More Than 100 Attentions

A few Saturdays ago, (12th February 2022, to be exact), I spoke to a small gathering of women for an online Galentine’s event. The women were lovely, and we had some important conversations, including the increasingly too familiar ones revolving around church abuse, both physical and spiritual. In one conversation, a couple of women mentioned how former churches had called their salvation into question when they wore (or maybe simply wanted to wear?) trousers to a Sunday morning church service.

If you know me at all, you’ll know that I am late to the “feminist” party, still won’t wear the label, and prefer to express mine through action and individual relationship rather than ranting on the internet. Additionally, I was raised to wear dresses and skirts to church and most of the time I still do it because I like to. However, even in my more “complementarian” days, my salvation was never questioned if I wore trousers instead.

Also, misogyny in all its forms is becoming more and more loathsome to me, and sometimes, as described above, it’s just plain idiotic. Also, the following day was a Sunday, and it was snowing here, and everybody knows that trousers and boots are better for navigating cold and snow that skirts and pretty much any other type of shoe. So on Sunday, 13th February, 2022, I wore trousers to church. Then I tweeted the following:

Little did I know the look on my face would become genuine by the time I went to bed that night.

I used to say (like, literally, somewhere on my original blog if not also offline before) that I secretly (clearly not, since I announced it on the internet) wanted to be famous, but not have to do anything about it–either to get that way, to maintain it, or to clean up any mess. I just, I said, wanted to be known.

I would like to retract that wish now. Or at least nuance it a bit.

I tweeted the above as a sort of public-but-inside snark-joke. I don’t have a vast following on Twitter and typically get under ten interactions of any type on anything I say in there. The women with whom I was conversing the day before are in my Twitter circles. If I was trying to make any real point, it was only that I “see” them and I wanted to stand in solidarity with them.

But apparently there is a lot of energy on Twitter for posts about women pastors and trousers.

I know you think I’m going to say things went horribly, horribly wrong, and they didn’t really. I had a couple of British people tell me “pants” didn’t translate, but that was okay because I already know that. I only had two white men all day tell me that the trouser thing was irrelevant because as a woman pastor I was clearly damned already and my church was merely a social club. Most people who interacted, especially at the beginning, were people I know or people who know people I know, and the level of snark with which I tweeted was the level of snark the tweet elicited. I also got some “You go!”s, including from some fame-adjacent people. That was kind of heady.

By the time I went to bed that night, though, the tweet had garnered 701 likes (a record for me), several hundred comments, and more retweets and quote tweets than I’ve ever seen on anything I’ve ever written. Even though almost all the attention was affirming, it was starting to feel…gross. It felt like the tweet wasn’t even mine anymore. Did I really mean that? And what, exactly? When I said “God-blessed women,” did some people think I was euphemizing to say the opposite? (That’s not an idiom we have in these parts, folks.) Did any of these people realize I wasn’t trying to make a fashion statement? Barely any statement, in fact?

That was when I decided I’m just not cut out for the internet, even though I’m sticking around for the foreseeable future. I require too much context, too much opportunity to explain myself, and too much actual relationship with the people I interact with for me to be able to tolerate not doing anything about people knowing (or thinking they know) who I am.

On Mondays I try to stay offline entirely, and since the tweet was well on its way to a life of it’s own and making me an empty, well, nester (tweet!), I couldn’t bear to discover what had happened to it by Tuesday morning, so I took it down. I’m not naive enough to think it’s really gone. I’m not ashamed of it. I just didn’t want to see it morph anymore.

With that, and the following tweet, I went to bed.

As you can see, it only has 23 likes and 7 comments. A week and a half later.

I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t disappointed. It’s complicated being human, isn’t it?

All Will Be Well

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-8sdby-11b0652

Series: Temple–The Meeting of Heaven and Earth #7

20 February 2022

Revelation 21:9-22:5

What “going to church” has to do with loving our neighbor, and with God’s version of happily ever after.

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Scripture Reading: Bernice Rivera

Message in a Basket: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)

Assemble!

I wasn’t sure if “Avengers assemble” is copyrighted, but it would apply. To passages like Ezekiel 39.17-18, for example.

Since very early childhood, I have always been someone who dreams. Long dreams. Vivid dreams. Really outlandish dreams. Recurring dreams–or dreams in recurring dream locations or with recurring characters. Once every great while, a dream stands out as possibly having a bit more real significance than the others. For maybe a couple of reasons which don’t need going into here, I’ve been having a few more of those than usual over the last six months.

Including one about a month ago. The dream seemed to be hinting at the imminent return of Jesus Christ to earth, which was a hoped-for event, but everything that was happening in the dream leading up to it was pretty ominous. It was also all in…cartoon? Which made it less ominous. Or maybe just highlighted how all the horrific stuff that’s occurred in history (or is occurring right now) is decidedly going to come to an end at some point and that point has to do with Jesus.

