Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Morning Musings

Yesterday, at the 10am worship service, the congregation I serve participated in the Faith Shared project by offering an interfaith worship experience. Our effort was distinctively NOT an effort at creating one world faith, as some critics of the project have suggested. Rather, we worked to bring in elements of Jewish, Islamic, and Christian worship. So, we began the service with three openings:a call to prayer in Arabic, the opening acclamation "the Lord be with you..." from the Episcopal liturgy, and the lighting of candles and prayers to begin the sabbath, from the Jewish tradition. We heard a reading from the Torah (Numbers) with a fabulous reflection on hospitality based on the reading. That was followed by a reading from the Qu'ran, which was sung by a nine year old boy, and his ten year old brother interpreted it for us in English. I proclaimed the Gospel and reflected on the reading and the week past, where our church co-sponsored the Worldviews Seminar. We sang and prayed and offer blessings over a meal. We shared the meal of bread and juice and wine. It was not a Eucharist, but it was certainly Eucharistic!

I think we created a service that honored each tradition and enabled us to learn from, and about, one another. It was quite a lovely service. I'm exhausted, though. Last week was so very busy, the seminar, a big funeral, two meet and greets with parishioners (fun! But still, added to the busy-ness), and the interfaith service.

This week should be a little quieter. I hope to finish weeding my garden and finish reading "Twelve Keys to a Compassionate Life" by Karen Armstrong, which will be the focus of our summer reading discussion groups.

That's my week. What about yours? Are you busy? Or finding some time for rest and renewal?


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Friday, June 24, 2011

RevGals Friday Five

Over at RevGals I posted a Friday Five meme considering the various cultures and religions that we may have, or would like to experience.

In response I offer these quick thoughts:

I have studied yoga for many years, and through that a bit of Hinduism. I have also studied Buddhism and meditation. I am however a faithful practicing Christian. I'd like to know more about the faiths that have grown out of the Abrahamic tradition, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Also, I have had some experience with Hispanic cultures in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico. I've always wanted to explore the Mayan and Incan cultures and visit their ancient lands in Mexico and Central America.

And, lastly, I often dream of being inParis, although I have never been there. I think it would be fun to understand why Paris is a destination of my subconscious and then to visit that city.



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Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Morning Musings

This week the congregation I serve is hosting the Worldviews Seminar in Dearborn, Michigan. It is the ten anniversary of this seminar, created as the brainchild of Lucinda Mosher, Episcopal Relief and Development, the former rector of Christ Church, and Claude Jacobs, professor at the University of Michigan, Dearborn. It is a week long continuing Ed opportunity to learn about world religions. My hope, as the rector of this church and a member of the planning team, was to be very present for this seminar.

But it seems that life has other plans. I now have an interment on Tuesday for the sister-in-law of a parishioner and then a wake and funeral for parishioner who has attended this church for over sixty years. The wake is Wednesday and the funeral with interment will be Thursday.

In addition we hosting a number of small group sessions for me to meet parishioners, two of them will be this week.

Then, on Sunday we plan to participate in the interfaith worship scheduled for June 26, by having readings and prayers from other faith traditions incorporated in our Sunday service with members of that tradition present to read and pray. I also hope to show a video clip from the work of Sakeena, Director of Hope International. Hope International has office space in the church building.


BUSY.

It will be an exciting week celebrating the fullness of life.

What about your week?


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Trinity Sunday

(Invite the children to join me).
“So, I have a riddle for you.”

“How do you make the number one disappear?”

“You add a 'G' to it, and it's 'Gone'”

“What kind of a bean can you not grow?”

“A jelly bean.”

“What goes up a stairs but does not move?”

“A carpet.”

“Can you help me understand
what it sounds like
to clap our hands together?” (clap, affirm their effort).

“Now can you help me
understand what it
sounds like to clap one hand?”

“Oh, now that is a
curious riddle isn't.

Thank you for helping me,
you can go sit down now.”

Asking the question,
“What is the sound
of one hand clapping?”
is a spiritual question
used by Zen Buddhist teachers
with their students.

Questions like this
are called “Koans.”

The intent of giving a student
a koan is to aide that student
in deepening
their spiritual awareness
and insight.

A koan is a question
which has no absolute answer,
although sometimes
the meaning is very simple.

