Thursday, September 29, 2005

Mainline churches USA and ethnic congregations, part two

Second Part

American Protestants and their Homeland Identities

For starters, check out this recipe for Shipwreck, for a "hot dish" definitely reminiscent of very Middle America.

American Protestants, Homeland Identities just might begin with the Puritans – purifiers of – and Pilgrims – separatists from – the established Anglican Church, with each group having a different take on their Anglican origins in terms of liturgy, polity, and theology. I'll risk saying a little more about my topic from Part One:

Beginning in the American colonies and continuing through and beyond the technical birth of the United State of America, each of today's church bodies started out as a church of, by, and for immigrants, configured (theologically, liturgically, socially, and culturally) at least to some extent like the churches the people had left behind in their countries of origin. With so many aspects of their lives become so strange, those immigrants to what for them was an outland needed their churches and their food to have the same familiarness as the ones they'd left behind. For all of us, religion and food come laden with profound cultural meanings way beyond our essential spirituality and basic nutrition, meanings which truly point to any and/or all of our national, ethnic, and individual identities (inherited or adopted), to the very roots that ground us. Remember "you are what you eat" from a couple decades ago? You and I do become what we eat; I'll expand that into "you are what you worship," since every god creates and keeps recreating you in its own image—an ongoing activity not at all unique to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God of the prophets, God of Jesus Christ!

In part one I wrote about: continental European non-English speaking Lutheran and Reformed plus Italian Roman Catholics; very English-speaking (but with different accents and dialects) Anglicans, Presbyterians, and Congregationalists; I also mentioned more newly-arrived Asian and Hispanic, African, and Caribbean Christians—they've come to this country arrayed as Protestant and Catholic, but not exactly the same varieties of those Great Christian traditions we've become accustomed to! In addition to different and differing style of worship and evangelism, those newer churches of immigrants bring with them their unique dietary and feasting habits and customs.

Regarding inherited or adopted identities referred to supra, a personal aside: I'm looking to winning really big again at Presbyterian(!) bingo, though I'm not sure when the next inning will be. Having lived in, served in, and gone to school in Irish Catholic Boston, where bingo at church is absolutely huge, I'm not sure I'd ever imagined such a thing as "Presbyterian Bingo!" However, for a long time now, the Reformed Church has been my home, and if they're going for bingo with material objects for prizes, I can adopt that as an occasional habit?!

I want to get something onto this blog and as interested as I am in this subject, I have a bunch of other things I need to work on, so I'm posting it this evening, way, way unfinished, but anticipating a probable eventual Mainline churches USA and ethnic congregations, part three.

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