It’s a dog with its paw in its mouth.
Chalice circle was a very big disappointment. Like uncomfortable making disappointment. It got better, but I still felt very withdrawn and disconnected at the end.
1. I did some but not all of the homework. I was supposed to print out the homework and bring it with me, and also a show and tell item, but I didn’t do that.
2. Lot of no-shows. This is hard to bear; a lot of organizing went into this and I feel for both host and facilitator.
3. The ritual was in my view goofy, poorly worded and ever so sincere (we’re doing this out of a book called Soul to Soul and while I admire the effort put into it it’s all a bit ‘canned’) with that reverent spoken word Unitarian sincerity which long timers will completely get and the rest of you will go hunh? And it got my atheist back up. I don’t give a shit about facing north and thanking mother earth for her wisdom or toenail clippings or whatever. I was sneakily pleased that I wasn’t the only person in the room with the ish. NOTE: If it had been a real Cree or Salish greeting of the directions, I could have stood that. That has emotional resonance; not some made up pseudo Wiccan horse maneuvers. However the ritual was brief, I’ll give ’em that.
4. I was appalled, and I mean it, when I brought 10$ worth of cheese and got told to take it home with me as these chalice circles were not to involve food. I could feel the ghosts of a hundred Mennonite relatives cluster round me with staring eyes and pointing fingers, Matthew 25:35 “I was hungry and you fed me!” How can the soul be nourished without the body!?
5. The long pauses in between sharing were good. That was stabilizing.
6. There was housekeeping afterwards and my comment about food got taken seriously. We will have tea or something bracing and then have the sharing.
7. The goofy ritual is supposed to be tried 4 times until we get used to it and THEN if we don’t like it we’re supposed to ditch it. Hard to believe this never caught on with the Catholic Church.
8. And there’s @@@@@@ homework. We covenant to do the *$YO homework. Srsly. The point is to increase sacrifice and therefore commitment and it counts as religious education, which the minister is getting marked on, and it means that everybody is going to go through the curriculum at the same time in much the same way (varying by facilitator of course). If it was my puppy, I’d be doing it SO DIFFERENTLY AND there would still be more time for sharing. I totally get why this is happening this way, and the increased emphasis on shared experiences to somehow account for how we don’t really have a liturgical year or specific faith wide rituals has to do with gluing newcomers into the church and broadening and deepening fellowship. I get all that. But without food? Jesus wept.
I believe it could be done better, but since I’m working on other stuff for Unitarianism (my current in process homily is called “Threat Level”) and there’s this LITTLE NOTION THAT I CAN’T FIND A FUCKING COMPETENT BOOKKEEPER TO SAVE MY LIFE and I’m desperate and miserable and anxious and horrified and frightened about it really is not helping. I thought I had a back up plan but I can’t get anybody. It’s so painful and awkward it’s warping my frame.
On the plus side I’m getting a lot of money back on my taxes, or so the accountant tells me.
This is a year when my faith will be tested and toyed with, and it was ever so.