August 12, 2013

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My "Oxford Paper" on Congregational Music Next week, with fear and trepidation, I will be presenting a paper at an academic conference on congregational music at Ripon College, one of the Anglican (ministry training) colleges of Oxford University. I confess: I'm more than excited about it, honored to have this opportuniy...and scared out of my wits! I feel a little like Bilbo Baggins, wandering out into places that are far beyond my knowledge and experience! Just to clarify, I'm not going as part of my doctoral studies, which are actually at Durham University and begin this September (long-distance, part-time). This is an academic conference on congregational music that has been convened once before (2011), and was exclusively (I think) for academics. This year, however, they wanted to involve some practitioners, and by a strange series of events (one of the conference organizers sat in a workshop I taught at Mission:Worship last November in Eastbourne), I was invited to submit a proposal to present a paper at this year's conference. After sweating over 150 words, I sent in my proposal abstract and waited a few months til the decision about which papers were chosen was announced. When I received word that my paper had been accepted, I freaked out. Then began the work of researching and writing. ------------------------- WHAT'S MY PAPER ABOUT? The sub-theme I chose (of the list of possible choices they assigned) is the following: A Futurology of Congregational Music Papers on this subtheme will offer creative, considered reflection on the future of congregational music. What new emerging shapes and forms will—or should—congregational worship music take? Will congregational song traditions become more localized, or will they be further determined by global commercial industries? What must scholars do to provide more nuanced, relevant, or critical perspectives on Christian congregational music? My paper identifies the implicit claim...
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Remembering Tragedy...Eucharistically I was on my way to breakfast with Jared Anderson when he called. "A plane has been hijacked..." When he pulled into the parking lot, we both walked briskly into the restaurant and stood transfixed, with a dozen others, on the TV screen in the waiting area. We joined the collective shock and horror of the civilized world. Most of us will never forget September 11. The question for followers of Jesus is, "How will we remember?" "Eucharistic remembrance" is what theologians call the practice of recalling tragedy through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It has several implications for the work of remembering well. Here are five: Eucharistic Remembrance means that in remembering tragedy we also remember that... 1. We have a suffering God The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is not a God who is distant from our pain. In the Old Testament, the psalmist declared that God is near the brokenhearted. In Jesus, we see that God became the brokenhearted. Jesus became a man, walked as we walk, suffered pain and rejection and loss. His cry on the cross is the cry of every human in pain: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Christ took on Himself the suffering of our world; He drank the cup to its bitter end. Why? Not so that we would not have to suffer, but so that our suffering now becomes a way of knowing Christ. He shared our suffering so that in our suffering we can know that God is with us. 2. We were enemies of God It is easy to forget that we belong in the company of sinners. We are not excluded from the rebel race that insisted on life apart from God. We treated God like our enemy. When...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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