Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Hump Day Prayer

Lord, it is Wednesday, the middle of the week, hump day.
Thanks for your presence this morning as we got our children ready for day care. Thanks for your presence this day when I am feeling tired, have body aches, and really want to go back to bed. Thanks for your presence as we continue packing, working, cleaning, and being on this day.

Lord, I confess to you that I did not think about nor pray for the victims of the earthquake in Indonesia or any other world problems that so many face. Forgive me for my self centeredness, my blinders I put on to problems in the world, and my nonchalant attitude I have sometimes. I like so many others are facing compassion fatigue. I do care God, but I am not sure I want to dig down any deeper to show that care either financially or physically. God it just feels like too much. I have to tell you I am worried about us financially with Bob not working. I guess I don't trust you that if I reach into our pockets and give to you for these crisis situations that you will watch over us. Forgive me.

Lord for so many that face the day hungry, wearing the same clothes they have worn for eons, no bath for days, shoes that have holes in the bottom of them, sores on them, no job, no possibility of a job, mental and emotional problems, I pray. For those who go to work today feeling empty, lonely, unloved, depressed, burned out, overwhelmed, I pray. For those who are feeling desparate in life, despair, grief, I pray. For those who may hear they have no job, their spouse has just left them, or filed for divorce, for those who parents kicked them out of the house, for those who children have one more time disappointed them, I pray. For those facing prison, those in prison, those who have been in prison, and those who put themselves in a prison of their own making, I pray. For those who are addicted to alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, spending disorders, compulsions, gambling disorders, sexual addictions, I pray. For those who have been hit, beaten, spat on, called names, raped, slapped, bound, thrown, pushed, shoved, sexually abused, abused in any way, or who have done these things, I pray. Lord for all these people and more I pray.

Lord for those who are spiritually hungry, seeking something more in their life, those who are tired of the church and its problems, for hurting ministers, doubters, clingers-on, I pray. For my Sisters and Brothers in Christ, I pray. For my collegues, male and female, I pray.

Well, this could go on and on God. Some of these people have names and faces to me; but all them have names and faces to you, they are your children. God, they are your children just as I am your child. We all are in need of your presence, your love, your grace, your forgiveness, you healing touch, your power in our lives. I place myself in your hands, to do no longer what I can do on my own. Do with me what thou will. Say the word God. Your servant is listening....

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Oh no, Tuesday starts the work week

I always struggle with work weeks that start on Tuesday, so I thought I would post a prayer hoping it would help me to have a better start. So here it is. If you struggle to, I hope some of it helps you too.

Dear God,
As I begin this work week on a Tuesday, I am mindful of you, your grace and your love. I think of other times that the work week began on Tuesday and I was so overwhelmed with so much to do, so many people to see, that I didn’t know which way to turn. So many times I either just turned or went helter-skelter, or I sat frozen. Lord, what I didn’t do was turn to you.

So I am turning to you now to look into your wonderful face Jesus, to accept your grace and love pouring down like rain on me, my family, and friends. I pray for your wisdom to know which way to turn, what to do, and who to minister to. I ask for energy, and strength to do the hard thing, to see the hard person for me to see.

But God, I know this is a silly request; would you just wave your hand and pack our boxes for us? No. Well, then help me keep on doing the task at hand which is to pack for the move, deep clean the house, and still minister.

And God this is the last week of preparation before Vacation Bible School next week. There is still a lot to do, help all to do their part to make ready for it. God I pray for our teachers and leaders that we show the kids your love and mercy and who Jesus is. God I pray for the kids to come, those who don’t have much, those who are of another color, those who don’t go to church, those who do go to church, those who do have much, all your children who are to come, may they have a good time, may they meet you here, may they want to know you more.
God you know the rules in this town of separation of color, you know though we have opened our doors to be welcoming to all. Protect us from the evil one who would seek to stir up trouble for us for opening our doors to all. Give us strength, patience, and love in this time. Help us to see you in each child. Teach us as well about you during this time. Lord I pray for the day when the walls come down as they did so long ago in Jericho, that all are welcomed into churches everywhere, and not hindered by me or anyone else.

