[crash] well, okay, not really
On my way to SCBC, Althea (FCS UCC) and another person jogged past me. She asked me which church I was going to today, and I said, "Three over the course of the day, actually." She joked, "It's the Coffee Hour, isn't it? Admit it."
Owen actually opened today by asking us why we come to church -- and then asking what we sacrifice to come to church (e.g., sleeping in) and what we're willing to sacrifice to help the church continue to be this good thing (e.g., helping to teach Sunday School). One of the things David mentioned valuing about church was "diversity of ideas," and I bit my tongue on arguing with that because I knew it was outside the scope of this conversation. But when later he talked about churches he's been at that don't have good theology (e.g., preaching that if you just follow these certain rules, God will bless you), I did point out how that's interestingly in tension with what he had said previously, and I said that I was fairly certain that there are things I believe that if I said them here -- in this particular church, I said the church I'd gone to in college was a UCC/ABC merger, so I was well aware that were was diversity within the American Baptist denomination -- people wouldn't kick me out, but they would tell me that I was wrong, that this was a non-negotiable point; I said there are certain parameters within which we allow that "diversification" (David's word).
Following up on this, Pastor Vic talked about how the other area churches are really excited about getting together around Boston Pride, and he was very clear that while he respects these folks as colleagues and friends and looks forward to continuing to work with them, he and his ministerial staff are not going to be taking part in this thing. He said that there are a lot of things in the Bible that he believes are "sociological," but he doesn't agree with folks like Tiffany and Molly that homosexuality is one of them, and I said, "Yes, that was definitely one of the issues I was thinking of," and for the remainder of Adult Ed (only like 10-15min, I think) I felt more like I was actively closeting than I have in a while (if ever) there. That very first Coffee Hour when I asked Ross if he agreed with the pastor's statement that there were both Democrats and Republicans in the congregation, I'd wanted to say, "So as a bisexual libertarian, how at home would I feel in this congregation?" but I've mostly rationalized away my cowardice since then.
CHPC's bulletin included Julia Ward Howe "Mother's Day Proclamation," which I am so fucking sick of, so I was not starting Sunday morning worship off well. Service was kinda meh, as usual, and I wasn't feeling connected to anyone at Coffee Hour, and I was really hungry, so after a few minutes I opted to go home.
I came home, ate lunch and did some internet (including emailing Pastor Vic about continuing the conversation about same-sex marriage, etc.) and then took a nap.
The lectionary text was 1 John 4:7-21. Tiffany opened by saying, "Sometimes the lectionary gets it really right
She talked about having recently read one of those cutesy email forwards she usually deletes without reading. It's a bunch of 4-8 year olds asked to define "love."
Billy (age 8) said that love is his mom saying his name, said that there's something about the way your name sounds when it's said by someone who loves you, they say it "different" somehow -- "You just know that your name is safe in their mouth." I immediately thought of this past Friday when I was in early 'cause it was a class day and Ian was down at his end of the hall and called "Lizzie," and I just heard it as a tender thing and it didn't occur to me until later that usually I would be irritated by that. (I told some of you the story a few weeks ago of Ian parenthetically calling me Lizzie in an email and how I had a mini-meltdown in reaction because I was already feeling irritated at him for not responding to concerns I articulated, and although I know he means it as affectionate teasing, back when he first started calling me that I kept telling him I didn't like it and it was like he refused to hear that as a serious concern, so you see why in that context it totally set me off.)
She also talked about how (God's) mother love is a "fierce and faithful" love -- not just that tender gentle love we often associate with mothers.
During Prayers of the People, Jeremy said that every year when June 1/July 1 comes and Methodist pastors get moved around, he and Chelsea (his wife) are (jokingly) like, "Those jerks, leaving..." He said, "Now we're the jerks," and I think the entire congregation sat forward in their seats and started to get all choked up.
Tallessyn: "Speaking of jerks who are leaving..."
Tiffany: "I'd like to reframe that; there are no jerks during prayer time."
, "Happy Mother's Day to all the moms and all the other women who give someone somewhere love!"
Ari and I discussed "Amazing Grace" (upon hearing that someone had theological problems with it, my immediate reaction was, "But we sing it at Cambridge Welcoming" -- we just change "wretch" to "soul," and Ari said she has long sung the less ableist "once was bound but now am free" instead of "once was blind but now I see"). We critiqued wikipedia
's take on the "When we've been there ten thousand years" verse, and I learned that there is a WikiChristian
, though it doesn't have the "He will my shield and portion be" verse (which I was reminded of because it's in Ari's hymnal, though her communities traditionally haven't sung that verse -- we totally sing it at Singspiration, though earlier in our conversation I had commented about how while WikiChristian calls God "he," the song itself doesn't gender God, but oops, that verse does). Googling for that verse, I found a blogpost
that includes another verse I've never heard of, which is apparently a Chris Tomlin addition
CWM's Special Music tonight was Brian Wren's "Joyful Is the Dark." Tallessyn said that it reminded her of womb imagery, and also talked about how after Easter we're all about the light and the brightness, but dark can be good, too, which I appreciated.