Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical
hermionesviolin

etc.& [CAUMC] devotional: intimacy with God [2007-04-10]

Coming in early meant I could leave early, which meant I could go to the gym and then meet Tiffany for coffee at 5:30 -- rescheduled from 6:30 so that I could go to young adult small group, rescheduled from Thursday because Trelawney's going to Jesus Christ Superstar with Cambridge Welcoming.

I did the Cross-Country program on the elliptical today, and it kicked my ass way harder than it had on Saturday.  Maybe because I've been away from the gym for a few days?  Even resistance 8 and 10, which were previously easy were a challenge.  (2.28 miles in 30 minutes.)  Am going to rethink my weekly workout schedule to work up to this.

I treated myself to a fruit smoothie afterward.  The day's special was avocado-banana.  Not something I ever would have thought of.  Wasn't bad, though.

Coffee with Tiffany was nice.  We talked about me a lot.  I would have preferred a long discourse on sexual ethics or something, but I'm okay with getting-to-know you sessions.  In talking about possibly pursuing more structured religious study, she said BU gives scholarships to basically anyone with a brain and also said that it comforts her that you can always try something and then quit, that you are not stuck in a career for the rest of your life or anything.

I backdated private entries for all the church writeups I still need to finish, 'cause this seemed less unwieldy than the ever-growing gmail draft I've got going on.  And also because I've recently been feeling like I actually wanna post current writeups but it messes with the ordering, so this solves that dilemma.  (Yes, I know I'm a little bit crazy.)  ...  It's 36 entries.  Given that it's 2+ months of ~4 church events each week I guess that number isn't all that huge, but still.  This of course guarantees that no one will read them, but I'm okay with that.

(I also did some backtagging -- April 2003.  The data organization is somewhat overwhelming, but oh, I had so much joy then.  And I think I really did appreciate it, which is a comfort to me.)

***

CAUMC

Trelawney asked me if I was going with CWM to Jesus Christ Superstar, if I liked it.  I said I wasn't a big fan and talked briefly about the epic conversation(s) I've had about it.

Eric came in late and talked about the Washington Post article article Trelawney had sent him -- about an experiment in which they had America's greatest violinist playing in a DC subway.  I had heard vaguely about this though I hadn't (and still haven't) read it.  I pointed out that it's one of those things where it's easy to lament people turning a blind eye to beauty or whatever, but people are usually in a rush to get somewhere and also I can say from experience that it feels really weird to not get on a train that has room for you in order to stay and listen to a busker.  I've done it before, and it feels really weird.

Anthony said a girl had broken up with him 'cause he was too tall for her, and this was the first time he had ever encountered that.  I said that while I wouldn't break up with someone over it, it totally annoys me when guys are significantly taller than I am.

Meditation:
in: "God desires/loves me."
out: "I desire/love God."

I'm not sure where the meditation text was from, but it talked about how, "Desire is often talked about as something to be overcome," and how instead we should to work to order all our desires toward a desire for God.

Afterward, we went around and talked about thoughts from the experience, and Mike said that there are lots of desires that he has that he sees as not fitting.  (Yeah, we totally got into using math terminology, and he said they were "orthogonal" to the line of towards God-away from God.)  While sometimes I feel like Trelawney doesn't hear Mike like I do, tonight she was saying exactly the responses I was thinking, only even more articulate than I would have been, which was yay.  She talked about the value of self-care.

Anthony said that he's really not sure what he believes about God or even if he believes in God.  He said that he builds a belief and lives with it for a few years and then tears it all down, digs into journals, builds up evidence... and that this time the rebuilding just isn't happening.

In response to the part about digging into journals and building up evidence, I said, "Anthony's my new favorite."
Trelawney: "Sorry, Mike."

Trelawney recommended Tillich as someone to read, said he talks about God as "the ground of all being" and how people imagine God as their ultimate concern (e.g. security/safety).  Anthony said (in a not un-approving voice): "That doesn't make God any more real, just a very effective psychological tool."

