Dr. Macleod went home to Jesus not too long ago (scroll way down into the archives for KD's tribute).
Aside from being the advisor for my dissertation, he said lots of stuff that's hung with me.
When his publisher wanted him to change the title of Presbyterian Worship: Its Meaning and Method, which is one of the finer explanations of Reformed rubrics, rituals, rites, and ceremonies, to attract a larger audience (aka more sales), he declined because he was more into precision than prostitution; unlike me who listened to my publisher and changed Fifteen Theses for Life and Ministry to the gnostic-sounding Fifteen Secrets for Life and Ministry which did about as much for my sales as plastic surgery did for Michael Jackson's career.
Anyway, he also said, "One of the most inane utterances in worship occurs when the pandering pastor introduces the collect thusly, 'Shall we pray?'" Then he'd say so sternly, "As if the congregation is going to vote on it!"
He also had problems with pastors who introduce the Bible lesson, uh, thusly: "Listen for the Word of God." He'd say, "The Bible is the inspired and recorded Word of God. You don't 'listen for' the Word of God as if you can pick and choose which parts are indeed the Word of God!' It is the Word of God; which is why it is best introduced simply, 'Hear the Word of God!'"
He inspired Ernie Campbell to write, "The Bible is bigger than your favorite parts."
Getting back to his not my best-selling book, here's a line about Lent that has really shaped my understanding of a major misunderstanding about the season: "Lent consists in doing something, not in merely doing without something."
I always get a Big Mac Attack when I lead or participate in the bastardizations of Reformed liturgics.
If you'd like to know more about truly Reformed and Protestant liturgics, go to the right column where Kathie will feature Dr. Macleod's book if it's still available (new or used) via Amazon; or you can have my other copy for a gift certificate of significant value to any HD dealership within 50 miles of Belvidere, Illinois.
Speaking of Lent, our family of faith opened the season on Ash Wednesday (2/25/09) - Duh! - with a major musical blow-out featuring our chancel choir, bell choirs, youth choir, youth praise team, and, uh, adult praise team.
A comment: "What a blessing! Last night's concert was terrific. I think everyone enjoyed the music along with Bible lessons and prayers woven into the service. The entire evening was a great way to usher in the Lenten season. God richly blessed all of us with the power of His presence last night!"
The sanctuary was packed.
We experienced the promise through the Psalmist: "God inhabits the praises of His people!"
Even people who assume - remembering what it means to assume which is particularly appropriate in this context - "their" musical preferences/prejudices are more holy than, uh, theirs, had to admit the apostle was right about those varieties and diversities that extol Him and ennoble His while enabling intimacy with Him/His when He is Lord of it all.
If it were not for trying to build three packed worship services every Sunday and pandering to those musical preferences/prejudices, I'd hold one big blow-out worship service every Sunday in a format like we had on Ash Wednesday even if it meant worshipping - Gasp! - for over an hour or so.
I'd wrap Christian education and fellowship around it too!
But, alas, it ain't gonna happen.
Everybody's got their turf to protect at the expense of...
Speaking of idolatries, here's a seasonal favorite distracting attention from the reason for the season(s):
Now that he's home with Jesus, I will tell you a secret about my previously mentioned professor.
After he retired, he'd often sneak off on Sunday nights to a Pentecostal worship service.
I accompanied him on several occasions.
Because it was so out of his well-established caricature, I asked why he did that.
He said, "There are times when even Presbyterians need more passion than precision."
Staying with idolatries a little longer because we tend to do that, Senator Robert Byrd, the longest-serving Democrat in the Senate from West Virginia by way of the KKK, is criticizing PBHO's appointment of White House "czars" to, uh, "oversee" federal policy; accusing America's most admired man - Yep! Jesus is now in second place to PBHO in the latest Harris Poll as reported by KD on 2/23/09! - of a power grab unlike any other President since, uh, his predecessor.
He wrote a letter to PBHO about it; saying these new executive positions amount to a power grab that "can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances. At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials...As Presidential assistants and advisors, these White House staffers are not accountable for their actions to the Congress, to cabinet officials, and to virtually anyone but the President...They rarely testify before Congressional committees, and often shield the information and decision-making process behind the assertion of executive privilege. In too many instances, White House staff have been allowed to inhibit openness and transparency, and reduce accountability."
John 3:19-21 comes to mind.
Click here to read and see more on Byrd/PBHO!
Getting back to Dr. Macleod, here's one of his best comments/condemnations which occurred in our liturgics class just moments after I preached in Princeton's Miller Chapel: "If you have the privilege to enter a pulpit and speak on the Lord's behalf to people who need to hear His Word, you should have something to say."
I was sitting up front as he stared at me.
Some things stay with you; even if they cause a collision with today's preferences/prejudices (aka idolatries).
Blessings and Love!
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