Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hauerwas on Worship and Murder

Stanley Hauerwas (Methodist theologian at Duke, admirer of John Howard Yoder, Defender of Church, Comedian) :

One reason why we Christians argue so much about which hymn to sing, which liturgy to follow, which way to worship is that the commandments teach us to believe that bad liturgy eventually leads to bad ethics. You begin by singing some sappy, sentimental hymn, then you pray some pointless prayer, and the next thing you know you have murdered your best friend.

He might be overstating it a bit, but I knew there was justification for hating those sappy love-songs-to-Jesus.

7 comments:

Brownie said...

How can you hate love songs?

"Love one another, as I have loved you."
-J.C.

"What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?"
-Elvis Costello

"Some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs. And what's wrong with that?"
-Paul McCartney

"Love is real. Real is Love"
-John Lennon

...Peace...

Dan S said...

How can you hate love songs?

The same impersonal way in which I hate zucchini

Amy said...

I recently heard hymn writer, John Bell (also member of the Iona Community in Scotland), speak at a mennonite worship conference. He spent all afternoon having us reflect on the most awful, gut wrenching, sad and angry at God Psalms in scripture. He talked about our discomfort with reading those "I hate God and everything sucks" Psalms. Just because the Psalm doesn't come to a warm fuzzy ending doesn't mean that they don't have validity in the church. As 21st century Christians, we just want everything resolved and happy. Life's not always like that.

On the other hand, while we don't sing the schmaltzy love songs to Jesus at my church (there are members at my congregation that have promised to leave if we start projecting words to songs onto the wall instead of using the hymnals), my kids like them. They walk around singing them with passion and love for God. Childlike faith--you gotta love it. How sad that modern day Christians can't move past the infancy stage of faith in singing.

Dan S said...

Yes, I need to always temper my distaste with Jesus Love Songs with the reality that many many people seem to recieve a lot of strength from them. I was an MYF sponsor (for Mennonite High School youth for any non-Mennos listening), and the youth loved that stuff, so I also kept quiet about it to them, so as not to squash any joy.

Still, it is nice to have a heavyweight like Hauerwas on my side :)

Brownie said...

Zucchinni Rules!

mennonot said...

This quote seems to be a popular discussion starter. Brian over at the Young Anabaptist Radicals blog posted the same quote today, apparently independently.

http://young.anabaptistradicals.org/2006/11/02/right-worship/

So far, Zuchini hasn't come up, but perhaps it will yet...

Dan S said...

I lifted this quote from a Sojourners email - perhaps Brian saw the same one? Hauerwas is certainly quotable, that's for sure :)