Thursday, March 20, 2008

Strange things in this modern world

Okay, so today I was hurrying out of the ICU to head back to the church office to try, on this Maundy Thursday, to have some sort of a start on an Easter sermon (okay I wasn't hurrying that much, I really didn't want to get back.) I passed by the hospital chapel - one of many I pass - we have 5 different hospitals that folks regularly end up at. I regularly forget which hospital has what where. Anyway, the sign on the chapel door was advertising various holy week activities, but one really caught my eye. "Interfaith Worship celebrating Good Friday and Easter, 12:30 p.m. Friday." Umm- there's pretty much something wrong with all of that. Interfaith?? And why Friday? To bring together hospital staff who are away on Sunday?? But mostly I really want to know how one worship can celebrate Good Friday AND Easter. I think I can no longer get so cranky about churches that want to have tenebrae on Thursday (although really, can't we just let them have their last supper - he'll die soon enough!)
Celebrating Easter on Good Friday. That's a new one for me!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pastoral Boundaries

I resist having to be a pastor to someone who's not a part of my congregation. I'm realizing that lately. Now, this does not mean that someone needs to be a member - if they've shown their face through the door, ever, or if there's a chance they might ever do so, I'm happy to be pastoral with them.

But if it's completely clear that they only want something from me (like a financial handout or my presence at their group's event), my pastoral hat just doesn't want to fit. And, in the current situation I'm in, if they are a staff member of my church but go elsewhere, I really don't think I should have to act like their pastor. I think I am then their boss only. But somehow when I act like their boss only, perhaps because they see me being all pastorly to the church folk, somehow that ain't enough. I don't think I should have to call to check in on sick staff people unless they're having surgery or something serious going on.

I guess I feel like my obligation to them ends at the door, where it doesn't with people who are a part of my church. I think if I care that way about the whole world I will pull myself to pieces. Ugh, that sounds so harsh - I do care about them, and everybody in the whole world, and feel obligated to them as my sisters and brothers, but not as their pastor. Maybe that says it better?

I don't know how the old-time pastors did it, or small-town pastors still do it today, where everywhere they go they are "the pastor." I need to go away from all that and be ME, a mom and wife, that can just think about my family for a few minutes and belch if I want to. My little zoo is enough to keep track of without having to rescue every creature in the land. Anyway, that's my rambling thoughts about boundaries and sanity for today.

Friday, March 7, 2008

A Return to the Friday Five

Signs of hope,signs of spring Friday 5

Here's my answers:
What have you seen/ heard this week that was a :
1. Sign of hope?
A nearby congregation, which ours partners with on many things, recently experienced a terrible tragedy. There are amazing signs of Christian love and hope in this midst of this horror - people within and without that church reaching out to support them, and even to support those who were a part of the perpetration of the horror, and my own congregation has been wonderfully creative in ways to offer love and hope to all of them, even though we stand outside it all.

2. An unexpected word of light in a dark place?
The scripture readings for this week - resurrection and new life all over them babies!

3. A sign of spring?
Spring is popping out all over the place here - most in the form of weeds, however. It's supposed to be 77 degrees today - sorry, sorry to those in colder climates. But I do love the little tiny purple flowers that are gracing my front lawn, I'll take pretty weeds any day.

4. Challenging/ surprising?
A member in my congregation who I'm certain is in early Alzheimer's, who gets things astonishingly mixed up, had a new story last night about attending adult Sunday School last week and being told there were only enough seats for the people who usually come, and there was only a chair for her because one of them couldn't be there. She was quite upset that a church would have a closed sunday school class. The story is completely untrue, I have no doubt, but I've also learned that telling her she's wrong is a bad idea - she will be mad at me for months. Not a surprising story - but extremely challenging. She is not open to my prodding about talking with her doctor. Ugh.

5. Share a hope for the coming week/month/year....
I hope I get through Easter! And I hope I manage to be also able to be fully present with my kids during upcoming science fair/little league/preschool/doctor's appointments/fun play time in the midst of Holy Week prep. Basically I hope for balance!

Bonus play... a piece of music/ poem guaranteed to cheer you?
Paul Simon's Graceland! An album my mom used to play around the house and I still love - full of hope!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Warm Weather

I think I needed to hibernate for a while. Changing rhythms to having a baby again, darkness so early in the evenings, complicated things at church and in the wider family. Now, however, the nights are stretching longer again, and in just a few short days we jump altogether into a whole extra hour. The baby knows me now, wants and needs me, in a way she didn't before. Only daddy and I will do, more often than not now. Her smile is unbeatable, and her unsatiable exploration astonishing.

The weeds are springing up everywhere, and so now my biggest sadness is letting go, once again, of having a garden this year. If I can't even read the newspaper each day, which is relatively important in my opinion as I ought to know something about the community around me if I dare claim the name pastor, well, then, I think the garden will have to wait for another year. I can dream that next year the baby will toddle around the yard, and the older two and I can peruse together the seed catalogs and plan vegetables to spill over onto the table. But this year I'll have to squeeze time in to get to the farmer's stand two cities away, or to market night even though it's on my sabbath eve. This year Lent is too early, and Easter is upon us, and then our church's third sacrament, the rummage sale, then and our season gets too hot too quickly after that for planting in the ground.

