Ours is a culture steeped in media and technology, a fact that fascinates some and frightens others. Because media permeates every aspect of our lives, church leaders would do well to discern when and how it might be appropriately used in liturgical settings. In Liturgical Art for a Media Culture Eileen Crowley provides a powerful aid in that discernment process. By first addressing such basics as the vocabulary and historical context of media in Christian worship, Crowley helps to ease readers’ fears.
By looking honestly at the perils and possibilities of media in worship’and by giving readers both a framework for evaluating and a model for implementing media in worship’Crowley guides the reader’s fascination with media into channels appropriate for worship. This is a timely source for those who wish to use media and technology as a way to vitalize, yet not obstruct, worship and liturgy.
Eileen D. Crowley, PhD, is assistant professor of Word and Worship at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.
The emergence of new artistic forms in liturgy offers us the opportunity not only to explore new territory, but also to test the criteria by which we judge all art forms. The accessibility of this volume promises to stimulate instructive discussions of these criteria in local worshipping communities, as well as to help local artists of all kinds imagine new ways that they can contribute to vital, faithful worship. The best local discussions of this topic should follow Eileen Crowley's own approach of drawing on liturgical, theological, and technical expertise.
John D. Witvliet, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Crowley presents a cogent, comprehensive understanding of the power and possibilities of media in congregational worship. With brevity and stunning clarity, she includes a rationale, history, examples from multiple denominations and congregations, incorporated with care, collaboration and imagination is a new form of liturgical art. A timely and indispensable book.
Janet Walton, Professor of Worship, Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York
This little book is a masterful introduction to media in worship, its historical and cultural context, and its possibilities and perils. Drawing on her professional experience as media producer and liturgist, Eileen Crowley, lays out four very helpful frameworks for discerning whether, how, and what media to incorporate in worship, and she proposes a community-based model for developing such media. Her primary concern throughout is for the liturgy itself and for the people who celebrate it. No matter where one stands on media in worship-practitioner, opponent, or undecided-Crowley has provided a timely and much needed reflective guide that will surely advance both discussion and liturgical practice. A must read for thinking about liturgical art in a media culture!
Gilbert Ostdiek, O.F.M., Professor of Liturgy, Catholic Theological Union,Chicago, Illinois
[This book is] a `must read' for both media-philes and media-phobes, among professional theologians as well as local communities of worship and their professional or volunteer liturgical media artists. Liturgical Art for a Media Culture is a concise yet attentive, well-organized and well-proportioned introduction to liturgical media art in the broader context of liturgical worship.. The merits of the monograph are manifold: it is concise and accessible yet theologically nuanced, and its ecumenical appeal is considerable as is the spectrum of Crowley's interlocutors in both Catholic and Protestant liturgical milieus.
Journal of Religion, Media, and Digital Culture
This honest book is invaluable for worship planners who desire to develop a common vocabulary allowing them to investigate the perils and possibilities of using media art in the worship of their faith community. Dr. Crowley convinced me to keep reading when she wrote,` . . . the use of media (in worship) can be suspect when media draws disproportionate attention to the worshipers, the performers, or the art, rather than to the holy One who is the Creator and to God's creation-in-need.' and `people should be the starting point, not technology.
Scott Weidler, Associate Director for Worship & Music, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Dr. Crowley's work is first about understanding the significance of the liturgical media arts. She presents a clear and well-organized framework for considering and incorporating this art form in worship. Newcomers will welcome her explanation of terms and list of possibilities. Veterans will find tools for assessing and improving their work. This book is a gentle but convincing wake up call for anyone involved in planning and celebrating liturgies. The use of liturgical media arts is no longer an experiment but a reality with endless potential.
Richard S. Vosko, author of God's House is Our House: Re-Imagining the Environment for Worship
Eileen Crowley has provided church communities with a valuable tool. It will be of great help to those who plan worship services, to liturgists, to diocesan worship offices, and to those interested in doing media art for worship.