For example
the meaning of,
What is the sound
of one hand clapping,
is silence.
It’s a koan
inviting the student
into silence.

But silence
can have all kinds
of meanings and intentions
for the person
entering into it.

Koans are like
a can-opener
for the Heart/Mind (kokoro).

They are like
a door-knocker,
they are of no use,
unless used properly
as a tool
to knock on the door
of one's Heart/Mind.

The only volition appropriate
in Koan work is
calling the question gently
but repeatedly to consciousness.

Do not waste any time
trying to figure the koan out.

Let it stretch your mind
through the questioning alone,
make no effort to solve it.

Any analysis is a waste of time.

Koans are a devilish instrument
because they deliberately tempt us
to make an interpretation,
explanation, imitation or analysis;
and yet,
it is only when we exhaust
or give up these lines of investigation
that a deeper level of inquiry
becomes possible.

Often when we are able
to admit in frustration
that we don't know anything,
can true koan practice begin.

All religions
have words of wisdom, koans.

In the Hebrew tradition
we find these
in the Book of Proverbs
and the Book of Ecclesiaticus.

In Christianity
we know it most fully
in the idea of the Trinity,
that confusing
and mind stretching concept
of one God,
three persons.

The early church
held council meetings
over the course of
about four hundred years
debating the nature of God,
the nature of Jesus,
and the nature of the Holy Spirit.

The debates were often fierce,
with one side winning
and one side losing,
sometimes
losing ones life
in the process.

People were called
heretics and shunned.
It was brutal.

But in the end
the debate
has left us with
the Nicene Creed
as the historical
statement of faith
that attempts
to articulate
what the church means
by one God,
three persons.

In reality
the nature of the Trinity
is like a koan –
not something
we can ever fully
understand
in concrete terms –

but a concept
that is intended
to say something
about the Christian understanding
of God
as a God of relationship.
As Christians
we are called
to enter into the
mystery of the Trinity
and allow it
to grow within,
shaping and forming
who we are
and how we
are in relationship
with ourselves,
with God,
and with others.

Not only
do we celebrate
the Trinity today,
and each year
on the Sunday
that follows Pentecost,
but this day
ushers in
the long season
of Ordinary Time.

From now
until the end of November
we celebrate
the ordinary circumstances
of daily life.

Our reading from Genesis
reminds us
that God created
all the world,
all of life,
in some manner,
and in some way –
perhaps not exactly
as Genesis suggests.

But God
is the source of all creation,
and in creating
all the world,
God also blesses
the world
and us.

And so our koan
for this time
might be
“God has blessed our lives,
and made them good.”

How might we
understand this truth,
even when life feels
like nothing but
pain and sorrow?

How is it
that in fact,
life
is blessed?

Friday, June 17, 2011

RevGals Friday Five

Jan over at RevGals offers this Friday Five:

I am currently reading a book entitled Stairway of Surprise: Six Steps to a Creative Life by Michael Lipson. His premise is a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: "I shall mount to paradise by the stairway of surprise." Lipson's book is about practicing or developing six inner functions--thinking, doing, feeling, loving, opening, and thanking.

So these categories of attention are a jumping off point for today's Friday Five:

Pick five of the six actions and write about how you are practicing them today or recently. For a bonus, write about the sixth one you originally didn't choose!

What or how are you

1. thinking? I am thinking about my homily for Sunday. It is my goal to preach without a text as often as possible this summer. I also need tom preach shorter reflections that take in to consideration that our children will be with for the entire service. For me this is an opportunity to engage the kids at the sermon time. So, I'm thinking about how to do that.

2. doing? Drinking coffee, listening to the birds as they wake up, sing, enjoy the bird feeder, and chuckle at my cat who is intrigued by the birds as they land on the deck railing and jostle for a position on the feeder.

3. feeling? Achey. I need a massage. I have started to exercise again, yoga, core work, weights, walking and bike riding. But, I still need a massage.

4. loving? This beautiful morning, where I live, my new call, my family.

5. opening? Meeting new people, learning new ways, growing to love new people and build new relationships.

6. thanking? God. Life has been very difficult, but I feel so blessed right now.



