Thursday, October 30, 2008

Friday Five: Positive Potpourri Edition

Wil Smama from RevGalBlogPals had me in giggles over this week's Friday Five...

Greetings friends! It's been awhile since I've contributed to the posts here at the revgalblogpals website, but I agreed to step into the Fifth Friday of the Month Friday Five slot.

So here I be.

As I zip around the webring it is quite clear that we are getting BUSY. "Tis the season" when clergy and laypeople alike walk the highwire from Fall programming to Christmas carrying their balancing pole with family/rest on the one side and turkey shelters/advent wreaths on the other.

And so I offer this Friday Five with 5 quick hit questions... and a bonus:

1) Your work day is done and the brain is fried, what do you do?
Most nights, I still have to study. Sometimes, I blog. I play on Facebook. I fall asleep with my face on my keyboardddddddddddd....

2) Your work week is done and the brain is fried (for some Friday, others Sunday afternoon), what do you do?
We have a Friday night tradition that involves watching DVDs and eating pizza. Right now we are going through the entire Babylon 5 collection. Hilarious. If we don't have our Netflix queue in order, sometimes we engage in other SciFi brain candy like Stargate...

3) Like most of us, I often keep myself busy even while programs are on the tv. I stop to watch The Office and 30 Rock on Thursday nights. Do you have 'stop everything' tv programming or books or events or projects that are totally 'for you' moments?
Reedy Girl and I watched Project Runway with great enjoyment. Suede thinks this is FABulous. Make it work! Holla atcha boy! (We loved Leanne, BTW and thought Kenley was a brat.) The other competition shows are... feh... OK. And I confess I do like watching the out-takes (seriously HORRIBLE singers) during the audition phase of American Idol.

4) When was the last time you laughed, really laughed? What was so funny?
Well I am a very serious person. Really. I never laugh. Ever. I especially don't laugh when I visit here... or here...
I told you. I'm a serious person. Really.

5) What is a fairly common item that some people are willing to go cheap on, but you are not.
Red wine. It shouldn't come in a box and taste like it is already salad dressing. Oh. And it shouldn't taste like a cork or like you just licked the side of the cask. Not that I know how to pick a good wine, mind you. I just know what I think totally sucks.

Bonus: It's become trite but is also true that we often benefit the most when we give. Go ahead, toot your own horn. When was the last time you gave until it felt good?
Probably when I helped send some kids on a Chrysalis retreat weekend. They met God and felt Love...

Now that was cool!


One final salvo from Wil Smama....
Let us know in the comments if you played and I'll come around and visit. The first 50 are entered into a drawing for a new car (sorry, that's a lie. We are immersed in political attack ads here in the US that lie and so I thought I would join in). Seriously, go ahead and let us know if you play. I will visit. And buy you a new house (lie). The last person to do the Friday Five is a socialist and hangs out with computer viruses (STOP!).

As always, comments and programming on this station do not necessarily represent the view and values of the revgalblogpals website or its associates. If you are an American citizen please vote by Tuesday or your computer will self destruct in 5 seconds...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A prayer in the night...

Mother Laura posted this and I'm grateful.

Enjoy a moment of reflection and, perhaps, re-direction.


from St. Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercises

A Picture Meme

A new kind of meme... a picture meme!

I can do this while I wait for the hot water to boil...

1. Post the fourth picture in your "My Pictures" folder.
2. Tell why you took it (or snagged it from the web).
3. Share a memory, a smell or a sensation from this photo...

1. The Family Mug shot, 2007

2. WOW. This was taken a year ago in Dolly Sods, West Virginia in one of the wilderness areas. It was chilly and blustery (like today) but sunny enough to have a great hike. We finally found a tree stump that had been left "beavered" about 2' tall. With a rock and a baseball hat, we managed to prop up the camera for a timer shot. We were trying for a Christmas card shot, but everyone nixed it. So now it's on the web. This is progress??? In a year, the Harpist is a smidge taller, Reedy Girl is a LOT taller (almost up to my eyebrows!) and Bearded Brewer and I have collected some more grey uh... highlights!

3. Good memories... a lot of love. I think I burned dinner that night. We played Dutch Blitz and Mexican train and stayed cozy in the cabin...

Feel free to play - I won't make you. But the kettle is simmering and I'm back to the books!!


Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Five: Location, Location, Location

Singing Owl from RevGalBlogPals writes:

My daughter, her husband, and their toddler, Trinity Ann, are moving from Minneapolis, Minnesota to our place. It's a long story, but the short version is that they will be loading a Ryder truck on Saturday, and on Sunday afternoon we will unload it into a storage unit in our town. They will move themselves, their two cats and their BIG dog into our place. Yes, there will be issues, but this Friday Five isn't really about that. (Prayers for jobs for them and patience for all of us are most welcome, however.) This post is about locations. My husband has lived at 64 addresses in his life so far (16 with me) and he suggested the topic since we have moving trucks on our minds.
Therefore, tell us about the five favorite places you have lived in your lifetime. What did you like? What kind of place was it? Anything special happen there?

I'll go in reverse order, just to be different...

#5: Rock Hill, South Carolina
I was in elementary school and junior high school, and it was the segregated South in the 60s. So the images I have are a bit blended over time from history books and conversations I have had with adults in my family since that time. But it was a place where I knew I was loved. And so I guess I want to remember that part of it. I am not proud of the racism that existed at that time. As a child, I didn't really know or understand it. But I remember my parents not tolerating any rude or racist remarks. Ever.

#4: Jos, Nigeria
I did a short-term missions stint in the mid 80s there. I don't know as I was effective, necessarily. But I learned a lot about myself and about the mission field. And it helps me to pray more consistently for people I know who are willingly doing life in a cross-cultural setting.

#3: Miami, Florida
I hate heat, humidity and big bugs. Oh, and I don't like crowded beaches. So why would I live there? Simple. Graduate scholarship. But it was a lovely place and I first got the "bug" for ministry there. So that's not all bad.

#2: Suburbia, Maryland
What can I say? I'm here now. Our kids were born here. My beloved and I have been married 21 years and have lived here the whole time. We're balancing life, the universe and everything... and there's always something to do. I do get a LEETLE weary of the political chatter, but it is what it is!

#1: Columbus, Ohio
Need I say more???GO BUCKS!!!

And now.... back to class!!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I am blessed to have a pretty amazing family.

In the affirmation and encouragement of those who know and love God, and are committed to seeing me achieve my best.

That the opposition I face is not a God-directed deterrent, but human-made interference with God's plans for my life.

That there is a place to use my giftings and calling, and that God is not asking me to compromise my dreams and goals to be comfortable.

That it is not what I DO, but what God DOES in spite of me.

There are people who need a pastor who is a woman of God and who isn't afraid to be real.

I am part of many men and women who will pastor "outside-the-box".

That part of my calling is to tell the Adversary - "Don't mess with my sheep."

that while there is no perfect church, there is a God who is.

I am called to be a pastor for such a time as this.


[written for my spiritual formation notebook]

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


If you'd like to read about this survey and why I am doing it, I've written about it on my blog here and here...

Please be a part of this data collection. I appreciate your help. Feel free to forward the link to others...

The survey can be found here!



*************** UPDATE ***************
Survey is now closed... THANKS! for your feedback.
I can't publish individual results or comments, but I will be writing reflectively about it for a while, and I promise that comments made have impacted my perceptions and my applications for future ministry.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pressed but not crushed...

I'm at school this week so my posts will either be euphoric or depressed. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground when it's modular week.

However - in anticipation of a Penn State defeat this week, I choose to believe I'll be towards the top of the pile crushing the opposition.


(Jeff, that's fer u)


Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Five: Coin Toss Edition

Songbird from RevGalBlogPals writes:

Well, Gals and Pals, this weekend we'll be rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and that has me thinking about coinage.

1) When was the last time you flipped a coin or even saw one flipped in person?

