Spamalot, Lamb’s Church and St. Patricks Cathedral

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Yesterday (Sunday) I was still in NYC where the hottest ticket in town is “Spamalot,” the goofy, quirky Monty Python inspired Broadway hit nominated for 14 Tony’s. David Hyde Pierce, Tim Curry and Hank Azaria head the cast in a romp through “silly bits.” I waited in the cancellation line on Saturday afternoon and lucked into a Mezzanine 4th row seat for the 8PM Saturday performance. Generally entertaining and inoffensive, there was a sub-current of gay PC stuff in the plotline that culminated in a gay wedding in the finale.

Then Sunday AM I headed out to Lamb’s Church associated with the Lamb’s Players theatre group. Whereas the NYT once described the theatre company as “a place where art seems not a packaged product, but a natural extension of life,” for the most part I found the church a bit on the lifeless side and was surprised to be asked “are you Nazarene” when being greeted. Comfort zones come in many forms and denominations are one of them. A chorus about the potter remaking the clay was useful in helping me wrestle through a significant change in my life, and one not of my choosing, that is affecting me right now. Nevertheless, I left the service feeling a little melancholy that a church two blocks from Times Square would be so culturally uninspiring as to render it mute in context.

So I wandered over to St. Patrick’s, the majestic cathedral just a few blocks away. The towering interior ascribed the diminutive humans to their proper place as inferiors before an almighty God. The scripture was elegant, the setting inspiring, but the text on the poor seemed odd in such a costly place–the stained glass windows alone are worth a fortune, not to mention the solid gold and gilded features throughout. And though a woman read the scripture I could not help but remember the conversation of two women waiting in the cancellation line just yesterday. They said they love Jesus but felt trapped in a patriarchal system in the Catholic Church, so they left the church–they are still looking for a place to connect.

I have learned you are astute oh faithful reader, so I know you expect a thread holding this tattered garment of a blog together–and here it is.

Both religious institutions and cultural ones are built by fallen humans, and as such, will often disappoint–those comfortable in one will find dissonance in the other, while often remaining blind to the limitations of their own. Those of us who seek to live, as I believe God would have us, with an attentiveness to both faith and culture, will find elements dissonant in each, but will try to resist dismissing either as unimportant or unnecessary. And we will find elements of good in each and those good points are the solid foundations on which we sink the pillars from which to build our bridge, spanning each to the other, so they might meet, and in so doing, become complete,

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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