i’ve been thinking this through a bit since i came back from the UK. it arose out of a conversation we were having about how the term ‘alternative’ seems to be used to describe many different approaches to worship, some of which seem to be at odds with each other. i think the church here uses the term interchangeably, and gets pretty confused in the process. i wonder if some of the different approaches can be described like this:
contemporary – using the tools of contemporary culture and putting our theology into those forms [clearest example would be most worship songs]
contextual – using the media and cultural artifacts within a community as a way of exploring faith [we find expressions of our theology in the culture and media]
indigenous – waiting to see what theology and expression of faith emerges from within the cultural context; and letting the stuff of the culture interact with and challenge our theology and faith.
i wouldn’t want any of these to claim ownership of the ‘alternative’ label… though i certainly privilege one of them. it’s just helpful for me not to assume everyone means what i mean when i talk about alt worship.
we can’t use the language of ‘indigenous’ here, it rightfully needs to be reserved for another purpose. i’m still searching for a more appropriate word