I pray for my friends wherever they are, whatever task is at hand for them that they experience the holy in all they do. God I pray for these wonderful people I am leaving, may they continue to follow and serve you. God I pray for the people I am going to serve that they too follow and serve you. God I pray for Martha who is coming here to serve you, prepare you spiritually for the task ahead. And God I pray for my other clergy friends, their families and their churches, who are making moves this time of year as well.

And God this is a long prayer and short week as well with Conference coming up, keep my eyes on you. I didn’t mean this to be so full of requests God, so let me now take time to be quiet and listen to you.

I love you God,

Monday, May 29, 2006

Today is Memorial Day 2006

I can’t say why, but I feel strongly a need to post about Memorial Day. Perhaps it was those times as a little child seeing the Memorial Day parades. Perhaps it was playing in the band in the parades and then the ceremonies. Perhaps it connects me with my Grandfather Eastman who served in WWI, lived to tell about it, and was active in the VFW. Perhaps it connects me with my father, Gordon Carlisle who like so many lied about his age to get into the Navy to do his part in WWII. Perhaps it connects me with all the WWII veterans I have buried here in Wadley; hearing and knowing their stories, being with them through their last days, and then watching the flag ceremony, hearing taps played, seeing the tears of their loved ones.

I don’t know. I do know that we are fighting a horrible war, if you can call it that, a war that has seen more use of Reserves and National Guard than ever before. I do know that I found out that my sweet nephew, Michael Tobin has enlisted into the Marines, enlisted; the boy had a huge scholarship to college, and turned it down! The boy could have gone ROTC. The boy is a sweet boy; I just don’t think he knows what he is getting himself into. I hope he doesn’t come home in a coffin if he is sent to one of the war zones, or that he gets himself into trouble like so many over there have, including the latest about the marines.

I hate war, even though I played war with the kids in the neighborhood; it was never like real war. I hate war even though I am married to a retired Army CW3, who served in the Special Forces in Viet Nam. I hate war for what it does to everyone involved, how it divides the country, the killings, the wounded, the nightmares, the unresolved memories. I hate war. I do so pray for the day when we do know peace, real peace.

God, today as I stop and reflect on war, the military who gave their lives for peace and freedom, the leaders who went into battle, help us to know that we cannot know real peace unless we know you.

God even today as we remember all the peace treaties, all the ways that people have tried to find peace to bring it to where there is no peace, that our peace is in you.

God I thank you for the men and women I have known who have served their country in battle and did not return home. I know that in a sense they are at peace. God we look for the day when we will no longer beat sword into plowshares and we will study war no more, when the son of man will appear again.

God be with our soldiers who are fighting in war zones, putting their lives at risk, be with their families, and their friends. And God be with the young persons who have signed up for military duty right out of high school, protect them. And God especially watch over my sweet young nephew Michael.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Duh Vinni Koda humor

What with all the serious discussion, criticisms going both ways; you knew it was bound to happen. Yes, it has come to my attention that several Parodies on the DVC have been made.
I have selected a few to link you to, but you can just type in Parodies on the DaVinci Code in your Google and find all kind of funnies. So without further adeiu my picks are as follows: A picture from Purgatorio, he has several different takes on the DVC, but this one was the best.
Dan Brown has announced the plot of his Da Vinci Code follow up novel, The Kinkade Code. In this startling new tale, Harvard professor of Religious Symbology, Robert Langdon, discovers hidden clues in the idyllic, bucolic paintings of Thomas Kinkade and uncovers an ancient conspiracy intent on littering Christian homes around the globe with mediocre works of art. Thanks to Marc Heinrich.

Faith Mouse has this cartoon
Thanks Dan Lacey for your cartoon.

The New Yorker Magazine movie critic Anthony Lane has a great take on The Da Vinci Code movie. It will keep you laughing, and you will want to send it on to your friends.

For those of you who are Methodist or like to poke fun at the Methodist; ( I can say this I am one.) Dan Ehl has written this one for the DAILY IOWEGIAN (AND AD EXPRESS) (CENTERVILLE, Iowa). He calls it "The Methodist Conspiracy"

And now for the movies: Here is the Norman Rockwell Code. It is a must see, after all its Barney Fife's son is the dective here. You can watch the trailer or the movie. Oh come on and at least watch the trailer, it is funny.

