Posts Tagged ‘public

13
Jul
21

Whatever happened to whistling?

As I walked into the restroom at the Denver Convention Center the other day, I was whistling. 

“You just put your lips together and blow!”

To my best recollection, the tune was Phil Collins’ I Can’t Dance… the most recent song playing on my car’s radio when I parked it in the parking garage. 

For me, whistling is a very common practice. That is probably because I was raised by a father who whistled all the time. In fact, one of the skills dad was most proud of was his ability to whistle harmonically… that is, to whistle two different notes at the same time. Had it existed at the time, I am sure he could have competed on America’s Got Talent and received at least one “YES” vote from Howie Mandel.

Dad whistled songs. He whistled random notes in sequence. He summoned us home from playing with the neighbors with a jaunty little six-note tune of his own devising. 

As I said, whistling was a regular part of my growing up years.

But I discovered – shortly after walking into that convention center restroom – that I must be very much alone in my acceptance of whistling. Heads turned from urinals toward me as I entered… clearly unsettled by the sound emanating from my pursed lips. Reading the gazes, I saw uncertainty… discomfort… wariness. 

Apparently,” I thought, “Whistling is not the friendly, happy-go-lucky thing to these guys that it is to me.” And so, not wanting to be the source of distress in the middle of everyone’s private moment, I stopped.

The more I thought about it later, the more it dawned on me; I really don’t hear much whistling anymore. 

Out there on the street, folks have their ear buds in, listening to whatever. Or else they are walking along pondering the meaning of life, reviewing their grocery list, reliving last night’s difficult dinner conversation, or daydreaming about winning the lottery. 

ANYTHING but whistling.

What about you? Do you whistle? If not, what is your opinion of people who do? Do you agree that whistling has gone the way of the eight-track tape and rabbit ears on the TV? And if so, why do you suppose that is?

That’s it. Nothing theological or particularly deep today. Just one of those, “Things that make you go, ‘Hmmmm.’”

Blessings;

17
Aug
20

Questioning Church

Church and coronavirusFor most of my life, there has been very little question about church.

To be sure, different chapters have witnessed different relationships to church.

There was the “blind obedience” stage, the “I’m just here to meet cute girls” stage, the “open rebellion/rejection” stage, the “social obligation” stage, the “HEY! There really is something powerful and important going on here!” stage, and the, “paid professional cheerleader” stage.

Today, following the one-year anniversary of my retirement from the ministry, I find I am still trying to figure out what to call this current stage.

As Joan and I settled into our new lives here in Fort Collins, CO, I was all set to call it the “Active, volunteer participant” stage.

But then along came The ‘Rona. And with it the top-to-bottom questioning of everything about Life Itself, including the church part.

Our little Lutheran church here has made the best of a difficult situation. Every week we have a time-flexible worship service and a time-bound Zoom service of Holy Communion. It is a little strange (but actually, a little fun, too) to sit on our couch with cups of coffee and our dogs, singing hymns, listening to the sermon, praying the prayers, and reciting the Apostle’s Creed.

We willingly accept that these strange times call for some strange practices… at least for a while.

This time of pandemic, however, has stolen one of my favorite parts of engaging with a faith community; it has rudely moved in and snatched away the experience of physically gathering with fellow journeyers. I believe there is something sacred – and essential – about different lives and experiences coming together once a week to see each other’s faces and engage in acts of worship.

But the longer this strange new church world goes on, the more I find myself asking questions. Questions like:

  • “What IS church supposed to be about anyway?
  • “What am I – as an unpaid, unprofessional Christ-follower – supposed to be about at this stage of my life?”
  • “What is the actual connection between encountering the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and the need to gravitate to the same place at the same time every seven days?”
  • “Why does the action of ‘making disciples’ actually require the presence of a lovely, comfortable, technically-equipped building?”

And finally…

  • “Is it possible that this unsettling, disorienting time might be calling all Jesus-followers to work together to give birth to a new way of being the church?”
    • I mean let’s face it… it has been 500 years since the last Reformation (which, oddly enough, happened roughly 500 years after the PREVIOUS reformation). Do we think it is possible that God is sending a not-so-subtle message that it is time for the next Reformation?

I would love to hear YOUR thoughts on the subject.

First; how has this time of pandemic re-shaped your relationship to church?

Second, what messages might Christians be called to take from this odd time?

 

Abundant blessings;




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