Emerging Worship: Musings On A Much-Altered Landscape

by Sally Morgenthaler
Worship leader Kirk McPherson has had a tough week.  It’s Friday, 5:30
p.m., and things are only barely coming together for Sunday morning.
If it wasn’t one staff problem, it was another.  He wonders what he
might be able to pull out of his hat by Saturday night.   Hmmm – there
are those worship sets from the retreat last fall.  He’ll take a look
at those tomorrow.   Oh, yeah – John Tyler e-mailed him yesterday;
wanted some unchurched neighbor to talk about his spiritual experience
– something about a presence in his room, a light, something entering
his body…no panic attacks or depression after that.  Nice story, but,
geesh, what would people think?  This guy isn’t a Christian.  Probably
just a bunch of new age garbage.  Better not set a precedent. Maybe one
of the teens in the youth group could give their testimony about
accepting Christ at camp …

Kirk wheels out of the church parking lot and begins his nightly
re-entry sequence.  Three miles of taupe. stacked suburbia and it’s the
exit to the interstate.  He heads up the ramp, only to find twenty
other cars ahead of him, waiting their turn to merge.   Start-stop,
start-stop.   He fumbles with his Palm Pilot, checks tomorrow’s
schedule,  logs on to his wireless e-mail.  “Hey, Brian, how about
going to the game on Sunday? “ He knows he’ll be wasted after three
services, but it’s the semi-finals, for heaven’s sakes.

He’s third in line for take-off now.  Android-like, Kirk adjusts his
headset and presses the auto-dial on his cell phone.  Hmmm, Amy must
still be in her project meeting.  Wonder if there’s anything in the
freezer worth cooking for dinner. He dials his son’s pager and leaves a
message; rings his daughter’s cell phone.   “Hey, it’s Heather…I’m
probably at Park Meadows, trying on army fatigues (laughter).  No,
seriously, if you’re cute, I really want to talk to you.  So leave your
number, OK?  Byeee….” Kirk smiles for a moment, enjoying the sound of
his thirteen year olds’ bell-like voice.  Hey, hadn’t she promised to
pay for that cell phone service six months ago?  Not a red cent of
babysitting money yet.  She probably spends it all at The Gap.  When he
was her age, he had a paper route.   Paid for a new basketball hoop,
stereo, and a Rolling Stones concert in the first three months.  Man,
times have changed.

A commercial for Taco Bell comes on the radio and he’s caught in “99
cent heart attack” land. Five minutes later he’s inching his way down
the off-ramp toward a fast-food appetizer.   No Taco Bell, but he sees
a sign for “Speedy Sushi.”   Why not?   He steps up to the counter
where two Latino teens and a sixty-something Russian immigrant greet
him with thick accents.  The service is slow.  One of the cash
registers is broken.  If there are apologies, they are unintelligible.
He settles into the minimalist black stool at the back of the seating
area (a stool too small for anyone over forty) and wonders whatever
happened to booths, old-fashioned hamburgers, and people who can
actually speak English.

He’s back in the car again.  Amy calls, her meeting got over late.
Sleepover?  What sleepover?  Oh, yeah.  Friday night, and it’s his turn
to take Heather to this weekend’s preferred slumber party.  Not good.
Pulling into the driveway, she is waiting.  No, fuming.  Not quite
Brittney Spears risqué, but too close for comfort.   Heather slumps
into the car, incommunicado.  Kirk sighs and prepares to pass her off
to yet another single-mom-plus-boyfriend combo.  “So, is this one of
your more decent friends?” he queries dryly, revving out of the
intersection.  Heather is ready for him.  “Sure, Dad. You mean decent,
as in us?  The last time Sarah was over at our house, you and mom got
into another one of your stupid fights and Mom ended up in the bedroom,
drinking that stuff she thinks we can’t smell. “

Kirk drops her off and broods all the way back home.   Yeah, he
remembered the weekend.  He’d had big plans to see a counselor the next
week, but he never did it.  Too risky.  What if the church found out?
He’d be history.  But something had to happen.  Five years of what
seemed like the same fight, over and over.  Amy’s late night trips to
the liquor store.  Sleeping on the couch. Kids more visitors than
residents.  But hey, no need to hang out your dirty laundry.  God knows
the world has enough of it, dangling like so many greasy rags on shows
like Jerry Springer and Montel; flapping like torn, soiled sheets in
the winds of every neighborhood:  the retarded girl next door, sobbing
herself to sleep after another enforced lesson in lovelessness; the
alternative crowd at the local Starbucks, brandishing tattoos, studded
tongues, pierced eyebrows, and midriffs like so many weapons against
emotional abandonment; Anglo Dad and Latino boyfriend-step-dad on the
soccer field side-lines, exchanging more than a few expletive deletives
plus racial epithets over why little Matthew’s most perfected play is
called, “sitting the bench.”