This Parody is on Google video its called the DVC: The Conspiracy Game. You have got to watch it. It raises some of the Christian objections to the Da Vinci Code in a quite funny and clever way.

Dennis Hurley, an albino actor, made The Albino Code, a parody of Dan Brown’s best-seller Da Vinci Code. Here is what he says about his parody:
Admittedly, I did try my best to audition for the role of Silas, not to further the stereotype, but to bring my own sense of realism to the role (not to mention, landing a part in a Ron Howard film would have been a pretty big break for a struggling actor). Of course, that plum of a role went to Paul Bettany (A Beautiful Mind, Wimbledon) a non-albino from Brooklyn.
So, instead of complaining endlessly, I wrote a short film parody, entitled The Albino Code, with the following premise: "What if the story of The Da Vinci Code could be told from Silas’s point of view? And what if Silas were an actual person with albinism thrust into a world of secret codes, mystery, and assassination?"
It's been featured on CNN, MSNBC and ET to name a few.

Okay, enough of the parodies for now. Choose your poison, and enjoy. I haven't seen the actual movie yet, have started reading the book, but have enjoyed veiwing the parodies. Let me know if you like them or find any more.

A bit of humor for the evening

Go here to see the changes that would happen if women ruled the world.

Hat tip to John at Locusts and Honey

Here are two pictures from the whole gallery on "If women ruled the world."

Friday, May 26, 2006

Madonna gets crucified in more ways than one

By now I am sure you have read or heard about Madonna’s latest stunt. It is all the uproar in the Catholic world and the Church of England. But if you haven’t, here’s how it goes. Madonna has begun a new world tour called “Confessions”. One of the stunts she does involves her mounting a 20foot high mirrored crucifix to sing “Live to Tell.” She also wears a crown of thorns. Behind there were images of third-world poverty flashed across a huge video screen.

She says the reason she did it was to get audience members to donate to her relief charities. She told the New York Daily News, “I don’t think Jesus would be mad at me and message I’m trying to send. Jesus taught that we should love thy neighbor.

Now the pop star who is used to shock and awe is trying to up the anti on her stunts. Probably her fans will enjoy, if you call it that, her show. I just wonder really what she is confessing. And I didn’t even know she had some relief charities, so is she going to donate the 200million she will make from this tour to them? Man how far that would go. I doubt Madonna knows the meaning of sacrifice true sacrifice that Jesus paid by being crucified. It is sad, that she doesn’t know that isn’t it. I guess she likes to poke fun at Catholicism in that she was once one. I don’t think Kabbalah offers her in the end and overall the holy mystery, the love of Christ, that personal relationship with Jesus, and eternal life. I just wish I could share with her what it is to not only know this but experience it.

On writer wrote "that Madonna’s-crucifixion-will unlikely-produce-a-resurrection." He says that she is trying to resurrect her career at 47 years old, by this outrageous act and getting some free press. But the truth is the only resurrection is through Jesus Christ no matter what age you are, and no matter who you are.

Don’t you just wonder what her children think of her or will they follow in her footsteps. Can you see it now? “Now don’t sing as mommy sings, but sing as I tell you too.” "Don't dance as mommy dances, but dance as I tell you to." That will really go over. "Mama, Don't Preach"

But then again, aren't we sacrilegious ourselves with our fancy diamond studded crosses, our fishes on our cars, our teeshirts with Christian logos and sayings, and at the same time we do forget to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, love our neighbor as ourselves. Perhaps her act can make us pause and think about what kind of message, witness we are giving others.

I just wonder if I could get away with that preaching one of my sermons that way? For one thing, I don’t have Madonna’s body, and I’m glad. For another it would be my luck I would fall. They would have me arrested here in Wadley and locked up in a Looney Bin, “no, no Abi it was Christ who was crucified not Virgin Mary.” And no I am not Madonna either. M-m-m. Just kidding, it would be sacrilegious. But the Vicar of Wadley even though she takes her name from the Vicar of Dibley does not do these kind of acts when preaching or at any other time. Could you imagine the reaction? Madonna who has no reverence for anything but herself does it again.

You can read what other’s have to say here like the Daily Pundit, Cold Fury, Flynn Files, Titusonenine, American Papist , Romancatholicblog, and Show biz daily. Faith Mouse has a faithmouse: The Madonna's True Confessional Tour, In Progress">cartoon about Madonna's Confession tour(see below).