Probably a football game.

2) Do you have any foreign coins in your house? If so, where are they from?

Yes, I've got quite a few of Euro coinage. I am hanging on to them in hopes I get to go back some day. :)

3) A penny saved is a penny earned, they say. But let's get serious. Is there a special place in heaven for pennies, or do you think they'll find a special place in, well, the other place?

I think they will all be left behind actually, in the jar we've saved them in for a few years. Something for my children to deal with. Actually I think if everyone cashed in their pennies for paper currency the whole continent would rise about 6 inches. Just a theory...

4) How much did you get from the tooth fairy when you were a child? and if you have children of your own, do they get coins, or paper money? (I hear there may be some inflation.)

It was a shiny dime. My kids got Susan B. Anthony or Sacajawea dollar coins. Yes. Inflation sucks. But I did have my kids later than most...

5) Did anyone in your household collect the state quarters? And did anyone in your household manage to sustain the interest required to stick with it?

Well, we started to. Have the little books and everything. I guess we should pull them out and fill up the ones we don't have. Or use them to buy a quart of gasoline... (ha)

Peace -

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Incidents of sexual violence are among the most under-reported crimes in the world. I am working on a project and would like anecdotal evidence to help me in my study of pastoral care needs in this area.

All responses are confidential. I won't know anything other than your ISP address. And since I'm no geek, I won't be able to figure that out anyway.

Please take the survey HERE...

And please pass along this link to others who might be interested... Thanks!

DEADLINE is OCTOBER 24th... sorry for the time constraint.


Monday, October 13, 2008

The rest is still unwritten...

I'm wading in deep philosophical waters this week... writing an essay and completing a project on serving the pastoral needs of victims of sexual violence. There is not an easy "cookbook" answer to this. You have raw, real pain -- from the victim/survivor/thriver and the perpetrator/violator/offender, and everyone who knows about the event.

The problem is... sexual violence is the most under-reported crime in the world. According to the RAINN website, 60% of all sexual assaults are not reported to law enforcement. The violated do not want to have their integrity questioned or face their attackers in court. They don't want to have to re-live and verbally explain what happened. They have already been violated. To have to "tell the world" as a matter of public record... well, it boggles my mind as I think of the courage it takes. Then there is the accused, who can be "framed" or can be ill... to be totally a writer of vengeance and not extend healing does not sit well with me.

I know that sexism, violence and abuse of power in relationships is a much larger social ill. I see the everyday attitudes of chauvinism in the church. I hear "jokes" (which are not funny, by the way) and I wonder at the cavalier attitude individuals can have towards those of the other gender.

I see the effects of sin, of brokenness. It makes me want to weep. I pray for healing and for increased awareness of the ways that our personal brokenness hurts every relationship we have. I pray for the capacity to effect change when I write, speak or preach.

Jeremy Camp wrote a song with healing lyrics... if it were embraced and lived out, what a world of difference...

You want to be whole, you want to have purpose inside
You want to have virtue and purify your mind

You want to be set free today

Then lay it all down before the King

This is my desire, this is my return
This is my desire to be used by You

I am still thinking, writing, theologizing... and praying for friends and strangers affected by sexual violence. I am choosing to believe when God promises that one day there will be "no more pain" on this earth... I've never been much of a pie-in-the-sky promise-holder... but today, I am seeing the reason and need for hope and trust and faith that one day... it will all be made new again.



Then I saw "a new heaven and a new earth," for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 'He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Rev. 21:1-4

Friday, October 10, 2008

Taking a walk...

My body is in rebellion. I'm reacting rather clearly to the flu vaccine I got yesterday morning. I was achy and in pain all night and most of the morning. Work? Homework? Feh. Who cares? My body made me rest.I can honestly say I don't want to do anything. And after I exert enough energy to type this? I'll probably take a nap.

