The service started with The Pledge of Allegiance, which always wigs me out. Counter-intuitive, much?
Then we sang the first and final verses of "The Star Spangled Banner." Oh the final verse. (Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land / Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation. / Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just, / And this be our motto: "In God is our trust.")
The responsive reading was partly good. There was one section that was just for men to read, which confused me, as it was something like "Do to others as you would have them do to you; this is the Law and the Prophets." Somehow the word "men" was in there (KJV), but that isn't usually enough for them to sex-segregate a reading, and there was nothing else in the reading that was sex-segregated. I read it anyhow. Especially since it is rather uncommon for me to be willing to say any of the words in a church service.
A later part was a reminder of how Paul is sometimes on crack, though. Romans 13:1-7. And this had been immediately preceded by the recognition of the veterans, which made it extra-bizarre. If all authorities are authorized by God, then the only time there should be any conflict would be if a particular national government wanted to expand and inflict itself upon another country, but otherwise we should have left Hitler alone to do what he wanted in Germany. America probably should never have rebelled against England, and we certainly shouldn't have gotten involved in Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East. Dude, this is the epitome of isolationism.
[Edit 'cause i forgot to write originally: I told my mom this is why i'm not allowed to do Readings; i would have actually stopped and explained why i wasn't willing to read that section. I'm actually not enough of an assertive brat to do that with everything, but that was intense enough that if i was up there doing the Reading there is no way i would have gone through with it, and i absolutely would have made a statement about why. Oh for a pulpit...]
Children's Message. Wow, making the Joshua-Jordan River story into a Memorial Day parallel. That takes talent. I mean, i get that it's a physical memorial, but Memorial Day is about remembering those who died in wars. The pile of stones in that story is a memorial to God's power and His actions on behalf of the Israelites.
The Scripture Reading for the sermon was Romans 5:1-11. The sermon ("The Price of Peace") was little more than 20 minutes, which is short for PB, but it seemed scattered and i didn't really get it. He shared a story about the insanity of war, and then he talked about how glad he is to be an American and how grateful he is to those who fought and died for his freedom (and either here or elsewhere there was griping about making it unconstitutional to say the Pledge of Allegiance or taking "under God" out of the Pledge, and i got riled ‘cause what people argue is that it is unconstitutional to force children/people to say the Pledge, and "under God" was only put in fifty years ago during the Communist scare), and then there was blah blah blah Jesus, and he said something like "and my third and final point is" and i hadn't really registered the first two points.
Afterward, i complained to my mom, and she said something along the lines of, "The price of worldly peace is war; the price of spiritual peace is Christ's sacrifice." If PB had said something short and direct like that, i would have actually gotten it.
I have an issue with Romans 5:7-8.
"Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
But see, if you say ‘no one will die for a righteous man though some may die for a good man,' then the next logical step is ‘lots of people would die for a sinner,' so how is it a big deal that Christ died for a lot of sinners?
We ended with "God of Grace and God of Glory," which is a hymn i actually like.
Apparently Sunday June 12th is Children's Sunday, and after the service there's an All Church Potluck Lunch and "Town Meeting." I tend to starve at potlucks, but in the bulletin there was an RSVP thing, and it included space to write in "Something I would like to see added to or changed in our church" and "A question about our church that I would like to have answered."
Of course i'm going to write in that i want them to rotate who does the readings. George K. actually retired, so i don't have to suffer through him anymore, but John P. is doing them now, and he shouldn't have to do it all the time, and really, couldn't we at least pretend that more people than i could count on one hand are involved in the church?
I have visions of seething rage, but i am so attending the "Town Meeting."
The Christian Education Hour listing included, "The class that meets in the Council Room is studying Answers in Genesis – Answers ... with Ken Ham." I was intrigued; mostly having taken Joel's Intro Old Testament course. Turned out they've been watching (and then discussing) a 12-part video series (hence the italics), and of course i came in for the last in the series ("How can we evangelize a secular world?, Part 2").
The video was nearly useless, aided of course by the fact that i'd missed everything that led up to it. The idea of prepared ground makes sense, that you have to be talking a language people understand, but there wasn't anything about how you go about convincing people that there are moral absolutes and that you know what they are (i totally monopolized the discussion time and got useful thoughts from the discussion leader). I did like that he argued that you need to connect the Bible to the real world in order for it to work. The impression i got from the video series is that he focuses on Genesis and interprets existing scientific evidence to support the Biblical account of world history, even going so far as to disavow evolution and to argue for a strict literalism of the 6 Day Creation account. I just interpret the six days as a metaphor and felt that evolution can be a means of creation and have been far more interested in narrative and historical inconsistencies. I'm a Text Girl, not a scientist, what can i say. Plus, a lot of the FAQs he was listing just weren't ones that come up as major stumbling blocks for either myself or any of my friends who tell me they have trouble with the Christian Bible. I checked out the AnswersInGenesis.org website when i got home, and the Q&A looks like it'll provide me thought fodder for ages.
I chatted with Michael F. briefly afterward (he'd come down to clean up). He asked me what my ideal job would be, and i said reading books and talking about them. I think i need to find myself a book club. What i really wanna spend my life doing is engaging with texts (hello, fandom).