I have been researching web best practice in order to keep this site cutting edge, and user-friendly.
There are some obvious conventions:
- a clickable header/logo in the top left that sends you to the home page.
- a navigation bar across the top or down the side
- links in the footer to some secondary level importance information
- links in a text indicated clearly, mostly with underlining, normally blue
Quite simply, because they work. Conventions only become conventions if users find them useful.
The same is true for liturgy. And don’t tell me, “our worship is ‘non-liturgical’.” My understanding of “liturgy” = “community worship”. Even in so-called ‘non-liturgical’ worship you can see conventions.
For up to 2,000 years and, in some cases, back into Christianity’s Jewish roots, and often from normal human interaction in groups, the conventions we follow in liturgy are there… because they work… because “users find them useful”.
There are conventions in drama and film. There are conventions in language and grammar. There are conventions in human interactions. There are conventions in liturgy.
Someone who seeks to create drama or film without knowledge or skill of conventions is heading for failure. Someone who seeks to be a published writer without knowledge or skill in language conventions, grammar, or spelling is heading for failure. Someone who seeks to lead worship, or who has been specifically designated/commissioned/ordained to lead worship without knowledge or skills in liturgical conventions is…
and the one who so designated such a person is irreverently irresponsible.
Those clergy and other worship leaders who vow and sign up to the agreed conventions without making any effort to know them let alone conform to them IMO are doubly reckless.
Yes, conventions can be broken. To startling effect. But only after profound knowledge, understanding, and experience of the convention that one is breaking.
A convention may not work well. If, after having tried following the convention rigorously, having researched its origin, and the best-practice understanding of this convention, you find a better way of achieving what the convention aims to effect, then there is justification for altering the convention. If you have vowed and signed up to following the convention there may be a process that one goes through in order to alter the convention that you have committed yourself to. But, as my original source highlights:
And, yes, regulars here will see (may notice) some alterations to this site as time permits. But alterations will be following best-practice, carefully-researched, user-attuned website conventions.
Those interested in exploring some foundational worship conventions could start with my (free online) book Celebrating Eucharist (this includes discussion points for your community or worship committee), and the video (or PDF) of my talk “Some thoughts on Liturgy“.