February 16, 2007
The question I am left with is the question of her loneliness.
And I prefer to put it off.
It is morning.
Astonished light is washing over the moor from north to east.
I am walking into the light.
One way to put off loneliness is to interpose God.
Emily had a relationship on this level with someone she calls Thou.
She describes Thou as awake like herself all night
and full of strange power.
Thou woos Emily with a voice that comes out of the night wind.
Thou and Emily influence one another in the darkness,
playing near and far at once.
She talks about a sweetness that ‚Äúproved us one.‚Äù
I am uneasy with the compensatory model of female religious experience and yet,
there is no question,
it would be sweet to have a friend to tell things to at night,
without the terrible sex price to pay.
This is a childish idea, I know.
by Anne Carson, from The Glass Essay
post inspired by…
* The Sabbath Poems on Samir Selmanovic‚Äôs Faith House blog (Samir is moving back to NYC this summer to start an interfaith emerging community)
* Our V-Day conversations about God blessings erotic love, but also being lover for many Christian celibates through the ages‚Ä¶ (see posts below)
* My delight with Glass, Irony, and God (from whence this poem came)
February 6, 2007
Hi. We‚Äôre planning to do an Easter Service at Avalon (used to be Limelight), in Holy Communion Episcopal Church ‚Äì which was founded by William Augustus Muhlenberg
AVALON ‚Äì Avenue of the Americas @ West 20th Street
6pm ‚Äì all are welcome
Come join us for an experimental melange of ritual celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. We‚Äôll be touching on the story of King Arthur and Avalon nd communion (it is Holy Communion Church, so we‚Äôve sorta gotta).
nd communion (it is Holy Communion Church, so we‚Äôve sorta gotta).
We will also be focusing on Mary Magdalene‚Äôs role in this tale. Mary was one of Jesus‚Äô best apostles, both during and after his time on earth. In the early centuries of Christianity, the church conflated Mary Magdalene with prostitute characters in the bible ‚Äì and for the next millennia and a half, most christians believed Mary was once a worker in the world‚Äôs oldest profession. Maybe she was. Jesus hung out with a lot of hookers.
And so did Muhlenburg. In the 1870s, this priest set up a network of Episcopal dioceses to participate in the Midnight Mission , a radical outreach effort for sex workers (which for him included both mistresses and brothel workers). In a very 19th century way, his effort was to help these fallen women find new homes in wholesome, Christian houses in the country‚Ä¶
130 years later, we find ourselves in a very different NYC. But in America 2007, sexuality is still a great divider and money something we don't like to talk about‚Ä¶ so it‚Äôs time for us to start living a little more like Jesus. Let‚Äôs have a party for Easter and celebrate the first women who knew that Jesus was no longer dead, but alive… again!
Please contact us if you would like to participate in this effort.
Our first planning meeting will be held on February 21st (Ash Wednesday). We will have a short ritual to kick off Lent, followed by a meeting with food. More details to follow.
February 2, 2007
This week marked the first ritual prepared by Katie, and it was really excellent. As I understand it, the ritual was largely about the limited capacity of language (and, by extension, scripture and theology). It's pretty hard to adequately describe that kind of ritual with words, so instead I'll just describe my experience of it.
The ritual began by setting up paper lanterns, taping pieces of paper together and setting them around a candle. Each candle had two quotations on it, one from the Christian tradition and one from an Eastern tradition. Not only did this create a beautiful effect, but the texts actually obscured the light – a very important metaphor.
The sides of the lanterns which did not have texts had rorschach inkblots on them (abstract shapes used in psychological evaluation which look like whatever the viewer wants them to look like). Once again, another very important metaphor for the Bible and theology.
After several minutes wandering around them room, gazing at the inkblots, and reading the texts, Katie called us together again and handed out 12 inch square mirrors and dry erase markers. We were told to take some time to express our ideas about God. Trying to write about God while staring at myself in the mirror was surprisingly difficult – I was forced to remember that my conception of God is suspiciously similar to myself (just like Malcolm X's God seemed quite a bit like Malcolm X, Bonhoeffer's God seems a lot like Bonhoeffer, etc). So I eventually gave up on being objective and instead just drew a picture of myself with some incarnational words. I thought I was being all creative but two other people also incorporated pictures of themselves into their mirrors…
After finishing our mirrors, we set them up, wandered around, meditating and praying with the each other's mirrors just as we did with the texts. Finally, Katie brought out a big basin of soapy water and we washed the mirrors clean, reminding ourselves that it is God whom we worship, not our conceptions of God.
