Welcome to Summer! 

On June 3rd at Spirit Garage, we are starting a Summer theme we’re calling “Walking the Dogma.” 

Dogma: A principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.

Do you have a dog? My dog is a Hound mix, and she is led by her nose. She’s either pulling me to the next great smell, or I’m pulling her to get her to move on. It is unclear if I am walking her or she is walking me! Occasionally we walk alongside each other in peace.

Sometimes the doctrines and dogmas and words we use at church seem kind of like that: Words and ideas that we need to catch up to, or pull into a new century. Sometimes it is unclear if the dogma is controlling us or we are controlling the dogma! There are lots of tricky things that churches talk about, or used to talk about that can be confusing when placed in our time and place. There may be new ways to work with old ideas, or maybe we just need to learn what things mean or were supposed to mean. 

We took a poll one day in church and at the MayDay festival to learn which churchy words are confusing or hard for people, and built our series based on those words. Each week throughout the summer we’ll be deconstructing and reconstructing these words, with the hope of finding new life and faith in them so that we might walk alongside this vocabulary of faith in peace, instead of being pulled or trying to yank on the leash.

Along with Sunday mornings, Pastor Holly will host book discussions based on “Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith” by Kathleen Norris. This book is available at Moon Palace Books (where we have our discussions) for 20% off when you mention the book club. Check out the calendar page for information about when these discussions are. They will be posted by the beginning of June. 

Here is a quote from the Preface that explains why it fits our theme: 

“When I began attending church again after twenty years away, I felt bombarded by the vocabulary of the Christian church. Words such as “Christ,” “Heresy,” “Repentence,” and “Salvation” seemed dauntingly abstract to me, even vaguely threatening. They carried an enormous weight of emotional baggage from my own childhood and also from family history. For reasons I did not comprehend, church seemed a place I needed to be. But in order to inhabit it, to claim it as mine, I had to rebuild my religious vocabulary. The words had to become real to me, in an existential sense.”

Kathleen Norris, “Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith, Riverhead books, New York: 1998, 2-3.

So we will begin trying to make these words real to us. Here is our list of words! 

  • June 2: Ascension
  • June 9: Pentecost
  • June 16: Creation
  • June 23: Hell and the Devil
  • June 30th: Confession and Forgiveness
  • July 7: Saved!
  • July 14: Crucifixion
  • July 21: (No church – Open Streets, Minnehaha + Lake
  • July 28: Resurrection
  • August 4: Anointing
  • August 11: Baptism
  • August 25: Blessing (Outside worship at Minnehaha Falls. Bring your actual Dog!)

With those thoughts, words and dogmas, we’ll begin to rebuild a vocabulary of faith.

Don’t forget, we have t-shirts with the fun “Walking the Dogma” logo! Get yours at church-donations welcome but not required. Wear them to all the summer fun things. 

See you in the summer walking the dog(ma)!