Monday, June 09, 2008

Pastor Bob and the Frog Shrine

(Before we get started, we are about halfway through the first quarter of the ecojustice challenge. This is a call for all those of you who are participating to please try to write a post this week to let us know how it's going. I include myself in this call.)

So Dorr came down from Connecticut to Pennsylvania over the weekend to visit us. I will have you know that, besides being a wonderful houseguest who allowed us to do things like give her tours of the reception areas of Lancaster hospitals and rehab centers (places familiar to pastors), she also stood her ground against Pastor Bob and all his teasing (not a mean feat, I can assure you). And we had more interesting discussions than Bob and I have had since he left seminary.

We were supposed to meet Courtney on Saturday to go hiking, but it turned out that poor Courtney had to work. This was actually a good thing as the heat and humidity we experienced in PA did not exactly scream, “Let’s go for a three-hour-long hike.” It was more like, “don’t go out in this heat except to do things like buy fudge and cheese and sticky buns, or to drink beer at the Lancaster Brewing Co., or to go eat ice cream at the country ice cream shop.”

Bob, Dorr, and I all three decided not to argue with the weather. This meant she and I spent Saturday morning just sitting around re-hashing much of Friday night’s conversation (a conversation that had me so enthralled, I made everyone come sit uncomfortably in the kitchen while I cooked dinner, so I wouldn’t have to miss any of it) while Bob finished writing his sermon and other Sunday worship elements. You may be wondering why we would need to re-hash the conversation. Let’s just say that Friday evening began this way:

Dorr arrived after her long drive, and we immediately gave her a tour of the house and then asked if she’d like to go on a walk. I have a favorite walk that really shows off the pretty farms and landscape around here, and the weather wasn’t quite as bad on Friday as it was on Saturday and Sunday. She agreed, and so we set off. We’d barely left the church parking lot, when Bob (too excited to contain himself, I guess) says, “So, what do you…[then, obviously thinking better of the question, prefacing it with] Emily’s going to kill me for asking this, but [Emily is immediately lost for a few seconds, thinking, “uh-oh, what is he going to ask?” while desperately trying to remember if there’s some on-going argument between the two of them he’s going to trick poor Dorr into taking his side on, and breathes a huge sigh of relief when he asks something to the effect of] Have you been following the primaries, and what do you think?” Because Emily is a blogger, and Bob isn’t, she already knows Dorr won’t reply, “I’m really, really pissed that Clinton lost and am going to vote for McCain.” (Of course, Bob is right. She would have killed him if she hadn’t known Dorr wasn’t going to answer that way.) Thus, we started the weekend off with the first of the big three "taboo topics" to avoid in polite conversation: politics, religion, and sex.

We all know that politics is not one of the three taboo topics those in my corner of the blogosphere avoid. Religion, however, is. I don't find much discussion of it here. People know I’m married to a pastor if they read my blogger profile, and occasionally, I’ve posted on some of my beliefs. Like everywhere else in my secular life, though, we mostly steer clear of it. I know you can find plenty of discussion of it elsewhere in blogland, but I don’t tend to be very comfortable in that “elsewhere.”

I wasn’t expecting to discuss it much this weekend, but Dorr came with lots of fascinating questions, and thus we moved right from taboo subject #1 to taboo subject #2. We never made it to taboo subject #3, with the exception of some very adolescent-like comments (mostly – no, maybe all – from Bob. Yes, from the minister) that everyone makes when they visit this part of the world and encounter town names like Intercourse, Blue Ball, Bird-in-Hand, Paradise, etc. Since sex has become the “non-taboo" taboo topic, though, we didn’t feel like we were missing anything.

Inbetween very interesting discussions about why people believe in God, what exactly that means, the “brokenness” of creation, what a radical Jesus was, truth in myth, and the paradox of Christianity (to name a few), we took Dorr to such interesting places as the Amish bookstore (where I don’t shop for books, but do shop for things like pencils and wrapping paper), the Amish natural food store (where I do about 80% of my grocery shopping), and, of course, our little local library (that I frequent). She also actually chose to attend church, something we do not require of our house guests. It was a wonderful, stimulating weekend, and I’m eagerly awaiting a return visit (with Hobs next time, we hope), because we didn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all we could have discussed.

Oh, and then there is the frog shrine. Pastor Bob loves the frog shrine, and he made sure Dorr got a chance to admire it. I wasn't present when he brought her attention to it, but I am sure she was humbled by her gaze upon it. That’s all I’ll tell you about that. You have to come visit if you want to know more.


Anne Camille said...

No fair! You enticed me the Frog Shrine in the title and then gave no information!

Sounds like you had a great weekend.

Blogger is acting wonky so if this is a duplicate comment, you can delete it.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful weekend! You are so mean to tease about the frog shrine and then not tell more about. You must want lots of houseguests!

Rebecca H. said...

I was definitely humbled by the frog shrine and did my best to worship properly at it, although I wasn't entirely sure what that involved. I was just thankful that Bob didn't start croaking and expect me to join in ...

It was a fabulous time, and I'm looking forward to the next visit already!

Emily Barton said...

Cam, well, I think I may just have to write about the Frog Shrine at some point.

Stef, yes, I do want houseguests. However, see my note to Cam.

Dorr, glad to hear you were duly humble, and I'm looking forward to your next visit, too.

ZoesMom said...

Sounds like a wonderful weekend! I am definitely intrigued by the frog shrine -- please do write about it!