Gary (the pastor at CAUMC) was having a luncheon after church today for the young adults (he's gonna be doing a bunch of these with various different groups of people) so yay, free food, and I figured it would be tacky to just show up at the end of church to go, so I went to service there today.
I liked it better than the previous times I've been there.
Gary encouraged us to be silent during the Prelude and meditate on the 2 Corinthians reading. This of course won him some points with me.
2 Corinthians 4:1, 5-11, 16-18The Processional Hymn was "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee," which I love. [Sidenote: In the Methodist hymnal they use it's categorized under "The Glory of the Triune God"] We were in the big sanctuary but with not a whole lot of people, so the organ really drowned out most of the singing, which made me sad -- both because I always get upset when instruments drown out a singer and because I think this song in particular should be full of energetic joyful singing.
Therefore, since it is by God's mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart.
For we do not proclaim; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus' sake. For it is the God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
So do not lose heart. Even though our outer mature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight and and momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
The fourth (final) verse begins "Mortals, join the mighty chorus, which the morning stars began." Lucifer is sometimes referred to as the Morning Star, so I loved the multi layers of meaning that adds to that sentence even though I'm sure it's unintentional. (I mean, I do also like the idea of a praise song to God beginning at the instant of creation and continuing throughout eternity.)
Call to Worship: [unison in bold]
Jesus asked them,I actually said all the bold parts (we're shocked, I know). Really powerful.
Who do you say that I am?
Elijah, Prophet, Rabbi.
Son of God, Messiah, Christ.
The Way, The Truth, The Life.
The last, the least, the lost.
Jesus asked Peter.
Jesus asked Pilate.
Jesus asks us.
Who do you say that I am?
Opening Prayer (in unison:)
O God, our loving creator, who calls us to put our faith into practice. Help us to be genuinely open this hour to your healing presence in our lives and in one another. Help us to grow in wholeness and holiness,that our faith may be more than words but taking up the cross. Amen.Epistle Lesson: 2 Corinthians 4:1, 5-11, 16-18 (We do not lose heart)
Prayer of Confession [unison in bold]
Shining, surprising, graceful God, for avoiding the searchlight of your desire for us and running away from your love.I disliked that the congregation just said "forgive us" rather than unison reciting what we are actually asking forgiveness for. It seems far more powerful to me to actually articulate what you're asking forgiveness for. (Or in any context, really. I mean, at weddings for example you don't just say "I do" but rather you repeat all the words after the minister.)
For preferring the safe, familiar and certain to the risky, unknown and mysterious:
For failing to believe in the vulnerability of power and the power of vulnerability:
For taking no delight in variety and insisting on sameness and conformity:
For fearing those different from ourselves, and projecting onto them what we cannot accept within our own depths:
For assuming we are superior to the rest of creation, for abusing, despoiling and failing to celebrate our relationship with the earth and the web of life:
For not noticing your presence in darkness as in light, in body as in spirit, in feeling as in intellect, in pain as in healing, in Good Friday as in Easter Day:
Set us free, we pray, to be whole human beings and to live our lives graciously and without fear.
-Kate Compston, England
[I Googled this to do c&p and the first result I got was Northlea United Church (Ontario, Canada), which follows that prayer with a moment of silence and then: Leader: God forgives us / All: God makes peace within us: we claim this healing, in faith and hope.]
And yes, of course I have feelings about the whole "diversity of viewpoints" lip service.
Gospel Lesson: Mark 8:27-36 (Take up your cross and follow) The NIV -- my default -- is close enough to the bulletin printout, plus the sermon focused on 2 Corinthians, so I'm not writing it all up.
Sermon: "The Real Treasure"
Gary started off saying that if we're discouraged, we're focusing too much on the vessels. He mentioned how unglazed/fired clay containers are easily broken -- in the context of how he tends to break things, but I also liked it as a statement about the fragility/frailty of human beings
He said security is not enough, which ties into Jesus' whole "follow me" message and also speaks to the current national/world situation (a connection which didn't make me too uncomfortable).
He quoted the Declaration of Independence -- "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." -- and focused on the "all men" part (using "men" as a gender neutral inclusive) and I was frustrated because (a) the Declaration of Independence was nice propaganda but is in no way a binding legal document in today's America (b) when they actually got around to creating a legal document for the country as itself [rather than in opposition to England] -- there's a nice Latin phrase for that, isn't there? -- it's clear that their idea of "all men" was very limited.
The Preamble to the Constitution, in contrast opens: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
The "ourselves" who were writing these documents were all landed white men. I certainly do not oppose extended rights to women, non-white persons, etc., but I think it's disingenuous to argue that that's what the Founding Fathers had in mind. (Yes I privilege authorial intent more than is cool these days, but I don't privilege it above/to the exclusion of all else.)