This ritual worked for several reasons. First, the activities engaged us visually, verbally, and tactilely. Secondly, although we were given things to think about, we were also given the opportunity to explore our own ideas, share them, and get to know one another just a little bit better. Finally, the ritual made no doctrinal demands of us; Tran
smission is made of a pretty diverse group of people and the ritual allowed everyone to participate regardless of where they fall theologically.
All in all, a great service.
The texts used are reprinted below…
February 2, 2007
Katie planned an awesome ritual last night (which hopefully she
or Ike will blog about – hint, hint). One part involved meditating on readings from sacred scriptures and Rorschach inkblots, taped into a rectangle, set over a candle. In another part, we were all given mirrors and dry-erase markers and asked to reflect on our faith in God. We then traded mirrors, and later shared our personal reflections.
* You can check out photos on flickr.
* And here‚Äôs my favorite reading from the evening ‚Äì
Whence all creation had its origin,
He, whether He fashioned it or whether He did not,
He, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
He knows ‚Äì or maybe even he does not know.
~ Rig Veda
January 18, 2007
Excerpt from letter: John to Jackson, Jan 13, 2007
To read full text, see more pictures, and read more letters, visit
Tears and laughter, blood, betrayal, singing and dancing, Hebrew and primal scream – this has been your second week.
I guess this biggest news of this week is your conversion from Animism to Judaism. The Jewish midwife, who was good enough to assist with your birth on the Sabbath, recommended I call 1-800-BABY-BOY, which connected me with a really nice Rabbi named Jehoshua Krohn who exclaimed that you needed a Bris right away, and offered us a cut rate for letting you be a quick stop between other gigs.
January 13, 2007
two poems from our Advent stations apt.church. I found them while cleaning up my place. written by two of our participants. collage below by Gareth, our friend from Moot.
In darkest despair
In brightest light
Oh holy star
Oh sacred night
I cry out to you Lord
Take this pain away
Bring unto us
The dawn of a new day
We are a forgetful people.
God is faithful ‚Äì
we forget. God sustains ‚Äì
we forget. God provides ‚Äì
we forget. God delivers ‚Äì
we forget. God’s ways endure
‚Äì we forget. God made us
in His image ‚Äì we forget!
January 1, 2007
Elizabeth and John had their baby! The healthy 8 1/2 pound boy was born at 4:30 am on Dec 30, 2006. Please pray for mommy, daddy, and baby.
Here’s a photo of his very first day of life! already being exposed to some Warhol pop culture…
January 1, 2007
Many faiths and traditions,
my tradition and faith:
lately I can’t seem to have
one without the other.
Like the communion wafers
passed out as a meal,
and the unfrozen pita bread,
church has grown stale.
Too many 18th and 19th
century quarter notes.
The pipe organ was once
a technical innovation.
I’m not anti-establishment,
but let’s also establish
new mysteries to assure us
of Your Holy Presence
by Bowie Snodgrass
December 15, 2006
“When two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the cream of the cookie…‚Äù
Yup, you heard right, dawgs. Come ready to bake your butts off for Jesus.
We‚Äôd like to learn some Christmas songs too and do a little caroling around my building. Strong singers are most welcome! You might even end up with a solo ;-)
The fun begins at 7pm.
RSVP to email@example.com so I can prepare accordingly‚Ä¶
“Lord, you now have set your servant free to go in peace as you have promised; for these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, whom you have prepared for all the world to see: a Light to enlighten the nations and the glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32)
December 13, 2006
ChurchMarketingSucks.com is one of my favorite websites
And, on a related note: Presbyterian Polis has been doing a series on Innovative Business Ideas for Churches (thank you Bob C. for the fyi)
Here are three pieces I especially liked from this series ‚Äì
#6 – Communication, Marketing and Social Networking
byte: Even before I went to seminary (1978-81), I felt that relationships were central to life. But I never found much affirmation for that idea until the last few years as those who see themselves as either ‚Äòpost-modern‚Äô or ‚Äòemerging‚Äô are emphasizing the social relationship aspect of the church.
# 3 – The Cluetrain Manifesto
byte: If you read The Cluetrain Manifesto, and I hope you will, you will not agree or understand everything in it. I didn’t. But you will be challenged to make our life in the church more human, and less organizationally artificial.
#5 – Mavericks at Work
byte: From my perspective, everything is a risk. You risk trying new things. You risk doing the same things over and over again expecting different results. Risk in inherent in life. From a spiritual perspective, risk forces us to deal with the question of ‚ÄòWhere is God in my risk taking?’
+ + +
so, where is God in your computer usage? your business, political, or financial savvy? your pop culture critiques? your creative endeavors? Your so-called po-mo life?