A liturgy of complaining

Hello and welcome back, sparks on the water!

This year as I begin my last year of seminary,  I thought I would try to get into the regular habit of blogging again. What has crippled me in the past is the feeling that good writing only comes as a result of passionate inspiration, and not through practice. So this week, a few random thoughts , with no illusions as to the weightiness of my topics or the perfection of my writing.

I have been fishing for an angle for my thesis. I am a great procrastinator, one of the best. I have not been working on this steadily over the summer aside from defining the general area I want to write in or about- ecology and liturgy. I haven’t even decided if this is an analytic paper or a liturgical-creative project.  In search of answers, I took out a book called “Ecology and Liturgy in Dialogue”, a thin little volume which has proved a bit disappointing, at least for my purposes. It contains no liturgy, and not much dialogue. Instead, it is a concisely written account of why Roman Catholics should care about the environment, and what the incarnation and the Eucharist should lead us to believe about ecology, along with some questions for discussion. 

However, one of the things that struck was a comment attributed to Charles Dickens that the author of this book,  Fr. Lawrence Mick, uses in order to make a point about the importance of recognizing blessings. Charles Dickens told Americans that  perhaps they had it wrong- there should be 364 days given over to Thanksgiving and one day given over to complaining.

This got me really thinking- what would a liturgy of complaining look like?

Instead of passing out the collection plates, the collection box would open and each parishioner-congregant could take from the collection box an amount they perceive as “disappointment money”

Prayers for the People or “Prayers for the Common Life” would become a litany of complaints  (this would be a long service)

Music might entail such choral gems as “the Kvetching cantata”.

I can also just imagine what the children’s story could could be- perhaps something about fallen ice-cream cones?

If we were to have an liturgy of complaining, though, for one day, I imagine that it certainly would not be complete without certain complaint-worthy foods, such as Thanksgiving is not complete with the standard foods that sanction it a civic holiday.

Well, what do you think? Any ideas for a liturgy of complaining?


About Valerie Freseman

Valerie Freseman is a Unitarian Universalist minister and a 2014 graduate of Union Theological Seminary. She completed a chaplain residency at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, CT, and served as the first year-long Killam Ministerial intern at the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland. She is passionate about spinning the inter-dependent web, creating a more just world, and applying the arts to faith.  She is also becoming increasingly well-known for her sock collection.
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1 Response to A liturgy of complaining

  1. Beth says:

    This reminded me of Rob Brezsny’s Unhappy Hour

    One hour a week to get it all out and leave it behind. I could, however use some cash.

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