Scott Hoezee response
Scott Hoezee polished off the book on a plane trip out east and writes:
Most of what you wrote resonated with how I think ... this approach is one that (I think) I had utilized all along at the two congregations where I served. Certainly it helps if we maintain (and where needed, reinstate) the vertical dimension to our worship. Contemporary services that are all horizontal where we think mostly about our own felt needs--and/or where God is treated like a chum on the other side of the table, sipping a latte along with the rest of us--tend to not have anything to shoot for/aim at. (Such services also tend not to challenge people much, which may be part of their appeal/charm!)
Worship is always a balancing act between "the already and the not yet." We don't want to focus so much on heaven as to blot out the things of earth--or as to foster contentment with even rotten circumstances seeing as we'll be done with this life by-and-by. Nor do we want to focus so much on earth alone that pastors become one-part therapist, one-part social worker, solving problems in purely human terms. We need what you present in your book: a living CONNECTION between the two realms. This connection both reveals where life on this earth has run off the rails AND gives us a better vision to shoot for.
Anyway, I think these are worthy topics for discussion. As John Wilson comments in his blurb, talk of heaven is not exactly a commonplace among people in your age group. Why is that (and what does it reveal about the attitudes many people carry with them into worship)?