Introduction to Christian Liturgy. By Frank C. Senn. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012. ISBN-13: 978-0-80069885-0. ix and 244 pages. Paper. $29.00.
On page one of Introduction to Christian Liturgy, Pastor Frank Senn describes it as a "pastoral liturgical handbook." He writes that "Pastoral liturgy is the study and application of liturgy in the actual life of the church." Senn accomplishes his task: he gives an overview of the history, practice, and meaning of Christian worship across times and places.
The book has nine chapters, which address the topics of the history and culture of liturgy, the principal order of service, keeping time and the church year, life passages, the arts in liturgy, and participation in liturgy. Each contains five questions with answers, which is engaging and friendly. Senn helpfully provides a chronology of events and documents and a glossary of liturgical terms.
The book's strengths are clear. Senn covers a vast amount of material in a descriptive, non-judgemental manner, inviting the reader into the process of liturgical discernment. For example, he gives a good description of the Holy Week liturgies and paraliturgical devotions, avoiding being overly critical of the latter, while being clear about the...