It's amazing what 24 hours of forced rest can do for the mind. In fact... But because I am used to DOING not BEING a time of rest is a novelty. I couldn't shut my mind off, even if my body was reacting to the flu vaccine! I knew that there were "things" to do... but didn't really care. There was just no energy to do chores, work tasks, phone calls, emails, etc. I'm only starting to feel a little guilty.

So I took the mental image of the prayer labyrinth and wandered it. Thought of options, of choices, of changes, of promises. Wondered about direction. I have no answers, but I am content to be in that place of "know nothing." Without being fatalistic, I am comfortable with the twists and turns, the seeming double-backs that actually take me "higher up and further in" -- now more than ever.

And now? It's probably nap time...


Thursday, October 09, 2008

For Keith...

You're not replaceable, Keith, but here's a "percussionist" who really keeps a steady tempo!


Poetry Party: The Written Word

From Christine at Abbey of the Arts:

I select an image and suggest a title and invite you to respond with your poems, words, reflections, quotes, song lyrics, etc. Feel free to take your poem in any direction and then post the image and invitation on your blog and encourage others to come join the party!

This week’s theme is simple: I invite you to write a poem celebrating the gift of the written word in your life.

I looked at Christine's image and thought about the power of God's Word in my life to blown down my mental barriers, to bring me to a place of "followship" -- It reminded me of the feeling I had when I saw these ruins in France. SO - with her picture and mine in mind, I wrote...

Taken at the site of a Roman bath and temple ruins near Poitiers, France.

Your Word knocks down the verbal strongholds in my mind
where I think I can fool others, I do not fool You.
Your Word presents the Truth with a gentle whisper,
removes the barriers of my rebellion
the defenses of an angry heart tumble to the ground.

You lovingly teach, remind, rebuke.
You celebrate and tenderly restore.

I remain at Your feet.
Lifted up. Rejoicing. Renewed.

Thank You for Your Word...

Deb Vaughn

takes the wind out of Babel pretense,
he shoots down the world's power-schemes.
God's plan for the world stands up,
all his designs are made to last.
Blessed is the country with God for God;
blessed are the people he's put in his will.
Psalm 33:10-12

In the morning...

Satisfy us in the morning with Your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as You have afflicted us,
and for as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be shown to Your servants,
and Your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes establish the work of our hands!
[Psalm 90:14-17]

This Psalm came to mind as I saw the morning sun sift through the needs on the evergreen outside my study window. The pairing of light and shade, sunlight and shadow reminded me of the duality of the circumstances I walk in every day...
...a citizen of two worlds
...a wife and a mom
...a student and a friend
...a woman and a pastor

Sometimes I forget as I start my day that the moments and the minutes ahead of me are given, directed and ordained by God. All of them. Even the ones that make me rejoice, cry, laugh, or hurt. The experiences that show God's power over all circumstances, even though the present picture is pretty bleak.

My prayer today as I hit the books yet again is that God would establish the work of my hands...


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Today's Video...

My husband always wanted to be a pastor's wife...

Monday, October 06, 2008

before I crash...

Had to finish a "conflict personality test" (which was blind and I won't know the score for a few weeks - like I don't know what my conflict style is you bunch 'o idiots??? but I digress...) ANYWAY...

Here's my my results for the free on-line test... I guess it's me??

Your personality type:

Popular and sensitive, with outstanding people skills. Externally focused, with real concern for how others think and feel. Usually dislike being alone. They see everything from the human angle and dislike impersonal analysis. Very effective at managing people issues and leading group discussions. Interested in serving others and probably place the needs of others over their own needs.

Careers that could fit you includes:

Teachers, consultants, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, clergy, sales representatives, human resources, managers, events coordinators, politicians, diplomats, writers, actors, [web] designers, homemakers, musicians, religious workers.

(I've italicized my job experience, some in a former life... Interesting!)

I guess I have mellowed with age.. I used to be an ESFJ. Now I'm an ENFJ. But I just finished watching ESPN... (BaDUMbum)


Becoming Benedictine...

