Sunday, November 27, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
I feel bad. We're a young church, only six years old. I've been here since the beginning.
I'm committed to this church. I tithe 10 percent, I volunteer once a month. I've done plenty of small groups, I was the one who started blood drives at this church. I've been here long enough to see pastors come and go. I know most of the staff. I've met a lot of great friends at this church. I like going, for the most part.
And yet I'm bored.
Why? I'm not learning anything.
One of the reasons I like my church is because they take their time. If we say we're studying the book of say, Ecclesiastes, then we're going to STUDY it. We're going maybe six to ten verses at a time in a two month study. I dig that about my church, so much more than any other church where they decide on a theme and then cherry pick verses to go around that theme, ignoring context and historical cultural themes.
And yet lately, the sermon series is not interesting to me, because it’s not really digging into the context of what was written, not like they usually do and the topics haven’t been interesting for six weeks, which is a long time to be bored.
Maybe this is something all Christians go through - when the bliss of Hey, I'm Learning NEW STUFF wears off, and it's back to Advent season for Christmas. Again. Sigh.
Maybe my church is defining itself as the perfect church for newbie Christians trying to suss out what it means to be a Christian in today's world. But if you're not a newbie Christian, if you're interested in having conversations in small groups examining all sorts of viewpoints, even if they're controversial, and you're met with a resounding silence, what do you do?
A couple of months ago in a small group, I pointed out that on Paul's famous list o' These People Will Not Inherit The Kingdom Of God (1st Corinthians 6), homosexuality was the only sin that didn't actually cause harm to another person (assuming the gay sex is consensual, because if it wasn’t, it’d be rape.) And I was met with a sea of blank faces. Nobody wanted to talk about it, nobody wanted to discuss it.
Nobody wanted to have a discussion about how homosexuality in Biblical times might have been considered wrong because Biblical times was all about the family, to make sure you had a family to help you tend the fields, take care of the house and each other, how God's chosen people's most important goal in those times was to PROCREATE to ensure their survival, and you couldn't do that as a gay couple and how in modern times, that need is no longer relevant so maybe all this sturm and drang towards gay and lesbians is... oh I don't know... ANTIQUATED? Nobody wants to talk about that. It’s as if they’re all too scared to really examine their faith.
Sigh. This is why I didn't bother signing up for another small group this season.
I do like my church, and I like the friendships I've made in it. But if I'm not learning anything new, if the idea of engaging conversation and different viewpoints isn't peeping up, then what do I do? Do I move on? Does that make me a fair weather churchgoer, only wanting to stick around for the entertainment factor?
I don't wanna be entertained, I want to LEARN.
If I find my church lacking, is it my fault for not trying harder to engage myself with it? To search search and search among the congregation and find people who DO want to talk, who DO want to engage. Do I write a mildly-written letter to Pastor Diet Slice saying this recent sermon series is a snoothathon? Should I come up with my own series of something, not sermons, because I haven’t been to pastor school, but topics of conversation, like how we examined sarcasm in the Bible earlier this year?
Do I become my own teacher? I mean, I’ll do it if I have to, but there’s a sadness about it. Or exhaustion. One of the two.
Something to ponder…
Monday, November 14, 2011
But I just finished up dogsitting seven dogs in the span of ten days. I’m tired, my clothes are covered in doghair, and my landlords haven’t taken their laundry out of the washer yet.
I guess I could always pull out the cheeseball God And Dog metaphors.
Should I do that? How ‘bout I pretend I’m a religious copywriter for those hella cheesy cards you find at quasi-religious bookstore in the South? That might be work. Let’s see:
This is Edwin the Domino Face Dog. He belongs to besties Nick and Nora. He’s doing his best shepherd impersonation because he had to go walking in the rain (he’s an apartment dog.) He was so so excited to go outside, even though I tried to prep him that he was not really going to like it once he got out there. But he would not be denied (who would, really, when you gotta pee, you gotta pee.)
And then we got out in the rain and though I tried to keep him under the umbrella, he didn’t get the concept, and kept getting rained on, and he cut his own walk down by half because he was wetter than wet.
So if we put him on the cover of one of those sappy religious cards, I think this one would go under the category I Told You So. KIDDING! It would be a Get Better Soon card.
Heard you’re a little under the weather.
Shoulda stayed under God’s umbrella.
Now you’re covered in sin.
GAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! THAT’S NOT RIGHT AND ALSO THEOLOGICALLY INCORRECT! MOVING ON!
After five days with Edwin, it was back to the Beagle House, for three days with Bella, Bonnie, and Babs.
If only a picture could adequately convey how loud Bella snores. Next time I’m getting audio.
Babs the cocker spaniel is adorable as always. The interesting thing about her is that she never wants to sit near my feet, but she doesn’t wanna be too far away either. I’m still missing Ginger Puppy terribly, and when I’m in a room with a dog, there’s that subconscious expectation they’ll sit by my feet while I’m writing, because that’s what Ginger Puppy did. Babs is not like that. She wants to be close, but not too close. So her card would be in the Thinking Of You section.
I’m thinking of you.
Not getting in your way.
Unless you go to the kitchen, and then I’m all about tripping you.
GAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! MOVING ON!
Then it was two nights with my Pasadena clients. Sleepy, the yellow lab, Slappy the wire haired terrier mix, and Dolly Parton, the Brindle Bouvier. There’s also Gunther the parrot, but he scared the crap out of me, so no pictures of him.
Slappy wouldn’t stop jumping around for me to grab a picture of him, but here’s Sleepy on the couch with me. How simple and easy the comfort is to have a dog next to you – sitting on your feet, or sitting on the couch, or lying next to you on the bed. This would be one of those Just Because cards.
there’s a sheet on the couch
And you’re nice to snooze next to
So I’ll leave you a pound of my hair on your clothes
By the way, what’s up with those blue socks?
MOVE ON MOVE ON MOVE ON!
Dolly Parton, the Brindle Bouvier, is a little disconcerting when you first meet her. She’s basically the size of a small Shetland pony (pictures cannot do her justice) and her eyes look disturbingly human. Like some goblin zapped her in the enchanted forest and turned her into this dog. And if only I knew how to break the curse. It’s not sloppy kisses, she’s given me plenty of those. It’s not waltzing around the kitchen on her hind legs, we’ve done that too.
So this category would be…
I’M HAPPY! I’M HAPPY AND I’M HAPPY AND I’M HAPPY!
LOOK INTO MY EYES! YOU WILL BE HAPPY TOO!
Okay! So basically, we’ve established that I may be a decent writer, but I would suck as a religious greeting card writer. Good to know. Crossing that off my list.
Monday, November 07, 2011
I lift up to you this car in front of me. Not that I literally lift this car in front of me. Because I'm not that strong.
But I do metaphorically lift up to you this car in front of me. It was behind me, uncomfortably close, then zoomed around me, and now has cut me off in L.A. traffic.
Dear God, please please please be with the driver of this car. Please grant him patience, patience, and more patience.
Please let him be on time to whatever it is he's driving recklessly toward, because he's driving very fast for SOME reason.
Please grant him some measure of caution. Please grant him some measure of safety. Please open up his reservoir of generosity to encompass everyone else on the freeway.
And please grant him confidence. It must not be easy to have a small penis, but that flashy car is overcompensating for something.
Please grant him a bigger penis if it makes him a safer driver. It may take a miracle, but You are the God of miracles. If You are willing, You can do anything. So I pray that You are willing to help this poor poor man. You will be saving lives in the process.
In Jesus' name, Amen.