Measured Extravagance

30 May 2003 - 9:04 p.m.

Oh, my. There are times I just shouldn't be allowed near our hymnal (Singing the Living Tradition), namely when I wake up mischievous. I was going through possibilities for an upcoming service over breakfast, and came up with a combination guaranteed to agitate much of the congregation before we even reached the prelude -- #278, "Praise Be to God, the Almighty," would not go down well with many of the non-monotheists ("Have you not seen, all that is needful has been set by God's gracious ordaining?"), and the third verse of #286,"A Core of Silence," would likely raise the hackles of deists sharing the same pews:

The "True Religion" gathers up its text:
"In the beginning was the Word."
But I seek quietness behind that start
and name it nothing, much less "God."

Which relates to Will Shetterly's May 29 diary entry (permalink not cooperating), wherein he mentions an interesting assignment:

. . .to see whether I can come up with a definition of God that's broad enough to be acceptable to the local congregation. Not to all UUs everywhere, but the challenge is still the same, because it has to be acceptable to atheists. Seems to me it's a good challenge: every faith defines its terms differently. How badly I'll fail (because this is one that no one can win) remains to be seen.

Anyhow, there are plenty of hymns far more appropriate for the service in question, and I'm not actually interested in riling folks up at present. It's a tempting notion, though - to start a service with those two hymns, annotated by some of the other songs about names and sources, leading into a sermon on the weight and volatility of religious language. . .

Oh, so much to research, to write, and to do. In addition to the usual quasi-demented scurrying about, my stomach wasn't happy about the Coke and tempura I had for lunch, and my checkbook isn't happy about how much we paid the tire people today (and on the drive home, it became clear that the tires weren't balanced, even though we had explicitly paid for them to check that, so back I go on Monday. Grr!). That said, I'm glad that the BYM discovered (and dealt with) the flat well before it was time for me to leave the house, and both he and the cat are looking like they feel better than they did at the start of the week. Last night's attempts to work with ground blue ink went straight into the recycling bag, but I succeded in making a large pot of good chicken soup (two large chicken legs, water, garlic, okra, onion, tomato, corn, parsley, chives, greek oregano, salt, black pepper, and porcini powder).

Lately, I've found myself fretting overmuch over submissions stuck in assorted varieties of limbo, but as Greg van Eekhout pointed out not too long ago, it's a cue that one needs to be writing more stuff. In my case, it's a bit of a head-fake - I generally feel like I ought to be writing more regardless - but, cue taken anyway. Enough to overhaul the opening of a story yesterday.

Sentence by sentence, it will get done, and it will be good. And so will everything else on the list that matters.

One year ago, I quoted Raymond Carver:

And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

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