Friday, April 07, 2006

Insights from Class Today

A few things we talked about in class today. Well first I have to say I was pleased because my entire class agreed with me on the goodness of communion weekly. But, they also helped me see a few ways it might, pastorally, be forgone:

1. People have deep traumas that rituals can cause to surface. Particularly with regards to abuse. Those words and the actions associated with them are powerful - I said today that we're really playing with fire in these rituals. On one hand, that is why they are so effective in transforming lives and connecting people to God. On the other, that is why they are dangerous.

2. People can feel weird, left out or spotlighted if they are the only ones not partaking. They may anticipate being questioned.

3. By taking Eucharist, the person is really signing on to what we are doing in the church. They can sit back and take in songs and a sermon as spectators (although at Thad's we don't want that, we want participation), but once they are asked to do something theological, they are affirming our beliefs.

So I guess all those could be problems. #1 can't be fixed by education, only therapy, and that requires a willingness to work on it, and people might not be ready for that. #2 & 3 can be helped by education and explanation, and a hospitable environment. I guess the main thing we have to remember is that at any given time we are dealing with a lot of baggage.

I subscribe to the theory that we should be a little smaller and more committed, but other people think we should be a "mile wide and an inch deep." That's certainly the mega-church philosophy.

Maybe if we could just convince people it's not all about them...

3 comments:

cadywampus said...

ok the comment on the last post -
"Hi, my name is KT, and I'm a body-and-blood-of-Jesus-addict. Eucharistaholic." - can we have a group wher we introduce ourselves like THAT!
I too groan at the like of enthusiasim over the Great Feast - but don't give up! It has changed your life, changed my life and if we keep moaning it will change the lives of others!
I agree that one of the reasons that it is not being practiced is that we are too stuck on ourselves - but that is yet another reason WHY the Eucharist needs to be practiced - the meal reminds us every week that it is about JESUS!! not me!!!!

Pisco Poet said...

I absolutely agree with cadywampus here, and with many others who commented on the last post. I was brought up thinkikng that Eucharist weekly is one of the major things that makes Episcopalians and that Eucharistic prayer is definitely something I'd take to a desert island with me.

Which, in a way, I do.

Eucharist is dicey in Episcopal schools. That to me is the very forefront of the welcoming the stranger/unchurched issue (okay, I'm biased.) I am bracing for the fallout when we have a Eucharist at Easter for the young kids--the one of the year!

It makes sense to me that Eucharist is hard, and brings up tough stuff for folks. Like you said, ritual is triggering because it is powerful. And yes, we postmoderns need to stop being afraid. Ritual is made to be powerful. I think it's that very thing that folks of the postmodern age are clammoring for. If it makes you uncomfortable, that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Jolene said...

"3. By taking Eucharist, the person is really signing on to what we are doing in the church. They can sit back and take in songs and a sermon as spectators (although at Thad's we don't want that, we want participation), but once they are asked to do something theological, they are affirming our beliefs."

Maybe the question is about what theology. For years, my understanding of Eucharist was sharing a common meal, period. My past church experiences wouldn't let me entertain any other ideas. Common meal was the approach that got me there and let God work on me. Early on, I could take or leave weekly Eucharist; not any more.

PS - It's been interesting following the development of Thad's!