No, there’s too much of this junk out there already.  He wasn’t going
to add to the pile.  Better to look good and let people have their
illusions.  It’s the way ministry gets done.  Besides, it’s not his
fault.  Nobody bothered to prepare him for this new world, this new
universe that, at some point in the last two decades, sped past every
set of how-tos he’d ever owned; this motley collection of broken
humanity, addictions, decimated families, unanswered questions, global
fragmentation, self-constructed spiritualities, unprecedented
immigration, ubiquitous technology, and mutating worldviews.  Nobody
told him that an alien dimension was headed this way.   But it hit,
somewhere between his first youth director job in 1984 and September
11, 2001.   All he can do now is hang on, one Sunday at a time.  And
hope someone, somewhere, is developing a formula that will make sense
of it all.
The Emerging Mindset:

Waking Up in the New Millennium

If you found yourself anywhere in Kirk’s Friday afternoon, you are not
alone.  In reality, the majority of us as ministry leaders are
experiencing unprecedented disorientation.  Some years ago, we realized
that our bible college and seminary educations had not prepared us for
an America past 1960.  But now, it’s a stretch to get much past 1980.
It’s as if we’ve been asleep in entrepreneurial church-land, waking up
like religious Rip Van Winkles to an unrecognizable landscape.

Where exactly are the unchurched Harrys and Marys of targeting fame,
those atheistic hoards lacking only logical, scientific arguments for
God’s existence; ten water-tight proofs for the Resurrection?  (They
found God outside of church and are, as we speak, placing candles and
icons at some street shrine in New York.)  Where are all the
two-income, successful families without debilitating addictions,
pathologies, stepchildren, secrets, and other miscellaneous baggage?
(They don’t exist.)  Where are the confirmed optimists, the
pull-yourself-up-by–your bootstraps Americans, pressing into our
worship centers for their next how-to fix, those spiritualized lists
that we tack at the end of our sermons?  (They followed lists and rules
for a decade, and still hit the wall.  As did their kids.  So much for
lists.) We look for the squeaky-clean, trendy church market of yore.
When we find them, they are most likely inside our church systems
already, cocooned in the subcultures we customized for them a few
decades ago; reinforcing (unfortunately) our misconceptions of what the
world outside our walls is and needs.

But the rest of America has moved on and, whether we choose to
acknowledge it or not, the metamorphosis has been profound.  When the
temporary memorial to the World Trade Center victims is designed to
evoke images of the resurrection; when twenty-five percent of Internet
users surf the net for some kind of spiritual content or experience,
rest assured, we have passed into new territory. (Atheists are getting
difficult to find.) When the majority of the American adult population
is not only single, but moving rapidly toward non-white, non-European
origin, we are experiencing a brand new demography. A quarter of the
U.S. population identify themselves as something other than white
alone. (Dare we question our unwavering fixation on Caucasian, intact
families?)  And when the best selling non-fiction titles are more about
connection and collaboration than “doing it my way”; more centered on
spiritual process and journey than Spartan self-help, we are seriously
reconsidering our identities.

The Emerging Worship:
Creating Sacred Space in a Post-Humanist World

The emerging world may be fascinated with the supernatural and hungry
for mystery.  It may thrive on diversity and crave community
(everything from antique gun clubs to E-Bay chat rooms).  There is one
characteristic, however, that overshadows the rest and as such, needs
to be the beginning point for any serious re-working of corporate
worship in the new millennium:  a profound recognition of personal and
societal brokenness.   Surprise, we are neither master of our destinies
nor master of ourselves.   We are not, as we imagined mere decades ago,
one government program or one scientific discovery away from utopia.
Despite our best attempts at dissecting, categorizing, understanding,
and controlling life on this planet, we remain limited, biased, and
severely flawed.   Our knowledge is imperfect and our best motives,
narcissistic.  In postmodern nomenclature, we are imprisoned in our own
narrow agendas, obsessed with and controlled by the pursuit of power.
In biblical terms, we are depraved.  One forty-something, formerly
Catholic, unchurched male sums it up this way:  “Between Columbine
(he’s from Littleton, Colorado), September 11, the Catholic priesthood
crisis, my World.com stock, and my divorce, I’ve run out of people to
trust.  I’m a mess, the world’s a mess, we’re all a mess.  I ‘m either
going to get an addiction, a big dose of God, or both.”

