Thursday, October 26, 2006

I'm in love with Howard Zinn...

Well, not really, but I watched the documentary "You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train" last night and was struck by Zinn's honesty, long-lived marriage, willingness to examine his past military involvement and change his perspective, courage to speak out on unpopular issues in dangerous times, and his long, lanky, craggy looks. I was both admirous of his character and his cuteness.

And there was a quote I really liked and will include in my upcoming sermon on liberal religious identity which will be the Sunday before Election day and will include a thread on voting our values. The quote is this: "To live as humans should live, with all the bad things happening around us, is a wonderful victory." That's obviously a paraphrase, as I couldn't get to my notebook fast enough to copy it exactly (and it didn't occur to me to replay that segment), so if there's a correct version, I hope I find it.

I've been jotting down thoughts and ideas for this sermon for a couple of days now, even though it's 10 days or so in the future. I always like to include a story from my own experience, or, lacking that, some other anecdote which is illustrative.

As I was thinking about how my own experience intersects with this topic, I was reminded of kitchen table discussions in my childhood, when my mother and father would bemoan the rising of "modernism" and "worldliness" in human lives, because it meant to them estrangement from God, a rejection of God's word, and too much connection with popular culture.

Always an observer of differing opinions rather than a rebeller, I tucked this thinking away in my brain and brought it out later to hold up against the popular culture I was familiar with, to check its validity. It seemed to me that my parents were overly concerned; science didn't seem evil, nor did the effort to understand what the Bible really said in its original language. I didn't mention my opinion to my parents, not wanting to argue, but it fermented and bubbled during my youth and on into college, where I learned things about Christianity and Jesus that were left out of my Sunday School classes!

Needless to say, I have embraced modernism (only now it's post-modernism, I guess) and the worldliness of popular culture, so it was a revelation to me to see the linkage between liberal religious identity and popular culture. It affirmed the connection I had already made in my mind but had not articulated.

I'm looking forward to actually writing the sermon. I mostly enjoy "having written" rather than "writing", but there comes a point when I have done enough jotting and thinking and remembering and need to start putting it together. I feel a growing pressure within me that is only relieved by putting words on paper (or on screen, actually). And I feel that pressure building today.

I've put together the order of service for that Sunday and have decided how to tie in the children's story with the sermon, which gives me a sense of all the things that will flow throughout the service and the sermon. So I'm about to release the growing energy into words.

Wish me luck.


Chalicechick said...

I googled your paraphrase along with Zinn's name and came up with:

"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic; it is based on the fact that human history is a history of not only cruelty, but of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. And if we do act, in however small away, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future - the future is an infinite succession of 'presents,' and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."

That is a lovely quote.

My parents thought 80's rock music was all about Satanism, including like, Van Halen and other music that really, really isn't. I guess they saw that on the news one time and formed that impression without checking it out.



ms. kitty said...

Thank you, CC, that was a lovely thing to do for me.

Chalicechick said...

Glad to help! I was curious, too.


LinguistFriend said...

Well, many people will wish you luck in getting down to writing that sermon, and look forward to seeing it eventually. But not so much if you embrace post-modernism, which is the philosophy of people who are sure that technology is computers, but do not know what a capacitor is. Recently I found myself representing our grad school at one doctoral defense by a student who was all over post-modernism; that was no fun, and I left out the nasty part. Grrr.

ms. kitty said...

Don't worry, LF, I'm not identifying as a Po-Mo, just remarking that we are past the so-called modern era and on into the post-modern era, with all its attendant problems. In fact, we may be post-post-modern by now, as the world whirls on.