If You Can Put A Woman in the Pulpit, You Can Self-Serve the Lord’s Supper on the Moon

Thanks to Joe Carter comes a link to the news story about Buzz Aldrin’s observance of the Lord’s Supper (by himself no less) on the moon. Because NASA was receiving flack from Madalyn Murray O’Hair for the astronauts on Apollo 8 reading from Genesis, the federal authorities decided to let Aldrin commune on his own without a radio broadcast of the event.

But the Presbyterian Church that supplied Aldrin with elements and utensils has not kept the event silent:

. . . at Webster Presbyterian church – the spiritual home of many astronauts – Aldrin’s communion service is still celebrated every July, known as Lunar Communion Sunday. Pastor Helen DeLeon told me how they replay the tape of Aldrin on the moon and recite Psalm eight, which he had quoted on his return trip to Earth (“… what is man that thou art mindful of him”). The church still holds the chalice that Aldrin brought back with him. Judy Allton, a geologist and historian of Webster Presbyterian church, produced a paper, presented at a Nasa conference, arguing that communion could be an essential part of future manned space travel. She claims that rituals such as Aldrin’s communion “reinforce the homelink”.

Perhaps if the PCUSA congregation (was it PCUS or UPCUSA then?) had had the sense to see the problem with private observances of the Supper, they might have also detected the anomalies of ordaining a woman. I do wonder if Christian readers of this story will be more inclined to see this as evidence of secular government run amuk than an instance of liberal Christianity.

(Will this get me any blog-cred with the Baylys? I’m not holding my 2k breath.)

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23 Comments

  1. Jeremy McLellan
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    How would you have handled it as his elder? No communion while he’s in space?

  2. sean
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Jeremy,

    No self-administered non-corporeal, non-ordained administration of the sacraments. No Lord’s supper while in space, apart from appropriate administration. IMO

  3. Zrim
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    But don’t forget the celebrity-o-sity and relicism–space chalice?

  4. Posted September 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Is this Buzz Aldrin or LaMarcus Aldridge (the tallest man ever in space) we are talking about.

    Maybe O’Hair’s dismay was the inspiration for Steely Dan’s song “Through With Buzz” (one of their worst).

    Robert Duvall baptized himself an apostle so I think anything goes these days. O.K., maybe not.

  5. Posted September 25, 2012 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Jeremy, I think we need space chaplains. That will give our Presbyterian and Reformed chaplains cosmic duties, thereby allowing them to be truly Kuyperian.

  6. Posted September 25, 2012 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Aldridge?

  7. Dave Sarafolean
    Posted September 25, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    D.G. wrote,

    “Jeremy, I think we need space chaplains. That will give our Presbyterian and Reformed chaplains cosmic duties, thereby allowing them to be truly Kuyperian.”

    That’s one of the funniest lines I’ve read in a while!

  8. Posted September 25, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Unlike Elton John’s Rocket Man these space chaplains will not be able to claim “It’s just my job five days a week.”

  9. sean
    Posted September 25, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Space Chaplains, Just the oxygen limitations should keep the sermons under 30 minutes. Space Chaplains, will they be forced to embroider there vestments with the NASA logo and officiate mixed species services. Space Chaplains, may want to refrain from the terms Alien righteousness and Imputation, I’m betting infusion won’t be a popular concept either. Space Chaplains shouldn’t have to worry about the elements hitting the ground. Space Chaplains, I wonder how this affects scientology. and finally, Will the aliens respond: ‘Look, our little spores are all grown up’

    Boy, it’s gonna be a long day.

  10. Posted September 25, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Perhaps Paul Thomas Anderson should have gone in the directions Sean is suggesting in “The Master”. It couldn’t have been any worse.

    I believe Drax performed a mass wedding, a la Rev. Moon, in space in “Moonraker”, so there is precedent for this sort of thing.

  11. Posted September 25, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Well, I have heard local stories of a Coors Lite elder ordination and a bathroom sink baptism, but I’ll go with door #3. Behind door #3 is a guy who talked to our Session explaining that it was within his jurisdiction to give advice and admonition to our church and others because, although he wasn’t an actual elder at any particular church, he was an elder over churches in general. Hence we called him the “cosmic elder.” The Final Frontier would be the ideal call for him.

  12. Posted September 25, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    John B., fixed it.

  13. Posted September 25, 2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    If we sent Bryan Cross into space his transformation into HAL 9000 would be complete.

  14. Posted September 25, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    D.G. – You still left LaMarcus in paragraph one.

  15. Posted September 25, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    MM – So your cosmic elder would have had jurisdiction over the guy who wouldn’t join our church because he was already a member of the church universal. We need to hook them up.

  16. Posted September 25, 2012 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Sean, “Space Chaplains, may want to refrain from the terms Alien righteousness and Imputation,…”

    LOL

  17. Bobby
    Posted September 25, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Something else to consider… I would refer anyone who is interested to the book Dark Mission and other documentation. It is widely known that the Apollo team were all Scottish Rite Free Masons, who practice a form of communion that has more to do with their Masonic identity then anything to do with Christ.

    Bobby

  18. Jonathan
    Posted September 25, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I think that this analysis from Justin Holcomb needs Old Life commentary…
    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/09/24/two-major-streams-of-reformed-theology/?comments#comments

  19. Posted September 25, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Doh!

  20. Posted September 25, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Jonathan,

    Can’t a tweet be sufficient? I was thankful for the post because it left out Edwards and Piper as major streams of Reformed theology.

  21. Posted September 25, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Jonathan – Thanks for the tip on the Gospel Coalition piece. Boy is there fertile ground for debate there. Half-way Reformed people! Like I needed someplace else online to spend my time…

  22. Posted September 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    D.G. – You can cancel that global history of Calvinism. The gospel coalition guys beat you to the punch!

  23. Jonathan
    Posted September 25, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I suppose that is jaw dropping in itself…give it time, they will tie it in eventually.

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