Friday, April 25, 2008

Community Stimulus Package

Our Mission Comm. just presented an idea to our Session that I think could work just about everywhere. We are going to encourage our members to donate a portion (they decide what portion) of their coming economic stimulus tax rebate to local hunger fighting agencies. Without passing judgement on whether we think the economic stimulus package is a good idea or not, we are affirming that a healthy economy depends on healthy communities where the most economically vulnerable are noticed and cared for with compassion. One of the committee members came up with the idea of calling this our "Communitiy Stimulus Package."

I think it would be great if faith communities across the political and theological spectrums could take this up as a way to address the crisis of rising food costs.

Have you heard of other groups doing something like this?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hibachi Homiletics

We have trouble finding restaurants our whole family enjoys. This is mostly due to the fact that my son is the Pickiest Eater on the Planet and thus rejects most ethnic food. The rest of us are more adventurous. This past weekend, my husband came up with the idea of going to a Japanese steakhouse, hoping that the "performance" aspect of the meal would overcome our boy's initial resistance to "weird" food.

He was right. The hibachi guy whirled and twirled his knives, created small fire bombs on the grill, and tossed eggs into the air and cracked them spectacularly on the back of the chopping blade. Our son was mesmerized and enthusiastically requested that we make a return visit. However, I privately told my husband that I didn't think the food was very good, despite all the fireworks.

Which makes me think of a temptation in preaching--at least for me. There is always the temptation to make the text do all sorts of clever, flashy things--things that make people ooh and ah at your homiletical dexterity. But there is real danger that in the end, the food isn't really very good. Lord, have mercy.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ready for my Close-up?

Yikes. Long time no post. Something about the convergence of Little League, my spouse's work travel, my daughter's production of The Music Man and a nasty stomach virus that has been moving serially through our family.

Sorry to reappear only to rant but can I just say "Put the damn video cameras away already!!!!"

I pretty much get doing videos at weddings: it's an extension of the long-standing tradition of wedding photography. But lately more and more people have been requesting videos of memorial services. I can sort of understand why the deceased's loved ones find comfort in replaying the service, especially the testimonials by their loved ones' friends and colleagues--but it still seems sort of, well, macabre to me. Maybe I'll discover I feel differently when it is my loved one, but I don't know. Do I wish I had a video of the funerals of my grandparents who died before this was technically possible? I can't say that I do.

And yesterday--we baptized a young man, a high school senior. Seeking baptism at 17 takes some guts and initiative, so the congregation was excited about this. So were his family who turned out by the dozens to attend worship. Just as the Prelude was winding up, his mom waved to me from one of the front pews. She was holding a digital video camera and mouthed the words, "Can we tape the baptism?" There was no time to speak pastorally about the sanctity of worship or the distraction the camera would pose to the congregation. I just firmly shook my head, "NO!" She looked disappointed and stowed the camera under the pew.

I felt a bit badly. She's been through some drama with this son, and she is also very fragile right now due to her mother's diagnosis with cancer. Still--WTF? I'm used to having the "appropriate and inappropriate times for cameras" discussion with brides and grooms--but I guess the time has come when this conversation has to happen with anyone having any kind of significant ceremony in worship.

My Mom says her church handles this by doing "re-poses" of the baptisms after the service is over, like with weddings. Better than having family members crawling around the font with cameras during the actual sacrament, I guess.

What do you all do?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Do you know the way to San Jose?

I missed the RGBP big event--so I'm hoping at least to meet up with some of the Presby RGBPs at General Assembly in June.

Who's going? Can we set a time and place for a meet-up?