Friday, March 14, 2008

Dry Bones Get Up And Walk

Rev. Rich Lang turned out at the encampment last night to serve dinner in full ecclesial drag. Rich always looks good in white, and the colorful stole brings out the ruddiness in his cheeks. He was joined by around ten other faith community leaders in that most basic of communal activities, the serving of food.

Not that I was there. In an unusual fit of self-preservation, I slept for 12 hours last night in a warm bed. I've seen Rich in drag enough that even this wasn't enough to get me out in last night's rain.

You can see a photo of the meal being served underneath the canopy I purchased on sale Thursday night at Big Five for $99. Here's the Seattle Times story by Sharon Chan from this morning. She counts 10 tents during the meal, but Paul Boden told me this morning that they counted 48 tents last night, not including the cardboard boxes and "burritos," which is what organizers called the hardy plastic sheet wrapped sleeping bag people strewn throughout the site. What can I say? The Real Change Organizing Project rocks hard. And the "facts" in the reporting kinda suck.

But Rich has been kind of losing it lately because the church, for the most part, is deep in the same narcotic, consumerist slumber as everyone else. Instead of being the passionate and inspired counter-cultural centers of resistance and community that these times call for, most churches and synagogues are lukewarm at best.

And any product of the Catholic schools such as myself knows how the lord feels about the lukewarm. Revelations 3:15 was the very first bible verse I'd memorize, due to its immense appeal to a second grader. "So then, because thou art luke-warm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit thee out of my mouth."

Other translations have different renderings. The words spew and spit are also used. The more delicate Modern Translation avoids peristaltic unpleasantness altogether with "I will have no more to do with you."

Revelations 3:17, however, gets to the heart of things. Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.

Anyway, Rich hasn't been so impressed lately with the social justice commitment of most churches, and was deeply disappointed when a Seattle church opted this week against hosting Tent City for no other reason than that it would not be proper.

And so, his most recent sermon, Dry Bones, is a masterpiece of vision, passion, love, and yes, frustration. He rolled out a bit of it last night at the event. But listen to the real thing, where he riffs off of Ezekial, delivered at Trinity last Sunday. You could just read it, but it's not the same. You'd miss the revisions and ad libs and hearing him get all choked up in the beginning. The recording starts with a few minutes of something else, so don't let that throw you. Preacherman can preach. Make them bones get up and walk. Amen.

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