Anthony said that he doesn't know what any of us believed, and as we went around the circle I was surprised at how much uncertainty people had about fairly basic stuff (Trelawney: "I'm as atheist as the next Christian.") especially since I usually feel so hesitant to call myself a Christian precisely because I can't honestly claim solid belief in a lot of these things and here are all these people who are heavily involved in the church (worship committee, choir, etc.).

I talked about how I keep coming back to a foundational belief that God Is Love, and how I'm very aware that I'm creating God in my preferred image, but that this challenges me to be a better person so I take that as a suggestion that I'm on the right track.  I talked about universal salvation and how I'm somewhat swayed by the arguments C. S. Lewis makes (cf. the Dwarves at the end of The Last Battle) but non-universal salvation makes me really uncomfortable and how I'm reading Madeleine L'Engle's Genesis Trilogy and she claims to not be a universalist but she keeps talking about how the banquet (Heaven) will not be complete until everyone is present, even the people she really doesn't like, and how one of the big things in that book which has really been staying with me is how we are called to love everyone, not just the people we like or agree with, and how that's my current big problem in liberal Christian circles recently.

Affirmations:

Trelawney Affirmed my thoughtful approach to everything -- spurred of course by our Jesus Christ Superstar conversation, but true so much.  "One day you may no longer feel the need to analyze everything to death" ("Hope springs eternal," I cracked), but she says she thinks it's very cool.

Eric Affirmed that I'm planning a trip that involves them.  (My vacation to the UK.  She's gonna be in Ireland mid-July through September, though two weeks in there somewhere they're gonna be in Scotland.)

Mike to Trelawney: "You redefine for me what being a saint means."
And you could just see how much that meant to her.
After we all did the little applause thing, she practically mouthed, "Thank you."
Eric said, "Saint Trelawney?" in this voice sort of like mock-shock.
She whispered, "I can't talk."  Yeah, she was clearly choked up for some time.

Mike said for his Affirmation of me he'd do out "oldie but goodie" of how much he agrees with me.  (Which I thought was a bit ironic since we seem to be at a bit of a disagreement on the issue of ordering all desires toward God.)  He said that everything I'd said about struggling with the challenge to love is something he's constantly struggling with and striving towards and prays about every day -- "I want to be more loving, I want to be more grace-filled [...].  And it's hard."  I was really comforted to know that someone else was struggling with this very thing.

Anthony said he feels nervous doing Affirmations 'cause our are so good and he worries that his are gonna be shallow.  "I Affirmed Mike's suit," I pointed out.  And Trelawney joked that as long as he calls her "Professor Trelawney," whatever else he says is fine.  Of course he did call her "Professor Trelawney," as he always does.
Trelawney: "Says the only PhD in the room."
Anthony: "For what, the next week?"
He thanked her for being there for him during his meltdown last week, said he recalled how his first couple of days here she had said, "I know you're fine, but if you're ever not-fine..."

Anthony said to me that he didn't know what any of us believed but he knew that even if everyone else was really solid in their beliefs that I would be deconstructing.
I said that one of my friends (hi, Emma) had recently mentioned that time that we talked from dinner until 2am and how we both missed that and that I would be happy to hang out for like six hours or whatever talking about deconstructing faith.

We've started doing this thing where before your self-Affirmation you say something you're working on and then say, "God is with me," and then the rest of the circle says, "God is with you," and then we all say, "Thanks be to God."  Of course after we did that for Anthony he said something like, "Perhaps God..." and we all kinda laughed softly, and I said, "We'll believe in God for you," and I sounded like I was joking, but I also really meant it, 'cause I've come to find that powerful -- thinking particularly of the Nora Gallagher I reposted during Holy Week ["I could not pray myself {...}. I finally began to see I was living on other people's prayers, as if they were bread and water. Prayers were what I came to believe in; they were the glue that bound me to the living and made it possible for me to remain upright and walk."].

His Affirmation was that he's working again and he wrote an article this week, which is going to be published, titled, "MySpace or Yours? Relationships in the Post-Modern Age" (I think I'm recalling the title correctly).  "Can I have a copy?" I said, in a voice which could be fairly characterized as adoration.  (He said yes.)
Tags: church: caumc: ya group, church: caumc: ya group: devotional, coffee with clergy, food: harvard fruit smoothie, gymming it up, people: pastors: tiffany
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