In my Church History class, we had to write a reflective essay on the ways that The Rule of St. Benedict could positively impact the Church today. Some of my classmates (in our on-line asynchronous discussion) were appalled because of their strong Catho-phobe stance. I really gained a lot from considering what The Rule might offer...

What first got my attention was actual a little "light reading" I'm doing -- Joan Chittister's book "Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today."* She makes a strong case for learning how to renew and rekindle the spiritual disciplines, not as "rules" but as "means" of deepening our faith and our love for God. I especially liked her admonition to modern and post-modern Christians who seem to obsess over the latest "spiritual gadgetry than numbs our confusions but never fills our spirits or frees or hearts." (*That's not "light reading?" don't laugh -- I'm in seminary -- anything that isn't a required text qualifies!)

I see a parallel - the "rule" followed to imply spiritual devotion and piety vs. today's high-guilt performance anxiety. I've been a part of the "high guilt" groups... memorize this and do that and sign here and teach that... I don't think I will ever go back! And, the subculture that seems to infect much of modern Christianity is no less bound in "rules" than the time of Benedict, however cool and trendy and open-minded we think we are.

Anyway... here's three short "rules" I'm trying to use in my faith walk...

  1. Actions vs. words:We are heard not for our much speaking, [sic] but for our purity of heart and tears of contrition” Times of silence, meditation, prayer, fasting... for me, it helps bring my heart into alignment with God's. It's a space made for a major attitude adjustment.
  2. Live unselfishly: “All things shall be common to all…” Christmas is coming. Dare I suggest a "buy-free" holiday? Will I remember that there are millions of people who are truly "needy" and there is little I really "need?" Can I continue to wrestle with this desire for "things" that replace God in my use of my time, talents and treasure??
  3. Serve willingly: “Let no one in the monastery follow his own inclinations." This isn't to say we need to get into some kind of "High Shepherding" church... or to only do the things "pastor says..." I'm not trying to campaign for demagoguery. I'm thinking about how I am unexcited about the "invisible" acts of service that no one but God knows about. The way I will find "anyone" (else) to take on a chore or (dare I say it?) head a committee. The theme song of the Church and my service in it probably shouldn't be Sinatra ("I did it MY way.")
Chittister has one more quote I'd like to offer...
“Benedictine spirituality… teaches people to see the world as good, their needs as legitimate, and human support as necessary;” it requires seeing our lives in a “wide angle lens;” we can’t separate the spiritual from the physical. Truthfully? Even though we say we believe this, we don't really live it.



Saturday, October 04, 2008

In the... You've GOT to be kidding department

In the "You've GOT to be kidding!!" department...

Perusing Freecycle while I wait for dinner to cook, I read this gem:

13. wanted: musical instuments

Posted by:

Date: Fri Oct 3, 2008 12:35 pm ((PDT))

looking for something for my two boys, 2 & 4. Drum, cymbals, guitar.

Sturdy is key. Thanks

HUH??? Boys. Ages 2 and 4. Drums, cymbals and guitar. Does the wise and sane parent even seriously put those together???

The mental image and ear-drum torture is... stunning.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Hold Fast To Dreams

I lost my keys. OK... I didn't really lose them. I left them at my office and had to go retrieve them after I thought I was home for the night. As a result, I had a quiet, late night jaunt about town, alone with talk radio and no one in particular on the road.

I've been praying a lot about what God is speaking into my life right now. No, I'm not in crisis. God's been doing a lot of "talking" and, for a change, I have been listening.

There are issues and circumstances that are, shall we say, sub-optimal. There are decisions I have to make about these circumstances. The good news is it's not life-threatening or a pressing issue that I have to make a decision about TODAY.

I realized as I was driving tonight that it's been a series of gentle revelations... Seeing. Hearing. Watching. Pondering. ...and then, responding.

I thought a dream had "died" but God has made it clear - NO. PRESS ON. This is a test of perseverance. Of commitment to what has already revealed to me, and all that is ahead.

Two poems by Langston Hughes came to mind...

Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die,
Life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams go,
Life is a barren field, Frozen with snow.


What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Scriptures I have read recently came back in a flood...

