I’m trying to get back to writing a weekly post, and I’m in a strange spot these days. I have comments on a few things, so I think I’ll just make a random thought post right now, and if I think of anything more interesting later in the week, I’ll write that, too.
Art, Liturgy, and Audience
A TA from one of my classes this spring has been writing about art and liturgy, and it’s making me think about how my call to use art in ministry will pan out. One thing that keeps sticking in the back of my mind is challenging the audience. I think that it is a minister’s job is to challenge the people they are ministering to. It seems that in some places there’s a sense of not wanting to make changes because it will make people unhappy or uncomfortable. Or because they think that their congregation wouldn’t be able to “handle it” because it’s something that’s outside of what they know.
While I get the old notion that one must know their audience, I think it’s a serious mistake to think that a congregation/group/church/etc couldn’t handle anything new. And, I think, a serious underestimation of people’s intelligence. Sure, some people might not like, say, a sermon about a piece of art instead of a regular sermon, but even if they didn’t like it, they will still talk about it because it made them think.
Then again, I also think that a minister can’t be too predictable. It’s our job to help people think through the Really Big Questions, and even those answers can be a surprise.
I was talking with a friend earlier tonight about how I feel like I’m a broken record when I talk about progressive Christians with certain people. The question is always “Where are all the progressive Christians? Why aren’t they confronting the Right Wing nutjobs?”
The simple answer: money. If I had billions of dollars, you’d better believe that I’d be supporting progressive Christianity as much as I can. But I don’t have that.
My other answer: I won’t sit there and tell someone that if they just did X, Y, and Z their life will be good and they’ll go to Heaven. I won’t lie to them because the world isn’t simple: it’s not just Good and Evil. There are plenty of shades of grey and sometimes good things don’t come in pretty packages and not all beautiful things are good.
So, the progressive Christians are out there. We’re trying to fight the good fight. My question to the ones who ask where we are is: What are you doing to help us out?
Homophobia is not ok, even from family members.
A couple of weeks ago I posted a picture of Barney Frank and his partner at their wedding. It was a sweet picture, and it got a lot of likes from friends. The exception was my uncle. See, this uncle became one of the types of Fundamentalists that tell people they are going to hell for things on a regular basis. This uncle, and the rest of his family, moved to one of the south eastern states several years ago, and basically haven’t talked much to the rest of the family since (to my knowledge, anyway).
Anyway, he posted the bible verse “Romans 1:24-28”. I kind of figured where this was going, but I looked it up. Sure enough, it’s one of the ones that is used to prove the “sinfulness” of homosexuality. I admit, I was angry, especially considering a) I’m queer, b) I have a wife, c) I was his goddaughter, and d) I’m in freaking seminary. I basically said that he could take his homophobia somewhere else. He replied that their problem was with God.
Funny, since I’m queer, I suppose I’m sinful, too, according to my uncle. But last time I checked, I had no problems with my Gods (at least not about this). In fact our relationship is quite fine. I’m pretty sure, however Barney Frank believes, that his relationship with his Higher Power (or lack thereof) is quite fine too.
I suppose that thing that gets me the most is that this is the first time I’ve gotten outright homophobia from a blood family member. It’s just strange to me since the rest of the family don’t seem to have any problems with it. I did unfriend him and my cousin after this. They may be blood family, but homophobia isn’t ok, even from them.
School starts back up in a few weeks, and I’m pretty excited about it. Systematic Theology, Preaching (eep!), New Testament Greek, and Field Education. I’m doing my Field Education at City of Refuge, and I’m really excited about it! The 4M have some really awesome things coming up, too, and the Circle of Cerridwen has some interesting stuff in the works for Pantheacon. Not to mention Mabon and Samhain coming up! Busy fall, as usual.
But really, it’s all worth it!