Monday, July 30, 2007

Going To Church

For the two Sundays before yesterday, I missed going to church, one Sunday because I had a sleepover for five grandchildren, and the next because I was out of town visiting family, who are not churchgoers. Yesterday, I had only two grandchildren, and I managed to get it together and get myself there. It was good to be back. I miss the Sunday service, especially the Eucharist. I miss the music and the singing.

We have a new songbook of non-traditional hymns called "To The Glory Of God". In the schedule for the service, it is referred to as NSB for New Song Book. Since our organist was on vacation, and we had guitars and a wonderful old banjo for accompaniment, we used the NSB, even though we don't yet have enough of them to go around the congregation. My pew was one of those without the NSB, therefore I could only sing the hymns which I knew, or the choruses as I picked them up.

Our rector has a very soft voice, and I miss some of the words of the sermon each Sunday. Other members of the congregation have told me that they don't hear all of his words either. Once we have our parish web site up and running, I hope to persuade our priest to let me to type up his sermons and post them on the web site.

Our youth Sunday school will kick off in August with "A Cajun Man Swamp Tour". Only in Louisiana.

In the adult class, we will be using Simply Christian; Why Christianity Makes Sense, by N. T. Wright, Bishop of Durham, UK.

UPDATE: I'd say this is one of the most boring posts I've ever done. It looks as though the well has run dry.


  1. I think you'll have some good discussions around the Tom Wright book, Mimi. I read it last year. A very good introduction to his take on the Christian faith, but it's not what he designed it to be - i.e. an introduction to Christianity for inquirers. It's at a slightly higher level than that, so will make a good book for a church study group. Let me know what you think!

  2. Tim, I hope that it's at a higher level than Alpha. Alpha was most unedifying for me. It actually made me angry.

    After the third video prayer asking Jesus to come into our hearts, I could not help asking (sarcastically) after the prayer, "Well, is the third time the charm? Is Jesus in my heart now?"

    I know, I'm bad.

    I'm past the inquirer's stage, and I'm looking for something more substantial.

    I have heard that Bishop Wright is a true scholar of the Scriptures, but that he leans toward the evangelical side. I'll try not to hold that against him. ;o)

  3. Actually a lot of evangelicals would disagree with some of Tom Wright's ideas.

    You can get a good idea of his thought by looking at the NT
    Wright pages
    which have loads of his papers and lectures. All of his stuff about Jesus and Paul is very, very good. He's a superb scholar and he certainly transformed my reading of the New Testament. His knowledge of the background, history, culture etc. is very rich.

  4. yes, I think that Wright will be thought-provoking. My parents' church is reading a book by him right now. I would say that he defends the orthodox faith, but that he is not "evangelical" in the american sense of the word. Our local "Peace and Justice" Christian bookstore carries all of his Bible commentaries.

  5. also, re: Alpha. A lot of the people in my church liked Alpha. They liked it better than I did. Which maybe tells me something about the state of biblical/theological knowledge in my congregation (sigh).

  6. Not that boring - interesting to hera about these new hymns although I love the old ones!

  7. Boring, you? Never.

    My husband tried using that text for adult forum last year, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet (being in the choir, which rehearses at the same time, I was excused). My clearest recollection of Wright is from the published dialogue he had with Borg (title escapes me, but it's easy to find). While at the time, I was more inclined to Borg's views, there was a clarity and simple elegance to Wright's articulation of more traditional thinking which appealed to me very much.

    Unfortunately, in recent years I've had difficulty getting past my bias on account of his militant anti-GLBT stand in the CofE since he's been Bishop of Durham. He's a preeminent Pauline scholar and speaks passionately against Bush and American imperialism, but he's got a huge blind spot when it comes to the GLBT issue (it's almost as if another person is speaking if you read what he writes and says publicly about that compared to the great body of his scholarly works). Worse yet is how he "pastors" gay priests in his diocese and campaigns against any tolerance of the progessive side of things in the CofE.

    Yet many on all sides have been enriched by his writings, with Why Christianty Makes Sense being widely used in study groups in all kinds of churches. So, I'll be very interested in what you think of it.

    (Now, how's that for a boring comment? :) )

  8. We'll see how it goes. I let you know what I think after I'm a way into it.

    Diane, others have told me that they liked Alpha, and most people in my group liked it. It was hard for me to get past the slick production and the views of rapt members of the audience, hanging on to Nicky Gumbel's every word.

    I could never do another Alpha course. It was punishment for me.

