Monday, October 31, 2005

On My Desk

We had several house guests this weekend. Our Diocesan Convention met in my town, so my in-laws stayed with us Friday night. Then, on Saturday night, our sweet and cute godson came to stay overnight. Since he is only 22 months, he brought his parents - good friends of ours from my home church in Ann Arbor - and his super fun three-year-old brother. It was a blast, and even though our house isn't very baby-proof, we think they enjoyed the visit. It turns out that an empty but finished basement makes a pretty good race course, and that running up and down provides hysterical entertainment for a good forty-five minutes!

Anyway, to accomodate all our visitors, I promised Luke that I would clean my office (a.k.a. - the Spare Room). This meant actually taking my books out of the boxes, and putting things on shelves to create floor space. In one of the boxes, I found a small picture frame holding the prayer of Saint Francis. I framed several of them for my discernment committee, just four years ago. It seems like another lifetime - and indeed, is signed under my maiden name, as if it was another person who made these small gifts. I knew that I had to put the frame on my desk at work, to try and remember why the prayer was so important to me four years ago. I am sure that its significance has changed, but I just can't quite put my finger on the difference.

Pehaps this prayer will stir something for you as well.

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that weare born to eternal life. Amen.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Light Blazes

Ex-tra, Ex-tra, Read all about it! The Rev Gals have published a book - daily devotionals for Advent and Christmas, including one by yours truly. Everyone should go buy the book! Surprise someone with an early Christmas present! Send it to your favorite priest! Send it to your favorite niece so that she knows that when she grows up, she can be a Rev Gal if she wants to.

There is fancy code in my sidebar, so you can continue to buy the book even when this post has fallen off the page.

Also, other fun people have written devotionals - probably some people that you know! So, even if you're not excited about reading the devotional I wrote, you should buy the book.

And, better yet, money from the proceeds of the book are being sent to Katrina relief. So, in case you missed this advice earlier, buy the book because its doing something helpful.

It hasn't quite sunk in that I'm published and I will have a book with something I wrote in it. But its sunk in enough that I am excited. Fabulous.

Later Editor's Note: I've fixed the link on the sidebar, so now you can really go buy they book!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

What is Tab Collar?

Did anyone else watch Jeopardy! tonight?

Did anyone else notice that the woman in the champion spot was wearing clericals?

I got home sort of in the middle of the little interview time with the contestants, so I hit the DVR rewind button to see what she had said, but they didn't talk about the fact that she was in a collar. Did anyone watch last night and hear more about her?

I just love seeing women in clericals shown on TV. Especially when they aren't part of a crime drama of some kind. I'm just sayin...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Shadowed Beneath Thy Hand

Rosa Parks, 92, Founding Symbol of Civil Rights Movement, Dies

May her soul, and all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Really? Already? or The One Where Its Time for the Friday Five

I'm having a hard time believing that its already Friday this week. Where did my week go? And why is it that on the weeks I have a sermon to prepare, the time seems to disappear much more quickly?

Well, thank goodness the RevGals keep me on task with the Friday Five. So, here are my answers.

1. What was the last CD you purchased?
Well, I hardly ever buy CDs. With the advent of ITunes Music Store, I tend to just buy single tracks. So, I'm going to cheat and go with the latest CD I've accquired, which is Carrie Newcomer's The Gathering of Spirits.

2. Did you like it?
Yep. I love it.

3. Is it the kind of music you would call your favorite?
Yep again. Chicks with guitar music, preferably with a spiritual bent of some kind appreciated but not required. (Think Carrie Newcomer and Indigo Girls)

4. What was the first album (CD for you youngsters) you ever owned?
Hmmm. We had a record player when I was a kid, but the albums were all sort of jointly-owned among the three of us kids. A particular favorite though was "Free to Be... You and Me". That may actually be the last CD I purchased too, since I bought a copy last spring. Our other favorite was a Bill Cosby record, but I dont' remember what it was called.

5. And what was your favorite cut from that recording?
Wow. Its such a great compiliation. I think my favorite from "Free To Be... You and Me" was either "William's Doll" or the title track. From the Bill Cosby album, it was definitely the Noah sequence.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Read It and Find Out

I'm in that "inbetween" time at work this afternoon... normally, I would be packing up and going home, but we have a six o'clock vestry meeting. So, I feel justified in taking a few minutes to blog.

