December 31, 2007
Hey, Everyone!¬† Happy Sixth Day of Christmas!
We’ve got a bunch of stuff coming up.¬† Here’s the scoop:
Wed, January 2nd: Transmission does Epiphany (i.e. the three wise men).¬† We’ll be exploring journeys, faith, gifts, interfaith relations, immigrants, refugees, and more.¬† I’ll be structuring the ritual around an explored space with accompanying audio work, so I’ll need everyone to bring an MP3 player and/or a discman.¬† If you don’t have one, let me know and I’ll dig one up for you.¬† It’ll be at 7pm at my place: 99 Claremont Ave, #313.¬† Give a call if you need help getting in: 917.306.2442
Sat, January 5th: End Christmastide with style with us as we celebrate Twelfth Night by going contra dancing at CDNY – 13th St and 6th Ave.¬† All the information can be found at www.cdny.org¬† If you’ve never done it before, it’s a lot of fun and easy to pick up.¬† It makes you feel both wholesome and old school.
Fri – Sat, January 26-27:¬† Save the last weekend in January for the first ever Transmission retreat!¬† St Mark’s Teaneck has graciously offered to let us crash overnight in their building, so we’ll be having 24 hours of food, movies, chilling, music, workshops, and planning out the year.¬† It’s free and a great way to take a break from hectic city life to spend time with friends.¬† Please let me know if you’re planning on coming and if you want to help plan.
Hope you can come~
December 22, 2007
by j. Snodgrass
Every year, we spend the three weeks of the advent season preparing for the birth of Jesus. For many of us, it’s three weeks in which all our demons ‚Äì loneliness, alienation, depression, financial hardship ‚Äì are amplified, felt all the more keenly, because many of them will follow us into the next year. The days get shorter, colder, and then‚Ä¶ December 25th, Jesus is born, just in time. We know the baby’s coming, bringing hope and joy, which makes the season more bearable. We also know that where all the hustle and bustle, terrible holiday music and pressure to buy gifts is concerned‚Ä¶ Well, as Jesus said, “This too shall pass.”
Today, I’d like to talk about some pre-Jesus depression, from when they didn’t know he was coming at all. Looking back, it’s easy to say that the signs were all there in what’s become the Old Testament, the stump and Jesse and whatnot, but it’s important to remember that the ‘shoot from the stump of Jesse’ in Isaiah 11 who would rule with righteousness had already been fulfilled in the kings Josiah and Hezekiah. Simply put, twas the time before Christians – no savior in sight.
Then came Jesus, more specifically Jesus Ben Sirach, who lived about two hundred years before Jesus of Nazareth (Jesus was a popular name, since the name ‘Yehoshua’ meant Joshua, the famous warlord who conquered twenty-one kingdoms ‚Äì this name would have risen in popularity as the Israelites themselves were conquered several times, and kept hoping that one of their offspring would rise up and start kicking some butt). Jesus Ben Sirach wrote the following passage about his blues:
December 15, 2007
Monday, Dec. 17th – International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers
Transmission, PONY, $pread, and friends teamed up this April to plan Easter at Avalon, which celebrated the role of Mary Magdalene in Christian and Sex Worker history. This Monday, we’ve been invited to stand together again.
“December 17th is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Join $pread and SWANK (Sex Worker Action New york) on Monday for a candlelight vigil to honor and mourn the sex workers who have died this year and raise awareness of the violence faced by our community. Current and former sex workers, friends and allies all welcome.”
5-7 pm (Bowie will be there at 5). On the steps of Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, New York, NY. Wear red or bring a red umbrella.
Wednesday, Dec 19th – Transmission: Lessons & Carols
Five days before Christmas, come sing carols and listen to lessons that tell us the story of Advent and Christmas! The service of ‘Lessons and Carols’ has been celebrated since the late 1800′s and we will be sure to include some processing around, incense, and a bidding prayer to add extra cheer.
There are nine lessons and nine carols. Please email bowie at email@example.com if you would like to read a lesson, re-write a lesson (or do some other creative rendition thereof), accompany a carol, or do a performance of one!
Cookies, treats, dinner items, beverages, plus your friends & loved ones are most welcome! Location TBA
BAZAAR – looking for Christmas gifts? Buy a subscription to $pread Magazine: Illuminating the Sex Industry. Or check out Thistle Farms. Thistle Farms products are made with the most natural products available whenever possible. Magdalene is a recovery community for women with a criminal history of prostitution and addiction. Thistle Farms is a non-profit business. All proceeds go directly to the program and the women.
December 15, 2007
By j. Snodgrass, December 2007, for Marble Collegiate Church in NYC
In the spirit of Advent I thought do a little research on the topic of giving, beginning with a familiar scene ‚Äì three wise men, guided by a star, coming to give gifts to the newborn Jesus in a manger. Except that the three wise-men are in the Gospel of Matthew and the manger is in Luke. Matthew’s Jesus was born in a house.
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11
So in the spirit of giving, I decided this year I would “give-a-damn” about these treasures of the magi. I mean, Gold‚Ä¶ Gold‚Ä¶ The word “gold” appears in the Bible four hundred and thirty times. But I don’t think we need Biblical passages to tell us what makes gold so special. Suffice to say, Religion and Gold have had a long love-hate relationship, going back as far as anyone can remember.
