The Body of Christ Worships in the Era of Biopower: Towards a Liturgical Somatics Público

Posadas, Jeremy (2012)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/bz60cw32f?locale=es
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Abstract

This dissertation attends to the dynamics of embodiment in Christian worship on three levels: actual worship, the study of worship, and the relationship between worship and broader society. First, it considers what bodies do in Christian worship, what they are expected to do in Christian worship, and what presuppositions are at work in such expectations concerning bodily conduct. In order, however, to adequately account for the conduct of bodies in worship (and expectations concerning it), it is necessary to counter an interpretive bias, pervasive in the study of Christian worship, towards relations among symbols within systems of meaning. Bringing more balance to the interpretation of Christian worship requires establishing a framework that foregrounds relations among bodies within systems of conduct. The dissertation, therefore, illustrates the use of a new analytical tool -- the "regimen" of a service -- in re-examining several ethnographic accounts of actual worship. The assumptions at play in the regimen in these services are reinforced by several secondary liturgical theologians I explicate closely. The dissertation proceeds to relate the dynamics traced in both actual worship and in the second-order study of worship with a particular manner in which power governs contemporary Western societies, called "biopower," which was first thematized in the work of Michel Foucault. Having demonstrated where certain forms of Christian worship can reinforce or manifest mechanisms of biopower, the dissertation concludes by proposing an alternative regimen for Christian worship that has the potential to disrupt biopower.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS

Preface: Towards a Liturgical Somatics............................................ 1

Chapter Outline....................................................................... 5 Chapter 1: The Elements of Regimen in Christian Worship................ 10

A. Introductory matters................................................................... 10

About the ethnographic accounts examined................................ 15

B. Getting some bearings: worship in several Roman Catholic congregations...18

C. Expanding the framework: worship in two Protestant congregations..... 27

D. Seeming contradictions of the operating logic: Charismatic/Free Church Worship.. 41

E. Concluding matters: describing a regimen for the Body of Christ.......... 62

Definition of "regimen"............................................................ 67

Chapter 2: The Expectation of Bodily Congruence in
Secondary Liturgical Theology..................................................... 76

A. Introduction............................................................................. 76

B. Geoffrey Wainwright................................................................... 80

C. Gordon Lathrop......................................................................... 93

D. Simon Chan............................................................................. 118

E. Conclusion.............................................................................. 130

Chapter 3: Christian Worship and the Analytics of Biopower........... 133

A. Foucault's analytics of power...................................................... 134

Foucault's substantive analytics -- the framework of biopower..... 136

B. Re-considering Christian worship through the lens of biopower........... 143

Disciplinary mechanisms in congruence-oriented Christian worship.. 144

Regulatory mechanisms in congruence-oriented Christian worship.. 153

C. Why is enmeshment with biopower a bad thing?............................. 163

Chapter 4:Imagining the Transformation of
Congruence-Oriented Worship
................................................... 171

A. One possible starting point: the major prayer in a service................ 171

B. Imagining prayer at Good Shepherd Church................................... 181

C. Some notes on Good Shepherd's experiments................................ 191

Chapter 5: Canonizing and Improvising Our Way to Resurrection... 195

Is it acceptable to improvise?............................................... 198 The interplay of congruence and divergence............................ 202 "Canon" and "improvisation".................................................. 206 Brief normative considerations............................................... 212

Liturgical dispositions and the disruption of biopower................. 215

Conclusion: resurrection in regimes of biopower....................... 225

Bibliography............................................................................. 234

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