Something Strange — eleven:eleven on 11/11!

It’s eleven:eleven on 11/11 — Something’s Strange . . .

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
— Albert Einstein

A good friend of mine, storyteller and National Endowment for the Arts treasure, Elizabeth Ellis, was once asked what was her most treasured story is and she said, “I knew a man who lived in hell. He could never leave, though. He knew the street names so well.” I am reminded of this story right now, where we are with our politics and our polarized culture and our denominational struggles with human sexuality. It seems like the picture is always bigger than our fear and anxiety. But fear is almost always our first, and most typical, response to these problems.

That makes sense, given our human biology and evolution as a species. It’s in our DNA to take flight or stand and fight. But are those the only two options? How do we get out of the problems we’re in when we “know the street names so well”? Getting out of the patterns of problems we find ourselves plagued by requires courage, spontaneity and creativity.

Are traditions meant to contain us, to give us safe and secure boundaries to circle the wagons around or hide behind? What if traditions aren’t meant to cater to our simplest fears but are there to root us with the courage to move us beyond their understanding into new ways of thinking? What if the best traditions are those that propel beyond their limitations into new ideas and directions? What if the very ground of our being, what if God, is inviting us into new ways of thinking about who we are to one another and to life itself? How do we get there?

I’m continuing our series “Jesus H Christ” and thinking with you about Blasphemy and Creativity. In the text for Sunday, Jesus has left a disciple behind who said he needed to tend to his father’s way of life before he could follow Jesus’ and now Jesus is at Martha and Mary’s. Mary’s at the feet of the Rabbi, thinking new thoughts and Martha’s anxious, concerned about the traditions. There’s so much more going on here than meets the eye and things are getting strange.

This Sunday is eleven:eleven on 11/11! It won’t happen again for eleven years! It should get a little strange…  Actor Jakie Cabe will join us with his theater troupe to do a piece from Godspell and the band will offer the music of Ray LaMontagne, and special guest Krista Russell will perform Etta James! Something’s gonna get a hold on you. Don’t miss it.


Rev. Tom McDermott
Associate Pastor of eleven:eleven

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