Chez Songbird, Religion, Whimsy

Summer Faith

"Summer Faithful…

Summer Not"

So read the sign in front of the Evangelical Covenant Church we passed on our way home from a voice lesson for Light Princess this morning. It got us talking, in an irreverent way, about faith, and then we arrived home to spot two young men, clearly missionaries, standing at a neighbor's front door.

I must say, the Mormons tend to come here only in the summer, which is curious. Don't they go other places the year round? Perhaps a summer evangelism mission in Vacationland is a reward for good behavior.

I knew Pure Luck would be excited to hear they were on our street; indeed, he had already spotted them and was waiting somewhat gleefully, just this side of rubbing his hands together in anticipation. I'm not sure who he enjoys more, the Mormons or the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Please understand, he does not object to the idea that others believe things he does not. *I* believe lots of things he doesn't, and that is no problem for either of us. He just doesn't approve of taking the message door to door. After all, he doesn't do it.

Also? He really, really enjoys reasoning with people about, oh, almost anything, particularly things he finds unreasonable.

I don't enjoy it. When home alone, I politely explain that I am ordained United Church of Christ minister and have a faith life already. That usually causes jaws to drop and I pleasantly say good-bye and close the door. When Pure Luck is home, however, I leave him the field, and so it was today. I withdrew. A few minutes went by as the young men proceeded to the dead end and made their way back toward our house.

Then I heard him say, "What the heck? They went by!!" He went out the front door and stood amazed, watching them recede into the distance.

He came back in and I said, "They must have marked you down in their book."

He nodded. "It's pretty bad," he said, "when even the Mormons won't evangelize you."

Summer not.


God’s Plan?

Sam Stoltzfus, 63, an Amish woodworker who lives a few miles away from
the shooting scene, said his grandchildren were full of questions when
they came home from another Amish school.

"They were terrified," said Stoltzfus, whose son took the
grandchildren to school Tuesday morning so they wouldn’t have to walk
by themselves. "They wanted to know: What was wrong with him? Why was
he doing that?"

Stoltzfus said the victims’ families will be sustained by their faith.

"We think it was God’s plan and we’re going to have to pick up
the pieces and keep going," he said. "A funeral to us is a much more
important thing than the day of birth because we believe in the
hereafter. The children are better off than their survivors." 
(From Yahoo News, with my emphasis.)

It gets worse. As if the tie-wraps and eye-bolts and lubricants weren’t enough, God is taking the wrap for the heinous crimes committed yesterday in Amish country.

I find this makes me sick to my stomach, and yet I know that the very theology that makes me sick is giving comfort to others.

I reject that limited view of God. It is an act of faith to say that I believe God to be more than a Dictator who swings from Malevolent to Benevolent in order to teach the residents of this Ant Colony called Earth a lesson. And here’s why. Everything I read about Jesus, even some of the things that make me uncomfortable, tell me that Jesus cared most about those who were helpless, marginalized, old or young, hungry or hopeless. When he said, "Let the children come to me," it was an invitation to his arms, not to untimely death. Because no matter how we may wish to romanticize heaven, the deaths yesterday and those that have followed are untimely, not meant for the time and place in which they occured.

Do not tell me that the deaths of little girls happened because God had a plan.  It is not true. I do not believe it.


A Quick Note

I’m thinking over the piece in Salon today about Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Have you read it? Want to talk about it?

Some of you will remember that I wrote a couple of posts about Emergent/Emerging Church. In the article Mars Hill is described with one of those words. I want to know how rolling back women’s autonomy can be emerging?

I realize that every article contains its author’s slant, so I am looking for reader feedback and experience here. I don’t want to lead dull worship, and there are certainly people with tattoos in my church, people who ride Harleys in their 50’s, people who dress up because they like to and others who don’t because it would never occur to them. I try to give an interesting sermon. There is almost always humor. They laugh and they cry.

They don’t swallow the Bible whole, unquestioningly. They live in the real world, the world where some people don’t get married because they don’t meet the "right" person and some people don’t get married because they can’t marry the "right" person. They live in the real world, where one income is rarely enough to pay for the oil in the furnace when it costs more than $2.25 a gallon. The come as they are, and I share a message that God loves them that way. The hard work of being a disciple is not turning your back on the world by creating a community of safety, surrounded by others abiding by the same rules to which you cling. The hard work of being a disciple is walking out there in the world of danger and being the person Jesus calls you to be anyway.

Talk to me, friends, especially women who are involved in Emergent. I am still trying to understand.