Monday, July 11, 2011

The Great Sociological Experiment, revisited

For my long-time readers, (both of you!) you will recall that when the philosopher and I endeavored to find a new church, we visited quite a number of different flavors and varieties.  I blogged about them in posts labelled "The Great Sociological Experiment", or G.S.E.

So two weeks ago we began again, in a new city. 

Our first venture was to a church that bills itself as  "Evangelical Anglican".  It's a very well known church, with over 3000 members and a very visible rector. It's about 45 minutes away from our house, and G professed to want to visit "simply out of curiosity".  So off we ventured!  Our first thought was that the edifice itself brought to mind cathedrals of old, very beautiful and charming.  The interior, once we got out of the parking deck (yes, a church with a PARKING DECK!) was also lovely, but disjointed.  There was a large desk reminiscent of a 4 star hotel lobby, where a number of folks stood by to thrust brochures into your hands.  As we walked down the wide hallway (think "airport-wide") we saw on the walls a beautiful illuminated manuscript page, a sheet of ancient shaped-note music, a (erm) Thomas Kincade-like print, and then ... a large flatscreen tv scrolling announcements.  (??!!??)

The sanctuary was also beautiful, with NIV Bibles in the pew backs, but no prayer books, and the bulletin was all glossy announcements with no real order of service.  The band was warming up, with drums and electric guitars and some brass.  ::sigh::  Ultimately, the folks were incredibly friendly but the service bore no resemblance to any kind of Anglican service.  Indeed, there was no liturgy at all.  No communion.  Lots of extemporaneous prayer and a firey revival sermon, but no quiet reverence.  Definitely not for us.

This past Sunday we visited a local congregation which met in a community center.  Of the ten folks there, we were the youngest there by 20 or so years. (The community center is in a retirement community, and I suspect that everyone attending lives there - not a bad thing generally, but not necessarily what we wanted!)  The rector is a full time police officer, and very pleasant, and we were delighted to hear a sermon on Romans that wasn't Calvinistic in nature.  But we need a church with more to offer folks our age - a place where we can connect with a community of believers and actually be part of that community.  So that definitely won't work either.

Once the philosopher gets back from a visit to his family, and I return the following week from a conference in Seattle, then we'll try again and see were God is leading.  So if you're so inclined, prayers for this new venture would be deeply appreciated!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What's in a name?

We took a trip through north Georgia and the length of Tennessee this past weekend, and noted some... interesting... place names.  So I thought they were worthy of comment (and derision, of course).

Crane Eater Community Church (Somewhere in middle Tennessee.)
We couldn't easily tell if we were passing through a town called Crane Eater, but even if we were... really??  Crane Eater??!?  We spent several minutes trying to determine if there was some theological basis for the name, but we got nuthin'.

Grinder's Switch Winery (Somewhere in central Tennessee.)
Now, I could come up with tons of great winery names (my favorite?  Philosopher's Folly Winery!)  The area has plenty of beautiful mountains, and gorgeous trees, and stunning vistas.  Grinder's Switch Winery is what you decided on????  REALLY???

Bucksnort, Tennessee. (Also somewhere in central Tennessee.)
Yes.  And the gas station where we stopped was the local big game check site when you're done with hunting for the afternoon.  I believe the philosopher was the only male in the establishment wearing a shirt with a collar... no, wait.  He was the only guy there wearing a shirt!  We thought about purchasing a souvenir shot glass or camouflage coozie, but decided against it.