Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rancho Bernardo - Community - PCUSA

Faithful and interesting readers, this was a not good experience—at least in terms of church. I'll post a relatively short blog here and then a longer followup in a few days or so.

Ten days ago on Saturday evening I sampled another church in what is becoming a series; this one was part of the Protestant Mainline, though you'd never have known it from any of the signage, announcements or printed material. The congregation in attendance and the worship leaders reflected the mostly white, middle-class to upper-middle-class demographics of Rancho Bernardo, an affluent suburb north of where I live. "Community Church" is a fairly routine designation, used by some non-affiliated congregations and quite frequently in the mainline UCC and PC(USA). So RBP wants to present itself as a gift to the greater world rather than only to people who might be looking for a Presbyterian Church?! Time for a disclaimer: RBP has a very large membership and extensive campus, and by necessity, I'm reporting only on my experience of maybe 5% of the whole, but the pew hymnals were one of Hope Publishing's free church hymnals, Worship and Praise, rather than the PH. Now that I'm blogging this, it runs in my mind that the NRSV pew bibles did carry the PC(USA) logo...

Check out the church's website: Transformed Lives. Admittedly I didn't spend a lot of time on the extensive site, but nowhere could I find a single instance of the PC(USA) logo and could not discover any denominational affiliation, though "Presbyterian" refers to a particular type of connectionality.

The new sanctuary included doors, stained glass and other artifacts from some of the former. The assembly sits in more than a 3/4 circle...a large, though unfilled (okay, I know about the health hazards of keeping water in the font) baptismal font greeted us at the entrance, but the communion table was disproportionately small and pretty much pushed back against the wall of the front platform.

PCUSA sealPlainly put, what I experienced at RB was disastrous in terms of its being an actual congregation of the PC(USA). I did describe it as not fun, but trust me—that sequel will be here soon, so check back on this site. I have so much to say about God, worship, church and identity. And I've made this logo link to PCUSA dot org, so there.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Happy Birthday RevGals...

Celebrate



Rev Gal Blog Pals...and Guys and Friends—Two Years Old Today!

Here's a bunch of balloons to help with the celebration!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Considering La Jolla Community Church

Just this past 29 April 2007, LJCC first worshiped at its permanent church home, and on 20 May, their fourth Sunday, the Seventh Sunday of Easter, Sunday after the Ascension, I trekked a couple miles north and visited La Jolla Community Church. A lot of LJCC-ers had been PC(USA)-ers, so everything was comfortably familiar to me: the liturgy was Service of the Word (sometimes called ante-communion or mass of the catechumens); font, table and cross visibly prominent in the chancel; in addition to some praise songs, we sang the famous Ascension hymn, "Crown Him with Many Crowns"; the preacher's remark "when we confess our faith in the words of the Apostles Creed we affirm the public truth..."; the choir sang "Now Sing We Joyfully" by Gordon Young. Wonderful music, very well performed, but after all, Worship and Arts Pastor Daniel Sharp has a doctorate and decades of experience! Pastor Dan also was the day's preacher since Pastor Steve was on a mission trip.

Everything seemed fresh, new and clean, and given that we're in the early 21st century, the conventional physical arrangement surprised me with chancel in front and a long nave divided by a center aisle. Exploring the website this afternoon I found:
Q. What is the history of the property and why was it up for sale?

A. Originally a Baptist Church, it was most recently owned by Horizon Christian Fellowship. Horizon has experienced the majority of their growth outside the Golden Triangle area and the Eastgate Mall site no longer fit into their long range plan. They were committed to having a church on the property and said that LJCC’s emphasis on outreach, discipleship and mission would be an excellent use for the site.

This is especially interesting since just two days ago I worshiped at Horizon.

Although LJCC is a recently-gathered and incorporated congregation, senior pastor Steve Murray had been at the nationally high-profile La Jolla Presbyterian for about ten years. Here's some info about LJCC:

Vision, Purpose, Promise

LJCC Essential Doctrines

Yes, relatively conservative, theologically, socially and probably politically, but I love the flowing elegance, ease and grace of their Essential Doctrines; with 19 points from God through eschatology; this is no static statement, and I don't need to say, "Oh, of course I agree with that—just need to reinterpret and recast a few words and phrases here and there."