This is a link to a faithmouse: The Madonna's True Confessional Tour, In Progress #2">second cartoon posted about the Confessions tour.

Here is a link to the lyrics to the song she sang on the cross, "Live to Tell"

So just what do you think?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Counting the days

We are counting the days, well weeks until we move. I have front room full of packed boxes, you can't get into it. I have packed most of the kids toys, and threw out 3 trash bags of McDonald's, Burger King toys, junk, broken toys. I was shocked. I thought I had gleaned their toys in Feb. Did all that collect since then or did they hide them? I swear the toybox grows grows toys.

We still have a lot of packing and cleaning to do. Bob has now quit his job, and so is home packing, and whatever else needs to be done. I keep hearing comments from him, "I never knew you did all this, I never knew you went through this every morning with the kids." He is thinking he may have to be Mr. Mom or a stay at home Dad, boy is he in for a rude awakening. At this time there have been no PA jobs posted in Florence. But having Bob home has helped speed up the packing process.

And wouldn't you know it, as the days draw night, I am doing hospital visits, Pastoral care visits, going to funeral homes, got a graduation to go to tonight. Just when I think I have some time to pack I am having to head to a hospital for a member.

I had a call for my new District superintendent welcoming to my district, offering his help, asking me about how I perceived the church. Wow, that is the first time. Then I got a really nice letter from him as well. His wife is a pharmacist and he is going to have her keep her eye out and start mentioning Bob's name to people. He asked if he needed to go talk to the church on my behalf before I got there. And I told him I did not think so, I was not hearing resistance to my being a woman. He told me he was there to help me in anyway. That's new too.

I am a wee bit concerned about the move day. When we moved here the Pastor before us moved out the day before, and so we could move in a little early. That also gave the church a chance to make sure it was clean and to fix anything that needed fixing. Well, we were planning and hoping to do the same with this move, but the Pastor I am following is not going to move out until the day you are suppose to and be out by the required time 12 noon. Rats, I will have to arrange with the movers either storage or something. On top of that the trustees called me and said that they know there are repairs they are going to have to do at the parsonage in Florence, but that they have not been able to get in there and do them. They are thinking they will have to put us overnight while they fix them. Double rats. I wonder what I am suppose to do with my doggies and kitties in the meantime? I hope we can get this worked out for all involved, especially us. It is hard enough to move, but then to run into these problems as well. Pray for us. We now have 3 more weeks until move day. Arggh, the pressure is on.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A technological melt down

This morning was homecoming at my little church, Almond UMC. They asked me to preach since this is the last homecoming I will have with them as their Pastor.
Unfortunately, our computers, network, and printer were not cooperating. I tried to print my sermon from the laptop in the office. Usually I have no problems. But this morning, the printer decided it would not print. So then I tried accessing the sermon through the network, but the network would not let me get in. Then I tried sending it by email from the laptop to the other computer, well Yahoo wasn't going to upload it to send it. So I tried AOL, and it wouldn't do it either. I guess the only thing I didn't try was putting it on disk and taking that over to the other computer, but I ran out of time. So I took my laptop, and preached my sermon off my laptop. I think it went pretty good.

The other thing that happened was the sound system quit working. We thought at first it was the batteries, but it wasn't. Then Bob came up unplugged, replugged, unwired, rewired but nothing happened. He finally decided that reciever wasn't working. So I ended up yelling at them, and they liked that. They think preaching isn't preaching if the preacher isn't yelling. I on the other hand ended up with a sore throat.

Saturday, May 20, 2006 is a great place to order your stoles, other clerical wear, and liturgical items. J. Philip Cox-Johnson is the main artist and owner was at the Festival of Homilectics with some of their stoles, banners, and paraments. They even had the banners on display during worship. Beautiful work. Nice guy. He has designed and made a stole celebrating the 50th year of the Ordination of Women in the UMC. It is just beautiful. I want one real bad. He was out of them at the Festival, and were just getting some in to do the finishing touches to them. I was impressed that COSGROW of North Georgia was buying them for the new ordinands this year. He has a discount on them as well. He goes to a lot of conferences and has them listed on his website. He told me he would be in Bham for the Presb. conference, and would have some there. Oh well, 2 hours away. I think I will email him and order me one. Here is a picture of the stole.

