Monday, November 17, 2008
What's on tap? Religion - The Boston Globe
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It's pretty funny to read a perspective from an outside person - especially when it's for a newspaper. But of course, like with any perspective, it's always an opportunity for self-reflection...
First of all, the idea of pub church did start at The Crossroads, but several years back, not last year. And it took a while, more than a year, before anything really got going. Then those who were interested in the pub church began to meet as a "core group" to reflect on the form, vision and structure of pub church last fall 2007.
Now, one of the things that has always been important for me as a practice of openness to the Spirit, and which we practice at pub church, is silence. Silence is important in order to allow space for thought, clarity, and listening to the Divine. So it was kinda funny to read the reporter's interpretation of it as "awkward silence" that resulted from an absence of rote ritual...for whom was it awkward, really? ;)
Also, Bryan Stone commented that "Everyone contributes to the truth rather than relying on something handed down by an authority." There is so much to think about regarding this statement and what/who "authority" is. This makes it seem as if there is a complete rejection of "authority" by those at pub church - but perhaps it is not authority in and of itself which is in question, but how authority is defined and understood. At The Pub Church, there is definitely an openness to Spirit/God/Goddess (whichever name one uses for the Divine), this openness in itself reflects an understanding of the Divine as "source," as "authority."
But we also recognize and have experienced a world that misuses "divine authority" to justify oppression and domination, abuse and violence, by people and institution who claim to have "rights" (and be "right"), and the truth, under this authority; it's a hierarchical understanding of authority. So yes, if this is authority, then I'm pretty sure anyone who participates in pub church altogether rejects this kind of authority.
So how do we come to know truth if it is not "handed down" to us from a hierarchical authority? First of all, very tentatively, or, I may say, with humility. To claim to have "the" truth is a very dangerous business. But we also start with an affirmation of the Divine in us all. That God made herself flesh, that God let herself be known, embodied, and experienced in the flesh and body of a little baby - a baby who grew up to share a new and divine way of life with a community of people - is a shattering of all separation between the Divine and the human. The Divine does not reveal herself from "above," from an authority to which we have no connection. She reveals her truth in the flesh, in the beautiful and messy lives of humanity (and the universe). God makes herself be know among us, with us, and in us. And that's where we look for her. In the small incarnations that occur among us.
The article also raises the question of identity (something I'm always asked about in regards to TPC), but I will deal with that later. For now, one more thing...
At the end of the article the reporter asked me, What is a Church? I wish I would have added more to my answer; I say "From a Christian perspective, church is the people who respond to God's good news."
I would at least say, "From a Christian perspective, the church is the people who respond to God's good news that there is a new divine way of living and relating in the world, thus, the church is the people who communally act to embody this divine new way."
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Prayer by Annie Besant
O Hidden Life vibrant in every atom;
O Hidden Light! Shining in every creature;
O Hidden Love! Embracing all in Oneness;
May each who feel ourselves as one with You,
Know we are also one with every other.
SEASON OF THANKSGIVING
“The Ordinary Realm of the Divine”
Liturgy taken from Worship in the Spirit of Jesus: Theology, Liturgy, and Songs without Violence (p. 124-129)
Talking about small incarnations last week, and in preparation for the Thanksgiving celebration coming up in three weeks, I wanted to do a liturgy of the ordinary…
Jesus’ disciples came to know him as the one who would bring about something new – something Divine – something that would “right” the world…but they expected it to come as a mighty victory, instead, Jesus said it would be quite different, it would be commonplace, it would occur in small incarnations, and that in fact, it was already present.
So today we’re going to try a simple ritual; a liturgy that brings our focus to the present moment in search of recognizing the Divine in the ordinary.
It’s interactive, so those of you who don’t mind, will you read the bold parts…
* Liturgy that followed is from Worship in the Spirit of Jesus: Theology, Liturgy and Songs Without Violence, pg. 124-128
Music by Maggie Keelan
Welcome to The Pub Church! We are a church in a pub and the Spirit is with us. In this space you are free to move about, order drinks/food, doodle, and express your ideas openly!
We come together with diversity of thoughts, stories, talents, hopes and hurts. Our prayer is that in coming together with all our differences and with Spirit, we participate toward a new divine reality. This is sacred space.
Divine presence within and all around us, lure us out, so that the best of ourselves, the divine that is within us, can sing out loud!
PEACE – TOAST
Followed with music by Maggie
In this place we creatively express;
Some of us are focused, some are a mess!
We participate during the sermon
And people do connect, we are learnin’
Greet all with a handshake, toast or a wave
At all times feel free to yell, rant or rave
Fake not friends, we can arrive as we are.
Cheers! Here’s to sacred space in a bar!
TELLING OUR STORY
Coming Out – to Hope!
One Voice, One Small Incarnation
A Reading from Bryan Stone’s Evangelism After Christendom, quoting Gerhard Lohfink, (73).
“God, like all revolutionaries, desires the overturning, the radical alteration of the whole society – for in this the revolutionaries are right: what is at stake is the whole world, and the change must be radical, for the misery of the world cries to heaven and it begins deep within the human heart. But how can anyone change the world and society at its roots without taking away freedom?”
- What do we think of the “one small voice” of which Obama speaks?
- What do we think of the small single place that incarnates a new Divine way?
- Are revolutions possible or even desirable?
COMMUNION AND SHARING OF RESOURCES
Led by Xochitl
Followed by one small song
FEEDBACK AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Updates on thepubchurch.blogspot.com
Followed with music by Maggie
Radiant Source of Life,
You Are Who You Are and we have been created in your Divine image, alike, yet diverse. Birthed in your image, we are born into possibility, each of us a mystery ever unfolding. Help us to honor the rich complexities of who we are; that we may know ourselves and others to be bearers of creativity and participants in Divinity, who together enact a make a small voice of change.
Let us go forth then knowing our place, answering the call, and living in Spirit.
*Inspired by Transgendering Faith, (p. 129-130)