Dusty Boxes

It's day two of my return to Reno. After a three week vacation in which I camped at Lake Tahoe with my parents and brothers, housboated on Lake Shasta with our youth group, and then camped again at Tahoe for a church retreat, I'm finally able to swing back into regular life--as regular as life can be, that is. Vacation reminds me that life should never fall into a predictable routine--we should have a party all the time! Still, I should never take a vacation from writing and I did these last few weeks. The last post I wrote was quite awhile ago and I never finished the thought process. I left you hanging with a question: what does creative nonfiction have to do with worship? I believe the answer is found in the formation of creative nonfiction and worship, and from creative nonfiction, I believe worship could learn a thing or two.

Creative nonfiction has existed since the origin of time, whether it was in family storytelling or oral history preservation. Worship of God also began at the beginning when Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden. But as history proceeded to stomp through the earth, human systems and agenda began to take priority. Soon we had a name for everything, a system for routine, formulas for our problems, and practical goals to attain. As a result, storytelling is now labeled and put away in the proper box: screenwriting, novels, poetry, non-fiction, etc. Worship is also labeled. Traditional, contemporary, spontaneous, spirit-led, liturgical, etc.

Labeling and boxing is one thing, but putting those boxes away into the attic and doing everything by memory is tragic. I say we take down the boxes, brush off the dust, and ask some important questions, just like some of the new literary thinkers have done. They weren't happy with the genres as they were. The labels were too limiting and left necessary art forms homeless on the street. For example, what about the memoir? Where is the art of factual human experiences? Where's the story we're forgetting in people's lives? And TA-DA!! a mix of many of the genres was named creative nonfiction, and it is now appreciated and a part of our life. So when it comes to worship, I say we do the same thing. We take down the boxes, brush off the pages, and ask important questions. Why do we do what we do? Why is worship structured the way it is? Why is it worth the effort? To what extent do our real beliefs govern the way we worship God?

I'm going to take a coffee break now.

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