The Horse, the snake, the ram, and Two Dragons: Mother Day's Gift

The Horse, the snake, the ram, and Two Dragons: Mother Day's Gift

If you go to this link you will see what the kids gave me for Mother's day. What a wonderful gift. The best gift was them. I love being their mother. And thanks for their Sunday School Teacher.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Post for the RevGalBlogPals

Today I had the privilege to have lunch with the RGBPs, we were able to find each other via cell phone. There are too many people here. What a wonderful lunch with wonderful women.
St. Casserole has a plan for us RGBPs in the deep south. Rev mommy was busy networking to make things happen. Songbird was singing some beautiful words. Stacey was quiet the entertainer. What a joy to be part of these group of women. Ya'll sure did miss it. On top of that the speakers today were just over the top especially the women. Anna Carter Florence gave a great sermon and a great lecture. Barbara McBride-Smith was very down to earth in telling the Biblical stories.

I have been thinking about doing this, but today felt inspired to do so. This is the first edition. So you may want to change it or add to it. Tell me what you think.

You can go to this link to make your own book for dummies or newbies.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Its Zachary's birthday

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday dear Zachary!
Happy Birthday to you!

My sweet new son, Zachary turns 4 today. We sang happy birthday to him in church, and he was totally got off guard. He is not sure what this means, but by the time this day is over, he sure will.
I am here at Atlanta missing him and the others. So I celebrate his birthday another day. I had hubby send cake to the day care for them to celebrate. Zachary I am so glad God created you, and provided a way for you to come live with us in our family. I love you Zack! Here is a link to his pictures.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

God Bless the Mothers

It is the Sunday that has been set aside to celebrate Mother's day. Today I did not preach about Mothers, rather we honored, prayed for, and blessed our moms. We also sang Faith of our Mothers, instead of Faith of our Fathers (see below).

I have not always enjoyed Mother's Day. My mom and I have had love/hate affair for a long time. Thank God a lot of that is healed. There are a lot of mother/child relationships that are wounded for various reasons whether by abuse, addiction, absence, neglect, alcoholism, perfectionism, to name a few.

I was single a long time and just could not stand that "family, couple" focus in the church. Then after I was married, I could not conceive even through the miracle of Invitro fertalization; I really hated Mother's Day then. I have heard some really bad sermons on Mother's day. I think the greeting card and floral industry have taken over Mother's day, when it was not meant to be so commercialized. I think it is time we take it back. I am a mother now of three, and it has changed my mind about my mom, and about mothers in general. So God bless the mothers. Sue has posted a beautiful prayer at RevGalBlogPals for today that is meaningful for Mother's day, go check it out.

Here is the hymn Faith of our Mothers

Faith of Our Mothers
Faith of our mothers! living still
In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene'er we hear that glorious word!
Faith of our Mothers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.
Our mothers, chained in prisons dark,
Were still in heart and conscience free.
How sweet would be their children's fate
If they, like them could die for thee!
Faith of our mothers! Holy faith!
We will be true to Thee till death!
Faith of our Mothers we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife;
And preach Thee, too, as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life
Faith of our Mothers! holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.
Words by Frederick W. Faber, 1849
Music by Henri F. Hemy, 1864;
adapted by James G. Walton, 1874
page 710 of the United Methodist Hymnal
Thanks Mom for your faith that has so inspired and encouraged me!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

My "Date" with the church

Some of you have been asking how my "date" went with the church in Florence.
I have to say it was a nice date. Several members were there to greet me and take me out to lunch. We had a nice lunch at O'Charleys. The present Pastor and his wife joined us so it was a nice bantor of conversation. They were most congenial. They then took me over to see the parsonage.

Nice parsonage, and finally a garage again, with a storage shed. Yea! (We don't have either right now, and have been concerned things would disappear, but have not so far.) They even have an attic, (we had to put one in here when we moved here.) Big back yard, no fence though. 3 houses down from the church, not right next to it. New laminated flooring inside. 3 bedrooms. Great room, 2 bath, and formal living room/dining room. Laundry room. It has the essentials. Nicely furnished. I liked it, and I think it will suit us. We are going to have to have a moving sale though, but we were thinking about doing one anyway. Moving gets harder every time. And wouldn't you know it, I forgot to take my camera to get pictures of the inside, so the kids could see their bedrooms.

