Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Strange and the Bizarre

I hesitated about perhaps inadvertently promoting something that I find atrocious... but it is the tip of the crazy iceberg.  First you can watch HERE the latest entry into the exploit the fearful category of church ware.  Don't like this version?  Compare to another competitor who preys upon the same unrealistic fears (namely that Christ instituted not a Sacrament of comfort and assurance but a germ dispensing process.  Please -- somebody -- stop Jesus in the name of health!

If you watched that and are not yet sick, then you can read on.

Can't afford the silver salad host shooter, then why not hermetically sealed hosts that each person can unwrap for themselves.  Christ in plastic.  And while we are at it, lets ditch that messy chalice and infuse the bread with wine (alcohol bakes off) and we have two, two things in one!  Ahhhh, can it get any better?

You don't want to put your hand in that dirty water and cross yourself -- why God only knows who has been there before you -- literally.  So, you know those paper dispensers in the rest rooms?  The same little eye that shoots out a towel now can shoot a spurt of water.  Clean.  Safe.  Sterile.  Don't believe me?  See it HERE. 

Still on the fence... Too expensive for you... Check out Cokesbury and they will convince you to buy:


No germs.  No spills.  No waste.  [and only $282.95 (no free shipping)]

Use this Communion Wafer Dispenser during the cold and flu season to prevent the passing of germs, or use it all year long to reduce the cost, time and personnel needed to provide communion by as much as 50 percent. Size and design enhance the dispenser’s portability, making it easy for clergy to use when visiting homes, hospitals, senior living and care centers. It can also be used in the field by military chaplains.

Beautifully designed, the dispenser, made of durable white plastic, provides for a safe and sanitary way to offer communion and also protects against airborne germs. The revolutionary Rapid Re-load System™ dispenses up to 140 wafers without having to be re-filled, while being fast and easy when you do need to re-load. It uses re-sealable clear plastic tubes of wafers. Tubes have a plastic plug to seal out air and moisture, increasing the shelf-life of unused wafers.

Somebody once shared this wisdom with me.  When you find a whole kettle full of crazy, it is best not to stir it up.  But, I hardly ever listen to wise advice.  Still  not sick?  Read on if you can stomach it...

This is one report from a parishioner.  At a previous parish, on a Sunday deemed "appropriate" by the pastor, the congregation was instructed to begin bumping elbows/shoulders rather than shaking hands, kissing, etc. during the passing of the peace.  (It was even demonstrated for benefit of those without the ability to envision such ritual.)  Beginning that Sunday the pastor no longer "touched" any parishioner -- did not shake hands or embrace at any encounter, including liturgy.  And all this was in addition to the very open use of Purell weekly where one might wash hands at the conclusion of the Offertory! I still recall the Host with the faint smell of Purell when receiving from her... not to mention the "great switch" to plastic shot glasses until Easter "just in case."  Sigh.

Gadfry... can we be any more stupid?  Christ gives us a gift and we turn it into a sacrifice that must be returned to the Father.  So we get a Reformation.  Christ gives us a gift and we let our fears explode so that we don't want it unless it comes hermetically sealed, untouched by human hands, and with every assurance that we won't have to get near that nasty looking guy with a big mustache kneeling just down the rail... okay, I am sick now...

14 comments:

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

It's as though people suddenly looked at all those old hymns that mention death and determined, "Egads! This Jesus fellow is out to kill us! We must stop Him!" Or maybe because we've abandoned those old hymns, we've become convinced that no trouble should ever overtake us and that if we are just smart enough and take enough precautions we can live forever.

Scott said...

"...when receiving from her..."

There's a little irony for ya.

Bill S. said...

And what's really funny is this whole germaphobia thing is liable to make them sicker! Our bodies have an immune system that needs to be exposed to germs. In turn, our body makes antibodies which protect us. No exposure, the immune system gets weak and inefficient. Sort of like the current malady of most folks don't have enough Vit. D because they stay out of the sun or always have sunscreen on.

The wine---very effective killer of germs. The bread--dry, what's a germ to live on? Take, eat, be blessed and don't worry about it! Sheesh....

Janis Williams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janis Williams said...

