Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What I Do in Church (Hint: d-r-a-w)

I figure I've spent quite a bit of time in church over the past thirty years (I started seminary in the fall of 1979, and I was pretty obsessive about church attendance before that), so now that I am not professionally obligated to be in church on Sunday mornings, I often exercise the "free choice" option.

When I do go, I have to confess that I go with rather modest (some might say, depressingly low) expectations. If I get to sing a couple of hymns I really love, I consider that a good day in church. 

I also confess to drawing in church, sometimes before the liturgy begins, but mostly during the sermon. It kind of keeps the little kid in me happy and quiet. Actually, I think it keeps the big kid in me happy and quiet, so that other things that might ordinarily tick me off or get my dander up don't bother me so much. (Which doesn't mean I don't notice them!)

Contrary to what you may imagine, I don't believe that my drawing during the sermon keeps me from listening well. I believe it actually helps me to listen, precisely because I don't get quite so distracted by my inner monologue of reactions and criticisms, because I'm enjoying my drawing!

It all started on the First Sunday of Advent last November. As you can see, I drew David's shoe, and as I was drawing, the preacher was recommending that we (the people in the pews) make an Advent practice of keeping occasional minutes of silence. And I, being ready for the sermon to end, made a note on my drawing: "Why not a minute of silence NOW?"
I next drew on February 1. First as we were settling in I did a very quick line drawing of "people sitting in church" in the pew ahead of me.
Later, during the sermon,  I drew my left hand. It may look as if my hand is clasped in an angry fist, which would not be a good sign, but really, it is only clutching the cap to my pen.
Finally, just the day before yesterday, I drew a somewhat fanciful portrayal of palms in a lopsided pot, columns, and a displaced portion of reredos. Without thinking I laid my little sketch book down on the pew when it was time to "share the peace" with the people near me. The man sitting behind me said, "I like your drawing!" Perhaps he had watched over my shoulder as I drew, or maybe he saw the drawing for the first time when it was finished. 


Carol Bass said...

your drawings are WONDERFUL....

are you at all interested in shamanism?

Bekah said...

I really think you and Daddy should like make a collection of your essays about church and leaving church...