There were two major determining factors in where we went this morning. First, Salem Lutheran doesn’t have a website, and their announcement last night said, “We have canceled our Christmas Eve service, blah blah; here’s some alternatives, blah blah; we will be closed until December 29th.” No service times, or the 28th mentioned. We couldn’t get in contact with our friend who goes there this morning, and only had a vague recollection that the service might be at 10am (from a conversation we’d had a year ago). Additionally, our road was a sheet of very scary ice, and we weren’t sure what shape the downtown was in, so we landed (having come down the ice and then removed the chains), at the 10am at Spokane Christian Center, a half hour closer than Salem Lutheran.
I kind of hoped the project would end with a bang, not a whimper, and there might be two things from this morning that would help this qualify.
First, the pastor seemed to not know the gender or the name of the baby he dedicated this morning . . . and I suspect he didn’t know the parents’ names, either. He first called the family up to “gather around . . . it” and, having decided the infant in question was a boy, did refer to “him” after the first two instances of calling him “it.” Farmergirl thought maybe he was trying to avoid saying the baby’s name, but I suspect that much dancing around, avoiding anyone’s name, is a symptom of not knowing their names, rather than avoiding speaking them out loud. He also said we needed to do (something–I didn’t write down what–pay attention? focus? think good thoughts?)–that we needed to do this thing, otherwise the dedication “is just a religious thing and it will have very little meaning.” He wrapped it up with asking us to “release our faith into [the baby being dedicated]” which seemed to involve stretching out one’s arms in the nameless baby’s general direction.
The dedication was bookended by a half hour of singing, and more than an hour of preaching. Michael snoozed through a chunk of the sermon, probably because he wasn’t taking notes. Had he been taking notes, he might have written quotations from the sermon like this, whose main point was supposed to be, I think, the Sermon on the Mount:
Jesus’ sermons are the purest because they have “no carnality” . . . this is Rhema to you and I . . . my [Jesus’] flavor can preserve a situation . . . wreck the Devil . . . If all the Christians in all those churches were [being salt and light], we wouldn’t have the city we have [and the crime we have in Spokane] . . . a God-dream dropped into [Joseph, son of Issac] . . . [too often we] let circumstances, events, or other people dampen [our God-dream], or let it go out entirely . . . . dreams can be stolen because they aren’t accepted up front . . . beware of brothers who don’t have a dream . . . Reinhard Bonnke raised an embalmed man from the dead . . . Joseph (Mary’s husband) was Jesus’ “earth prototype” . . . The Messiah Plan . . . be satisfied with the dream God gives you . . . dreams are fragile; they can be stolen, broken, discouraged, go dormant, be stuck under a bushel, unfulfilled, not attempted . . . teens are the easiest receptacle to program . . . living around the dreamworld . . . Joseph [son of Issac] was not born-again and he was not spirit-filled . . . it [the God-dream] may not be what Oprah wants you to do
The part where you needed to believe that the embalmed guy rose from the dead (and wasn’t part of a not-so-elaborate-because-it’s-Africa-and-the-standard-of-proof-is-lower-hoax) in order to be open to having a “God-dream dropped in to you”, and to thereby do God’s will is. . . uh . . . yeah.