Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners


Renaissance Fair Church

"Can we go now? This codpiece is killing me."

“Can we go now? This codpiece is killing me.”

The following reflections conclude my presentation for the hip Presbyterian Women of Clairmont Presbyterian Church. (The full, multi-media presentation, titled “Losing Our Religion: A Church for Restless Souls?,” is available upon request.):

Stand-up comedian David Cross does a routine in which he pokes fun at the experience of being at a Renaissance fair. For those of you who don’t know what a Renaissance fair is, a Renaissance fair is a re-enactment of medieval times. Usually a lot of people show up in period costume. There’s food, beer, jousting. I’ve never actually been to a Renaissance festival, but apparently it’s supposed to be a fun, rowdy, even bawdy time.

And Cross jokes about how almost always when you go to the Renaissance festival as just an ordinary participant in the crowd, wearing jeans and a T-shirt, you end up being secretly glad that you’re not one of the people wearing a heavy costume, sweating like crazy, and doing the entertaining; because the real fun is just showing up to watch all the silliness, and maybe to enjoy a beer as you stroll through the grounds. To paraphrase Cross, the Renaissance festival is one of those parties where the people throwing the party seem to be having a lot less fun than the people who show up to see what the party is all about.

We Christians celebrate a God who is the life of the party. We celebrate a God who is “The Life” itself. Yet so often I wonder if we as “church” aren’t those people with the heavy costumes on: we’ve been sweating way too much than we have to, while looking a bit ridiculous and putting on an act, and not truly enjoying the party.

And the world is watching to see if The Life we’re celebrating is real. The world is watching to see if we’re more than an act; the world is watching to see whether we’re really ourselves at the party rather than pretending to be someone we’re not; the world is watching to see whether we’re truly able to relax and enjoy the festivities, or…whether we’re just putting on a show that at the end of the day will conclude with our taking our costumes off and breathing a sigh of relief that the day is over and we won’t have to do that again for at least another year.

I hope not. I hope that we as a people are seeking and finding our lives in Jesus and celebrating The Life of the party without getting in Its way. Because God’s life, thankfully, really doesn’t depend on us or on our best gimmicks. God’s life is contagious apart from anything we do or don’t do. God’s life doesn’t require that we pretend to be someone we’re not or to put on a great, big, laborious show.

God’s life just happens apart from anything we can do to generate it.

And I hope you can hear that tonight as good news. Really good news. You see, you, “the church,” don’t have to be the life of the party. You don’t have to do the entertaining. Jesus, The Life, is already at work in your lives and in the lives of those around you outside these walls. All you have to do is show up and witness to how Jesus is already at work. And, that’s not burdensome. You don’t have to bring Jesus with you: that would be like wearing a ridiculously heavy costume at a Renaissance fair.

All you need to do is be there with people, alongside them, ready to share your life and the life of Jesus in you, ready to point to how Jesus is already at work in your life and in the lives of the people out there. And so tonight, that’s my challenge to you: my challenge to you is to go out and live your life to its fullest, in the open, with honesty, asking questions in search of more purpose, more truth and more life while being engaged in the world around you; and then celebrate how Jesus shows up along the way.



Previous Posts

A Christmas Homily
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. —Luke 2:6,7 The sheer physicality of this picture strikes me this Christmas. The ba

posted 1:54:50pm Dec. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Mental Health Break—Sprawl II
My favorite band these days is Arcade Fire, and I've featured the Canadian indie rock group before at this intersection between God and life. The lead singer studied Kirkegaard in college and their songs, like this one, are often subtle but brilliant critiques of the least aesthetically pleasing thi

posted 12:58:15pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

I Can't Breathe and the Widow's Cry—A Guest Post
Fellow saint and sinner Saskia de Vries is a neuroscientist in Seattle, Washington and has posted before at this intersection between God and life. She, like so many of us, is grappling with the tragedies of Eric Garner and Michael Brown and the larger systemic problem they seem to reveal—namely,

posted 2:10:09pm Dec. 11, 2014 | read full post »

Advent and Emptiness, Via Louis CK and the Prophet Isaiah
I've been making my way through the book of Isaiah. This morning's reading was from chapter 6, where the prophet Isaiah receives his call to go to the people of Israel and proclaim God's judgment of a people who have wandered away from God's purposes for them. Isaiah asks how long God's people will

posted 11:45:39am Dec. 09, 2014 | read full post »

Advent Resurrection
It may seem strange to pair Advent with resurrection. Usually resurrection comes more naturally at Easter. But at heart the labor pangs of all creation giving birth to the Christ child are a longing for a new start. Advent is a longing to be born again. Neuroscience now teaches that every minu

posted 2:47:38pm Dec. 04, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.