Psalm 31

23 Love the LORD, all his saints!
The LORD preserves the faithful,
but the proud he pays back in full.

24 Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the LORD.

Psalm 33

16 No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.

17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.

18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

19 to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.

20 We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.

21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.

22 May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.

Psalm 119

113 I hate double-minded men,
but I love your law.

114 You are my refuge and my shield;
I have put my hope in your word.

115 Away from me, you evildoers,
that I may keep the commands of my God!

116 Sustain me according to your promise, and I will live;
do not let my hopes be dashed.

Proverbs 13

12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

God is keeping me open-hearted and willing to be changed. I lay no claim to understanding the whys of all this... but I believe God is in the midst of it. And that's something that gives me... HOPE!


Friday FIve: Saint Francis Day

Sally from RevGalBlogPals writes:

Today is the day that we remember and celebrate the life of St Francis of Assisi, here is a description of his early life:

Often named the Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment, there is much more to St Francis:

Saint Francis is called the little poor man of Assisi. He was born in the year 1182 in the town of Assisi in Italy. His father's name was Bernadone. Bernadone was a very wealthy merchant of Assisi. Francis was a very good-looking boy. He was merry and soft-hearted. So he had many friends. All the noble men's sons were his companions.

Francis was brought up in luxury and gaiety. He spent a considerable portion of his wealth in extravagant pleasures. He used to drink with the young princes of the land.

One day Francis was joking and laughing with his friends. A beggar came along crying for alms. Francis, who was soft-hearted, gave whatever he had in his pocket to the beggar. His companions mocked at him for his charitable act. Dispassion dawned in his heart. The sight of the beggar set him thinking about the poverty and misery of mundane life. He gave much money to the poor. His father thought that Francis was wasting his money and rebuked him.

Sometime after this, Francis was laid up in bed for many months on account of some serious disease. He was about to die. But the Lord saved him as he had to carry out a definite mission in his life. The nature of Francis was entirely changed. Francis prayed to the Lord for light and guidance as to his future. He had a vision of Lord Jesus. He made a strong determination to renounce his old way of living to tread a life of purity and to dedicate his life to the service of humanity.

As soon as Francis got well, he informed his parents of his determination. They were disappointed. They became angry with Francis. Francis gave up his old ways and habits and set up to serve God. He distributed clothes, goods and money to the poor. His father was very much annoyed towards his son. He said, "Is this the gratitude you show to me ? I laboured hard and amassed wealth. You are lavishly wasting it on these miserable wretches".

Francis' friends mocked at him and teased him. His father turned him out of the house. Francis lived like a beggar. His old friends even pelted him with stones and mud. He bore everything with patience. He wore a coarse dress and ate simple food.

Francis went on to travel from village to village preaching the love of God. He invited people to join him in his life of service if they were willing. Bernard, a rich man of Assisi, was very much attracted by the saintliness of Francis. He joined Francis. He was the first follower of Francis. He placed all his wealth at the altar of God. Eleven others also joined Francis. They distributed all their wealth to the poor. Francis and his followers went all over Italy preaching, teaching, healing and blessing wherever they went.

The gospel of kindness and love of Francis soon spread all over Europe and earned for him the name of St. Francis. People called him the little poor man of Assisi. He lived for ever in the hearts of all men.

St. Francis collected many followers and founded the Order of Mendicant Friars or Franciscans. The members of this Order have to take a vow of poverty, chastity, love and obedience.
St. Francis gave up his mortal coil in 1228.

I would like to dedicate this Friday Five to St Francis of Assisi.

HERE are Sally's questions....

1. Saint Francis experienced a life changing call, has anything in your journey so far challenged you to alter your lifestyle?

Probably I spend a LEETLE more time thinking about what I look like and how I'm dressed. I consider how grubby I can be when meeting someone for coffee or an appointment. PeaceBang has changed my perspective on this forever. A big MUAH! to PeaceBang...

