Impromptu worship

Dr. Corey Schlosser-Hall tells Everyday God-talk that worship opportunities abound — even during a U2 concert

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

Dr. Corey Schlosser-Hall (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — Theologically speaking, what feeds your soul?  How does that understanding play itself out in your ministry and spiritual practices?

Everyday God-talk with host So Jung Kim, associate for Theology in the Office of Theology and Worship, is back for season two focusing on these questions with Presbyterian leaders.

“We want to find out how this theological and practical knowledge of what nurtures them impacts their ministry and spiritual practices,” Kim said.

In the first episode of season two, Kim visits with Dr. Corey Schlosser-Hall, the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s new Deputy Executive for Vision, Innovation and Rebuilding. He told Kim what grabs his soul is the knowledge that he can rest wholeheartedly in his only security — that in life and death he belongs to God.

“That’s super important for me in everyday living and in ministry,” he said. “It gives not just me but all of us the security to launch, to risk.”

For Schlosser-Hall, this security of knowing he belongs to the triune God is not so much a warm and fuzzy comfort, although it can be. Instead, it gives the capacity to risk — and to launch.

 

“I like to think of it as a stable launchpad, so we can jump,” he said. “We can go places we didn’t think we could go. We can do things we’ve never done before. We can take a step of relating to people that we’ve never known before.”

There’s something else that feeds Schlosser-Hall’s soul: music. One of his favorite bands is U2.

He’ll never forget being at one of the Irish band’s concerts in 2001, realizing that it was worship. For him, it was like a Reformed worship service, with a call to worship, confession, preaching, an offering and a sending.

“Sometimes what feeds my soul is just being alone in a car with enclosed speakers with U2 or one of my favorite bands just completely cranked and singing along,” he said with a laugh. “That is soul feeding, if you will.”

Part of how Schlosser-Hall came into his own adult faith was through an Assembly of God congregation in Fargo, North Dakota. Just out of high school and attending North Dakota State University, the emotional intensity of worship and music in that context brought him to tears.

The next year, after transferring to the University of Oregon in Eugene, he was introduced to the Presbyterian form of Christianity. While he loved the more democratic form of Christianity — where “the best idea that is submitted to God’s discernment gets to rule” — he felt the congregational experience of worship he was in was lacking.

So Jung Kim hosts Everyday God-talk. (Contributed photo)

“We had great use of our minds and kind of an anemic emotional intensity [in worship],” he said. “Ever since then, I’ve been wanting to see that wedding of the emotional intensity of worship with the intellectual rigor engagement and the life of the mind in the service of God.”

Schlosser-Hall will share more about his ministry and spiritual practices on Everyday God-Talk. The second episode, about his ministry as the executive presbyter of Northwest Coast Presbytery for the past 15 years, and the third regarding his personal relationship with God will be streamed online this week. Check out the Theology and Worship Facebook page and subscribe to its YouTube Channel.


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