A few years ago I decided that I was going to stop beating myself up about Not Being A Writer and learn to love being a storyteller. On the whole that’s gone quite well, except that now and then I do actually think of something I’d like to say – and it’s become too easy to dismiss those thoughts because, after all, I’m not trying to be a writer any more.
William Stafford advises poets in Writing the Australian Crawl – when your work doesn’t meet your own standards, lower your standards. Seems like a plan to me. I’m going to try to write about what I’m thinking and reading, for my own edification…unliterary and unorganized thoughts…in short, a blog.
What I’m thinking today – the Revised Common Lectionary readings from the Hebrew scriptures for this winter look like a dim sum cart. A dab of this, a piece of that. I don’t know how to deal with this as a biblical storyteller. I like to work with big, demanding chunks of text. The word for the day: DISMAY.
Bingo! September’s gone!
Not really, but it feels that way. I am on the Building Committee at our church, which turns out to be a disturbingly big commitment that eats time in sizeable chunks. Oh, but it’s fun, though. And I am working on our new welcome brochure, exposing hitherto unexplored and vast areas of technical ignorance. Baba Yaga is overfunctioning, but this is a September tradition. Also n October tradition.
I had a wonderful time telling stories for the WELCA group at Saint John’s Lutheran Church in Louisville, Kentucky on Monday, September 8. WELCA, for those who don’t speak Lutheran, is Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It was deeply moving to watch how they took care of each other – understanding and tending one another’s weaknesses without making a big deal out of it. And they took care of mine, too – came over to New Albany to fetch me because I wouldn’t drive in Louisville, put me up for the night – the program chaiman slept in her spare room so I could have her bed – took me out to breakfast – gave me jewelry, carried my suitcase. It was like being surrounded by Jesus. I’d go there again if I had to crawl on my hands and knees.
Did I mention they took me out for breakfast?
I’m reading Holly Hearon’s The Mary Magdalene Tradition: Witness and Counter-Witness in Early Christian Communities. What an astonishing book – and beautifully written, too. She’s a Biblical scholar with a storyteller’s heart, I think. I had been putting off buyoing it because she’s so young (compared to, say, Walter Brueggemann) but you know, I am coming right up on my 60th birthday which means a bunch of smart, creative, productive people are younger than I am.
Some of them are even my children.
I want to tell you about the cake at the WELCA telling. The church had had a reception the day before, so fo the collation following the meeting/telling there was a generous supply of cake. At cleanup, there was still quite a lot of cake – which was packed carefully and taken away by five or six women, for destinations where it might be appreciated. Quiet voices in the kitchen. “You’ll take some of this to XXX, won’t you?” “Could ZZZ use this for the children?” Again, no big deal was made. Just diaconal ministry at work.
The tree is down, the ornaments are put away, the Christmas cards are done, and I’ve made a start on the thank-you-notes. I remember with considerable chagrin all the years when I thought the Nativity stories were sentimental and boring – this was before I got whacked upside the head by the interpretive genius of Raymond Brown. Now I look forward to recollecting these stories at Christmas, and to being stirred by the passion for justice and renewal that breathes through them. Continue reading