Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

[CWM] A Liminal Lent: Walking Between the Times [2008-02-17]

Prelude and Silent Meditation

Within the circles of our lives
We dance the circles of the years
The circles of he seasons...

Again, again we come and go,
changed, changing.  Hands join,
join in love and fear, grief and joy.
The circles turn, each giving into each, into all.

Wendell Berry

Call To Worship: Hymn: "Faith Is Patience in the Night"

Special Music: Cassandra (filling in for Tallessyn, as the family was all home sick) sang (and did piano) a song I wasn't familiar with, but which had a nice tune -- bits included "without seeing you we believe."

Scripture Lesson: John 3:1-12

     Tiffany opened by talking about "two men, meet under cover of darkness," and so on.  Yeah, it sounded very gay.  Oh my church.
    She talked about how Nicodemus, a Pharisee, of the group with whom Jesus had clashed so much, was coming and saying, "Yes, I see the Divine in you," and think about that for a sec, isn't that a pretty impressive statement? and mighten't we expect Jesus to respond with something like gratitude?  But of course that's not how he responds -- instead he pushes Nicodemus.  She said that Nicodemus has been wowed by the signs he has seen Jesus do, but that his faith doesn't go deeper than that.  She referenced Sarah Silverman's Jesus Is Magic, which I now totally wanna see (even though I feel like I've heard mixed things about Sarah Silverman).  She had said that Nicodemus had nothing but praise for Jesus, and now she turned that around, said that he had "nothing but praise" for him.  She said that being "born again" or being "born from above" isn't just about one wow moment -- that can be the starting point, but it needs to be about relationship.  She said relationships at times can be magical -- but they can also be bumpy and hard.
      She quoted William Loder on John's understanding of God's Reign as "the love nexus which brings life."  Yeah, I fail at being a hippie and was really not into hearing the term "love nexus" like a billion times in one sermon (or really, y'know, ever).

A Call to Spiritual Discipline: A Labyrinth Prayer Journey [handout reprinted on blogspot and 7Villages]
     There was a bulletin insert of a labyrinth about the size of a mousepad, so that one could trace the path with one's finger.  Tiffany talked us through a meditation (moving inward, centering, moving outward) and one but that stuck out at me was: "And in that moment, forgive yourself."

Song of Prayer: "Here, O God, Disciples Gather"
     Here, O God, disciples gather, hand we link with hand;
     Looking toward our Savior's path, joined in love we stand.
     As we seek the realm of our God, we unite to pray:
     Jesus, Savior, guide our steps, for you are the Way.

We did the prayers of the people more traditionally this time, which I appreciated.

Pastoral Prayer, and Jesus' Prayer

Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and for ever. Amen
(From the New Zealand Book of Prayer)


Doxology: "Walk With Me"
     Walk with me, I will walk with you,
     And build the land that God has planned where love shines through
     And when you share your faith with me and work for life made new,
     The witness of your faithfulness calls me to walk with you.
     Walk with me, I will walk with you,
     And build the land that God has planned where love shines through

Passing of the Peace


Hymn: "Let Us Be Bread"
     Let us be bread, blessed by thy Word,
     Broken and shared, life for the world.
     Let us be wine, love freely poured,
     One in thy Living Word.

Closing Prayer

    Tiffany announced the date change for the Soup and Study (instead of being Tuesdays beginning last week, it'll be Sundays after fellowship, beginning March 3). She said she'd read the book on the plane and it's "sexy," said she might need to leave the room during parts of the discussion. Yeah, I clearly need to read the book now.
She said, "You know how delicate I am.  Speaking of delicate flowers" -- and she then segued into talking about buying Easter lilies etc.

Closing Hymn: "We Walk By Faith"



trans study series

We watched some clips from Beautiful Daughters on LOGO -- about the first all transwomen performance of Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues -- which was totally news to me.  I thought of Toby's GenderQueer Monologues The Naked I: Monologues from Beyond the Gender Binary.  [Edit: Checking my tags, apparently I had heard a little about this back in 2005.]

One of the women said: "I live in the Female Zone now.  But you know how people feel about immigrants."

Eve said so many transwomen after their first date with a man after transitioning come back and say, "All men want is sex," and she thinks, "But you were a man.  Why would you want to go on a date with a man, knowing what they're like?" but then she realized that no, "You were never a man.  You were a woman," and she got it.  That was a powerful moment for me, too, because I've thought similar things, and that realization didn't quite click for me until I heard her say it.  (I do think it remains a non-ridiculous criticism to some degree, though, as these people were socialized as men, but yeah.)

There was a clip of a black, Baptist/Pentecostal style preacher (Archbishop Carl Bean) at Unity Fellowship Church in L.A., talking about how God loves everyone and if you need an operation than that's just fine, and the best moment was when he said that God loves homosexuals, bisexuals, heterosexuals, yadda yadda, "all the sexuals."  Marla suggested we include that in our Welcome :)

Valerie Spencer, one of the transwomen, said that she has a penis, but she's still a woman.  "I'm not trapped in a penis' body."

In discussion afterwards, Sean and Marla said that in Iran, for example, as well as some fundamentalist Christians in the U.S., people totally support trans people transitioning -- provided that the end result is a heterosexual person.

Changing the information on one's birth certificate seems so bizarre to me.  I mean, isn't it supposed to be a legal document of who you were at birth?  Shouldn't you be able to change your name and stuff through other legal documentation means?  It also frustrates me that our culture is so stuck on classifying people in gender boxes.  I mean, so long as your driver's license photo looks like you, does it matter which bathroom you choose to use?

At the end, as Sean called us to join hands for a closing prayer, he said, "As Willy would say: "Now let's all touch each other."
Tags: church: somerville: cambridge welcoming, issues: trans, people: church: marla, people: church: sean, people: pastors: tiffany, plays: the [] monologues, plays: the v-monologues

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