#RejectedSermonTitles : this week Song of Solomon is about #Sex

Why is Song of Solomon in the Bible?
Seriously, what is with the Bible having a book that is written by a human to a human being?

(There used to be a Jesus as the Bridegroom and Church as the Bride interp. but its frankly sexist and old fashioned)

Here are two people expressing love for one another. At one point I spent a seminary class translating and interpreting the text, and like Shakespeare the more you study it the more you understand the physical attraction in the text.

Song of Solomon 2:10-13; 8:6-7
0 My beloved speaks and says to me:
‘Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
11 for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
12 The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtle-dove
is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away.
6 Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
7 Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
all the wealth of one’s house,
it would be utterly scorned.

This is because, love is such an all encompassing thing, a part of it is physical, so I think its important that those words are a part of the body. Love is intense, its more than the cutesy-niceness of life. Little pink hearts and precious moments angels are not what the Bible is about. Angels, love-beings, are so intense that they have to tell us mere humans “fear not” every time they appear. (Cupid and Psyche is a much more accurate portrayal in my mind).

I also think that Song of Solomon is included because Love is one of the human languages, one of those experiences we try to describe again and again.

Love Songs are amazing that way. They always have been written, from the time of Song of Solomon, and each of us prob. experienced a love song that “got it.” (ex: Breaking Up is Hard to Do) A love song that was perfect for what we are experiencing. Love songs will always exist, because love opens us to see the world in a new way. (Fill the world with Silly Love Songs)

It is here that we begin to see the strength and power of love that can withstand fire and water. Love opens us up to be changed. It is the thing we hang onto, but also that which holds onto us when all else fails.

Love allows us to be melded, and every relationship we enter into holds that potential for change.

Anger and hatred, not so much. When I’m angry or hate-filled I cannot hear the other person, I cannot change my mind. There are times, when I’m arguing something that I realized mid-arguement that I am wrong, but at that moment I can’t let go of my argument, because I’m too angry to be wrong, I have to win. Its not about love or being right, its about winning.

Its for this reason when I’m at a contentious session or Presbytery meeting we pause for prayer. We stop everything (which is really hard, because everyone wants to finish their thought) and pray. We focus on God, love and community, we remember that its NOT about winning, and we are then more open to have a real, listening conversation. (and that folks is the true power of prayer). Love opens us up.

And here, in Church, we strive to be in relationship with every single person in this room. We open ourselves to be changed here, with these people. We are doing it not for money, not to feel good, not to be fit or healthy or popular. We do it, because love opens our eyes and is just that powerful.  (Theme Song: The Power of Love). We do it to follow Jesus, and that openness to be relationships changes our lives.

Origin #Story or #mythic me

My Mythic Origin Story

(thanks to http://www.transmography.net/brainery/syllabus-schedule/science-fiction-fairy-tales-spring-2015/) class

Before she could even speak words
She listened
And before the word there were forms
and before that there was…something
Colossal collisions, implosions on the skin, bombarding, piercing the eyes and creeping into the ears.
Before she could even speak words, she started stringing things together. Understanding how the beads of space interacted.
Connection.
All things are connected, but how, and why. There must be meaning, even random events come together.
So she strove to name, first she named the things, then she strung those names with other things, but that wasn’t enough. Calling out a person’s name doesn’t tell anyone who they are. Names are just labels after all.
She knew here name was Katy, but after all, aren’t there millions of Katys in the universe? Being a Katy is good, but being her own unique version of Katy was more important.
Katy began to tell stories, to explain who she was is experiences and relationships, and then she discovered, by telling these stories, she was changing them. By trying to give names to things, the world itself is effected and changed.
Maybe that’s why our job is to name things, because the most effective way to influence the world is to tell the story of it, over and over again until we get it right. Whether it is naming the phenomena of the stars or struggling to name the hows and whats of an intricate relationship. Naming matters.
So she went forth, and Katy did talk, she talked and she talked and she talked to name as many things as possible.
And then she started listening, she listened to what others were naming–because when the naming spill into each other, thats when magic happens.

What is in a name?

whats-in-a-name-that-which-we-call-a-rose-by-any-other-name-would-smell-as-sweet-love-quote

In the Bible…humans are naming creatures…..

And let’s face it…

We love to name things.

Who wouldn’t love to name a dinosaur?

How about naming children?

What about when we tell a story, analyze it and figure out what is really going on so we can “name it”. Its important, its our job….its fun 🙂

Pretty much, we are learning creatures, and we love to name things.

So why do labels matter? Why does it matter what we call God? Why do we have so many names for God anyway…Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer. Light, Hope & Salt. And occasionally even refering to God as “She” you know for all the mothering, growing, birthing language

because we are naming creatures

So….when it comes to sexuality & gender which we suck at talking about in the church (to put it lightly)–this naming act is so important.