The portal page of the website shows Pastor Steve holding a chalice and patten, witnessing to the congregation's "Word and Sacrament" identity, resonating and cohering with the denominational protestant mainline churches, right in step with the Reformer's definition of Church and, of course, right there with Pastor Steve's and much of the congregation's former affiliation with the PC(USA); preaching the lectionary lines up with the mainline churches, as well.

Because I had a free ticket to hear Hector Berlioz's Requiem at Symphony in the afternoon, I couldn't hang around after worship, but geographically, suburban La Jolla, technically a neighborhood of the city of San Diego as in, "San Diego 92037 or 92038," is part of the affluent Golden Triangle and many members of LJCC are from La Jolla Pres, making most of the congregation middle- to upper-middle class. All ages seemed evenly represented, and it wasn't as overwhelmingly female as a lot of churches. On a patio table I found a stack of NIV Daily Bibles ... "The Complete New International Version in 365 Daily Readings" as a gift for first-time visitors, so I took one, thinking it would be helpful to dip into the day's passages.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Vistas on a Visit to Horizon

Yesterday I had another unscheduled Sunday, so again took advantage of the opportunity to visit and worship with a church in a tradition other than mainline. Though I've set my own horizons on finding a congregation within the emerging church category - given that my relatively liberal theological worldview precludes much of anything else - this time I chose Horizon Christian Fellowship, San Diego. Besides a copyright notice, street address and contact info, the footer on each page of the website says, "God Bless America." As do congregations in the Calvary Chapel movement that has become extensive enough to be considered close to what we'd call a denomination, Horizon terms itself a fellowship. Predictably, on the Horizon campus, during worship and checking out the website, I found myself applying Reformation criteria of Word and Sacrament to my experiences.

When I arrived at the church complex, I went into the nearest building, the auditorium, where the first of a series of three "Essentials for Life" – A Win, Disciple, Send Equipping Course – classes was just beginning. Since I hadn't read the website carefully enough I hadn't planned on going to a class, but in a friendly manner they gave me a participant's guide to the course to keep; I picked up some collateral materials and then made my way to the far-away gymnasium for worship. The design of the printed materials is contemporary, clean and attractive without being slick (a lot of it's on coated paper, so I needed to say without being conceptually excessively slick), in colors I'd call "bright naturals."

In the worship arena, there was a raised platform with lectern, some sound equipment plus 1) no communion table and 2) no baptismal font. On the website I found evidence of a sign of grace rather than a means of grace or effective sign of grace theology, but clicking around as I edited this post eight years later I found nothing related to sacraments or ordinances. My original blog post included this note from the website back then: "The first weekend of every month, we celebrate the Lord's supper/communion as part of the weekend services. Please join us in honoring Jesus' death and resurrection."

"For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes." (1 Corinthians 11:26)

At worship, continued
: led by guitar and a female vocalist, we sang several songs unfamiliar to me, and then one of my all-time faves, which for a while formed part of my blogger profile—" Mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of Your name!" I still remember singing "Shout to the Lord" a few winters ago at the PC(USA)'s Synod of Southern California and Hawaii mission event at Bel Air Pres ... a very different setting, a radically differing theological perspective ... Pastor Phillip MacIntosh, the charmingly engaging son of Pastor Mike MacIntosh, who was out of town, was the speaker/teacher and did a practical, well thought-out application of Ephesians 4:17-32. During the message Pastor Phillip said you can't just pop into church just to get your $3.00 lunch and expect to become a changed person, so post-worship, I checked out the lunch place. The breakfast buffet I selected from was $4.50, the lunch spread $5.00, but we've had a degree of $$$ inflation. Very tasty food, so good I'll write a restaurant review when I find a few minutes.

