Showing posts from September, 2007

Where there is despair

A reflection on Luke 16:19-31

Francis of Assisi is best remembered as the saint of animals. It is in his memory that we hold our annual pet blessing. Normally this blessing would take place on a Sunday morning in October during the 10:00 service. But this year we have guest preachers each Sunday in Oct. to celebrate our life and ministry together. And I thought having a pet blessing would be just too much. So, we had it last night. It was a wonderful occasion for us to gather with our beloved pets and celebrate the joy they bring us.

St. Francis lived in the 12th century. He was born to a wealthy family and had all the luxuries of a good education. But a series of war related injuries and illnesses caused him to reconsider his life. Over a couple of years he changed from being a carefree playful young man to a man serious about helping the poor and caring for the world around him. To do this he began a religious order, now known as the Franciscans.

There are many legends about the amaz…

RevGals Friday Five; Endings and beginnings

1. Best ending of a movie/book/TV show I don't need a "happy" ending, but I do like endings that show some degree of transformation of the characters. I like to see some growth and the potential for change.

2. Worst ending of a movie/book/TV show Endings that leave one feeling desolate. Like endings that offer no hope, not even the potential for hope at some point.

3. Tell about a memorable goodbye you've experienced. I once broke up with a boyfriend who just could not understand that it was over with us. Years later was still hoping for a reconciliation. I finally asked him if he wanted to meet the man I was going to marry (yes, it had been that long). He said yes. So I arranged for this ex-boyfriend to meet me with my fiance (whom I married 22 year ago and we're still together). After meeting my fiance this ex-boyfriend ran out of the restaurant clearly distraught...saying, no. no. you can't marry someone like "him!" I've always wondered what h…

MFR and Sacral Cranial

Today I had the most interesting experience. Ten months ago I got sick, a bad infection that affected my jaw. I had surgery to drain the infection. The infection has been healed since February, but other complications have taken longer. In the mean time I have been receiving some awesome treatment from a chiropractor. I was a massage therapist for nine years. So after years of doing bodywork and caring for others I find myself on the other end.

Today I had some amazing work done. To help the healing in neck and jaw I received a myofacial release (MFR) treatment combined with a sacral cranial (neck and head) treatment. It was a gentle treatment that essentially moved my head and neck in a gentle flowing rhythm back and forth. All the while I was guiding it with my feedback about tight places or any other sensation.

I felt many things. Some of what I felt was tightness in muscles. Muscles in my neck, muscles down my spine, muscles under my scapula, muscles where my head and neck meet. Som…

Ryan is coming home

In January I wrote about my daughter's boyfriend Ryan. He serves in the army, 82nd Airborne. He was deployed in January to Afghanistan. But now he is coming home for a two week leave, they call it "vacation."

He leaves on Thursday, but with the time difference that might be sometime today or tonight in our time zone. He will arrive here sometime on Monday. The first few days he will travel by convey through some dangerous terrain and territory. Then he will fly to Germany, then to Atlanta, then to Chicago.

That's assuming he gets off his base without getting hurt... Last night the building where he "works" on the base in Afghanistan was bombed and completely demolished. Thankfully he and all the other workers had just left for the night. No one was injured. But, had any one been in the building...oh my.

Please pray for Ryan and my family as he travels home.

Please continue to pray for all the men and women serving in the military...and all those affected by w…

Vanessa Hudgens - Dancing With The Stars Promo - Lets Dance

Dancing....(with the stars)...oh, to dream!

Most of you do not know that I was a dance major. Yes, my BA is from Columbia College, Chicago, a special major in Dance, 1978...

Once again I am watching "Dancing with the Stars." I can't help myself. I love it.

Our Diocesan Convention, held in Nov. meets over a Friday and Sat. Friday night always ends with a rock and roll band and dancing. Clergy and Bishops dancing like there is no tomorrow - and our parishioners being reminded that their clergy are also human beings....

It's a good thing.

Now the lead singer of the band that plays at our convention has put his name is to be Bishop of this Diocese...

I don't know what I think about that....(it seems a bit peculiar)...(but maybe that's just me).

(I mean, would he still sing in the band if he were elected Bishop?)

(and would that be really really weird?)...

I'm just thinkin'.....

I Spent My Day Reading...

I spent my day reading the forty-four page PDF file of the eight nominees for Bishop of Chicago. Our initial slate was five following the search process, three more were added today following the open nomination process and background checks. You can read about them here...and more if you wish to download that 44 page file linked to that page.