2. Francis experienced mocking and persecution, quite often in the comfortable west this is far from our experience. If you have experienced something like this how do you deal with it, if not how does it challenge you to pray for those whose experience is daily persecution?
I do not think Christians in the US are "persecuted" for our beliefs. We might be made fun of (because of televangelists or presidents of Christian academia who say stooopid things) but we are not persecuted! Inconvenienced? maybe.

I have a personal prayer commitment for the Persecuted Church. It has made me stop and consider how blessed we are, and how much we have in terms of access and freedoms! (If you don't have the materials, you can get really good ones at the IDOP website. BTW - the international day of prayer for the Persecuted Church is November 9th...

3 .St Francis had female counterpart in St Clare, she was influenced by St Francis sermon and went on to found the Poor Clare's, like the Franciscans they depended on alms this was unheard of for women in that time, but she persisted and gained permission to found the order. How important are role models like St Clare to you? Do you have a particular female role model whose courage and dedication inspires you? If so share their story....
There are several role models for me in women pastors who have broken the mold, so to speak. She has shown by example that the way of Christ (for any pastor) is one of perseverance. Right now, Ruth is a huge example to me of trusting God -- She is an Episcopal priest caught in the kerfuffle of diocesan politics... I find her to be wise, encouraging and challenges me to rest and trust in all of God's Providence for my life, work, ministry and family.

4. Francis loved nature and animals, how important is an expressed love of the created world to the Christian message today?
We only get one Earth. God charged us with being its caretakers. I believe that we are in disobedience if we do NOT take the environmental needs and abuses around us seriously!

5. On a lighter note; have you ever led a service of blessing for animals, or a pet service, was it a success, did you enjoy it, and would you do it again?
Can't say I have ever helped lead one. We happened on one at a local Episcopal church several years ago, and it was amusing to watch the dog/cat/bunny owners try to keep their pets from scaring/tasting/attacking each other...


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Incredibly funny...

Did you get a BINGO?


Trying to get there from here...

Festival of Homiletics is coming in May... the stock market tumble killed any financial "slush fund" we had. (I'm chuckling as I write that - it was more like an "ice cube" than a "slush".)

Hoping and praying that...
- I can find time with my classes to go
- We can find the money to register and get me there
- I can find a cheap place to stay closeby so I don't have to drive and/or rent a car

Yeah. It's possible.


Apples to Apples...

I read this today on TheOoze:

Someone once pointed out to me that the goal of an apple tree is not to produce more apples. It's to produce more apple trees. This is the organic purpose found in nature, and it's the organic purpose of the Body of Christ as well.

When an apple tree produces apples that's important. You can't really be an apple tree and not produce apples, of course. But if everything ended there the apple tree would not have achieved the purpose for which God designed it. The apple tree must produce more apple trees in order to realize its full potential. Otherwise, when that tree dies, so does the potential for creating more apples.

In the context of the Christian church I see too many pastors and church leaders who are terrified of taking their brightest and most talented and releasing them into the world. They feel that losing those gifted, intelligent, talented individuals will somehow make their church poorer and weaker. So they expend a whole lot of energy trying to keep those people busy and connected and plugged in to what they are doing instead of encouraging them to discover their gifting and calling and releasing them to go and to do whatever it is that God has created them for.

A church that practiced encouraging growth like this would be responsible for spawning ministries and providing good fruit for the community on an exponential level. It would also be living out the command of Scripture to seek the good of others around us rather than selfishly seeking our own good. (Philippians 2:3)

Usually the only way someone with talent and vision ever leaves one church to start another is when they leave under protest and start something all by themselves. Why? Because most pastors will tell you that they are not ready to start planting a church until they reach 500 members. The problem with that is when you realize that the average church in America is only about 250 to 300 people. Most never reach the 500 mark, and honestly when they do reach that milestone few of those churches ever actually plant another church because they have not planned to do so.

SOooo... this makes me stop and think and believe for all of the "orchard possibilities" in my life, and where God may "plant" me in the future.

Somehow, the room just got a little brighter. It's called HOPE.