Secular liturgies

Who says people today aren’t oriented to liturgies? Consider this article on New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s press conference, which observes that all of these press conferences in which a politician caught in wrongdoing follow exactly the same pattern: Ritual of Repentance .

First, we watch the news conference. There’s Spitzer, with his wife by his side. He says, “I want to briefly address a private matter.” Then he expresses remorse (albeit vaguely) and promises to “dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family.”

Then, we call Mark Geragos, the high-profile criminal defense attorney, who — as it happens — has not actually seen the news conference. He proceeds to describe the news conference that he has not seen.

“You’ve got to have the dutiful wife and you have to have the ‘it’s a private matter,’ ” Geragos says. “And remorse for the past and plans for the future.”

Whoa.

“If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all,” Geragos says.

What are some other secular liturgies?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • allen

    “I want to briefly address a private matter.”

    The pattern of a secular liturgy of confession will always address only the “private” aspect. To go further would compromise the legal situation. This must be why the spouse is present – sort of a matador’s cape. They regard us as dumb beasts.

    Is there an equivalent for an Aaronic or Apostolic blessing? Depart and vote for me (buy my CD, rent my movie, etc)?

    Other secular liturgies? Hmmmm. Does anyone ever sing along with the National Anthem at sporting events anymore? How can we? We’d get done and the singer down on the field would still be lagging behind at, “Oh say does that …”

  • allen

    “I want to briefly address a private matter.”

    The pattern of a secular liturgy of confession will always address only the “private” aspect. To go further would compromise the legal situation. This must be why the spouse is present – sort of a matador’s cape. They regard us as dumb beasts.

    Is there an equivalent for an Aaronic or Apostolic blessing? Depart and vote for me (buy my CD, rent my movie, etc)?

    Other secular liturgies? Hmmmm. Does anyone ever sing along with the National Anthem at sporting events anymore? How can we? We’d get done and the singer down on the field would still be lagging behind at, “Oh say does that …”

  • http://maplemountain.blogspot.com/ samuel

    It is amazing to see the pseudo-moralism of the modern “secular” politicos.

    This is an interesting topic. I believe Susan Bauer is writing a book about this subject entitled (I think) “The Art of the Public Grovel.”

  • http://maplemountain.blogspot.com/ samuel

    It is amazing to see the pseudo-moralism of the modern “secular” politicos.

    This is an interesting topic. I believe Susan Bauer is writing a book about this subject entitled (I think) “The Art of the Public Grovel.”

  • Carl Vehse

    Some more secular liturgies (may be spoken or chanted, under oath or otherwise):

    “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

    “I did not have sex with that woman…”

    “I don’t recall.” (often repeated between periods of silence as in a Taize style of grand jury testimony)

  • Carl Vehse

    Some more secular liturgies (may be spoken or chanted, under oath or otherwise):

    “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

    “I did not have sex with that woman…”

    “I don’t recall.” (often repeated between periods of silence as in a Taize style of grand jury testimony)

  • CRB

    “I did it because I can”
    Heard one psychobabble on one of the morning talk shows opine, “It’s something to do with the cortex that causes men to behave this way.”
    What masters we are at avoiding the word, “sin” and the guilt that goes with it, coram Deo!
    We make excuses and blame others. Sounds like 2 people long ago in a garden, doesn’t it?!

  • CRB

    “I did it because I can”
    Heard one psychobabble on one of the morning talk shows opine, “It’s something to do with the cortex that causes men to behave this way.”
    What masters we are at avoiding the word, “sin” and the guilt that goes with it, coram Deo!
    We make excuses and blame others. Sounds like 2 people long ago in a garden, doesn’t it?!

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Getting in trouble at school and making things right with your teacher, parents, principal, friends, friends’ parents, etc, follows pretty much the same format:

    Excuses:

    “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

    “I did not _____ with _____”

    “I don’t recall.” (often repeated between periods of silence as in a Taize style of grand jury testimony – teens can do this REALLY well)

    Followed by an admittance of guilt and remorse when faced with the evidence, a press conference (of sorts) is held featuring:

    1. the dutiful parents;
    2. Assurance that the matter will be addressed at home;
    3. Remorse for the past;
    4. Plans for future improvements.

