I really, truly heard it for the first time: “I’m not missing something,” she said. “I don’t want you to see me as lacking. I’m perfectly fine without religion.” For some reason, I finally heard this loud and clear at a panel discussion last Friday night at the New England Synod of the ELCA (video forthcoming: http://www.nesynod.org Mad props for attempting to live stream it!)
The professional religious world has been talking a TON about “Religious nones” since the Pew study came out in October 2012 that documented one in five Americans has no religious affiliation and one in three under 30. We’ve been talking a ton. I’m not sure we’ve been listening to “religious nones” as much as we’ve been talking about “religious nones.”
I found myself in the embrace of a near-stranger who was overwhelmed with joy just because inconsequential, strange, and silly little me had lived to see another day. I surrendered to her startling affection and took part in the impromptu celebration of my own beating heart.
|—||Anne Marie Miller, “The Unexpected Face of Mercy”|
|—||Sherry Garland, from The Silent Storm (thank you, laurbear90)|
I hold things.
As a priest, I think that’s often my most important job. Holding things doesn’t come with detailed instructions or reflective books we can read and discuss in small groups. We humans come into the world knowing we need to hold things and learning how to hold things. It’s not brain surgery. It’s simply holding things.
About 20 years ago a new technological advance – the computer controlled projection screen – entered America’s sanctuaries. Suddenly churches could project song lyrics for all to see. Hymnals became obsolete. No longer were Christians limited to 1,000 songs handed down by our elders.
At first, churches simply projected the songs everyone knew – hymns and a few simple praise songs that had come out of the Jesus Movement. People sang robustly.
But that began to change about ten years ago. Worship leaders realized they could project anything on that screen. So they brought in new songs each week. They drew from the radio, the Internet, and Worship conferences. Some began composing their own songs, performing them during worship, and selling them on CD after church.
In short order we went from 250 songs everyone knows to 250,000+ songs nobody knows.
And so the church has returned to the 14th century. Worshippers stand mute as professional-caliber musicians play complex instruments, sung in an obscure language. Martin Luther is turning over in his grave.
- David Murrow, “Why men have stopped singing in church”
Hey, you know that quote about asking yourself “Am I gay?” and all the questions inherent in it?
Yes, you do. This is Tumblr. If you haven’t seen it by now, you may be doing this wrong.
The quote is thus:
Because here’s the thing about realizing you’re into girls. Hardly anyone I know has ever said, “Am I gay?” in the same way they say, “Hey, do you know what the weather’s supposed to be like tomorrow?” Like they just need to figure out how to dress for the occasion. No, when most people ask, “Am I gay?” they ask it with the kind of urgency they would usually reserve for things like, “Do I strap this parachute to my back and jump from this free falling airplane or do I nose dive into the ocean and hope the sharks don’t eat my remains? SINK OR SWIM? LIVE OR DIE? QUENCH THE FIRE OR BURN ALIVE?” It feels so urgent, and the reason it feels so urgent is because you’re probably not just asking, “Hey, do I want to make out with other girls?”
You’re also probably asking: What the hell are my parents going to say when I tell them I want to kiss other girls? And my friends and my co-workers and my classmates and everyone at my family reunion? And what’s that girl going to say when I tell her I want to kiss her? And how is my life ever going to be OK, and how can I go on being the same, and am I the same, and what else do I not know about what’s alive inside me? And who will still love me and who will start hating me, and is God involved, or the government maybe, and what if it’s only one girl I want to kiss, and how do I label myself and must I label myself, and what if I change my mind and, really, what if do burn alive?
It crossed my feed again last week, and I thought, “Who wrote that and what’s it from and is the rest of the post as good?”
Answers: Heather Hogan; a 2011 AfterEllen recap of a German TV show somewhat similar to Glee called “Hand auf Hertz”; and YES.
Love and fear — real love and real fear — are about as deeply honest as you can go, and when storytellers commit to that universal truth, it resonates across sexual stereotypes and gender binaries and historical prejudices and language barriers and borders and oceans and space and time.
Maybe when my husband and I get old, memories of his life with Robin will become even more vivid than our years together. If so, I hope I’ll welcome those memories. I’m grateful to Robin, not jealous (even if she left it to me to convince our joint husband that the laundry hamper was invented for a reason). I knew my husband for only four months before we got married. But I heard from others how protective, tender, and devoted he was to her. Because of their relationship, I knew that this was a man who could be trusted, who stayed, for better or worse. I also knew that it’s possible to have more than one love of your life. I am the love of his, and so was she.