Enuma Okoro grew up in four countries, including Nigeria and the Ivory Coast, and describes her religious education as "doses of Roman Catholicism washed down with long gulps of multiflavored Protestant theology." Perhaps because of this broad personal experience, Okoro has a down-to-earth, generous perspective on churches, worship, tradition, and the sometimes circuitous path to spiritual community. A former director of the Center for Theological Writing at Duke University, Okoro is the author of Reluctant Pilgrim: A Moody, Somewhat Self-Indulgent Introvert’s Search for Spiritual Community (Fresh Air Books) and co-author of Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (Zondervan). Sojourners editorial assistant Betsy Shirley spoke with Okoro in December.
Betsy Shirley: Tell me about one of your earliest experiences with liturgy that for better or worse really affected you.
Enuma Okoro: Being raised in the Catholic Church, I was aware that there were certain acts that happened in church on Sundays, and I was always sort of mystified by them. The practice I remember most was kneeling during certain times in the service. Going to a Catholic Church -- old school Catholic --we had the pews with kneeling pads. I remember every time I had to kneel, I'd look around and follow everyone else. I must have been seven years old, but I remember putting down the kneeling pad and really thinking how reverent that was, even as a child.
What is liturgical living?