I keep meaning to do more reading than I do. I've never been a great academic, but in between planning activities for kids, making postcard reminders and attending meetings, I find myself missing seminary classwork. So, I was chatting with Trevor... well, see for yourself:

Trevor: played black eyed peas in class last week
Me: Nice!!
Me: how'd that go over? what'd you play?
Trevor: "where's the love"
Trevor: to go with on christian doctrine
Me: as in, Augustine?
Trevor: yup
Me: i'm sure he's rolling over in his grave
Me: i should get that out and try and read it again... i definitely didn't read it all for AKMA's class (editors' note: oops. Sorry, AKMA.)
Trevor: SUSIE
Trevor: that's the single most useful document from 150-1300 CE
Me: well, i read some of it
Trevor: nice save
Me: c'mon. i'm good at the diplomat stuff at least :)

Alright. So, the part I'm curious about is this: is De Doctrina really the most useful document? I'm not really sure. Of course, I can't really argue until I've read the whole thing. Nothing like a good argument to inspire me! But, in the meantime... what say you all?

Monday, October 17, 2005

M is for Monday Memes

People have been quite busy with quizzes and such. I've been busy with our clergy conference (vacation) on Mackinac Island. So, I bring you Monday memes and quizzes from around the blogiverse.

You Are Italian Food

Comforting yet overwhelming.
People love you, but sometimes you're just too much.

Well, my favorite cookbook is Jack Bishop's Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook.

The "Inside the RevGals Studio" Meme. (Has anyone seen the episode with Robin Williams? He is hysterical on this show...)
1. What is your favorite word?
2. What is your least favorite word?
3. What turns you on, creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Creatively? Taking a nap. Seriously, I think in my sleep. My Saturday sermon prep always includes a power nap with a notebook next to me on the bed.
4. What turns you off?
Not knowing how to do something.
5. What is your favorite curse word?
Is there a difference between a swear word and a curse word?
6. What sound or noise do you love?
Onions and garlic sizzilin in olive oil
7. What sound or noise do you hate?
Bob Dylan's voice - and anyone imitating it.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Event planner. Hmm... actually, I do a good deal of that already...
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Pilot. The long hours would be very hard, plus I really don't like flying very much, and I like it even less when I'm looking out a window.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Welcome home

You Are Likely a First Born

At your darkest moments, you feel guilty.
At work and school, you do best when you're researching.
When you love someone, you tend to agree with them often.

In friendship, you are considerate and compromising.
Your ideal careers are: business, research, counseling, promotion, and speaking.
You will leave your mark on the world with discoveries, new information, and teaching people to dream.

Huh. Nope - I'm a youngest of three. Oh well.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Liturgical Weightlifting

Yesterday at church I spent the first part of the sevice in Church School with the kids. We are in the midst of our Stewardship Campaign (one of those lesser-known Episcopal feasts: October is Stewarship month!), and we had some activities in Church School related to stewardship. A member of the committee came and talked about stewardship, then I told a story, and we had a treasure hunt and some crafts. It was fun, typical Church school stuff.

After the classes split into their own rooms for the treasure hunt, I went upstairs to get vested for when we all joined the service at the offertory. After I put on my alb, stole, and microphone, I went back down to the classrooms, to give them the 10-minute warning and see how things were going. When I walked into the first grade room, a little boy looked up from his coloring and said "You look strong and mighty now!"

Huh. I guess thats why we get dressed up for church.

Friday, October 07, 2005

RevGals Friday Five

I was coming to my computer to post about how Luke's best friend is fixing our plumbing problem from earlier in the week, but then I saw this meme from the RevGals home page, and decided that it was a much better idea. After all, I wouldn't want to jinx the boys by commenting on how well the project is or isn't going before they are done. So, thanks to Songbird, here are the Friday Five:

1) What is your earliest memory of church?
When I was three or four, our Beginners Sunday School class went up to church to watch a Baptism. . Our priest was going to pour some of the water on our heads too, so we could see what it felt like for the baby. Now, when I was three or four, I was also terrified of water. I still don't like being under water, I still don't like putting my face in the water, and I never really did learn how to swim very well. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was about the idea of having a priest pour water on me in front of a whole lot of people. I started to cry. My Sunday School teacher picked me up, calmed me down and promised that I did not have to have the water on my head. She didn't yell at me, she didn't make me leave or make me feel bad for being scared. It was comforting and wonderful and welcoming.

