Category Archives: Koinonia

MEANWHILE, DOWN ON THE FARM . . .

Koinonia (a.k.a. The Church of the Angry Doubters) slaugh-tered our pigs last weekend. One family has been raising them; the rest of us have been providing food, buying feed and keeping buckets of table scraps which we hand off to the swineherds each week. Our goals are to become more self-sufficient, and to become more honest carnivores, taking responsibility for the hard parts of being meat-eaters as well as the fun parts.

We gathered bright and early Saturday, Continue reading MEANWHILE, DOWN ON THE FARM . . .

The varieties of religious experience (with apologies to William James)

people praying photo

CC photo by GLady (Pixabay) 

We always eat really well at our weekly potluck supper, and Saturday night was no exception. Homemade split pea soup flavored with hocks from pigs one of our families raised was the centerpiece–and of course pies for dessert . . . because it was pi day (3/14/15)!

We got to talking about the emphasis that Jesus places on relationship in the Gospel of Mark. Someone commented that people then and there could do that, because they could shake his hand, or kick him in the shins, if they were so inclined: All we can do, he said, is think about Jesus and his ideas, because you can’t have a relationship with someone you can’t see.

Someone else talked about knowing him through the words of Scripture. Then a third person volunteered that dyslexia makes it really hard for him to engage with the Bible. Someone asked him, so how do you experience God?

It tends to be easier for our community to talk about ideas sometimes than about ourselves, but that question opened the door to a first-person conversation about ourselves: about how–and whether–we experience God, pray, etc.

The takeaway?

  • We experience God in different ways.
  • We don’t always know and certainly can’t prove what’s God, what’s hormonal or biochemical or electrical (brainwaves, e.g.), and what’s a weird dream caused by the pizza we had for supper.
  • That’s uncomfortable.
  • Just because it’s biochemical or electrical doesn’t mean it’s not God. The God of the Creation and the Incarnation just might feel really free to manifest himself through natural laws and through our bodies.
  • Many churches use music, lighting, etc. to manipulate people into experiencing a physiological and emotional rush in the name of worship.
  • One of the powerful ways we experience God is through each other, including talking about and listening to each other talk about our individual experiences of the presence, absence or possibility of God.

Pigs, Hollywood, Suffering, Etc.

pigs photo
Tonight over potluck supper in the living room I heard conversations about our pigs (one family is raising them, we’re all bringing buckets of food scraps to help feed them, and we’re going to work together to slaughter and butcher them and share the meat in another couple of months); who was the better actor, James Stewart or Humphrey Bogart; Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship; why parenting is so hard; and how various people in our fellowship first met each other.

 
Once we got warmed up, we tackled Ecclesiastes and the Incarnation, Hebrews 11 (what’s faith: intellectual assent? trust? hearing God speak and responding to him? all of the above?), Job 39-42 (after all the clutter had been cleared away and all the arguments argued to impasse, God shows up and reveals himself–but still no answers!–to Job . . . what’s up with that?), Mark 3 (what should the relationship of the supernatural to our lives look like? what has it looked like in the past? what *is* the supernatural, anyway?), the relationship of the spiritual and material (is the body bad? neutral? good? how is it supposed to be connected to the spiritual world?), and suffering (one of our number shared how suffering–speaking of Job!–is allowing him to connect with God in ways he’s never been able to before).

We closed out the evening by praying for and blessing one family’s new baby, born last month, and washing our dishes.