In the realm of stressful weeks, let’s put this one at the top. One of my prayers this week was “Dear God, I know you are in the Chaos, and that is where you are revealed, but today is going to be hard. Be with each of us. Help us Reveal You to one another.”
Yeah, it was that kind of week. But still, I Watched/Read/Listened, including:
More bingewatching of Grey’s Anatomy, more sportsball.
Grey’s was back with a new episode (yay, Sweeps!) so I watched that live. Very typically for Grey’s, it had moments of levity and fun and then crushing heartbreak that had me sobbing. And honestly, it was kind of cathartic with the stress I’ve been under.
Scandal was bananas, as Scandal can be.
I finished The Sparrow. What a powerful, amazing, remarkable book. I’ll admit in the middle I was feeling a little impatient with it, but I think it might have been because of the aforementioned Stress. As I neared the end, I was delighted by the little twists. I hope if you haven’t read it, you will.
I often describe my vocation with a line from Firefly – “Just a shepherd spreading religiousity to the fuzzy-wuzzies.” Now I’ve added another line: “stockbroker specializing in undervalued companies”.
You’ll just have to read the book.
Next up on my reading list “The Road to Little Dribbling” by Bill Bryson.
Podcasts – Make Me Smart, Pod Save America and Pod Save The World.
And music. Specifically, bluegrass.
I’ve always appreciated bluegrass, though I’ve never been an avid listener. On Monday at work I needed to block out some noise and concentrate, so I pulled up Spotify and on a whim started listening to some Railroad Earth. Railroad Earth is a favored band among a few of my friends, so I started there, with radio based on RRE. And then I heard this song:
It stopped me. What was an Infamous Stringduster? What type of sorcery was this? I moved over to their latest album, listened to that through, and then started a radio based on them.
I’ve listened to “Gravity” about 20x since Monday.
Maybe it’s my state of mind, maybe because in the chaos, something a little new is welcome to my soul.
I’ll tell you this – the idea of music festivals fills me with dread, even though I have good friends who have invited me and would take good care of me.
The Infamous Stringdusters are so good, I might have to rethink my anti-festival stance.
Maybe. Give me a little time.
OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS
Last week I told you about the Missional Voices Gathering I watched on livestream and promised a separate blogpost about. I promise, that’s still coming, but I’m going to wait until the videos are posted so I can reference them directly.
It’s been a good week or two of stumbling on to things on Twitter that are amazing. Last Sunday night I saw a tweet from @LuthDecolonized about a webinar Decolonize Lutheranism co-founder Lenny Duncan was participating in. It was called Whose Faith Is It Anyway? Confronting White Supremacy in Faith Institutions. It was sponsored by Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism.
It. Was. So. Good.
One takeaway I got from it – besides an immediate desire to be in the presence of these remarkable individuals and break bread with them – was that it seems that whenever a group says “this doesn’t speak to my experience of the Divine, and I’d like to talk about it” the dominant group responds with “you must be mistaken. This matches my experience. So it must be right. And it worked for generations, so why change it now?” Basically, shut up.
But if you probe for a story or explanation as to why a belief or ritual has significant meaning, it’s difficult to get people to articulate it.
We need to do better with this. I want to hear the stories about why that hymn, why that prayer, why that chant means something to you. Was it a funeral? A first communion? What do you think about when you hear it? Why does it bother you that someone wants to change the way you pray or sing?
Equally, I want to hear why that prayer or ritual makes you cringe. Why it breaks your heart. Why it’s difficult for you to hear it. I want to hear about what brings a balm to your soul
And I want us to share those stories and hear them and honor them, and create space to explore the changes. To create new & meaningful rituals together. To see where we might see and recognize God in our midst as the disciples in Emmaus suddenly realized Jesus was right there with them. The disciples in Emmaus weren’t expecting Jesus, and yet, there Jesus was – breaking the bread and sharing it. Let’s do that. Let’s walk along the road together, share our news, break bread with one another and find the Divine there.
The whole conversation was filled with remarkable wisdom and inspiration. I’m so glad I was able to watch it.
See you next week 🙂