Saturday, January 31, 2009

Where the heck is Suburbia Majora -- IV

I Suppose that this essay has been teased out quite long enough and now, I should bring it to its logical conclusion. Living in Suburbia Majora (SubMaj) can be maddening, living out the Christian life as it was meant to be lived out will offer more than an antidote for the gnawing insanity that surrounds us here. However Before we push back from the gate, I want to point out that there are light years of separation between what is seen as "typical" Christianity, and what C.S. Lewis described are "normal" Christianity.

From its birth, the Christian Faith was to be lived out and practiced in community. Consider Saint Luke's description of the infant Church in the Acts:

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

The Good Doctor, in a few sentences paints a vivid picture of the vital, healthy community. Far from shutting themselves in, they reached to one another and the world around them. As they moved in one mind and one heart, the Holy Spirit was manifest in their presence. Moving in community, they impacted their world and became living conduits for the Gospel. Keep in mind, this all didn't occur within some neo-eden. This occurred with in the Roman province of Judea, the powder keg of the empire.

In community, not only are we strengthened and encouraged, we receive the blessing and opportunity to strengthen and encourage our brother and sisters. We rob ourselves, and God, if we simply cloister ourselves away in our moatless castles in SubMaj.

So what is the sum of the matter? We may be firmly planted in the mad kingdom of Suburbia Majora. We may whine, whinge and moan about our lots and our commutes. Yet the Almighty has made a way and provided a model for community, sanity and joy for his his kids. Regardless whether we're a Northern California Kiddo, a Biscayne Baby or a Philly Fella, we can live and move in the richness of the one who has called us to glory.


A Tune for a Sunny Saturday Afternoon

Just like the song lyrics... The sun is shining in the sky, and there's not a cloud in sight... I played the grooves off this song back in High School.

This is now my second saturday in the kingdom of the casted crutch-bound. The upside of this being able to catch up on reading, rest and blogging. Suffice to say, I'm looking forward to taking a good long leisurely walk when the cherry blossoms bloom in March.

80's Nostalgia Alert!

Great Hair, Great Tunes... Wow I forgot just how hip these guys were.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sicut Cervus--Psalm 42

The sun has set on a sunny Thursday in January here in Suburbia Majora. The snows from Tuesday have all but disappeared. Besides Compline, nothing soothes the soul like Palestrina on a cold, midwinter's eve.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Tuesday in Winter

Finally, some snow...

It's a cold afternoon in Suburbia Majora and the gentle snowfall that started before sunrise is now taking a breather. It's a mixed bag today as I don't have to drive, but its a bummer as there'll be no walking out amidst the flakes as I didn't get the crutches with the chains and studs. Naa-Ja as the Germans say.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Prayers for a City under Seige

Details of the story may be found here or here...

I've taken time on more than one occasion to write about my hometown, Coatesville, PA. She was at one point, considered as the Pittsburgh of the East, with several vibrant steel mills that contributed to our nation's industrial might.
Coatesville was a stop along the Underground Railroad and a city of that welcomed these newly liberated Americans. Additionally, she was a melting pot for Irish, Italian and Eastern European immigrants.

My earliest memories of Coatesville were a place where you could walk from your home in the east end all the way downtown on a summer night, completely unmolested. On the way home, you could stop off at Hennessey's or Sante's drug store for an ice cream cone or a fountain cherry coke. Her cheesesteaks were the stuff or legend.

This is all now the stuff of dreams tonight as Coatesville slowly decayed into a dystopia of liberal infighting and urban blight. She collapsed into living example of Proverbs 29:18 and the city continues to struggle for rebirth.

Coatesville is in the grasp of an arson spree that has her citizens living on the edge of terror. Since the new year, she has seen fourteen incidents with Saturday evening's fire being the most recent and most severe. Her leaders are mired in finger pointing and seem powerless in the face of this crisis. Meanwhile, citizens are fearful to close their eyes at night, wondering if their home will be next.

I'd beg you reader, to call Coatesville out in prayer. Pray that the terror will end and that the arsonists would be apprehended. Pray that her leadership will come to see that their help will come neither from Harrisburg nor Washington, but from on High.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Snap, Crackle, Pop!!

