The God We Worship: A Liturgical Theology (Kantzer Lectures) (Wolterstorff, 2013)

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Christian theology comes in many different configurations. In these lectures, Nicholas Wolterstorff makes explicit the understanding of God that is implicit in Christian liturgy, then articulates that understanding. In preparation for constructive project, Wolterstorff discusses the nature of liturgy in general, and of Christian liturgy in particular, and explains what it is to make explicit what is implicit.

Lecture 1: The Project: Liturgical Theology
Lecture 2: God as Worthy of Worship
Lecture 3: God as One Who Listens and Speaks
Lecture 4: God as Listener
Lecture 5: What are We Saying When We Say that God Listens?
Lecture 6: God as One Who Hears Favorably
Lecture 7: God as One Who Speaks
Lecture 8: The Understanding of God Implicit in the Eucharist

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Worship in a violent world (Alison, 2004)

I have been asked to talk to you about Worship in a violent world. As though there has ever been any other. There hasn’t. It is only because of the introduction into our midst of glimpses of a world, not yet our own, where all is peace that we are able to look at our world and refer to it as “violent”, rather than simply normal. The discovery that might is might, a frightening aberration for which we can take some responsibility, rather than right, a natural part of the order of things which just tends to run away with us, is a hugely complex insight whose consequences we haven’t yet worked out. What I would like to do with you today is to stand back and ask what it is that allows Christians to use a horrid word taken from the world of violence such as “worship”; what we mean by it when we do use it; and what indeed do we do that counts as “worship”.

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The Liturgies of Church and State (Cavanaugh, 2005)

Today the most significant misunderstanding of the Christian liturgy is that it is sacred. Let me clarify. The problem is that “sacred” has been opposed to “secular,” and the two are presumed to describe two separate—but occasionally related—orbits. The problem is not simply that this separation leaves the church’s liturgy begging for relevance to the “real world.” The problem is rather that the supposedly “secular” world invents its own liturgies, with pretensions every bit as “sacred” as those of the Christian liturgy, and these liturgies can come to rival the church’s liturgy for our bodies and our minds. In this brief essay I want to explore in particular some of the liturgies of the American nation-state. I will suggest first that such liturgies are not properly called “secular,” and second, that the Christian liturgy is not properly cordoned off into the realm of the “sacred.”

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Liturgy as Politics: An Interview with William Cavanaugh (Cavanaugh, 2005)

This is often our approach to liturgy and social life: we try to “read” the liturgy for symbols and meanings that we take out and apply in the “real world” — the offering means we should give of our wealth, the kiss of peace means we should seek peace in international relations, and so on. This is fine, but it doesn’t address the liturgy as an action that forms a body, the body of Christ.

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