Over the past few weeks I have been swamped with schoolwork. I spent my spring break studying, taking exams and reading books. (Of course, since I live in Florida I was doing all of that by the pool but it was tedious nonetheless.) One of the books that I had the pleasure of reading was Marva Dawn’s Is it a Lost Cause?: Having the Heart of God for the Church’s Children. I don’t use the phrase “had the pleasure of reading” in a tongue-in-cheek manner either. When most people talk about having had the pleasure of reading something they really mean that they trudged through book half-heartedly but they either want to appear respectful to the author or want to maintain a facade of being a sophisticated, well-read person. That wasn’t my experience with Is it a Lost Cause?
I will admit that I first approached the book eagerly anticipating what Dawn would say. I enjoyed her two books on worship when I read them about 4-5 years ago and my experience as a public school teacher has led me to some convictions regarding the role of children in the local church. I wasn’t disappointed. I anticipate having more to write about the book at a later date but I thought that this quote, found on page 77, was an important one regarding worship. In a section titled Worship to Form the Missional Parallel Society, Dawn writes:
You might think … that I am opposed to the “contemporary” side in many congregations’ “worship wars.” Actually I’m opposed to the “traditional” side, too, because both sides are asking the wrong questions and failing to nurture a missional people. The Church always needs both old and new music, continuity as well as reformation, a sense of the heritage of faith going all the way back to Abraham and a consciousness of the need to put that faith in accessible forms and new wineskins. The questions we must ask are those concerning how to be faithful to the biblical descriptions of what worship is, to the content of the faith we pass on, and to the God whom we worship.
Here, Marva Dawn sounds quite like my professor and friend, Reggie Kidd. This paragraph nicely wraps up a lot of what Reggie has to say in his book With One Voice as well as what he presents in class. While I don’t think that Dawn and Kidd would agree on everything (and I have no doubt that they have differences of opinion), both communicate well the ideas of “heritage” and “accessibility”.