He also quoted the Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty poem:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
I do validate that as an indictment of the current immigration policy. (Though I'm sure someone more familiar with American history than I could problematize that as a statement of actual historical American immigration policy -- though I'm not necessarily opposed to it as a statement of an ideal.)
He also cited Tocqueville: "America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."
Google tells me -- via John J. Pitney, Jr.'s "The Tocqueville Fraud" in The Weekly Standard (November 13, 1995) -- this is a spurious quotation, but even leaving that aside, I find it a problematic statement. What does "good" mean? And yes I'm thinking of the infamous remarks about 9/11, Katrina, whathaveyou, as being evidence of God's judgement against the USA. (This in turn reminds me of the pathetic fallacy.)
Gary mentioned that the current TIME magazine has on its cover: "Does God want you to be rich?"
He was outlining the argument for a "Yes" answer to that question and I was all "Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism!" (Kim Lyons' SOC 101 for the win yet again).
After church, CAUMC!Michelle and I were sitting at Coffee Hour and she was talking to someone else and said "I was telling Liz earlier--" and then stopped herself and asked me whether I had a Liz/Elizabeth preference. This made me happy 'cause she's called me "Liz" before and I haven't been able to bring myself to be bitch enough to call her on it but it honestly doesn't feel like my name. She said she had heard me called Liz by someone else, that that's where she got it from. This may be true (I feel like one other CAUMC person has called me "Liz" -- and again with my not making them stop/change) though I can't remember who it would be.
At the luncheon, Gary asked me where I was from and apparently he's v. good friends with Leah O'Leary (and her deceased husband) so he totally knew my town. Earlier, CAUMC!Michelle had been talking about hiking at Blue Hills and I said I should start saying Norwood is near Blue Hills 'cause people know that (I'm used to just naming towns and hoping something rings a bell for the person I'm talking to). I forget which one of them said it, but one of them mentioned the Auto Mile. I said I try to avoid mention of that :) But I also added, which I hadn't thought of until just then, that a lot of people recognize the town name from the commercials, but unless they've actually been there it doesn't help them any in getting a sense of where the town is.
I forget how we got talking about it, but we got talking about homosexuality and churches and Gary (or maybe it was Andrew) said that oftentimes homosexuality is the only time churches talk about sexuality at all, so it gets weighted with all that baggage and awkwardness. I would love to talk about what the church's (any C/church) sexual ethics is (are?) 'cause that's totally been a recurrent Thing for me personally.
(Sidenote: One of Gary's friends was at the World Council -- or whatever it's called -- and is fluent in French and heard some of the interpreters telling some of the African delegations about the homosexuality resolutions using "promiscuity" for "homosexuality." That's disturbing. He went over and talked to the delegates and explained the issue, but who knows how often that happens other places/times.)
Gary was making jokes about Trelawney ('cause, yanno, she wasn't there to defend herself -- but I recognized it as good-natured and all from the interactions I've seen between them before, though it still made me a little uncomfortable 'cause as nikitangel was talking about recently: it's awkward when people badmouth people they're civil/friendly to 'cause what do they say about you when you're not around?) and of course this included her wedding, and it's so weird being around peer groups where a majority are married. [Admittedly, they're all older than I am.]
We dismissed around 2:30 but I was feeling slightly crampy -- plus hi it was hot out -- so I did not go for a boat ride.
I finally added some links to my mainpage sidebar. I'm not entirely satisfied with it (I can't figure out how to add a top border to the sections I added, plus I want the text in the grey boxes vertically as well as horizontally centered)
On LJ's Edit Style page it says:
Style System LiveJournal provides two style systems that allow you varying control over how your journal is displayed:***
S1 - For users who are comfortable with HTML and CSS.
S2 - For users who don't know HTML or CSS, or make only minor alterations.
Hey mom, NewRoomie is more hardcore than I am -- wants people to not cook meat in her pots&pans. Okay, in my ideal world I probably would prefer that, but so long as stuff is washed thoroughly between touching meat and touching my food I'm okay. (My vegetarianism is not kosher.)
OriginalRoomie actually did not know that I was a vegetarian (though she knew NewRoomie is). I really thought this had come up in conversation at some point, but perhaps not. She asked if my vegetarianism was "self-inflicted" -- she stopped herself partway through that phrase realizing the connotations were not what she wanted at all. I think the concept of myself as a "self-inflicted" vegetarian is awesome.
You know, I sometimes think/worry that at some point you've watched an episode enough times that there are no new thoughts to be had on it, but paper_crystals just rewatched "Out of Gas" [flocked, link for my reference] and talked about the symbolism of Mal's "journey" through the ship and other stuff I hadn't thought about at all and now I wanna rewatch the episode and pay attention to that stuff.