Showing posts from March, 2007

Psalm 22 (The Message)

God, God!

Why did you dump me miles from nowhere?
Doubled up with pain, I call to God all the day long.

No answer.


I keep at it all night, tossing and turning.

And you!

Are you indifferent, above it all, leaning back on the cushions of Israel's praise?

We know you were there for our parents: they cried for your help and you gave it; they trusted and lived a good life.

And here I am, a nothing—

an earthworm,

something to step on, to squash.

Everyone pokes fun at me; they make faces at me, they shake their heads: "Let's see how God handles this one; since God likes him so much, let him help him!"

And to think you were midwife at my birth, setting me at my mother's breasts! When I left the womb you cradled me; since the moment of birth you've been my God.

Then you moved far away

and trouble moved in next door.

I need a neighbor.

During Holy Week all of our scripture readings come from The Message. I just love this version of Psalm 22....

RevGal Friday Five: Holy Week, Batman!

Reverendmother posts this on the RevGals site: Well, the Clergy Superbowl is almost upon us, and so, I offer up this Friday Five (with apologies for the irreverent title):

1. Will this Sunday be Palms only, Passion only, or hyphenated? Palms and Passion, both! But actually in place of the congregation reading the Passion Gospel, and rather than me (priest) offering a homily - our kids have written meditations and prayers for the Stations of the Cross and they have done artwork (or performing arts pieces) for each of the stations. Groups of parishioners will walk the stations, led by a child guide, during the section of the service normally designated for Gospel and should be very cool...and this was the kids idea....

2. Maundy Thursday Footwashing: Discuss. Love the footwashing. I always get a pedicure first, red toe nails...and I just love it. Sometimes I even stay bare foot through the rest of the service, or until the peace, which comes just before the Eucharist. (Then I…

Read in AARP

Yikes, yes, I'm now 50, which means I've been given an offer to subscribe to AARP (I think it stands for American Association of Retired Persons/People)....and well, I am a long way from retirement....but recently I picked up the mag in my chiropractors office and read an article of Optimism...or pessimissim, depending on how read the article.

What really stood out for me was the section on "Emoticon for Pessimists." Now, I am really an optimist, almost a "pollyanna," but I must admit pessimism is ok sometimes too. So, here are the Emoticons:

:-( "I'm sad."

:-( @ "Princess Leia is sad"

~&:-( "Everyday is a bad hair day" (My favorite)

4? "Why bother"

x> "Colonel Sanders is dead"

oo oo o
xx "The big bus of life squashes everyone."

Ok, so there you have it, pessimist emoticons....

But, I'm sure you all will just hate them..... Oh, wait...actually no one will even read this post.... let alone leave…

Discerning What is Godly and Good

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God."1 John 4:1

Discernment. Recently a parishioner asked me what discernment means. He said, "It's such a harsh sounding word, D I S C E R N M E N T." And I have to admit he took me by surprise. I have used this word many times in many ways over the last twelve years. I first began to use it when I started my own discernment process toward ordination and haven't stopped using. I invited the congregation into a time of discernment from Christmas until Lent. Which is the impetus for my parishioners question. What are we doing, he wondered? Yes, I thought, what are we doing. I, however was wondering from a very different place than he.

In "Christianity for the Rest of Us," Diana Butler Bass offers a chapter on discernment. In it she says that, "Discernment is a gift to the whole of the Christian community, one that can be strengthened and nurtured by engaging…

Wild life back yard

Our backyard is a great place for nature and wildlife. In the time we've lived here we've seen woodchucks (with a den under the deck), possum, squirrels, bunnies, and a family of foxes (and coyote). This year, in addition to all the birds at our feeder we have mallard ducks, eating the seed that falls to the ground. Hard to believe we have a BUSY street on one side of the house and all this wildlife on the other...

Tuesday Topics: Talk Amongs Yourselves

This Sunday I am not preaching, the first in a long while...

Although this Sunday is Palm/Passion Sunday we are doing something fun! Well maybe not "fun," but very cool.... Our children have written meditations and prayers for each of the stations of the cross. They have also designed each station with some art work or "performing" art piece. So for example at the station where Jesus is nailed to the cross one child brought in pieces of wood, nails, and a hammer, and people will hammer the nails in the wood at that station

Instead of our usual Passion Reading with members of the congregation and instead of a homily, the kids will take us on a walk through the stations, they will be our guides. In small groups the parish will walk each of the stations with the kids leading us, we will reflect on their meditations and pray their prayers and ponder their art work for each station. Sure, we will begin the service with our usual Liturgy of the Palms, processing around and …

Leaving Church: a book discussion from RevGals

Many of you who will read this are from churches much less structured and hierarchical than The Episcopal Church.

