February 5th, 2006

(hidden) wisdom

First Congregational Norwood (Ruth and Naomi)

Back here again, 'cause of the Women in the Bible series -- which I saw a sign this morning saying is only three Sundays long (next week is Sarah) so soon I'll be free.  It hadn't registered when I read the weekly announcements last week, but last week they started Sunday morning adult Bible study looking at "Women in the Bible."  I am seriously tempted (I miss making trouble in Bible study) but 8:15am?  Ouch.  That means leaving the house (and thus, getting up in the morning) only 45 minutes later than I do during the week.

I also didn't notice last week that starting today they're switching to decaf at Coffee Hour "in order to accomodate health concerns of some of our congregants."  *rolls eyes*  It doesn't matter to me 'cause coffee=gross, but couldn't you just have two urns?

Anyway.  They're also doing a six sessions "Beginnings: an introduction to Christian Faith" Wednesdays -- "The evening will begin at 6:30pm with the sharing of a meal, after which there will be a DVD presentation and small group discussions."  The blurb opens with "Come explore some of life's deepest questions about Christianity!" so of course I'm seriously tempted.  It starts February 15, and they ask that you sign up so they can plan accordingly.  Putting my name down on six lists intimidated me (like people would be asking after me or whatever), so I just signed up for the first week.

A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on.
-Carl Sandburg

They did a church survey way back when I was visiting in mid-November and had the results today. Pastor Hamilton listed a few and one was "74% believe the Bible is the Word of God" and I thought, "Bzuh?" but then he finished the sentence with something like "as interpreted through time and historical context" and I understood, though I am mildly discomfited.
He said there are several new church years throughout the liturgical calendar and this is the start of one of them -- 'cause with the Annual Meeting last week they have a new roster of church officers.
He made another comment about global warming being not so bad, huh? and geez, who would have thought I would miss an Environmentally Covenanted church?  Someone announced that due to the weather -- there is no snow anywhere -- there is no tubing today (a planned activity for the I think jr. high crowd) and I thought, "See, even if you don't have my love for the bitter cold, there is badness to the 50F in February."
Moving into the next part of the service, he said that even though it is grey outside let's think of this as a new beginning and I thought, "It's unseasnably warm and you've gotta hate on the cloudiness?"  United has for some time now been opening worship with a responsive "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." and I found myself seriously missing that.  Do I have too high expectations for clergy types to want them to see God in everything (or at least try to look for God in everything) and as a side issue, to be thoughtful and not take cheap shots?

Responsive Call to Worship:
Love is all around [I immediately thought of the opening of Love Actually and winced.]
God's love is deep within.
Love acts in sharing,
Love resides in quiet listening.
Love comes as a friend to rejoice with us when joy arrives.
Love is all around,
God's love is deep within.
Stronger than death,
Setting loose a song of joy.
Processional Hymn: "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" (to the tune of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy")
This is one of my very favorite hymns, and the joy theme was reminding me of wisdomeagle and how I was thinking recently about how I don't do Joy Sadhana (mylittleredgirl) so here's the full text.
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed,
Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals, join the happy chorus, which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us, brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward in the triumph song of life.
After the Prayer of Invocation, the next hymn was "Santo, Santo, Santo."  I was pleased that they sang it in Spanish first without prompting

The 100th anniversary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's birth was yesterday.  According to Pastor Hamilton, he believed that confession is integral and that we cannot approach God until we have cleared our consciences.  The Unison Prayer of Confession was a variant of one of his:
Heavenly Teacher, we do not always pray as we ought.
Help us to speak the truth and to listen for your forgiveness:
When we pray, "Our Father in heaven," but forget to embrace all people as your children...
When we say "Your kingdom come" without working for your kingdom on earth...
When we ask for our daily bread, but do not recognize it as your gift...
When we request forgiveness for ourselves, but fail to pardon others...
When we plead not to be led into times of trial, but walk willingly into temptation...
When we honor you with our lips, but fail miserably with our lives...

