Thursday, September 16, 2010


Personal Liturgy?!

Justin Taylor links to David Powlison on developing a "Personal Liturgy of Confession."
When I counsel with people who struggle with deep feelings of shame, guilt, and regret, I sometimes suggest that they design a personalized liturgy.
Look, I am the last person to ever criticize anybody for confessing sin or encouraging such confession - but I do want to pick a few bones with this particular expression of that.

For one - look up the word "liturgy." Liturgy is something done that publicly and corporately. "Personal liturgy" is oxymoronic. That said, it is useful to develop a personal formula of some sort to work through the necessary steps of confession, then yeah, go for it, but its not liturgical nor sacramental - it takes more than one person to get there.

The idea of a personal liturgy as expressed here is that the liturgical is somehow merely rote, and that's just wrong. If, as so many claim, the rote is devoid of meaning, the wouldn't personal rote be equally as devoid? The whole idea of personal confession is to let the Holy Spirit pierce us at the deepest levels.

Or could it be that repetition and rote change us? IN which case why are we doing away with it in our public worship expression?

Let's keep liturgy where it belongs - in public. Let;s develop all the personal habits we need to walk closely and deeply with Jesus Christ, but let us not step any further into making faith a solo exercise.

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