However, I wonder, to what extent do these problems face all churches?
What are you and your churches doing to carry out the Gospel in its true sense?
I am also interested in the wisdom and experience you bring to your reading of this book with regard to self-care and renewal for clergy and laity.
A couple of thoughts:
I have not yet read this book, although it has sat on my bookshelf since last fall. I have read lots of BBT books and looked forward to this one. After reading only a few pages I had to put it down. It was hitting too close to home for me. I am a priest in a small struggling Episcopal church and over the last three and half years we have faced all these issues head on. It has been exhausting for me in part because I think the Holy Spirit just might be in on all this. I think that if we as church just continue doing our ministries of caring for one another, car…

Monday Morning Musings

Daughter arrived home very late. She is still sleeping so I haven't had a chance to check in and see how things are at the barn. But last I knew, it was only the hay barn that burned, and they were finally able to get all the horses back in their barn and stalls...That fire could have been so much worse. A Sunday afternoon. She was riding her last horse of the day, only one other person was at the barn, doing the same thing. She saw the smoke and said, Christina look, what is that? And Christina bolted! It was just the two of them for a long while calling the fire department and removing horses, others came back as they heard the news (borders to check on their horses, etc). Had it been later, everyone would have been gone, and everything would have burned....

(Long pause)

daughter up, things happened as reported above...20 fire trucks to put it out, and some wonderful folks off the street who came to help, people who even knew what they were doing...daughter, who also works in reta…

Barn Fire

Daughter called this afternoon to say that the barn was on fire. She works and rides at a barn that houses horses and trains riders (an equestrian center)...she quickly said that they were getting all the horses out into the paddocks and she would be home late, but also that her car may have burned since it was parked near where the fire started.

Husband immediately set off in our car to help. I stayed behind with dogs, cats, and son (who was out with friends). I waited anxiously for the hour it takes to drive to the barn, then another half an hour until husband could call and give me an update...

Thankfully only the hay barn burned. No one was harmed! No human, no horse, no dog...thanks be to God! Nothing was lost except the hay and the barn that stores it. (It seems the hay self-combusted from being wet and then getting very warm today, think of fertilizer and then heat it puts off)...

Husband on his way home. Daughter's car is fine, so she can drive home once all has settled down.…

Judas or Mary?

I recently started watching a new TV series on Fox Monday nights at 9pm called “The Riches.” This show, starring Eddie Izzard as Wayne, and Minnie Driver, as Dahlia, tells the story of a family of Travelers. These gypsy like people travel around in RV’s and steal for a living.

The opening scene in the pilot episode of this dark comedy shows Wayne and his kids at a high school class reunion. Wayne has posed as another guest, a comedian, who is supposed to entertain the crowd. In the meantime he and the kids are stealing out of coats, pockets, and purses. They make a hilarious get away just before they would have been caught. Next we learn that they are on their way to pick up Dahlia, the wife and mother, who is being released from prison for stealing. From here they end up back at the family gathering place where the entire band of Travelers has gathered. The show takes a dark turn with the release of Dahlia. While Wayne is often funny, Minnie Driver brilliantly portrays Dahlia as someo…

RevGals Friday Five: Rivers in the Desert

From the RevGals blog site Songbird says: I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19, NRSV.

As we near the end of the long journey toward Easter, a busy time for pastors and layfolk alike, I ponder the words of Isaiah and the relief and refreshment of a river in the desert.For this Friday Five, name five practices, activities, people or _____ (feel free to fill in something I may be forgetting) that for you are rivers in the desert.

1. My Husband. Without his love and support I would not be who I am today. He has been one constant source of love in my life which has allowed me to heal deeply. Now, that doesn't mean all has been perfect. But it is still true. I think I have been the same for him.

2. Meditating. As a general rule I meditate every day for 30 minutes. Lately I have fallen out of practice, which indicates the restlessness of my inner being and tells me I really nee…

A dream

Husband and I are walking through a house. It is the first house we bought, a small brick room with beautiful stained glass windows and a fake fireplace, dining room, and a kitchen with white metal cabinets and a red floor. We loved this little house. But the neighborhood changed and we had to sell and move. It took a year to sell and move.

In my dream we are standing in the kitchen. I say to Husband, "Oh, I had forgotten those cabinets, that's not how I remember them." (In my dream they were wood not metal). Then I say to Husband, "Are you sure we should buy this house again? We had such a difficult time selling it the last time.?"

End of dream as I remember it.

Analyst asks me: "Is this a dream about church or family?"

A Better End to This Day

Went shopping with daughter and had a great lunch. Really nice to spend time with her, we haven't had much time to just hang out lately. We did a lot of (fun) window shopping but we didn't actually buy anything....not for lack of finding plenty to buy, just not really in the mood to, will have to go back and get those red toe less flats I really liked (yea, flats are back in style, oh fun!)...then went to the grocery store for dinner...ended up grilling salmon with pasta, steamed Brussel sprouts and red wine....