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Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Morning Musings

The last couple of weeks have been busy with preparations for a round of rituals designed to honor this new ministry. Now that those are over, and I have a relatively quiet week. Next week the Worldviews Seminar begins so life will get busy again. The church I serve is a host site for the seminar, the former rector being a founding member of it. As a host site we offer a place for the group to gather every day for a catered lunch, an afternoon session, and place for cars to be parked while the group takes their bus tours to the various religious centers in the Dearborn/Detroit area. I'm excited to be a part of this and look forward to the presentations. But, that's next week.

This week will be a bit quieter, and for that I am thankful. I was quite exhausted yesterday afternoon, and found myself grateful for a yoga class within an easy bike ride from my house. This particular yoga class is held at 5pm every Sunday, it's a "Restorative" class - with slow easy postures held for a very long time, maybe five minutes each side? I don't know how long, but slow, with lots of deep breathing, low light level, meditative quality, and a long meditation time at the end. It's delightful.

Today I have made a big breakfast for my husband before sending him off to work. Then I spent an hour weeding the garden. Now I'm going to work out and do some yoga, meditate, go for a bike ride, then spend some time reading on the deck.

It's a beautiful, low humidity, sunny day, here.

What about you? What does your week look like? What fun plans do you? Or is it all work?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Infused with the Spirit

A reflection on Pentecost, Baptism, and 1 Corinthians 12

12:4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;

12:5 and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord;

12:6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone
12:12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

12:13 For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and we were all made to drink of one Spirit
.

Although she was only nine years old she knew that she wanted to be baptized. She went to church, week in and week out, walking herself down the street to the local congregation. Her parents were much more relaxed about church. So she asked them if they would arrange for her to be baptized. At first her parents thought she should wait until she was older. But eventually, as her asking became persistent, they relented, and a baptism was arranged.

The day of the baptism she arrived at the building that held the font. There she changed into the flowing white gowns of baptism and proceeded toward the font. A number of people were being baptized that day, and she had to stand in line. Finally her time came and she climbed the stairs to font. Her baptism would be by full immersion. The pool was a semi-circle, almost as large as an olympic pool, with a mural of Jesus being baptized. As she waited on the ledge, while the person in front of her was baptized, she suddenly realized just how deep the water was. It would easily be up to her shoulders. And she couldn't swim.

She became terrified. What if she drowned in the water? What if her uncle, who would baptize her, by tipping her over backward and under the water, what if he dropped her? And being backward and disoriented she inhaled water and drowned?

For a moment she thought about leaving, but there were people behind her, also waiting their turn. She was had no choice but to walk down the steps and into the pool. The water was warm, and deep. Easily up to her shoulders. Walking to the center of the pool where her uncle stood waiting for her, was slow and challenging in that deep water. Her fear rose higher. Her uncle greeted her, covered her nose with her hand and his, and with the other hand he tipped her backward into the water.

I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Up out of the water she came, alive, and relieved.

Fearing death through baptism might strike us a bit odd, but death and new life are metaphors for the baptismal event. The ancient church taught new members of the church that they were leaving behind, dying to, an old way of life, dying into the death of Christ, and rising again into a new life as a Christian, into the life and body of Christ. The girl was on to something mystical and ancient in this ritual we call baptism.

The ancient church also celebrated the gifts given to the apostles in baptism and again on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit infused the community of people gathered, and called them into a new order, the church, the Body of Christ.

The gifts given were that each would live as God has called us, in Christ, to live: to love God, love others, and love ourselves. Each of us has a special calling from God, infused with gifts of the Holy Spirit. Some of us live out our gifts as musicians, or artists, or executives, or gardeners, or teachers, lawyers, doctors, or parents, or as someone who is ordained a priest, deacon, or Bishop.

On Thursday we celebrated the many ministries of this parish, and renewed our commitment to those ministries. Today we celebrate the a new member being welcomed into our community, our Christian family. We have been praying for P. E. K. for a month, preparing him and us, for this day. We have prayed for him by his first name and two middle names, because today his last name will become the same as ours – Christian. Today he will receive his gifts of the Holy Spirit, being born anew into a life in Christ. Our job, our ministry, is to support P. and his family, in their faith journey, just as it is our ministry to support each other with prayer and acts of kindness, with honesty and companionship, with love.

