos, ed. 2014. Worship and Culture: Foreign Country or Homeland. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

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