Monday Morning Musings

Lots going on...

I've figured out how to update blog with a "photo" in my profile that appears whenever I leave a comment *LOL* too fun...
I have figured out how to add links for the blogs I read often, making it easier for me to get to them
I have a search committee making a site visit to small church in April...
our music director will be gone the day they visit
I need to find a good substitute musician
working with a new person on that day just makes me even more anxious
and, how will I manage these folks visiting while not revealing everything to "small church"
plus....I'm fighting with my husband...
me and husband usually get along well, fighting is not typical for us...but sometimes I think times of deep change can only be birthed after struggle and "labor"
I have a headache...why...'cuz I'm fighting with husband, not sleeping well, anxious
so. day. off.
maybe exercise will help me feel better.

Why the Smily Face in my Profile???

On various bogs I have read the word "meme"...but I didn't know what it meant. So, I started doing research on "memes" (see earlier post on "memes") and found out that they are a cultural practice or idea that spreads. And when I was little I had one of the original smily face posters (1970's) in my bedroom...The smily face is certainly a good example of a cultural practice or idea that spread...and the use of images attached to one's profile is also a cultural practice that has spread, most of us RevGal bloggers use them...then I found this smily face on the internet and it just seemed like the right thing to use, a meme for a meme. One might even say that ordained women has become an idea that has a meme for a meme for a meme...if you get my drift...(ok, it has been a long day and I need a nap).

RevGals Friday Five: What cha doin'?....

Well friends, this is one of those weeks when I simply must work today, which is normally my day off. I know, I know. We may tut-tut all we want, but the fact is, some weeks are like that. So, this week's F5 is simple.Name five things you plan to do today.Bonus: If today is about "have-to" for you as well, share up to five things you'd like to be doing today.

1. First thing I am doing today is having a cup of coffee and blogging with Friday Five. It's a must do for me most Friday's.

2. Next I am going to get ready and go to the office for a morning of work preparing for Sunday. My Parish Admin works on Friday's so it's "a must do" to be there when she is.

3. I need to call a woman who interested in coming to our church and sent me an email last night. This is a must do!

4. I am having lunch with a colleague. We meet about once a month to share our ministries and process life and work. She is a laywoman, I am ordained....we bring interesting pers…

Meme: What I Learned Today

Lately I've read blogs that refer to memes...but gave no real clue as to what a meme I had to look it up...

From the internet:

meme (mēm) n.
A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.

An idea which spreads.

and from Wikipedia:
The term "meme" (IPA: /miːm/, rhyming with "theme") was coined in 1976 by the biologist Richard Dawkins to refer to a "unit of cultural information" which can propagate from one mind to another in a manner analogous to genes (i.e., the units of genetic information).
Dawkins said, Examples of memes are tunes, catch-phrases, beliefs, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. A meme, he said, propagates itself as a unit of cultural evolution and diffusionanalogous in many ways to the behavior of the gene . Often memes propagate as more-or-less integrated cooperative sets or groups, referred …

What I did with my real day off...

What I did with my real day off...

I stayed in my PJ's and blogged or read other blogs until noon
I took myself out for lunch, pad thai (yum)
Went to the bookstore and bought two books and two CD's: American Bloomsbury, 'cuz I read an article about Susan Cheever and her writing of this book that made me want to read it; Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writer's Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard, essays on how to write nonfiction that looks really good and might help with preaching...a Dixie Chicks and Red Hot Chili Peppers CD...I could have bought so much more, I put back two books and another CD...
Waited for husband to come home from work (early) and we walked our dogs - IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL DAY! Sunny and 60 whoohoo
Today is going to be even warmer
Spring, or what ever we have of spring in Chicago, which is usually damp and chilly, is here
Supposed to drop to the 40's with snow showers by Thursday/Friday - typical....
I think I may have another real day off ne…

Monday Morning Musings

Whoohoo! A real day off!

Slept in. Woke up to everyone gone off to work or school, cats and dogs fed and out to do their business. How cool is that?

So, I got a cup of coffee. And sat on the sofa. Checked email and opened my blog...

Nothing on my schedule. No phone interview (next one, last one ever I hope, is set for Thursday, April 12 - but I may have a new call by then???) essays to write. No church stuff to do. No family members to take to the Dr.


I may stay in my PJ's all day. It's raining. I had a very busy weekend, conference Friday and Sat., up very early Sun. to finish sermon, then two services and adult forum, then a meeting after church, and dinner with parishioners last night...

I may just curl up with a book and never leave the sofa.

Or, maybe I will read for awhile, then exercise. And maybe take myself out for lunch, with my book.

