October 27th, 2011

abundance

"break me off a hunk of that there tasty Jesus"

Hey, remember when I said:
While the readings of the Last Supper story that accompany Communion are very powerful, the actual partaking of Communion is really not powerful for me. I think in part because the food is so insubstantial. I have long wished that we had pita bread or something evoking the unleavened Passover bread instead of regular white bread. (I really liked a few weeks ago at First Churches when we had bread the confirmation class had baked because that was bread to be chewed.) If there were a ritual sacrifice (by which i mean that i'm thinking of how strict Jewish law requires that animals be slaughtered a certain way, with all the blood drained, and the preparation be overseen by a rabbi) and i held flesh in my hands, particularly because i don't normally partake of meat (because of the pain/suffering/death involved), then that would be powerful to me. That would be a powerful reminder of the flesh suffering and sacrifice that Jesus underwent for me personally and for all of humanity. But Communion as is now, just doesn't do it for me. (I've also had Communion at Anglican Mass, and the foodstuffs there also totally didn't do it for me.)
See the second "A Cheaper World" (A Softer World meets Groupon) here.

Edit: I am LOVING the various food+drink folks have had for Communion (yes, I have the comments on StalkerPin). And yes, I already knew about the Catholic gluten wafer thing.
religion is a queer thing

"Sometimes saving what you love means stepping away from it."

I found this article particularly interesting/resonant given my recent frustrations with CWM.

Excerpt:
Our motives are good, perhaps. The church—particularly the Methodist branch of it—has meant a lot to us. It has conveyed to us the love of God and the beauty of God’s people. We want others to love the church too, and we want the church to not only survive, but thrive.

If that’s going to happen, however, we may need to walk away. Now more than ever.

I’m not for a minute suggesting that we should quit holding church services or even curb our church attendance, at least when it comes to worship. We need to meet together, to encourage one another, to pray and give and celebrate.

But we also need to resist the pressure to frame our concept of church around attendance figures or building projects or even mission inputs. We need to reject any definition of church that doesn’t include Jesus’ calls to give all we have to follow him.

Like Anthony reminds us, following Jesus begins not with a quest for abundance, but with a relinquishment of what we do have—including our desire to save the church that has loved us, and that we love as well.

We United Methodists have a clear example to draw from in our own history. The Wesleys’ quest for a more faithful life began with practices that hearken back to the early monastics: discipline, fasting, Scripture study, care for the poor, devotion to religion of both head and heart.

That quest ultimately led to the Methodist movement, but it was birthed at a price. John Wesley felt the scorn and abandonment of the Anglican Church, as well as the anxiety of the Methodists in America setting off on a path he could not guide from across the ocean. It cost him thousands of miles of travel and a rejection of the comforts available to him.

It all started with a step away—not from the path of Jesus, but from the assumptions the dominant culture made about that path. Wesley sensed there was something his church was missing. He went out to find it.

It’s no secret that something is missing for many of us when it comes to church today. We church leaders have tried just about everything we know to do to create that missing piece.

But the next movement of God among us will not be man-made, much less managed, any more than those who followed Anthony to the desert or Wesley to the coal mines were managed.

Rather, the next movement will emerge from those who have taken time to step back from the frantic work of religious entrepreneurism to consider where God might be leading, and how we might best follow.

Regardless of where we have to go, or what it costs to get there.
snow

yes, it's unseasonably early; no, i don't care

When weather forecasts yesterday morning predicted snow, I was probably the only person who was DISAPPOINTED that the snow wasn't predicted to hit my area (it was predicted for north and west of 495).

When I showed up at Art Night tonight (~7:30pm), Joy expressed surprise that I'd "slogged up the hill" in this weather (cold and rainy)? Have you met me? Historically, I arrive early, so I understand expecting I wasn't coming (Art Night starts at 7), but really, I was here SOME last winter. (It was actively raining when I went to morning prayer this morning, so I wore my brown jacket and used my umbrella, but FCS-Ian was correct in guessing that I had debated about whether or not to wear the jacket -- over my gym outfit of shorts+t-shirt.)

When Julia and I left (~9pm) it was snowing. \o/ :D