What is clear is that Americans no longer believe in their ability to
construct a better tomorrow.  Progress has moved into the realm of
mythology, with the religion of human progress  – humanism –
functionally dead.  For the first time in several hundred years, we
realize that neither science, government, nor the best in homo-sapien
efforts are going to be able to put Humpty Dumpty together again.
William Langewiesche’s statement in the wake of the 2001 attacks hits
the nail on the head:  “The dread that Americans felt during the weeks
following the September 11 attacks stemmed less from the fear of death
than from a collective loss of control – a sense of being dragged
headlong into an apocalyptic future for which society seemed
unprepared.”   It is this loss of control, this long and sober stare
into our limitations that has now replaced the utopian dream.

When will the church – and, specifically, worship – rise to meet this
seismic reorientation? American culture had outgrown even our most
progressive worship practices sometime in the early 90s.  (Worship
attendance figures peaked in 1991.)  But it wasn’t until after
September 11 that many of us sat up and took notice.  Suddenly, our
enforced-happy,  “you can control your world” services could no longer
maintain the illusion of relevance.  Easy-answer,
religion-as-personal-project Christianity came up short – way short.
Sure, we scrambled for our theology 101 textbooks on September 12, went
online to download somebody else’s sermon on tragedy, dug through dusty
hymnbooks (somehow, the feel-good choruses we’d been singing for the
past decade and a half just weren’t going to fit very well with images
of jetliners slamming into buildings). But we couldn’t change years of
theological and cultural inattention in a week.  On September 16, 2001,
hundreds of thousands of the confirmed irreligious packed into our
sanctuaries. Church attendance swelled to record numbers in the first
two months after the crisis.  Not six months later, it had dropped to
pre-9/11 levels, and nine months later, it was plummeting below early
2001 numbers.  What were people looking for that they didn’t find?
Certainly, the American public is a fickle lot. Yet, when the Church is
handed such an unforeseen opportunity and fails to give people
compelling, lasting experiences of God, there is something wrong.

Truly, we know this.  We know something is wrong.   It’s as if a giant
searchlight has been switched into the “on” position, revealing worship
substance at millimeter depths; answers, embarrassingly ill begotten
and ill applied; and a narcissistic focus rivaling a multi-level
marketing convention.  We recoil at what we’re doing, but frankly don’t
know what else to do.  Service themes that sounded profound just a few
years ago now ring glib and hollow.   Praise songs on the latest CD
releases sound like so many distant sequels.  And in our private
moments, far from planning meetings and rehearsals – unspeakably bored
with what we ourselves are putting out every Sunday – we are asking,
“Where is the way forward?

1.    The Gift of Realignment
For the handful of emerging worship ministries that began grappling
with the post-humanistic, neo-supernatural shift in the mid 90s, the
way forward had much more to do with substance than with style.   To
the casual onlooker, it seemed that their odd expressions (often dubbed
“postmodern” for want of a better term) were all about dark and
intentionally dingy worship spaces, candles, incense, digitalized
Rembrandts, and unplugged, unsingable praise choruses.  Yet, for these
fledgling congregations, here is what was and remains the core of
worship:  nothing short of a Romans 1 realignment of the human heart.

In the practical, realignment means reinstating Creator-referenced,
God-focused expressions.  Emerging worship leaders see much of
contemporary worship as “self-referencing”, i.e., focused on human
perceptions, needs, feelings, and desires.  While not denying the
importance of those elements, emerging worship services strive to
engage worshipers primarily with the Person and the continuing works of
God through Jesus Christ.  It is one of the tenets of emerging
ministries that we are transformed through God’s activity in and
through us, not by what we think we need and certainly, not by
ruminating our way into better behavior.

