Thursday, October 13, 2011

Reading Presbyterians Today

I'm finally catching up on reading the last few issues of Presbyterians Today, which sounds like a daily paper, but isn't. The July/August issue cover touted stories about High Tech High Touch Finding the Balance. Amidst well-written articles by Kathy Wolf Reed about the use of technology in our congregations and Cary Estes about how to reflect creation care in our church facilities, I found an article entitled "Virtual World Congregation." This article takes a look at 1st Presbyterian Church of Second Life (1PCSL), an online worshipping community. I was intrigued by the various comments offered by those who participate in this community. It made me wonder if this kind of virtual worshipping community might be a forecast of things to come, and if it is, I wonder how those of us in professional ministry might adjust our thinking and practice when it comes to leading congregations.

At a recent meeting of the Committee on Theological Education (COTE), we discussed many issues facing theological education both in seminaries and in the church at large, and while distance learning came up, I don't recall anyone talking about virtual community. It seems that we might need to encourage seminaries to take a serious look at how our traditional models of theological education come to bear on the non-geographical, non-physical, probably non-denominational world of Second Life and similar online communities.

For now, I think I'll make an attempt to explore this online worshipping community and find out how it might feed my own need for spiritual nourishment.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A ridiculous Jesus Is My Boyfriend song

I was cruising along with the windows down on this beautiful fall day here in Middle Tennessee, scanning the radio for fun music, when I came across a peppy little tune I knew I had heard before. As the girl with Colbie Callet type voice began singing, I remembered that the song is entitled "Hold Me" and the girl singing was Jamie Grace. I think this song wins the prize for the most blatant "Jesus Is My Boyfriend/I wrote a peppy romantic song and decided to make it about Jesus to make a profit off the Christian market" song I've ever heard. Some sample lyrics:

I’ve had a long day, I just wanna relax
Don’t have time for my friends, no time to chit-chat
Problems at my job, wonderin’ what to do
I know I should be working but I’m thinking of You and
Just when I feel this crazy world is gonna bring me down
That’s when Your smile comes around

Oh, I love the way You hold me, by my side You’ll always be
You take each and every day, make it special in some way
I love the way You hold me, in Your arms I’ll always be
You take each and every day, make it special in some way
I love You more than the words in my brain can express
I can’t imagine even loving You less
Lord, I love the way You hold me

And the sappy love song, oops, I mean praise, no wait, sappy love song goes on and on. I don't really have time to get into a long tirade about why I dislike using contemporary romantic imagery to discuss one's relationship with God, but I'd like to go on the record as saying this song is utterly and completely ridiculous.