From the Onion: Christ Announces Hiring Of Associate Christ

Christ Announces Hiring Of Associate Christ | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

“Overwhelmed by prayers,”  Jesus Christ is urging folks to enlist the services of a customer service rep from Tacoma, Washington, who has promised the same level of service as people have come to expect from the Son of God himself, according to the Onion.

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No Outcasts on marriage in postmodern society

Ran across this in a blog that’s an outreach of the Diocese of Central NY that seems to be a proponent of the church of beer. (They have an open spirituality discussion that meets monthly at Empire Brewing Company, in Armory Square in Syracuse.) This essay talks about the implications of marriage in the afterlife, but I had one of those eye-pop out of your head moments when I read the latter portion of it:

Ironically, the emphasis today on marriage and family values has contributed to the loss of community. Isolated and without adequate social support, families are forced to rely on their own resources. The day to day stress on families has increased significantly as both parents are pressured to work more hours than their parents. Children hardly get to be children these days, passed as they are from one activity to the next, one parent to the next. The pressures and tensions are just too much for individual households to bear and literally pits family members against each other.

So beware of political candidates who claim to support family values, it actually demonstrates a lack of vision, an inability to imagine a better basis for our society.

Marriage cannot serve as the foundation of any society. Like Atlas trying to shoulder the weight of the world, marriage is crumbling under a burden it cannot possibly bear. Attempts to artificially reinforce it as the basis of society only make it a rigid and oppressive structure. And worse, insisting on this false foundation deprives us of the firmer ground we so desperately need.

Does this mean we shouldn’t get married? No, but marriage needs to be grounded in the larger context of a human community founded on compassion rather than oppression. If we remember to view marriage as a fragile relationship rather than an institution, we are much more likely to honor the humanity of the people involved.

The emphasis is mine, because it hits very close to home on a couple of points. Many gen-x-ers don’t trust institutions, and that includes both marriage and the church. Maybe that’s why the church of beer, as I call it, is what it is. Hanging out with friends over tea/coffee or a couple of pints and allowing conversation to flow freely may seem anarchic or subversive as a way of practicing faith in community to some folks. But for others, it’s freeing. Similarly, as DFH and I wrestle with what it means to be married, his distrust of the institution is clear even though I plead for us to approach it as a way of personally affirming our lifelong commitment to one another.

Anyhow, No Outcasts is a nifty blog, with a liberal dose of illustrations for those of us that think words are just the things that come between the pictures. You can check out the essay — and find the rest of the blog, which seems to be updated monthly — here.

Putting their money where their mouths are

Clergy and lay delegates at the annual council, faced with a slashed budget for Shrine Mont camp scholarship budgets, were strident in their call to have the funding restored.

But of course, when you restore something in one line, you must cut it somewhere else, right?

So it was put to the council: how many of you would be willing to give $100 now, to restore this funding?

Hands around the room shot up. Tellers went around to do a count, and instead got checks and cash donations, on the spot. The estimated return to the program was $19,000.

Bishop Lee, noting this unusual development, said, “Can you imagine Congress doing this?”

Discussion that followed underscored the importance of taking this back to your congregations.

GIVE!

Live from the Diocese of Virginia Annual Council

🙂 I’m at the press table, although if any of you are here you’re not likely to be reading this since you’re at Eucharist.

But I will probably be here tomorrow, too, so please find me!!

Brewpub in a church?

[Backdated post — will likely show up in feeds in February.]

On the Cafe today, I picked up a church-of-beer story that’s a little bit backwards, as a decommissioned church is being eyed as a possible site for a brewpub.

It bears noting that such a place, in my mind, would be the perfect gathering place for getting the church-of-beer practitioners more comfortable inside a church, as the whole premise of my little idea is to get spiritual people who like to socialize over a couple of pints engaged in talking about faith in a small gathering place. Sure, it’s a little backwards to drink the bread (beer) and eat the wine (fruit), but this is all about turning convention on its head to draw people in.

sticking my neck out

Wah. I am starting to sound like a one-note flute sometimes, I guess, when I defend the fringes. But there is one place I’m hard and fast on when it comes to tradition, and that’s church music.

I love hymns and anthems, and I really should be in the choir, but EfM takes precedence right now and I’ve been too peripatetic in the past. I have a good chunk of the 1940 hymnal memorized because most of my churchness was before 1982. When your mom is the choir director, it becomes second nature.

But I find myself just… totally, BLEAH over so-called praise music. I love gospel music, stained-glass bluegrass, orchestral music, international songs of faith, spirituals, secular-music-brought-over, and, most of all, traditional hymns from the 18th and 19th century.

But I went to a church service not too long ago with a creative liturgy, adapted from the one we all know and love, and really enjoyed it. Except for the praise music.

Just wanted to let all my traditionalist friends-in-faith know that I’m not completely outside the box.

That’s me in the corner

OK, if I’ve managed to figure out one thing, it’s that I want my ministry to be in the world and vaguely evangelistic, because I don’t really like that word but don’t have a better one for it. And it occurred to me, that …

If I was new to the church, and walked in one Sunday, bewildered, new, questioning, the last thing I’d want to hear about the @#$%ing schism. Same goes with our focus on what we blog on.

Are we so preoccupied with ourselves, with how this and that is wrong or right, that we’re forgetting that our ministries aren’t just about ourselves and if we’re directing all our spiritual energy toward fighting each other, aren’t we just killing the spiritual energy of those hungry for a meaningful spiritual experience? How can we transform lives if we can’t put ourselves beyond this dissent which, for lack of better language for it, Satan has sown among us?

ARGH! I tie myself in knots. Focusing excessively on the drama in New Orleans is physically painful for me, as is every time Stand Firm tries to demonize me. I’m one of your best ambassadors in the world, because i can talk about authentic faith to disenchanted agnostics between 25 and 45. I can influence them to open their hearts and minds to something bigger than themselves. But NO. I’m cast out from the “orthodox” and seen as some kind of enemy by a population of the church that is so ironically preoccupied with how we’ve lost our way.

It’s bewildering, I tell you. Bewildering.