The Art of Curating Worship: Reshaping the Role of the Worship Leader by Mark Pierson

(Minneapolis; Sparkhouse Press, 2010)

Great book for worship leaders of all varieties.  Practical.  Theological.  Inspirational.  Highly recommended.  Best place to check out more is through the clay fire curating blog where Mark contributes (link is over on the right).

But… personally… I want an Anglican version.

Mark is a Baptist.  Nothing wrong with Baptists.  And no doubt he is such an Emergent Being that he probably feels like a fish out of water in his denomination now-a-days just as many of us Emergent types do! (I don’t know Mark personally so this is pure projection)  But ever since I can remember I have felt kind of uncomfortable with the Baptist mode of being Christian.  I finished this book a couple of weeks ago now and my inward response is still troubling me – what is it I am reacting to?  I also have the same reaction about American authors (I prefer English ones); male preachers (I prefer women); and smart people (I prefer creative intuitives).

The best language I can come up with is that it is a ‘personality’ thing.  Social groups have personalities just as people do, created from a combination of DNA and life experience (history).  There are some personality types that I find really difficult.  Maybe it’s because they remind me of something about myself I don’t like (something in shaddow, thinks the Jungian analysis).  Maybe it’s because they don’t express faith in the way it works for me and that is uncomfortable, because I have a pretty high investment factor in faith!

The thing is, I find this reaction in myself quite annoying!  I’m a Gen Xer – denominations don’t matter!  So why do I notice  denomination differences in worship so strongly?  How would an Anglican version of this book be different?  I think, personally,  I would write it different in two ways.   (There is a page here on reddress where I have written about deconstructed postmodern anglican worship, so if you’ve read Mark’s book you can make a comparison yourself.)

1.  It would be differently structured.  Anglicans are used to doing their theology through prayer.  It’d be prayer book shaped.  (Weird, I know.  Even weirder when you discover I’d have a problem trying to decide which historical liturgical shape to use!)  I should make it clear, my childhood was Presbyterian/Uniting and my Anglican upbringing (as a young adult) was distinctly ‘low church’ so the prayer book is not exactly ‘in my blood’.  But the vibe of it is something that sits very naturally with me.   It fits how I think/act/be.

2.  It would use different language.  This is interesting because Mark used deconstructed church language in his book and so would I in mine.  But I suspect that they would still fall out different!  As is often the case, I have no answer to this question, but I do wonder about the impact of the Anglican training requirements:  I’ve had a spent a lot of years writing academic essays in the Queen’s English!

This is a ramble really, but hopefully an interesting one.  If you’re into worship – just read Mark’s book!

3 thoughts on “The Art of Curating Worship: Reshaping the Role of the Worship Leader by Mark Pierson

  1. This is a ramble! 😉
    In my experience people tend to rarely have neutral reactions to Mark’s stuff.
    I’m pretty sure that Mark’s ordained colleague and partner in ‘alt. worship crime’ through the creative 80’s-90’s left the Baptists and turned Catholic!
    I think deeper understanding of ‘traditions’ are more important in the post-modern landscape in order to improvise faithfully. In this sense I like the angst of your personal identification with the prayer book as a Gen-X post denominationalist… even though my own journey has been the opposite from Uniting (Cornish Methodist really!)- to Baptist. People like Mark have helped me love liturgy enough to be able to respectfully play with it….The Prayer Book however sadly remains a rather painful chapter for Cornish cultural identity!
    Meur Ras ha Kres: Much Grace and Peace (Kernowek)

  2. Thanks Marcus,
    What you say here is making lots of connections for me. Being confident and comfortable with our past (whether that be conscious or unconscious identifications with our traditions) is essential for standing still in the postmodern present.

  3. Pingback: The People's Table…

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