Sunday, April 13, 2008

Live-Blogging Church

11:10 - We always start a bit late. We use a countdown program that counts down 5 minutes and is supposed to start at 11, but whatever. It all works out.

11:11 - The band leads "You Are Worthy of My Praise." Bruce is explaining what we're doing. We're in a series on Creation - our place in the world. Last week we looked at Genesis 1 and this week it's Genesis 2. As part of that we're offering people some options for expressing their own creativity. We have tables all over with clay, pipe cleaners, legos, and painting. There are some folks live-blogging as well, which is what I'm about here. I'll share my thoughts as I have them.

11:17 - We're doing announcements and apparently we're doing a membership class called "Exploring your Inner Bobblehead." This is what happens when I miss a staff meeting.

11:26 - Confession. I proofread it, so hopefully I didn't miss anything.

11:27 - I didn't. Whew.

11:28 - forgiveness and passing the peace. We don't usually do it and I really wish we did. Usually we do the confession and move on. Sometimes it feels like, "You suck. Now think about how much you suck. Now here's the scripture." I'm into the whole absolution thing.

Scripture: Genesis 1:16 - 2 & Gen 2:15 - 25

11:33 - Beginning sermon. Here's how I'll do this: our sermons are interactive, so I'll type up Bruce's main points and some of the comments and answers given and then I'll italicize my own thoughts.

Since the scripture is the "rib story" so we'll see how this goes.
Bruce is talking about the moderator race and asking what it means to have a church for the future and what do we need to change today. Just because we paint and use legos in church doesn't mean we are immune from getting stuck in tradition.

Understanding that God is in the midst of people that I don't like should transform the way we interact with people. He said more stuff, but that one is important for me. I tend to see people I don't like or those with whom I disagree and not necessarily see God in them. I think they're evil.

So, we're at the Rib story. How do we respond to it?
1. It's poetic. Mystery of God...yada yada
2. See - this is equality or see, they're different

Why are there two stories?
- one is general, one is detail
- large sections added later
- different traditions
- strand theory - strands of writings - JEDP, basically

What can we get out of the 2nd creation story?
- God doesn't want people to be alone, building of community, community has purpose
- domination, if man came first, man rules over everything, including woman
- God saved the best for last
- mutually complementary relationship
- what does it say to our relationships as we move out of our family's homes

Read alone and interpreted on its own without looking at the whole of scripture is dangerous. We have to look at the breadth of scripture and the character of God to interpret all passages.
Basically, Bruce took the road of broadening the view and asking what we can do to expand our view to honor the presence of God in all creation. I'm glad he did that rather than focus on the gender issue, because it's easy to get focused on that small stuff and I appreciate him taking it out and making it bigger. At the same time he's pushing us out of our comfort zone and encouraging us to see outside our own walls.

12:02 - Sermon and discussion over. The band leads "Hear Our Praises" - one of my favorite Hillsongs and really fits with the theme. At this point we also give our offerings and have some time for reflection.

Here's my reflection:
Going back to the creation stories in scripture and the way people interpret them - I grew up going to Christian schools and was taught a literal interpretation of Creation, young earth, etc. We had very conservative textbooks from Pensacola, where they grow the crazy. As I grew and developed my own hermeneutic, I stopped caring about whether or not the story was metaphorical or literal. The bottom line is that we weren't there and to focus so completely on that is a distraction from the gospel. I would much rather see it as a reflection of the character of God than a literal description of the beginning of the world.

I believe God is capable of creating the world in 6 literal 24-hour time periods, or of directing an evolutionary process over centuries. Who cares? The bottom line is that while I believe that God directed the creation process but I don't know how God did it, and I'm ok with that.

My favorite interpretation of the Creation story is from Phyllis Trible as she looks at the literary structure of Genesis 1. There is a parallel structure where God separates air from water, air from land and water from land and then fills them with heavenly bodies, fish and birds, plants and animals, and then humans. The idea is that God is all about taking things that are empty and filling them with joyful, abundant life. That tells me about God's character and how God works in the world and I'm happy to have that view of the story rather than a view that restricts the interpretation to actual creation.

12:07 - Community prayers. We've had a lot of people have illness, death and tragedy lately and it's made our prayer times heavy, but really lovely as we carry burdens for each other.

12:12 - We close with the prayer that has been progressively written on a white board today during our service as part of our creative activities. People have come up and written a line as they felt led during the service.

12:13 - we are closing with "You Are So Good to Me." Also a fave.

Thanks for being with me during the live blog. Here are some photos of the service:

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