- I've gotten lost numerous times while driving around my new neighborhood
this past summer; the usual stuff, nothing serious. I sort of like getting lost, actually -
and amazingly enough, I ended up once at a real Christian Hermitage. I drove in and around it, and saw a sister there doing some work. We waved at each other, silently.
Here are some snaps of the place, from the car:
- I really do want to start a Christian monastic or neo-monastic community of some kind; I lean. myself, towards the cloistered version, in the country, centered around a farm. I want it to exist primarily for prayer and the worship of God, open to those who need help and a place to rest in God. I personally think the world really needs this kind of thing at the moment; everybody's really busy with do, do, do - when I think what we actually need is be, be, be (i.e., pray, pray, pray).
- And now I have another idea. For years, I've thought it would be fantastic to build small communities with a farm at their centers; this would preserve farmland, give people a healthy atmopshere in which to live, and the farm's harvest crops could be distributed among the community. The people living there - and their kids - could work on the farm if they so chose. I think this would work very well with a monastic community running the farm; all the same ideas would apply - and there would be, in addition, prayer available every day, for those who wished to join the community in Divine Service. Wouldn't that be great? Monks and/or nuns of the community would be silent, mostly, for our own benefit - or perhaps there could be two groups of religious: one silent, one interacting with the world.
- I'm now singing again in the choir on Sundays, after a long break from doing that. The last time I was in a choir it was just no fun at all: bullying and disdain from the other singers - many had had some formal training in music - or thought they did, or was married to someone who had - which made them utterly insufferable - made it a really unpleasant way to spend time, so I quit. This new choir is composed of exactly three members, plus a leader and an organist - and the organist will be retiring in two weeks. It's much more fun this way. We sing simple songs - sometimes hymns from the 1982 - and just basically try to keep everything on pitch. Much, much better.
- I've also signed up for the 4th year of EFM; my last group dissolved and it, too, had stopped being fun. There's no point at all in doing any of these things if they're neither interesting nor enjoyable.
- I joined the local Y and am doing cardio and yoga. Went to a class I thought was "Gentle Yoga," but was actually "Multi-level Yoga," and there was nothing gentle about it. I decided to do Yoga because a friend of mine has been doing it for about 50 years; she's 20 years older than me and in much better shape. She's been teaching me a little over the past few years, but I really need to actually learn the poses and exercises; doing it once in a while just doesn't cut it. Yoga is amazing, because you think you're not really doing anything at all - and yet you're completely exhausted by the end of the session. Looking forward to getting a routine going.
- Also have joined a local Centering Prayer group. I forgot how nice it can be to sit around silently with a bunch of people. (Are you getting the "silent" theme here at all? This is why I'm going to make a great hermit.)
- Remember the "charismatic" parish across the street I talked about last time? I did go a few times, and I guess it is, in a way. Well, except that there's an ornately
gilt-framed baroque-looking painting of the Madonna and child over the
altar area, and a silver crucifix behind the altar, where the
Sacrament in reserve, along with a sanctuary lamp. If that's
"charismatic," I'm in.
Here are some of those photos. Nobody knows who the saint in the stained glass is; I'm thinking it's probably John, though.
See? They reserve the sacrament, along with a sanctuary lamp (minus actual sanctuary!):
The Madonna and Child:
A really nice processional cross!
- A lot of the music there is 7/11-style, though, it's true. The Praise Song that replaces the Gloria goes something like this: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; Free, free, free free. We did get to sing "How Firm a Foundation" as the recessional one week, though. The people are nice enough; there's no choir, though, and no EFM.
- The rumor is that this place used to be real slain-in-the-spirit-style, and that the Bishop assigned an interim priest with the instruction that she "reign it in" some. I really don't see why that's necessary, I have to say; as long as they use the BCP, they should be able to do it however they want. And the service is straight-ahead Prayer Book. But maybe that wasn't always the case - and I guess the place could once have really been nuts.
- I feel more relaxed with the people at this place, in some ways. But I enjoy Episcopalians of the more ordinary sort, too, and I appreciate them. People like me - who know we're crazy and that we really can't get along very well without the spiritual life - are less impressive, in some ways, than people who don't have the same issues. I mean, it would be just as easy for them to stay away from church - but they see the beauty in it and come anyway. That's pretty cool. Or maybe they really do feel its necessity, and just know how to put on a good "well-adjusted" front?
- Again I feel I have much more to say, but can't seem to dig it out. Meantime, this is what July was like in Alaska at the brown bear cam; these guys are looking for jumping salmon: