Book Review

Liturgy with a difference

by Stephen Burns & Bryan Cones (eds.)

The subtitle of this collection of essays is ‘Beyond Inclusion in the Christian Assembly’, a phrase which immediately sets a challenge and moves the reader into potentially tricky territory.  As the editors note, the concept of ‘inclusion’, so widely embraced by the churches, is nonetheless ‘occluded’ in many congregations because the regular liturgical system is either dominated by men or reflects a patriarchal theology.  In other words, a general commitment to diversity may often represent lip service.  Although some Christian churches have found ways of acknowledging ‘the graced dignity of human variety’, the norm may still be exclusive.  These essays are generally well-written and accessible, although some have too much academic jargon.  They cover a plethora of issues: leadership and gender; questions of culture and language; and issues of mission and interfaith dialogue.  They comprise in essence an international debate on urgent questions for the Christian church, and how diversity can truly be reflected in worship and mission.  It is, however, difficult to envisage that the technicality of these debates will have substantial impact on many traditionally-minded congregations.  Nonetheless, the book could provide some useful reading for those training for Christian leadership, with special emphasis on leading worship.

ELIZABETH STEPHENSON

SCM £30 pbk 2019

9780334057406

More Posts

Everyday Faith

by Nick Shepherd, Mark Greene & Rachel Treweeke Subtitled ‘Reflections and prayers to help you find and follow God in everyday life’, this attractive little booklet ‘does what it says on the tin’. It is a programme of prayer covering

Jesus Said, ‘I Am’

by Andrea Skevington Subtitled ‘Finding Life in the Everyday’, nearly all the chapters in this book are built on specific ‘I Am’ sayings of Jesus.  Its great strength is the combination in each chapter of contextual and theological analysis, reflections

Preaching at Funerals

by Nick Watson Grove Books have published an update of a guide to preaching at funerals, first published in 2001.  Nick Watson notes the rise, in recent years, of funerals being led by people other than Christian ministers, some people

Espying Heaven

by Adrian Barlowy Sub-titled ‘the stained glass of Charles Eamer Kempe and his artists’ this beautifully illustrated volume in itself provides a vibrant window into the work of this eminent artisan and team of creative colleagues. The development of the