Showing posts from October, 2010

My Latest Project

Take a look at my latest project:Words Matter. What do you think?

Stories of Faith

A reflection on the readings for Proper 26C: Luke 19:1-10; St. John's, Chicago, IL.

It was a cold morning, a Saturday. I think it was 1995. A small group of us gathered here, in this space, for a Quiet Day, led by Bishop Wiedrich, then Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Chicago. Victor Von Schlagel was our priest. Bishop Wiedrich, known for his gift of story telling, opened up two stories from scripture, as I recall, taking a skeleton of a character in the life of Jesus and adding muscle and flesh, enabling the character to come to life. One character was Zacchaeus, from our Gospel reading this morning, and the other was Simon of Cyrene.

I no longer remember all the details of the stories Bp Wiedrich told, the specifics of what he said. But what I do remember is the gift of learning power of scripture to inform and form our faith stories, how they mirror our lives and offer us opportunities to understand how we, as individuals and communities, gain muscle and flesh and walk with J…

RevGals Friday Five Meme: Comfort edition

kathrynjz over at RevGals offers this Friday Five:

Today's Friday Five is an opportunity for you to list five of your favorite 'go-to' movies/tv shows/books. You can use images, links, explanations or netflix.

I rarely read books a second time. I guess I figure if I've read it once, that is enough? But I listen to music over and over and watch certain movies again and again. So maybe I need to rethink the one-time book read approach....(duh)....

Anyway, here is my list of five favorite movies/music (I don't know what I'm going to write as I start this so it will be a stream of consciousness)

1. Sound of Music is one of my favorite. I first saw it when I was a little girl, probably in first grade. My parents took me to see it because I earned good grades in school (or at least that was the incentive I recall). It was cold and wintery. We saw it a theater - now one of those classic old ones, in downtown Salt Lake City. The streets were still adorned with Christma…


Earth our mother, breathe forth life all night sleeping now awaking in the east now see the dawn
Earth our mother, breathe and waken leaves are stirring all things moving new day coming life renewing
Eagle soaring, see the morning see the new mysterious morning something marvelous and sacred though it happens every day Dawn the child of God and Darkness
(Pawnee prayer)

Monday Musings

I'm laying low today, tending to a cold. It all began with a sore throat last week and now has moved to other areas of my respiratory system. I'm consuming lots of herbal tea and water and keeping the hand sanitizer and Lysol disinfecting wipes near by....

I want to get well because in a few days I head north for a conference called Not In Our Pews. This conference is designed to help congregations understand domestic violence, support victims, and work toward ending it.

I'm going to write a report on the conference for the Episcopal Women's Caucus newsletter. I've also written four prayers for the Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. I don't know how or if my prayers will be used, but I wrote them.

And I'm preparing to head off to Seattle in December to lead another workshop on "Words Matter." I've been working on this language project, with the National Council of Churches for ten months and we are about to launch the trial ve…

Grace Connected

A reflection on Luke 18:9-14 for Proper 15C, St. Mary's Crystal Lake, IL

A couple of years ago, while living in Arizona, the bishop organized our annual clergy conference to take place in a small town on the US/Mexico border. For the next 36 hours we immersed ourselves in learning about immigration and came away with a deeper understanding of the complexity of the situation. Recently the House of Bishops had this experience; Bishop Lee has posted a video of that experience on the Diocesan website.
As Christians we can’t, in good faith, dismiss this as a simple legal issue, one in which we have no accountability except to arrest those crossing over without documentation. At the very least we are involved because of the interwoven global economy not to mention the coffee industry. And who knows how the drug industry and slave trade actually impact our lives without our knowing, but I suspect they do. We have a responsibility to become informed.

Our time across the border was profo…

RevGals Friday Five

Songbird, over at RevGals is thinking about friendships today and offers this Friday Five:

For today's Friday Five, some questions about friendship.

1) Who is the first friend you remember from childhood? I lived in a small town in Wisconsin when I was in 5-8 grades and had a good friend whose father owned the local newspaper. They were an interesting family, engaged in a lot of interesting discussions. I had friends when I was younger but had moved so often that they never formed deeply. Sadly I moved again and then again, finally landing in Illinois when I was a sophomore in high school where I formed other longer lasting friendships.

