Yesterday was thirty-three degrees hot here in Gutenberg Land.
Meaning the entire populace was underway-
eating ice-cream while dangling feet in the town fountain,
looking for a store to browse in that just happen to have air-conditioning.
And today being Sunday,
And the churches here definitely NOT air-conditined-
although the older models-
like the oldest in our area,
which has buildings started about four hundred A.D.-
several-feet-thick cool stone walls-
and a series of Swiss guards
to enforce the rules:
“two-quick songs, a seven minute sermon, the feeding (communion) of the well over a thousand” who show up for each service,
one each hour all day,
who are marched the length of a cathedral with football field dimensions
handed a wafer,
and marched right back again…
At least the organist is good.
The Catholic Church here in Gutenberg Land has been doing this for nearly two thousand years-
the Mac Drive people could learn a lot from them.
And then there are the fifty-percent “minority” of state-supported and sanctioned protestants:
“entire service fifty minutes no more, sing Sister Act or Blues Brothers, don’t mention social issues, quote lit not Bible”-
And first and foremost: serve coffee.
A group characterized by the great Bavarian comedian Ottfried Fischer as a congregation of feminists, baby rights advocates, and wicca practitioners and their “pastor hip-hop”
But he IS of course Catholic.
And, of course, although there are only the two “official” churches,
there are an absolute myriad of other belief groups stationed here in Gutenberg land:
to new age cloistered living,
Baptist, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witnesses, New Apostolic, Mennonite,
and that is just the beginning.
One of the biggest groups, however,
and, in my opinion, the most telling for most Gutenbergers,
are the pantheists,
and those who follow Sunday morning pantheistic nature-worshiping practices
without actually believing in them.
What our godson, now a preacher after much searching,
calls the “Mozart and milk coffee crew”
Sleep in, slow start to the day, milk coffee and Mozart,
then a long fast march across the fields,
and a stop at a “restoration”-
a place that serves “decked bread”
ie open-faced sandwiches,
usually a thin layer of white baker’s cheese
like Philadelphia cheese, but not so fat,
topped by the grease,
and pan droppings that cook off when you make a roast.
The renderings are very carefully saved in a rendering jar all year,
to be served with a glass of wine-
the real income for these places,
whose “waiters” are normally the owners, and living from the proceeds of,
very small vineyards.
Head cheese and summer sausage are also possibilities.
An alternative, of course,
are those who drive out to places known for hiking through beautiful scenery,
like Cloister Eberbach,
the place they filmed The Name of the Rose,
Umberto Eco’s neat trick homage to Sherlock Holmes,
fleshed out with a real knowledge of how they wrote then,
ie stories were meant to be told at the pace they lived them.
About sixty heartbeats per minute.
Somber walking tempo.
Put on anything in your classic collection marked adagio
and start reading Eco.
(Once you get past the “begots”
ie the list of all the books known at that time,
taken from a book list known to anyone who works with ancient books,
or book studies,
you get a medieval telling,
in my opinion,
of Agatha Christie’s
“And Then There Were None”
fleshed out by tons of academic discussions of the philosophy of the time,
which I personally like,
and marvelous little details of life in a medieval monastery
all being told at the pace of a walk around the buildings in a cloister,
which, of course, is marvelous fun,
Mozart and Milk Coffee,
Dress up for fast elevenses church,
large, or heavy, midday meal,
walk through the woods,
or a tourist place,
coffee and fancy cake
at a place with heavy old silver and damask table cloths,
more hiking to work it off.
NCIS on television at eight.
Sunday, German Sunday.
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