Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Shrove Tuesday—Pig Out on Pancakes!

The time has come for this blog to resurface. Life is getting back to normal--or should I say, “As normal as it ever gets for a pastor!” Our daughter left yesterday for a short term mission in a refugee camp, in the Sahara Desert of North Africa. She will be working with a mission organization in an on going mission effort in that refugee camp. Yesterday, she flew to Europe to meet up with the permanent people of the team. They will be in North Africa by the end of the week.

Now for today’s topic…

Mardi Gras in New Orleans will be in full swing tonight on this, the last day before Lent begins. Shirts will be lifted and breasts exposed. Beads will be thrown. Puke will cover the streets. People will be falling down drunk. Memories of the night’s activities will be clouded through the alcohol-enduced fog. Tomorrow morning it will all be over—that is except for the hangovers.

Carnival in Rio makes Mardi Gras in New Orleans look like child’s play. Millions of free condoms have been handed out to protect partiers from STDs and pregnancy. For twelve days the party rages on and on.

I have never been to New Orleans or Rio. I have never attended Fat Tuesday in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. I have no desire to hang around large groups of drunken people. If I am going to be around a bunch of drunks I will go to a NFL game!

Those of us in the church should take a closer look at Mardi Gras to see what we can learn. Here are some of my observations:

  • There is a human need to gather with other people for fun. People will use any excuse to find a time to have fun. Last Sunday was Super Bowl XLII. Super Bowl parties were the norm. If you went to Costco on Saturday you would have seen more food sampling stations than normal – almost every one had a type of snack food that could be served at a Super Bowl party. People just love to get together for fun.
  • There is a human need to try to escape the drudgery of every day life. Just the other day I spoke with a person whose life is anything but enjoyable. The person looks for a few moments here and there to try and get some freedom from his/her situation. People look for avenues of escape when they have no sense of hope in their lives.
  • People are lonely and will go to extraordinary lengths to feel wanted, needed or important. The woman with the most beads at Mardi Gras is a celebrity for one night. Men desire her because they know she will flash her boobs at them. Some women envy her, wishing they had so many men wanting their attention.

These are just a few of my observations on Mardi Gras.

So, what are churches doing to help meet some of the deep human needs that surface during Mardi Gras? That is a very good question!

Evergreen Presbyterian Church (the church I serve) has an annul Shrove Tuesday pancake supper. Shrove Tuesday is the Church’s version of Fat Tuesday. This supper is something that our church has done for years and years—I believe that it goes back to the founding pastor of the church. It is a fun dinner. We have about 150 people stop by the church for dinner. It is the same people every year:

  • There are those from the church family who are in worship on a regular basis.
  • There are those who are extended family members of those who attend Evergreen. This is the one thing that they come to every year.
  • There are those from the area around the church who come to the dinner, but attend a different church for worship.

We have almost no people who come to the dinner as their first experience at Evergreen.

The “older” people at the church love the Shrove Pancake dinner. It meets their needs. It is a fun time. They get to see people they know. They get to laugh and catch up with neighbors who attend other churches. It gives them a chance to escape the “regular” drudgery of Tuesday night television. It gives them a feeling of being needed. It takes a lot of people to put on the supper.

I enjoy our pancake supper; and yet, I wonder…

Do we do the supper to meet our needs or do we do it to meet the needs of the unchurched in our area?

Mardi Gras’s success depends on the cooperation of all the people and establishments in the French Quarter of town and the city of New Orleans. It is a huge effort! The crowds and their $$$$ make it worthwhile for those who sponsor the event.

What would happen if churches around the country decided to present viable alternatives on Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday?

Let me dream about what could happen in Graham, Washington.

Graham is an area in unincorporated Pierce County. It is basically the intersection of South Meridian and 224th Street East. Graham is a zip code! The area called Graham is partly rural. Subdivisions have sprung up all over the place. The high school gym is the largest building around. The Pierce County Fair Grounds is located in Graham.

Here is my dream. The local churches would get together and rent the Pierce County Fair Grounds for the day. Events would start as soon as school gets out. Christian bands (some big name bands) would play continuously until 10:00 pm. Food booths would be serving food for all who attend. Fair rides would be available for free, or almost free. A paint ball course would be set up. There would be age-appropriate activities for everyone. The admission fee would be non-perishable food for the local food bank. Social service agencies would be there to get their information to those who are interested. Participating churches would have booths to let people know where they are located and what they have to offer. Within a year or two it could become THE place to be on Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday.

Our Session (“church board” for you non-Presbyterians out there) retreat will be occurring next month. One topic to explore will be our Shrove Tuesday “event.” Is it all Christ wants it to be? Is it possible for our church to meet human needs by providing quality experiences for the churched and the unchurched?


At 12:47 PM , Blogger Red_Cleric said...

In Portland, we too are following our great tradition. Our pancake supper will take place on Ash Wednesday along with the imposition of ashes.

I'd like to say there was deep theological reasoning behind this but in fact, it's because we already have a group of people showing up for choir practice.

In the spirit of the election year, however, I'm spinning it as a ecological [Green} choice to not expend the energy it would take to heat and light an almost 100 year old building...

That's 2 carbon credits for the fundy church in Portland... whoopie

At 4:50 PM , Blogger Pastor Lance said...

Dear red cleric,
Great post!!

On a side note, our Shrove Tuesday was a huge success in terms of $$$ raised to help with our youth mission trip.

At 10:42 PM , Blogger gaohui said...

Bali is another organization that ed hardy Hats are known for their functional yet ed hardy Caps beautiful bras. Founded by Sara ed hardy Hats Stein in 1927.The Wonderbra manufactured by buy ed hardy the Sara Lee Corporation, is a push-up bra that was a sensation during its time. It was a big Ed Hardy Sale success and drew enormous amounts of interest. It was designed to Ed Hardy Swimwear make the bust appear larger, thus enhancing a Ed Hardy Swimwear womans cleavage.Here are more resource articles on cheap plus ed hardy swimsuits size evening gowns and plus size clothing for women.

At 7:45 PM , Blogger sad said...

thomas sabo bracelet Some basic considerations can help a person to get the right par of shoes. Below are some of the important points that one may need to think about before getting the shoes. thomas sabo bracelets Style is not that important - majority of the people choose their tennis shoes considering only brand names and its looks. discount thomas sabo bracelet They don`t keep the importance of their feet up front most of the times. It can be a little hard to give up an awesome looking pair of shoes that matches your personality cheap thomas sabo bracelet But when it comes to the usage, they should be chosen based on their functionality. The tennis shoes that one is purchasing should be able to protect and support one`s feet ideally. thomas sabo bracelet clearance They are equally as good for keeping the water and weather away from your feet and both brands offer cheap golf shoes as well as their many expensive varieties. thomas sabo Shopping at FootJoy or Adidas can give you fashion, color, and a large line of shoes online and in stores.At any rate, be mindful of our golf game if you are a real competitor--know that shoes are the most vital part of your golfing attire. discount thomas sabo You need to shop around, compare prices. And get the most for your money. thomas sabo sale uk That doesn't mean you should opt for a pair of discount shoes that also have cheap quality. What would be the point of purchasing a shoe that is not comfortable to wear. thomas sabo jewellery If you care anything about your success in golfing, shop around. thomas sabo silver The Heel Box - it is an important part of the shoes.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home