Virgil Michel, O.S.B., a monk of Saint John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, was a founder of the Liturgical Movement in the United States in the 1920s and fostered its development until his death in 1938. Michel's writing, editing, teaching, and preaching centered on the relationship between liturgy and the life of the faithful -- the Body of Christ.
The Pueblo Books imprint of The Liturgical Press honors Virgil Michel's life and work with a monograph series named for him. The Virgil Michel Series will offer studies that examine the connections between liturgy and life in particular communities, as well as works exploring the relationship of liturgy to theology, ethics, and social sciences. The Virgil Michel Series will be ecumenical in breadth and international in scope, recognizing that liturgy embodies yet transcends cultures and denominations.
Worship and Christian Identity argues that sacramental and liturgical practices are the central means by which a church shapes the faith, character, and consciousness of its members. Consequently, for any church to set aside such practices as outdated or irrelevant is to set aside the means by which the church nurtures and sustains its theological identity. From this perspective, Anderson explores the following questions: What is the relationship between worship and belief? What is the relationship between corporate worship and the formation of Christian persons and communities? What is the relationship between worship and our knowledge of ourselves, our world, and God? How might our attention to the reform and renewal of worship and sacramental practice provide a framework for theological, evangelical, and sacramentalrenewal?
Questions of sacramental practice, inclusive or transformative language, and the renewal of congregational hymnody have been largely displaced by marketing questions and conflicts between "traditional" and "contemporary" worship. The hour of worship is subdivided now into increasingly specialized "target audiences" of singles, seekers, boomers, and "X-ers" with worship carefully packaged as "traditional" or "contemporary." What at various points has been understood as a "means of grace" is now seen primarily as a "means of numerical growth."