Now for the church itself. (I did get 2 pictures of the church). It has a very nice Family Life Center which is used a great deal. Nice classrooms. The youth have some nice space to meet in and play in (always a plus.) And yes they have a good youth group, however the Youth Minister moved on to a better offer. I have a office in the church, not in the parsonage. I have a secretary, I don't have to do all the secretarial work, but of course that means deadlines. The choir director has left, and the pianist leaves when I get there. The sanctuary is beautiful. Wow, I was really touched in there, they have treated that sanctuary lovingly. They have some good members, and they have some of the issues that any church has. The feeling I left with was this has potential. Houses all around, apartment complex down the way, school nearby, community center. So now I have seen, and I like what I see.

They have had some of the top notch Pastors in our conference, and it shows. The present Pastor has done a great job with them. Before I left, I prayed with the people there, including the Pastor and his family. What a awesome responsibility God has entrusted me with, I am humbled and honored. I pray that I am God's servant there; and listen and obey, and lead them to listen and obey.

So I had a great date! I did however have a long drive there and back. And had to fight the 18 wheelers all the way. What was it, trucking day? The late afternoon drive wasn't as bad. Although I did run out of energy and the ability to concentrate by the time I got home. Thank you Lord for a safe drive.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

"Dating the Church"

There is a new book out called Stop Dating the Church. Haven't read it,have picked it up and looked at it, and almost bought it. Josh Harris, also has a blog, and has written another book called;"I Kissed Dating Goodbye." (Although Josh is now married.) (I did take an intentional hiatus from dating a year before I met Bob, my wonderful hubby.)

I said all that as a prelude to my having a date tomorrow, not with my spouse, (although I could use a date with him), but with my new church I will be serving. Needless to say, I do feel my anxiety rising. It is more than a four hour drive to a part of AL I don't know much about, to meet people I don't know, to see the church I haven't seen, the future parsonage that we will leave in, etc. I wonder how they will feel when they see me, and how I will feel when I first see them. I wonder if being a woman will be okay, or what. I wonder if they will like me. You know the old dating questions, but in a different way. Will I like them? Will they like me? Will there be a fit? Will we work/play/worship together well? What will their expectations of me be and mine of them?

I am so ready to meet them, and to see the church, the parsonage, the town.
I have some questions I want to ask, and some I want to ask later. They will probably have some for me also. (What would you ask?) This book; "Making a Good Move", has been helpful.

I am not taking my kids or hubby this visit, so I can concentrate on the first meeting. I'll bring them up the next time, for their look see. Oh and pray for Bob to be able to find a job. So far nothing is opening up. He is a Physician Assistant. So say a prayer.

The Book: Ordinary Time

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Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

This particular book of devotional readings spans Ordinary Time, that season of the church year in which there are no high holy days to celebrate; the long stretch of green for those of us who are liturgical in our practice. They have been written by women and men of diverse denominational backgrounds; all with the aim of bringing scripture alive for both writer and reader. These writings reflect on the lectionary passages for Year B, and it is our prayer that in the green and ordinary time they will bring forth a bountiful harvest for all who read them.
This is the second book compiled by the RevGalBlogPal web-ring. The first, A Light Blazes in the Darkness , was a set of daily devotionals for Advent.

This is RevGalBlogPals' blogsite, worth checking out.

Buy This Book!

(see my sidebar for the link)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I am feeling sheep doggish

Sunday was Good Shepherd day, and I preached using both Psalm 23 and John 10. It went well in the first church, they liked it. And it was going well in the second church until I started talking about Jesus is the Good Shepherd and that I as their Pastor am the assistant to the Shepherd. Suddenly in my mind came the picture of a sheep dog herding the sheep, and without thinking out of my mind came the words "that we pastors were really the sheepdog". Well the whole place cracked up, I laid my head on the pulpit due to laughing so hard. Somebody said something about sheepdogs. I raised my head and said, "Now don't you tell the new Pastor I said we were dogs." I then went on to explain what I meant after I had gained my composure. I told about how sheepdogs work. I even told them about my friend Dorothy Ann who has a sheepdog, and that the sheepdog would herd the kids up and down the hall, and that it would even herd her. I was somewhat embarrassed afterwards. Several people left the church telling me they were going to get me a sheepdog to herd my kids with. (I think I could use one.)