Emerging worship experiences are anything but idealistic about the
human spirit.  They start with the assumption that our felt needs may
indeed cause us to want something, but not necessarily the Person and
Works of God.  Thus, an emerging worship experience begins in an
entirely different place than most contemporary services:  not with
what people feel their needs to be, but with Who God is, who they are,
and who they were created to become.   In the minds of emerging
ministry leaders, there is a huge difference between religious
consumers (those simply seeking to get their felt needs met) and
developing worshipers (those seeking to take an active part in the
story and ongoing activity of God).

The understanding of worship as realignment has profound effects on
worship planning.  Scores of churches  – from traditional to blended to
contemporary – organize the worship hour to culminate in what is
basically a sermonic punch line, i.e., that moment when the attendee
says, “Aha, this is what my problem is and this is how I fix it.”
Other worship elements (and they are usually limited in variety) are
supposed to function as logical stepping-stones to move people toward
that realization.  Despite the expected escort of music, situational
drama, power point, film clips, and even emotionally touching moments,
the dominant activity in most current worship models is mental.

Realignment in emerging models takes place not through carefully
presented arguments, but in placing oneself inside the ongoing
redemptive saga of God.  There, we recognize ourselves in the broken,
limited God-followers of the biblical narrative.  And in entering the
drama of their stories, we engage with the Person of God, not just the
Principles of God.  In short, we know and are known.  Having shifted
from “knowing-by-notion” to  “knowing-by-narrative,” realignment in
emerging congregations is experiential more than mental, sensory more
than read; a whole-person and whole-community immersion into the lived
and living chronicles of God.  And, necessarily, it involves movement
first and foremost toward God so that the self can be seen clearly.

What does emerging realignment look like, sound like, feel like? It is
the hushed tones of a gathering prayer – the drama of John 1: 1-5
recaptured in poetry and set to a video loop of a swirling galaxy.  It
is the hymn, “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent,” reconstituted in
electronica and brought to life with a kaleidoscopic, digital backdrop.
It is the mimed story of Jacob wrestling with God, followed by silent
reflection and the option of “drawn” prayer…worshipers sketching images
of their God-conflicts on large sheets of butcher block paper taped to
the walls.  It is reciting the Apostles’ Creed together, each
affirmation accompanied by scanned and projected “graffiti” art –
childrens’ spray-paint interpretations of Creation, Fall, Redemption,
Revelation.  It is any whole-person, experiential avenue of seeing God,
seeing oneself, and being caught up in the unfolding miracle of divine
grace.   A holy and necessary relocation – the result of worship that
is fixed first upon the character and works of the One worshiped.

2.  The Gift of Context

In a number of emerging ministries, there is an increasing desire to
craft weekly worship in an unabashedly liturgical shape:  creation,
fall, redemption in Christ, and fulfillment of the sons and daughters
of God.  Since the majority of emerging congregations have a Baptist or
some other kind of frontier, evangelical heritage, such fascination
with the elements of liturgy is an intriguing development.  Emerging
churches seem bent on righting what they see as a colossal imbalance in
the American “contemporary” church experience: the almost wholesale
rejection of anything older than we are.

It is hard to deny the imbalance exists.  How often in the past few
decades have we as contemporary ministries pretended that we have no
histories; that we are devoid of theological and ritualistic biases (as
if any church can truly be theologically neutral.)  Indeed, the coveted
identity in the 1980s and 1990s was the “denominational run-away”, the
“intentional orphan “, somehow untainted by the doctrinal melees of
past decades and centuries.  Under the microscope, our DNA may have
been unmistakably Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Church of Christ, or
Evangelical Free, but we chose not to own those chromosomes.  Instead,
we donned a non-descript wrapper: self-invented, streamlined
Christianity of the late-twentieth century; non-denominational
“start-ups” stripped of ancestral records and the forms those records
inevitably create.

In a culture of crisis, exponential change, and decimated hopes,
emerging ministries understand that root-less-ness is anything but an
asset. It just may be our biggest liability.  People are desperate for
the strong, connective fibers of shared accounts, worldviews,
experiences, and customs.  Emerging congregations not only “get” this,
but they instinctively understand that the most effective kind of
remembering doesn’t attempt to recreate or even imitate the past.  To
remember well is to re-context the past in the present; to fuse the
best of yesterday with the best of today, and in the process, birth
something entirely new.