Locally, Mike MacIntosh's biography of a journey through drug addiction to founding pastor of an institution that has grown to help God change a multitude of lives is fairly well-known, even in mainline circles. In a way I was heartened that I had difficulty finding a page with a greeting, photo or message from Pastor Mike, who is currently HCF's senior pastor, but on the other hand, I always want to read a greeting from or bio of the church's pastors, and there was one, on a Know God? page that's no longer there.

The Horizon timeline and history is gone from the website, but it chronicled a journey from home study groups at the home of Mike MacIntosh, then director of Maranatha! Music to the current Horizon Affiliates of over 100 churches and para-church organizations that have grown out of Horizon in San Diego--some are affiliated both with Horizon and Calvary chapel. There are international campuses in Mexico, Russia and Japan. In the mainline, especially around in here in Southern California, we refer to church "campuses," too! Like like most conservative, evangelical churches, the pastoral leadership is exclusively male and the statement of faith contains the "biblical inerrancy" phrase. HCF-affiliated schools include an on-campus preschool, elementary, a junior/senior high, Horizon College and Horizon School of Evangelism. We watched a short video featuring local youth and a husband-wife missionary team currently serving in Japan. One of the young women commented on her joy at visiting Japan and being with part of "the universal church we hear so much about."

Bible studies, home fellowships, a comprehensive, accredited educational system, Sunday meals, instruction in Christian living...is Horizon Christian Fellowship functioning something like a total institution or is it an organization simply seeking to give its friends and members total provision? For sure, Jesus Christ in the Spirit calls us to conform to the Imago Dei in which we were created, but does HCF seek to re-shape, re-form and re-generate its members into another image, that of a stereotypical contemporary conservative Christian? Once you're in, is it easy or hard to get out? Do you want to leave? Are there rites of passage beyond baptism? How about charismatic leaders, other than the Crucified and Risen One?

A few months ago I wrote,
The colors, texts, textures and music marking the events in the liturgical calendar were more real to me than any of my own individual history ever had been and had shaped my life into deep, indelible patterns and designs that of late seem completely irretrievable. The church was my literal life...the ministry I did was the fruit of my labor and the fruit of my heart.

The rhythms, pace and pulse of local church ministry with its alternating consistency and surprising interventions shaped my days and literally outlined my identity. How can a broken heart keep beating? And to what avail? Although I definitely consider myself a wordsmith, it has taken the words of others to describe my situation and feelings.
In other words, the protestant mainline for me was something close to what Horizon is attempting to be for its constituency.

HCF is doing a wonderful ministry for a lot of people, and equipping them to serve well, too. Although I didn't attempt a detailed demographic survey, offhand I'd say it was mostly White, with quite a few Asian-Americans, a lot of Latino/as and some Blacks, probably mainly African-American, with all ages well-represented. An extensive architectural renovation is in progress and will lead to a handsome, useful, multi-purpose physical plant. Of course I compared this with my visit to La Jolla Community Church, clearly a mainline spinoff, so tomorrow or Wednesday I'll finish and post my blog about LJCC.

desert spirit's fire is 5!

On 16 July 2002 @ 8:39 PM, I birthed this blog, a.k.a. my first blog, my theology blog and my main blog; however, I'm making the time on this post midnight, because birthdays are celebrated all day long. And on this coming Thursday, 19 July, RevGalBlogPals will be 2 years old!

Background

After being caught up in a Moebius loop almost forever, in May 2002 I finished a 2-semester long mini-MBA in entrepreneurship—a Certificate in Community Economic Development at San Diego State University. In the CED program I knew God had brought together everything in my background in a way no human could have: my life-long passion for inner cities, their people and their infrastructures; my background in the social sciences; my social work degree; my activist experience, and my theological perspective. People might argue that graphic design, theology and piano performance were my primary passions and gifts, but I'd counter by insisting those fields weren't necessarily my best places for employment. After graduating with my new professional credential, I got the bright idea of beginning a blog as a place to store my ideas and writing - both new and old - so they wouldn't get irretrievably lost, and as a way to connect with people who have similar interests and passions.

