Apr 28, 2008

Weekend in Philly

Larry and I had a great time speaking at a singles conference at liberti church in Philadelphia. My friend Arlene invited us down; she's on staff at liberti. Who knew that after all those years of single desolation, we might have something to say to a bunch of cool, young people. But apparently cool, young singles really don't want to hear from some cool young couple how hard it was to wait until they were 24 to find each other. Hopefully we gave them some tips on how to avoid our mistakes, and some encouragement that even if they make our mistakes, they could end up married to the right person.

I loved watching Larry in his element, talking to their pastor about theology and post-modern church. Larry inspired the attendees that "marriage isn't the goal," he said. "Your life is the goal--living a big life God called you to live." I'm glad I got Larry before anyone else did. Not that there wasn't time or anything.

Both Arlene and the pastor, Jeff Bradford, graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary, with their faith intact. Arlene said a lot of people lose their faith in seminary, either in liberal institutions where they doubt God at all, or in conservative ones who argue over every jot and tiddle. One WTS professor has been suspended over mixing his jots and tiddles, and Arlene was pretty steamed over it.

Fortunately she found a great church in liberti. It's not one church. Jeff said they intentionally created three smaller churches in specific neighborhoods, to meet the needs of a specific demographic. Jeff said that once a particular group gets too big, they'll split. The point of church is not to be anonymous, Jeff said. The point is to be a community. Larry really enjoyed talking to Jeff about theology, the post-modern church and other assorted issues.

Arlene treated us to the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It was intense. They had an audio tour that accompanied the paintings. I didn't see the biopic "Frida," and knew very little about her. I finished the tour with a lot of respect for her work, a great deal of compassion for her life, and some bemusement at the curators. The way they described her fractured relationship with Diego Rivera was pathetic. The guy slept around. He had an affair with her sister. He even told Frida his doctor said he was physically incapable of monogamy. "Mira, Frida. Tengo un doctor's note!" The curators described them as unconventional and creative in their relationship. Try "dysfunctional," you maroons. It's all over her art. Pain and suffering. Yeah we got some great art out of it, but the woman was heartbroken!

Even more bemusing was the selection of souvenirs available for purchase in the museum store. Like, how about a coffee mug with Frida's face covered in bloody nails? Or that same image on a tie? Nothing says "hire me" like a tie with a Frida Kahlo's naked, nail-shot face face staring at you. Well you could get a job in the museum store. Or at a Fangoria Convention.

If you're well-to-do, you can get a replication of Frida's crown of thorns and dead hummingbird necklace for only $4,375!

Of course, in her painting you'll notice the thorns are making her bleed. They're meant to depict her agony attempting to win back her philandering fat tire of a husband. So if your wife buys this necklace, she might question your fidelity. That $4375 purchase may not be her last drain of your bank account before she files for divorce.

I am back to the book and working quickly and with concentration. Well except now. Actually I started this post because I was upset over a dolphin that died at Sea World, performing a stunt. I can't even bring myself to read the story. I know it's just an animal. I know that people died in gang shootings this weekend as well. But it still makes me really mad. For that reason there has to be an afterlife. There has to be a place where the world is put to rights, as N.T. Wright said.

Oh speaking of N.T. Wright, I think he might be on the s#*t list at Westminster. He probably described the atonement in words the profs didn't care for. Arlene is pretty angry at WTS right now. But not at Jesus--just at some of the people who claim to teach about him. Arlene's my kind of people. Thanks, girl!


Michael Pitts said...

Great Article, thoughtful and entertaining as always. So many in ministry (like the Film Biz) think you have to be in the target age range or they won't listen to you. I'm glad you all found a receptive audience, willing to listen to your journey and life experience.

I just wonder about all the USC people you dissed for being "maroons."


Susan Isaacs said...

hey Michael, thanks for the comment. I didn't diss USC, though. I dissed the museum curators for not calling a spade a freakin spade. USC? What blog you been reading, boy?

Michael Pitts said...

Hey Susan,

Sorry for the misunderstanding.

I was just making what I thought was a proofreading joke. :-D

The reference was a pun on "maroons" - people wearing the USC colors rather the people lacking intelligence and judgement referred to as "maroons". I suspect you had another word in mind.

Or perhaps "maroon" is a derogatory expression missing from my vocabulary. ;-) If so, I stand corrected.

Maybe people wearing USC colors are morons also? Disclaimer.. this is coming from a Loyola Marymount grad.

Keep up the interesting blog.


Susan Isaacs said...

"Maroon" is a Bugs Bunny-ism for "Moron." "What a maroon!"

One of the things I picked up from my Looney Toones Lovin' husband :) But you LMUs can come up with your own. I may have graduated from 'SC but that doesn't make me a trojan.

Ted and Lori said...

There are so many things in this post I wanted to respond to, but there is an immediate need in my future to put food in the mouth of a small chocolate bunny.

the dolphin: Ted and I have talked extensively about why it is that mistreatment (even the chasing of our cats by the hooligan children of our friends) upsets us so--and I think it has something to do with their absolute innocence, how we as the big bad humans are to take care of them, how some of them really *need* us. God created them this way, partly because He knew we'd need the companionship when our human neighbors break our hearts (wonder if Frida had a cat?), so to see them mistreated and exploited is just so...awful.

Ted and Lori said...

and about everything being made right in the afterlife: I got so stinkin' frustrated recently when some friends were waxing theological about why children who die early might not be in heaven, that they just might cease to exist. All kinds of stuff I thought was simply NUTS. God is good. God is full of grace. God is love. I can't believe and trust in a God that would not let me be in eternity with my child. How can people not see this?

Sarah B said...

We enjoyed having you in Philly...thanks for coming!

Arlene said...

it was fun having you & larry here. the folks couldn't stop talking about the seminar for weeks. it kept popping up in conversations. geoff bradford (note correct spelling, but, i'm sure he won't mind) and his wife susan enjoyed both of you as well. i'm sure you'll be back.


**p.s. i dig the cover of the book.

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