O God, forgive us.  Create spaces in our prayer, that we might hear and live out your words back to us, words of love and justice, grace and forgiveness.
A woman named Claudia did the Children's Message.  It was obvious she was new at this, and I definitely felt for her.  (Looking at I think the minutes of the Annual Meeting posted outside Fellowship Hall I saw a thing about increased laity participation in ministry.)  But she said that Naomi was a very good person, a very good Christian, and I winced.  Later she said that Ruth followed her [Naomi's] Christian ways.  And when she was talking about Ruth choosing to go with Naomi, she said that she wasn't a blood relation so she didn't have to and I was confused because earlier she had said it was a rule that the daughter(s)-in-law stayed to help their mother-in-law because she didn't have any men to take care of her (and given the church, I was surprised she didn't make a disclaimer about socio-historic circumstances/norms).

The Scripture reading was Ruth 1.14-18; 2.17-20; 4.13-17.

The translation they used of that second section called Boaz "nearest kin" and I was like, "ew, squick?" until I remembered that Ruth isn't in fact Naomi's blood relation so it's a moot point.
The introductory blurb for the third section talked about the birth "reversing the cycle of death with which the story began."
I thought it was interesting that the Scripture says of Naomi's grandson, "For your daughter-in-law, who is dearer to you than seven sons, has borne him."
And we end with: "He was the father of Jesse, the father of David."  Which to Christians is so powerful because we know about the root of Jesse and the house of David.
In his message, Pastor Hamilton talked first about the royal line and then how according to Matthew the line ultimately produced Jesus, and at first I was taken aback by his not mentioning Jesus first, but then I was thinking about how even within the context of the Old Testament, this would resonate powerfully because Jesse and David were such a big deal, and how it was fitting to mention that first.

Message: "Women in the Bible, II: Ruth and Family Ties"

Pastor Hamilton talked about the Hebrew term chesed -- charity, lovingkindness, with no expectation of anything in return.  He related a Talmudic story (Googling, it's Shabbat 156b, Rabbi Akiva) which ends with the the rabbi citing Proverbs (10:2) that "chesed saves from death."
He also talked about how Ruth is in some ways coming out of a tradition (e.g., Abraham, Moses) but how unlike them, she goes on this journey with Naomi without prompting, promise or companionship (though this last one troubled me a bit 'cause duh she's going with Naomi, not a native kinswoman but obviously someone she is very close to).
Pastor Hamilton said he sees Naomis almost every day of the week and named some (I imagine) church members in nursing homes and also mentioned a woman in Charlwell whom he called "ancient" and "90 in the shade" (and lo my age issues resurface yet again) who is always sitting outside her room, stroking a doll like a baby.  [Sidenote: The translation they read goes something like "And Naomi took the child onto her bosom and become his nurse," and I was like, "lactating widow miracle much?"]  And he mentioned how he doesn't see very many Ruths.  He said sometimes someone will quit their job to care for an aging parent but that's very rare, and my immediate thought was, "What about the people who hold down full-time jobs and help care for an aging parent?"  I mean okay, my grandma doesn't need a live-in nurse (and God help us all if she did, and how many people are qualified to be that for their parent anyway?) but to spend 45 minutes every night on the phone with her and all day Sunday and all the other things my mom does for her . . . .

Next, the Lord's Prayer (debtors -- I always forget they do this) and the Invitation to Offering.

Offertory: "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" (T. Dorsey)
Bulletin says: "In sympathy for the people of the Chicago Baptist Church which was recently destroyed by fire, and where this anthem was first performed."

After the Offertory, the Doxology and the Prayer of Dedication.

It completely hadn't registered with me that it was Communion Sunday until I was looking at the bulletin.  I was still bitter about last week and just don't feel comfortable calling myself a part of this specific church community.  I do like the Invitation he did, about how this is from Christ for all of us in a way that evoked for me the Invitation I so love that Kelly (formerly of First Churches) did.  But as I have discussed so many times, Communion isn't particularly a Thing for me, and theologically accurate or no it feels far more community-of-believers oriented than communion-with-Christ/God to me.  I also liked that he broke up pita bread and put that on top of the trays of white bread cubes so people with weak arms could have pre-broken bread but there was still the unleavened bread option (which is always what I think Communion bread should be -- Passover and all).