From late August into very early September 2002 I spent several days at Holden Village. My time at Holden included great meals and a series of classes on discernment led by Nancy Reeves, whose site wouldn't load either time tried so I haven't linked to it. I got an autographed copy of Nancy's book, I'd Say "Yes" God, If I Knew What You Wanted, and also had a disappointing session with a guy trained in Ignatian discernment. BTW, twice I'd chosen not to continue the candidacy process for ordinaton to Ministry of Word and Sacrament or pursue any FT staff position in a local church, believing not doing so was the best stewardship of my life and gifts. Back in SD, thinking something absolutely had to come out of my CED year, I attended as many networking opps as possible, continued doing some teaching and preaching and not enough playing and then...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

¡Los Romeros!

Heaven on earth—the Reign of God came near!

¡Viva España!

classical guitarFriday evening tame breezes glanced off the waters, the Coronado Ferry glided past in both directions, and a near-capacity crowd at the San Diego Symphony's Summer Pops on the Embarcadero listened to music passionately performed by world-class musicians, including The Romeros. Celebrated to a storied degree and without any doubt the world's premiere guitarists, the Romero family's permanent residence is a little north of here in Del Mar! For most of the first half of the concert program we enjoyed al Sur a Flamenco Quartet comprised of dancer, vocalist and artist, Graciela – "Grace" – Perrone, guitarist Gareth Jones, Sidney King on acoustic bass and percussionist Brian "el Blanco" Kushmaul. They were phenomenally excellent, especially Graciela's singing and dancing, and from my very first row front and center Champagne Cabaret seat (thanks, Lea Ann and Pat of WalkerVision videographers), I hardly needed to watch the jumbotron (the screens actually were uncomfortably out of my sightline). Both quartet groups stole the evening, but still I need to credit conductor Matthew Garbutt, who has another life as the SD Symphony's principal tuba.

Los Romeros The Romeros had tremendous rapport with us, the audience. Watching them interact as musicians and as family was so very fun and cool! An added bonus was that three of them played guitars built by luthier Pepe Romero, Jr., who was in the audience—I think the entire Romero family was there! Their main piece of the evening was Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto Andaluz, written for the Romero Quartet. Pepe and Celin are sons of the group's founder, the late Celedonio Romero; cousins Lito and Celino are Celedonio's grandsons. The guitarists got a standing ovation and graced us with two encores. Way to go!

Heaven on earth! the Reign of God came near!

A garden well-tended and cultivated eventually grows into a city...having a clue about desert geography and climate, the sometimes challenging, frequently life-giving wilderness topography of southwestern Spain, of the middle East, and of the less far away from here Mojave and Sonoran deserts, all the concert long I kept visualizing hot dry winds (blowing into southern California from the Santa Ana range), searing sands, blazing sun and hidden life teaming underground giving modal, instrumental and tonal accents to the music. I felt shimmering colors of turquoise, camel, olive, azure and coral—as common to the seacoast as to the desert.

Joshua 18:1 – Then the whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh and set up the Tent of Meeting there. The land lay subdued beneath them...

Jeremiah 7:12 – "Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my Name..."

The city Shiloh, was one of the shrines of the tribal confederacy(!), yet the first settled place for the Ark of the Covenant—then the world learned of "something greater than the Temple," Jesus Christ, and now we have something else again, the people of God in Christ Jesus – us – as dwelling-place for God in the Spirit, as dwellings for the Name of Jesus Christ.

Friday evening Heaven covered this corner of the earth! You could claim Summer Pops is an expression of the Winter Symphony series, not usually considered a vernacular art form, and I know tickets for both are expensive, though I get to go when someone gives me a ticket, but at this concert a lot of the community's and the world's resources came together in close to a eucharistic way. Oh, San Diego being a border city, with San Ysidro qualifying as the busiest land border in the world, daily I see and hear too much evidence of social, cultural, educational, and economic stratification, know of and experience too many misunderstandings, but I trust the power of the Pentecostal Spirit of Life in our prayers, our desires and our efforts to live with justice and righteousness will bring this part of the world more closely together to live more fully as the Reign of Heaven on Earth!

