101 things to do when the church (as many of us know it) is gone*

From the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut:

“101 Things to Do” was written by the Rev. Sandra Cosman of Connecticut as she was thinking about the changes ahead for the church, and the people who worry about and are afraid of those changes, by naming and celebrating what we do now and will continue. See interview with the author following the end of the list.


*We tend to procrastinate, so let’s get started now

1. Pray More.

2. Learn Scripture.

3. Take. Bless. Break. Give.

4. Look at People.

5. Leave the Building.

6. Be Open-Hearted.

7. Risk Judgment.

8. Take a Stand.

9. Voice a Concern.

10. Meet a Need.

11. Visit a Grave.

12. Stop.

13. Listen to Something Difficult.

14. Savor Joy.

15. Sing a Song.

16. Forgive Yourself for Something.

17. Recognize Noise.

18. Give Something Away.

19. Take a Chance on Someone.

20. Share Your Knowledge.

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  1. Dcn Scott Elliott

    Ask: ‘What would Francis do?’

  2. So, it looks like you’re reconciled to the the death of Church (as we know it). This is a loss, and it’s worth fighting to keep church as we know it alive. What is this smarmy-pious bs about looking at people, risking judgement, taking a stand, singing songs, etc. There’s nothing particularly religious about this–these are things everyone can and should do.

    What about RELIGION: that is, metaphysics, mysticism and ritual? That’s what matters to me as a RELIGIOUS person. If that disappears, my life, and the lives of many other people who enjoy religion will be impoverished.

    RELIGION is worth fighting for. I am outraged that the Church doesn’t seem to think so. The Church has betrayed me, and all of us who want religion. I joined the Church for rituals, mysticism and metaphysics–that is, for religion. Everything else is available better and cheaper from secular sources. The job of the Church is to provide religion and it looks like it’s just given up.

  3. tgflux

    Hariet, you can [cliche’ disclaimer] “light a candle, or curse the darkness”. I see Rev. Cosman doing the former. Conversely…

    JC Fisher

  4. Ms. Baber

    What a way you have with words-“smarmy-pious bs.” Not a single word about Jesus or love? Just ritual magic. Sounds as if, at least, our church, for you, is dead already if this is all you want. Perhaps the Roman Church would better suit your needs.

    Lan Green

  5. billydinpvd

    Sorry, but this post fails on so many levels. The Church is not about to end. Further, nothing in the Church is preventing anyone from doing any of these things now.

    I also have to protest Lan’s “inviting” Dr Baber to leave. I don’t often agree with Dr B’s assessment of Church, but she’s dead right about the tepid smarminess that passes for much of Episcopal discourse. Even if she weren’t right, she’s perfectly entitled to voice her own opinion. Ain’t no handle on the Cross, Lan.

    Bill Dilworth

  6. billydinpvd

    In the interview with the author on the diocesan website, we find “Was it Holy Spirit-inspired or were there other inspirations?

    Isn’t it all Spirit-inspired, whether we realize it or not?”

    Good grief. Isn’t *what* all Spirit-inspired? Everything on that list? Every “spiritual” idea that pops into our head? Everything in life? The answer to all three is, “No.”

    Bill Dilworth

  7. Charlie Jackson

    As a young Episcopalian, I want to fight for my Church to survive. Sure it will change.

    But we’re theologically the people of God and NEED each other, we NEED the sacraments.

    I don’t want wishy-washy spirituality, I want a living connection with what came before us.

    The Episcopal Church is worth fighting for! In my eyes, worth DYING for!

  8. Gary Paul Gilbert

    The Rev. Sandra Cosman did not write that the church as such will disappear. The parenthetical qualification “as many of us know it” makes it clear that common interpretations are dying. The parentheses serve as a restrictive clause, specifying what will go away.

    One must die in order to be reborn seems to be the underlying assumption–quite Christian.

    Gary Paul Gilbert

  9. Harriet Baber

    The church “as many of us know it”, or at least the remnants of that is precisely what matters: fancy buildings, elaborate ceremonies, great music (and the chance to sing) metaphysics, mysticism and aesthetics. That is RELIGION. Secular enterprises do everything else cheaper and better.

  10. Gary Paul Gilbert

    Dr. Baber, The text in question pronounces neither way on your personal concerns.

    In any case, I would question a simple opposition between religious and secular or sacred and profane. Religion as such, if there be such a beast, which I doubt, could and can be many things. After all, “religion” is a Latin and not a Biblical term.

    A religion of the incarnation ought to embrace and affirm many aspects of life and not just liturgy and aesthetics.

    Gary Paul Gilbert

  11. tgflux

    “A religion of the incarnation ought to embrace and affirm many aspects of life and not just liturgy and aesthetics.”

    Oooh! Ordinarily I avoid “me, too” posts, but that is VERY well-said, Gary.

    JC Fisher

    …whose comfort-zone is personally much more in the liturgy&aesthetics area.

  12. Ah well, friends, ’nuff crankiness–immediately after this semester I’m heading for Florence, and Ravenna. This is what matters to me–aesthetics, and most particularly architecture and cityscapes. This is the center of my life: what I live for and what I got religion for, viz. permission to visit churches, participate in ceremonies, and do philosophical theology.

    Now that I’m older I realize that this isn’t what most people are after in religion. But I still can’t understand that–why people don’t want the ultimate pleasure as I see it. How can you not want a triple banana split with chocolate sauce, nuts and cherries on top? How can you not want the ultimate high church fantasyland–the thrill, the intensity, the escape from the ordinary, the ecstatic aesthetic experience, the vision of the other world?I absolutely believe that if there is another world (and I’m not convinced of that) that we enter it through aesthetic experience.

    But oh well I do get to go to Ravenna! So, arrividerci, friends! Enjoy!

  13. Gary Paul Gilbert

    Bon voyage, Dr. Baber!

    Gary Paul Gilbert

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