It does not happen often, but occasionally I have lots to say and nothing to write. Everything continues to shift around in my head as I continue to grapple with Church life, especially her worship (leitourgia, or liturgy). I wrestle to understand her worship history, theology, and what it means to be people of rhythms. I struggle to understand the relationship between her worship and culture.
But I do this with purpose.
Theology, or more specifically academic theology, is secondary theology. Primary theology is the theology the church lives day in and day out. Secondary theology reflects on primary theology (academic theology reflects on the church’s theology) largely for two reasons: first to understand the church’s theology and secondly to refine the church’s theology.
This places academic theology in service to the church’s theology. Theology serves the church. My academic pursuits reflect my burning desire to serve and love the church. Constantly I seek to bridge the university with the local church. Theology and practice, despite our Western culture’s ideas, go hand in hand. One theology determines a practice, and practice unveils theology. This is my work, especially within the church’s worship.
The primary purpose of theology, both academic and in the church (secondary and primary theology respectively), lies in finding human language to identify God’s work in our world. This includes the past, present, and the future. The underlying presupposition here is that God is working, whether we know this or not, and that we are seeking to join Him in His work, or Salvation history. This is theology. The Church seeks to join in His work with her daily, weekly, and yearly rhythms, while the university seeks to assist the Church in finding the language to describe what God is doing and the Church’s relationship to that work.
Will you join me in this pursuit? This pursuit that consists of experience and reflection, dialogue and pursuit, days, months, and years, agreement and dissent, understanding and ignorance, but ultimately grace from our loving, triune God?
If you are interested in joining this pursuit with TalkingWorship.com, feel free to submit at an article, and I will be in touch with you soon. We look forward to hearing from you!
Jason Palmer is the Administrator of TalkingWorship.com. Jason has a Bachelor of Science in Ministry with a Worship Arts Major and Music Minor. He has lead worship for evangelical churches for 7 years and desires to see worship leaders become confident in their calling.