CategoryTheology

Of Rote, Ritual and Rhythm

My first foray into learning to play music was a painful one- especially for others!- as my chosen instrument was the drum set. And wow it was bad, both the drum set and my, ahem, “playing” of the drum set. At the time I had not really had any musical training whatsoever, with little niceties like rhythm something I had to learn along the way. In the beginning, I would either crank up a metronome...

Reckless Love Isn’t Good Enough

In recent weeks there have been mini-furors in the worship music world concerning the song Reckless Love which has been making the usual rounds. Front and center are primarily reactions to the appropriateness of the term “reckless” vis-a-vis God’s love, and whether such terminology has its place in corporate worship. The author has weighed in, explaining the meaning behind his use of “reckless,”...

Don’t Be Comforted

In many of the ancient Greek literary masterpieces, the tragic hero was often defined by his hubris, a certain overreaching of his state or abilities that inevitably ended in disaster. Mortals strive for something more and nearly grasp the heavens, only to have them tumble into ruin among them. Yet for all the tragic comedy that the reader can tease out from the beginning, there is something...

Urine and Transfiguration

During the Gospel reading for today concerning the Transfiguration, I confess to being myself somewhat transfigured by a thought somewhat ancillary yet wholly related to the subject matter. This was occasioned by the use of the translation of the Revised Standard Version which retains some archaisms not readily found in more modern versions. The reading goes as such (in part): And after six days...

Bigger is Better!

The bigness and ubiquity of things obviously demonstrates their importance. The proof of this axiom is evident in that we treasure huge rocks that sit in the ocean more than a single faded photo of a long-deceased loved one. Or perhaps because of how giving someone a rough, plentiful and thus easily attainable rock out of the garden is a more important gesture than a precious stone that is...

Worship in the Right Clothes

Many years ago when I was a teenager, I was asked by a friend if I would be interested in helping him film a wedding. He had a video production business and needed a second camera operator for the day, and even though I had no real experience, I guess he assumed I caught on to things quickly. Or perhaps he just needed a warm body to push the big red “record” button. You can probably safely assume...

Fast Food Worship

The other day Megan and I went to Sonic to grab some slushes. We brought both of the puppies along, with the idea of getting them what I call “Puppy Tots,” which are basically just tater tots that become fodder for gaping puppy maws. Of course, they loved them. Curious as to Sonic’s version of tater tots, I tried one for myself. Of course, it was terrible. At first it has a reasonably good taste...

The Poverty of Digital Art

Sometimes I look back over the multitude of projects I have worked on over my relatively brief career as a designer, and it makes me tired. Half of the time I don’t even remember working on this design or that animation, and after time they begin to blend together. Most of them I remember with a bit of a cringe, while at best my favorites elicit a “oh, that was kind of cool.” At the beginning of...

How Pop Culture Makes the Church Stupid

It’s that time of year again. Summer is in full swing, the sun is blazing in all its effulgent glory, and churches turn to Hollywood to supply the spiritual content for their dwindling summer contingent. That’s right, it’s time for the dreaded At The Movies series that will be performed in some fashion or another at an ungodly number of churches at some point during the dog days of summer. The...

How Creativity Murders Worship in the Face

In his remarkable book The Spirit of the Liturgy, Benedict XVI draws out a fascinating insight from the story of the Exodus. Generally we tend to perceive Moses’ confrontation with Pharaoh as entirely concomitant with the ultimate result of the Exodus, which is the Hebrews’ freedom from Egypt and the eventual goal of the Promised Land. But in looking carefully at Moses’ encounter with Egypt’s...

The Noise Outside

Nearly every time I listen to Spotify, I am assaulted with the same internal ad. I’m not a premium subscriber, so Spotify is constantly trying to get me to upgrade- for a low monthly fee, of course. But I’ve found it interesting how they set the bait. Many of the ads deal with someone in various situations trying to find the “perfect song.” Whether at work, working out, on the road, at a party;...

Against Enthusiasm

In his Gospel, St. John reveals on several occasions just how fickle the adulation of the crowd could be for Jesus. A prominent example exists following the feeding of the five thousand, in which Jesus steals away to the other side of the lake, only to find that the crowd has enthusiastically followed him, enough to bother with the hassle of getting in their own boats and searching for him. They...

Before the Busy-ness

I’ve noticed a somewhat disturbing trend in my own life. In the far too infrequent times when I’m able to get together with family or friends, there’s always the obligatory question of “how have you been?” or “what have you been up to? And while obligatory pleasantries perhaps merit only obligatory responses, too often I find myself resorting to saying “I’ve just been really busy.” I’ve said it...

Experience and the Tourist-i-fication of Worship

If you drive across I-90 in South Dakota from East to West, you will notice a curious phenomenon. All along your route you will be bombarded with signs pointing you to something called Wall Drug. Now Wall Drug is a tourist trap of sorts, although not an incredibly interesting one. There are some decent run-of-the-mill donuts to be purchased, a few dinosaur sculptures, and… well, that’s about it...

Worship is a Duty

One of my favorite Advent songs is also one of the most ancient: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence. Its composition and use dates from at least AD 275, although the most commonly used melodic setting is the well-known Picardy. Be sure to listen to one of the following renditions: As I was pondering the lyrics, I noticed that they seemed to form a conjunction with other thoughts I had been having...

Jason Watson

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