Nasty, Brutish & Short

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"There were about 20 different things that irritated me about that service"

April 9, 2007 11:00 AM

That's what I said to Mrs. NBS, on the way to the car after the Easter Sunday service at the Church of the Redeemer in Hyde Park.  Was I exaggerating?  Could there really have been 20?  Let's make a list:

1.  The service was at 11:00, a special Easter Sunday time that is an hour later than the 10:00 service we usually go to.  We arrive at the customary time, and learn we are an hour early.  So, we go home, and sit around in our church clothes, because it's not like you can get anything done at that point.  [We do feel sorrier for the family with young kids that we saw running to make it in time a few minutes before ten.  You know they went through hell to get the kids ready for church and out the door.  For nothing!  Also, they prove that we aren't the only ones who didn't get the memo].

2.  An hour later, we return to church.  There is no place to sit.

3.  They didn't copy enough service leaflets.

4.  One of the associate priests, a male who is well in to his forties, is sporting a ponytail.  It looks ridiculous.  But the more annoying thing is that you just know he thinks it makes him look cool.  Good Lord, deliver us.

5.  The rector mentions Iraq in his Easter sermon.  Whatever his point was, it was lost on me, because I was bored out of my skull, gazing at the stained glass.  I perked up when I heard the word "Iraq," though.  And then I waited for his point.  I'm still waiting.

6.  Then, the rector mentions the Episcopal/Anglican crack-up during his sermon.  He doesn't understand why we can't learn to live with our differences.  Funny thing is, he earnestly seems to believe this is the middle of the road position.  It's not.

7.  I can't listen to the rest of the sermon, because I am so annoyed that the rector mentioned Iraq and the Episcopal/Anglican crack-up.  But, it's not like I listed to the first half of the sermon, so I guess I didn't really miss anything.  I had actually thought on Easter Sunday we'd be safe from this kind of thing, and the rector's sermon would be on point, appropriate and resurrection-focused.  How naive!

8.  The offertory anthem is by Bruce Neswick.  He's very well regarded in the church music world, and I don't hate all present-day composers.  But I've never heard anything that he has done that is particularly good, or which will stand the test of time.  Selecting one of his works for Easter Sunday is just a completely strange decision.

9.  And then: Oh, no it's Eucharistic Prayer C!  This is the flaky as hell one, about "the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses, and this fragile earth, our island home."  It's the "2001 A Space Odyssey" version of the Holy Eucharist.  Most parishes know this, and avoid it like the plague.  What they hell are they thinking?  Isn't Easter Sunday the day for the best of the best, and not the worst of the worst?

10.  The Easter Floral Array.  You contribute for dead people, people.  Not out of thanksgiving for the lives of your own children.  Especially the ones that are hopped up on candy, climbing the walls, sliding under the pews, and trying to play peek-a-boo with me the entire time.  Come on!

Well that's it, I guess.  Only 10!  But, I am generously not blaming the clergy for the weather (colder on Easter than Christmas) or for the some of the appalling clothing choices of our fellow parishioners, etc. etc..  But that's the kind of guy I am.  Generous!

UPDATE:  How could I forget?  There were two more things:

11.  The rector commencing his sermon with "In the name of God, Creator, Redeemer & Sanctifier."  Those words are only partially discriptive of the three members of the Trinity.  They are not to be used to identify the members of the Trinity.  For further details, see the comments on this thread.

12.  Everybody got a pansy on their way out.  Irony of ironies!

Comments

Blessings of the Resurrection

Ann Fontaine   ·  April 10, 2007 12:01 AM

I think your an *******

[ed. I think you're about to get your comment edited].

Anonymous   ·  April 10, 2007 09:24 AM

Dear NBS,

As a lifelong member of St. Basil's on the Bog Episcopal Church, allow me to comment on a few of your criticisms:

1. The service was at 11:00, a special Easter Sunday time that is an hour later than the 10:00 service we usually go to.

Every church growth expert will tell you that you should NEVER change the times of your services, even if it is to host a special event. At St. Basil's, we (very occasionally) cancel the early service, but keep the main service at its traditional 10:42 AM starting time.

4. One of the associate priests, a male who is well in to his forties, is sporting a ponytail. It looks ridiculous. But the more annoying thing is that you just know he thinks it makes him look cool. Good Lord, deliver us.

I met this priest at Joseph-Beth Bookstore during the signing of my latest tome: "Liturgical Trucking: An Anglican Approach to the Grateful Dead". I would encourage you to sign on as an editor of Wikipedia, and place the associate's picture under the entry "Midlife Crisis".

5. The rector mentions Iraq in his Easter sermon. Whatever his point was, it was lost on me, because I was bored out of my skull, gazing at the stained glass. I perked up when I heard the word "Iraq," though. And then I waited for his point. I'm still waiting.

Just as the children of Israel were exiled to ancient Babylon in Old Testament times, so you were (metaphorically speaking) in exile in modern day Babylon during the service. The difference being 40 years versus 40 minutes.


