Excerpt #25

I think it is no accident that the thin character of much of mainline Protestant worship reflects as well as reproduces the superficial lives associated with Protestantism in America. No matter how well meant the efforts are to turn worship into entertainment, the result is the sentimental perversion of worship that fails to provide any resistance to the ugliness of our surrounding culture – an ugliness, perhaps, nowhere more apparent than in the unbridled licentiousness of people unashamed of their greed.

Of course, it may be objected that to suggest that tacky worship produces tacky people or tacky people produce tacky worship comes dangerously close to suggesting that moral and liturgical practice is a matter of taste. So let me be as clear as I can be. Moral and liturgical practice is a matter of taste. The problem is not that they are matters of taste, but rather the modern assumption that taste is but a matter of subjective opinion. Nothing tells us quite as much about people’s moral convictions are their taste. Nothing tells us quite as much about a church as how it worships. Goodness and beauty are rightly matters of taste, but a taste that has been learned from a people trained to worship the true God truly.

Stanley Hauerwas, Performing the Faith, page 161

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