    John, I have the bulletin beside me. From the NSB, we sang:

    We Bow Down
    Spirit Song
    In His Time
    Open Our Eyes, Lord
    Lord, I Lift Your Name On High

    I must say that I loved the banjo, but I love our old pipe organ, too. How a relatively poor church like ours came to have a pipe organ installed is a story in itself.

    Klady, I expect that our rector won't want to get into Wright's views on LGBT issues, since there might be several from the group in the class.

  9. Mimi, you can read a lot of Wright without getting into his GLBT views. I hadn't heard them.

    Alpha is simple for beginners. There are things in Wright and other courses I like that would whoosh go right over a lot of people's heads. So some of the other more "liberal" series I don't think would work for a true inquirer, either.

    People aren't all asking the same questions.

    Maybe I should design a course.

  10. I'm reading an excellent book now titled Problems With Atonement by Stephen Finlan. I have difficulty understanding atonement theology and sorting out what I can agree with and what I honestly cannot sign on to, and the book is quite helpful.

  11. Grandmere Mimi, this is more of a response to the comment you made at Katherine's blog--about being different with you ideas and politics at your church. I applaud you in your authenticity. You teach me so much--even when you think you're boring. You're not-I like your posts/thoughts.

  12. That wasn't boring at all. I like reading about people's real-live church experiences. There's something warm and cozy about it.

  13. Jan, it's quite true. I don't have to look far to find the place where I'm different.

    One day I was having lunch with a group of family members, Republicans all, and they asked me how I got to be such a liberal. I have no explanation for it really. The pushes all came from the other direction.

    I believe the Vietnam War and Watergate both influenced me, but other than that, I can't say. And I would not classify myself as a liberal, either. That doesn't seem a good fit.

  14. PJ, I didn't give you all the experiences, because of privacy considerations for other people. The ones I couldn't tell would have made the post a little livelier.

  15. Since I couldn't make it myself this Sunday, I'm glad you posted this -- not as good, but it's the next best thing!

  16. I agree with Mimi on the boring thing.

    Ready? The quote is "one of the most boring I've ever done", which is by no means boring at all to the rest of us; it's Mimi's standard that is so high which may make it seem so to her.

    We may safely ignore her opinion for now.

  17. Kate, thanks.

    Johnieb, you gave me a scare there. Never agree with me when I say something negative about myself. That's not the point at all. You should know at least that much about women.

    But the rest of your comment more than makes up for my scare.

  18. Hi, Mimi...I'm back and catching up. I was at Durham for 2 days and was impressed with the prayers for the poor, downtrodden, persecuted, etc during evensong. But of course that doesn't necessarily say anything about the Bishop, only the Dean and his ideas, i guess.

    As to N.T.Wright, I was talking to my son the priest about what actually happens to us when we know, is Revelations anything other than a vision...are we immediately taken to heaven, or is it at the Second Coming(whatever that turns out to be), will we be raised bodily,etc, and he recommended Wright's "For All the Saints?" Remembering the Christian Departed. I brought up the GLBT issues and he said that a lot of Wright has nothing to do with that and he can be quite enlightened in other areas. So I read the book and was very happy I had. Of course with my very inadequate brain, I will have to read it several times more before it really sinks in. It is a very thin book(76 pages), well written, IMO, and I found out a lot of stuff!

  19. Susan, I believe that the course will be fine. Everyone I've spoken to who knows his work says that despite his wrong opinions on the GLTB issues, his writing is scholarly and quite good.

    Did you enjoy your trip? Did your group sing pretty? How about the plane ride?

  20. Oh Mimi, I enjoyed some of it! Not the climbing up the stairs to the choir school every day, but the food was good, and I took it easy most days except for the singing bits...We did pretty well in the singing I guess. No one complained, but the English are so polite they wouldn't have said anything. My small solo went well.
    The plane ride going over was pretty easy. I enlisted the folks sitting in front of me in warning me when they wanted to sit back in the seat, and they cooperated. But coming back was a nightmare. The flight from Glasgow was okay, but when we got to Philadelphia it turned into hell! On top of not having the seat I had been assigned 3 months ago, we were supposed to arrive in San Francisco at 7:19 pm our time Friday and actually landed at 2:30am Saturday! I have never been so happy to get off a plane in my life. Anyway that's prolly more than you wanted to know!

  21. Anyway that's prolly more than you wanted to know!

    Not at all. I knew that you'd have at least one flight story.

    I'm pleased that your solo went well.


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