This process goes way beyond most notions of ancient/future (adding
praise choruses, power points, and occasional video clips to existing
ancient liturgies).  Essentially, it is wholesale deconstruction – the
dismantling of a multiplicity of worship forms (both pre-Reformation
and post-Reformation)  followed by the postmodern art of pastiche:
creating something unprecedented out of the pieces at hand.  Add to
that a strong penchant for paradox (the juxtaposition of seeming
opposites) and eclecticism (the combination of seemingly distant and
unrelated elements) and you get a palette of colors that is virtually
endless.  Sacred and secular, diverse geographies and ethnicities, past
and present, celebration and lament, extreme participation and silence
– in emerging worship services, these all combine and recombine for the
express purpose of exalting God.

Radical re-contexting is the most noticeable difference between
emerging worship and other forms, including those that are blended
and/or convergence-type services.  In radical re-contexting, the order
of service may be more concurrent (several things happening at once)
than homogeneous (everyone does the same thing at a time).   For
instance, instead of the normal three-point sermon on forgiveness, the
story of Joseph may be experienced at various stations in the worship
center. In one corner, worshipers may view a patchwork, Technicolor
coat with crumpled bits of parchment pinned to the fabric – the story
of Joseph sold into slavery, read from shoulder to hem.  In another
corner, there are short, taped interviews with several of Joseph’s
brothers.  With their individual headsets, worshipers listen as each
brother justifies his actions against Joseph, the favored youngest son.
Along one wall, worshipers may walk a labyrinth charting Joseph’s
journey from his homeland into slavery, on into the highest position of
power under Pharaoh.  At each point, the worshiper gets to query, “What
was Joseph’s attitude toward God, toward his fellow human beings, and
toward his brothers?  What would I think, what would I do if I were
Joseph?”  Concurrency allows for a multiplicity of reactions,
perspectives, and applications.

Radical re-contexting also may mean borrowing elements of existing
service orders, but repackaging them in an almost unrecognizable form.
For example, the ancient liturgical act of “sending” might be used, but
instead of enacted as priestly blessing, it is an open-ended, sending
“meditation” – a visceral connection to the real world that one is
about to re-enter.  Thus, an emerging worship service might end its
service by overlaying quotes from second-century mystics on silent,
rush hour film footage – the only accompaniment, a hushed drum loop.
There are other borrowed liturgical elements that may also serve as
fodder for re-contexting.  Scripture reading(s) might be morphed into a
multi-sensory experience:  an indigenous paraphrase of the famous
“praise” Psalm 150, recited in reader’s theater format from the back of
the sanctuary to ambient music; concurrently, worshipers make
impressions of their uplifted, praising hands in walls of soft
sculpting material.  (Of course, the idea here is to save this as a
part of the worship space.)

The ancient practice of corporate confession might also be
re-configured.  For instance, the story of Peter’s denial of Jesus may
be followed by a distribution of three smooth stones to each worshiper.
Each worshiper then reflects upon his or he own experiences of denying
Christ.  As each chooses, he or she can then walk up to a central,
darkened pool of water and toss the three stones in …the sounds of
Creed’s “My Own Prison” echoing in the distance.  Others might choose
to glue their three “denial” stones into a newly constructed communion
table which the congregation will use from week to week.  Communion
itself may get a dramatic face-lift:  the Words of Institution re-cast
as poetry while a dancer enacts the events of the Last Supper.  In
another twist, a sculptor may carve the “body of Christ” into bread
loaves as a video version of the Crucifixion unfolds. (Later,
worshipers will feed each other pieces of this carved “body” as they
celebrate the Lord’s Table.)

The Gift of Particularity

The contemporary, late twentieth century church developed prototype
ministry into an art form.  (Prototype ministry:  ministry designed for
a specific cultural profile or stereotype vs. ministry designed for
actual people.) We know prototype ministry best as church
targeting…ministry oriented to the dominant people group in an area
(most usually, the people group most like the core leadership of a
congregation).  Based on the concept of affinity (grouping people
according to lifestyle, economic status, age, and ethnicity), prototype
ministry has proven helpful in jumpstarting communities where people
need the initial safety of sameness.   Unfortunately, prototype
ministry has severe limitations in establishing long-term,
self-perpetuating communities. (In sociological terms, those that are
connective across a multiplicity of affinities.) Historically, human
beings are drawn beyond homogeneity to diversity, which is why
long-standing, one-dimensional cultures are rare.   Eventually,
narrowly defined communities implode upon themselves.   (Think   George
Orwell’s, Animal Farm, and you get the picture.)

