Friday, October 2, 2009

From Caleb Stegall's most recent contribution to Front Porch Republic:

The authentic posture of a member of a community towards his community is one of those natural and deeply human things that may easily become highly unnatural and potentially turned against itself when it becomes articulated. Nothing will kill a friendly fellowship faster than incessant and explicit talk about “the community.” The problem is especially acute within traditional, Old World economic, cultural, and religious communities in a highly mobilized, mechanized, and pluralistic state in which they become conscious of what they have lost or are rapidly losing. Attempts to compensate, renew, or restore often only increase the problem of over articulation.
In this essay, Stegall compares the plight of disappearing Presbyterian communities to Irving's Legend of Sleepy Hallow in quite the unexpected way. His conclusion that efforts to preserve exclusive psalmody in worship fail to address that larger problems of the loss of community is helpful in understanding not just the Scots-Presbyterian tradition but also the loss of community generally in today's United States.


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