September 25, 2006
So while Francis is temporarily on hold while we wait for our Storahtelling friends, I thought it’d be good to talk about our upcoming Wednesday gatherings, especially since they start in a week and a half! Rather than planning out the format start to finish, I thought it’d be better to start with what ingredients I want to throw in the pot. Here are my thoughts:
1) community. I’m a professional churcher, which means that I almost always encounter people in an “official” capacity. I have jobs; I don’t have a community. I do have individual friends, who love and support me, though, and maybe if I can get five or six of them together in the same room at the same time along with some food (I’m a pretty good cook), they’ll like each other, too.
2) social time. I want to have a group of people who are aware of what’s going on in my life and in who’s lives I can take an interest. I also hardly ever have time to see friends these days, and I want to set aside some time each week to be with people I care about.
3) food. I’m a pretty good cook, and I think there’s something really holy about eating together. I eat so many meals on the subway or while I’m running down the street to my next appointment, and I think that’s a little messed up. Let’s break bread together.
4) prayer. Prayer is so intimate; it’s really hard to do. I think praying together can be really transforming, though, and I want to make it a regular discipline.
5) creative ritual. This doesn’t have to be much – it could be a bible study, a meditation, someone reading some poetry or playing a song, or whatever. This doesn’t need to be the focus of the evening, but including makes Transmission distinguishable from a social club or a discussion group. If different people took responsibility for coming up with something each week, the burden would be light and we’d have some pretty cool stuff.
Anyway, unless the plan’s changed, we’re first gathering on October 11, probably around 7ish. I can’t wait!
September 22, 2006
Originally uploaded by jimfrazier.
In preparation for our Yom Kippur interfaith component on Francis, I watched Franco Zeffirelli‚Äôs Brother Sun, Sister Moon this week. Wow. 70‚Äôs Christian melodrama at its best and an inspiring portrayal of the twelfth century Francis, complete with a Donovan soundtrack!
One of my favorite lines was delivered by Alec Guinness, playing Pope Innocent III:
For in our obsession with original sin, we often do forget original innocence!
I‚Äôve also pulled up a seminary paper I wrote in May ‚Äô03 on ‚ÄúThe Comparable Vitae of St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) and St. Sergius of Radonezh (1314-1392)‚Äù. Not one of the strongest papers I wrote in grad school, but a good refresher for me on these two saints.
The great saints of history were men and women who lived in total devotion to Christ. The most revered of these changed the way the Church thought this was possible. As the ecclesiastical structures on earth canonized (from the Greek word meaning ‚Äòstandard‚Äô) these saints, they sometimes changed their own rules and standards for how salvation was thought possible.
September 22, 2006
There’s a picture of Katie and me dancing in the street, protesting the anti-dancing cabaret laws. Who knew I would ever be so famous? And it’s a pretty good picture of me, if I do say so myself…
September 22, 2006
Originally uploaded by perhapsfairfax.
Yom Kippur 5767 (in the Jewish calendar) is coming up on Oct 2nd. Ike has been gigging with a group called Storahtelling ‚Äì ‚Äúa radical fusion of storytelling, Torah, contemporary performance art and traditional ritual theater‚Äù ‚Äì for three years now. Since Yom Kippur is so close to St. Francis‚Äô Day this year, they have invited us (Transmission) to do a littler interfaith component during their day long YK 5767 RituaLab.
Here’s an email I sent to a Storahtelling leader on Sept 11th -
Hi Amichai -
Again, thank you very much for welcoming me in yesterday. What an amazing and wonderful group you have. And so welcoming – this morning Ayelet stopped me in the Times Square subway to say Hi!
I wanted to send you a little more info on Francis, who is arguably the most beloved Christian saint (he is certainly a favorite for Episcopalians, who value their saints for the lives they lived and as role models, more than for miraculous powers).
Francis’ feast day is October 4th, but will be celebrated by Christians on Sunday, October 1st (which is often a ‘blessing of the animals’ service). So incorporating Francis into an Oct 2nd Yom Kippur is timely – and will hopefully be one more way for us to think together about the interplay between atonement and peace – both personal and shared.
Info on Francis
St. Francis Prayer
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
* this, other prayers by Francis, and many other great prayers from World Prayers
September 17, 2006
Hmm. I stumbled across this ad which will soon be running in the UK and which features the image of Jesus appearing in beer foam. Apparently, this image is intended to encourage people to go back to church this Christmas season. I don’t quite see the connection, but I like the image.
read all about it over at yahoo news.
September 16, 2006
by Bowie Snodgrass
at what point do we say
we’d had enough dianu ?
only when it is already now
too much and we throw our
hands up in the air and say
basta xhvatet enough ! ?
in poker you knock to say
stay at this amount I don’t
need more to stay in this
game I may or may not win
at what point do we turn
around and say to our God
thanks for the blessings
they are truly enough
what do we need to sing
di di anu dianu di a new !
September 11, 2006
It’s tough to be Christian in New York City,
Where transition is constant and transcendence abounds.