Short version: Friday evening was fabulous!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Orientale Lumen XI West

Description

The conference site describes Orientale Lumen:
Started in 1997 in Washington, DC, these ecumenical conferences are a "grass roots" movement among lay persons and clergy to provide a forum for Christians to learn about the "light from the east." They allow Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholics and Roman Catholics to meet and pray together, learn from each other's traditions, and become friends together searching for a common goal: "that they all may be one" in the One Church of Christ.

Open to the public, these conferences provide an opportunity for Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Eastern Catholics to gather, discuss and learn about their respective traditions. They include presentations by scholars and theologians, liturgical celebrations of many varieties, and opportunities for everyone to learn from each other and participate in a "dialogue of love and understanding."
Consideration, Anticipation

Due to the generosity of Father George Morelli, an Antiochian Orthodox priest who serves on our Faith, Order and Witness Committee of the San Diego Ecumenical Council, this past Wednesday I got to attend an entire day of the Orientale Lumen Conference XI West that meets annually at the University of San Diego! As soon as I realized Orientale Lumen Conferences existed, which happened several years ago when I was at USD for a FOW meeting, I thought it would be a wonderful experience, but even a single day is a hefty $125.00, putting it out of the average person's price range.

Having Father George on FOW has started opening up the new-to-me world of non-Western Christianity. I've long loved the little I've known about their emphases on the integrity of creation and on theosis – which seems broader than the way we talk about sanctification in the West – rather than atonement, but I'd read close to nothing and never had attended an Orthodox liturgy.

Preparation

Tuesday evening I got anxious about whether or not to cover my head for the liturgy that would start the day; I knew I could wear something garish if I attended a Roman Catholic liturgy at the Immaculata Parish on the USD campus, but this was going to be something else, and I wanted to be (atypically) reserved. I'd already decided to wear the very modestly below-the-knees fine-wale stone and tan corduroy embroidered Faded Glory skirt I got last winter on the ultra-bargain rack at Walmart with a camel color tiny-striped long-sleeve cardigan sweater from Targét—or should that be Tar-Jay, since I'm all of 50% ghetto, according to an online quiz?! To solve my headgear perplexity, I discovered a helpful blog from Emma an orthodox woman, so I packed a pale blue silk floral scarf with silver threads interwoven through its flowers.

Actualization, Celebration

Liturgy

founders chapel USD signWell, I did arrive a little late...due to being ill too many mornings. My blog readers can search to find particular details, so I'll include only some of my impressions here. I walked into Founder's Chapel during the canon just as the celebrant was reciting the Verba. Their consistently addressing God with You and Your rather than Thou and Thine surprised me! However, the amount of chanting - some very harmonic - didn't surprise me. After the distribution (yes, they announced, "As a reminder, only Orthodox Christians who have prepared may receive..."), at least a kilo of highly aromatic incense drifted up to the ceiling and probably to heaven, too. At liturgy's formal end I heard, "That they may all be one" [John 17:21], so dear to my heart from the United Church of Christ and its logo.

Then at the formal finish of the liturgy it was time for something else I'd happily anticipated, since I knew I couldn't take the sacrament: the...

Antidoron

This link explains,
The prosphora, or loaf of bread from which the Lamb is taken, is called the Antidoron which means "instead of the gift." According to Tradition this is received after the dismissal by those who were not prepared for or could not receive Holy Communion. It is a symbol of the Theotokos from which Christ (the Lamb) came and is reserved for Orthodox Christians.This Antidoron will be set by the Holy Water near the solea.
(I found the non-eucharistic, not-formally sacramental bread salty, yeasty and not particularly memorable.) From Wikipedia:
it is blessed and distributed after every Divine Liturgy. After the Prothesis, the remainder of the prosphora is cut into fragments and kept aside in a bowl or salver during the celebration of the Liturgy. At the conclusion of the Liturgy, they are distributed to the faithful.
The Wikipedia article also explained,
For instance, it is the custom in many Orthodox parishes to distribute the antidoron to visitors and catechumens as a sign of fellowship, or to bring a few pieces home to a relative who could not attend liturgy.
This time they announced, "This much we can share!"

