One of the benefits of going to the Feast of Tabernacles abroad, in certain locations at least, is that the coordinator of the feast site advertises the location with swag. Now, readers of my blog will be aware of the fact that I am fond of collecting swag when going places , and it is no different when I attend the Feast of Tabernacles. It so happens that the festival coordinator for Suriname this year was the coordinator for St. Lucia last year, which I also attended, and kept the same mentality for the swag, which means that there were festival t-shirts in a lime green with one of Suriname’s characteristic flowers on it along with the location of the feast site. And the price of the t-shirts is the correct answer to a biblical trivia question. Since one is limited to a single shirt, that meant that it was in my best interests to answer a question fairly quickly tonight during the trivial portion of the evening’s festivities, which I did, to avoid any sort of teasing about not knowing the answers to most or all of the questions being asked.
Originally the Fun Show was scheduled for last night, but we were so exhausted after our tour of the capital that we rescheduled it for tonight. Of course, today we were originally supposed to have a tour of the Jewish Savanna, a somewhat obscure set of Jewish ruins where the Jews settled during the colonial period of Suriname’s history, and about which I hope to have much to say about tomorrow evening, because today’s tour was rescheduled on account of the funeral of one of Suriname’s older members, which was held this afternoon about an hour or so after services ended, which was enough time for the coordinator to get to the capital and perform the ceremony after one of my closest friends and I gave the split sermons today at services. One of the notable aspects of this year’s feast is the sheer amount of rescheduling that has gone on, which has been very unusual by the standards of my own personal experience. I am reminded of the saying by the pastor who baptized me nearly two decades ago that “blessed are the flexible, for they will not be bent out of shape.”
I am often puzzled by the love of ministers for trivia questions. Perhaps most people do not think often about this sort of matter, but as someone who is generally assumed to be the answerer of such questions in my home congregation and many of the places where I visit, so long as there is an interactive Bible study of some kind, I think about this subject a lot. There are a lot of advantages in being someone who asks questions as opposed to being the person who is put on the spot to answer them. For one, the asker of the questions has the initiative, and chooses the timing and nature and structure of the question. The answerer is then put on the spot and expected to answer the question successfully. Given the wide expanse of knowledge, it is often no easy task to prepare oneself for the questions that one receives. At least if one knows the patterns of the people who ask questions, one can guess that they will involve the Bible or ancient history, but given the size and complexity of the Bible that is often still a lot of material that one must be able to recall in an instant, moreover, in an instant that is public and fraught with a great deal of performance anxiety.
Of course, it makes sense that such questions would be asked at a family fun show evening like this one, where performance anxiety could be seen all the way around. I performed a couple of numbers with my close friend and fellow speaker, who had convinced me to bring my viola here to the Feast in the first place. Yet he had many more acts to be involved in because his family has prepared for performances in a way that my family does not. There are some people whose repertoires permit them to perform often, and on such nights as this one they are demanded to play the guitar and/or sing and/or dance and so on and so forth. And though only a few people performed the vast majority of the numbers, the crowd tonight was a demanding one. “Here we are now, entertain us” was the expression of the evening, and the people performing delivered the goods even when technology was being a bit recalcitrant, as it often can be.
 See, for example: