She works until 1 on Sundays so is thinking of coming to CWM \o/
Laurie, a BU STH student who apparently has been going to CAUMC Sunday mornings for some time also showed up. She recently went to a conference on sabbath and was talking about how do you do that as a pastor -- e.g., most people will only call you with crises (either of faith or medical) so are you supposed to say, "No, it's my sabbath"?
At one point we were talking about looking you and Michelle said she acts about 15, so... I said that I do act like a grown-up, so I'm extra-frustrated by looking so much younger than my age. Someone (probably Michelle) questioned this, and I said, "I work in an office and manage people. I'm totally a grown up." She said this was undercut by the fact that, "You spend 80% of your time there watching porn." Everyone was appropriately speechless. I just kind of laughed, 'cause while not technically true (and she was of course joking -- she apologized, and I insisted she didn't need to) the spirit of the statement was true.
Later, she was telling me that she and her sister had been talking about shows that should have been on cable so there could be more hot gay sexing -- including Buffy and Angel -- Angel/Spike, and Buffy/Faith. Through this I learned that Laurie is a Joss fan. She is apparently now into Doctor Who and Torchwood.
Because last week was topical, I partially forgot about Living the Questions, and I'd been reading about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and blogsurfing, so I opted to excerpt some blogposts which I found interesting and thought would inspire discussion.
***We talked about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We talked about holidays and which ones we get off. We talked about Eid. (Laurie's from Minnesota, which apparently has a burgeoning Muslim population.) We talked about the upcoming Presidential election. I should have cut us off 30-45 minutes before I did.
In my mind, if a ritual is a prescribed procedure or a specific patterned behavior, an event is just any ol' thing that happens. So a ritual is an event but not every event is a ritual.
Rituals bring the meaning and power of events into the given moment. As Terence Fretheim puts it in the Exodus commentary of Interpretation series, "The reenactment is as much salvific event as the original enactment."
This idea gets more wonderful when you think in terms of baptism and holy communion. The baptism ritual is more than empty words and a splash of water. Holy Communion is more than going through the motions of a meal together. Each of these rituals convey power in that they reenact and thus are an event of history brought fully into the present moment, both in remembrance of the past and also in anticipation of the future.
And here's my final thought: we need not equate ritual with rigidity. Ritual is not just a fancy way to say "the way we've always done it." Ritual is alive and moves and changes as we change. Ritual is the structure of life like ice crystals are the structure of a cloud. We need to repeat ritual exactly in order for it to retain it's power. What is important is that it retain it's power, not the form in which that power is conveyed.
I wonder if that's why the Passover ritual has a moment when the children are to ask, "What do you mean by this observance?" (12:26) What a wonderful moment! If you can't answer a child when they ask, "Why are we doing this, again?" you should probably stop doing it. Because then your ritual will have become a rut.
In other words, the liturgy immerses us in the society of all societies, the kingdom of all kingdoms, the community of all communities. Whatever we long to see in our nation or community is only that much more in God's order. We are often tempted to shape our churches to look like the culture or to change the service so it feels more socially relevant. It is logical at one level, and there is no question that we have to be culturally and socially sensitive. But the liturgy shows us a deeper logic and relevance—the world that is dawning and will never end.
Ever since my disappointing Christmas Eve service, I've been thinking about the C&E (exclusively Christmas and Easter attendees) crowd and what it might mean to tailor a service in a way that reaches them. What is the ministry of the church in the context of these services?
[...] we have a unique opportunity once or twice a year. We have a room full of people, most of whom won't darken our doors again for another 3-9 months (depending on if it's Christmas or Easter next!), who might be looking for a little joy or hope or invitation or message or welcome for whatever reason. Sure they might just be looking to put a checkmark in their list of things to do to make sure grandma's happy, but maybe they're looking for a bit more than that. Maybe they want to know about this love stuff those whackjob christians are always blathering about, and this is our one chance to get a portion of the message across. In short, the second way to view the C&E crowd is that we have a small opportunity for good old fashioned evangelism– that's in the biblical sense of the word: telling the good news.
Michelle to me: "You give the best hugs in the universe. Except maybe for my boyfriend -- but he's twice your size." (6'5", 285 -- to my 5'2", 140) After closing prayer, Laurie commented that I/we do "full commitment" hugs, which she appreciates.
Mike thanked me for pulling this together, said "we couldn't have done it without you," said I'm "reliable."
Laurie to me: "You're very smart. [In an almost awed tone.] But you know how to hold your tongue. Which I don't. But I hope that spending time in your presence, it'll rub off on me. And along with your wisdom, you also have an appreciation for dorky things like Joss Whedon."