Monday, July 9, 2007

Back from Vacation

Well, I'm back, more or less, from my so-called vacation with the soccer team in beautiful Maine. It came to what was, for some, a heart-breaking end -- two wins and a tie, which nevertheless ended up a loss due to a one point goal differential (i.e. the team we tied 2-2 beat another team 4-1, whom we beat by only 3-1). Unfortunately that meant that the team did not advance to semi-finals, where it would have faced a team it has beaten before and probably would have beaten again. But that's the games and the breaks that happen. Meanwhile, we enjoyed the wonderful food, nice sunshiny but cool weather, and some time at the ocean. I love the ocean, anytime, anywhere, and Portland was a marvelous city to explore.

Since then, I've been busy catching up with work and barely keeping track of what everyone else has been writing on the web. I have lots of thoughts swirling about what to write here and am beginning to see the wisdom of simply writing as often as I can and not worry so much about trying to produce finished pieces (which, of course, I can still try to do, from time to time). Thanks so much for all your kind words and encouragement. I'll try to get back when I can, but for now.... back to work (and I'll just leave my recent comments on sermons -- nothing earthshattering, but nevertheless something I felt I had something to say worth sharing).

4 comments:

MikeF said...

I've been reading your soccer posts with interest - having just discovered your blog, and I'm fascinated to see a whole other side to this than the one I unthinkingly adopt as a rule...

I have to confess that soccer and all its ramifications affect me the way talk of CSS stylesheets and tree-based XML data structures affects the computer illiterate. I mean - "...two wins and a tie, which nevertheless ended up a loss due to a one point goal differential (i.e. the team we tied 2-2 beat another team 4-1, whom we beat by only 3-1). Unfortunately that meant that the team did not advance to semi-finals, where it would have faced a team it has beaten before and probably would have beaten again." Arrghhh!

I also live in the UK, where Sunday morning soccer is much closer to a religion than it is in the USA, and where every little youth team seems to schedule its practice games, warm-ups, friendlies and just about everything else on a Sunday morning.

So I was fascinated to read your post on "Church v. Soccer" - I had never thought of it like that. H'mm...

I don't actually like having my prejudices challenged, nor my supposed humility called into question, but I suppose I have to thank you for doing exactly that. (Those?)

It's a delight to discover your blog, anyway, and I shall look forward to reading more, lots more...

klady said...

So sorry about the jargon. It's a battle I deal with daily with the law and I'm afraid I'm far worse trying to translate soccer rules.

I may get back to this topic someday soon. For now, let me note that part of my response stemmed from my sometimes visceral response to nostalgia about the days when Everyone went to church every Sunday. I grew up in those supposedly idyllic days in the 1950's and early 1960's when we all got dressed up and not only sat in the pews but put in long hours in traditional Christian education and confirmation classes and even spent some time in church youth group activities. I don't think it brought a lot more, if any, true faith, let alone better behavior. And here in the U.S. it contributed greatly to what Alan Bloom described in a book as Cultural Christianity, which has had its own role to play in some of the misuses and abuses of religion in American culture, politics, and foreign affairs.

On the other hand, as a rector's wife, I certainly do value what we offer in church on Sunday mornings and all other attempts to foster and maintain Christian community, fellowship, and mission. We all have to make sacrifices to participate and the church cannot continue to function in any discernable form if people only occasionally frequent the pews and contribute little or nothing to the community. On a very practical level, especially in economically depressed areas such as ours, fewer and fewer parishes can afford to maintain full-time clergy, and while buildings and choirs and organs are not essential to Christian life and witness, the Anglican tradition is something that many of us think is well worth preserving.

But how to reconcile all this with the fact that much of "real" life goes on 24/7? Must not the church recognize this and make some efforts to adjust, as well? The problem is not just sports (which I contend is an easy scapegoat) but the fact that employment and all sorts of other activities conflict. We have people in our parish whose children are in ballet and music programs that rehearse on Saturdays and Sundays. And it's not just children -- there are many people who have difficulty arranging their job schedules to ever let along regularly attend Sunday morning services. I especially feel for those people because I was once one of them, working as a cashier at a grocery store on weekends to literally put food on our table (my first husband was a car salesman and he wanted me to stay home with our young children, which I was glad to do). I also had a good friend who, at the time, was in much a similar situation, who lost a job as an assistant manager at a Pizza Hut because she refused to work on Sunday mornings. There are many faithful people out there who are not in church for many reasons and a great deal more who are simply scared away by our internal strife and unChristian and uncharitable behavior within the church (and that goes for many denominations, not just ours). While we may want to blame sports, Hitchens, Hawkins, or whomever might serve as the focal point of our desire to demonize secular, anti-religion culture, I think we are better served by more patiently and thoughtfully dealing with those of us already "in" the tent and not try to put any of us at war with those outside or those who step in and out.

Anyway... sorry for the ramblings. In a rush right now over my lunch hour. But thanks so much for stopping by and willing to be challenged. Maybe someday soon I'll balance things out by adding a rant against youth soccer culture.

Erin said...

klady, thank you so much for sharing your story with me...i am truly appreciating all the words of encouragement i'm receiving in this hideously difficult time. i laughed out loud at my screen when i read your profile and it says you are with the love of your life - bitter, bitter me can't imagine EVER taking this kind of risk again if this doesn't work out.

klady said...

Erin, oh dear, that's funny for me, too -- I forgot that's in my profile. He IS the great love of my life, but that doesn't mean it's all bliss (how can it be? stepdad, teenagers, church, soccer, etc.) It never gets easy, but it can get better. Sometimes it just takes a lot of time and grace and hope and laughter and tears to get there.