Wednesday, October 1, 2008

church nicknacks and whathaveyous

I was going to put this over on Being CHURCH, but I don't know that Melissa or Ashley would've appreciated it there. Some might call this a passive aggressive note, but this is really just answering a charge from Dave Walker. What I'm going to talk about, I think, has to do with "church nicknacks and whathaveyous." I think that is the most hyperlinks I've had in a single paragraph in a good while.

A few weeks ago when I looked out the Wesley office door, someone was SITTING on the Altar. Consistently lately there are things (other than candles) being randomly left on it: music, binders, keys, etc. The next day I told Melissa that I wanted to make a sign to hang over it.

(In order for this sign to make sense, one has to understand the context of the Wesley's worship space. On Sundays at 4:00 we have CHURCH, which is Eucharistic and uses the hymnal. The altar lives in the middle of the room for that and we sit in a semi-circle in front of it. The ambo is to the right of the altar, standing behind it, and the font is right as you come in the main door. During the week, however, we have Praise and Worship at 7:00 on Wednesdays. To make room for the praise band and the projector and general nicknacks, we move the altar from the center of the room to a corner. It doesn't have as central a focus in that service.)

So, anyway I wanted to make a sign that said, "Keep your f------ s--- and a-- off the altar, please." Melissa said that if I changed my language some I was allowed to do it. I think changing the language defeats the emotion behind it; it has a specific purpose for which it has been set aside, and at the Troy Wesley I think we try to live into that. One of the things I noticed last night as I was locking up after ATO finished in the building is that I can see the altar as more of a holy thing in the space than when it had a lot of junk on it. Now I'm not talking about "music, keys, binders, etc." but rather a large bronze cross and a big KJV. As Br. John D. has said, the altar isn't a Bible rack. I really like the cross on the bookshelf and would be content if the large, open Bible was moved elsewhere, but I'm not ready to do it just yet. I like the colored fabric, a white piece of cloth, and two candles. The almost austere (more plain than cold, though) I think portrays it as being set apart - different and not a part of the busy-ness of every day American living. Just some thoughts

Finally if you're reading this and have left stuff on the altar, know that I am not angry with you. I'm actually in a really good mood right now. The charge from Dave Walker prompted me to write this and that provided fodder. Again, I'm not angry. This isn't even a rant. :) Just musings about the way that items and space affect how I connect with the Divine.


  1. i say the sign should say:
    "if you leave your wallet on the altar -- we'll consider it an offering.
    if you leave your car keys -- we'll assume the car is going towards wesley trips.
    if you leave your binder on the altar -- we'll incorporate your words into the next bible study (personal of private).
    if you leave your butt on the altar -- ..... nevermind, just don't sit on it."