So I’m enrolled in an ethics course at Duke Divinity School which finally puts me on track towards earning a Masters of Divinity.
Christian Ethics in America: will survey a “development of Christian ethics that includes Rauschenbush, the Niebuhrs, Ramirez, Gustafson, Yoder, Day and King.”
Basically, the problem with prayer as a medical prescription, is that prayer ceases to be a church practice, and becomes a technology. If prayer is used as a medical treatment, then it ceases to become prayer. The point is not that prayer wouldn’t be beneficial, but rather that the act of praying - applied as a drug to enhance the healing process - is not prayer at all.
Taking this idea of prayer as technology one step further, I wonder if there are other practices of the Church that are being used incorrectly.
If a ‘high energy’ worship service is developed to attract an audience, is it still worship?
Has our consumeristic overindulge in the wedding ‘ceremony’ - or the role of the state in issuing marriage licenses - overshadowed the Christian sacrament (or ordinance) of marriage? Does Scripture become weakened when applied to enforce a legal or political argument?
While it may be ambiguous to try and build a rigid boundary for defining Christian practice, I think these questions show the importance of faithfully questioning the motivations behind some of our contemporary Church methods. It also brings to mind some problems with our 21st century Christian need for relevance. When we speak of being relevant, do we mean relevance to God, or simply relevance to ourselves?