Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Whee! *holds on as the world spins ever-faster*

It's been quiet on my end of the Internet, because I'm trying to do a lot of things at once. Planning my trip to DC, getting my finances in order, trying to line up a new job when this one ends in four weeks, and then today I discovered that Br. Landlord is putting the house up for sale, and I have 30 days to find a new place and move.


So, if you have any spare prayers lying about, I'd sure appreciate them.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Gearing Up for the Investiture

My to-do list for the pilgrimmage to Washington, DC in November is coming together. This week I'm going to be purchasing plane tickets and sleeping space at a youth hostel. Finding an outfit for the actual ceremony and figuring out how light to travel are also on the list.

There is something I'd forgotten to put on the list until today: prayer. Beyond the obvious ones for our Presiding Bishop-Elect and all deacons, priests, and bishops, but prayers for safe travel for those of us who are traveling long and short distances, prayers for the inevitable protestors, prayers for those who will be attending in spirit only.

Monday, August 21, 2006

You ever get that feeling that the music director has picked hymns just to piss you off?

This is a rare problem at A Certain Church, because the music director is a sensible man, who won't make us sing some of the funkier, syncopated songs out of Lift Every Voice and Sing II because he realises what a train wreck the congregation will make out of it. Oddly enough, this also applies to #6 in LEVAS II, which is Lift Every Voice and Sing.

Well, we had a combined event this weekend, and the other parish got to pick the music.

Shine, Jesus, Shine was the closing hymn.

I do not sing Shine, Jesus, Shine.

I just don't. And you can't make me.

Friday, August 18, 2006

My rambling thoughts on this Friday

My opinions and prejudices hold absolutely no weight with anyone else. They are meaningless outside of my head.

Which also means that the opinions and prejudices of others (including you, dear reader), are meaningless and weightless.

What would happen if we stopped trying to create other people in our own image? Not just saying, "Oh, it would be nice if one day we could stop (when they all agree with us)", but just today, decide to stop.

Even for just ten minutes.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

*puts lampshade on head*

Happy Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

Yes, I know that it's kinda a sticking point theologically for some Christians. But confound it, it's my name day, and I'm Episcopalian. Episcopalians are the best theological procrastinators around. "I'll worry out the nuts and bolts about the Assumption later. I've got Vacation Bible School to run and a public fast and witness for peace to perform instead of my vacay. (p.s. I think the Archbishop of York is not only the cutest thing ever, but also the coolest. How come the ABC isn't doing this? Hmmmm?)

Anyway, have a blessed day, and if you know someone named Mary (it's a great name, consider it for your children!) do something nice for them today.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Nonlinear Meditations on "I Want My MTV"

I spend a lot of time thinking about marketing.

Not because I work in a purchasing department (by the time I get involved in a cash-for-goods/services transaction, all the details have been hammered out, and I'm basically here to tie the bow on the package), but because in this society, you cannot escape marketing. In such a society, whenever there's an idea that needs transmitting, it has to be couched in the language of marketing. Even the conversation my cubiclemate and I had regarding a television show last night is, to the network that aired it and the show's producers, marketing the show.

We have been marketed to so much that we are simply running out of attention span. So, the marketing has to become bolder, more outrageous, more pervasive, insisting constantly that it's the NEW GREAT THING, and that you need to buy t-shirts and books and stickers that proclaim it as such. Look around next time you're in a public space, count how many corporate logos are displayed boldly on cars, buildings, and people.

I like to think that I don't fall into this category, that I can look at myself and see someone who is not shilling for corporations, but I carry a coffee mug with my favorite coffeeshop's logo. The plastic bag I toted my made-at-home lunch to work in has the grocery store's name in big green letters. The shirt I'm going to go home and change into was a promotional item I purchased at a fundraising screening of a film, so it not only has the distinctive logo of the film, it's got the equally distinctive logo of the charitable agency we raised the money for. Even my shoes leave traced in the dust as I pass the name of the company that sold them to me.

Within all this marketing babble, I am a Christian. Which means I have something that I think is pretty cool, that's changed my life, that's given me a completely different perspective on the world, and that calls me to tell others about this amazing change in my life.

Well, shoot, what's the best way to tell others in a market-driven culture about Christianity? Mass-market-multi-media campaign, of course! Books, movie tie-ins, t-shirts, pins, commercials, slick print ads, and firms who will not only give you reports on the statistical makeup of your neighborhood, but the percentage of those people who would go to a church if only it had program n available.

How did Jesus and the Apostles do it without these useful marketing tools?

Think about how they did it. A large percentage of the Gospels is Jesus talking to individuals. A large percentage of the New Testament are letters, and those letters have advice, greetings, and prayers for specific people. Christianity, in my mind, is about the relationship between God and humans, a relationship that cannot be carried out by individuals alone. Jesus didn't say, "Whenever you sit at home and think spiritual thoughts, I am there", Jesus said, "Whenever two or more are gathered..."

The mass-market-multi-media campaigns can help that, sure enough. Get some behinds into the seats, some more pocket change into the collection plate. But you cannot rest on those headcount laurels. The individual connections, the relationships formed between members of the church are equally as important. And it's not the sole duty of the Welcoming Committee, the Greeters, the Parish Council, to make those connections.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Sr. Mary Hasta's Ten Practical Tips on Prayer

1. Never ask God “Why?” because the answer is, inevitably, “Because I AM said so.”Likewise, don’t pray for patience, ‘cause God will make you learn it the hard way, and if you’re stubborn like me, you wind up with physical scars. Ow.

2. Don’t pray for a pony unless you like mucking out stalls.

3. Any burning in your heart should first be treated with antacids. If that doesn’t stop it, then consult a gastrointestinal medical professional. If it persists, consult a spiritual professional.

4. Praying for someone to die makes the Baby Jesus cry. Praying for your sports team to win makes the Baby Jesus laugh at you. Praying with gritted teeth for someone you intensely dislike makes the Baby Jesus laugh, but that’s just ‘cause He’s finally getting his way.

5. Signs from heaven don't come in neon.

6. The warm fuzzies you get from a new practice will go away. That does not mean that God has gone away, and that doesn’t mean it’s time to find something else to try.

7. No answer doesn’t mean there’s no one on the other end of the line.

8. Our God loves us too much to speak to us like an announcer over the PA system at the grocery store. When God speaks to you, it’s much more personal.

9. No accessories are needed to communicate with God, but it’s okay to use them if you need help concentrating.

10. No one ever said it was going to be easy. It’s called a ‘practice’ and a ‘discipline’ for a reason.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I am biting my tongue to keep fron singing right now. I have the Gloria used at my church (from Lift Every Voice and Sing vol. II) running through my head in full stereo surround-sound, and it's all I can do to keep myself from joining in.

I think my cubicle mates wouldn't appreciate it.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


The blogosphere is pretty much doing nothing but making me feel angry and powerless.

So I'm going to take a wee break. If you need me, I'll be over there ---->, praying.