As someone who not only thinks theologically most of the time, but who also often inspects and dissects appearances and experiences with social-scientific tools and vocabulary, I'm wondering if post-worship or between-the-services coffee hour in our mainline and other churches qualifies as a type of antidoron?

Plenary IV

Metropolitan Gerasimos from the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco, Greek Orthodox Church of North America presented an illustrated talk on "Byzantine Iconography and the Formation of a Christian World View." His talk was wonderful: clearly presented, detailed and interesting, with lots of information I didn't know. A few quick notes: toward the start, he mentioned "orthodox reservations about Byzantine-rite Catholics"; he quoted poet Toni Morrison: "The arts help us name our world and comprehend it." A bit about icons: circa 200, a new Christian style evolved from the Greek, characteristically depicting a static figure with a generic face consisting of stylized (my word) eyes and halos posed in abstract surroundings, basically delineating both unique human specificity and generic commonality abstraction—stylization intertwined and comingled along with (in, with and under?) the real. He suggested this combination "Speaks to theosis" with the corporality of subjects that have been transfigured by relationship to God, quoting the familiar, "God became human so that humans might become God"; deification of humans and of all creation. As Metropolitan Gerasimos insisted, we have been "conceived as eschatological beings." You know I love to mention Martin Luther's theology of the ubiquity, the everywhereness of the risen and ascended Christ!

More icon-speak: by the 6th century, the Monastery of St. Catherine of Sinai in Egypt had icons still modeled on pre-Christian forms, essentially pictures of pagan gods. Besides those pre-Christian influences, later icons bring characteristics found in Roman portraits. He showed us a St. Peter that combines both styles from the (recent? still current? I never got to it) Getty exhibit J. As His Eminence insisted, the icon, an icon, presumably any icon, leads to a direct encounter between the person (saint and/or sinner) depicted and the observer—just as in Jesus Christ and Christianity we encounter God directly; Baptism and the Eucharist also replicate this type of meeting. He spoke of the icons as "mired in abstraction" yet we "lock eyes with the icon," also citing the sometime human desire for "no spiritual authority other than ourselves...a fear of vulnerability...gazing up to God." In addition, with the icon, people may "engage in a much-needed self-evaluation," yet icons bring to us "gifts of silence and stillness" for cultivating inner peace.
On a fascinating artistic note, in Byzantine iconography there is no explicit light source; it's not about the natural law of optics but about centrifgual light that dispels shadows to the margins; light become centripetal, photomorphopoetic (brand new word for me). The icon we viewed from St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Concord, CA shines "with uncreated light." Metropolitan Gerasimos contrasted "incomparable" Caravaggio, near-absolute master of light, but in a more conventional sense, and the sense of intimacy in his paintings of the Luke 24 Emmaus incident, versus the "openness" of the contemporary United States of (North) America interpretation. He also described icons as an "echo of the Paschal invitation," giving us a "foretaste of theosis" and the "deification of creation" as the HS permeates, illumines and enlightens the glorifed Christan in deified space: essentially, the "eschaton present today!" I wrote down all these and a lot of the other phrases and words in this blog, but don't have them exactly in clear sentence form, so some of my "quotes" are more like close approximations.

Another artistic note: with a 12th century St. Catherine's, Sinai, icon of the Annunciation, Metropolitan Gerasimos explained multiply combined visual perspectives and demonstrated how iconographers put multiple perspectives all together; seeing in this manner protects us from fragmentation in every area of life; it's "anti-hyper-modernity."

Faith, Order & Witness Meeting

During lunchtime the committee members who were present and a pair of ecumenical shepherds brought the meals we'd bought in the MarketPlace or another USD feeding trough into one of the forum rooms where we watched a video recorded last November [2006] of Benedict XI, the current Bishop of Rome, participating in liturgy with his Orthodox counterpart, the ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew at the Church of St. George in Istanbul. I have far too much to learn and to take in as I continue exploring Eastern and other Orthodox expressions of Christianity, so I'll simply comment the liturgy was far from Reformed!

Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia, from Constantinople

Those of us who previously hadn't been able to view it watched the pre-recorded DVD right after lunch. This Bishop Kallistos guy hangs out at Oxford, UK; his style was a bit dramatic, but the visuals and sound of the recording were exceptionally good and he made some interesting points:

Bishop Kallistos explained an ikon is a "door" to an encounter, giving us a theology of presence—"more than a window, rather a 2-way door, in which we become part of the landscape." He styled the iconostases in Orthodox worship areas as a frontier, a boundary between earth and heaven; a sacramental mediating reality the makes heaven (the eschaton) present to us here and now. Bishop Kallistos delineated human creature's uniqueness not as being tool-makers or thought-takers (or I don't remember the other options he suggested); rather, what makes us so different and unique is the fact we are eucharistic animals, who offer the world of God's Creation back to God. He quoted Dostoevsky: "Beauty will save the world," and with the beauty of the Crucified Jesus and the Risen Christ as an example of salvific beauty.

Plenary V

Father Mark Morozowich, a Ukrainian Orthodox from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, presented "Liturgy as Ikon: An Image Alive." This I easily could relate to, especialy all the Pauline theology he presented! Did I mention the liturgy we watched on DVD wasn't Reformed? This was so accessible to me, educated and immersed in Western Protestantism, and I imagine Martin Luther and Fr. Mark could engage (probably eventually will engage) in countless interesting and fruitful discussions!

According to Father Mark, liturgical theology, focusing on the liturgical "experience" as a primary source of doing theology, is a very Eastern discipline. He referred to the humanness of liturgy, of our liturgical actions that consistently reveal who we say and believe God is! Fr. Mark said, "Liturgy is essentially an ikon" that includes materiality. Ambrose of Milan, in chapter 8 of De Mysterius says we know God through his world and his creation. Fr. Mark claims sacraments are both signs of what has taken place and of what will take place "by means of types." Try Cyril of Jerusalem and his "mystagogical catechesis of invitation, namnesis and anamnesis." Got it! Father Mark exegeted a chunk of Romans, especially 6:5: εί γάρ σύμφυτοι γεγόναμεν τώ όμοιώματι τού θανάτου αύτού, άλλά καί τής άναστάσεως έσόμεθα

[I experimentally typed Greek text for the first time in almost forever; in ages past, I'd found some blogger templates displayed Greek as a series of ?????s, but in both FireFox and IE it looks fine right now in this blog.]

Celebrating liturgy on an anamnetic level is more than a simple re-presentation; anamnesis, recollection in word and/or action is no less real then the historical actual occasion it recollects; because God is outside of time anamnetic celbration of Jesus' Presence in the community (in our community). Father Mark claimed, "liturgy is like an act of prophecy"— but does it become a case of faith in the rules or rubrics of the celebration? At some length, Fr. Mark discussed footwashing in light of Psalm 118 and John 13:12-17; he mentioned possible monastic origins of the (Maundy Thursday only?) footwashing liturgy, cited the Patmos MS 266 and several historical foot-washings; since my notes for that part of his talk aren't exactly great, I won't try to replicate anything he said, but will briefly mention the Constantinopolitan emperor's serving as a protopapas on Maundy Thursday in the physical presence of an ikon of Jesus washing his disciples' feet.

Reflection

As I typed out my notes to blog, I felt blitzed by the amount of new information and especially less than familiar experiences within a reasonably known, very local context—the University of San Diego! Besides pondering my day at OL, I'm feeling through some of my other less-Western experiences: with the practice of yoga; with decorative art forms; with some very Eastern influences in contemporary and older graphic design. The baroque ornateness of the Orthodox liturgical styles I watched and tried to participate with are so near-totally other than the clean, minimal simplicity of my aforementioned list of East meets West, although the iconography forms more of an Eastern-Western connection. If I read this blog six months from now, I'm trusting it may seem raw, rough, unpolished and maybe a little naïve!

Highly recommended reading: The Eucharist Makes the Church, by Paul McPartlan (no Amazon image available)—of course I added it to my Amazon Wish List.