2) Have you ever received an unexpected gift from a friend? Yes. A few years ago when I was struggling I received an unexpected phone call and then a box with a beautiful painted flower pot and a box of calming tea from a friend I met through this blogging community. I was so touched, and appreciated her thoughtfulness. We've never met, but we al…

Take the Time to Watch This....

thanks to my blog-friend, purple , for bringing this to my attention.

Pray All the Time, Use Words When Necessary

A reflection on the readings for Proper 24C:Jeremiah 31:27-34; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5; Luke 18:1-8; St. James, West Dundee, IL

Occasionally I have a craving for LIFE cereal. The other day I opened a fresh box of Life cereal and poured it in a bowl for breakfast. But the cereal, instead of being those little squares in a basket weave, were crushed and came out shredded. The box was perfectly unmarked, no indication that the cereal inside was crushed. I wonder what happened? Did I just get the last dregs from the factory that day, all tumbled into one box? Who knows?

Likewise, we don’t know the exact circumstances that led the widow to the judge in our reading from Luke this morning. What we know of ancient societal customs tells us that widows were often social outcasts, poor, desperate, and struggling. We have no idea who her opponent is. But none of that is point of the story, the point is, like the judge, God hears our desperate pleas for justice, and grants them. God brings justice to…


walking for hours through the woods,
I don't know what I'm looking for,
maybe for something
shy and beautiful to come
frisking out of the undergrowth.

Once a fawn did just that.
My dog didn't know
what dogs usually do.
And the fawn didn't know.

As for the doe...
dreaming that everything was fine...

The way I'd like to go on living in this world
wouldn't hurt anything, I'd just go on
walking uphill and downhill, looking around,
and so what if half the time I don't know
what for-

so what if it doesn't' come
to a hill of beans...

In the films of Dachau and Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen
the dead rise from the earth...
while the rest of the world
did nothing...

My dog and the fawn
did a little dance...

Oh, you never saw such a garden...
A many sits there...
He is finishing lunch...
A bottle of wine...
He fills a glass...
He lifts it to his mouth and drinks peacefully.

It is the face of Mengele.

Late the doe came wandering back into he twili…


This morning
two mockingbirds
in the green field
were spinning and tossing

the white ribbons
of their songs
into the air.
I had nothing

better to do
than listen.
I mean this

In Greece,
a long time ago,
an old couple
opened their door

to two strangers
who were,
it soon appeared,
not men at all,

but gods.
It is my favorite story--
how the old couple
had almost nothing to give

but their willingness
to be attentive--
but for this alone
the gods loved them

and blessed them--
when they rose
out of their mortal bodies,
like a million particles of water

from a fountain,
the light
swept into all the corners
of the cottage,

and the old couple,
shaken with understanding,
bowed down--
but still they asked for nothing

but the difficult life
which they had already.
And the gods smiled, as they vanished,
clapping their great wings.

Wherever it was
I was supposed to be
this morning--
whatever it was I said

I would be doing--
I was standing
at the edge of the field--
I was hurrying

through …

Monday Morning Musings

Monday again. Monday used to be my day off, ergo why I started posting Monday Morning Musings, thinking about what I was going to do on my day off (or not) and what the week ahead held for me. Now that I'm not really working one could say that every day is a day off.

Well, except for Sunday's. I continue to get, thankfully, calls to do supply work. I entered Oct. with nothing on my calendar, and now it's full. I have a supply gig every Sunday. I'm grateful for that. Oct. 31 will be fun and interesting as I will preach at the parish that sponsored me in the ordination process. I haven't been back there in about 10 years. But still many of the people who were my friends when my husband and I attended that church are still there. It will be fun.

I have plans to go to the gym today and take a yoga class. I have a phone call scheduled with someone in NYC to talk about the Words Matter module that we are creating. I've written the draft, now we are editing and revis…

What Feeds Your Soul?

A reflection on the readings for Proper 23C: 2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c and Luke 17:11-19, St. Giles, Northbrook, IL

A few years ago, in Christian Century magazine, I read an article about a group of women who had started a blog ring. Each of the women, some ordained and some not, belong to different Christian denominations. Each had a personal blog as well as participating in the ecumenical blog ring. The article inspired me to start my own blog. That blog ring led me to meet a woman in California who was discerning a call to ordination. One day on her blog she posted a reflection she called “This I Believe.” A woman’s group in her church was doing an exercise to get to know one another and build trust. They decided one way to do this would be to participate in this exercise about belief. The facilitator of the group based the exercise on the essay writing series from National Public Radio’s “This I Believe.”

