Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Neo-Luddite Hell (or Ministry in Modern Culture)

Some of you have doubtless noticed the complete lack of images and links on my blog. This is not because I don't like pictures. Nor is it because I don't read any blogs worthy of recommendation. Actually, I would cheerfully direct you to scads of blogs I enjoy and would happily post all kinds of pictures if I knew how to do the damn things. There are people at my seminary who do know how to do these sorts of things. There are even people who get deep pleasure out of using electronics to create worship services. There is even the possibility for M.Divs with a specialization in digital culture. While I am not opposed to such things, I have no idea how to do any of them and no desire to learn. Thus, I am incredibly chagrined that this class is not only offered, but is absolutely required of every single M. Div student, no matter how much they'd rather go through CPE 4 times than take this one class. CPE, by the way, stands for Clinical Pastoral Experience. In other words, full-time internship as a hospital or hospice chaplain. It is notoriously difficult. I plan to do it once for sure, even though I must also take this dread media class.

I got the books early and read the two by the professor and a good bit of the one on the history and uses of the Internet. J loved it because I would read them out loud and put her right to sleep. They are much deadlier than any Augustine or Calvin I've come across. I don't understand at all why people would avoid Church History like the plague in favor of this. However, I am gritting my teeth, spending 3 weekends away from my Beloved this semester and getting this class the hell over with!

Friday morning, I took J to work because her battery is deader than a doornail. We had a nice stop at Starbucks, then I dropped her off and started down that long interstate toward my doom. Luckily, I had a fun book to listen to (The Killing Club by Marcie Walsh) and the snow never got terribly bad and was completely out of the picture by the time I was halfway to Columbus. I stopped at our old house on the way to check things out, pick up our Imaginiff game and bury a St. Joseph statue. Oh, please let him help!!! Class wasn't too abhorrent and I admitted my fear upfront. My only fellow neo-Luddite (and I use this term loosely, as we are not going about smashing computers and setting projectors on fire, but are simply very untech-oriented) also happens to be a fellow Presbyterian. Well, I am officially UCC now, but you get the idea. Mary, you may find this particularly amusing. My prof friend Laura (UCC Laura, not Presbyterian Laura) certainly did. I survived the first day of class, although I have to admit that my favorite part was dinner over at the convent. I am quite relieved that one of the members of our presentation group happens to teach Power Point and other multi-media, multi-sensory ministry techniques. Whew!

After class was over, I went to my grands' house. We sat around visiting and munching on Doritos for awhile, then I tucked myself into bed in preparation for the early morning. When that came, too soon, my grandmom got up and came to hug me while I was getting dressed and then went back to bed. Then, while I was pouring my coffee, my granddad came downstairs in flannel pajamas, with no glasses and sleep-fluffy hair. He had some coffee and hung out with me while I toasted an English muffin and loaded my car. It was really nice to be with him in the quiet early morning kitchen. They are really treasures. My grandmommy has to get a belly scan this week to see why she has so often had stomach & intestinal problems over the past few years. It scares me, but scarier is her not getting it checked out. If you pray, this would be a good occasion to do so. I sure am.

Class was again not abhorrent. I don't think I will ever be a multi-media whiz, but I do think I can pass the class with a minimum of terror. Our group is developing a multi-media, multi-sensory (I love that part with every scrap of my heart) worship service for Pentecost. I get to incorporate some altered art, even. The meal was, again, the best part of the day. I sat down with the T.A., Sarah, who is a very cool member of my hated formation group. I don't hate them, I just am frustrated with the whole process. Anyway, she is a member of the Disciples of Christ, which has very close ties with the UCC. She is also a writer. We had a good chat. Then, the prof of the class, who is visiting from Arizona, and UCC Laura joined us. We talked mostly about travel. Laura says I will love Ghost Ranch. She talked about honeymoon possibilities for her & her sweetie, who are getting married in April. They are considering both Alaska & Hawaii, for their hiking potential. She also talked about UCC summer camp. Boot wants to go back to the Presbyterian camp they've been attending, though, so we may just let him.