In one scene in this dream, I was in a passageway in a castle-type building and turned toward a window in the wall. Outside the window was a very leafy tree, and as I looked at it, I realized it was full of (cartoon-like) birds of prey. I counted seven. “Hey guys!” I called to whomever I was with further along the passage. “The birds are here! He must be coming back soon!”

I didn’t know why I thought the birds would be a sign of that until I woke up and remembered Ezekiel.

Assemble! Ezekiel 39.17, Revelation 19.17

Artwork series.

The Living Stones, I Presume?

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-4d3p5-11a6d6b

Series: Temple–The Meeting of Heaven and Earth #6

13 February 2022 1 Peter 2:1-12

God’s not playing around here. Without Jesus, the Temple cannot be rebuilt. Without us, God’s plan remains incomplete.

(Poem read in the sermon is by Steve Garnaas-Holmes at https://unfoldinglight.net/2022/02/11/what-if/)

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Scripture Reading: Bernice Rivera

Message in a Basket: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)

Anniversary or Some Such

Apparently it’s my 15th anniversary with WordPress.

*Cue noisemakers and small explosions*

I signed on with WordPress with a blog that I never publicized, and then some years later created the personal blog That’s a Jenn Story. These days, I have this one, but pretty much the only things that post here or at TaJS are more or less audible audio recordings of me preaching.

This being my WordPress-iversary seems like a good enough day to attempt my annual resumption of blogging which lasts at most a month before it reverts solely to sermon posting.

On the other hand, I actually have some series ideas for this year, so maybe that will help motivate. Here’s what you can maybe not fully expect, but which might show up here at the Pilgrimage blog over the next ten or so months:

  1. Poetry. I’m not a poet, but I used to make an attempt at being one, and recently it seems like a discipline or even spiritual practice worth taking up again.
  2. Art. Likewise I am not an artist. My beloved husband bought me a watercolor class for Christmas 2020, which I thoroughly enjoyed but does not seem to have changed my style or skill level much, alas. However, I’ve been getting more into that practice as well, of late, so you’ll probably see some of that here.
  3. Spiritual Practice. I’ve invented some spiritual practices that derive from traditional spiritual practices that it might be fun to share with you.
  4. Dayle Asks. The Pilgrimage has over time become adjacent to a loose affiliation on Twitter known as #WeirdChristianTwitter or #WCT. A lot of the people who associate in or with that group are in process of deconstructing, including my friend Dayle. Dayle asks good questions that often elicit a response from me on Twitter, and then further reflection in my own head. These posts might be more time consuming than the others to compose, so I’m not sure how often they’ll appear here; on the other hand, one of the things I’d like the Pilgrimage to be known for is that it’s “a safe place to ask questions.”

So there you have it. I’ve got some stuff cued up already, so you can actually look forward to a few posts over the next month or so. Speaking of which, you should also know The Walk is starting up in less than a month. I’d love to have you join us!

What We Have Here Is a Failure to Communicate

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-j5ke2-11a2132

Series: Temple–The Meeting of Heaven and Earth #5

6 February 2022

Jeremiah 7:1-7; John 2:13-24

Turns out Jeremiah and Jesus were upset about the same thing.

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Scripture Reading: Bernice Rivera

Message in a Basket: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)

That’s What It’s All About

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-sfkmj-1191efa

We had a blizzard and our town was requesting people stay off the roads until at least noon, so we met informally on zoom. This recording includes the full unedited zoom call. 

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Series: Temple–The Meeting of Heaven and Earth #4

30 January 2022

1 Kings 8:1-13, 27-30

Solomon builds God a temple–as God promised. Everyone, including God, is pretty ecstatic about it.

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Scripture Reading: Bernice Rivera

Message in a Basket: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)

 

Whose House Is It Anyway?

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-tjasp-1191a62

Series: Temple–The Meeting of Heaven and Earth #3

23 January 2022

2 Samuel 7:1-17

A house for God or a house for David? Also, how is it possible that David could really be a man after God’s own heart.

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Scripture Reading: Bernice Rivera

Message in a Basket: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)

(Don’t) Do It Yourself

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-7h38h-1187e17

Series: Temple–The Meeting of Heaven and Earth #2

16 January 2022

Exodus 25:1-22

Are bricks the almond milk of building materials? What created things are all good or all bad? What’s the difference between the Tower of Babel and the Tabernacle?

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Scripture Reading: Bernice Rivera

Message in a Basket: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)

God’s Back Porch

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-pug2t-117dfca

Series: Temple–The Meeting of Heaven and Earth #1

9 January 2022

Genesis 1:1-2:3

Along with learning some niche jargon (apophatic and cataphatic, anyone?) let’s talk about how and why God really created, and what the point of humans being made in God’s image is.

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Scripture Reading: Bernice Rivera

Message in a Basket: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)

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