September 28th, 2011

apples and honey

Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset tonight.

via Velveteen Rabbi:
elul: psalm 27

we are told to say the following
every day for a month
in preparation for the days of awe:

you are my light my help
when I'm with you I'm not afraid
I want to live in your house

the enemies that chew my heart
the enemies that break my spine
I'm not afraid of them when I’m with you

all my life I have truly trusted you
save me from the liars
let me live in your house

-- Alicia Ostriker (from her three-part poem Days of Awe.)
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from Velveteen Rabbi's Six Ways to Usher In the New Year:
2. Jewish tradition holds that today is the birthday of the world. Stick a candle in a cupcake if you're so inclined; go outdoors if you're so inclined; wish the world happy birthday, and take some time to be grateful for the corner of the world in which you live, wherever that may be.
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As has become my custom, reposting this from Amy:
One of the big pieces of the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is that you reflect over the past year, and you attempt to (A) accept and forgive anything that has been done to you, and (B) apologize and ask forgiveness for anything you have done to others.

[...]

Anonymous is enabled, and all comments are screened. If I've done anything to hurt you this year, let me know. If there's anything you think I might still be upset over, let me know that too. I won't unscreen unless you specifically request I do [...] The goal isn't to start fresh- that's often not possible- but to acknowledge what has happened over this year (or any previous time, if you so choose) as an attempt to not have it happen again.

I promise to treat anything you say seriously and respectfully, and I will seriously be considering it over the next ten days.
apples and honey

things Christianity didn't quite invent, and theologies I don't quite have

Velveteen Rabbi recently posted a round-up of selichot posts from previous years.

In one, she wrote:
At our selichot services, we'll be using the prayer as a lead-in to a meditation around the radical idea that every single time/place we've missed the mark in our entire lives is always forgiven. Whenever I seriously think about that, it blows me away. Everything I've ever done wrong, in my relationships with other people, in my relationship with myself, in my relationship with God: all of it is forgiven. What would it mean to truly understand that, and to let all of that old baggage go?
My immediate reaction, of course, was, "Gee, that sounds familiar."

I'm also reminded of the conversation Shoshana and I once started to have about the issue of God forgiving you for sins you committed against other people.

We did John 3 at SCBC last night (as I mentioned), and I asked what does it mean to "believe in [Jesus]" (John 3:16) and didn't get a satisfactory answer -- nor do I have one myself (though I keep going back to Borg's point about "believe" meaning "to give one's heart to" and thus I move to an emphasis on relationship rather than doctrinal assent) -- though I continue to have discomfort with the idea of Jesus being necessary to save us from God sending us to eternal damnation (which was the idea that kept coming up from the other people in the group). Yeah, I'm reminded of my telling Pr. Lisa that no, I don't have anything written down about my Christology, in large part because I don't have a coherent Christology. And I'm still trying to make sense of Borg and Crossan's book on Paul.
dirty

my engagements with Christianity are not like most people's

At lunch today, I mentioned that my Sunday morning church -- the one I usually think of/refer to as my generic mainline rainbow flag church -- had a Drag Gospel brunch this past Sunday. In explaining their mainline-ness, I mentioned T. asking me (in advance of visiting the church) how they were on kink/poly.

C. pointed out that there isn't really much in the Bible (esp. the New Testament) that could be construed as anti-kink. (Later I articulate my sense that most liberal Christian's negative stance on kink comes out of a general ethic of nonviolence, and not out of any particular Scriptural injunctions.)

Having recently read Borg and Crossan on Paul -- which book has a whole chapter on the letter to Philemon -- it occurred to me that, "There are lots of rules about how you are to treat your slave."

Which, yes, only apply if you're doing lifestyle.

***

Rest and re/New

Keith won't be here next Wednesday (proctoring a mid-term), so I may or may not be giving the Reflection (depending on the availability/willingness of the clergy he asked).

He said if there isn't a clergy presence, we shouldn't/won't/didn't have to have Communion. (The way service is structured right now, Communion is an option during the break-out time.) I said I would be in support of a Communion option (yes, I am totally this person who strongly supports church containing things she doesn't personally get anything out of). I was willing to preface it with, "These elements haven't been consecrated by an authorized person," but Keith remembered there was bread in the freezer, so he opted to pre-consecrate that. (I will probably still preface with a mention that the bread has been pre-consecrated by an authorized person.)

I went to the kitchen to be in community while he pre-consecrated the bread. I've never actually been present for a consecration outside of a service (since I got HEUMC-Scott's voicemail the one time that I was doing CWM sans consecrated bread), plus I wanted the consecration to be communal (since that's how it is in my churches, and if I were to believe in magic consecration, that's how I would believe the magic happened).

He did a brief rehearsal of, "On that last night, Jesus took bread..." After he finished, I said, "Those are the Words of Institution." Hey, if we are going to obey the letter... So then he said a bit asking God/the Holy Spirit to bless the bread -- which words included the word "magic."