Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Five from RevGalBlogPals

Please tell us your least favorite/most annoying seasonal....
1) dessert/cookie/family food
I love all desserts. I can't think of a single Christmas food I don't like. The fact that I can't seem to lose weight probably derives from that fact.

2) beverage (seasonal beer, eggnog w/ way too much egg and not enough nog, etc...)
I have never really gotten into eggnog. I don't dislike it; I just don't like it.

3) tradition (church, family, other)
Waiting until Christmas day to open presents. When I was a kid, I'd find my parents hiding places for the presents, then carefully open mine. My mom figured this out one year and really gave me heck. She was so angry. I'm not sure why.

4) decoration
I love Christmas decorations, even the tacky blow-up kind. I love the lights in the dark of night.

5) gift (received or given)
If I were my mother, I'm sure it would be the Evening in Paris perfume I gave her every year. I smelled it at some point when I had grown up and couldn't imagine what I was thinking.

I hate Christmas. This year we are having a session retreat the last weekend of the year. That means I get no Christmas. On the 20th, I'm having an open house for the congregation. The 23rd is thankfully a Christmas Cantata and I am not preaching. But we have a Christmas Eve service. Then I get to plan for the retreat. I never get to be with my family. I never get to have a Christmas turkey. I can't wait until I retire and I can love Christmas again.

Religious Jewelry

Not jewelry that prays regularly but jewelry that proclaims your religious convictions.

The postal worker shoved my mail through the mail slot and it hit the floor with a heavy thud. Ah, I thought, Christmas catalogs. I received several that I haven't seen in the last eight years, not since I wandered off to seminary. (How could it possibly have been so long ago?) I was flipping through Wireless and Signals (catalogs supporting public radio and public television) and saw a number of bracelets sporting religious phrases or scriptural references.

Certainly before I went to seminary, bracelets like these would have been seen only in "Christian" bookstore catalogs beside the Precious Moments figurines.

I don't wear religious jewelry. I had a silver triqueta which I bought in Ireland that I wore for a while until the chain broke. Part of the reason that I don't wear religious jewelry is my WASP upbringing that frowned on such displays as "lower class" (hate to admit this). Another reason is something I heard from a friend after she put a fish symbol on her car: "Now I have to be really careful how I drive." Somehow wearing religious jewelry bears the risk that I will be held to a standard of behavior higher than I am capable of. In other words, I don't want to give Christians a bad name. (I have said more than once that being a Christian doesn't mean that you have to let people take unfair advantage of you. Or Christians can have boundaries.)

So, I wonder why people wear jewelry with Bible verses on it. The only one that caught my fancy was one in Hebrew with the shema written on it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Advent Musings

I visited Pompeii over Thanksgiving. This plaster cast rent my heart.

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It seems to say so much about death.

An article in a recent issue of The Christian Century (I haven't finished the article yet) links music with theology. The article is titled "Sound Theology".
(The article is not available on the website and the link will work only for the current issue, so when the next issue is published, it will show the latest issue.)

The paragraph that caught my eye was one which talks about the microhopes (small blessings) that foreshadow or lead to the great hope of God's covenant with Israel. I like the idea of small blessings as signs of the larger blessing. As I think about my Advent sermons, I may use this metaphor. I believe the kingdom is among us, but also not yet. Small blessings are signs that the kingdom is here, but not yet.