Spirit and Tradition
An Essay on Change
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Christian life, both in parishes and within the wider church, is often dogged by unhelpful polarisation. Radical and conservative, modernist and reactionary, tradition and spirit are pairs of terms which are often juxtaposed. In making judgements based on such contrasts much often centres on attitudes to worship. Will the liturgy remain the same? Do innovations in worship and Christian life stem from radical changes in belief, a shift in the images used within Christian theology, or differing attitudes to the Bible? Has an increased ecumenical consciousness provoked freedom and change or has it suggested an irreformability within Christian belief and its expression through the liturgy? The aim of this book is to begin with these questions faced by all who engage with the Christian tradition, but to do so by moving beyond the immediacy of those debates about change which dominate parish life. The authors hope that by doing this they may provoke a greater awareness of the presuppositions regularly made in reflecting upon practical matters of liturgy, evangelism and Christian living. The vision expressed here might be described as radically conservative, since it involves a positive appraisal both of the traditional resources of the Church and of the spirit of change at large in contemporary church life.
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