Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pondering life behind the snow blower ...

I took another step down the road to being a true blooded Canadian today:

For the first time I cleared snow with a snow blower!! Oh sure, I've cleared snow with a tractor, an atv, a THOUSAND shovels, but this year thanks to the generous gift of a friend, I have a snow blower to clear our driveway !!! And today after the dump of cold, very WET white stuff, I decided it would be a good day to do a trial run to figure out how to work the beast!!

It went well ... it took a little over an hour, but I got the drive way and the back yard parking areas cleared without too much difficulty or stress. AND, I had some fun along the way.

But like other times in my life when I've used power equipment, I had time to think about things as I walked along behind the blower.

Today I was thinking about how incredibly thin skinned people in the Church often are, and how over the top serious they can be ... I was thinking about a tongue in cheek reply I put on the facebook posting of a colleague and friend.

Gord (a fellow blogger) had posted a link that cited the "I am Christian, unless you're gay" an article I cited here previously, and an article I WHOLEHEARTEDLY endorse as an eloquent and wise reflection on the struggle the Church often has when it comes to differences.

My comment on Gord's facebook page was asking (facetiously) if Gord had taken an unexpected and slightly irrational sharp turn to the right ... I know Gord ... I respect God ... and Gord, like me is an unabashed liberal in his theology, and inclusive in his ministry. I was offering a humour comment about the TITLE of the article, not offering a comment about Gord ... or at least that's how I intended it.

In a subsequent comment, another colleague in Ministry replied with a fairly involved statement about the article and its intrinsic value and blah ... blah ... blah ...

I hold no offense toward the other poster. His answer IS right ... but it is also typical of how folks throughout the United Church respond to things.

To be blunt - WE'VE LOST OUR SENSE OF HUMOUR !!!!!

We take EVERYTHING so seriously it is at times truly frightening.

We no longer encourage or even welcome humour in the Courts of the Church. I know of instances when a light hearted comment or a joke was ruled out of order in Presbytery meetings because it was deemed inappropriate.

The bottom line seems to be that we've moved away from spontaneous humour and laughter that it causes us PAIN when it actually happens.

Yet, there is EVERY spiritual indication that laughter is a gift from God, and that not only did Jesus have a sense of humour, his disciples did too. (does anyone else recall the introduction of Jesus to Nathanael in the Gospel of John? How can the comment "can anything good come out of Nazareth?" be taken as anything BUT a humourous quip?!?!?!?!)

Yet in the modern Church we've abandoned our funny bone and become painfully serious just when the world needs the gift of Holy Laughter.

I guess that's why I truly value the contribution of friends like Blake over at The Laughing Pastor, and others who have maintained a sense of humour in the face of a world gone mad.

The ability to stand and smile, and even laugh is truly a gift from God. The incredible feeling of waves of laughter passing over our person is truly Holy. Yet, when I look around the Church I seldom see people who reflect that gift of JOY.

Churches are often filled with dour serious people who look angry and frustrated. Yet we purport to be a place overflowing with Grace and Joy.

Can no one else see that disconnect??

I've marvelled at the number of colleagues I've met along the way who rarely crack a smile and who are pharisaic in their adherence to the rules, regulations and polity of the Church, and overwhelm any expression of joy with frowns and scowls.

I can name people who seem to offer smiles only when their personal egos are being stroked by the suffering of another ... they are almost like Disney villains who smile when they are about to launch their devious plans ...

I can't help but wonder if this is even remotely faithful?

How can we deny joy in the face of a God who has given us SO much, and who pours out blessings, Grace, and an abundance of LIFE???

I for one think there is amazing and profound wisdom in the comment by George Carlin's character Cardinal Glick in the movie Dogma. When Glick introduces the figure of Buddy Christ (pictured above), he says "Jesus didn't come to give us the heebie jeebies". To that ALL I can offer is a hearty AMEN !!!!

Jesus came to offer Love, Compassion, Care, Grace and Life in ABUNDANCE. The heebie jeebies are a human creation, not one from God ... it's time to return to our roots, so too speak, and reclaim the gift of joy and laughter in the Church and celebrate it !!!

If we are truly a child of God frowns and scowls have no place on our faces !!!

It's time to lighten up and truly dance with JOY !!

(Oh, and for the record - I DO have a Buddy Christ in my office, along with the infamous Bobble-headed Jesus AND a Bobble-headed Buddy Christ too !!! It's ALL about the fun!!)

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