Saturday, September 15, 2007

Shameless church promotion for a good cause

OK ... I admit, this is a shameless church promotion, but I have to do it. EpiScope (with a little nudge from my e-mail) picked up the story which ran in our local paper about our congregation's outreach to the wounded soldiers at the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Iraq. Check it out here.

Even if I am in a liturgical wilderness, the heart this congregation has to reach out is amazing and it humbles me to be with them. It snaps me out of my self-indulgent $%)**&# and gets me back on terra firma again ... and I'm grateful.

This started with one of our parishioners, Nolie, whose son-in-law is a Major in the Air Force serving at the 28th Combat Support Hospital. He asked for some t-shirts, socks and sweat pants to help give these recovering soldiers something more comfortable than just flimsy hospital gowns to wear. If you've ever worn a hospital gown, you know that doing physical therapy when your behind is mooning the whole room isn't fun. So a little dignity seemed like a good idea.

Nolie spearheaded it and we promoted it ... and people responded! No matter how you feel about this terribly war and the politics that got us there, you can support the injured vets who have had to pay the price of this conflict.

Check out the story through the link to EpiScope and for more information, see the congregation's web site at (use the menu and go to Seeking More? then Ministries, then Outreach and you'll see the link to the Wounded Soldiers Project).

Pilgrimage ... Part III

The thing I found hardest on our trip to England wasn't the trip - it was the return. I had a rough time coming home and getting back into the new day-to-day routine as the part-time deacon-in-charge of a mission reboot. It was a return home ... but to a spiritual wilderness.

I guess the high choral evensong at York Minster put me over the top. It was really hard to go from that back to this mission church where the preferred music style is praise music and I'm the only "musician" in the congregation (and yes, the quotation marks are intentional). I was reared on Anglican chant and classical choral music, so the "happy-clappy" praise music we do wears thin on me. I'm really not a musical snob, but it's like eating cheeseburgers and only cheeseburgers ... it gets boring. I'd feel the same way if it was "all plainsong all the time" - it just gets boring. I'll admit it, I'm envious of the churches who are large enough to offer more than one kind of worship experience. You know, mix it up a little bit.

So I went from sublime, classical Anglican worship that imparted a mystical sense of the transcendent God - the wholly and holy Other - back to the praise music of this congregation's worship and their desire to be "different" from the Episcopal Church. Talk about a spiritual crash. I was not fit to live with for about two weeks. Uber grumpy. Beloved husband said, "Everyone ends up in the wilderness sometime. Hopefully it won't be 40 years for you." Yeah.

So what's a deacon to do? Well ... in short ... suck it up and get over myself. Guess there was a little "Father Murphy" in me after all (for that reference, watch the 1963 classic film Lilies of the Field ... or read the book). I don't see myself in a cathedral ... just a church where we can sing something besides Shine Jesus Shine for a change ... and where I don't have to be the musician, celebrant, preacher, gospeller, acolyte, and sacristan.

"Welcome to the wilderness ... My name is Anjel and I'll be your server this evening ... manna anyone?"

Now playing: Keb' Mo' - More Than One Way Home
via FoxyTunes

Now playing: Keb' Mo' - Just Like You
via FoxyTunes