Dale Ahlquist, custodian and disciple of all things Chesterton, is showing up at my house in a few hours, and so I'm madly cleaning up in preparation of his arrival. Dale is giving some talks in Oregon and Washington over the next few days, spreading the wit and wisdom of the great G.K.
Anyhow, I wanted to share a bit about my particiation in an intense and memorable religious service last night here in Eugene, Oregon.
It had a bit of everything: upbeat and incredibly loud worship music, a fascinating mixture of traditonal and contemporary elements, intense involvement by the entire faith community, focused and jubilant celebrants, trendy vestments, and a nearly perfectly executed service.
Don't panic. I've not become a member of the AmChurch. I was given tickets to the Oregon-UCLA football game, which the Ducks managed to pull out, 60-13 (it should have been 67-6, but that's another story). It was the first game for Oregon as the #1 ranked team (#2 in the BCS, if that's important to you) in the country, and they certainly performed like a national title candidate. But nearly as interesting to me was watching, in person, the religious-like elements of college football, which includes video homage to the "communion of saints" (past football greats), a processional (the team's entrance, accompanied by music), and so forth. I put together a much longer list a few years ago. None of which is meant, of course, to be mocking of either football or religion (on the contrary, I am fond of both, each in the proper measure, I hope), but rather to note what it suggests about human nature. We are religious creatures, and we are best known, ultimately, by the things we treat as sacred and set apart by various ceremonies, rituals, and devotional practices.
And with those incredibly deep and rich insights, I must take my leave as I prepare for the coming of Dale.