Our church, like many, experiences a downturn in attendance in the summer. Ours is possibly exacerbated by a) the large number of "snow birds" who return somewhere north of here for the summer; and b) the extreme heat of the summer months here in Tucson which makes many people just want to curl up with a fan and a bowl of ice. Anyway, like many churches, we adjust our summer worship schedule accordingly, going from two Sunday morning services to one. M decided (I admit, I pushed) to use this as an opportunity to explore having adult Christian education offerings on Sunday (we currently have none, unless you count the self-convened group that sprung up on its own). So, Sunday morning's schedule for the summer includes a 10am worship service preceeded by a 9am Christian education time for children and adults. We are offering a single Adult/Teen class and the usual array of Sunday school for the little 'uns (the rest of the year Sunday school generally happens during the 10am worship).
Two things you need to know about this to make sense of the following: 1) we have had no children attending Sunday school (something which didn't come as a huge surprise to anyone); and 2) the first series of Adult study sessions (which have had a fantastic attendance -- surprising many, but not me) has been exploring a faith-based approach to environmental issues, including climate change and environmental justice.
To the parent who sent M an email explaining that the reason no children are coming to Sunday school is that 2 hours a week is just far too much time to expect any family to devote to church:
Honestly, I was so floored by a) this attitude (in someone who used to work in CE in the church); and b) the lack of any sense of embarassment about expressing it that I really couldn't react at first. I had the same response when I saw the truck belonging to Tucson's Week Night Church ("Because you have better things to do with your weekend.").
I guess this basically sums up an attitude that I have been saddened to see everywhere we've been in recent years: Church is very important as long as it doesn't interfere with my life. From the teenagers who only attend worhip or youth group when they don't have something better to do, to the families who stop attending in summer because "we're on vacation", to the parents who drop their children off for Sunday school and then head out for brunch with friends, it's just so sad to me. If church doesn't matter to you, it doesn't matter, but if you're going to claim the badge of Christian, you could at least make some time in your life to worship and fellowship with others, no?
I grew up Baptist, and to me the very idea of no adult Christian ed is anathema. Church on Sunday morning was at least a two hour committment between worship and Sunday school for everyone. Let's not even get started on the hours and hours my family spent at the church for other purposes.
Oh, and neither the family of the email writer nor the other family cited as an example in the email have attended EITHER CE or worship at all this summer, so I guess that means that even 1 hour is too much to ask.
To the scientist (one of the signatories the Global Warming Petition -- if you're not familiar, click on the link and read the first paragraph or two) who keeps bringing copies of his slides "proving" that global warming is a myth or that we didn't cause it or that we can't stop it or that it's a good thing or some such to the adult study:
STOP! Have you not figured out by now that this isn't a science class or some sort of Al Gore liberal environmentalist indoctrination seminar? Put away your slides, open your mind, and listen for once. No one here is going to argue "facts" with you because a) we're not going to change your mind and (surprise!) you're not going to change ours; and b) that's not what this is about.
Even if you were able to convince us that global warming doesn't exist/wasn't caused by humans/can't be reversed anyway/is a good thing, would that change even one iota our responsibility as people of faith to be better stewards of G*d's creation and each other than we have been?
Would it justify the tons of toxic waste we dump every year in third world nations and in the back yards of the poor and disposessed in our own country? Would it justify our consume, consume, consume lifestyle which only considers environmental impact when it becomes pocketbook impact? Would it justify our addiction to a finite resource (fossil fuels) at the expense of research and development into renewable sources of energy?
Would it make it a bad thing to be more conscious of what we consume or what we dispose of? Would it make it a bad thing to maybe consider the impact of our decision to have a lawn in the desert/run the air conditionning at 65/leave lights on unecessarily? Would it make it a bad thing to consider fuel economy perhaps even more highly than style points when we make our next vehicle purchase?
Would it make it a good thing to sit by silently while our government, our industries, and sometimes even our churches make decisions which, while convenient and expedient, will eventually (or even immediately) cause harm to someone else?
Believe the global warming/climate change arguments or not, we as people of faith have a duty to ourselves, to each other, to G*d, and to our children's children's children to take better care of what we've been gifted.
And PS: solar panels DO work, and they work quite nicely, thank you.
To the bank which this week foreclosed on our neighbor's house and hauled everything in it off to a landfill despite the pleas of the ex-wife -- who'd been kicked out of the house a year ago by her ex-husband and not allowed to return to claim any of her belongings -- to let her take some cherished family heirlooms:
(speaking of divorce) To our friends who may or may not be headed down the road to divorce:
Divorce is not an admission of guilt/failure/anything else bad. Divorce is sometimes simply the ultimate response from two people who've grown apart. It happens, and acknowledging it and responding appropriately is the ultimate in un-failure. Failure would be forcing each other to remain in a relationship-that-isn't, getting more bitter with each passing day.
And please, treat each other more kindly than my neighbor did his wife.
And finally, to those who may actually wonder why the Celtics were able to dominate the Lakers so completely overall in the series:
I refer you to one of any number of videos on youtube of the game 6 post-game press interviews with KG, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kobe Bryant. All three of Boston's "Big Three" pointed out that there are 13 guys on the team and it takes all of them to win; Kobe -- well, it's still all about Kobe. I'm reminded of the fact that they were never "The Supremes"; they were always "Diana Ross and the Supremes" [edited to qualify: while Diana Ross was with them (thank you to the commenter who, while possibly actually intending to be nasty, actually made my point better than I had)]. Can you say "Kobe Bryant and the Lakers". As long as that attitude prevails, so will the Celtics.
Okay, the prize, knitting content:
Why a scarf? Well, it's a lace scarf which might actually find some use here in Tucson (if it doesn't go into the gift box). And I wanted a lace project I could do on size 5 needles for reasons I can't go into. This one may or may not go into hibernation for the duration of Summer of Socks and the Tour de France KAL. We'll see.
Phew, that was long, and I might think of apologizing, but I won't, 'cuz it's my blog and I can rant if I want to. Besides, I feel better now.