2) How old were you when you first took Communion?
I don't remember exactly. In my church growing up, children were encouraged to take communion at a very young age, so I don't really remember not ever taking Communion. This was not the case everywhere in the Episcopal Church at the time - when I was about 9, we were visiting my grandma and went to the Episcopal church in her town. The priest turned me away at the altar rail because I was clearly not old enough to be confirmed. Boy, did my mom go through the roof.

3) What is your favorite Bible verse/passage?
That's crazy. That's like asking which is my favorite ice cream flavor - I love ice cream to much to have a favorite. Tonight, I think I will go with Ephesians 4:11-16. The part about God giving gifts to us, that we might then equip the saints for the work of ministry - that is the nutshell version of my theology of ministry. Plus, a couple verses later, Paul charges us to with "speaking the truth in love' - which is complicated enough that we could spend a lifetime of discipleship mastering just this one line of Scripture.

4) What verse/passage nicks you uncomfortably?
There are the obvious ones, the ones that some people believe mean that women or gay people should not be included in Church leadership, or you know, included in the Church at all. But the one that has been under my skin lately is Matthew 18:6-7. It seems inevitable that we will all become stumbling blocks to one another at various points in our lives. My best comfort here is that these verses come in the same chapter were we are given practical advice on reconciliation. Lord, have mercy on us all if we can't see that entire context.

5) What's your favorite hymn or praise song?
If I was really tech-saavy, I would know how to design an html thing that would change my answer for this question every time you clicked on my page... but I'm just not that person. So: My favorite praise song is "Prayer for A New Day" that I posted a couple days ago, written by my friend Hans. But, if we're going to talk about songs that someone else may actually know... then, it would have to be "How Can I Keep From Singing." At least, for tonight.

Alright, I'm going to see whats going on. I think the boys may be using a blow torch...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

In My Head

The camp closing this weekend has exhausted me. Some of it is that good tired, the kind of worn-out from working hard with friends on a good and important task. Some of it is emotional exhaustion, from all the sadness and anger and disappointment around the camp closing, my own and listening to others. It would be fascinating for someone less connected to all this to think and write about stages of greif at work in this community. All I can think about is the energy of the teenagers, jumping around at our final Eucharist. We sang an amazing song, with a sacred story, written by a good friend of mine. In December of 1999, Hans was driving up from Ohio to staff the Wintercamp program in our diocese. While driving, he was overcome with the lyrics and music to a song. If I recall correctly, he actually pulled over so he could write it all down. The song spoke of reparing the world, of justice for captives, of respect for the earth. What Hans did not know was that the theme for our Wintercamp program was the Jubilee Year of 2000. This song was a gift of the Spirit, given life by Hans - and it has given life to this community for five years.

Prayer For A New Day
by Hans Ericson

As we look into the future, we realize the past
Wondering how the world could be changed by us at last
For there is much we can do, even though we're young
For its always the youth who make it come undone
We ask for patience, Lord, until the day we're looking toward

Refrain: On this day, we will sing, in one voice "Let Freedom Ring"
On this day, completely undignified,
we will all be standing as one in your light.

Love in not in ignorance so accept all those who seek
If you want peace you have to be peace
And turn the other cheek
Who's right and who is wrong, who is in and who is out
Gotta give up my pride to see both sides 'cause thats what love's about
And theres a power in this to calm to the fighting fist

Refrain: On this day, we will sing, in one voice "Let Freedom Ring"
On this day, completely undignified,
we will all be standing as one in your light.

