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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:GENTILESCHI_Judith.jpg) 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.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Busy times

I've heard someone say that pastors should never say that they're busy. I'm too busy to remember why. (ha) (really, I know someone said that it was somehow unpastoral or unfaithful - anyone remember the reasoning?)

I can tell that I'm entering a season of a LOT of activity - the kick-off in September always is a busy time, but it's going to be even more so this year. Our budget committee wants to kick start the whole process earlier this year so stewardship is completely finished before Thanksgiving. Our church is in the midst of a big series of discussion and learning as we discern starting a new ministry, and there will be pastoral implications since this would mean the C-word. (actually our congregation is mostly good with CHANGE - but this time we're talking BIG CHANGE) I'm also in leadership in our conference right now and there is lots of change going on there which is going to require many more Big Important Meetings at the regional office throughout the fall. So, sanity-keeping is going to be at a premium now through the holidays, I imagine.

And in the midst of all this, I live knowing my life could change completely at any moment. We're waiting for the big phone call, which may or may not come at any moment, saying that our family will be growing, through foster-adoption. In some ways it's so freeing to look at my calendar and think about the calls I'd make to cancel everything for a month to take parental leave. And it's also terrifying - totally unknown and unpredictable. God seems to have had me working on patience and flexibility for a while now, and I'm not sure how much more ready I can be. The number of people asking if I've heard anything has recently dramatically increased. I'm a little worried I'm going to lose it and scream at the next person who asks. Balance, Sabbath, prayer, calm.... here we go again, God.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Five: Word Association, Redux
This one is patterned off an old Friday Five written by Songbird, our Friday Five Creator Emerita:Below you will find five words. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem or a story.1. vineyard2. root3. rescue4. perseverance5. divided(Each of these appears in one of the readings from this Sunday's lectionary.)

Vineyard... I don't have a whole lot of experience with vineyards - around here they supply the rich and famous with getaways and tourists with leisure activities. My favorite vineyards are probably the grape vines my midwestern uncle and aunt and grandmother have in their gardens - a supply for some of the sweetest and strongest homemade wines you've ever tasted, which grace family gatherings with tastes of sun in a glass.

Root... there's that saying about giving your kids roots and wings. I'm so not ready for any wings, but that's because they're still little. Roots are terribly important to me. Tremendously important. Especially after recent deaths in our extended family - I want to dig as deep as I can, for me and my kids, to anchor us and connect us. Strong roots make for greater growth and more blooms and fruit.

Rescue... is something I resist having done to me or doing to others. In most cases. Then I lose my mind and think I'm Jesus all over again.

Perseverance... is a word that makes me want to take a nap and eat some carbs.

Divided... is a depressing word that describes my community and world too aptly, and I'm irritated that Jesus uses it this week as part of his self-description of his mission on earth. Ugh. I'm UCC and I'm all about unity so this stinks. The message version says "disrupt and confront" instead of divide, which isn't any easier but still somehow better for me. I'd look up the Greek but I have a funeral today and a wedding tomorrow and a sermon the next day that are not prepared yet.

whoo- hoo - my First Friday Five. Here's to many more to come!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Funny moments

My kids crack me up. My son wakes up regularly in the middle of the night still, scared, even though he's 6. Usually my husband goes - yes I know I'm very lucky. A few nights ago he woke up about 5:30 in the morning. I got up this time and went in. He said "Mom, it's pitch white outside. I'm scared." It was a cloudy morning, and he's right, it was pitch white.

My daughter is 4 and very stubborn. She doesn't listen well. But she's getting better at some behavior issues. For the last several days, she happily tells us when we pick her up from preschool that she didn't hit anyone today. Whoo-hoo!

My son said yesterday that he doesn't want me to work - he wants us all to stay home together. Sigh. My husband's a stay-at-home dad and the boy is a tad spoiled, I think. I think I should take him to visit a day care center so he realizes he should be happy with one of us at home. I'll have to find a horrid one though so it would work.

Some members of my staff continue to amaze me with their antics. One has decided she can call me at home whenever she wants and whenever she doesn't want to deal with something that comes up. She's leaving soon, although I may lose it one day and fire her before she actually leaves.

I'm off today for Big Important Meeting at upper judicatory offices in hoity toity city. I am in a goofy mood and will need to control myself so as not to startle staid colleagues. Luckily some who will be there are, like me, not at all staid.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

a new name?

Okay, I just changed my screenname. Perhaps I will have a change of heart again later, but Rev. Zookeeper seems to fit right now. My job seems to consist of making sure the animals are fed and watered, keeping the lions from eating the lambs, and cleaning up lots of poop. That's ministry in this funky loving church in a vastly changing neighborhood in a starting-to-fall-apart building and a complicated mix of ministry commitments. So, there we go!


Okay, blogging is tough for me, but maybe if I don't try too hard it could happen more?

So, there were BB's shot through the church library window yesterday. The policeman was so calm about it all I thought he might curl up and take a nap. He also spoke extremely quietly and it was very difficult to understand anything he said.

And there's yet another major leak in the sprinkler system.

Staff meeting today. I think my staff are intentionally working to give me good stories to share at my upcoming cont. ed. workshop on being a boss.

I think I'm supposed to do something with that Bible and worship stuff too, and maybe something pastoral, but I'm not sure when...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

New Starts

Okay, I obviously didn't yet start this project, but every day is a new beginning, right?

The guilt about constant lurking is growing, so I think I shall attempt once more to actually contribute something to blogland, if only a small and inconsequential little stop in a corner.

So, my daughter, who is three almost four, loves zebras, loves everything striped. I think zebras are fascinating - they stick out so much in the landscape, I don't quite yet know how they got that way. I think I feel a kinship to them. I am a pastor, but I am much younger and much femaler than almost everyone's idea of what a pastor looks like. People have outright laughed when they hear it. One guy recently was looking for the pastor to ask for a handout. He literally could not believe that the pastor was me. Could not grasp it. At all. You'd think someone who wanted something from me could try to contain his shock at least a little.

And just this last week I had a painful experience with a colleague who decided to blame her frustration with my decision not on the fact that we might have different understandings of our faith and our role as pastors, but on the fact that I am "so young" and just don't know. The fact that I now have 5 years of ordained ministry and 6 years before and during seminary working in lay positions in the church doesn't matter a bit - but it won't matter when I have 30 years of experience either, I imagine.

And so I think of myself as a little like the zebra wandering around - sticking out so clearly for the tourists to gawk at, but still a beautiful creature of God. And hence the name of the blog, which still doesn't seem to fit - too cheesy, I think. But as much as I hate naming sermons, naming a blog is a billion times harder. It may change again soon, we'll see.