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This guy, Larry D. Harwood, is so good here, it’s hard to pick one quote over another. Let this stand for the whole. He is an evangelical Protestant who taught philosophy at Franciscan-related Viterbo U., in LaCrosse, Wisconsin when he wrote this in 2002(and still does teach there). He is speaking of “praise worship” in Protestant churches, having noted that some Catholic parishes were trying to imitate it.

Man’s relation to God is a communion between persons — but unequal persons. In the worship form I am describing, however, worship is often so spongy, so egalitarian as to be rendered gaudy, and the worshipers are giddy and all too self-confident.

It’s just the opposite of Rudolph [sic] Otto’s description of man quivering in the presence of a tremendous God of mystery. In the form of praise worship, man too often quivers with delight and too seldom with fear.

In part, the desire for the personal, chummy God has run amuck and drained God of some of Himself, until God becomes so familiar that one wonders if man is just as bored with his soft God as God is with His soft human.

It’s an “if the shoe fits” situation as regards Catholic parishes, which if they go not whole hog for this 2002 style, have veered in that direction alarmingly. The Rudolf Otto reference is apt. His Idea of the Holy, a marvelous book, offers a rich alternative to the “personal, chummy God.”

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