I drove home Saturday night without a book to listen to or any CDs besides 2 U2 CDs and one of Gregorian chant. Mostly, I listened to the radio. I sure was glad to be home, though! Pie and J had made a roast chicken that was one of the best I've ever had. We had mashed potatoes and corn with it. Pie had baked one of his cakes (did I tell y'all that he spent his birthday & Christmas money on 10 cake mixes, frosting for them, 6 boxes of grape Jell-o and 20 littleneck clams? Yep, he did) and we had that for dessert. We turned in fairly early because J's cold was making her draggy and the weekend's excitement (and travel) had exhausted me. J felt bad enough in the morning that I left her sleeping while I checked out the early worship service. It was just great, very intimate and friendly. The sermon was great, too, on the importance of all members of the body of Christ..

After the service, I went to Sunday school. The associate was leading it & formally introduced me as the new student pastor. The folks in there, many of whom already know me, were very pleased to hear that I would be doing that. We talked about the passage in Luke in which the 10 lepers were healed and only the "bad" Samaritan returned to give thanks and praise. The folks in the class were mostly interested in focusing on the need for gratitude, while I saw the most important part as being the fact that it was the Samaritan who returned to give thanks & praise.

I returned home to find J still in bed, feeling miserable. We had crepes for breakfast, made from the batter Pie mixed up Saturday afternoon. Then, Boot went with us to Crocker Park. J was looking for a particular newspaper, so we hit the bookstores & took Boot to Dick's to look for boxing apparel. He wants some Everlast t-shirts or shirts with pictures of Rocky Marciano, his latest tough guy hero. J & Boot got smoothies, then we took Boot home & continued the newspaper quest. Minutes after we got home, J got a call from the plant's security company, so we went to meet the police there. Turns out an employee went in to do some extra work, didn't have her glasses on and hit the wrong buttons. Glad it wasn't anything more exciting! Finally home, I made a pot of chicken soup with matzo balls and we flopped on the couch to watch part of Monster House.

Then, I went to the Visioning meeting at the church from 5-8. It was interesting how very differently people from the church see it. One of the big core values many felt that the church holds is acceptance. This is true as far as it goes. But, if the congregation was truly accepting, the process to decide whether to become an Open and Affirming church wouldn't be so threatening. J & I went to the Open & Affirming community dinner last night, where speakers gave the pro & con sides on homosexuality in the Bible. The con guy said some hateful stuff, stuff he obviously believed was in line with the message of the gospel. Several people challenged him, which I found hopeful. Also, the majority of the people in our small group discussion seemed to feel very cool about declaring for ONA. Two were unsure why we would have to specifically make that statement, since the church is accepting already. They fear it will open a can of worms the church isn't prepared to handle. Our facilitator, Rose, who is very cool commented that the can was already open. J was very upset by the whole thing, crying on the way home & planning even now never to go back to another ONA event. I, on the other hand, found it very reassuring. Interesting contrast.

After I got home from the Visioning meeting, we finished watching Monster House. I don't recommend it to anyone. I liked the first part, which I saw before going to the meeting. I was a little squirmy about the irresponsible & mean babysitter and her boyfriend being goths, but was willing to move past it. However, the fact that the monster that became the house was a fat lady was just beyond the pale. The movie wasn't that great even without the ugly prejudices. With those added in, forget it! I saw another crappy movie, The Perfect Stranger, yesterday. What looked like it might be a fairly interesting premise, a woman invited to dinner with Jesus & having her life changed because of what he said there, turned out to be a giant propagandistic ad for Christianity...and very exclusivist Christianity at that. Ugh! We rented Bandidas last night. I don't expect it to be high art, but I hope that since I like Salma Hayek & Penelope Cruz so well, it will at least be fun.

1 comment:

Andi said...

You'll have to tell Boot that if he wants a Rocky Marciano tee-shirt he can make one himself... Silkscreen is great fun and you can get everything that you need to get started at McCallister's on Salem near downtown. I'm thinking about joining the Dayton Printmaker's Co-op and may be doing some silkscreen myself soon enough.

Now that you're back in classes, you'll have to let me know when we can get together. Sprout has swim lessons on Mondays and Wednesdays for the rest of the month and will be signed up for tumbling in February, we think.

BTW, we need to talk about Y stuff... The Xenia Y's policy re-family membership was not in keeping with the policy outlined in our membership handbook.

"Family—A family is defined—
solely for the purpose of classifying YMCA membership—as any two adults living in one household, and any dependent children under the age of 24 residing at the same address." We joined the Y so Sprout could take swim lessons, etc and I was very pleased to read this in the membership handbook.