Friday, June 22, 2007

Things that didn't speak to me, things that did.

Hmmm... What to say about the Sermon at the Service of the Living Tradition. It's style brought to mind a quotation from Robertson Davies when he was talking about Vladimir Nabokov:

Many authors write like amateur blacksmiths making their first horseshoe; the clank of the anvil, the stench of the scorched leather apron, the sparks and the cursing are palpable, and this appeals to those who rank "sincerity" very high. Nabokov is more like a master swordsmith making a fine blade; nothing is amiss, nothing is too much, there is no fuss, and the finished product must be handled with great care, or it will cut you badly.

Suffice to say, Nabokov has nothing to fear from the writers of the SLT sermon. The anvil clanks are still ringing off the walls.

But earlier today, I actually had a genuine spiritual experience in a GA workshop, something that I would have thought impossible had I been asked about the idea over breakfast.

I attended a workshop given by Doug Muder and Meg Barnhouse on spiritual writing. If you follow that link, you'll see that Meg has the worst website ever. But I learned quite a bit from what she and Doug had to say.

Near the end, Barnhouse pulled out her guitar and sung a well-known song of hers called "All will be well."

She had the audience sing the refrain:

All will be well,

All will be well

All manner of things

Will be well.

I don't know. Something about the song, and indeed the act of singing it back to Meg, really spoke to me.

Now, I am not a crier, but I really think I cried internally in a sense, and I got a sense of peace with the world that is still with me 12 hours later.

I found myself thinking of my friend Jana-who-creates, who recently told me what happened when she took her son to Shrek 2. At the end of the movie, when Eddie Murphy's donkey character(who had been turned into a horse) is, despite his protests, turned back into a donkey, her son burst into loud, racking, sobs, culminating with him screaming "But he doesn't WANT to be a donkey! He wants to be a HORSE!" to the whole theater.

Sitting there as the song died away, that wasn't the emotion that I felt, but what I felt was on that level of intensity and involvement.

It rocked, kids.



Boy in the Bands (Scott Wells) said...

I assume you liked Barnwell's music as her contribution; her lyricist is Julian of Norwich.

I didn't think her website was all that bad. Except, in Firefox, you can't scroll down!

Chalicechick said...

The song is a dialogue between Meg and Julian of Norwich. We were singing Julian of Norwich's part for part of it.


Christine Robinson said...

Wow, CC, what a gift to you! Don't forget!

See you this afternoon at our workshop, at which all things will also be well. C.

PG said...

Her website is very bad in terms of being annoying. The special effect of its coming together in blocks! the little multicolored circles trailing after my cursor!

If someone just took the "cool" scripts out of it, it would be perfectly fine. And I bet that would help with the Firefox problem too.

Unknown said...

Watched the opening speech despite your warning. Wanted to slap her silly. That could have been said in 30 succinct, inviting seconds. Nothing like being talked down to from the pulpit in an oh-so-sincere voice.

How come y'all didn't just walk out?!

Unknown said...

Oh yeah, then I watched the sermon -- all 2 minutes of it that I could stand. What was the worst part of this train wreck? Pick only one of the following:

1. Her screechy, squeaky, I am so nervous I can barely speak voice
2. Her simpering at him
3. Her simpering at the audience
4. His boredom
5. Two people, one pulpit. 'Nuff said.
6. Her hair. I'm sorry, but it had to be said. Someone call Peacebang stat.
7. His hair.
8. The lack of content.
9. The sheer awfulness of the whole, sad show.
10. Forced sincerity, especially when spoken with your back to the microphone.

PLEASE, can't we do better? I'm planning on being there next year and I do NOT want to be forced to say something I will later regret. This is NOT our best and brightest! We need a better method for picking the sermon and who gets to give it!

Okay, I'll try to be nice now.