But what about Frankincense and Myrrh? Nowhere does the Gospel say “they gave him gold‚Ä¶etcetera‚Ä¶” or “gold‚Ä¶and various other substances.” No, we’ve got to assume that first century Christians knew exactly what was meant by Frankincense and Myrrh, probably from the Torah. And there they are in the book of Exodus.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of fragrant cane, 500 shekels of cassia‚Äîall according to the sanctuary shekel‚Äîand a hin of olive oil. Make these into a sacred anointing oil‚Ä¶ Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. Say to the Israelites, ‘This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come.’ Exodus 30:22-25;30-31
So Myrrh, it turns out, was the active ingredient in YHWH’s own secret sauce. And amazingly, the recipe can be found right there in Exodus, although most modern conversion charts do not list shekels and a hin.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices‚Ä¶and pure frankincense‚Ä¶ and make a fragrant blend of incense‚Ä¶It shall be most holy to you. Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the LORD. Exodus 30:34,35,37
So Frankincense and Myrrh were both ingredients of sacred incense. Myrrh was used to consecrate priests, and Frankincense to bless sacred spaces, which makes a lot of sense to have around when a righteous child is born (especially when that child is born in a barn).
December 12, 2007
NATIVITY MYSTERY: THE ELEPHANT IN QUESTION
by j. Snodgrass, December 2007
NARRATOR : Five blind-folded people are put in a room with an animal and asked to identify it, based on their sense of touch. One says it’s a donkey, for it has a donkey’s tail. One says it’s a snake, for what he holds is a long, writhing tube. Another says it’s a bat, not knowing what she holds is actually an ear. Others offer different answers, each is certain they’re right. But when the blindfolds come off, they realize that none were fully correct – they’ve been describing different parts of an elephant.
The elephant in question today is Jesus. More specifically, the birth of Jesus as described, or not described, in the four Canonical Gospels. And we’re very fortunate today to have the Gospel-writers with us. Admittedly, none were actually present at the birth of Jesus, nor did any of them know him personally. But perhaps they can shed some light on the great Nativity Mystery. They’ve asked to be called by their pen-names, since they’ve forgotten who they really were. So please allow me to introduce Mark…
MARK : Shalom.
NARRATOR : Matthew…
MATTHEW : Greetings in the name of Christ the king.
NARRATOR : Luke…
LUKE : Down with the system.
NARRATOR : And John…
JOHN : The Father is known to the Son who is known to the Father.
December 7, 2007
Practically speaking, I love how appropriate it is to the season of the year. A festival of light and dark in a time of death and expectation. A pregnant time of awaiting the birth and coming of Christ as the days dwindle and another year draws to an end.
What do we know of the baby-boy Jesus, the ‚Äúreason for the season‚Äù? That he was humbly born in occupied Israel two thousand years ago. That he is with us still today and that each year we yearn anew for his return and reign of love and peace.
O come, thou Dayspring from on high, and cheers us by they drawing nigh; disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death‚Äôs dark shadow put to flight. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!
This is also a time of going out into the world, of reaching out to loved ones and going visiting! I have spoken to family members this week on the phone, visited sick friends, and had my house church community over for dinner.
This week‚Äôs Transmission ritual that involved lots of arts and crafts. I‚Äôve included two of our Advent calendars here. Other people made wreaths of fresh cut branches and crocheted string, chain-link calendars, and other inspired works with their hands.
Best of all, we gathered once again into a community, as we do week after week, year after year, believing that when two or three of us gather in your name, you are there. Jesus, our Christ, we are glad to travel with you through the year and to prepare for your return.
December 3, 2007
This Wednesday, Dec 5, from 7-9 pm, come to Bowie‚Äôs place for Advent Transmission.¬†
* Advent ‚ÄúArts & Crafts‚Äù Stations.¬† Make Wreaths!¬† Calendars!¬† Collage!¬† And More.¬†¬†¬†¬†
* Read a part in jSnodgrass‚Äô short skit ‚Äì ‚ÄúNativity Mystery: The Elephant in Question‚Äù
* Come Sing ‚ÄúO Come O Come Emmanuel‚Äù (beautiful, ancient, haunting hymn‚Ä¶)
Please email if you need directions to Bowie‚Äôs apartment.¬†
Cookies, drinks, dinner side dishes, and RSVPs welcome!
December 1, 2007
NY Faith & Justice is bringing Shane Claiborne to NYC this SUNDAY. Shane is the author of The irresistible Revolution and on the forefront of the New Monastic movement. Isaac and I have both read his book and seen him speak and recommend him whole heartedly!
He’s the media-subversive, politically-radical, dreadlocked-hippy St. Francis of our day.
If you’re free on Sunday evening from 7:30-9:30, GO! And if you want to learn more about the NEW NY Faith & Justice group, they are having a service at 5 with meal following. All FREE wtih RSVPs.
———- Forwarded message ———-
Advent begins this Sunday!
This year NY Faith & Justice invites you to enter the season asking one question…
“Is Advent just a celebration of the time when Jesus first came as a baby or is it a current day prayer for Christ to come today?”
THIS SUNDAY December 2, 2007
NY Faith & Justice @ All Angels Church!
251 W. 80th Street @ Broadway
Keynote Speaker Shane Claiborne (author of The Irresistible Revolution)
The Bridge (@ 5pm) AND Christianity and Transformational Development Seminar (@ 7:30pm)