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Showing posts from November, 2008

Hearing the story anew....

A reflection on Mark 13:24-37

When I was a little girl one of my favorite activities was to lie outside and watch the falling stars. During the month of August, my brothers and I would line up on blankets in our front yard excited that we were allowed to stay up way past our bedtimes. We would lie there in great anticipation of seeing the falling stars, hoping to see a really big one! As our excitement eased and we became quiet I found myself pondering the immensity of the universe. I tried with all my might to imagine an endless universe, a space that went on forever and ever. I tried to imagine other planets like ours with life on them. I tried to not be limited by the images of our favorite TV show, Lost in Space. If alien life exists in outer space, I thought, it was probably not dangerous monsters out to harm us, but rather beings that expressed the mystery of God acting in all creation.

Heading into Advent, the season of the church year that we begin today, beckons us in a similar…

A response to emails about the demise of the Episcopal Church

Thanksgiving Poem

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

I'm thinking a lot about the "family of things" this Thanksgiving. There seems to be so very much to think about...such as

Trust. How do people in organizations function when they fail to establish a basic level of trust?

And, if we fail to trust one another, how then do we manage to function with inte…

Homeostasis part 2 (Balance)

From Edwin Friedman, "Generation to Generation"

"As stated, family systems thinking locates a family's problem in the nature of the system rather than in the nature of its parts. A key to that relocation is the concept of homeostasis: the tendency of any set of relationships to strive perpetually, in self-corrective ways, to preserve the organizing principles of its existence. Theories based on the individual model tend to conceptualize the "illness" of a family in terms of the character traits of individual members, and in ways in which their various personal problems mesh. The family model, on the other hand, conceptualizes a system's problems in terms of an imbalance that must have occurred in the network of its various relationships, no matter what the nature of the individual personalities.

Family theory assumes that no matter what the various members' quirks or idiosyncrasies, if the system exists and has a name, it had to achieved some kind of…

An Award...

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Katherine E at meaning and authenticity awarded me the Super scribbler. You can learn more about it here.

Of course, as with every Bloggy Award, there are A Few Rules. They are, forthwith:

Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.

Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.

Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to this post, which explains The Award.

Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!

Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

Thank you Katherine E. I am grateful for this honor, and will pass it on. Today though, I am not feeling well - a flu bug I think....So, once my head stops pounding and my tummy settles down, I'll tag five others, if t…

Homeostasis

I've been thinking a lot about homeostasis, from the family systems perspective. I need to re-read "Generation to Generation" - it's been a number of years since I last read it. I should also see if I can find my notes from a workshop that Edwin Friedman gave at the seminary I attended. This workshop was on Friedman's last book, "A Failure of Nerve." I have to admit it was pretty awesome to be in that workshop with him, sitting at the feet of the teacher. It was also really sad to learn of his death a few months later, before the book was completed. I never bought "Failure of Nerve" because I have those notes....but now I'm thinking it would be a good idea. Just because I have a Masters of Social Work and specialized in family systems for congregations doesn't mean I remember all this stuff. Anyway, I think I'll begin with "Generation to Generation" and continue my thinking about homeostasis - that desire to restore balan…

From Fredrick Buechner, "Wishful Thinking"

"In Hebrew the term dabar means both 'word' and 'deed'. Thus to say something is to do something. 'I love you.' 'I hate you.' 'I forgive you.' 'I am afraid.' Who knows what such words do, but whatever it is, it can never be undone. Something that lay hidden in the heart is irrevocably released through speech into me, is given substance and tossed like a stone into the pool of history, where concentric rings lap out endlessly.

Words are power, essentially the power of creation. By my words I elicit a word from you. Through our conversation we create one another...

God never seems to weary of trying to (Gods)self across. Word after word (God) tries in search of the right word. When the creation itself doesn't seem to say it right - sun, moon, stars, all of it - (God) tries flesh and blood..."


I love this quote. It speaks deeply to what I believe as well...however, I changed all the male pronouns Buechner used for God...the older…

How Did I Feel?

Thursday I wrote about the big meeting and one of the comments was, "How Did I Feel About It? or rather, how do I feel about it?

At the time, as I led the meeting I was not as calm and self-differentiated as I would have liked. But of course the meeting was all about me, how I am being perceived, how I am leading, what I am doing. Its hard to write about...not because I don't want to talk about failure on my part or mis-perceptions on their part. But because I don't want to be public with their emotions, their comments, and their feelings, which need to be respected and held between us.

So, without saying much more, I will aim to write about how I felt, how I feel. Like I said, I was not as calm and self-differentiated as I hoped to be. I imagined myself inviting them to speak, talking notes, and listening gracefully. I imagined myself taking a few moments to respond and share with them my take on the dynamics at play. All of that happened....just not calmly. My voice, I th…

Well Today...