Unison Prayer of Thanksgiving:
We thank you, O God, for blessing us with these gifts of bread and cup.  In receiving them, we remember Jesus and his saving love.  Partaking together we are strengthened as your people of faith and as your church.  Now send us out to share your grace and your good news with all the world, in Jesus' name.  Amen.
Recessional Hymn: "Now Thank We All our God."

Next was the Passing of the Peace, and Pastor Hamilton said: In true congregant spirit, we make sure to always sit next to someone we know, so passing the peace becomes greeting the person who lives next door to us.  Without creating too much havoc, let's see if we can try passing the peace to people you don't know or whom you haven't seen in a while.

In the post-service receiving line I asked him if I could chat with him about his Esther sermon or was he busy and he said today was a bad day (diaconate meeting or something) so he asked me to leave my phone number and good times to call on his desk.  I'd really rather do this over e-mail (what wouldn't I?) but okay.

The back of the bulletin had Ruth 1:16 broken into 4 lines, with the latter part of each line white text on black (contra black text on white) and I liked that.

    Where you go I will go,
and where you stay I will stay.
Your people will be my people
    and your God my God.

So when you glance at it you initially read: I will go / I will stay / my people / my God.

Super Bowl XL

[Seattle Seahwaks] Entrance music: "Bittersweet Symphony" (the Verve) ?  Rock.  I could barely discern that the other team [Pittsburgh Steelers] had music nevermind know what it was.  I realized early on I was rooting for the Seahawks 'cause their outfits were prettier.  Lo I am shallow at times.  Plus, never been to the Super Bowl versus going for fifth?  I grew up in Red Sox country (though my family isn't hardcore about sports); rooting for the underdog is what I do.

Nice touch having musicians from Detroit and NOLA (though I wasn't impressed by the rendition of the national anthem).  And I recalled the criticisms of the lack of mention of NOLA in the SotUA and thought, "The Super Bowl knows how to play it."  As soon as they said they were gonna have a moment of silence I knew one would be for Coretta Scott King but I was trying to remember who would be the other one ('cause I was running through recent deaths and was like "Betty Friedan . . . ") but if Rosa Parks is from Detroit, that would be a duh. [Edit: The Metro confirms my father's suspicion that that was Condoleeza Rice in the stands.]

When I saw Terry on Saturday he said Seattle Seahawk linebacker Lofa Tatupo (51) was friends with his nephew Kevin.  They went to (high?) school together, played football together.  I told my dad and he got all excited and explained the history to me and then they even had a little spiel about him early in the game.

I was mostly interested in watching the commercials (I had my dad call me back for them) but I ended up seeing most of the highlights anyway.

