The Quixotic Pastor

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Good Five For Good Friday

Revgalblogpal RevHrod brings us a timely and thoughtful Friday Five today:

As a child the designation "good" for today confused me. How could we call such a somber day, good? Holy, yes. Blessed, yes. But, good? As an adult I understand the meaning of good for this day. It is a solemn day of remembrance but it is also a time for us to stop and recall the great gift of love that we received this day. And that is most certainly good. Our worship today will differ from place to place. Some services will focus on the great litany of prayers. Others will use the seven last words of Jesus. Some of us will walk the stations of the cross. Others will participate in a Tennebrae service of shadows and light. I hope that this Friday Five will be a meaningful part of your Good Friday. God's blessings to you on your journey.

Our prayer concerns are as varied as we are this day. For whom would you like us to pray?
Pray for individuals and communities who are struggling to be and do church authentically. Pray for a world that seems on the brink of entering another Dark Age.

Are there things you have done or will do today to help the young ones understand this important day in our lives? Not too many young ones around me, unfortunately. But I think I might try to explain that Jesus loved God and loved us so much he was willing to embrace the scariest thing in the whole wide world ...

Music plays an important part in sharing the story of this day. Is there a hymn or piece of music that you have found particularly meaningful to your celebrations of Good Friday? I always listen to a requiem mass on this day, usually Rutter or Faure, but perhaps I will find something different this year.

As you hear the passion narrative, is there a character that you particularly resonate with?
This year, I've been sort of fascinated by Barabbas --if there is a Patron Saint of Survivor Guilt, it might be him. I know what it is like to be a part of a community that is often dehumanized as a political pawn --Barabbas was something of a political pawn. One wonders if Barabbas realized the entirety of the significance of Jesus' life being exchanged for his and if he ever figured it out and how his life might have been changed ... or did he just enjoy getting off "scot free." I know there's a book and a movie or two exploring that question --maybe I will have time to read again some day?

Pilate and his wife fascinate me too --Dorothy Sayers, in the radio play she wrote for the BBC back in the early part of last century, available in book form as "The Man Who Would Be King" says that the dream that Pilate's wife had was the hearing of millions of voices across time and space, reciting over and over again, "was crucified under Pontius Pilate." The "pontius pilate solution," his attempt to wash his hands of responsibility for the event of Jesus' death, failed miserably.

I'm Barabbas when I am tempted by cheap grace; I'm Pilate when I evade the responsibilities of leadership and the doing of justice for those who are victimized by power.

I'm also Pilate when I am scared to death to do the right and just thing or give in to that which is expedient instead of that which is just ...

I wish I could be more like Veronica and Simon of Cyrene --see someone suffering, do something simple to ease, comfort and help out, freely or under compulsion.

Where have you seen the gracious God of love at work lately? In my tiny little faith community ... in the love of my partner ... in the online communities of which I am a part.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Passion Narrative

Well, as I shared with a commenter on the previous post, my dvd of these two videos I put together for last Sunday wouldn't play on the church's DVD player ... but at least I can share them with you all.

Maybe the passion narrative will help some of your thoughts around Good Friday.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

RDQ Produces A Video --Of Sorts

I think I just graduated into journeywoman geekdom.

I wanted to do something kind of different with Palm/Passion Sunday this year, so I started fooling around with the Windows Media software on the church's new PC.

So here's a video of the palms reading for tomorrow, complete with images ...

Unfortunately, I'm the narrator, so my Texas twang does emerge in a few places. I wanted to use the audio from Bible Gateway, but I think it was copyrighted so I couldn't.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Palms Friday Five

Mother Laura shares this Friday Five with the Revgalblogpals: Can you believe Daylight Savings Time is here already? It's hard to get used to the new, earlier onset. My family has been getting up and out a little late and a little sleepy in the mornings.

And can you believe that in two days it will be Palm Sunday for Western Christians? Our Lent is almost over, while our Orthodox sisters and brothers, whose liturgical year follows the older Julian calendar, are just starting theirs. Nicholas did a recent book report on George Washington, and we were surprised to find out that our first President's birthday was originally Feb. 11, since he was born just before the change to the Gregorian calendar. Apparently the change almost caused rioting, as some indignant people were sure that they were being cheated out of eleven days of their lives!

To help you adjust--and enjoy the process--here's a Friday Five about time and transitions....

1. If you could travel to any historical time period, which would it be, and why?
Probably colonial US, so I could get some answers for the questions and solve some of the mysteries my genealogical research has produced.

