N. Graham Standish writing for the Alban Institute says:
I believe that a passion to help people experience the Holy, however it is defined, is at the root of every form of worship. Every liturgy developed by every movement at one point was designed to help people experience the Holy. Many congregations today, in all denominations, consistently ask themselves how they can connect people with an experience of God through their worship. And whenever they stop asking that question, others emerge to ask it and to provide new opportunities to encounter the Holy in a way that modifies tradition.
But if we continually transform worship so that it will open people to the Holy, what are we supposed to do with our traditions? Don’t traditions anchor our worship? How can we discard them so readily? Isn’t one of the mainline church’s strengths its ability to adhere to tradition in the face of a world that blindly chases trends? All of these ques¬tions are valid, but they are misleading because often what we think of as traditions really aren’t traditions at all.
He concludes:When we continually build worship upon accretions, without regard to the original foundations, we are building worship on shaky sand. We in the mainline church, who persist in building our worship on centuries of accretions, will continue to shrink until we decide to seriously question what is foundational or accretional about our worship, and then act accordingly.
What the mainline church needs to do is to refocus on what is foundational tradition—religiously, denominationally, and congregationally—and work our way back from there. Practicing an accretion is not wrong, as long as it is built on a meaningful foundation, as long as it is fertile soil for present generations and cultures, and as long as we are willing to brush it away when it becomes an impediment to growth.