I am trying to remain unbiased, but I must admit I know 6 of the nominees. (OK not well, but I know them). Of the eight, four seem like really good candidates. (Of the four I think are good candidates, I only know two...)...

It's going to be an interesting couple of months.

Oh The World We Live In....

I have been, thankfully, too busy this last week to get too invested in what is happening at the House of Bishops for the ECUSA or the visit of Akinola to Wheaton, IL. The House of Bishops meeting took place in New Orleans. It meets twice a year and is comprise of all the active Diocesan Bishops in the Episcopal Church. These meetings are an opportunity for the bishops to build community, pray, study scripture, and form a consensus (or not) on the various issues facing the church.

This last week the HOB has meet in New Orleans with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Basically what this means is: the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) grew out of the Church of England after the American Revolution in the late 1700's (approximately related to the Revolutionary War). The reasons for this may be obvious, the USA broke away from England ergo the Church of England in this country had to break away as well. In a few years the church in this country was able to be established with a Bishop of its own…

Restoring wholeness in a fractured fractious world

A reflection on Luke 16:1-13, and baptism

She was nine years old, and after months of pleading with her non church-going parents they finally agreed to have her baptized. The girl was thrilled and could hardly wait for the big day, the day that would finally mark her as one of the community, a full member of the church.

On the day of her baptism many other people were also being baptized, in fact she had to wait in a long line until it was her turn at the pool. Her denomination baptized people by full immersion in a huge pool of water. As she watched she realized that the water was deep, probably up to her shoulders. And she began to be afraid.

She was only nine, and could not yet swim. Water made her nervous. Members of her family had recently teased her by throwing her in the deep end of a swimming pool thinking this would teach her to swim; the sink or swim theory. She never sank, but neither did she learn to swim, she just learned to be afraid of water.

Now she stood on the edge of t…

RevGals Friday Five: De-clutter Edition

1. Are you a hoarder or a minimalist? a little of each...I keep things for awhile, and then I purge and throw away almost everything. In the past I have moved every few years and that is a great way to purge. (LOL)...Now that I am staying put longer I have to be intentional about cleaning out.

2. Name one important object (could be an heirloom) that you will never part with. My photo albums and pictures...

3. What is the oldest item in your closet? Does it still fit???. I have some blouses and skirts I wore when I worked for the interior design firm 25 years ago... The blouses may fit but not the skirts - after having babies my waistline is forever changed

4.Yard sales- love 'em or hate 'em ? hate 'em...other people's junk is not my treasure...

5. Name a recycling habit you really want to get into. I'd like to have a compost heap and add food items like the peelings from fruits and veggies...

And for a bonus- well anything you want to add....

The House of Bishops Meeting

I really want to write a post about the Episcopal Church House of Bishop Meeting. It begins today. All the Bishops (those with voice and vote in active ministry) will meet in New Orleans. The Archbishop of Canterbury is joining them (Rowan Williams). The hope and intent of this meeting to help Williams have a broader picture of what is really going on in the ECUSA. It seems Williams is functioning under some mis-understanding and mis-direction...He thinks the ECUSA is split 50/50 over the election of a partnered gay bishop. In reality it is more like 10% of the ECUSA is upset, 10% is thrilled, and the remaining 80% would like to stop talking about human sexuality and get on with doing ministry in the world.

But. I have another REALLY busy day. So. Maybe I can reflect on this later. In the meantime, prayers please. Prayers for a fruitful time over the next few days.

Drive-through church

Thanks to Endangeredspecieschurch for this link

From Endangeredspecieschurch

Beautiful Day

Here in the Midwest we are having a beautiful day. 70degrees, sunny, blue skies, gentle breeze blowing in the window. My oh my. Perhaps I am more aware of this glorious day because I am a little sleep deprived. I went to bed and to sleep at my usual time and, as is typical for me, fell into a deep sleep. But in the middle of the night I woke up. Wide awake and rested, as if it were time to get up. I lay there for awhile until I finally gave into it and got up. 2:15am. Can one survive on 3 hours and 45 minutes of sleep?

I drank a glass of water. I did some on-line banking. I read a few blogs. Then I went back to bed, and eventually to sleep. Nonetheless I am a bit tired today, like one who slept fitfully. Still, as I sit here in my study, with the breeze blowing in I think of this poem. Another Mary Oliver, of course.

