Thursday, June 17, 2010

Speed Reading

Today I read a book in an hour while I walked on a treadmill.

It brought back memories of reading "orange" biographies during "big church" when I was young. The librarian at my church in Corpus Christi introduced me to the orange biographies (the Bobbs-Merrill childhood biographies of Famous Americans).

I would check the book out right before worship and was able to complete the book and turn it in after the last hymn. My Dad and I (Mom was in the choir) would sit in the back corner of pews underneath the side balconies.

My favorite was Dolly Madison. I learned that she saved the flag in DC when the Brits were on the march, and she lost her pretty jewelry that her non-Quaker grandmother had given her. Oh, and how to dip candles.

Since I will always believe in magic, I learned today to quit leaving my dreams in a file cabinet in the garage.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

For all of you alt church folks

The pews can be round, the alter can be a stove, and the elements can be ice tea and lasagna.

Check out this church:  St Lydia's in New York.
St. Lydia’s is a Dinner Church!  We gather each week to cook and share a sacred meal, just as the first followers of Jesus did.  We sing simple unaccompanied music, explore scripture, offer prayers, and feed one another. 
And this recommendation from Morning Walk Media:

Why do something as old-fashioned as “Wednesday night church”?
One answer is Biblical: it's what Jesus did, and it's what the first Christians did before they got sidetracked in building a global institution. Christians need to be together for friendship, for witness to God's power in their lives, for mutual support and pastoral care.
Second answer is practical: It's difficult to imagine any promising future for churches where people only spend an hour of Sunday worship together – mainly in passive mode – and don't come to know each other. Christian community is incarnational, interactive and intrusive, not a tidy audience experience.
Third, you will reach a much broader constituency. Most Christians have lost interest in Sunday worship. If that's all your congregation offers, then they lose interest in you. You need to do more – not more perfecting of Sunday worship, but more occasions when people can pursue their faith yearnings, some of them in fellowship.
If you start a midweek fellowship, you open a door to young adults, for whom Sunday morning is uninviting; to teenagers, who sleep on Sunday morning but would gladly shoot baskets and hang out on Wednesday evening; and to families, who dread the ordeal of getting kids to church on Sunday, but rally to a midweek meal that someone else prepares. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Not for the beautyberries

A young bird died in my hands this morning.

As I read the paper, I heard the insistent chirp of a mockingbird.  Normally, I hear them when the beautyberries are ripe, and the birds are snacking.  Too early for berries, so I looked out and saw the severely injured bird.  I saw it's eyes move. It was still alive, but I knew there was no saving this one.

I wrapped the bird and stroked it's head.  I don't even know if that comforts birds, but it comforted me.   Its beak slowly opened and shut.  I think it was trying to call to the continually chirping parent.  I think that's a rule of mockingbirds, when  you get into trouble, you sit still and chirp back at your parent.  A blessing:  the bird died quickly.  The parent continued to chirp for a short while, but eventually continued with its day.

As parents, we chirp at children as they leave our nest:  watch for that, don't do that, take care of yourself, we love you, but our children healthily insist on trying those new wings.   Most successfully make the flight.

The cat gets some of them.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tikkun Olam

It took me three tries to finish Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, not because it's a boring movie, but because I was watching it prone rather than upright. I'm so glad I did finish the film because of this dialog:

(Norah) It reminds me of a part of Judaism I really like.  It's called tikkun olam.  It says the world's been broken into pieces, and it's everybody's job to find them and put them back together again. (Nick)Well, maybe we're the pieces.  Maybe we're not supposed to find the pieces, maybe we are the pieces.
 Thanks to Kevin Mitchell for teaching me to always look for the spiritual in film.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Letting God Fight For You

That's the recommendation from today's devotion based on the parting of the Red Sea story in Exodus. I know the militaristic language is there, but thinking about letting God fight for me brings to my mind images of Thor or Zeus or maybe, Boudica. I think a better question for me from that scripture is What is the Red Sea and who or what has me cornered on the shore?