Thursday, October 13, 2011

Just a Little Heresy

I am quite aware that there are many, many heresies I could preach from the pulpit and no one in my congregation would ever complain. However, here is one heresy that is going to get me into a lot of trouble: it's time to kill potluck dinners.

If some of the older church ladies heard that, I'd be scraping them off the floor right now. My personal distaste for potluck dinners is pronounced and easily identified: it's a large social gathering in which I'm expected to mingle. I don't like that whole scenario.

More broadly, though, it's about a way of life that is not part of my reality.

Potluck dinners assume:
  • I cook.
  • I like to cook.
  • I know what to cook.
  • I can cook for several people.
  • I have ingredients in my home to cook.
  • I can cook unhealthy things. 
Ok, short of the last one, there's a theme here: it's a family-oriented, very domestic event. Here's the thing, again: that's not me. It's not the great stretch for me to cook something for a potluck that it is for many of my friends, but it is a stretch. I cook mostly healthy stuff for just one person or I grab take-out. I'm happy to eat my own cooking, but who knows about anyone else. My cooking is certainly never subject to judgment and yes, I do cook up some delicious experiments. I also cook up some disgusting experiments. And oh yeah, I eat all of those on my couch. I consider my table to be more of a large shelf.

So to cook, sit down, eat a meal and clean up afterwards is a foreign concept for the way I live my life.

I want table fellowship, don't get me wrong. I'd just rather go out to eat or be told very specifically what to bring.

What I don't want is the expectation that table fellowship can only take place in the same way it always has. Or a table fellowship that is a remnant of a time when women were to have strong domestic skills. I don't want table fellowship that resembles family dinners similar to ones I haven't participated in regularly since childhood.

For once, there's nothing resembling theological reflection going on here. It's just my own cry to the church: Make space for someone like me. Figure out a way to be church that doesn't ask me to be a family-oriented cook. That way, I don't feel like such a misfit in a church that is already unsure of what to do with me.

I'm pretty sure some other folks would agree.