Saturday, June 28, 2008

Any freudians out there?

Dream about preaching
Church was full to the gills.  My liturgist was off the bulletin, had prepared something different, but very Spirit led.  Randy Johnson, a musician from Bartlesville, was also in attendance and played a bassoon and a flute during the call to worship, which I had written using the lyrics of a contemporary song, but that the liturgist took to mean she was supposed to sing.  I could tell the church had been working behind the scenes unbeknownst to me. 
During announcements, I started by asking congregation what they would announce.  Many evacuees were there to worship, they started sharing great things.  Testimonies.  Katherine stopped me when she remembered she had an announcement.  The evacuees had opened these doors in the side of the church to let in the fresh air.  K went weaving in and outside the doors as she gave her announcement.  I remember her saying, “and there are going to be canoes, and wilderness, and pine trees” it was kind of a spontaneous thing. 
When I finally decided I needed to give my sermon, (first of all I couldn’t find a bulletin, and secondly I couldn’t find my sermon.  I could find a bunch of old sermons, but not today’s sermon..
The whole time I was fumbling around, kids were just running around like crazy.  They were going up to the microphone and announcing car washes and all sorts of things.  Some of the kids in my present church mixed in with some of my youth from Bartlesville.
Another interesting thing, the pulpit kept changing size, and I kept taking apart the microphone trying to get it to work.  I remember walking up to give the sermon, and I couldn’t find it, but even if I could, you couldn’t even see me behind the pulpit.  There were also flowers right in front of the pulpit to where when it was the right size, even the flowers were obstructing my view and the cong’s view of me.  I kept embarrassingly trying to move the flowers.  Worried that the cong. would think they “had” to be watching me, and thinking they would think I was full of myself for moving the flowers so they could see my face as I gave the sermon.  But I was actually just concerned for the people who hear better when they can see what they are listening to.   

Friday, June 27, 2008

Roma fingerprinting and Holocaust death toll: Common Knowledge?

I heard an interview on BBC radio today that brought up the new Italian plan to fingerprint Roma, or Gypsy, children in that country in an effort to punish the parents who may be using their children to panhandle, steal, etc. The interviewer compared the plan to what the Nazis (and participating countries) did to the Roma, Jews, etc. in the 30s and 40s. (Gotta love British interviewing) It got me thinking about the holocaust and its death toll.
It seems to me that most people, when asked how many people were killed during the Holocaust would say "6 million," or "6 million Jews." Which is only about half of the death toll of the holocaust , as most historians estimate. Poles, Communists, Roma, mentally and physically disabled people, and other "undesireables" account for up to 5 million more people. The Roma are probably the hardest to estimate, since there are no hard and fast population statistics on them.
Jewish people were of course most drastically affected by the Holocaust, and have culturally woven that experience into Jewish identity through Yom Hashoa and the other ways. But I don't know that the Poles or the Roma have similarly taken the genocide of their populations into cultural memory.

Have you had similar experiences of the general public being ignorant of the true death toll of the Holocaust?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Reaching out with the Old

Sometimes it's nice to hear you're not just an oddball, I read in Christian Century's June 17 issue the following...."
By a ratio of almost 2 to 1, unchurched Americans prefer churches that look more like medieval cathedrals to the modern, utilitarian church facilities that currently are being constructed.
This preference for the Gothic, found among both unchurched Catholics and unchurched Protestants, is even more pronounced among people between the ages of 25 and 34. "I don't like modern churches, they seem cold," said one survey respondent. "I like the smell of candles burning, stained glass windows and an intimacy that's transcendent." (survey by Lifeway Research.)
....From the article linked above...“Quite honestly, this research surprised us,” said Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research and LifeWay Christian Resource’s missiologist in residence.

“We expected they’d choose the more contemporary options, but they were clearly more drawn to the aesthetics of the Gothic building than the run-of-the-mill, modern church building.”
Well, I'm not surprised, Ed.
I've always had a feeling about this---now I know that feeling is part of the collective unconscious and not just my own uncommon preference. Ha! I'm right. (I try to get in one of these "Ha! I'm right"s at least once a day. Usually my wife is the lucky recipient of said "H!IR's" but today, you all get to share in the glorious experience. ON the topic of really helpful worship findings, make plans to attend the Worship in a Postmodern Accent Workshop
So, how would the Oklahoma Conference like to sink money into building materials that would be required to build a church that 25-34 year olds would prefer to worship in--or should the New church starts initiative be in the market for a good, "pre-owned" gothic church? You want to see photos of my dream appointment in New York City? It was built by the Methodists--but they wanted to attract an ecumenical congregation in a Byzantine neighborhood. Yes, I fall in line with the preferences of the unchurched, and struggle with the implications for how we might allocate resources to start new congregations.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Camp Communion Three Day theme

Next week I'm helping to dean Muskogee District Camp. I've been given leadership of the morning communion service before breakfast, which isn't mandatory. Because of the time and the probable spiritual disposition (maturity level) of those youth willing to wake up early to start the day with communion, I'm going to go ahead and go "a little deeper" than I would with your average cross section of camp kids. I'll let them know that I hope they can make it to all three services, because they're going to be somewhat connected. The final communion service on Thurs will be structured much like a Quaker meeting (even though the Quakers don't celebrate the sacrament) and will focus on helping the youth speak about what communion means to them (in the interest of the camp theme being "know it, live it, SHARE it." and "being ready to give a reason for the hope that is within us." (main camp scripture from 1 Peter 3) Thurs service will also be the chance for the youth (and whoever else) to serve each other communion (further "sharing it.") Working backwards, Wednesday will be focused on silence and contemplation with a walking meditation. Tuesday will be focus on creation and inspiration as I share what communion has meant to me and my experience with communion at camp and when I introduce the idea of the three day focus: CReation, Observation/Silence, Speaking. Well what do you know, an acronym for the three day theme is CROSS. How handy.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

RIP Back to the Future Set and Bihops Schnase's book

Lamentations! Sounds like the Universal studios burned. As an honorary resident of Hill Valley, I mourn today.

Also--I started a sermon series and book study of the "Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations," which OK Conf. has used as a foundation of its strategic plan for all local churches. The study tonight had about 8 discuss Radical Hospitality. It was a great conversation, and the folks had some good insights into our church. I'm looking forward to the rest of the conversation.