Friday, September 29, 2006

Genre Blog

A couple weeks ago during morning break I was yakking with Lorraine, a classmate who also has lived in Massachusetts. As often happens, we got to talking about the East Coast, then about lifestyles on the North Shore of Boston—I served churches in very working-class Lynn, a GE town if ever there was one, and in the historically substantial city of Salem a few miles north up the coast. Historically substantial? In ages past the Old World considered Salem The New World, based on reports they heard and read. Clipper Ships and opium feature prominently in Salem's chronicles, as does Tabernacle Church, directly descended from the oldest continuing (possibly first ever, too) congregation in the New World gathered in 1629 by people John Robinson had pastored in Leiden! BTW, because of their third building's architectural style, the church eventually got named after the London Tabernacle. Needless to say, I needn't cite the Salem Witch Trials, but nonetheless I just did.

As Lorraine and I continued to talk in the shadow of the junk truck that pulls up at break time every day, we started reminiscing about generic less-than-healthy American cuisine(!). Lorraine asked if I remembered the name of a Saugus steakhouse she was thinking about and I said HILLTOP!!! of course, on the heavily-traveled and highly commercial Route 1. Then I mentioned a Molly Ivins commentary I heard on PBS ages ago; Molly was talking about Texas but it could've been Saugus, as she referred to "the cow on the roof genre." This is my theology site and lately I've become even more obsessed than usual about the church and my experiences therein...and the Cow on the Roof genre idea inspired me to think about church genres, so I’'ll list a scant few basic possibilities; I anticipate expanding on these soon.

Church of:

Cross between the candles
Eucharist in the ultra vernacular
Semi-monthly (Protestant) Bingo
Potluck in the named after a dead or alive former pastor Social Hall
Trespassers unwelcome
Intentional exclusion(s)

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