7. I can't listen to the rest of the sermon, because I am so annoyed that the rector mentioned Iraq and the Episcopal/Anglican crack-up. But, it's not like I listed to the first half of the sermon, so I guess I didn't really miss anything. I had actually thought on Easter Sunday we'd be safe from this kind of thing, and the rector's sermon would be on point, appropriate and resurrection-focused. How naive!

I would suggest buying each of your clergy a copy of N.T. Wright's "The Resurrection of the Son of God". At 740 pages, there is plenty that they could learn.

Or you could wait until I publish my next tome: "N.T. Wright for Dummies".


9. And then: Oh, no it's Eucharistic Prayer C! This is the flaky as hell one, about "the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses, and this fragile earth, our island home." It's the "2001 A Space Odyssey" version of the Holy Eucharist. Most parishes know this, and avoid it like the plague. What they hell are they thinking? Isn't Easter Sunday the day for the best of the best, and not the worst of the worst?

At St. Basil's. we used Prayer D, the best of the "Rite II" services. Of course, PRT has a bias toward the gold standard 1662 BCP.

10. The Easter Floral Array. You contribute for dead people, people. Not out of thanksgiving for the lives of your own children.

I am reluctant to disagree with you, but one can give thanks for the blessings of this life as well as commemorating those in the next . . .

11. The rector commencing his sermon with "In the name of God, Creator, Redeemer & Sactifier." Those words are only partially discriptive of the three members of the Trinity. They are not to be used to identify the members of the Trinity. For further details, see the comments on this thread.

If you are buying books for your clergy, please consider the late Stanley Grenz's: "Rediscovering the Triune God". In fact, anything written by Stanley Grenz should be placed in the hands of theologically confused clergy.

Or you can wait a few years for my book: "Stanley Grenz for Dummies".

PRT

Polite, Refined and Tall   ·  April 10, 2007 12:44 PM

Wow, PRT. That comment sets a new standard for comments.

I will say that on the issue of memorial flowers for one's own children, yes you are technically right that it is proper to give thanks for the blessings of this life. But you and I both know that Easter flowers in thanksgiving for one's own children aren't really about that, don't we? It's a cheesy yuppification/deification of one's own offspring. It's also kind of in the category of public officials naming buildings after themselves. Some honors are meant to be bestowed by others, after the honoree is dead.

Also, thanks for commenting Ann Fountaine! For those readers who don't know, Ann Fountaine is an Episcopal priest from the Diocese of Wyoming, and a prominent figure on the left-wing side of church issues. We had no idea she would be an NBS reader, but we are glad to have her.

NBS   ·  April 10, 2007 04:28 PM

Our services maintained the same times, although I miss the sunrise services of the “good ole days”. :-)

I must be missing something because our Priest started her sermon with a comment on the weather and the poor flowers. How this time of year was supposed to be bursting with new life. Then she went on to integrate this into her sermon on the resurrection. Never mentioned Iraq or the “troubles”. I think she is more conservative than it appears at times.

Breakfast after and then home for my mother and I and on to the 10am service for the church.

My uncle treated us to lunch later (he went to the late service). A most enjoyable Easter over all.

Marlin Rice   ·  April 10, 2007 06:04 PM

So the Hyde Park Episcopal church is off the potential church list, but as a mother of 3 young children, I am envious that you heard any words in the sermon- even annoying ones. There was a lovely 1.5 hour service at Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church. If the minister must sip water during the sermon, it is too long. Any lifelong Episcopalian will tell you if the sermon lasts more than 20 minutes, the minister's hand doesn't get shook on the way out the door. The Reformed Episcopal Church must have broken away from mainstream Episcopalians a really long time ago to have missed the short sermon tradition.

AKL   ·  April 10, 2007 07:29 PM

Dear AKL,

I am pleased that you attended Holy Services at Trinity Reformed Episcopal. Fr. Peter is a wonderful priest, and a good all around fellow as well.

If he would only learn that a true Anglican priest sips only Perrier during the sermon . . .

PRT

Polite, Refined and Tall   ·  April 10, 2007 09:01 PM

Perrier, PRT? PERRIER??? A true Anglican priest sips Bombay Dry Gin during the sermon.

And the flock is better for it.

NBS   ·  April 10, 2007 09:26 PM

Dear NBS,

You have me on the Perrier. After reading your ten plus reasons, I had forgotten that we were out of the Lenten Season.

PRT

Polite, Refined and Tall   ·  April 11, 2007 06:33 AM

Sorry Gents,

You are both wrong. Glenmorangie (Port Wood Cask Aged), and neat, should be the preferred sip for any truly refined Anglican cleric. Of course the effeminates will disagree they prefer Fiji Water.

As to the sermon sorry that you didn't hear the resurrection, but what did you expect in such a trendy place?

The Non-Juror   ·  April 11, 2007 09:27 AM

Please forgive the rashness of the Non-Juror: he has never accepted the defeat of the Jacobites and the ultimate humiliaton of Charles Edward Stuart [the Bonnie Prince]

PRT

Polite, Refined and Tall   ·  April 11, 2007 04:48 PM