Negotiating Tradition and Relevance in Liturgy
The relationship between tradition and relevance is a core feature in religious practice in general and public worship in particular. On the one hand, worship is a bearer of religious traditions, i.e. traditions are maintained in the practice of public worship, and the worship enables individuals to connect with these traditions. On the other hand, it is a quest for relevance in public worship. In order to maintain existing worshippers and attract new participants, congregations have to consider their ability to connect their core values to the needs and expectations of existing and potential participants. This dual purpose of the worship causes a need for negotiation, and it is this negotiation between tradition and relevance that this book investigates. Old Paths and New Ways is a case study of the negotiation between tradition and the quest for relevance in liturgy.
Chapter Five: Worship—Key Characteristics
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The analysis of the two congregations continues with a joint presentation of some of their key characteristics. In this part of the presentation I have focused on the self-reflection and interpretation of the worship as it was presented by my informants in the interviews. This descriptive presentation of the worship is based on the transcribed interviews which the interviewees have approved. In addition to presenting the informants’ reflections on the worships I will interpret the presentation critically in view of a general public understanding.1 This means that I as an interpreter will be more visible in this chapter; I will also be present as editor and commentator. The analytic procedure leading to the presentation in this chapter comprises codes and memos. This procedure begins with the identification of key themes and patterns; these are linked with codes. The codes were further retrieved, linked together and processed into memos. These memos are short notes in which patterns, themes, contrasts and paradoxes form preliminary interpretations. The memos have been influential to the outline of the present chapter.
The characteristics of the two cases will shed further light on the public horizon of worship, and reveal a number of significant features concerning the negotiation of tradition and the quest for relevance in the practice of worship. I will return to these features of tradition and relevance in the subsequent chapter. The joint presentation will clarify similarities...
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