I'm thoroughly convinced we Americans love our fear. It's just about the only emotion left us. We've allowed everything to be stripped away by media, pop psychology, and the lack of real human interactons (blogging, twitter, facebook, etc., and yes I am guilty).

And beside that, whatever happened to, "Thy will be done...."

Janis Williams said...

Fr. Peters,
Told hubby about your post, and his idea was that we don't have to dispense with the chalice! Just have an acolyte hand out straws before the chalice comes around....;>D

Lutheran Desert Rat said...

I'm going to be the dissenter in this one. (Kind of). The "host shooter" reminds me of an old Star Trek toy gun that use to shoot out those round disks.

But we have done the "elbow bump" and Purell thing and have used the little cups (glass not disposable). Here was the reasoning behind it:

The local grade school had over 1/2 of its students report sick with the swine flu and was later closed by the county department of health. The county department of health also issued letters and signs to the local churches to put up (voluntarily) telling those who were feeling sick to go away and come back when they felt better. Also, it recommended people not shake hands. The signs never made it past my waste can, but many in the congregation were concerned.

Our congregation has a rather interesting method for communion distribution, which was established before I came there. On the first and third Sundays, parishioners bake the bread for communion and receive the wine from the little glasses. On all other Sundays, it is the bread wafers and common cup. However, most people in the congregation will dip the wafer instead of drinking from the common cup. I have talked until I am blue in the face about there being much more risk of contamination from our fingers than from lips, but people still insist on dipping.

Since intinction is the most unsanitary method for distribution, I made the decision to only use the little cups every Sunday until the epidemic passed.

We also had about three people in the congregation actively being treated with chemotherapy; therefore, their immune systems were compromised. I had three people and one anonymous letter wanting to discontinue passing the peace and one requesting we stop celebrating communion until the epidemic passed. The "elbow bump" or bow was my comprise in order to keep the peace in the service. Also, making Purell available to parishioners after the peace, whether it actually did any physical good or not, seemed to relieve anxiety for some.

Pastor Peters said...

But is not the relief of our anxiety the trust in the Lord who harms us not but cares for us as a dear Father to His dear children? Surely it is in this that we need to direct our people. Christ would not invite us to that which would harm us. God surely had foreknowledge of H1N1 when Jesus first took bread, broke it, and gave it to them... I believe that when we play into people's fears we make it rational to distrust God...

marlene said...

I found that the best way to keep away a cold, the flu, or any illness at any time of the year is to simply carry your own pen. Use it instead of the one offered by the sales clerk...you just do not know who touched that pen last...did not catch one illness all last winter doing this. Works great.

Chris said...

Can anyone, honestly anyone, actually point to one case where someone was given the common cold or flu by partaking of our Lord's Body and Blood? I don't think there is any evidence of this whatsoever. This is just another symptom of how the Eucharist is only a symbol in modern American Protestant churches and not the flame which consumes the unworthy.

Padre Dave Poedel, STS said...

While prudent handwashing is appropriate for the celebrant and assistants, this obsession with "purity" is an affront to our Savior who gives His very Body and Blood to us each time we gather.

I refuse to surrender any of our normal ritual to irrational fear, but instead serve as a role model to our people by trusting the Lord at His Word.

Mechanical dispensers...indeed...NOT!

Lutheran Desert Rat said...

Good points.

Lutheran Desert Rat said...

"Can anyone, honestly anyone, actually point to one case where someone was given the common cold or flu by partaking of our Lord's Body and Blood?"

I do not know of any direct evidence of someone getting sick, but there have been studies measuring the amount of germs present. I have tried finding the article, but I have misplaced it somewhere. If I recall the gist of it correctly, basically there was almost no risk of germ transmission regardless of the method, except one: intinction.

Intinction sometimes resulted in traces of fecal material, probably from people dipping their fingers along with the host. This is why I dislike intinction.

The little cups were only slightly more sanitary than the common cup, but only if those preparing the cups, distributing them and receiving them washed their hands and / or did not touch the rims of the cups.

The bottom line is what Pastor Peter reminded us in the first place: trust in what God provides.

Pastor Peters said...

http://pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/2009/10/precaution-or-fear.html

check out this link for studies on the chalice...