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February 25, 2006


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Holy Thurible, Batman....!!!!

Shawn Branch

I love it the radio ad! I think its great!


Who says anglicans have no sense of humour?


Someone who hasn't read the collect for the ordination of a priest in the BAS, anyway...!!!

Mike (The Monster Truck Guy) McKenzie

Greetings and peace. Thank you for taking the time to listen to that "train wreck" I so aptly titled "Monster Truck Liturgy."

First off, let me say how touched, moved, and-even inspired by the debate and comments from everyone, including those who are not amused. But because of their love of Christ, the Liturgy, corporate worship, and the spirit of agape, have taken the time to diplomatically state their discomfort.

That's beautiful! That's why I love being an Episcopalian. Color me naieve, however I'd like to think that Episcopalians aren't so much like-minded as they are willing to either agree to disagree, or at least hear each other out.

This is also affirmation to me that God has planted me with the right group of people for corporate worship.

My motives, or creation of this thing wasn't for attention or personal gain.

I was simply hit by "the goofy muse."

I write and produce radio ad campaigns for a living. When I have down time in my studio, I will blow off a little creative steam. When I go back and look at other pieces I have done, I notice that most of them base their humor, or punch line, on polarity.

"Monster Truck Liturgy" is not just a source of amusement for me. It is inspired by the overwhelming joy I receive from the Eucharist. It is an abstract way of showing the endless fascination I have with the paradoxical nature of our Liturgy.

Maybe it's because I am a creative person. Maybe it's human nature. But, I am attracted to paradox the way a moth is attracted to a bug zapper.

I was "corn bread and fed" in a Baptist Church. For the first 11 years of my school career, I was educated in Baptist Schools. I was reared by a God-fearing, loving southern Mother and a loving, progressive-minded atheist Father. (I know you're asking how did that happen-they met at Halloween weiny roast in south Alabama and the weekly cow-tipping olympics had been canceled so there was nothing else to do that night)

But, you can see why my whole existence has been about contrasts.

Mom had my sister and I in church every day the doors were opened. And even then some, as she being church seceratary had her own set of keys.

Having grown up in the - (pardon my baggage here, okay?) -the "fire and brimstone modus operundi" where you are fed by the fear of God, and really have no spiritual, let alone intellectual concept of the love of God. I was about fed up by the time I was old enough to not have to go to church.

The day after my 19th birthday, August 30, 1983, I walked away from the church for what I figured would be forever.

Over the next 22 years, I might, every-once-in-a-while, attend a service at a church here or there. But, only because I had a crush on the girl who invited me, or for some other alterior motive. I was always up-front about my motives and objection with what I called "organized and institutionalized religion."

Then came Easter Sunday of 2005.

By invitation of my cousin, I attended Easter Mass at St. Andrew's. (no, I didn't have a crush on him-I know this is Alabama-but gee whiz)

St. Andrew's is what folks here in the south will call "high church." Depending on how far south you go, the word "high" can have more than one sylable. For instance, a proper southerner, like my cousin would say "HIIIIIIIIIIIIGH church."

So, Easter Sunday, I dawned a coat and tie and went two blocks from my house to "HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGH church."

Even though I held no affiliation, nor fondness of the Baptist church, it was-after all, all I knew about church. And, the particular congregations I grew up in were real bad about the "we're right and everyone else is wrong" kind of thing. So, I was not without my own pre-concieved notions regarding "HIIIIIIIIIIIIGH church."

Maybe that was a good thing. Becaue, after all, sometimes you learn better when you find out things aren't always what you thought they were.

I expected the chanting. I expecting the "smaells and bells." But, what I didn't expect was how all of that came togehter and worked for a reason.

The moments of being quiet, truly quiet with a blank slate mind, let to a moment of crystal clarity. Then came a sudden feeling of sweet relief, not unlike the one you feel after having hauled your washer and dryer up three-stories of apartment building stairs.

Wait a minute. This isn't routine ritual. Despite all the flowery descriptive names for everything Episcopalian; the vestments, the ornate fixturesl, the incense, and pavlovian nature of standing and rising on cue. This is the royal protocol of welcoming The Holy Spirit as God manifests himself in that bread and wine.

Woah, what's that? Great HG Wells! I just stepped into a time machine. Christ himself, with an ever-so-sweet, assuring smile just handed me a piece of broken bread and has placed a chalice next to my lips.

This is truly an epiphany-or at least my personal definition of one; that being a simultaneous realization of both heart and mind.

This isn't just to honor Christ. This isn't just "do in rememberance of me." Christ is here with me. I am here with him. He's not at all unhappy with me. As a matter of fact, he's real happy I am here. And, he really seems to like this goofy, white boy just the way I am.

Well, needless to say, I became a junkie, hankering for my next bread and wine fix.

Let me say too, that had it not been the fact that the man behind the pulpit was Fr. Marc Burnette, I don't think it would have been that moving an experience. No, he's not a prophet, per se. But, he's not a preacher. He's a FABULOUS TEACHER! He is also someone that I can identify with. He's not some out-of-touch, stodgy, self-important wind bag. This is a guy who has walked in my shoes. And I his. He has a profound sense of humor.

And he really digs the same kind of music, movies and books I do, too!

I can't begin to tell you just how much my quality of life has improved because my renewed faith, and loving relationship with God, through Christ.

And I am so thankful to, and for, all of you for being able to share that.

It is not my intent to be the least bit irreverant when it comes to God. After all "....I am fearfully and wonderfully made...."

The Lord's Peace, my friends, and keep laughing

Warmest Regards
-Mike McKenzie


Mike, thanks for dropping by and sharing your story with us. One of the strange things about laughter is that it pops up in the most unexpected ways!
blessings to you

Harold Warren


I am Mike's current Senior Warden at St. Andrew's. I have been trying to follow all these sites who are posting because of Mike's creative muse, so as to tell a bit more of who we are in Mike's parish.

First off, as I have posted in other places, I and WE are glad to have Mike with us. I'm a bit too "proper" to have ever attempted something like what Mike has done...even if he did not ever expect it would be "out there" when he did it... though I give thanks that he did so. St. Andrew's is high-church as liturgy goes, but socially liberal.

By liberal, I do not mean that everyone at St. Andrew's is what could be called "liberal" as the world outside defines it, but rather that there is much room for people to come before God as his children at St. Andrew's, even if we do NOT all agree on everything.

For this, I give thanks. In my own mind, if we all agreed on everything already, there would be far less chance for us to grow in our understaning not only of each other, but of God.

Yes, our liturgy follows ancient traditions...and it is beautiful. But we also are a people who are trying to live into being the body of Christ in the present day. This can be difficult sometimes, as the body of God's family has grown so much more diverse over the many thousands of years since our community was founded...and farther back, to the time when God's children first set down the beliefs that were passed on to us.

I am not personally a "moster truck" enthusiast, and don't know that Mike is...though his line of work calls him to make ads for such things. What I do think I know about St. Andrew's, however, is that we are a people who love our tradition, while also allowing that our God is large enough to allow us to poke fun at ourselves without being upset that we had a good laugh at our own expese.

Goodness knows, God has born far greater expense to offer us the chance for life, joy and the chance to come to know how much he loves his children. Yes, the ad was silly, it was intended to be so...

It is my hope that even one person who is outside the church will hear of Mike's ad and give us a chance to share the love and joy that I find at St. Andrew's. Belonging to Christ is not all about rules. Yes, there are SOME, but it is far more about sharing LOVE with a hungry world...hospitality before technicality, as one of my fellow vestry persons would say.


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blank stare...

  • Copyright Rev. Joseph Walker, St Timothy's Anglican Church

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