foreign correspondant

(pray for me.  the spell check is in Swedish…)

Uppsala feels strangely familiar.  I sat at breakfast, watching the ducks on the water and so easily could have been sitting in Boston, looking across the river to Harvard.  There are more bicycles, of course.  And more cured fish.  But these are little things.

I didn´t expect Sweden to be so easy.  It helps that everyone speaks such good English.  But it is more than that.  In France I feel foreign, even if I´m among English speakers.  Not so here.

The church does feel different.  Lots of money, lots of clergy, lots of haste (whoops, where did that eucharistic prayer go? body and blood already.)  One of the theories offered yesterday was that churches stagnate when worship is done in one way at one time, and grow when the patten of worship is abundant and diverse.  So, that sounds like an easy plan for growth.  But the person speaking also said that the challenge was to get clergy to try new things.  I wonder if that is made worse by the history of economic stability in the church — by the tradition that says ´this is how we do things.   Why change?´

That said, if it is true in Sweden, it may be equally true in the UK.

The church also feels more Anglican than I was expecting it to.  Bishops very much evident in the ecclesiology.  Familiar visual aesthetic.  This is not the German Lutheranism that is more familiar to me from the States.  

So, today, we get more statistics (is the love of statistics an “establishment” thing?) and a seminar on music.  I´m hoping for some theology before we go, but I fear I may hope in vain.

If any of you see Molly before I do, give her my love.  Poor  puss. 


2 thoughts on “foreign correspondant”

  1. It sounds lovely – the whole experience.

    The sociological prediction of Rodney Stark is that anything done to increase the cost of church membership will cause growth by discouraging the uncommitted, who are liable to drain resources without adding anything. Diverse worship plainly makes for a level of discomfort at times as people are worshipping in ways they don’t like – I for instance am suffering plain chant on one occasion, while friends endure the exchange of the Peace on another.

    I suspect too that by offering everybody something they need for growth on occasion, you will also encourage growth.

    In other words, one will plunge from comfort into discomfort quite frequently, and be generally invigorated.

    (Rather like a Swedish sauna)

  2. The ease you are having in finding your way Sweden is heartening. Hope you continue to enjoy it and I looking forward to further reports.

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