Friday, April 10, 2015
It wasn’t a date. It was a hangout. We met up on a rainy night in the middle of April, to have dinner at a designated locale. “Present!” I texted upon arrival, and he stood up accounted for, waving me over to the bar area.... Everyone knows that a hangout differs from a date, though how, or in what way remains largely unqualified. A date is both a sign and symbol. It is an event that indicates the probable presence of something else, namely, attraction, and, traditionally, it serves as a symbol that stands in for something more: courting, love, marriage, etc.This is an incredibly powerful piece. It is pure analog.
A hangout exists outside the bounds of a date. It may be a sign or a symbol, but it may not be. Thus, choices and actions are not necessarily emblematic, but may be merely situational. And, in this way, a hangout is more like a happening than a date.
... a hangout leaves a person feeling somewhat unsettled and largely confused. Why are the women in nests? Why was there jam involved? Or, why did he pay for dinner, if it wasn’t a date? Why touch my leg if merely in pursuit of theological exegesis? We briefly texted each other in the coming days, but there was no follow-through on the plans he had eagerly proposed.
Had I been invited to participate in a happening, I might have prepared my mental nest, accordingly. I might have ceded that all conversation and gestures were a mere play at sign and symbol, a mimicry and parody of intentionality and meaning. He ordered a piece of pie for us to split. He held and helped me into my coat. Oh the ritualism!
But, one is unable to read a hangout, precisely because its sign and symbol are without character. It’s meaning less.
It is oh so tempting to go on and on about it, but I think it destroys the effect. So I'll just ask a couple of question - Are we running the church as a hangout or a date? How should we run it?
church commitment seriousness