Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I hate to complain, but...

Yeah, I hate to be the one who's always bitching. Actually, that's not true - if you've read the blog for any length of time you know I love bitching. Especially about chapel. And you know what day it is? Wednesday! That means I get to bitch! Hooray!

Seriously, I've got the nastiest cramps. I think the life of grad student (read: sitting in position that cramps uterus all day) is not well-suited to we women folk.

On a happy note, I met Jerry Levin today, who was a CNN reporter taken hostage for some time in the 80's. His wife Sis freed him by going on the Today show and basically telling the world how Reagan was lying about the Iran Contra scandal. Or some such. It was quite amazing to be in their presence. I got to have lunch with them and everything. Sis is doing this great work with Palestinian schoolchildren, training their teachers to make them peacemakers, but her home diocese (she's Episcopalian based in Birmingham) is cutting her funding because one vestry member finds her husband's work "divisive" and too political.

Jerry works for a group called Christian Peacemaker Teams, or CPT. Their site is, and it's awesome. I just may have found my way to serve. They seem to really want help, and talk about being in your needy parts of the world!

Anyway, that's the good from today. One other thing I keep forgetting to say is about this assignment we got in the Death class. To help us think through disenfranchised grieving, and moral ambiguities, and pastoral counseling, and theological issues, we are presented with a case study in which parents of a gay man who's died of AIDS (such a cliche) want to funeral and bury him at church and a churchmember is raising a ruckus. That's the gist of it at least. And I'm thinking, I would never work in a church where that could happen! I mean, people can disagree, but I'm past being able to tolerate people actually presenting a homophobic viewpoint as anywhere close to legitimate. There, I have said it. I'm completely over the issue and the rest of you can just catch up with me when you're ready.

So all of that was just another reminder that OK, I'm really not at Episcopal seminary, I'm really not like anybody else here. I'm the odd woman out. And it's going to be fine - the prof is letting me reframe the assignment to something a bit more likely to actually happen in my context. Otherwise I'd just be role-playing and it wouldn't be all that useful to me.

Whoa! My vigil starts in 10 minutes. I have to go. Tonight is a nationwide vigil to commemorate the 2,000th death in Iraq. Of a US person that is. I think the Iraqi death toll is somewhere around 100,000 by now, mostly civilians of course. We're going to read names of soldiers and those forgotten Iraqis. Should be good.

So I've gotten to the end and not even complained about chapel yet. I'll just cut-and-paste what I sent to my friend who helps put them together (context: it was AME chapel, pretty much, lots o'gospel. God, I really hope this doesn't make me look like a racist - that is completely not my intent. I would feel the same way about a white preacher making the same sermon, really.):

Wow. Talk about the ultimate triumph of style over substance. Can I get an amEN?!

Did he actually say anything? Oh, who cares? We are PUMPED UP!! Wow! We feel great! We are laughing and happy and super-duper excited.

But there's this nagging voice in my head, asking me why I'd go to a seminary chapel to hear a children's church sermon. Okay, MAYBE youth retreat...

Whoa - did I say that? Did he say anything? But gee, we had fun, didn't we?

And seriously, you cannot ever say that chapel doesn't kowtow to one style of worship - doesn't become one kind of church. Whew, doggie. That was definitely purely from one distinct strain of Christendom. I expect to see some opportunity for the rest of us to shine in the future.

Why is that strain allowed to impose iteself on us? Why is it allowed to be the "cool" kind of worship, the kind that we're all naturally supposed to be able to get into?

I hate being yelled at - being ordered to give an Amen. Especially to something empty.

At a school full of budding preachers, surely we can be exposed to better examples. Surely that sermon would not get an "A" in preaching class. Or at least, the content wouldn't. Man, I want to hear what a preaching teacher would say about it. Or a preaching student, for that matter.

The man didn't say anything!!! I realized halfway through - I was with him until he gets to his third and final point and I'm like...wait just a damn minute. This man hasn't said one thing.

Anyway, we're pumped up. And we're looking to Jesus (wherever that is - I guess we're supposed to stare up at the sky?).

I mean I'm not down on the guy - he's very entertaining. But that is all I can say about him. He's very entertaining. That's all I can say. Usually that is not a compliment in relation to worship.

Also, can you please push for us to stand up for the scripture reading? Why do we stand for everything but that? I need to stand when I hear God's word. It would be nice.

OK, that's all my vitriol for today. Hope you enjoyed it.

1 comment:

Christine Bakke said...

a-MEN! (or, as one woman was told to say in my Bible college, a-MAN!)

Not sure how I got to your blog, but I'm glad I did! Can I get an Amen?