So the BIG meeting today went well enough. It was fortuitous that I found an important back up document before the meeting - one that supports a great deal of what I have done and am doing - and reflects the initial support of this group - support which seems to have dissipated over the last two months. It has been very weird, these last two months.... The forgetfulness, the anger, the vitriol, the assumptions, the confusion...

The opportunity was offered today to clear the air. I hope that is what happened...I hope that what we said is what we will live into...

I guess time will tell.

Preparing the Spirit

A reflection on Proper 27A

I have a good friend who is always late for everything. Whenever my friend and I schedule a date to get together I plan to arrive 15 minutes to a half hour later because inevitably she will call and say she’s just leaving. Of course, occasionally she’s on time, which then makes me the late one!

At first brush, the Gospel story of the bridesmaids seems very critical of those who procrastinate and are late. Unusually harsh because the story says that none of them knows the day or the hour that the bridegroom will come. So, if you don’t know the day and the hour how are you supposed to know when to be ready? Under those conditions even the most conscientious of us could be late and unprepared.
Like many other stories in scripture this story raises more questions than it answers. It stands in sharp contrast to all the other places in the Bible that speak about grace, generosity, and hospitality. Since this Gospel reading seems incongruent with other pieces of scrip…

Back Home Again

This week I was blessed to spend two nights and two days at a retreat house north of where I live. In the mountains and the desert this retreat center is a place for silent comtemplation and centering prayer. I have to admit I was not perfect in my silence. My daughter called. My husband....on the cell phone. We only spoke for a moment to check in. It's not that being silent is difficult for me. It's not. But for this particular retreat I was unable to leave my life behind.

Even more distracting than the two brief phone calls, the chatter in my head. Some of it has been worked through and I have a clearer picture of where to take all this chatter. So, that's good.

On my retreat I spent some time drawing. I haven't put pencil to paper in ages. The first thing I did after I arrived and unpacked was draw two pictures, one with pastels, the other with charcoal. The next morning I took a long walk in the crisp morning air. The center has the stations of the cross built along …

History Made

Back in the primary he was not my first choice, but he was when I voted today... tonight I wept to see history made...thank God the voting was so decisive, thank God there is no doubt who we wanted....I have hope for the future....(and am glad I don't have to start packing)...

Desert House of Prayer: A Silent Retreat

Tomorrow, after a full morning of meetings (and some filled with "complaints") I will head off with a parishioner, who is also a Benedictine Spiritual Director, for a silent retreat. This woman invited me to go away for some time of silence, prayer, and renewal, and I am grateful. We are going here. I have purchased sketch paper, charcoal pencils, colored pencils that can also be water color pencils, and grapite pencils. I hope to draw. I hope to reconnect with that side of me that loves to connect with nature through drawing. I am not a good artist, but I am good enough....besides, drawing is like meditation for me...so, I care less about the technique of my art.

I will be gone until Friday morning, giving me two nights and the better part of two days to slow down and rest.

Since life continues to be complicated at church with numerous dynamics at play (sigh)...I hope this time is not only restful but restorative....

Election Day

The first time I voted was in 1976. I was 19 years old and a junior in college and took my voting privileges seriously. I did my homework and voted for the candidate I thought would do the best job for our broken country. That election the candidates were Gerald Ford (R), and Jimmy Carter (D). My first Presidential election and I voted Republican even though I was (am) a die hard liberal. I voted for Ford because I liked him, but also because I did not trust Carter....I did not trust someone coming into the White House with a Christian agenda. It's the only time I have voted for a Republican Presidential candidate, although I have voted for Republican governors and green party officials if I like there policy stands.

Since 1976 I have voted in every election except one, 1984 Ronald Regan and Walter Mondale...and that was only because I could not get to the polls to vote...for some reason. Of all the times I've voted for President my vote has been cast for the winning candidate…

Ollie Update

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Apparently all went well with Oliver (Ollie) for his first night in his new home. Our daughter said he played hard, seems to get the idea that he does his business outside, and is bonding with her. He likes to sit on her feet, bring pieces of his food to her, drop it at her feet, look at her, wag his tail, and then eat it.

Funny things about him: he's been an out door dog, on a cattle farm. Coming into a home was a new experience. He is afraid of mixed floor textures, such as her tile bathroom with bathmats. When he stepped from the tile to the rug, he turned around and ran out of the room. Carpeting was a little freaky to him. Stairs are impossible, he's only 6 weeks old and 11 pounds.

Thankfully he slept in his crate all night. He woke up once and wimpered, she put her hand in his crate and touched him and he went back to sleep. He woke her up at 5am to go outside and pee. yup. He can't always manage that, but in one day he's learned a lot.

The only issue, when she tr…

Taking a Break from the Celebrations....

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...to say that Ollie is home. Our daughter picked him up today. She said he's doing great, played all night and finally crashed...



...on her slippers.