Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. vi-7

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-9

It takes a village to raise a child and to midwife a book. The community, care, and critique of others brought this book into being. I give thanks for all who shared their liturgical labor with me: Miriam, Sharon, Paula, Gayle, Stephanie, Trish, Amy, Justin, Josy, Anamonica, Betsy, Dennie, Wendy, Cat, Nancy and Carrie-on, Margaret, Julie, the Fischer family, Tom, David, Jim and Frederick, S. Moya, Heath, Karen, Erin, Janiece, Kinga Reka...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-18

Christians care deeply about their worship, but many would be dismayed to hear that worship is an instance of the broadly human practice called “ritual,” because the word ritual l has mixed connotations, some of which are infelicitous. For some, it implies meaningless, incomprehensible, or rote action: “empty” ritual...

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1. Creative Rites

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pp. 19-42

We begin by taking up the challenge of perceived conflict between the great story of creation and redemption and the person’s story, and presenting creative rituals as the way to make a deeper and effective connection between those stories. There are two kinds of effectiveness. First is the theological/doctrinal, which is how...

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2. Ritual Midwives

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pp. 43-64

The way is creative ritual. Now, who should pave the third way? Who should be part of creating a rite fitting the person’s need and the church’s theology? The answer is a community. None of us is as smart as all of us, as the saying goes, and ritual work calls for wider wisdom than one person alone can invoke. Making...

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3. Metaphors and Symbols

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pp. 65-88

Having named “what” (creative rites) and “who,” we now ask “how.” The third principle for creating rituals opens up the way symbol and metaphor engender sacramental action so that an intimate bond can be made between the person’s own story (need, pain, vulnerability, joy) and the great story of creation...

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4. Ritual Honesty

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pp. 89-108

Ritual making is a serious enterprise. Because rituals are so powerful, a cavalier approach can fail to accomplish the rite’s life-giving goal, exacerbate difficulties, or even cause harm. Christian ritual is a rope intertwined with four cords: pastoral, theological, ecclesial, and ethical. What is so artful about ritual is that all these...

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5. Holy Sacrifice

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pp. 109-122

Sometimes, simple is better. Sometimes, a supper of Chinese takeout enables the focus to stay on the conversation and the relaxing enjoyment without frenetic distractions like cleaning the kitchen, taking freezer inventory, remembering a recipe. Lowering tensions and expectations has become an art form (for example, “come as you are,” “be casual,” “whatever”). In many circumstances...

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6. The Paschal Mystery

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pp. 123-138

This book has so far offered five principles for creating rituals of healing and transition so that churches can enable those baptized into Christ to grow and mature in his likeness. In the current post-Holocaust and now post-Christendom time, it is critical that every person baptized into Christ, at whatever age, be tended and supported to become ever more holy, alive, and Christ...

Notes

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pp. 139-146

Index

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pp. 147-151