Intro to Worship Class

Arts and TheologyFor the past 10 weeks I’ve been teaching an introduction to a theology of worship class at my church, Orlando Grace Church. I’ve cleverly named the class Introduction to a Theology of Worship. The whole class is available online, through my resources page.

I wanted to teach on worship by using as many art forms as I could: dance, painting, installation, music, etc. I also wanted to use as many instances of contemporary art as possible, hopefully creating an awareness of contemporary art that I think the church, in general, has lost (much to the detriment of the church’s mission, not to mention richness in devotional or everyday life, but that’s another topic).
Some of the artists whose work I used as metaphors and parables: John Tavener, James Turell, Soweto Gospel Choir, Bill Monroe, Makoto Fujimura, Georges Rouault, John Cage, Philip Glass, Wendell Berry, Gregory King, Mark Rothko, Lauren Shea Little, J.S. Bach, Thomas Tallis, James MacMillan, Olivier Messiaen, and some of my stuff. For a full list of the artists and their work, see the art referenced page.

The class attempted to follow a certain order: starting with God, talking about the Trinity, God’s transcendence and immanence. Immanence led to a week on creation, which led to speaking about humanity. Because we can’t understand humanity apart from God, that led us to the topic of the Incarnation, which lends itself to the cross. From there, we talked about the resurrection’s meaning on the Christian life: sanctification. We then took a step back to consider our context: our tradition, our church history, the importance of creeds and confessions, as well as looking at how to interact with those around us now. We ended the class with a discussion on eschatology, the in-breaking of the future into our present.

I’ve made available my notes, slides, reading list, and art referenced. It’s broken down week by week, or you can download it all in one shot. For those of you who care to look at it, I hope it’s helpful!

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