Monday, October 1, 2012

Saturday Living, Part I

This past April, Patrick was out of town during Holy Week for his cousins' Confirmation, and I was in town working on a deadline. Most years, Triduum (the stretch from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday) is a rush of different services as we try to make observances with both of our churches.

But this year was quiet, slow, deliberate. On Holy Saturday, I had nowhere to be. So I went to the National Mall, to the National Gallery of Art, to look at Crucifixion images.

I had moved into the second trimester of my pregnancy. Now was the settling-in, trying to get used to the sudden and dramatic changes to my body, looking ahead to the changes to my life. Asking, "Is that all-- is my life somebody else's story now? Did I never get around to telling my own story?"

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Letter to my Future Pastor

Hello. I'm Ouisi. I've been part of this church for about ten years now--ten years in which this church took me from hard-core nondenominational fundamentalist to gung-ho Baptist. This church has nourished me through its community of friendship, its encouragement of learning, and a lot of Wednesday night dinners. I learned here that it was okay to be female, okay to ask questions, okay to have doubts, and okay to fall a little more on the "head" side of the head/heart axis. Most of the people here are from the wealthier and more educated part of the local population, just like at Grace where I grew up, but they don't ignore the poor, or insist that everyone interpret Scripture through a sacred litany of pop theologians.

When I brought Patrick here, people welcomed him and didn't try to convert him or make him feel like he needed to work at fitting in. They like to ask him questions-- how do the Catholics read this passage of Scripture? How does your parish celebrate this holy day? When Patrick and I got married, it was at the altar of this church. We were blessed and our hands were united by the pastor of this church, and by Patrick's family priest.

Now I'm working on increasing the size of this congregation by one. I don't want my kid to grow up with the same bad expectations of God and of Christians that I once had. So I have some things I want to ask you to do.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Living in Sin

When I was in high school, I remember a Sunday School teacher telling us about life as a Christian.

“It’s simple,” he said, “but it’s not easy.”

Turns out that Christianity is not simple. Turns out that right thinking and right living in a complex world is not simple. Turns out that, coming after two millennia of Christian history, a simple doctrine that fits onto a 3-inch tract can only exist by ignoring the majority of Christian thought and experience.