It’s hard to be Christian in America today,
When freedom means one truth and liberty, one way.
It‚Äôs 9/11 again, and clich?© or not, this day in 01 has had a big impact of my life. This event at the start of my second year of seminary, following on the heals of a powerful two-week stay I had at an Orthodox convent in Russia in July 2001, brought me back ‚Äúhome‚Äù to my faith. Or rather, it pushed me to commit to doing my religious work ‚Äúfrom the inside‚Äù (as an Episcopalian and as an American) and to do my political and social activism as a Christian.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to do religion contextually ‚Äì a basic tenant of letting church ‚Äúemerge.‚Äù Friends and I have been talking about what it means to start a Christian community that would be indigenous to NYC in 2006. But this line of thinking has circled me back to the place of religion in America today ‚Äì in our politics, economics, and culture wars.
Some striking books I‚Äôve been reading on the topic ‚Äì
Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
A tough look at the violent history of Mormon fundamentalism.
American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips
What part is religion playing in the demise of America as an empire?
Emerging Churches by Ryan Bolger and Eddie Gibbs
A great scholastic book based on discussions with fifty emerging church leaders.
Are there others you’d recommend?
September 10, 2006
I had an amazing time at Greenbelt. So many chill, creative, cool Christians. So many innovative worship experiences. So many ideas and such a feeling of mutual support. And Ike was a great traveling companion.
It was also great to reconnect with Ian Mobsby, whom I met at a conference in March and who encouraged and enabled Ike and I to contribute at Greenbelt. We pitched our tent along with the people from his emerging church in London (Gareth, Andrew, Mike, Carrie, Ivy, Neil, and Aaron) and had a great time with this Moot crew. They are in our prayers and we are in their blog :-)
We attended a lot of services. All amazing, all different. The groups I saw were:
Very sadly, we missed the Moot ‚ÄúBody Mass‚Äù, which happened on Monday, after we left. There are some very cool photos of the service up on their blog. We also missed the Monday service by Foundation in Bristol, but the folks from the group were super friendly and came to our service ‚Äì big thanks!
Thanks also to Sue from Visions in York for her hospitality!
A workshop led by Ian Mobsby on the Emerging Church and Trinitarian Theology Worship (based on Rublev’s icon of the Trinity)
An amazing talk by Shane Claiborne from The Simple Way in Philly
A panel discussion chaired by Jonny Baker exploring mission at Mind Body Spirit Fairs and contemporary spirituality. With panellists Ana Draper, Ben Edson, Steve Hollinghust and Gareth Powell.
The organic beer tent!
September 8, 2006
flickr photo from Greenbelt Festival Official Pictures.
One of my favorite aspects of Greenbelt was how green it was. Thousands of us pitched camp in a field (well, actually a racetrack) below beautiful British hills and lived in the reign of God for a weekend. It‚Äôs good sometimes to sleep close to the ground.
Many of the vendors sold fair-trade, organic, and eco-friendly products. And as much as I was impressed by the cute wooden cutlery at some booths, others used only real dishes and silverware. Right before our Dress-up service, I went on a mission for a chai ‚Äòto go,‚Äô and had to leave a 1 pound deposit for a mug (which I got back when I dutifully returned the cup later). Very cool.
A Greenbelt-birthed a group called Generous inspired me to think about small eco-actions as generous spiritual activities. When I stopped by their booth, they were giving out bags, which expand once submerged in your toilet tank. Now each time I flush, I use 1 liter less of water ‚Äì an amount that adds up over the long term.
Last week, inspired both by Generous and a friend of mine who is running the NYC marathon to fight global warming, I signed up for 100% wind-generated electricity from ConEd Solutions. It costs about the same amount, has no sales tax (thank you, NY State!), and encourages development of sustainable power supplies.
I‚Äôm currently doing some research into energy-saving lightbulbs and have been trying to take less bags from stores‚Ä¶ what other simple solutions do you recommend?
FIND MORE ACTION IDEAS @
Generous.org.uk ‚Äúis an online experiment based on a shared hunch that looking after this planet and its people is what we are all here for and that if many of us can make small changes in our everyday choices then over time we can make a big difference for everyone.
Generous is not about guilt ‚Äì it‚Äôs about inspiration and shared ideas. And it‚Äôs not about how many actions any of us can do ‚Äì all our situations are different. It‚Äôs a community, not a competition.‚Äù
Q ‚Äì are there American eco-Christian groups you like?
‚Äú…once science began to view the physical cosmos as a story of becoming, that is, in evolutionary terms, then a reconciliation between science and religion became possible. What connects science and religion is the accent on temporality and the motif of promise. The Bible is about nothing else than promise, and evolution discloses a universe that reinforces this theme.” From At Home in the Cosmos by David Toolan, S.J.
September 8, 2006
an emerging community
a shared religious journey
a New York City adventure
pass along from one to another
emmanuel shalom alleluia amen
I believe community starts
with one to one relationships
built over time & with grace
that‚Äôs something I learned
over time, with my family
my best girl friends, & God.