Those who know me well know that I have a teenaged daughter who speaks most fluently in the language of books. We've always enjoyed stories together, so these days I spend a great deal of time reading teen and YA literature. She reads much faster than I do, and there’s no way to keep up (especially since I need to nurture my own reading along the way).
In the last year, my church—St. George Episcopal in Leadville, Colorado—has gained a number of Latino and Latina members. Last week we held our first ever bilingual vestry meeting, at which we quickly realized that the language barrier itself was not our primary challenge.
So, 34 couples got married in a live, mass wedding during the Grammy Awards. Queen Latifah (no, not ordained) officiated at the ceremony, against a projected image of stained glass windows. A gospel choir joined in singing behind Madonna while the couples, old and young, gay and straight, exchanged rings.
I worry that our iconoclast history was more of an act of conquest than it was an undertaking with enduring theological gumption. We know the many rituals of conquest: force military might, imprison the charismatic leaders, scatter the intellectual base, rape the women, enslave the children, and defile the sacred images. Now as Protestant people, the trajectory of the treatment of our images has twisted into something terrible.
Satan has had an awfully good 2014. He might get a statue on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol. Actually, he probably won’t, but the New York-based Satanic Temple has proposed to have the goat-headed image of Baphomet built so that it can be seen by all visitors to the state’s seat of government.
Our local state fair advertises nearly everything on-a-stick, so why not Bible verses? The verse our ministry fair chose? Micah 6:8, of course. "What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
I try not to post TOO many "you forgot about us mainline Protestants!" posts. The idea comes up almost daily when I'm going through the news and the blogs, but I know that kind of thing can get old so I try to set the bar pretty high.
If a person wanted to make this the focus of a blog, however, a person could do worse than to keep a close eye on the Barna Group.
Baptism is the ritual doorway through which we enter Christian life. So I always found it strange that one of my churches had no font. They only had a small silver bowl given to them by another congregation when they were a new church start, 40 years before I arrived. They only brought it out for baptisms, so there was no visible reminder of the sacrament in the sanctuary.