Why I Wake Early

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the w…

Strange Dream Vignettes

Lately I have had a series of very short dreams, I'll call them dream vignettes. The one I remember from last night: I was in the Bishop's Office. He and I were discussing a potential call to another parish. I was asking him his opinion on whether he thought that church was really viable. He was not too optimistic. (This is a fictional church, I am not in any searches at the moment). In the room with us were his two big dogs, German Shepherd like and a Rottweiler-like. One of my dogs was with us as well, the Viszla). The dogs were curled up sleeping, each ignoring or unaware of the others. My dog was offering her usual "fragrant" gas to the environment, an after effect of eating grass....(yes, in this dream I was conscious of odor, pungent odor)....

We then began to speak about the church I currently work for. Somehow we moved from sitting on chairs to sitting on the floor. This was less formal, the kind of casual sitting one does with friends....I asked him he though…

Called to Wholeness

Called to gather, Called together… a reflection on Luke 15:1-10

Hildegard was the tenth child born to a family in Germany. The year was 1098, and in those days the 10th child was considered a tithe. We think of tithing as that portion of our income that we give to the church. So, what this meant was that the tenth child of a family was given to the Church as a tithe. Hildegard was raised by a woman named Jutta. The two of them lived in seclusion, in a cottage near a local Benedictine monastery.

Jutta and Hildegard lived a life of silence and prayer eventually gaining a reputation for their profound spirituality. Soon other women joined them. Before long they had started their own religious community focused on developing intellectual gifts. Later Hildegard started two religious communities for women, one in Bingen and one in Eibingen. Hildegard ran these on her own and was able to function with a tremendous amount of autonomy and authority for a woman in the medieval era.

Hildegard descr…

RevGals Friday Five: Meetings, Meetings, Meetings....

1. What's your view of meetings? Choose one or more, or make up your own:
a) When they're good, they're good. I love the feeling of people working well together on a common goal.
b) I don't seek them out, but I recognize them as a necessary part of life.
c) The only good meeting is a canceled meeting.

Depending on the meeting, I am usually happy if it gets cancelled - it's like "found" time. I can suddenly do something else I really need to do, even if that something else is sit and have a cup of tea. However it is an important meeting from which I hope to gain direction for some next step then I feel frustrated if it is cancelled. Otherwise I view meetings as a necessary fact of life. They are a means to an end, whether that end is community building (ie the MOMs group meeting) or discernment/decision making. But I try not to have more than one or two night time meetings a week. And usually I can manage this. So, in that regard I don't seek them out.

2. …

Amazing Grace?

In my sleep last night I got an ear-worm.

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost, but now I'm found..."

It came out of "now-where," because I've neither sung it nor heard it ages...

*** also occurs to me that I have heard this sung at every funeral I have ever done, to the point that I am really tired of this hymn and never use it in worship on Sunday...

But, what might it mean that I relate it to funeral liturgies...maybe, really, that that part of my life has died away and a new part can now come forth? Just wondering...regardless, I do find it to be grace-filled in an amazing way!

September 11, 2001

Six years ago:
* I had been ordained one year
* I had just left large wealthy resource parish to become solo pastor of small fractious church
* I had been solo pastor for exactly six weeks
* My daughter left early for school (8th grade)
* My husband called me from work to see if I was watching the news (no)
* Our son was just about to get on the bus, literally. So, off he went. Had it been a few minutes later I would have kept him home.
* The schools went on lock-down. The kids knew little or nothing.
* I began a phone tree to every member of the parish inviting them to a prayer vigil that night.
* We gathered. We prayed. We celebrate the Eucharist. We wept. We felt gleamed hope from being together. My homily that night reflected on the randomness of evil and the hopefulness of God's faithfulness - God always comes into the midst of chaos and seeks to restore life, order, new life, hope....
* It was an auspicious start to a challenging call.

Blogging Birthday One Year Old

On Tuesday, Sept. 11 I will celebrate one year of blogging, Seeking Authentic Voice, will be a year old. To commemorate this I am offering a photo montage of the year, some of my favorite images attached to posts.

Just a beautiful picture. I've used it a couple of times.

Hands praying. I love the openness of these praying hands.

This image of the Lion is just hilarious.

I was not the one called. Time stopped.

My image of hope, the chrysalis of transformation.

Hanging from a cliff, just a little anxiety in my life.

Love this photo of a baby covered in chocolate, reminds me of my daughter (now 19) on her first birthday. She looked a lot like this.

Last Spring, on a warm Sunday afternoon, the barn where my daughter works caught on fire. She happened to be there, and along with one other person, saved all the horses.