Only problem...I don't have a good book I really want to read. Only church-work stuff...

hum, may need to go to library o…

Fertilzer for our Souls: The sermon I did preach

Being There, a movie from 1979 starring Peter Sellers, tells the story of Chancy Gardiner. His real name is Chance, he grew up secluded in a house in Washington DC the apparent offspring of a very wealthy eccentric named Jennings. Chance is always fed on schedule, by the long term cook who has known him all his life, is allowed to garden in the small plot in the walled in backyard, and dressed in expensive handmade suits. His only knowledge of the outside world comes from watching television. But when Jennings dies, and no provisions are made for Chance’s up keep, the attorneys kick him out and sell the house. Chance walks out of the house for the first time in his life and encounters a street gang, which he tries to make go away with a remote control TV changer, and then, in a freak accident ends up in the home of a wealthy but dying industrialist and his wife, played by Shirley McLaine.

McLaine’s character misunderstands Chance when he says his name is Chance, the Gardner, she thinks…

RevGals Friday Five: Matters of Taste

My mother loved figs.I only like them in a Newton.It's all a matter of taste.Name five things you like a lot that some close relative or significant other did/does not like. This could be food, movies, hobbies, music, sports or whatever springs to mind.

1. I like to listen to music, my husband prefers the TV, especially CNN. When I work at home during the day I work in silence, just the tapping of the keys on my laptop, the barking of dogs, chirping of birds, or the purring cat on my lap, keep me company. But at the office I put on churchy music: Mozart sonatas, Taize, famous church choirs. And in the car, I listen to lots of music, no more NPR or news, I am boycotting it...I listen to Dixie Chicks, Neil Young, Elvis Costello, U2, Indigo Girls, Motown, Diana Krall, Norah name a few. However, I do watch TV at night with husband, and knit. Or, I will leave TV on for dogs, Animal Planet, because I have one dog that will actually watch dogs on TV. She even responds when we …

Wasted Soil: The Sermon I Want to Preach

"Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit in a year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down." (Luke 13:9)

We are, each of us, responsible for the nurturing of our faith lives. We need to take action, in prayer, in relationship, in community, in some manner, to nurture our faith lives. Our lives are intended to be fruitful, spiritually fruitful, a witness to God's presence, a vessel for God's abiding love to pour out and fertilize a broken, barren world.

For some years now I have been living in a barren world.

Our Lenten program this year, held on Wed. nights, joins "small church" with our sister small church down the road. This year they have about 10 people coming, I have three, including me. THREE. And for that I make a meal, set the tables, prepare the room for our discussion, and clean up.

"We're too tired....we're too busy....we already have commitments on Wed. night...we're…

Disorientation: A Jobian State

Disorientation, a state of confusion. A place of darkness. A sense of being lost. Where is God? I move through my life these days like Job, I am in a jobian place. I proclaim to the people the Good News, but I wonder where it is in my own life? I really trust that God is here with me in this muddle. But I just wish I were not so lost.

Some stretches of life are like this. We all go through them. Mine has lasted the better part of four years, each year getting slightly more intense. Job. Small church. Family stuff. Marriage stuff. All aspects of my life are affected right now.

I need to make a change, and despite my best efforts, even that seems impossible. The tires of my soul are stuck in the snow. It doesn't help to accelerate. It doesn't help to get out and push. I'm not even sure it will help to dig my way out.

I think I have to wait. Wait for the spring thaw. Wait for the summer dryness. Wait until this season passes.

Monday Morning Musings

Monday. Day off. But, no rest for the weary.

Another phone interview for a search committee tonight. A very exciting church, a position I think I would love. I need to prepare today - reread their profile, their demographics, and my essay responses. Look through their web site and try to know them well. And I am so tired of doing this, the third time in two months, not to mention the one I did last summer (that makes 4 phone interviews). All total I have entered seven searches in the last year, two have completed their search and I did not get or take the position, but I have five to go. Discernment is wearing me out.
Yesterday, in my sermon, I spoke about the Psalms and Walter Bruggerman's work breaking the Psalms into categories of "Orientation," "Disorientation," and "Reorientation." By this he means the way the psalms speak about the psalmists experience of God:
Orientation = when God is known and the psalmist is confident in God's presence.

RevGals Friday Five: Artsy Crafty

1. Would you call yourself "creative"? Why or why not? Yes, I think I am creative...not genius creative, but all the work I have done in my adult life has centered on the creative. I graduate college in 1979 with a degree in Lighting Design for Dance and I proceeded to light dance concerts for six years. I followed that with six years in Interior Design then moved into massage therapy (creativity on a spiritual plane). Now I show my creative side designing liturgy and "decorating" and "lighting" the church for worship.

2. Share a creative or artistic pursuit you currently do that you'd like to develop further. Knitting and cross stitch. I can only knit a straight line, so scarves are good...I stopped work on my cross stitch last summer and need to get back to it...

3. Share a creative or artistic pursuit you have never done but would like to try. Tatting. A friend of mine makes her own lace trim, it is beautiful. And because it is little it is so easy t…