I have always had a tendancy to stick my foot in my mouth, I even have a tendancy to mix words up and make new ones. But I don't like lossing my composure in the pulpit, and nor do I think it is a place of cracking jokes, I do think of it as sacred. Ya'll think it will be okay? I think they forgave me and even got it.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Faster than a speeding Priest

The Vicar got a speeding ticket today and lived to tell about it.
I guess I am joining one of the other RevGal's going to court for a ticket.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

More on the Soapbox re: women and T4G

Well, I have been having some interesting dialogue with folks about this T4G uproaor over the matter of women. I even gotten some really good comments from a variety of people. Thank you. I found some other blogs and comments that were worth bringing forth as well. So here they are.

Michael Bird's a self-styled Reformed Baptist New Testament professor at a Bible college is Scotland post is here, and is a very good one called Together for the Gospel … Not Quite! He concludes with this: "but I have huge alarm bells ringing in my head at the moment and I'm putting up my hand so that I can say, "Hey folks, do you realize what you are implying?" I believe that T4G is a good thing since it gets people energized to gospelize - and I'm all for that. But in trying to hoist high the complementarian flag I wonder if they have (inadvertedly?) lowered the value of women in the process. I believe that “together” in the gospel must include everyone irrespective of race, age, education, social rank, economic status, ethnicity and gender – or else it is not a gospel because the gospel creates a new creation where those distinctions no longer matter in relation to the church's corporate witness (2 Cor 5.21; Gal 3.28; Col 3.11). If my tone sounds overly serious (as opposed to my usual whimsical candour) it is because the gospel is at stake. "

Joel Hunter of The Boar's Head Tavern blog has this to say: [...] Junia, who would have been prohibited from attending certain widely-reported conferences, former BHT fellow Adam has a great post on this issue. Why do all the classy fellows retire from the BHT? Hmmm… [...] And in this he has an analysis the T4G conference and an addendum on what together means.

Ben Witherington, Professor at Asbury Seminary, has a post about the passage that tells women to be quite in the church I Tim 2: 8-15. He closes his article with the following: "The only proper hedge against misuse of such controversial texts like this is careful detailed study of the text in its immediate context, in the context of the Pastorals (noting for example how elsewhere in these documents Paul talks about older women who are mature Christians doing some teaching), in the context of Paul's letters in general, and in the context of Ephesus and the social world to which these words were written." You can also read N. T. Wright's thoughts on Women as clergy based on biblical thought here.

I really must be out in the woods, I am totally lost when these people start using terms like complemintarianism versus egalitarianism or whatever those two are. I do know "isms' are dangerous and can often cause schisms and cause more "isms."

Mike at Faith at Work blog wrote this article about T4G Together for the Gospel or Together in the Twilight Zone? Here is some of what he has to say "Not only does Bolton’s comment apply to the UN, I think it applies to the Together for the Gospel Conference that met in Louisville last week to separate the wheat from the chafe in gospel proclamation.
The result of this event, it seems to me, after reading bloggers who attended and those commenting, is not togetherness but more angst over theological debates that were the rage 30 years ago. Case in point: the role of women in pulpit ministry. "

42 has this on T4G. He also has more here where he too has collected some other writings on the topic. Sally has a link to 42 and to a great cartoon byDave Walker.

This has apparently stirred up alot of people that there were men only at this event called T4G.

I asked myself, why did I even bother to post in the first post when I knew what the response would be from those who went and those who are following this line of thinking? And the answer comes back, that I had no voice when The Southern Baptist convention voted in 84 to not ordain women, and then later when The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was taken over by Albert Mohler and the Fundamentalists. I had no voice when it became clear that there was no place for me as an ordained minister in the Southern Baptist Convention. But now I have a voice and I have a place to post my thoughts. I am ordained in a denomination that answered this battle 50 years ago. And so having that voice and place to express my thoughts, I do so now. Maybe I do it with anger, but I stand by what I believe, and there are others standing with me.

