Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Devil is in the Details

I was told by several people today that I need to blog more. And since I'm into that whole "God is still speaking" thing, I decided I'd better heed the suggestions (and their possible divine origin) and actually do it.
Besides I have a paper to write and a whole Communion liturgy to memorize for class tomorrow which means it's time I honor one of the original purposes of this blog: Procrastination.
I'm not home, so I can't clean the house to avoid school work so blogging is the next best thing (why didn't I think of this before??.....*sigh*.....two years of dorm room time gone to waste).

Seriously, I have a terminal case of "senioritus" this semester. I've gotten into the bad habit of starting papers at 10:00 pm on the night before they're due. So far I've managed to keep my head above water but looking ahead to the next two weeks I see a tidal wave a'comin' and if I don't get my act together I'm in real danger of getting washed out to sea.
(how dramatic.....and take note of all the lovely water imagery. You see, this is so much more interesting than writing a paper).

I have paper due next week for my Satan class that involves interviewing members of my congregation to document their beliefs about the Devil and the existence Hell. So far, every response I've gotten has been: "Yeah, I don't believe in either one.....and by the way, WHY are you taking a class on Satan in seminary?"
So now I have the pleasure of writing a 7-10 page paper on "Yeah, I don't believe in either one." Wish me luck with that.

Of course, this is not surprising. The UCC specifically, and New England mainline churches in general, are not known for espousing a fire and brimstone theology that holds that sin is punished via eternal damnation and that evil is personified in the form of the Devil. Heck, on the rare occasions that the UCC Statement of Faith is read in worship one can just feel the tension in the room as the congregation says in unison (through gritted teeth): "We...resist the powers of evil."
Evil? What is this "evil" of which you speak, and what power does it have? Evil, you see, is all in our minds. It possesses only the power that we give to it.

"Evil" is not a word that is typically part of our liberal Christian vocabulary (unless we're using it to describe George Bush or Sarah Palin). So it's not surprising that we have so little to say about it. We may talk about the evils of racism, classism, sexism, poverty and oppression, but we don't ascribe these things to some outside force. We blame them on the evil that exists within. Evil is the byproduct of our own God-given free-will. We are the cause of evil, and the potential to do evil exists within each one of us. So any "war against evil" is essentially a war against our own humanity.

Geesh, now it sounds like I actually AM writing a paper.
So I may as well go and be productive. That Communion ritual is not going to work its way into my brain via osmosis (ahhh, yet another use of water imagery...did you catch that?)

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