Monday, April 20, 2009

Ensemble playing

While onstage yesterday, playing viola in the Iowa City String Orchestra, many moments stood out as joyful ones; much of that joy was about breathing together as a section of seven players, sensing a ritard, a crescendo, a challenging entrance. The music was difficult enough that I knew I'd miss notes here and there. But the overall sound of our section had much to do with acting as one instrumental part. We don't have big egos, no one needs stand out, no one puts others down.

Being a member of this section is a fantastic experience. Taking care to listen to and watch one another's bowing is a valuable experience. As I think about my role in a particular parish, and then in a wider Church, I know that careful ensemble doesn't happen in this way. I don't believe that each member acts as though the other members count equally and need to be listened to carefully, as though they matter. Just food for thought today.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Father, Mother, Sweetie, Honey, Kiddo, and Dear One: a post-resurrection rant

All of the above are how I've been addressed at church while in a collar (though, granted, not on the same day).

An Iowa City professor introduced me as "Father Raisin" last week at a downtown bookstore. I could deal with that, but it's not suitable. I don't care for "Mother," though it's still pretty popular around here. But one day, when I'm addressed as "Mother" I may begin singing "Climb Every Mountain."

As for "Sweetie" and "Honey," it's all I can do not to slap the person. Slapping is not in my nature and I'm generally too horrified to reply. Another female priest who serves this parish gets called "Kiddo," which provokes her no end. As for "Dear One," only one retired priest gets away with it; he's been part of the parish from the age of 10, and I receive his greeting as a sign of affection.

I'm fine with being addressed without a title, but when parishioners refer to the rector and me in the same sentence, as in, "Let's ask Father M___ and Raisin," I don't appreciate that, either. Call us M and R, or give us both titles. The next person who calls me "Honey" may be in for a good swift kick. Ouch.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Mr. Ed

In the midst of Holy Week prep, I turned to Iowa Public Radio and heard a string orchestra with classical guitar soloist playing variations on "A horse is a horse, of course of course..." from that way-back-when, black-and-white TV show, Mr. Ed.

At first I thought I imagined the theme, but then the theme itself came back clearly, and more variations followed. The music successfully entertained and removed me (for at least several minutes) from some weighty concerns about people with whom I've sat this week. Three cheers for Public Radio, and the creativity it offers -- even in the midst of its Spring fund drive.