Diverse Worship: African-American, Caribbean & Hispanic Perspectives
Pedrito U. Maynard-Reid;
IVP, 259 pages, $15.99

You know a conflict has dragged on too long when it generates inside jokes: "What's the difference between a liturgiologist and a terrorist? Answer: You can negotiate with a terrorist." For those of us who haven't heard of "liturgiologists"—and even for those who have—Pedrito Maynard-Reid's Diverse Worship is a handy introduction to the field, and a friendly plea for American evangelicals to broaden their liturgical practices.

Congregations already feud about using hymns or praise choruses, or organs or guitars. But with census figures showing an explosion in the Latino and immigrant populations, evangelistically minded churches need to become even more open to new worship styles. Maynard-Reid's book may be a helpful tool for developing such openness as it examines worship not only as church tradition but as "holistic ministry."

Maynard-Reid was born in Jamaica, taught for years in Puerto Rico, and is professor of biblical studies and missiology at Walla Walla College in Washington. Drawing on his diverse background, he offers fascinating historical details on worship and its theological underpinnings in black, Latino, and Caribbean Christian cultures.

The tension felt by the various cultures between their native music and the pervasive influence of European styles is a recurring theme: "Many Caribbean worshipers struggle with the use of reggae and calypso in the liturgy because of their strong associations with what is termed 'the world.'. … Yet it is the African-based musical idioms that express the daily social and deep spiritual concerns and feelings of the people." A balanced approach that honors both indigenous ...

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