Summer Projects

photo (1)One thing I DO love about teaching is maintaining this school schedule that my body is so accustomed to at this point in my life!  Summers off, wahoo!  Our school’s graduation was June 19, but I was finished about a week before that.  I have been keeping myself busy, however, with summer projects, of which there seem to be an abundance.  Some of those projects are small personal ones, like filing and databasing all of the choral music I own, organizing my Flickr photos, and updating all of my websites.  But others are much bigger, like organizing the music library at my church job, choosing repertoire for school for the fall, and completing a painting project for a friend.  One of my favorite yearly summer projects is the Congregations Project, which is a weeklong seminar hosted by the Yale Institute of Sacred Music.  Each year, they bring together around 7 teams from congregations all over the US to share project ideas with one another and thing, talk, act, and pray around a particular topic.

Since embodiment was the theme, this happened.

Since embodiment was the theme, this happened.

This year’s topic was “embodiment”, so as you can imagine, lots of congregations offered projects dealing with the individual body and/or what it means to be in community with others as the body of Christ.  Here are some random quotes/paraphrases from the week that inspired me.  (I’ve tried to cite the speaker in most cases, but could not always remember who said what!):

“Every congregation holds deep in their bones the knowledge that FLESH MATTERS.  But how do they matter, and for what?” – Dorothy Bass

“You can’t separate the theology of the church from the body.  Who matters here?  Who takes up the space?  What does healing mean when you can’t ‘fix it’?” – Cheryl Cornish

On the topic of evangelism: “It doesn’t really help to keep answering questions people aren’t asking.” – Cheryl Cornish

“If you are comfortable with every part of our worship service, we’re not doing it right.  Because part of worship needs to be taking 10 minutes to step aside for someone else.” – Cheryl Cornish

“What do you need to die to so you will stop ‘help, save, comfort, and defend’-ing yourself?” – Paul Palumbo

“Jesus is known by his wounds, even in his resurrection.” – Paul Palumbo

“A lot of times, compassion in a church is treated like a fixed commodity.” – Cheryl Cornish

“The liturgical tradition is on our side if we dare to appropriate it in a robust way.” – Rita Ferrone

“We already have received the very best gifts [from God] …in an effort to enhance our worships, we dare not cover up the best things.” – Kim Long

How do you look at things around you without assuming you already know what they’re all about? – Kim Long

“God has a more profound agenda than the amusement of a congregation.” – Kim Long

“What difference would it make in our preaching if we considered ourselves ‘God-bearers’?  …Our preaching is profoundly embodied…” – Kim Long

“We don’t go to church as much as we flow through it.” – Kim Long

“The history of Christian faith is the history of a body – the body suffering, the body feasting, the body lamenting, the body resurrected…” – Don Saliers

“Too often we thing about things; we need to think with them.” – Don Saliers

“Christian liturgy is an art, but not a work of art.  Liturgy is a performative, artful, symbolic action.  It originates in the body; Jesus comes speaking and doing things.” – Don Saliers

“If liturgy doesn’t take tension into account, well the hell with it!  Tensions are the very stuff of artistic creativity.” – Don Saliers

“We will not always be able-bodied, and that’s a permanent tension, because liturgy takes time.” – Don Saliers

“Sometimes, the subcultures we’re surrounded by take away the depth of the language we use.  So we need to undomesticate, uncaptivate the language.  Other times, the culture itself may offer us insight.  There can be great tension in this.” – Don Saliers

“We are called upon to bring the wholeness of knowing to the love of God.” – Tom Troeger

“What happens [when you pay attention to the multiple intelligences of the body] is it becomes all of us for all of God.” – Tom Troeger

“God calls us to some of these conversions [theistic, Christic, ecclesial, moral, affective, intellectual], but rarely all at once.  So we think of ongoing conversion – we turn to the Lord more and more with our whole being over a lifetime.  God isn’t finished with us yet!” – Rita Ferrone

It was an incredible week together.  I’m always amazed at how quickly a sense of community can be formed.  We shared so many things with one another, and I’m so glad for this third opportunity to be a part of this annual seminar.  Here’s hoping for another go at it next year!

And now, last but not least!  My current summer project is building a labyrinth at Mar-Lu-Ridge, a Lutheran summer camp in Jefferson, MD.  I have so many things to say about this and will continue blogging to share the details over the course of the next two weeks!