June 10th, 2009

moon house

continuing to plan my ecumenical summer

July 5 is LizL's installation at Waltham, so after that I have 6 Sundays (August 2 I'm at WriterCon, September 6 I'm at Convo, and some weekend I'm going up to FUH's place in Maine). This is not as many as I'd been thinking I'd have -- though admittedly it's more than, for example, Advent allots.

Before I'd realized this, I'd been doing Google searches to get a sense of what my options were in my area (translation: which denominations I haven't already attended have worship services in my area). And I found a bunch of churches that don't seem to have any denominational affiliation, and I've come to understand better why people react the way they do when I say that the church I grew up in was "non-denominational" (though apparently the current website says "interdenominational"). To me, the term has always meant simply that I don't have a denominational affiliation (which is still true, though I'll usually say "low-church Protestant" when pressed to describe myself, since that's a more accurate descriptor of the parts that are important to me), but now I have a better sense of what people are likely thinking of when they hear "non-denominational."

I was still thinking, "Why am I doing this?" I mean, I'm checking out churches I'm fairly certain going in I won't want to make my church home (or even a second church home -- since I already have a church home at CWM). Admittedly, some of it's just a sort of anthropologocal curiosity as to how other people do church.

Then I was doing some blogrolling and read a post about Annual Conference [the author is in Missouri; ours -- yes, CWM is "my" church, so more and more I think of United Methodism as "ours" ... sidebar: is CWM not listed because we're a "mission" of the Annual Conference, or is it just really outdated? -- is next week] and it occurred to me that one thing about visiting other churches is to explore why these churches are thriving, what it is their parishioners love about making their church home there. It's easy for us to say that more conservative churches are growing because people want certainty, and that explanation is actually one I'm more comfortable with now than I used to be, but I still think that can't be the whole answer.

I was feeling frustrated that all the churches I found that didn't have a denominational affiliation looked theologically conservative. Where are the radical congregations like Cambridge Welcoming? [And yes, I know CWM is very much a part of a denomination.] Before Rest and Bread tonight, Jeff mentioned Common Cathedral and Outdoor Church. Those are really places I should check out, to look at really non-traditional ways of doing church, really embodying the radical hospitality that Jesus lived out.


I was looking at Highrock's website (I think they're friends with SCBC) and hey, sermon podcasts.

Title Prayer Month: The 7 S's of the Lord's Prayer
Date 05/17/2009
Speaker Gary Parrett

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moon house

"And God is still working on me."

From Laura Ruth's email to the listserv:
Our service of Rest and Bread begins tonight at 6:15, with music for meditation at 6.

I want to testify how lovely it is to come at 6, to be sunk into prayer, all alone, next to someone who is also sunk in prayer. It is an amazing way to be community together. We'd love to sit next to you.

Tonight's reflection is on St. Barnabas, a man who's name means "son of encouragement."
Psalm 112 (I dislike that the Psalm so often seems unrelated to the Sacred Text and Reflection) and a reading from Acts.

Laura Ruth did the Reflection.  She talked about how she has thought of Barnabas as just a name in a story, but he was a flesh and blood human being, as they all were, and so she wanted to flesh out his story.  So she pieced together the various mentions we get of him into a biographical narrative.  My favorite part was that after Saul (Paul) had converted, he wanted to meet with some of the disciples who were at Jerusalem, and none of them wanted him to come, because they knew him as someone who would hurt them, but Barnabas was willing to go meet with him.

At Communion, Laura Ruth said that we are flesh and blood and we follow one who was also flesh and blood.  Then, in her Blessing and Benediction, she said, "You are a flesh and blood human being," and her next line she got all tangled up tripping over her own words so I jumped in and said, "What you are is," and as I was saying it I realized that although I knew the grammar for what she was trying to articulate, I didn't actually know how she had planned to end that sentence, so I just said firmly, "a bright, brilliant, beloved child of God."  Laura Ruth kinda looked at me (like, "That was GOOD") and said, "What she said!  Amen."  So afterward I explained that Tiffany says that a lot, that it's from a baptismal liturgy and Tiffany preached a sermon recently using a story about it (which story she told again on Pentecost, when we baptized Lucas) and had us turn to our neighbor and say it to our neighbor and then have it said back to us, and she said our homework for that week was to look at ourselves in the mirror each day (you could put on you makeup or whatever first) and say it to ourselves.

Oh, and Keith brought us back to doing the sung "God have mercy"/"Thanks be to God" responses, which I was glad of.  (He asked me before service what I thought of that and I said I very much endorsed that choice.)


My dad emailed me about my high school's graduation this past Sunday.  Three of our former next door neighbors' kids.  The little sister of my former best friend (which best friend now has both a J.D. and an LL.M.).  A girl I sort of tutored briefly when I was in high school.  The younger son of a family that no longer attends our church.  I haven't seen any of these kids in years (some more years than others, which makes it weirder, as I think of them as stalled at the age I last saw them), so it's weird to think of them as turning into adults.


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  • [FirstChurch Mailing List] Show Our Pride this Thursday
    Each year just before the LGBT Pride March in Boston, First Church folks hand out rainbow-colored, cross-shaped lollipops to passers-by in front of church. The Growth Committee needs volunteers to help us do this again this year. It will happen this Thursday, June 11 from 5pm to 7pm. Can you come for part or all of that time and help us celebrate Pride? Please email me if you can make it. Thanks.
    Before service tonight, Laura Ruth opened up a box of these and asked me to include one with each bulletin.  I'm still gonna go visit tomorrow evening, though -- because I really don't need lollipops but depending on who's tabling I'm likely to want to hang out and chat.</ul>