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Showing posts from March, 2017

Encounter Love

On a beautiful Sunday morning, in an old white stucco church with red doors and antique wood pews, a young couple baptized their first baby, a little boy.  Dan and I, and our two small children were present. I was in seminary at the time and our parish priest was a semi-retired gentle old man who had moved to the area because his wife took a prestigious position as the head chaplain at a local retirement community. Although I was only beginning to learn about liturgy and the sacraments, I was surprised when the priest eliminated portions of the baptism service, specifically all references to sin as it pertained to the infant being baptized. Later when I asked the priest about this he said that the couple could not imagine their precious new born baby being sinful and they didn’t want the idea of evil to be associated with the baptism. I understood that, newborn babies being sweet, innocent, and a gift of joy and delight. Apparently, this has had a lasting impact on me because now when…

Speaking one's mind, telling one's heart, becoming living water

I had a sixteen year hiatus from church between the years I was fifteen and thirty-one. In my late twenties, when I began to think about my spiritual life and contemplated going to church I was hesitant, fearful. Like most fears my fear was not rational. I was afraid that going to church would mean that I would lose myself. Growing up I was always the obedient daughter who excelled at life, but I never voiced my own opinions. I lost my self in what others wanted me to be and do. The church of my childhood reinforced that role for girls and daughters and I was a good little girl. But when my family left the church and stopped practicing Christianity, I had the opportunity to rethink everything and figure out who I was and what I wanted. So finding out as a 28 year old that I was being pulled back into church life was powerful and terrifying. But my desire to return was two-fold: I wanted a community where I could belong with a group of people who had similar life experiences and hopes …

Just, Humane, a spiritual examen of self

When Dan and I were first married he worked in the computer industry designing and selling systems, from servers to computers to software, from installation to training, to law schools, universities, and graphic artists, primarily using Apple products. Beginning in the 1980’s including the twenty-two years that Dan worked in that industry, I’ve been inundated with technology. We had one of the very first Apple desktop computers. I was in seminary in the mid 1990’s when I first started using the internet, on a dial-up access, to do research for papers. I’ve built websites and Facebook pages and blogs for myself and churches I've worked for, including this church, and as well as for the many social justice groups I work with. Soon my son will graduate from Eastern with a degree in internet security, which is primarily about preventing hacking but also considers internet law and ethics. Dan, Peter, and I have lively conversations about all of this, although my input is primarily on t…

Holy Habits

When my children were little we had a daily habit of praying two prayers. One was the prayer before meals:
Bless us oh Lord and these thy gifts which are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen. 
The second one I prayed with each child at bedtime. It comes from the New Zealand Prayerbook: 
Dear God, Thank you for today. I am sorry if I have been unkind to anyone. Help us to forgive each other. Thank you for my family and friends. Please be with me tonight. Amen. 
The bedtime prayer in particular became an opportunity for me to talk with my children about our day, what had gone well, to reflect on occasions to forgive and be forgiven, to consider how we responded to life’s challenges, and how we might respond better the next time. 
As an adult my preferred way of praying is in silence. I spend 30 minutes every day in silent prayer. I give myself over to that liminal space and open myself to the possibility that God may speak into my life. I learned how to pray this w…