So…if you want to know why saying what your gender is, what pronoun you want to be referred to…and what kind of sexuality you express is so important…

(i.e. why this is so important)

SOTU

….its because we are naming creatures.

God made us fluid beings, full of creativity and the ability to love. The ability to find new ways of expression.

Since when is life so limited

Since when is God so limited

I bet a thousand years from now we will still be discovering new, fantastic ways of being and naming them right and left….

because we are, at heart, a people who love to name things

And when someone names themselves for us…we should listen carefully and give that name back to them–in the pastoral and psychological world we call it reflective listening…after all we have a lot of things to name ourselves

What is #Church anyway?

Matthew 18:15-20

Romans 13:8-14

What is church? I asked the kids…They said “Where people come together to talk about God” “a place to pray” “where there are nummy snacks””yeah like communion” ….I feel like that’s it in a nutshell!

Church is a gathering… 

   think about that, it is people coming together in Christ’s name, we all know that church is going to look radically different in 20yrs from today–we can all feel the change on the horizon and

…(feel the fear tingle up and down your spine) No one yet knows what its changing to! Ask 20 people and they will give you 20 different answers about where “mainline” church is going…

However Lectionary clues us into some things today

1. Church is a gathering….any gather, anywhere, anytime, anyhow in Christ’s name. It is so NOT about the numbers. It is about getting together

2. Church is owing Love: AND NOTHING ELSE. So many people are worried about what church owes them and what people owe church “well they SHOULD be going to church” …”well if they come they should give money” “if they come they should be willing to work” so many debts are put mistakenly put on each other, when in truth that is another human way of reckoning, another way of keeping track of numbers, another way of keeping debts. We do NOT owe each other anything, except love!

3. Church is Listening: truly hearing and understanding each other is a direct act of the Holy Spirit. Note that what we need to do if someone does something wrong, is to get them to “hear” what they’ve done. (No apologies, payback are apparently necessary, altho they may follow). Just listening. And if they can’t hear what you have, gather some others to witness (I think in a loving way where multiple people state their worry, as opposed to a mob castigating someone for their crime) to help the message to be heard…

4. Witnessing: Then there are the witnesses to the Word–those talking together and starting to build that agreement–Presbyterians have a phrase “the Holy Spirit works through consensus”–this consensus is built by true listening….and when we hear each other and can build together.

That’s it, church, a gathering where we witness, listen and love one another without reckoning, numbering or indebtedness……….

Those are the elements that stay the same, even as the structure of church changes….

YAY! Talking, Communication, Virtua Media and Such….. #holyspirit #communication #virtualmedia #comments

Communication is difficult.

I once heard some professor say (don’t ask me who I don’t remember, it might have been Prof. Kay) that communication is a gift.

Humans have a lot of trouble understanding each other. It takes the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit in order for REAL communication to take place.

Why? Because it takes listening, empathy, sympathy and a willingness to enact the words that are being spoken.

The longer I live, the more I believe this…

Ever have a conversation where you are trying to listen carefully and you repeat back what has been said, and they repeat back too..but later it turns out you actually didn’t really have the same understanding of the conversation? Those feel like the most.

This happens to my husband and me all the time!

This problem gets slightly more complicated with virtual media….where there is no intonation (This is problematic for people like me…who primarily joke in sarcasm and ironies….a good footnote for my life is that if I’m saying something mean about you, to you, I’m joking…..really, I am)

hence e-motions 🙂 which help but aren’t the same.

Then there’s the fact that rarely do we pay REALLY close attention to what we are reading on the internets….we are usually watching tv (I have Avatar on currently) or quick peeking while we’re waiting for something, or whatever.

Then there is comments, many bloggers disable comments because so often they devolve…and most of the criticism is ridiculous…comments are about something totally unrelated or it turns into a rant. The anonymity triggers some of this, as does the distraction, but some of it is just human nature.

Communication is tough.

But when it happens, its amazing.

Its like when married people have an entire conversation without using words (as Tamora Pierce points out in Trickster’s Choice)

Or when friends REALLY get each other in a moment, its like two souls shaking hands (as Sean Stewart says in Nobody’s Son)*

Its a spiritual moment…and I believe it CAN happen online…..but just like in regular conversations, when it happens, its a gift from God–thru the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit

*These are lines inscribed on my heart, I do not have the books with me, so I do not have the page numbers….Trickster’s Choice its between the father and step-mother of the girls Aly takes care of very early on. In Nobody’s Son its between the heroine and her best friend, when the hero first meets the best friend