I turned 50 years old...

The consecration of Katharine Jefforts Schori, the first woman Presiding Bishop in the Anglican Communion. I watched this on webcam on Nov. 4. On Nov. 5 I …

A Prayer, What One Can Hope For As Light Returns...

To all my pals at Revgals - Thank you. You are a blessing to me....

"The Odes of Solomon" (1st of 2nd Century)

My heart was split, and a flower
appeared; and grace sprang up;
and it bore fruit for my God.

You split me, tore my heart
open, filled me with love.

You poured your spirit into me;
I knew you as I know myself.

Speaking waters touched me
from your fountain, the source of life.

I swallowed them and was drunk
with the water that never dies.

And my drunkenness was insight,
intimacy with your spirit.

And you have made all things new;
you have showed me all things shining.

You have granted me perfect ease;
I have become like Paradise,
a garden whose fruit is joy;
and you are the sun upon me.

My eyes are radiant with your spirit;
my nostrils fill with your fragrance.
My ears delight in your music,
and my face is covered with your dew.

Blessed are the men and women
who are planted on your earth, your garden,
who grow as your trees and flowers grow,
who transform their darkness into light.
Their roots p…

RevGals Friday Five: Dark Night of the Soul, and I'll Lighten Up, soon, (really) (no really)

1.Have you experienced God's faithfulness at a difficult time? Tell as much or as little as you like... My childhood was difficult, an unstable mother, an alcoholic father, and a series of long distance moves that took me further away from my extended family. (No one to turn too)...All my life I have been a prayerful person. As a little girl I had on-going conversations with God about my life. And a real sense of God's abiding presence. A presence that calmed me, assured me, helped me to feel safe when my parents fought or finally divorced. I feel that God has been along side me guiding me to a better life. So, yes, often.

2. Have you experienced a dark night of the soul, if so what brought you through? My answer to question 1 begins to unpack why these last few years have been so difficult. After a life time of certainty of God I have found God to be very absent in my life. No. It is not that I can't see God, God has not been present. I have had to face that reality. Argue…

Interview Questions from Mary Beth...another meme

1) How did you become an Episcopalian? I found the Episcopal Church through the woman minister who married my husband and me. She was a UCC minister at the time, 1985. I went to her church for the wedding of a friend of mine and really liked the service. So, when we decided to get married we went to see that minister. My husband was a divorced Roman Catholic and did not want to go through the hassle of an annulment. I thought the whole annulment stuff was silly, so was happy to go to the UCC church. Anyway, over the course of 6 months of premarital counseling (she was also a social worker)she got to know us well. In the end she suggested that if we ever wanted to become members of a church we ought to consider the Episcopal Church. She had been raised in that church (and is now an Episcopal Priest having left the UCC church, actually having been wooed back to the ECUSA by the Bishop of this diocese). So, the short story is, the woman minister who married us recommended the Episcopal C…

When one cannot pray at least read about prayer

Continuing to read, slowly, "Listening for God" by Renita Weems, she says something to the effect of, when on cannot pray, at least read about prayer. One of my laments over the last two years is my inability to pray. Oh sure, I've railed, lamented, yelled, cried - all forms of communication with God. some of my attempts have found their voice in poetry: More Praying. That is me attempting to communicate with God. On my end, God has been as silent as a hot summer night with no wind, when even the crickets are quiet. Weems likens these times when God is silent and when God is very present as "seasons." I have used that same imagery, aware that like all seasons this one will pass. What makes this book particularly helpful is how she voices what it is like to be a minister, called to bring the Good News to people, and be this one struggling in the silence. She says: "TO admit that in the spiritual journey, highs are brief, sporadic and rare and that the human…

The Silence that is God

About a week ago I played a meme in which I spoke of God's silence and my loss of hope. Someone recommended this book. Well, the first page of the preface convinced me that it was the right book for me at this is and excerpt from "Listening for God" by Renita Weems.

"Some years ago when, as a minister, I was feeling that God had withdrawn from me and I was going through what I can only describe as a spiritual breakdown - questioning seriously my belief in God, prayer, religious texts, and rituals to such a degree that I couldn't bear to talk or read about anything to having to do with the sacred - it never dawned upon me to retire my clergy stole and leave the dawned on me that ministry was precisely where I needed to be because I no longer recognized the presence of God in my life..."

"Two things kept me afloat during that period of my life. One was my own honesty. I tried at first to lie about what was going on in my heart, ac…