    Yep, it’s all right there. Not that I’d know personally or anything…I just heard it goes something like that. wink wink On a serious note, this kind of incident is handled really nicely in a Lutheran school. Lutherans schools are unique, I think, in running the offender through a nice sequence of law and gospel. The concept of grace is usually the result…with appropriate consequences, of course.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Getting in trouble at school and making things right with your teacher, parents, principal, friends, friends’ parents, etc, follows pretty much the same format:

    Excuses:

    “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

    “I did not _____ with _____”

    “I don’t recall.” (often repeated between periods of silence as in a Taize style of grand jury testimony – teens can do this REALLY well)

    Followed by an admittance of guilt and remorse when faced with the evidence, a press conference (of sorts) is held featuring:

    1. the dutiful parents;
    2. Assurance that the matter will be addressed at home;
    3. Remorse for the past;
    4. Plans for future improvements.

    Yep, it’s all right there. Not that I’d know personally or anything…I just heard it goes something like that. wink wink On a serious note, this kind of incident is handled really nicely in a Lutheran school. Lutherans schools are unique, I think, in running the offender through a nice sequence of law and gospel. The concept of grace is usually the result…with appropriate consequences, of course.

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    The most commonly practiced secular liturgy that I can think of is the birthday party: the singing, the cake, the candles, the presents. “Happy Birthday” is probably one of the few remaining songs that most people today can still actually sing along with regardless of age.

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    The most commonly practiced secular liturgy that I can think of is the birthday party: the singing, the cake, the candles, the presents. “Happy Birthday” is probably one of the few remaining songs that most people today can still actually sing along with regardless of age.

  • http://anastasias-corner.blogspot.com Anastasia Theodoridis

    And then there’s the wedding reception, with the garter and the bouquet and the cake cutting and the couple’s first dance and the toasts and the rice or bird seed or bubbles, nowadays…

  • http://anastasias-corner.blogspot.com Anastasia Theodoridis

    And then there’s the wedding reception, with the garter and the bouquet and the cake cutting and the couple’s first dance and the toasts and the rice or bird seed or bubbles, nowadays…

  • Bruce

    The liturgy of a Little League baseball game:

    The Arrival (garbing up)
    The Loosening Up/Throwing
    The Infield Practice
    The Arrival of the Umpires (ceremonial garbing up)
    The Raking of home and pitcher’s mound
    The National Anthem
    The Meeting of the Coaches
    The Coin Toss
    The Exchange of Lineups
    The Groundrules
    The Announcers
    The Parents
    The Trudge to the Bullpen
    The Concession Stand
    The Taking of the Field (home team)
    The Eight Pitch Warmup

    BATTER UP!

  • Bruce

    The liturgy of a Little League baseball game:

    The Arrival (garbing up)
    The Loosening Up/Throwing
    The Infield Practice
    The Arrival of the Umpires (ceremonial garbing up)
    The Raking of home and pitcher’s mound
    The National Anthem
    The Meeting of the Coaches
    The Coin Toss
    The Exchange of Lineups
    The Groundrules
    The Announcers
    The Parents
    The Trudge to the Bullpen
    The Concession Stand
    The Taking of the Field (home team)
    The Eight Pitch Warmup

    BATTER UP!

  • organshoes

    ‘Making a difference.’
    ‘Learning from the children.’
    ‘Yes we can.’
    ‘Whatever.’
    ‘Duh.’

  • organshoes

    ‘Making a difference.’
    ‘Learning from the children.’
    ‘Yes we can.’
    ‘Whatever.’
    ‘Duh.’

  • CRB

    I think a new one will be arising after the Dark Knight
    comes out this summer: “Why so serious?!” Not so much the phrase, but the way the Joker says it! Cool!

  • CRB

    I think a new one will be arising after the Dark Knight
    comes out this summer: “Why so serious?!” Not so much the phrase, but the way the Joker says it! Cool!

  • Carl Vehse

    The liturgy moms perform every 24 hrs to their children was condensed to 2m 55s and sung to music by Anita Renfroe at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxT5NwQUtVM

  • Carl Vehse

    The liturgy moms perform every 24 hrs to their children was condensed to 2m 55s and sung to music by Anita Renfroe at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxT5NwQUtVM

  • Pingback: Necessary Roughness » Blog Archive » Cranach: Secular Liturgies

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  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    There’s a great liturgical resource for secular liturgies. It’s called Saturday Night Live. For many years, they have brought to light the liturgical nature of many practices that we had imagined were merely spontaneous actions.

    The show itself begins with a Call to Laughter that goes, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    There’s a great liturgical resource for secular liturgies. It’s called Saturday Night Live. For many years, they have brought to light the liturgical nature of many practices that we had imagined were merely spontaneous actions.

    The show itself begins with a Call to Laughter that goes, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”


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