I got to teach Episcopal Sunday school last week, a rare privilege, and it was in a
We sat in a sort of triangle, two couches at a right angle, a line of chairs, a window looking out at the snow on Amsterdam Avenue, and talked about the rather improbable notion that God impregnated a virgin who, along with her confused fiance, journeyed to Bethlehem where no rooms were available at the inn (it was the holidays, after all), and so God's son was born in a stable, wrapped in rags and laid in a feed trough and worshipped by shepherds summoned by angels and by Eastern dignitaries who had followed a star.
This magical story is a cornerstone of the Christian faith and I am sorry if it's a big hurdle for the skeptical young. It is to the church what his Kryptonian heritage was to Clark
Read it all: Chicago Tribune, 12/05/07, Garrison Keillor "One Could Get a Creche on New York."
I walked around the city that Sunday night -- two homeless people were camped on the steps of a Lutheran church on 65th, in the midst of grand old apartment buildings, and the opera crowd was wending toward Picholine and the Cafe des Artistes for the lobster bisque, and on the uptown subway we all sat and did not stare at the crazy old man boogeying in his sleeveless T-shirt and singing incoherently and watching his own reflection in the glass -- and how 17-year-old kids should mesh New York with the Nativity, I was not able to tell them. God prefers admitted incompetence to fake authority.
But explaining the universe to them was not my job, only to love them, which I do, utterly. They are brave and loyal and funny, heading out into a world that is not forgiving of mistakes, that will try to pummel them into submission, that is capable of awesome cruelty and deceit, but here they are. Emily Dickinson said, "To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else," and if she, who spent most of her adult life in her bedroom, could feel that way, then think how it must be for the rest of us.
A day in
Also: Salon: Away in an awesome manger
Hat tip to The Episcopal Cafe: The Lead