Saturday, 8 October 2011
mud wrestling in the Christian community
Initially, a strange new language comprised of odd acronymns, which, I realised later, were actually forms of shorthand for such things as missionary societies or various theological dogmas: PSA - penal substitutionary atonement; TULIP, which was not, as I thought, a reference to pretty spring flowers, but Calvinist points of reference.... And then, odd cultural differences: on inviting a friend to come to a dance, she observed that she didn't dance. Blithely I piped up to say that it was alright, as it was very informal and the band taught and called the dance steps. Ah, no. Not that she couldn't dance, but rather she wouldn't dance.
But why this little trip down memory lane? Ah, who said teachers aren't influential? I believe it was in a course entitled 'Principles of Christian Living', taught by a chap named Ivan Bowden, that I first encountered this week's lectionary readings, Philippians 4:1-13. It was a discussion on unity/ harmony/ living peacefully with one another...and in the reading, we encountered two women who rejoiced in the names of Euodia and Syntyche. Suffice to say that there had been a little friction and disharmony between said women: the writer of the epistle noting that the behaviour brought discredit not only upon them but upon the community. Mr Bowden, to illustrate a point imagined a dialogue between 'you're odious' and 'so touchy'. Of course, every time I happen upon this reading, these two poor women are now forever cursed to go through life with the variant names.
Here, too, is a place where at times it is truly unhelpful to be a visual thinker: the two also end up in my head in an ongoing mud-wrestling situation.... Although, given the various disputes that arise in church and threaten to cause disunity, there's sommat to be said for mud wrestling as the way forward with regard to dispute settlement, as well as a useful way of getting the congregation to focus on the one thing... as well as a potential source of income for the roof fund.
Yeah, I wonder how that might preach...?!