adult classAt one point this morning, Melissa's houseguest asked me when church was ('cause I was hanging around the house).
Sun, January 3, 2010 7:32:00 AM
I hope you check your email this morning because I just got a call saying that they have canceled church.
I lost your phone number (if I had it) or I would call you.
me: "10:30 -- my 9:00 church was canceled."
Melissa: "I didn't know you went to two Sunday morning church services."
me: "I don't -- the 9:00 is Adult Ed."
Melissa: "Because you're not educated enough."
Later, Melissa's houseguest was checking out my bookshelves and said, "You're a knowledge junkie."
[FirstChurch Mailing List] Yup, we're here at ChurchCHPC
Sun, January 3, 2010 9:01:10 AM
Dear Beloved Ones,
I just got in from Jamaica Plain. The roads are slippery. If you can get here, come. If you can't stay home, stay safe. We'll pray for you, and then eat your share at coffee hour.
Love to you, with wishes for your safety,
I called the office ~8:30 and ~9:30 and got the generic message both times.
While I think church should basically never cancel, a large part of me was hoping CHPC would cancel so I could go to First Church instead because I didn't actually want to go to CHPC.
I felt like the snow was worse than it was the Sunday before Christmas (though I don't think I would posit either as
Intro'ing the Call to Worship, Karl did the usual "please rise as you are able" and said, "if you are able -- I assume most of you are." Disability FAIL. I know that this phrase is part of the rote liturgy and we don't think about why we say it and if we did we think of people who are in wheelchairs and elderly people and etc., but hello invisible disability -- and not making assumptions about who is in the room. (Yes, I am bringing this up in the email I am writing to him.)
Because there were so few people, Karl said he was going to do something a little different -- rather than doing a full sermon, he would share some of this thoughts and then invite us to respond.
He talked about universalism (the star appeared to strangers, drawing them in) and incarnation (God incarnating tells us that the things of the earth hold the divine). I didn't really disagree with any of his statements (though I wouldn't have necessarily gone the incarnation route with the Epiphany story, and I think he gives the Incarnation broader implications than I think it merits).
After he was done, he asked if we had any questions, and no one said anything, and he sort of got on our case and I felt like, "I have thoughts on Epiphany and the Incarnation, but not necessarily questions." Someone commented that the Incarnation can be dangerous because it kind of brings us back to ancient days when kings for example were seen as divine. I countered that it brings us back to the roots of our faith tradition, when God created the earth and called it Good, that it tells us that God makes God's home here on earth, that God is not just in the ethereal heavens or sky but that God most fully encounters us in incarnate fleshly humanity rather than in dreams or visions.
Talking about wanting to encourage this kind of discussion/dialogue (so that he is not just "indoctrinating" us, and also so that he knows that people are actually paying attention ;) ) Karl said we often leave our brains at the door when we enter church, and I made disbelieving gestures of outrage at this implication. I asked if this meant I could interrupt and argue with his sermons, if that was encouraged. He said he had thought about that before and wasn't sure if that was the appropriate place for that kind of dialogue -- and said he has considered opening up a space right after the sermon for people to fire back -- but that afterward is definitely appropriate.
Richard did Focus on Mission -- talked about a church he has attended in Palm Springs (he travels a lot) which is actually growing and a conversation he had with the pastor, who said (among other things) that. Karl said he would be really interested to hear from those who are relatively new here, what their experience of the first ten minutes here is, and for those of us who have been here for a while ... he got on his scolding soap box and said that new people are often sitting in the sanctuary by themselves for a long time because the regular congregants largely don't start trickling in until about 10:30. I said, "But church doesn't start promptly at 10:30, so we're not incentivized to be here on time." Because trufax, I am not motivated to be at CHPC at 10:30 (or my customary 5 minutes before scheduled start time) because we so rarely start actually on time (plus, of course, I do not love this church -- I am not fed, nourished, inspired, renewed, etc. by its worship services and etc.).
Isabelle's home on break from Bryn Mawr, and at Coffee Hour Ruth mentioned that she knows a couple of guys who went Bryn Mawr -- for grad school, she explained. I said that it says something about the circles I'm in that my first thought was, "Oh, they used to be girls." After I said it I realized I should have said, "They used to be female-bodied" ('cause hi, gender identity) but since I'd already set the tone with my phrasing, I felt like I couldn't then correct Ruth when she was talking about men she knows who used to be women. (AllyFail, I know.)
The "CWM Weekly News" Tiffany sent out last night (which actually sketched out the whole month's calendar -- yay!) opened "Grace and Peace to you in this Second Week of Christmas!"
And the bulletin said: "The Second Sunday of Christmas: Celebrating the Coming Epiphany" ♥
Steven from Sacred Eros showed up at church. I win at evangelism :) Or something.
Tiffany opened with talking about an Art History class she took, which she was really struggling with because she didn't have the grounding in Christian stories to recognize the players in the paintings, and how one day her professor advised her (and the other students who were similarly struggling) to look for the halos, because that indicates the important players. She talked about how when the magi came upon the scene of the Holy Family, they didn't have the holy halos painted in by the Old Masters to guide them but that they were probably looking for the markers of power of their own day (they first went to King Herod in Jerusalem, for example, expecting that he would know who was to succeed him as King of the Jews) -- just as we seek validation from cultural markers like what we own and what people say about us. She referenced U2's "I still haven't found what I'm looking for" and talked about how we are often yearning for God etc. but are seeking big dramatic obvious moments. I insisted that no you don't really want the heavens to open and God to speak to you unmistakably -- but I respect that she does want some clarity of message from God. She said that although the world is a mess, she has learned to cultivate the spiritual discipline/practice of seeing God in little things, to see God's immanence all over the place time after time.
While I disagree with her take on the magi, what I was really struck by was when she said something (in reference to herself) about "cynical" and I thought of how she grooves on being a prophet of woe but that despite Mike R. and I being "Team Cynic" at CAUMC small group, I am forever saying, "But what is the Good News, Tiffany?"
My facebook status after I got home from evening church: "(1) continues to be surprised that not everyone else has read the blogposts she has read about the race and disability fail of James Cameron's Avatar, (1a) keeps wanting to call FAIL all over the place re: race, gender, ability, etc., but is usually too confrontation-avoidant to do so (AllyFail); (2) is not wired to be a cynical prophet of woe."