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Foundations of Christian Worship

The course that follows this syllabus would introduce the students to the interdisciplinary field known as liturgical studies. The course would explore liturgical history, liturgical theology, the place of ritual in the life of faith, as well as the application of a praxis-theory-praxis model to liturgical issues.

Course Syllabus

Required Texts

  • The Covenant Book of Worship
  • Ed Foley, From Age to Age
  • Todd Johnson, Conviction of Things Not Seen
  • James White, Introduction to Christian Worship
  • James White, The Sacraments in Protestant Practice and Faith

Focus of the Course

This course would introduce the students to the interdisciplinary field known as liturgical studies.   The syllabus proves a guide to explore liturgical history, liturgical theology, the place of ritual in the life of faith, as well as the application of a praxis-theory-praxis model to liturgical issues.

Goals of the Course

  1. To provide an overview of the history and theology of Christian worship.
  2. To explore the relationship between ritual and the life of faith.
  3. To develop a methodology of pastoral liturgy that reflects on current praxis, evaluates it using historical, theological and ritual models, and reappraises the praxis.
  4. To be able to articulate the relationship between private and corporate prayer.
  5. To develop skills in identifying pastoral issues in liturgical praxis.
  6. To develop an operative definition of worship.
  7. To be able to apply liturgical theory to pastoral rites such as Baptism, Dedication, Table, Weddings and Funerals.

Projects

There are four projects in this course.   First students will plan a chapel service with a small group of their classmates.    They can work with the professor, any student assistants there are, as well as the preacher and musicians.   Planning should begin four weeks before the assigned chapel.   The second project is an evaluation of a ritual in which they were a participant observer.   This project may be done alone or preferably in a small group.   It requires a description of the ritual and an evaluation of the ritual in light of the relevant historical, theological, and ritual issues.   The details of the parameters of this liturgy will be defined in class.   The third is series of three, brief (no more than five pages) reaction papers.   Fourth is the writing of responses to three case studies.   These are no more than three pages in length.

COURSE OUTLINE


Liturgical Vocabulary

What is “worship”? 
-White, ICW 1
-Johnson 2 (Ruth)
-CBW pp 3-29, 33-43
Ritual Studies
Ritual Theory 
-View Videotape of Notre Dame Pep Rally (Class Video)
-Johnson 6 (Willimon)
-Pottebaum, The Rites of People, 1-3
Ritual Practice 
-Johnson 3 (Johnson)
Liturgical Theology
Liturgical Theology: Lex Orandi/Lex Credendi 
-Avery Dulles, “Theology and Worship: The Reciprocity of Belief and Prayer” Ex Auditu 
Liturgical Theology: Enculturation 
-Johnson 9 (Black)
-Chuck Smith, The End of the World… 
Elements of Christian Worship
Sacred Time 
-White, ICW 2
-CBW pp 253-256, 419-422
Sacred Speech: Monastic and Cathedral 
-White, ICW 5
•  Paul Bradshaw, Two Ways of Praying, 1, 2, 7, 8
•  Visit the following website for a virtual experience of monastic prayer:http://www.jesuit.ie/

Sacred Space 
-View St. Nicholas Church Video (Class video)
-White, ICW 3
-Johnson 11 (Johnston)
Sacred People 
strong> -White, ICW 10
-White, SPPF 6
-CBW pp 185-186, 223-225
Sacred Sounds 
-White, ICW 4, 6
-Johnson 4 (Witvliet)
-Michael Hawn, Gather into One, Chapter 1 (On Reserve)
Sacred and Secular: Art, Technology, and Culture and our Language for God 
-White, ICW 7
-Johnson 7 (Clapp)
-Reaction paper:   Construct the Order of Worship for Transfiguration Sunday, Series C.   Write out any prayers, invocations, etc., with the exception of the astoral prayer.   Select all of the music for the liturgy out of the Covenant Hymnal (or the official hymnal of your tradition).   At the end of the Order of Worship offer your reasons for your musical selections.  

Christian Initiation
Christian Initiation: Made not Born 
-White, ICW 8
-White, SPPF 2,3
-Johnson 5 (Meyers)
-CBW pp 123-126
Baptism: Divergent Views 
-Bridge and Phypers, The Water That Divides, ch. 3
-Max Johnson, Living Water Sealing Spirit
-Kavanagh pp 1-10; Searle pp 365-409
Christian Initiation: Before and After Baptism 
-Arthur Patzia, “Baby Dedication in the Believers’ Church,” American Baptist Quarterly 
-Johnson, “Rethinking Infant Initiation” on line at:
http://www.adelphi.edu/ci/ISSUES/JOHNSON.HTM 
-CBW pp 145-155
-View video of rite of infant blessing.
-Reaction paper:   What is your understanding of the relationship between infant dedication, infant and believer baptism, and confirmation?   How does your understanding shape your pastoral praxis?   Your paper should demonstrate evidence of your engagement with our readings.   No more than five pages. 
Table-talk: The Story of the Eucharist
Christians at the Table: Early and Medieval 
-White, ICW 9 
-Foley 1-5
Christians at the Table: Reformation and Modern 
-White, SPPF 4, 5
-Foley 6-7 (Optional)
-CBW pp 159-160
Write a response to the case study.   No more than three pages.
Worship Renewal and Worship Wars
The Liturgical Movements 
-Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (paragraphs 1-20) http://www.cin.org/v2litur.html 
-Johnson 1 (Cherry)
-White, SPPF 7
-Johnson 8 (Waldkoenig) (Optional)
-Reaction paper:   How do you define “Covenant Worship”?   What makes worship “Christian Worship”?   In your opinion what makes Covenant worship “Covenant”?   Does your understanding of Covenant worship exist in reality or only in theory?   Students should ask the same question of their own tradition if they are not Covenant.   Due November 15.
Liturgical Studies: Praxis-Theory-Praxis
Ritual Application: Weddings 
-Write a response to the wedding case study on Blackboard.   No more than three pages.   Due November 22. 
Ritual Application: Funerals 
-Write a response to the funeral case study on Blackboard.   No more than three pages.   Due November 29.
Ritual Observation 
-Presentations will be made in class of your ritual observations.
-Field Trip to a funeral home.
Ritual Observation 
-Presentations will be made in class of their ritual observations.

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