The incapability of the contemporary church to move from homogeneity to
diversity is, frankly, its biggest hindrance as it wakes up to an
exponentially diversifying culture.   Nowhere is this self-imposed
handicap more visible than in worship.  There is a numbing uniformity
to late twentieth century styled services, a predictability and
cultural incongruity rivaling any lockstep, mainline liturgy of the
mid-twentieth century.  With only a few alterations in sequence, the
contemporary liturgy (again, contemporary is not to be confused with
relevant) follows the same routine nationwide: walk-in music, an
enforced-happy welcome, vaudevillian-styled announcements, a twenty
minute praise set, special music, message, prayer, offering/song, and a
see-you-next-week dismissal.  (If it’s a service focused more on
seekers, add a drama and cut the praise singing and prayer to bare
minimum.)  Mirroring the non-descript landscape of late twentieth
century suburbia, the contemporary worship space is intentionally
generic:  off-white, bare walls; worship team outfits; visually
predominant technology (wires, screen, sound systems, monitors,
speakers, etc.); standardized power point backgrounds; and an absence
of all symbols save one:  the ubiquitous church logo.

Contrast this weekly mantra of standardization with the 2002 Winter
Olympics and one begins to glimpse how far our cutting edge churches
actually are from edge.  The Salt Lake City experience was tribalism –
a celebration of the oh-so-particular – on a grand scale.   Ute Indian
songs segued effortlessly into the strains of Sting, techno, and the
ethereal intonations of a Russian choir.  Meantime, the crowd became
the locus of the action, wielding everything from multi-colored sheets
to flashlights and glow sticks.   In the arena, skaters carved out
visual prayer on ice, their lanterns and flowing costumes weaving a
tapestry of transcendence and hope.  This was anything but generic, as
far from homogenous as a public event could possibly get.  Yet, these
world celebrations were intensely communal and unifying, a veritable
symphony of diversity played out night after night.  Here were the
stories of nations and of nations within nations being told –
musically, dramatically, visually – in all their glorious
particularity.   And, to tell the truth,  we relished the departure
from the typical Hollywood, American fare.

If there is a call to the American contemporary Church, it is a call
back to particularity:  the lost, tribal paradigm that Harrisonburg,
Virginia and Bend, Oregon have been carved out by distinct histories,
narratives, songs, and shared rituals.  Not only that, but that each
citizen of Harrisonburg and Bend has his or her own story, narrative,
song, and life ritual.  And finally, each congregation within
Harrisonburg and Bend has a singular, unique voice, tuned and shaped by
God.  This is, at bottom, an incarnational perspective:  God eternal
came into our world at a specific juncture in time, as a member of a
singular species, race, lineage, town, and gender.  Jesus was not born
as a prototype and did not minister to prototypes.  Jesus came in human
form and ministered to people in all their specificity: prostitutes,
Pharisees, lepers, centurions, tax collectors, old and young, male and
female, slave and free, rich and poor.  How can we do any less?
Ministry according to prototype is ministry stripped of personal
journey, devoid of the very placed-ness and humble descent into the now
that continues to characterize God’s ministry to us.  (See Philippians
The question must be asked, what would worship look like without the
generic wrapper? What would happen if we truly let worship experiences
emerge from the people themselves?  If we stopped trying to hit
targets, stopped trying to conform ourselves to a theoretical
demography, and simply let lived and living stories speak?  This would
be a brave move, indeed.  A move out of worship planned in cubicles to
worship planned in community; an escape from worship as music (most
often, whatever the worship music industry is dictating this month) to
worship as a whole-person, indigenous encounter with God:  visual,
aural, tactile, kinetic, emotional, and cerebral.  If we welcomed a
wild, untamable miscellany instead of a controllable facelessness, we
would allow God to surprise us more often:  an anonymous painting of
the woman anointing Jesus’ feet, wrapped in newspaper and set outside
our office door; black and white candid photos of mothers and children
at a homeless center; poetry of lament written in the wee hours at an
emergency room; a fresh, twenty-something version of the Apostles’
Creed, penciled on a coffee house napkin; a Redemption mosaic created
out of glass shards from a local dump; an interactive video pairing
“What Wondrous Love” with U2’s, “Walk On” – its creators, a joint team
of retirees and high-school tech junkies. Honestly, it might prove
difficult to go back to five canned praise songs, church commercials,
and a talking head.