…someone says “fuck” in church?
Yes, it did happen some weeks ago during a service at South Sydney Uniting Church. There is a space in most services where people can give voice to concerns, or sometimes even vent, and being where we are (Redfern and Waterloo) there are times when real life impinges on our worship. In fact, I think generally speaking we hope that is the case. And a little while ago someone vented, if I remember rightly, about “fucking politicians.” I remember thinking, “You’re angry, aren’t you” — and in this case rightly so. I seem to remember it had something to do with the ongoing saga of The Block. There were those in church that day who were offended, as you may well imagine.
The colourful norrie responded by shortly afterwards wearing an “Unfuck The World” T-shirt to church, a sentiment (however expressed) that Christians can hardly object to.
Kind of related, see this rather wonderful article by Laurel Snyder on Killing the Buddha — a reference to a famous Zen saying, of course, which is not meant to be taken literally: “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him”. I think that is about excessive certainty and dogmatism.
Dorothy’s sermon yesterday was a subtle and very gentle response to the whole episode: a plea to hear the message in our own tongues, referring to Pentecost, and to lay our lives and our languages side by side in loving acceptance, while acknowledging that this is not the same as “anything goes”. However, feeling free to express what really matters, however it may come out, is more the business of the church than putting on our Sunday faces and limiting ourselves to mere pleasantries. The sermon was well done, much better than this report of it.
Afterwards I had lunch at Sirdan’s with Lord Malcolm and Sirdan. We consumed Lord Malcolm’s birthday French wine, and it was indeed good. Lord Malcolm was also pleased to watch the Sydney Swans win in a game that for a considerable time was going against them.
We also saw an excellent Message Stick on Lillian Crombie, an Aboriginal entertainer Lord Malcolm refers to as his “auntie”, because at one low point in his life she offered him just the right word. Do read the transcript there.
And speaking both of TV and church, do watch The New Inventors on ABC this Wednesday at 8, as you will see Sam, one of our South Sydney Uniting Church regulars. That’s him on the right.