November 19th, 2010


a little wordplay

From Hoosier United Methodists Together, November/December 2010 issue:
INDIANAPOLIS -- Wanting to provide a safe place for American Indians native to Indiana to worship and gather as a community, the Rev. LeKisha Reed . . . convened an Oct. meeting of United Methodist and other American Indian advocates of greater Indianapolis . . .

That's an arresting phrase in that opening: "wanting to provide a safe place" [italics mine]. I wasn't aware that Native Americans were regularly being attacked on the streets of Indy. Has the sound of a fife and drum corps playing "Garryowen" been heard emanating from the former site of Fort Benjamin Harrison?

This phrase, "a safe place" crops up a lot in churchified boilerplate. Perhaps it bothers me because it implies the group referenced is being victimized by the larger community. This is sometimes the case, but not always. Sometimes minority groups are simply ignored by the larger community. That could imply neglect, but neglect is not the same as hostility. And sometimes minority groups are celebrated by the larger community (everybody's Irish on St. Patrick's Day, for instance). Anyway, I tire of the victim/victimizer dichotomy and all the Conflict Theory sociology that goes with it.

I think that phrase, "a safe place," also bothers me because I remember the Christians of my younger days being severely criticized by denominational leaders for supposedly wanting the church to be "a safe place" for those who did not want to engage the ills of society. "The Church is not a refuge, but a staging point," they thundered. It's the people in the same positions who criticized the majority for supposedly wanting the church to be "a safe place" for them who now advocate it being "a safe place" for other groups. Seems to me, one of the functions of the church is that it should be "a safe place" for all of God's children.

For what it's worth, I think a UM ministry to Native Americans in Indy would be a great thing, but I'd like our communications people to get rid of some of their worn rhetoric. Maybe we could assist the staff of HUM Together by sending them some underused words and phrases, like, I dunno . . . being saved? redemption in his blood? Scriptural holiness? conversion? It's been a while since I've seen those phrases in any of our UM publications.

Letting the cat out of the bag

Well, I'm finally all ready to go camping with the Venturers tonight. After I got all the crew gear assembled, I got around to packing for myself. We're not backpacking, so I just grabbed ye olde blue duffel to put my stuff in. Hera immediately crawled inside and curled up. She liked it.

Take me along if you love-a me Take me along if you love-a me
Hera wants to go camping, too, it seems.

We are staying tonight at Lynnville Park and attending a meeting of the Evansville Astronomical Society at their observatory. We'll hear a talk on measuring distances in space, then get a private tour of the observatory.

Tomorrow, we're touring Angel Mounds, a prehistoric Mound-builder Indian site along the Ohio River. For supper, we're eating at Shyler's Barbecue before heading home.

It's not supposed to get toooo cold. We should do fine. I'm bringing my little camp perker, so there'll be coffee in the morning, regardless. Oughta be fun.

Rougher! Tougher! Buffer!