© 2017 Craig Mueller

Any Body There:
What others are saying

"Pastor Mueller has written a timely and needed resource for the church, and I think, the world. In a world that is so disembodied, individualistic, insular, and at times at loss for transformational-human embodiment, Pastor Mueller calls us back to our center. The center in worship—which leads us to embody the mission of God and then sends us forth to serve the world. As Pastor Mueller points out, “True service will demand human bodies that recognize the suffering and pain of other human bodies.” This world is more than ever in need of this call to service and embodiment of love. There is a treasure chest of riches within this book and one that all the baptized should read and embody."

 

—Kevin L. Strickland, Assistant to the Presiding Bishop and Executive for Worship in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

“This is one of the best inside accounts I’ve read of the wisdom and practices at the heart of a flourishing congregation. In this elegant and practical book Pastor Mueller interprets the promises and dilemmas of the virtual era as invitations into a profound spirituality of the body in worship and daily life. Study and savor this compelling vision of what it means to be alive on Earth today!”

 

—Benjamin M. Stewart, professor, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

"Pastor Mueller has written a rich yet accessible book, words that draw us deeper into Christian worship and living and the relationship of both to who we are as 21st century human beings. Using an inviting balance of story-telling, research, and theological reflection, Mueller challenges us to bring our whole selves to the table, both the Eucharistic table and the many tables where we gather alone or with others. And there, God shows up as promised, in the flesh and ready for the many kinds of questions this book so elegantly sets before us."

—Jennifer Baker-Trinity, Program Director for Resource Development, ELCA/Augsburg Fortress and Co-Director, Institute of Liturgical Studies, Valparaiso University

“Pastor Mueller draws us anew into the mystery and materiality of Christian faith as it is embodied and enacted in Word and Sacrament worship. . . . Pastors, seminarians, and laypersons will find here not only a primer and refresher on the embodied patterns and practices of liturgy, but a compelling picture of its meaning in our increasingly disembodied, digital culture. Mueller’s reflections on life and liturgy are witty and wise, personal and pastoral.” 

—Susan Briehl, pastor and writer

"Craig Mueller reflects insightfully about Christian worship and what it means to be human in a time of dizzying technological advancement, and the social disengagement that often happens when we are caught up in our many devices and distractions. Grounded in his decades of experience as a Lutheran pastor, his writings reveal a highly observant, engaged church leader who appreciates the benefits of technology, and balances them with his concerns about loneliness, a focus on the individual, and poor spiritual development that many people experience in the digital age. He never scolds, and never exhorts us to return to a simpler time, knowing full well that we couldn't even if we wanted to. His insights from his own personal life deepen the authenticity and wisdom of his work. Pastor Mueller skillfully lifts up Christian worship as a way to reclaim our identity as God's beloved children, without denying or rejecting the complicated digital world around us."

 

- Stephen Crippen, Episcopal seminarian at Virginia Theological Seminary

"Mueller is a mentor to any parish pastor seeking to make sense of how to be the body of Christ today, amidst seismic change both ecclesial and technological.  With a passion for ancient faith and ritual and a mind and appreciation for present reality, Mueller offers an elegant, accessible, practical invitation to love God with all that we are in this digital age."

—Erin Bouman, pastor, Irving Park Lutheran Church, Chicago

"As a lay person 'analog' (see chapter 3) that continues to enjoy maps and atlases, and rarely, takes a 'selfie', Any Body There provides a provocative discussion guide not only for the role of the church in an ever-evolving society but also for those of us in the midst of our spiritual journey within the church. Pastor Mueller in very clear, concise and personal terms, encourages us to examine what this means and invites us to explore a broader comprehension of worship, liturgy and the need and desire for community and its relevancy in society and the church. Very well written and extremely well documented, Any Body There? provides a wonderful resource for laypersons as well as pastors, seminarians and others in key leadership roles within the church."

- Lois Wattman

"I feel as though I’ve had a long visit with Pastor Mueller, sitting at his feet, hearing his voice as he importantly and cleverly connects our bodies (analog/humanity) with technology, church, worship, spirituality, mystery, bricolage, community, even our mortality. I could hardly put the book down! I wish that every ELCA pastor (other faith leaders as well) could read these words of wisdom and experience! Thanks to Pastor Mueller for taking precious time out of his full life to put these deep, reverent, and helpful words on paper."

- Jean Larson, 91 years of age

 

 

 "Worship will be most valued when it deepens the spiritual life and all that it means to be human."

 

Any Body There, p. 51