2. What futuristic/science fiction development would you most like to see?
The replicator from Star Trek, the Next Generation. It would probably cost a fortune. On the other hand, once it was procured, would one ever have to work for money again?

3. Which do you enjoy more: remembering the past, or dreaming for the future? Dreaming for the future

4. What do you find most memorable about this year's Lent?
Um ... lent? Oh, oh, yeah ... we are in Lent, aren't we? I think I had Lent during Advent this liturgical year.

5. How will you spend your time during this upcoming Holy Week? What part do you look forward to most?
Doing more of the same, I expect. We don't do any special holy week services with my tiny little congregation. There's a community-wide Good Friday service that I may attend since I have the day off from my secular job. Several of our area choirs and orchestras are performing requiems during the week --I may attend one or two of those.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Corporate America, End of Week Three

So far, so good. DH and are are enjoying a certain measure of relief at my having a regular paycheck again, especially one in which I net about $50 a week more than what my gross pay was at Former Church ... although I am working more hours to produce it. But the hours I am working are less stressful --and frankly, what I am doing is, for some strange reason that I have yet to totally fathom, oddly energizing to me. OTOH, maybe that's the coming Spring, who knows?

It has been a pleasant change of pace to live in the analytical part of my head, to solve problems having to do more directly with data than with people. It is restful to quite a degree actually. I described this sojourn as a temporary employee, this "ministerial" pause, to a friend on facebook as being a "money-making" sabbatical as opposed to a "study-rest" sabbatical. She understood exactly what I meant, commenting that one way in which activists tend to be different from others is that activists often take sabbaticals from their usual routine to make money and do other forms of necessary self-care.

I notice, looking back at my previous Corporate America post, that I mentioned the issue of coming out as a pastor, and whether I had decided to do that or not. There are several reasons why that is an issue.

Mainly, I don't want "reverent power" to become a difficulty in my work relationships. I don't want people to assume that, because I am a pastor, I'm like the pastors they know now or the pastors they grew up with ... because, in the neck of the woods where I am working, I guarantee you that I don't resemble the usual pastor at all. It is for me similar to what Prince Harry expressed about his military service in Afganistan, and how much he enjoyed --for once in his life-- being like and being treated like everyone else. I don't want people feeling like they have to apologize to me when certain words escape their lips, nor do I want them horrified when those very same words escape mine. I don't want to risk having these people dehumanize/pedestalize me in some of the ways they possibly dehumanize/pedestalize their own pastors --and if you're a clergy person or a lay person in the know reading this, you understand exactly what I am talking about.

Of course, coming out as a pastor for me is inextricably tied into coming out as a lesbian too [which I did with the other temp the other day. No problem.]
The next question after I tell people I'm clergy is always "what denomination?"
"What's that? I've never heard of it."
"It's a Christian denomination founded to enable LGBT people to participate fully in the life of the Church Universal."
"It's a GAY church???" [Eyebrows at this point usually journey to the top of the forehead, rising at the same rate as the tone of voice.]
"No it's a Christian church that ministers primarily to LGBT folks."
"Are you GAY?"
"Yes, but I prefer to refer to myself as lesbian or queer ... or even delightfully bent." [smile]
"But you're a Christian ..."
"How can you be Christian and gay ...?"
And there goes my lunch hour --which is actually only 45 minutes, so we can leave early on Friday. Or my 15 minute break. With lots of unanswered questions for everyone involved. And very often, no opportunity to answer them again.

It is amazing how, when strangers hear those two things about me, that I'm a pastor and a lesbian, they suddenly begin making really weird assumptions about who I am that fall usually very wide from the mark. [Maybe it is some bizarre variation on the "madonna/whore" syndrome? But I digress ...]

Of course --and I do realize this-- because of the locale in which I am working as well as past experiences with other people in other places, I am making some possibly baseless assumptions about who my co-workers are that may also fall very wide from the mark.

However, because my status is unprotected by both the temp agency and the company's employment discrimination policy, I may not be able to AFFORD finding out whether my assumptions about them are baseless or not. DH and I really need this paycheck right now. If someone refuses to work with me because I'm lesbian, I don't really have a legal leg to stand on --and that sucks!

But if someone asks me, yes, I will tell them --because I will not lie. And maybe some assumptions will be disproven. I just hope telling the truth doesn't cost me my job. Like it has for so many others in my community ... especially in this state.