the advent of AdventOne of the oddest things about preaching regularly is that you are on the one hand trying to pay attention to what is going on around you, in order to ask what on earth the Good News is in any given week, while at the same time, thinking about the lectionary for the week ahead. It's most strange at the holidays, when the stores are raging full of Thanksgiving preparations and I'm thinking about Advent, the cliche Christmas/Advent divide between the secular and religious world, not to mention contemplating the Passion while surrouded by Cadbury eggs and fluffy Hallmark bunnies. It does exemplify the challenge of being in one's culture while not being of it.
Meanwhile, I'm paying close attention to what is being said about the basketbrawl in Detroit on Friday night. Does anyone notice that very little, if anything, is being raised about how our overprivileged society overreacts at the slightest provocation. How uplifting, that having paid enough money for a ticket/parking/hot dog and beer that would feed God knows how many Third World children for a month, or being paid more money than anyone probably should be, makes us not more comfortable in our own skins, but apparently less. I watch the tape and the discussion with Terri Parsons' words at our recent Diocesan Convention about sacrificial living--ironically,she was preaching about the same time on Friday evening as that fight was going on--and I wonder if all of our money and stuff and entertainment does not isolate us more and more from the experience of being human and connected to each other--and so it is too easy to react to a foul with a punch, to react to the heat of the moment by the violent act of throwing overpriced beer (again, think of how much money each of those cups would be worth), to react to having a beer thrown on you as if your house was being set on fire. Then I hear someone say that Ron Artest's action of going into the stand is "unforgivable." Deplorable, surely, serious, deserving of consequences in this world, but soul-damning?
We have become to used to violence in our world, to violence on television, to the violence of our words "I'm going to kill him"--even not understanding that to say someone's actions are "unforgivable." So is it any surprise that we are doing violent actions to each other in the church--scattering the flock, withdrawing ourselves, condemning each other, stealing property and orders and authority. Sex is not the problem,it is the unchecked violence of a society that has so much it cannot find a posture of humility and gratitude.
End of soapbox. I am grateful, for husband and family, for the furry creatures who allow us to share their space with them, for being in the Diocese of MO, for what I have been given. For friends. For the resources I have and which I squander like anyone else.
There's probably a sermon in there somewhere :)