August 22nd, 2014

Community ed

I frequently look through community ed catalogs, despite only very rarely finding anything I want to take, and even then, the schedule never seems to work out for me.

Today, one of those absolutely rare events occurred, making all those minutes spent searching for an interesting class suddenly seem worth while. The guy in town you have to get permission from if you want to take a tree down or otherwise change things within wet boundaries also produces a really awesome booklet with drawings of plants and so forth in the arboretum and other conservation areas. And starting in September, for five weeks, on a day of the week and at a time of day that is completely compatible with my schedule, he's leading nature walks in the conservation areas.

Woot!

I'm a little bummed that A. has a holiday on the second outing. If I can't find a sitter, maybe I'll drag her along.

Church, Denomination #2

T. noticed on the drive home from CVS and the grocery store (with an extremely brief stop at the Radio Shack, where despite not buying anything, we had the Best Customer Service Experience Ever) that there is a church on our street. He asked about it, I said it was the Lutheran church. He expressed an interest and I said while I was happy to take him back to the church we went to before (UU in Stow, our Parish church), or the UU church in Concord, I wasn't going to take him to the Lutheran church. He wanted to know why, and this is what I told him, "They are very strict and are completely unreasonable." <-- Notice this is me being extremely prejudiced. In fact, the people running this church are quite reasonable; the pastor, after patiently answering many questions put to him by friends of mine (years before I knew them), suggested they attend a UU church instead. Everyone was much happier as a result of this, the very best story I have ever heard about a Lutheran, ever, including the one a Lutheran friend of mine in college told me about being chased by aggressive geese, which was very funny, altho not to her at the time (and, honestly, if I were a decent human being, would _not_ still make me chuckle over 20 years later). [ETA: Actually, my summary of the Lutheran church was really not prejudiced at all. They are very strict and they are completely unreasonable, because that particular Lutheran church is Missouri Synod. Yikes. http://walkitout.livejournal.com/1155971.html]

In order to distract my son from the very attractive and nearby church that I really don't want to take him to (I do, actually, have quite a lot of issues with that denomination, in all of its flavors), I said there was a church on River Street, would he like to go to that? Technically, it is on School St just before the branch off to River Street but I had forgotten that in the moment and he is currently somewhat obsessed with River Street, altho I have no idea why. This was exciting, and he had a bunch of questions so I looked up the church.

Just so you know I was not being arbitrary, the church in question has appropriate affiliations (It is Congregational United Church of Christ) and is an Open and Affirming congregation so I don't have to feel all dirty hanging out with oppressors of my people. Further, this Sunday the service is by a pastor formerly of Westford at a church which is affiliated both with UU AND Congregational (thus having simultaneously Open and Affirming AND Welcoming credentials, which I had not thought was possible before but proves, once again, that the world is a pretty amazing and wonderful place). I feel that a woman who made all that happen has to be worth listening to for an hour.

At the suggestion of my UU minister friend (it was general advice, not specific to this), I have emailed this church ahead of time to find out about the kids' program and start a dialog about how to make that work well for T., if there really is one, which I sort of doubt at 8:30 a.m. late in August but you never know. Expect an update.

A Bit More About That Thing Down the Street

If you had asked me a few hours ago, I would have sworn the Lutheran church down the street must be from the more liberal denominations. And I would have been wrong. This really helps explain an interaction I had in front of the grocery store with a couple of them doing outreach a year or so ago: That Thing is actually Missouri Synod. You know, the people who made one of their pastors apologize for participating in an interfaith memorial service after Sandy Hook:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/08/nyregion/lutheran-pastor-explains-role-in-sandy-hook-interfaith-service.html

He had to do this because the _membership_ of the synod was so incensed with him. This isn't a hierarchy imposing something -- it's a groundswell of anti-ecumenism on a par with the behavior of JWs and other cults.

LCMS still thinks homosexuality is a sin (heck, they're still really opposed to divorce) and that their membership should be giving public witness against homosexuality and legal recognition of same-sex marriage (their words!).

Bleah.

I could go on, but I'm not sure I'm ever going to get the smell off of me as it is. No, T. is not allowed to go there.