Monday, February 6, 2012

Is Segregated Worship the Spirit's Desire?

OK maybe that title was a little too provocative, I am not talking about racial segregation but gender and age segregation. With regard to gender James Jordan of Biblical Horizons seems to think so,
The simple fact is that for 2000 years, the Holy Spirit moved the church to have men and women sitting separately during divine worship. This is because in heaven there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage. There is neither male nor female, bond nor free, child nor parent. Hence, ascended worship, taking place seated in the heavenlies, involves an affirmation of God’s Family and a setting aside of the earthly family. As a matter of fact, if you want God to give you a healthy family, let Him take it apart and put it back together each week, for that is how God always glorifies and empowers His people .
But with regard to age he does not.  Jordan also argues that liturgy and singing psalms are the best way to include children and youth in the life of the church,
Obviously children belong in worship. That is why the church historically has had a fully sung liturgy that is the same every week. Even three-year olds can join in. They don’t have to read different prayers every week. 

Which reminds me of Thalia Kehoe Rowden's opinions on having all age services,
All-age services offer the kind of deep community that including everyone fosters and the regular exercise of generosity this level of inclusion requires, and both these benefits mean I get really good bang for my buck in leading this community.
While Jordan clearly has a phd in gross generalisations and pontificating I have a great deal of sympathy with his point.  Many churches spend a great deal of time energy and money developing curriculum for multiple age groups, and the staffing issues with a medium sized childrens program must be experienced to be believed.  However for most of us declaring a weekly liturgy and psalm singing to be the solution looks rather like an acute case of trying to shut the door after the horse bolted went out into the bush and sired three generations of wild ponies. 


What do you think?

2 comments:

  1. If you ever found Wild Pony Baptist Church (within a Sabbath's days drive from Pyes Pa) expect an application for transfer of membership!

    A regular theologically orthodox and deep liturgy, with all ages participating sound like heaven to me :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. It does sound good, but how we get from here to there I don't know! That said "Wild Pony Baptist Church" has a lovely ring to it, I'll save that one for later.

    ReplyDelete