Friday, June 10, 2011

RevGals Friday Five: Memorable Moments

Dorcas over at RevGals took her four year old grand-daughter to hear Mozart's Requiem at a live concert venue and offers this Friday Five:

She was hopping with excitement, but we gave her lots of coaching, and when we arrived she gazed about with wonder at the lovely venue, and when the orchestra began to tune up she sat up straight and gazed, enraptured, with her mouth literally open. It was pure delight to watch her enjoying brand-new sights, sounds and surroundings.

This experience led me to remembering times of discovery, of new experiences. Some were my own experiences and some were remembered from my children, or those of others. Share with us today about five memorable moments of insight, discovery, awareness--from childhood or later, something you experienced or something you shared with someone else.

1. Gardening: when I was young we moved to a small town in Wisconsin. In the yard of the house we lived in we discovered a garden of large dark purple grapes, asparagus, and rhubarb. Years later my husband and I created a garden in our yard and grew, among the usual tomato, cucumber, and green pepper, we also grew lettuce and brussel sprouts. I was amazed at the process of growing these vegetables, and loved eating what we had grown. Now we have another garden and this time I am trying to grow garlic, leeks, and chives, along with the usual fare listed above.

2. Dogs: as a little girl I had small dogs, but found as an adult that I was fearful of large dogs. I don't recall ever being bitten or harmed, so I am not sure where the fear came from. Then one day, some twenty years ago, we took in a stray dog. This sweet, abandoned dog, ended up having puppies. We had her for many years, and then when she passed, we got another dog. Now we have three dogs. In her prime, Roxie, our oldest, was over 70 pounds, so a relatively big dog. Now I delight in all dogs, and have many fond memories of walking dogs in dog parks and around the neighborhood.

3. Planes: my first plane trip occurred in 1970 when, along with my parents and three younger brothers, we moved to Ft. Worth, Texas. For this trip my mother outfitted all of us in matching clothes - my dad and brothers in white pants with blue striped shirts, she and I in blue striped dresses and white hats. The photograph cracks me up, and if I could get my computer and scanner to talk to each other I'd post it. Since then I have flown many times. A memorable trip was the small propeller plane I flew from Puerto Rico to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. The plane was small, and flew so low over the Caribbean that I could see waves and fish. It was beautiful, but a bit disconcerting to be in such a small plane over that large body of water.

4. Music Concerts: When I lived in Chicago I loved to go to outdoor concerts - we'd bring a picnic dinner, sit on the lawn, and listen to fabulous music. It was in one of these arenas that I first heard YoYo Ma play cello. I now own a number of Ma's CD's, and listen to them over and over. As a result it was with great excitment that I prepared, in the fall of 2009, to go to a concert in Tucson that featured YoYo Ma. I downloaded a version of the piece he would be playing and listened to it until I knew every note - Dvorak's Cello Concerto Op 4. (I can't seem to get a link to work today, but if you don't know it, google it sometime!).

5. The Service of Welcome and Renewal of Ministries we celebrated last night, at the parish where I now serve. The music was stunning! The entire evening was fabulous and a lot of fun! A memorable evening!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Monday Morning Musings

This morning I am recovering from a busy weekend. My husband and I spent most of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday preparing for a party we hosted Sunday afternoon. (Note to self, a Sunday afternoon party, following two morning services, may not be the best planning - although it turned out well for us).

The party was a thank-you event for the Search Committe members and their families, for the long hard work they did on behalf of this congregation, and my husband and me. We had about 17 people, some of whom do not eat dairy or meat, and one who is allergic to peanuts/nuts. I planned carefully, and served:

Appetizers: homemade guacamole with chunky salsa and organic chips; veggies with a garlic humuus dip.

Dinner: chicken salad with yogurt/mayo dressing, celery, green onions, salt, pepper, and basil. A curry brown rice lentil dish served warm, a salad of organic greens with add your own toppings - mandarian oranges, strawberries, dried cranberries, honey pecans (on the side and ok for the nut-allergy person), croutons, and either a balsamic dressing or a raspberry vineagrette, whole grain bread, or whole grain pita, with roasted red pepper huumus.

Beverages: Pinot noir, chardonnay, ice tea, lemonade, or Pellegrino with slices of lemon and lime.

Desert: cherry pie or mixed berry pie with vanilla ice cream or strawberry sorbet or peach sorbet, and herbal tea.

