Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Cross before our eyes

RantWoman generally considers herself quite broadminded about questions of art, ministry through the arts, and participation in the arts as ways to draw people closer to God. Against this background, RantWoman sometimes surprises herself with the clarity and certainty of her visceral reactions to certain questions.

For example, once upon a time, RantWoman had an interview where the job description was going to involve munching and crunching data, something RantWoman has done a lot of and generally enjoys. However, on this occasion, RantWoman was to be munching and crunching data related to, drumroll please, text messaging and American Idol!

RantWoman has NEVER watched an entire episode, let alone a whole series. RantWoman is aware of the recent flap about Ryan and Adam. RantWoman could perhaps be amused by this flap, but this would involve interacting with something, blatant idolatry encrusted with commercialism, that RantWoman feels a total visceral need to avoid.

See, if the network is going to call it American Idol, no matter how ephemeral the whole concept is, RantWoman is going to take them at their words. Then for some reason RantWoman herself does not fully understand, RantWoman's anti-idolatry reflex is just going to kick in and clang, clang, clang, no, no, no just NOT for RantWoman. Fortunately for RantWoman's sense of herself, circumstances did not align even to force RantWoman to have to decline this job.

RantWoman found herself thinking of this story at last March's blogging workshop when someone read to RantWoman a passage from religious scholar Karen Anderson about keeping the cross before her eyes as part of her life in the convent. RantWoman does not even know where to begin about this topic. Once in awhile RantWoman turns over in her mind thoughts of contemplative life in a convent. RantWoman tends to turn the idea over once and put it back fast but not only because of the cross before one's eyes. Okay, it's not CALLED idolatry. Furthermore, RantWoman is aware that many faith traditions have colorful interactions with talismans of their faith. RantWoman knows dear people who are Russian Orthodox for whom kissing icons is really important to their expression of faith; when worshipping with these people, RantWoman tends just to greet the icons politely from a respectful distance. RantWoman has had tasteless and irreverant conversations about the Cross as seen in Catholic churches frozen with Christ's corpse and about lessons from Baptist Sunday School of protestant cross empty because of the Resurrection and Christ's presence among us.

Interestingly enough, when RantWoman heard of Karen Anderson's convent requirement, RantWoman immediately thought of...Sudoku! Not only does Sudoku help RantWoman contain her backflipping eyeballs, Sudoku has crosses all over the place, imbedded at every juncture of the matrix. Sometimes filling the squares as one solves the puzzle even brings new cross images to the fore! In short, Sudoku, among its other diverting features has crosses coming out its ears for those who need them.

Somewhere here, RantWoman decided to let the following blog entry pick up her mental excursion:

And for those of you addicted to American Idol, RantWoman is unlikely to minister about the topic in Meeting for Worship, but she may secretly be praying for your soul from the safety of her own dungeon.

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