Monday, September 13, 2010

Liturgy to Culture: 1. LIFE IS MADE UP OF FORMS

There is a direct correlation between what individuals and groups do on a repeated basis, and what the culture of the society becomes. 

If people in a metropolis repeatedly drive their cars to and from work at the same time of day, then as a metroplex society we learn to tolerate a culture of traffic jams. That along with the daily inhaling of vehicle exhaust and the honking of horns, create a fast-paced and high-strung culture.

In rural society similar but different regular events create a different culture. There slow moving hay wagons, beet trucks that dump their loads, and cattle crossing the road combine with the inhaling of organic smells and mooing of bovines to create a mellow culture.

Two families lived across the street from each other. The Libbys, like "freedom" loving people everywhere, never went to church on Sunday mornings but spent the time polishing their new Vette. But the Lentils, like clockwork and peas in a pod, were in the habit of putting on their Sunday best clothes and at 9:45 AM on Sunday mornings piled into their faded blue van and headed off to church. Of course, after a few years the Vette started to lose it's luster, the elbow grease started to mix with arthritis, and the Lentils kids seemed to do better in school and get the better jobs. The Libby's starting to go to church, too.

What we do on a regular basis, for whatever reason, can become the form and the habit of our life. When we do those things in public for others to see, we perform a "liturgy" which broadly defined is a public service, duty, or work. If we perform those liturgies on a regular basis that result in long-term desirable results, we create patterns and forms for others to follow. Our liturgy creates culture.

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