The Outhouse has added another sitter to the roll. If you haven’t tossed around Nick Mackison’s Restless and Reforming you might think about it. He reminds me of what it was like all those years ago coming to the Reformation from the impoverished glitz and glamour.
Many evangelicals in recovery veer off the Durham Trail toward the little town of Geneva like The Clampits rattled toward Beverly Hills. Some ironically never really make it yet think they have arrived (read: Young, Restless and Reformed, the past tense is key here). Others, like Nick, tend to conceive of themselves as yet on a trajectory and are unsure they know what they are doing and so forth. These are the birds who are more arrived than they think (maybe a little more ways to go for good measure). One sign is that they aren’t quite as sure of that reality, while the Neo-Reformed come off as emperors without clothes.
I liked one recent post of his (“Pentecostal Subversive Slavery”) in which he wonders about how Pentecostalism has crept into Reformed environs. All good stuff. But I think it might be worth pointing out that certain gestures and acts of worship in the stated service are actually perfectly legitimate, so long as we are all doing them at the same time and at the right time. I recall my wife asking me once what I thought of the young man in our church who does the “waist high hand raise” during the benediction (don’t go too high, you know, because this is a Dutch Reformed church). I said I had absolutely no problem with it. She looked aghast, lost that there had to be some sort of catch. So I followed up by saying that the problem, to my mind, is actually that not everybody else is doing it along with him. Since my Kuyperians love transforming things, I’d transform his outburst into a legitimate gesture of worship by having us all do it and even raising our hands much higher than his weak move.
Apologies, though, to would-be revivalists. Unlike sitting, standing, bowing, upraised hands and even kneeling–all of which can be found in the Bible–peanut gallery gestures like weeping, swaying, barking, “Ayymenning!” and eye-rolling–all of which cannot be so located–are very hard to get everyone in-sync on, so they’re out.
A good read on this is With Reverence and Awe.