It's been one of those weeks where one has to lift their crutches in praise, thanking the Almighty for good strong (and legal) narcotics and 800mg motrin tablets.
Yup, the catbird has been grounded since Sunday evening and I expect to be on the DL Roster until the end of March. The ankle on the left is a relatively close image of what is rattling around in my cast at the moment. Suffice to say, this will require some hardware to fix.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Lookit all da' Pretty Colors

Many folk unfamiliar with practices of the Liturgical Church will sometimes ask “What’s with all the colors?” Jack Chick and his acolytes will immediately attribute them as secret signals of a Vatican cabal, while the set designers at Trinity Broadcasting will cluck their tongues and suggest some estrogen-soaked shocking pink or an eye-gouging pastel.

The colors of worship, and the seasons they describe date back to the dawn of the Apostolic Church. Up until the 4th century, the only liturgical color in use was white. At about this point, the colors Red, Green and Black were added to the prescribed rubrics. The color Violet was added to these rubrics early in the thirteenth Century.

Consider the colors and their implications:

  • White, the color of Christmas, Easter, Trinity, Christ the King and Weddings speak to and typify innocence, purity, joy and glory.
  • Red, the color of Pentecost, Palm Sunday, and the commemoration of the Martyrs speak to fire, blood and sacrifice.
  • Violet, the color of Advent and Lent speak to solemn introspection, contrition and affliction (Consider the violet fabric laid on the traumatized shoulders of Christ by the Romans).
  • Black, the color of Good Friday is emblematic of mourning, sorrow and the somber realities of death and the grave.
  • Green, the color of living, vibrant vegetation speaks to the hope of life everlasting in the presence of the Godhead.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday Night in the Catbird Seat

It's a frosty Friday night in the seat. Warm yourself.

Where the Heck is Suburbia Majora? -- III

2009 is upon us (still, no flying cars dadgumit...). Nine days into 09 and I'd like to conclude my thoughts of life in Suburbia Majora (or SubMaj), a thought that hasn't been visited since the heat of summer.

For all of its creature comforts, ammenities and aggravations, the lifestyle of SubMaj crosses against the grain of our human natures and if allowed to run unchecked, is crippling to our walk in the faith. On face, this may seem hard to swallow but I'll defend this view as I unpack these thoughts.

We are, as humans, communal creatures. From the first days in the Garden, to the postdiluvian period, humans have lived communally. This fact is attested to by archeological finds in places that range from Jericho to deep under the black sea. People have lived in villages, shires, and cities due to the Divine hardwiring of our creation. Consider...

  • We were created in the image of the Godhead, an eternal community of three personages existing as one essential being. The Father, Son, and Spirit have never existed apart from one another. They didn't pull into their castles, shut themselves in only to meet once a week. As reflections of the Divine, we too have that need and desire for relational community.
  • Almost after his creation, the Godhead noted that it was not good for Adam to be alone. Was he technically alone? No, he had his own private zoo where he could teach the dog to fetch the tennisball and teach the chimps to play soccer. Yet, he had no equal in which to relate with and to. Hence the Godhead brought forth Eve and commanded the two to create a community of humanity (fruitful multiplication).
  • Even in our postmodern society, this ache for community can be seen in the proliferation of entities like myspace and facebook, where the hermits of SubMaj have created virtual communities.
There are those who will try to resist the natural need for community but soon find themselves fighting against nature. To drown out the communal impulse, they'll surround themselves with 52" HDTV's, Wii's and other toys. Or, they may dull the senses through alcohol or other less legal substances. Still there are even more toxic distractions of which I'll avoid discussing in order to maintain the "G" rating.

To this point, I've addressed humanity as a whole. When we take this to followers of Christ, the stakes become even higher.

Prior to arriving in SubMaj, the fair Robin and I lived in western Maryland, between Hagerstown and Frederick. In this area, nearly all of the churches (denominations not withstanding) met multiple times throughout the week. Too, my particular fellowship gathered once a month with other sister congregations for a "district worship meeting". These times worked together to forge a strong sense of community amoung the saints and folk had plenty of opportunity to uplift and encourage one another.

Shortly after arriving in the Flatlands, the absence of this community became painfully clear. Folk simply couldn't be bothered to gather beyound 12:01 PM on a Sunday, and the idea of a District worship service was unheard of. This lack of community has proved toxic to my former church (Church of God, Cleveland, TN), and that group is in serious decline here in NoVA.

Next (and final installment), the Percription. Be there, Aloha.