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A minor


Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Adorans et Sapiens

Today I had lunch with Duane and Robbie. At one point in our conversation, we were talking about the intellectually active lives (across laity and clergy) that exist in our quarters of the Reformed world, which interestingly led to a discussion of the importance of liturgy. Duane mentioned his own background in sentimentalistic, fundamentalist churches where the "real men" had nothing to do with church, and he said he wondered if liturgy does something to keep real men active in thinking about the church.

Then we came to the proverbial chicken & egg dilemma: which comes (or should come) first - the intellectual life or the liturgical life? This ties in with something I was considering over the last few days while reading the book quoted below. Ernest Dimnet wrote a book devoted to The Art of Thinking - but he did so as a churchman who presumably spent much of his life in liturgical services. This ties in with something else that has influenced my own thinking, namely Alexander Schmemman's point in For the Life of the World that a human being is not primarily homo sapiens, "thinking man" - but homo adorans, "worshipping man."

It seems to me that liturgy has the power to cultivate and shape the intellect in ways that nothing else can. Which comes first - liturgical or intellectual development - will vary, as liturgy can produce the best of thinkers, and the best of thinkers can find their way into liturgy. I agree with Schmemman that we are ultimately homo adorans, but I think God made us to be homo sapiens too - and I think "the good life" is a fruitful marriage of the two.

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