No paper goods were used. Instead I used my mother in laws china, and my husbands grandmothers china, my mothers silver, and real glass wine glasses for all the beverages. Tables were set with table clothes, cloth napkins, and in coffee cups and saucers I planted flowers for a table decoration - they were really cute.

So, some of you on Facebook have asked for the brown rice lentil recipe. I made enough for 20, so you will have to reduce, but be generous will the ingredients you like most.

Curry Brown Rice and Lentil

1 onion,
oil for sauteing
3 cups uncooked brown rice
1 small can tomato paste
chopped tomatoes or a can of diced tomatoes with liquid
7 cups of water
cinnamon to taste (I used about one tablespoon)
curry to taste (I used green curry, about a tablespoon, maybe more)
salt and pepper
chili powder
1 cup dried uncooked lentils
1 cup of raisins

saute onion in oil until tender. add brown rice and saute for a few minutes, add water, stir to blend. add tomato paste, seasons, lentils, bring to a boil, cover and cook for 30 minutes. pour into a baking dish, add raisins and diced tomatoes. blend well. taste for seasoning.

At this point I refrigerated the dish and baked it the next day so I could serve it warm. But regardless the final step is to cover and bake the dish, making sure that it still has enough liquid in it to finish cooking the rice and lentils - I add another 6oz of water, after letting it sit for a day). Then I baked it for an hour, less time if you make a smaller quantity and bake it while still warm from the pan.

The dish has a delightful blend of sweetness from the raisins and spice from the seasonings, as well as being good for ya!

I took the recipe from Vegetarian Times, but adapted it significantly. In the original recipe they did not use curry or chili powder or diced tomatoes, and added instead pine nuts, which I did not use.

So today I need to finish cleaning up from the party and rest before I return to work tomorrow. This week the Bishop is coming for the official "Service of Welcome" (AKA "Installation"). And then we have Pentecost with a baptism followed by the parish picnic. Another busy week! But then we move into the summer schedule, and hopefully a slightly slower pace.

That's my week. What about yours?

Saturday, June 04, 2011

A reflection on prayer for Easter 7A

A reflection on John 17:1-11

I was two years old when I had to have my tonsils out. Back in those days they kept kids over night. The evening before the surgery my parents delivered me to the hospital, got me ready for bed, and then when visiting hours were over, they had to leave. Parents were not allowed to stay overnight. I remember standing in the crib, in my pajamas, and saying over and over “Let me out of this crib, I am not a baby!” And, when the nurses refused to let me out I started shaking the crib. In my memory, which might be faulty, I shook that crib across the room. And, at some point I managed to climb out of it. I refused the magic fairy juice, which I'm sure was intended to make me go to sleep. I have no idea how long I tormented that hospital staff, but it was daylight when I arrived, and it was long dark when I finally fell asleep. But, what I remember most clearly about that night is my uncle. My mother's only brother, and an “Elder” in the church, came to pray for me. I have a distinct memory of him laying hands on my head and praying. In my memory, I went to sleep right after. Like his prayer calmed me and soothed me to sleep.

My next memory of prayer takes place when I was in grammar school. From about first grade through sixth or seventh grade, I prayed every night before bed. I prayed for my family, and I prayed for every single person in my classroom. I went down the rows, from the first desk to the last, and prayed for each person by name. And, if I happened to know of some concern, I prayed for that too. I prayed for my teachers, too.

I'm fairly certain that I didn't pray much at all in high school, at least not consciously and intentionally. I was a contemplative kid, though. I wrote poetry, and listened to music, and pondered the world around me. Some would consider these to be prayer like activities, and perhaps they were, even though they were not intentionally prayerful.

In 1976, while a sophomore in college, I learned to meditate. Transcendental Meditation was all the rage. A center was established in my college town and I decided to learn. I've been a practitioner of meditation ever since. I even remember my “mantra” although I hardly every use it anymore. I quite enjoyed my mediation practice, and grew to appreciate it even more when I began to practice yoga. Yoga taught me other forms of mediation.

Eventually I found my way to the Episcopal Church and the Book of Common Prayer. True, my first six months or so of worship in the church were very un-worship like, as I struggled to understand the order of the prayer book, and why we flipped back and forth from one section to another. But over time I grew to love the book, and found some beautiful prayers in it. I can't tell you how many times I have prayed this prayer, found in the evening prayer:

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or
weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who
sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless
the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the
joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.