So instead I dream this year of planting a schedule that will nourish me, and my time with my partner and children, and my time for writing and creating worship, in the midst of all the other needs around me. Here's to hopeful harvests!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Thoughts for today

- I don't like time changes. They mess with my head and leave me discombobulated (I have no idea how to spell that.) And I can't stand how early it gets dark. I need more lights in my house.

- I don't understand why people, even ordained clergy, find it necessary to work out their own personal issues when the discussion is supposed to be about someone else. I was sitting in support of a wonderful person going through an interview on the way towards ordination, and mostly the committee behaved themselves, but one person, as always seems to happen, had to go and ask a ridiculous question that she really should have just refused to answer, a question for which she could not give an appropriate answer, because it was really all about his issues and had nothing to do with her fitness for ministry. I think clergy should be required to be in therapy.

- Speaking of which, it would be nice to have the time or money for therapy. I might figure out how to work out my crankiness in healthy ways.

- No more crankiness in this post.

- A bird who also seems confused about what time it is woke me up very early this morning - which usually would irritate me but today gave me some sacred quiet pre-dawn moments - they didn't last long, but were lovely.

- I went shopping last night in actual stores for the first time in I-can't-remember-how-long, and only had a few minutes, but found an adorable pair of sandals on super-sale that are totally me, and an little book that had amazing synchronicity (don't know if that's spelled right either) for special reasons.

- I love my church. They have lots of warts and challenges and weirdnesses, but I love them. It's really good to be here. It's still really really hard too, but that's okay right now.

- Children are almost spooky sometimes in their ability to access ways of thinking and being and moving and feeling that are so different and quirky and sweet and fun and otherworldly and holy. I'm working hard on being present to experience as much as I can of it.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Revgalblogpals Friday Five: Thankfulness List

Okay, so I'm back after a blogging hiatus - after the world turned upside down in wonderful and complicated and mostly unbloggable ways... and this seems a good way to come back:

Welcome to the Friday Five! This one is going to be veeeery simple: List at least five things (people, places, graces, miracles...) for which you are thankful. You may elaborate as you wish, or keep it simple.

1. Family. In all their complexity. This has been a year of hard, sad losses and glorious additions in our family - with one more niece on the way before Christmas to add to our newest. And Sunday after church I voyage with the littlest one to join papi and the older two and one part of the extended family. I just wish they all were closer, much closer.

2. Friends. I'm finally past that three-year mark in a new place, which I've decided is how long it takes me to be settled and feel like I belong and I really have friends I can count on here. Last time I got to this point we had to leave, but this time I think we're sticking around for a while. And I'm also so grateful for my core of long-distance friends from each of the phases of my life who are SO SO SO important to me, scattered around the map as they may still be.

3. Grilled cheese and tomato soup. One of the most awesomest meals ever.

4. New life, redemption, hope, salvation. All these are bundled for me in three small packages that bring challenges each day to my tired self but who expand my faith and joy beyond what ever seemed possible, even when they make it almost impossible to write blog posts or sermons or clean the house.

5. Partnership, covenant, union, love. My partner and I remain quite different people, which has always and will always challenge us. But we still share a vision and values and commitment for our life and family, that has to get renewed regularly to make it all work. It's the hardest and most important relationship I've ever had, and I'm thankful.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cultural Friday 5

Cultural Friday 5

I have spent the week at Summer School studying the Gospel and Western culture, we have looked at art, literature, music, film and popular culture in their myriad expressions. With that in mind I bring you the cultural Friday 5.Name a 1. Book2. Piece of music3. Work of art4. Film5. Unusual engagement with popular culture That have helped/ challenged you on your spiritual journey. Bonus: Is engagement essential to your Christian faith, how and why? Let us know in comments if you play and we'll trek on over.

Oh, dear. Choosing just one of my favorite things... is nearly impossible. Here's an attempt anyway.

1. Book: A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L'Engle - one of the ones that started it all for me many many years ago and opened whole new worlds of possibility.

2. Piece of music: So impossible to narrow it down - but Sibelius' Finlandia always broke my heart open, and the hymn "This is My Song" set to that tune is so utterly important for our world today. I almost chose it this week even though it didn't fit the theme at all, just because I think we need to sing it.

3. Work of art: Artemisia Gentileschi ( Judith beheading Holofernes. Seriously - I know I'm crazy, but in college I found her and this painting and changed my major and fell in love with religious art and how it can give power in allowing her to speak through it (you have to read her life story) and to interpret the Bible, not to mention her incredible and overlooked talent. Camille Claudel's sculpture is a close second.

4. Film: I'll pick a recent pair of favorites - Whale Rider and QuinceaƱera. Perhaps I am processing my coming of age well after the fact? But more for what these say about family, and young women finding their place in the world, and culture, and faith and so much more...

5. Unusual engagement with popular culture: hmm. One of my favorite art-in-the-world experiences was the Stockholm subway system - every station is decorated by a different artist, so for the price of one ticket you can ride around all day looking at art. It was heaven for me when I was 19 and out of the country for the first time. If I ever win a bejillion dollars every bus stop in this city will be art-filled, after I remodel the church building and the conference church camp, start a real arts program in the public schools and take everybody I've ever met on a cruise.

Bonus: Is engagement essential to your Christian faith? Um, yes.