What will it take for love to bind?
(have a voice, rejoice on this day, say it proud and aloud, freedom reigns)
Or shall we watch it all unwind?
(have a voice, rejoice on this day, say it proud and aloud, freedom reigns)
For who will counter if not us?
(have a voice, rejoice on this day, say it proud and aloud, freedom reigns)
This injustice with the notion to suffer the children,
and love as if we're blind

Teach us to love Lord, teach us how we all connect
Help us to save our earth, and show her some respect
And as for violence, fear, ignorance and hate
Teach us to hear each other's truth before its too late
Thanks for the choice of will, to move or just stand still
Thanks for the faith that we stand all as one in Christ
That day when we unite

On this day, we will sing, in one voice "Let Freedom Ring"
On this day, completely undignified,
we will all be standing as one in your light.

Monday, October 03, 2005

A Matter of TIme... Catching Up

It was only a matter of time...until I had to turn on the silly word verification on my comments. I've started getting junk comments, and its time to cut those off before they get any worse. So, sorry for the extra step, but please keep commenting. That is, if you are a real person and not some robot leaving fake messages. You know I love to hear from you.

It was only a matter of time... until Luke started the fall term commuting to Chicago. We are one week into this schedule, and thankfully there are only about 12 weeks of it. I am very thankful for Amtrak - they may run late all the time, and Julie-the-autobot may be hard to deal with, but they are making this whole commuting to Chicago time much easier on us.

It was only a matter of time... until we had our first homeowner's emergency! Wednesday was quite a day. The rector of my church & I had gone to do home visits, and stopped for lunch. I had a reuben. I love reubens. They are yummy and toasty and good. This reuben was apparently different somehow because shortly after lunch, I started to break out into hives. Have you had this? It feels like a hundred mosquito bites all over, all at once. Its uncomfortable. It has only happened to me one other time - but that was recently enough that I knew I had some allergy meds at home. Since it is hard to be productive when your face is kind of swollen and your neck is itchy, I left work in the early afternoon, went home, and found the pills. I walked into the kitchen to get a glass of water, and stepped right in a big puddle. I looked up, and the paint was peeling, dry wall was crumbling, and water was very definitely dripping through my kitchen ceiling. Being the smart, capable feminist that I am, I turned the water off in the house. I then spent a couple hours on the phone with various people, got a plumber scheduled to come and all that. There is now a big hole cut out of our kitchen ceiling, and we need a new faucet in the shower, but the water dripping has stopped.

It was only a matter of time... until the final celebration and closing day of the camp where I grew up. It is an Episcopal camp, and I have spent 15 of my 27 summers there. Gordonwood is a spiritual home to many, a sacred place where countless children, teens and adults were brought closer to God. It was the place where I learned what it means to live in Christian community. I have many things to say about it, but I will have to save them for another day. For now, I will say that there was a gathering of spirits this weekend, more bittersweet than any I have ever seen. Old friends were reconnected - many now with spouses and children. Memories, laughter, and music were shared. Many tears were shed, and promises were made about the future of youth ministry in our corner of the Church. I pray that the day we shared might be the spark that finally re-kindles the fires of youth ministry in our diocese. I hope that the day helped those who gathered to mourn the loss of such a special place.

It was only a matter of time... until my next birthday, which came and went over the weekend in the midst of all these other things. I am now 27. I don't really feel any older. Honestly, when people asked me over the summer how old I was, I would forget and say that I was already 27. Oops. We did find a little bit of time to celebrate - my mom gave me some awesome Michigan stuff and two Carrie Newcomer cds, my friend A gave me a pretty bottle of nail polish, and, of course, my football team actually won the big game. Thanks boys - what a nice present.

It was only a matter of time... until the rush of September ran me over. I'd like to think October is catch-up month, but October has its own events, with a children's Communion Instruction class, an All Saints family party, and a Baptism prep class to plan, sermons and articles to write, and people to visit. I knew ministry would be a journey, but I wasn't quite prepared for the speeding train ride. And now, its time to jump back on board and get back to work, with a song in my head:

Let it go my love my truest, Let it sail on silver wings
Life's a twinkling, thats for certain,
But its such a fine thing
Theres a gathering of spirits, theres a festival of friends
And we'll take up where we left off
When we all meet again. - "The Gathering of Spirits", Carrie Newcome