Friday, May 31, 2013

The Church (and the Library): It's Not Dead Yet!

A couple weeks ago, a few of us Twitter folk (including Carol Howard Merritt, Ben Howard--no not that Ben Howard--and others) met at Michael's cafe, which is home to some amazing cake, and talked about the state of the Church.

We tried to focus on that big-C Church, and we talked about its overall decline in membership and incline in the membership's age, the rise of the nones, and the pesky problem of exclusionary theology. But as we talked in these generalizations, I kept hearing the same refrain--"That's not my experience."

For as many stories as we had about seminary degrees gathering dust and bigoted Christians, we had just the same stories of growth and love and rebirth in what we still could only call the Church, or perhaps more accurately churches.

It reminded me of Monty Python.

Then it reminded me of libraries. Every single stinkin time I tell someone I work in a library and I'm getting my degree in library science, they always want to challenge me about "The Future of Libraries," and "Aren't they all going to be extinct anyway?" Anyone can Google anything they want; we don't need libraries.

That's not my experience.

People still need libraries, just like people still need churches. They both foster the love of truth that is not going extinct, and a place for shared experience that you can't replicate by pointing and clicking. 

Churches and libraries are not dying. They might not look the way they used to, but they are still here, and they're sticking around.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pug Mug Monday

Ebenezer is loving Nashville.

The only bummer is that there aren't a lot of places with fenced yards. So he has been spending lots of time on-leash, and relishing weekly trips to the dog park.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Donut Tourism: San Diego

Before we left San Diego, Curtis and I were able to check out the newly opened Donut Bar downtown.

The previous week, they had gotten a ton of media buzz, resulting in a ton of business, and so there were already all these reviews on Yelp about how they kept running out of donuts and should have known better and were creating scarcity to create hype blah blah blah.

Regardless of the drama, this place is good. The owner was there, and he was so nice and excited to be there and apologetic (because they were about to run out of donuts again), and I just love seeing people happy and living their dreams. It's so inspiring.

Anyway, we got the Saigon Cinnamon and Sugar, Old Fashioned Glazed, and... I think that other one is Vanilla Bean?
 I don't really remember, but what I do remember is that THEY WERE AMAZING. The Saigon cinnamon is something else. It's made with Vietnamese cinnamon, which does taste different. More spice-y I think. And the old fashioned was hot and fresh and just-glazed.

We had to take our donuts and coffee ($1, btw) to go because there's no seating in there (yet) and no parking to speak of (it's downtown, after all). And their menu changes every day, so now I wish we could have gone a few more times to try their different donuts.

Definitely check this place out if you are in San Diego.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Book Review: A People's History of Christianity

Last week I started riding the bus to and from work, and it has given me so much time to read! My first bus book was A People's History of Christianity by Diana Butler Bass. It was pretty good, but perhaps not what I was expecting.

Given the obvious rip-off of Howard Zinn's title, I thought the book would be more about the "losers" of church history who haven't gotten their story told--the heretics, the faithful poor, the obscure upholders of Christianity. But it seemed like much of the same mainstream, rich, well-educated dudes that everyone knows about. Mother Julian, St. Francis, Martin Luther, George Fox etc. Perhaps it's more a credit to my professors that few of the stories were new to me.

The book did remind me of some forgotten favorites (who I plan to feature on upcoming Theologian Thursdays), and it did leave me feeling hopeful for the church in its floundering entrance into postmodernity--a testament to the positive tone of the book, which I appreciate, even if it did gloss over some of the sticky, more painful aspects of church history. She focuses on the idea of "generative Christianity" rather than militant Christianity.

Butler Bass weaved together the stories of the church with stories of her academic journey, and how the context of her life affected her reception of the history she was learning--something I can surely relate to. The personal narrative alongside the historical one gave a unique context to what could have been a rote history.

I'd recommend this book to people who are interested in church history but have not studied it much before. It's an accessible read about a not-always-so-accessible topic.