Monday, December 5, 2011

O Christmas Tree, Liturgical Pet Peeves, and Augustine at His Best

Seventeen hours to go on the voting and Sufjan has taken a one vote lead! This could go down to the wire!

So, yesterday (Monday) I went to Home Depot (sorry small businesses and McClain's) and got my first ever Christmas tree! I have to say I was pretty excited driving home with the tree strapped to the top of the old Rav4. As Andrew and I were decorating it, I thought there should be nostalgic Christmas music as the camera slowly panned to me putting the star on top of the tree and then faded out, out from the house, from the block, until all you could see were the twinkling Christmas lights of the city. Then it would cut to someone doing a good deed for a person in need on the streets of downtown Chicago followed by a cut to Jesus being born in the manger. (c) Dave Bjorlin 2011. Here's the pathetic picture.

The crooked shades inspired me to title this picture, "Deadbeat Christmas."

Well, in the last three work days, Matt and I have set up four apartments for families coming over the next two weeks. I think we should enter some competition or something because we've got it down to a science. Granted, I could also use a masseuse or a good hot tub because my body is sore from all this lifting.

So, as someone who plans a fair number of worship services and searches the internet for resources, I have come across a fair number of things that really grate on my liturgical nerves. So, I thought I would share those in case any of you see a career in writing liturgies or prayers. These are in no particular order:
1. Calls to worship that don't call you to worship. I feel like people just throw a verse at the top of the service. It would be like using a confession that doesn't confess any sins; it just doesn't make sense. This goes for invocations. Invoke something please!
2. Advent confessions that begin in any way resembling this: "God, in the midst of the busyness of Christmas," or "The trees are up, the lights are on in the house, but we have forgotten...", or "our calendars are full of parties and gift exchanges, yet...". I don't know why, but this seems like a slippery slope to "Remember the reason for the season!" and "Put Christ back in Christmas!"
3. explicit and over-the-top symbolism. I don't know if I can explain this one well, but there is something about overtly obvious symbols that take away some of the need for symbols altogether.
4. Clip art as bulletin art. It just shouldn't be done.
5. Space ideas (meaning the worship space, not NASA space) that require an architect and/or a structural engineer to build it and several tithing architects and engineers to fund.

Well, I came across this St. Augustine gem while reading City of God. He is talking about people who can do incredible physical feats that others can't:
"A number of people produce at will such musical sounds from their behind (without any stink) that they seem to be singing from that region. I know from my own experience of a man who used to sweat whenever he chose." Boy, Augustine should have been a talent agent rather than a bishop/theologian. He could have made a fortune!

I just found out that the term for replacing swear words with euphemisms is "taboo deformation." What a great phrase!

Okay, I'm going for a run. Later.

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