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- "Let your man out"?  Um, no thanks.  Besides the obvious "Oh yes, Super Bowl, your target audience is stereotypically macho men," scenes of pointless rampant suburban destruction do not make something appeal to me.
- "Three guys standing around watching while one guy does all the work ... would never fly in the corporate world."  Of course we see the punchline, but I enjoy that the one working worker is a woman.
- Co-opting Dr. Seuss (and Oh, the Places You'll Go! no less -- IIRC, that was my first LJ bio) to pimp the Super Bowl?  Sadness.  I was also kind of weirded out just generally by how many "Super Bowl = rawk!" commercials there were in the first batch.  Like come on, we're already watching.  Do you need to convince us it's big and exciting?
- Disneyworld.  *rolls eyes*  I mean, I get that "What are you going to do now?" "I'm going to Disneyworld" is a Thing, but I've never understood the Disney fetish.  My dad explained that the winners of the Super Bowl used to get a free trip to Disneyworld.  Makes such more sense now.
- "But FedEx doesn't exist yet." "Not my problem." And then the ba-dum-bum at the end.
- Sci-fi geeks repruhsent in the Aleve commercial.
- Classy and exotic black woman (whose cuffs reminded me of Witchblade) emerges dripping water.  Walks off.  Then emerges a 2007 Escalade.  The parallels are obvious, and gee isn't that problematic on a multiplicity of levels?  Plus, I am so not a car person, so I was like, "car whatever, could I watch the woman again, on repeat?"
- Ford Hybrid: "I guess it is easy being green."  *rolls eyes*  I also disapprove of the co-opting of Kermit, duh.
- "Light beer . . . just got darker."  Tackling the blonde chick ded, kinda worrisome; redeemed by her tackling him in the bar at the end, though.
- "You might just watch for the commercials" (shot of a guy and his dog; props to it not being a woman, which would be the expected stereotype)  I was contesting the uberAmericanness of the Super Bowl, but yeah, everybody watches the Super Bowl, whereas the World Series is more about the fans of those two teams plus baseball fans in general.
- "Low fares, even at the last minute."  I was wondering if that guy was the personal assistant and was reminded of the commercial for whatever it is (some cell phone information service thing) where the workers are dancing and one guy comes in freaked out and they're like "We've got it under control."  Anyway, moral of the story is: Be nice to the people who run your life.  But apparently he was just a random employee.  When they cut to the "we value our employees" conferences I wanted a dramatic entrance a la "You killed my wife" in The Fugitive.
- The football players being so into Desperate Housewives . . . wigged me out the first time and they keep repeating it.
- The silver woman getting off the backflap to admire the truck (Honda Ridgeline) . .  I thought of Emma -- the whole hot women who also knows cars thing.  Kinda confused by Yosemite Sam's hat saying "Back Off!" since they were totally playing subtext between the two characters.
- Fabio: I can't believe it's not butter shampoo Nationwide Retirement.
- "We ate non-organic food, and we liked it!"  "It's a papaya."  "The old-fashioned way; we went . . . to the Internet."  Reminds me of Prof.B's comment about an old-fashioned way of syncing his Treo ;)
- zomg, the mutant hamster thing and the robot . . . tru wuv . . . and zomg pregnancy, and they birth a truck :)  Hummer!  Calling it a little monster is perfect, 'cause it gives the opposition and the supporters a catch phrase.
- Sprint: "crime deterrent"  I was amused.
- Sprint: Benny Hill (As with That 70's Show season finale, my dad pointed out that it was Benny Hill and I nodded, not really having any familiarity with Benny Hill, though when we saw That 70's Show my dad explained the original scene to me.)
- Emerald Nuts.  Um, yay druid?
- Budweiser: creating the bottle, and the glass, and the pour, and the drinking, with the bleacher audience cards was quite good.
Edited to add ones I'd neglected:
- Clydesdale!  And shortly before it aired I'd been thinking, "I miss the Clydesdales from last year."
- "Don't judge" (AmeriQuest?) "Well that killed him" and the airplane one
- debit MasterCard (MacGyver)

Bud Light series:
- Office workers going that ballistic over beer?  Though the small print "Please drink responsibly" on the heels of that did make me laugh.
- I liked the "magic fridge" one a lot.
- The bear one?  *shrugs*
- The roof one?  Eh.  I'm even less impressed by that one.
small girl in big world [_extraflamey_]

Grey's Anatomy 2.16 "It's the End of the World" [Part 1]

I kept seeing the ads during the Super Bowl and was like, "What the frell is a code black?"  Like is it a bomb?  And in attempting to find out more, I learned Christina Ricci was guesting, and I like her.  Further digging gave me an episode title including a Part 1.  Cunning plan on their part, but annoying for viewers who don't intend to get into the show.  I came this close to just saying "I'm not gonna watch."

Episode Notes from tv.com:
Because this episode is set to air after the Super Bowl it is very likely that it will air after 10:01pm EST.

The game actually ended right around 10pm, but then there's postgame.  My dad said the postgame would last at least 20 minutes, but I'm perenially early, so I turned on the tv early and lo, Collapse )