Saturday, March 23, 2002

Another Adventure W/ Bad Mr. Tripp

It happened last night. We had orig. planned on going to a concert where a band I used to manage would play. He showed up late w/ different plans. He had picked up Street Promo Guy, who had grown up in my hometown, as well.

In exchange for passing out flyers & such in the streets & at concerts, Street Promo (SP) Guy gets free concet tickets. He had gotten tix to the WAAF Beach Party Concert @ the Tsongas Arena in Lowell. SPG didn't want to go, so he gave the tix to Bad Mr. Tripp.

I didn't have anything against going on an adventure & doing something random to get out of the city on a Friday night. After all, I had made plans to hang out w/ Bad Mr. Tripp. What else did I expect?

So dropped off SPG in Harvard Sq. then explored Cambridge-Somerville for a bit until we found I-93 then sped on over to Lowell for the concert. I won't touch much on the concert now for the sake of appropriateness. Suffice to say, the events repulsed me while @ the same time the mass energy sucked me into it & left me satisfied @ the end.

In case anyone was wondering, we talked abt & tried playing the Prisoner's Dilemma Game a bit while driving around aft the concert.

Really Starting to Talk Abt Community

Almost exactly a month ago, I had a conversation w/ someone abt communities, religion, & the UU church. He stumped me good w/ an argument/question th/ he had. The argument started w/ the fact th/ he did a satisfying job by himself ministering to his spiritual needs. He didn't see any need to put energy into joining other people in their spiritual quests. Further he made the point th/ people involved in such religious communities can easily fall victim to entering mindless ritual & not touching upon authentic spiritual experiences or states of being. So if trying to take part in a spiritual community can tax personal energies & more likely than not the spiritual community will become inauthentic by relying too much on ritual, why become a member of a spiritual community?

A caveat: I think the follow who posed the question made it a bit more complicated then what I typed above. My memory doesn't work good w/ specifics from a month ago. . .except for the odd specific th/ I just remember for no apparent reason. Nonetheless, I'll go on & try to come up w/ some semblance of an answer. I think it will help me figure out something about community.

I've taken part in my spiritual community @ the Harvard Sq. Unitarian-Universalist First Parish spiritual community for abt 2 yrs now -- one summer abt 2 yrs ago then continously from the Dec aft th/ summer until now. All in all, except for my going to Christian churches phase (I originally thought th/ modern Unitarian Universalism acted as a denomination of Christianity, even though. . .), I've lived my life born & raised as a Unitarian Universalist, most often going to services in an old Puritan church converted to UU @ some point in history.

I didn't much care for church during my early years. Actually. . .I didn't much enjoy Sunday school (I remember finding it somewhat socially uncomfortable when it came to interpersonal intimacy), but I think I liked the worship in the sanctuary w/ the sermon & everything. I remember one back in the day in wh/ the minister talked abt Jesus, but I cna't particularly remembered what the minister said. I liked the singing, too, & tried singing w/ everyone else even though I knew I couldn't keep a note. . .a little like now. . .even though I can sing on key every once in awhile. I just don't know the technical side of singing in key. But I guess put simply, I liked the ritual, the ambient energy of the crowd, & most especially the sermons. The minister always sd such interesting things, even if I didn't understand what they meant by it.

Back then I lived in my youth. I have two older brothers who back then didn't much enjoy much of anything abt church or Sunday school. I think they influenced me quite a bit into not liking anything to do w/ church on a superficial level. & aft awhile we bugged our parents enough to not take us to church. Then I think they got into the habit of not going, themselves, on Sunday unless they had to usher or if one of us kids wanted to go (I think only I wanted to go out of the three of us, but I could have an error there. I don't know.) If anything, I only had a primordial experience w/ a spiritual community in my youth, & I didn't like it in my youth for superficial reasons. Yet the experience had put some kind of inspiration in me that hid for awhile.

I attended a UU church sporadically when I went to college in VT. Looking back on it, I think it came as my first exposure to a cpl things. First off, as an outsider to the community at hand. Second, as the sheep returning to the fold but not really knowing the fold so feeling uncomfortable abt it feeling so radically different & less formal than what I experienced from the church @ home. I felt uncomfortable, mostly. The people in the congregation tried to follow inclusiveness, but a load of factors kept me @ bay -- the difference from the church @ home, the congregation pretty much all came from the area & had history w/ it, & not too many people @ my stage of life went to the church. Most of them could connect w/ me abt having gone to my college (just abt everyone in th/ town went to my college or @ least took a class or two there), but as for their or my own current stages, they didn't really complement each other. Oh well. . ..

During the summer of 2 yrs ago, I remembered when I had once attended First Parish in Harvard Sq. I had visited it back in my 1st yr of college when I had to get off campus, so I took a trip to Boston & visited a friend. The service th/ day revolved around the retirement of a minister. We sang a hymn th/ he had written. It struck me as cool, this guy retiring @ a church I'm attending had written a hymn in the hymnal th/ pretty much gets distributed to all the UU churches in the country, if not the world. Mr. Ripley from my old church had probably memorized th/ very same hymn (if they had published it in the older version -- by the time the new version got released, Mr. Ripley had gone blind). This minister had some history w/ this church & organization. It had filled me w/ a sense of awe. & when this retiring minister greeted me & had spoken w/ me a bit (I had pretty much just blabbered this same thing to him & maybe had said something abt my own life), he had treated me like a person & kept up a conversation. Everyone in th/ coffee hour had done very much the same thing. I had felt really welcome. It had felt good.

An Abrupt End

Um. . .to tell the truth, though: I want to cut this short & continue it ltr. I've spent a lot of time on writing the above. Time has run away on me a bit. My attention span has run a bit short. I really plan on continuing this writing, though. It has provided me w/ some good insight, & I think it will help me get deeper into this idea of community & help me work on my homework for the Future Farm.


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