Living church started their weekly service moments ago. Kev is there, ready to drum. He’s been bringing a djembe home the last several weeks and has been listening to recordings from practices and annotating the various complicated polyrhythmic drum patterns he’s been learning and practicing. For the last several weeks he’s watched the children of a friend of ours on Monday mornings so that he can drop off Caroline with them on Tuesdays. The oldest of the kids, E, takes world drumming lessons and has a great sense of rhythm. We have lots of drums in the house at the moment. And apparently, Kev, E, and Caroline all drummed away, while F (a little girl just a bit older than C) danced like mad! What a wonderful way to spend a Monday morning, eh?
I’m blogging because Caroline and I stayed home today. Caroline got sick in the night and though she seems fine today we decided she needed regular naps and relative calm- something for which midday, energetic worship doesn’t really allow. This is unfortunate as I might not be able to worship with Living Church for almost a month after this. We’re planning to worship with dear friends next week upon the occasion of the baptism of their son. I took a preaching gig the week after that. And we or I will be in Atlanta for two different events the next two weekends. We might be back on Sunday the 14th. I hope so… if we are then Kev will have the treat of Living Church singing their great birthday song for him!
Caroline is napping now. I sorted through some clothes and got her crib reassembled. But now… blogging… ah… what a concept.
I was sort of excited to be stuck at home today as I haven’t seen much Olympics coverage. I put NBC on first thing… of course… coverage didn’t start first thing. I watched a bit of “Meet the Press.” I’m not sure I’ve ever watched “Meet the Press.” Truthfully, I’m way out of the news loop. My head has been buried deep in historical texts… I was a little shocked by a bit of what I witnessed. The governor of Minnesota was a guest on the show this morning. Apparently he’s a presidential aspirant. He just spoke at CPAC, the conservative conference that met in D.C. recently. They played a couple clips from his speech. One of these clips DEEPLY troubled me. After bashing Obama’s ineffective big-government style of leadership he suggested that America should take a page out of Elin Woods’ (wife of Tiger Woods) book and take a 9-Iron to the window of big government in this country. Is it just me or are there racist undertones to this joke? Here, watch for yourself, and let me know what you think. At first I couldn’t find the clip, but it is featured on the governor’s home page, so apparently they’re not concerned about it. But white governor wants to take place of black president… white wife allegedly aggressively reacts to infidelity of black husband…
Truly, I wonder what you think.
Did any of you see Jenny Sanford, estranged wife of South Caroline governor Mark Sanford, on The Daily Show a while ago? Also, I felt, an occasion of an undercurrent of unconscious racism.
How often do I in my comfort and privilege in my language or humor express unconscious racism? We have so much work to do in this country. So. much. work.
So… that’s 9 a.m. central time, Sunday mornings. Political news shows that raise my blood pressure and turn me to repentant reflection. Perhaps a good Lenten discipline.
What’s 10 a.m.? Olympics? Nope. Infomercials for overweight women or feel good church. I just watched a little bit of one infomercial, but found another on a different channel. Pretty effective infomercials… why are overweight women, or women unhappy with their bodies, assumed to be the audience at 10/11 Sunday mornings? Don’t women outnumber men in churches? Opposite these infomercials was Joel Osteen’s church service. I’ve heard about him, but never seen him. Sounded like Prosperity Gospel to me. Hang in there, your day of abundance is coming. God is pulling the strings, going to make it happen.
I increasingly am finding a deeper place for trust in the sovereignty of God in my own faith life (not that I’m always great at feeling such trust, but intellectually some of my barriers to such trust are wearing away- ironically.) But whatever my understanding of God’s sovereign love is, it is not of a sugar daddy in the sky pulling strings for individual people who say the Jesus prayer. Something about this message chafed. What about the cost of discipleship? What about Jesus’ particular concern for the least of these? Why are his illustrations of what it means for one’s day to arrive all about material prosperity? Why is the good life he portrays that of a western consumer? Was the few minutes I witnessed typical of his message? Anyone want to flesh out this picture for me?
Interestingly, this Gospel didn’t sound much different from the message being peddled on the infomercial. 60 bucks and some exercise and, in time, just you wait, you’ll have abs you never thought possible. Real people, like you, can have the perfect body. I was seduced. I didn’t call and order. But even though I’m at the weight I want to be at and have been maintaining for about six months now, I’m out of shape and know I need to find a way to fit exercise into my life. And maybe… I could have something other than the soft pouch I’ve always had for a tummy…
I did just read Sallie McFague’s Life Abundant for the class for which I am a T.A. this semester. I realize my extreme irritation with Osteen is probably fueled by that. But I was extremely irritated by her text as well. In the name of finding a more ecologically friendly theology, she chucks out orthodox christology all together declaring that it is not credible and that christology need not and should not be a scandal to the intellect. Really? God’s self-revelation should be totally accommodated to our intellect? We should be able to rationally accept who God is? Come on now. The fact that I can’t get my head around the full humanity and full divinity of Jesus Christ, nor around resurrection, nor around God’s triune existence, are part of what make these doctrines helpful, in my estimation. If we can fully comprehend an image of God, what we have is an image of us. Clearly I wouldn’t be pursuing a Ph.D. in theology if I thought it wasn’t worth taking rational trouble over the mystery of these doctrines (nod to Karl Barth, I think, for that turn of phrase). But the willingness of so many liberal theologians and pastors, the wing of the church I know best, to chuck them all out and, more often than not, to consequently leave one with the impression that the salvation of the world really depends on US. We have got to get our thinking and our acting right, and fix things, or everything is damned. I find this to be a terrifying picture. Its one that makes some rational sense to me, but… if its really up to us… God help us. McFague removes all attention to individual sin, emphasizing instead corporate sin. It seems she takes out all sort of key pieces that COULD make her message work! Yes, she has a metaphorical understanding of the world as God’s body. She understands God to be with us as well as beyond us. So, theoretically, there’s divine cooperation in the abundant life she has envisioned. But the dominant message she sets forth seems to, ironically, emphasize US rather than God. Perhaps I’m misreading or uncharitably reading her. She claimed to be de-centering humanity in her theology. But I didn’t get that. At all. If you’ve read the book, or if you do, let me know what you think.
I don’t think God is pulling strings from on high, especially not for particular individuals.
I also don’t think God is uninvolved in creation.
I do think human sin is a big problem.
I do think we need grace from God in order to overcome it.
Persistent racism, ecological destruction, extreme poverty… all the evidence I need of pervasive sin, both individual and corporate.
Jesus Christ- the best evidence I’ve got of the reality of grace .