Monday, January 12, 2009

The role of ritual

“Ritual simply cannot substitute for the basic moral and ethical actions of humans. Justice and righteousness need to characterize the proper human-human relationship before ritual can truly impact the adequate human-divine relationship. Ritual may rely on tradition but lacks divine approval as expressed by the constant contrasts contained in Amos’s texts. Amos was criticizing the conceptual “automatisms” apparently connected to the ritual actions. He argued against a sacramental use of ritual, where the mere performance guarantees favorable results.”—Bridging the Gap, page 76

<idle musing>
Sound familiar? How many people go through the motions of Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, but never let Christ transform them? If that is how we view the Christian life, we are the objects of Amos' criticism and missing the true power of God—the Holy Spirit's empowering and transforming presence in our lives
</idle musing>


Anonymous said...

I've had this book on my shelf for over a year and haven't had a chance to crack it open. I need it later in the spring when I'm looking at ritual methodologies. Fun stuff.

jps said...


It sat on my shelf for just as long :) I finally sat down and read it.

I thought of you as I was reading it, based on our discussion at SBL. This could be a helpful book in your work; I don't know why I didn't think of it while we were talking.