This I Believe is a national media project that invites Americans from all walks…

RevGals Friday Five: Fall Word Association

SingingOwl over at RevGals offers this Friday Five Meme: Give us the the first word that comes to mind (you know how that works, right?) and then add a little something about why, or how or what.

1. Pumpkins Halloween, carved with candles inside and roasted pumpkin seeds. Later pie!

2. Campfire Marshmallows. Warmth, good conversation. Or RevGals, if it this bonfire from BE 2.0:

3. Apples Picking. Bags full on a crisp fall day, several varieties. Lots of family fun, and later pie!

4. Color Trees. The trees around here are glorious this year - vibrant yellow and red.

5. Halloween Candy. and costumes - but I haven't celebrated Halloween in years, I've always had other commitments. And with three dogs it's a little crazy to have trick or treaters come to the door...but I love the kids and their costumes.

And since it is REV Gals and their Pals, here is the bonus question, sort of a serious one:

What does the following passage from Daniel 2 make you think about?

"Praise be to the…


Each one is a gift, no doubt,
mysteriously placed in your waking hand
or set upon your forehead
moments before you open your eyes.

Today begins cold and bright,
the ground heavy with snow
and the thick masonry of ice,
the sun glinting off the turrets of clouds.

Through the calm eye of the window
everything is in its place
but so precariously
this day might be resting somehow

on the one before it,
all the days of the past stacked high
like the impossible tower of dishes
entertainers used to build on stage.

No wonder you find yourself
perched on the top of a tall ladder
hoping to add one more.
Just another Wednesday,

you whisper,
then holding your breath,
place this cup on yesterday's saucer
without the slightest clink.

(Billy Collins "Sailing Alone Around the Room" - Random House, 2001)

I've been thinking about Billy Collins lately, ever since Diane mentioned seeing him at a conference. I heard him read his poetry in Tucson in 2009 and reflected a bit on that reading i…

Monday Musings

It's no longer morning, but I'm still taking some time today to ponder a few things.:

I am actively working on a draft of the module for the "Words Matter" conversation. This will be a working module that any small group can use to have a conversation about the language (words, images, and symbols) we use to talk about ourselves, others, and God. It's about increasing our sensitivity to language we may take for granted but others may be offended by, it's meant to heighten our sensitivity of ourselves and others, particularly when it comes to how we talk about God.We are recreating the prayer blog for the RevGals here.. Stop by and take a look. We hope to have a prayer or poem or some reflection offered every day. Prayer requests can be left, but keep in mind that it's a public  blog. I checked a book out the library titled something like 100 Great Poems of the 20th Century. I was in a hurry when I did this. If I had  taken the time to notice that the book …

The Faith of Grandmothers

A reflection on the readings for Proper 22C: Lamentations 1:1-6, 2 Timothy 1:1-14, and Luke 17:5-10

It’s early in the month of May, in the year 1848. A young woman boards a ship with two small children in tow, a four year old boy and a two year old girl. The woman is three months pregnant and with her two other children is about to embark on a five month journey from Manchester, England to NYC and then across the United States to Utah. She leaves behind her husband, who will continue to work, earning money to support his family as they make the long journey. The father will follow in a year or so.

The woman and her children cross the Atlantic Ocean; it takes more than six weeks on the ship. A tragic outbreak of small pox claims the life of her two year old daughter. Landing in New York the mother and son take a boat and train from the coast, along the St. Lawrence Seaway, across Illinois to St. Louis. There they meet up with other members who are gathering for the wagon train journey…


A certain day became a presence to me;
there it was, confronting me - a sky, air, light:
a being. And before it started to descend
from the height of noon, it leaned over
and struck my shoulder as if with
the flat of a sword, granting me
honor and a task. The day's blow
rang out, metallic - or was it I, a bell awakened,
and what I heard was my whole self
saying and singing what it knew: I can

(Denise Levertov)

And, hat tip to Crimson Rambler from a comment on the Dorothy Parker poems below:

Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.

Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep as a Well (1937), "Comment"
US author, humorist, poet, & wit (1893 - 1967)