And, so I learned to pray with words and became dependent on the prayerbook for the words I prayed. It wasn't until many years later that I learned about Centering Prayer, a Christian form of silent prayer, usually done in a group. And then, ordained a priest, I learned to pray with others, using words, but not always frm the prayer book. Extemporaneous prayer, making up the prayer in the moment, took some practice, but is a lovely way to pray. I think this poem from Mary Oliver helped me become comfortable with extemporaneous prayer:

It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

The Gospel reading continues the story of Jesus with the disciples, on Maundy Thursday, at that final meal. Jesus is praying with and for his friends. The world, then and now, is full of challenges. And so, "it is critical that the church remind itself that it is the recipient of Jesus' prayer…that God will be present in the life and mission of the faith community," (Gail R. O'Day John, New Interpreter's Bible).

We can understand the prayer more fully if we understand what Jesus means by “glorify.”

In the Gospel of John, the incarnation is about the glory of God: "And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). The glorification process begins in chapter 12, with Mary anointing Jesus' feet and he says: "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified" (John 12:23). Glory (doxa) and glorify (doxazo) appear forty-two times in John, most of them in chapters 13-21. More than one-third of all NT occurrences of the verb "glorify" occur in this gospel.

The rest of the gospel unpacks this notion of glory and, more surprisingly, our own participation in it. So, here's the point: glory is about God's presence, about an intimate relationship between God and humanity, that God created this world,with the intent that all creation should be in unity with God and one another. Jesus, in the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection, reveals this as God's sole intention, the unity of God to all creation. The glorification of Jesus, is the uniting of Jesus to God, and therefore the uniting of us, and all creation, with God.

Jesus' prayer reminds us that the purpose of prayer is to help unite us, very intentionally to God. To build our relationship with God. To let God know our concerns, and to be quiet enough that God can speak to us. As Episcopalians, we are united with God and one another through our common worship. As individuals we hold many different values and understandings of life and politics, country, God, and faith, but gathered in worship we set aside our individual selves and become one in a community of prayer. The glorification of Jesus was for this purpose, that we all may become one body knit together in love.

Friday, June 03, 2011

RevGals Friday Five: Rerun Edition

Songbird, over at RevGalBlogPals, is commenting on summer reruns for her favorite television shows. She wonders:

In honor of this annual Time Warp, please share five things worth a repeat. These could be books, movies, CDs, recipes, vacations, or even TV shows.

I rarely re-read a book. In fact, I never re-read fiction. (although I may change my mind on that, as I have a few favorites now on my iPod. Listening to audiobooks while knitting is very relaxing. I also listen to audiobooks while driving). I do re-read theology books, liturgy books, Bible "interpretation" and ethics. I also re-read Mary Oliver poetry books, again and again and again.

Some of my favorite, easy breezy, comedy movies, I watch over and over. Usually I catch them on a television movie channel, midway into the movie, but since I've already seen it, it becomes background entertainment while I do something else. That something else is usually blog, or read blogs. The same holds true for a few action or drama movies.

On the other hand, I have little interest in watching television shows in reruns...so in the summer I go looking for new programs, like "So You Think You Can Dance" and "America's Got Talent"...

Recipes are one area that I tend to repeat, often. We have a few favorites in my household, usually simple grilled summer foods with homemade pasta or potato salad (my mother's recipe), salad or corn on the cob. I like to make my grandmother's homemade cake recipe - she called it "boiled raisin cake" - it's a spice cake with raisins and a caramel like icing. I like to use that same icing recipe on a simple white cake. Well, I could go on and on about recipe repeats - sometimes we get stuck in a rut, eating the same foods over and over - and then I have to hunt for a new favorite.

Music is another area where I tend to listen to the same music CD over and over and over. For this reason I really like the shuffle feature on my iPod, which randomly selects the order of music I hear. It amuses me, in the selections made, and usually pulls up an old favorite that I have forgotten. Last Monday I sat outside on my deck, a warm sunny day, drinking peach iced tea, reading, and listening to music on my iPad. The shuffle selection was perfect!

One Degree of Difference

I did this exercise with us a few years ago, but I want to do it again. How many of you have your cell phones on you? If your cell phone ...