In the article Tradition for Innovation, James K.A. Smith recently suggested that continually reinventing the church actually serves to undermine a key element of Christian social and theological imagination – the liturgical tradition.
“Consider just a few of the many ways in which the liturgical tradition nurtures and replenishes the imagination:
• Kneeling in confession and voicing “the things we have done and the things we have left undone …” tangibly and viscerally impresses upon us the brokenness of our world and humbles our own pretensions;
• Pledging allegiance in the Creed is a political act — a reminder that we are citizens of a coming kingdom, curtailing our temptation to overidentify with any configuration of the earthly city;
• The rite of baptism, where the congregation vows to help raise a child alongside the parents, is just the liturgical formation we need to be a people who can support those raising children with intellectual disabilities or other special needs;
• Sitting at the Lord’s Table with the risen King, where all are invited to eat, is a tactile reminder of the just, abundant world that God longs for.
In these and countless other ways, the liturgical tradition orients our imagination to kingdom come, priming us for the innovative, restorative work of culture making. In order to foster a Christian imagination, we don’t need to invent; we need to remember.”
You can read the rest of his essay here.