June 01, 2006

Episcopalians Gone Wild

We're headed off to a Church retreat this weekend at a place called Shrine Mont, a little resort owned by the Diocese out in the Shenandoah Valley.

I've never been to a Church retreat before.

On the one hand, I don't expect much by way of wild religious enthusiasm. No snake-handling, for instance. And no Personal Testimonies. (We're Episcopalians, after all. Despite the encouragement of some of our more enthusiastic clergy, our 11th Commandment is still "Thou Shalt Mind Thy Own Bloody Business.") And I don't see anything about the kind of progressive religious thoughts seminar that the Church sometimes likes to spring, like "Jesus: Okay, He Wasn't A Lesbian, But He Could Have Been", or a discussion of Oolon Colluphid's blockbuster theological trilogy, Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes and Who Is This God Person Anyway?

On the other hand, I can smell forced fun from a long way off. The programme for the weekend seems to include several "disco theme" events, including a costume parade, a dance and a talent show. Our parish traditionally shares Shrine Mont Weekend with one of our neighboring parishes and they apparently bring many more people and always outclass us in these events, a subject of some soreness in certain sections of our own little flock. People have been dropping hints to me for weeks that we all need to really pitch in and show 'em this year. Well, to quote Marvin the Paranoid Android, "Don't bother trying to engage my enthusiasm, because I haven't got one." Disco, indeed. Feh.

So what do I hope will happen? Well, this is supposed to be a nice, quiet, relaxing place. Lots of hiking trails, swimming (although it will probably be too cold and rainy), some tennis, a fish-pond (we've outfitted all the Llama-ettes with Barbie (R) fishing rods. If I know them at all, this'll keep 'em happy for hours.) Plus (I certainly hope) a great deal of sitting about on the porch, gossiping and getting slowly squiffed, which is after all what Palies do best. The one encouraging note in the programme is the instruction to bring a great deal of wine and beer.

Anyhoo, I will of course let you know how it goes.

YIPS from Steve: Dude, you are going to have a great time. Maximum porch sitting, very good homestyle food, no 20-21st century bothers. You will love it (and that is an order; no seriously, I think you are really going to like it, as the speed is your pace).

In particular, I have a feeling you'll like that part of the valley and the drive in through Mt. Jackson. Serious Shelby Foote geekery will ensue.

I only wish we were going too...

FURTHER YIPS from Steve: Oh, and the hard-learned lesson on my part is to grab the snakes very close to their head, and use your thumb to judiciously clamp down. The Holy Spirit is great n' all, but not as great as a nice, secure grip.

I'm kidding, of course.

YIPS from Steve: Don't believe him---he's telling the truth!

YIPS from Steve: Hush!

Yips! back from Robbo: Yikes! It's snakes on agape!

Posted by Robert at June 1, 2006 09:05 AM | TrackBack


Posted by: The Colossus at June 1, 2006 10:36 AM

Or is it Disco-reptilo-palians?

Posted by: The Colossus at June 1, 2006 12:08 PM

LMAO! I don't wanna know where Steve-O learned that bit about the snakes.

Wait. Maybe I do.

Posted by: Margi at June 1, 2006 12:27 PM

If you feel like a bit longer drive, come to the Dubose Conference Center. It is also near a Winchester, though this one is in Tennessee. Great place to study and contemplate. And if you wish to make a special pilgrimage, the Jack Daniels distillery is conveniently near for true

Posted by: Alan at June 1, 2006 12:37 PM

Disco? Eh! Or is an attempt to shave off time spend in Purgatory.

Just be wary if they start doing YMCA.

Posted by: rbj at June 1, 2006 12:58 PM

The one encouraging note in the programme is the instruction to bring a great deal of wine and beer

Drunk Episcopals?? I can just imagine the carnage.

Posted by: nuthin2seehere at June 2, 2006 03:40 AM

No Personal Testimonies? Huh. The Women's Retreat I've attended twice with my Episcopal church had these. I had no idea we were straying from the 11th 'commandment'.

Posted by: Lynellen at June 2, 2006 05:13 AM