Stepping down from my soapbox temporarily.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

My Soapbox about the T4G or Together for the Gospel

Together for the Gospel or T4G recently held a conference in Louisville, KY. The main leaders of this conference are CJ Mahaney, Albert Mohler, Mark Dever, & Ligon Duncan. Now I don't mind telling you that Albert Mohler is the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary who has brought it to its present demise, and who uses ghost writers. I say demise because they lost their accreditation, and he ran off all the Professors simply because he decided they were too "Liberal" and not "Bible Believing". (Enough of that rant, SBTS was my alumnae seminary, pre Mohler days)
I had not paid much attention to their live blog from the conference. But I had been reading off and on what was being written about the conference on Adrian Warnock's UK Evangelical Blog. Well today I read this comment he took from another person's blog "Musings of an English Muffin", it was a woman's comment (her name being Libbie), about T4G's, He even called it a "Lady's view of T4G, and why Egalitarianism IS a hindrance to the Gospel." Oh, Boy. After I read the whole comment this woman, Libbie, had made, and the comments, I was sick to my stomache, and mad. She at first was upset about no women being there and the article 16 which is later in this note, but then argues herself right out of her own thoughts and feelings. So here I blog my thoughts.
This was an exclusive conference for men only, sounds like Southern Baptist. Then they have come up with this statement as if they are the only ones who know anything about the Gospel and representing it, we women clergy sure don't according to them. Here is the opening sentance of that statement. " We are brothers in Christ united in one great cause – to stand together for the Gospel." You got that, women you are not united and your cause is not theirs and nor do you stand with them. This is a man's battle according to them, and only they can save the church, and only they if you believe with them and like them. Let me just throw up.

Here is another sentance in their statement: "We are also brothers united in deep concern for
the church and the Gospel."
Now women this is no concern of yours, you just go mind your own business, we'll take care of it. Right, like you all have been taking care of it all these years, and have had a concern all these years.

This thing has 16 articles, and this is the one about women: "
Article XVI
We affirm that the Scripture reveals a pattern of
complementary order between men and women, and
that this order is itself a testimony to the Gospel, even
as it is the gift of our Creator and Redeemer. We also
affirm that all Christians are called to service within
the body of Christ, and that God has given to both
men and women important and strategic roles within
the home, the church, and the society. We further
affirm that the teaching office of the church is assigned
only to those men who are called of God in fulfillment
of the biblical teachings and that men are to lead in
their homes as husbands and fathers who fear and
love God.
We deny that the distinction of roles between men
and women revealed in the Bible is evidence of mere
cultural conditioning or a manifestation of male
oppression or prejudice against women. We also deny
that this biblical distinction of roles excludes women
from meaningful ministry in ChristÂ’s kingdom. We
further deny that any church can confuse these issues
without damaging its witness to the Gospel.

Are you confused or what, threatened just a little bit? Okay we as women can minister, but at what. You can bet if this says that men are the head of the house then the man is the head of the church in their view. You as a woman can minister, by cleaning the church, cooking, teaching each other, and the children, singing in the choir, and whatever else we men don't want to do.

All this reminds me of why I am no longer a Southern Baptist, and why so many are leaving the denomination. This also smacks of the statement they were trying to get the Professors to sign, and those that didn't were forced to leave. (Isn't church history full of leaders and denominations forcing their doctrine on others?)

Rhett Smith raises the some thoughts about t4g statement and article, also that are worth reading. The Jolly Blogger takes exception to Rhett Smith, and probably me, by saying it is not "Oppression of Women." (excuse me.) If it is not that then what is it?
This will gripe you too "On the Feminization of the Church, Why Its Music, Messages and Ministries Are Driving Men Away." Like men were going to church all along, and being active in church when men were pastors and preaching. Right. Okay so if that is your point, why is it that I as a female clergy have been able to establish a men's program that none of the other male clergy did, or why men do come to our church, why havbaptizeded men, have young men coming to our church?

In this article at Ochuk's Blog he really takes on the anti-woman mood of t4g in an article called t4g(ender hierarchy). Thanks man for challenging their mindset about women, but other matters as well.

If this thing plays out as it did at the Seminary and in the Southern Baptist Convention, we are headed for dark days when those who think they have the answer exclude those who would hold other opinions. But I am no longer Southern Baptist, and I am glad. I feel sorry for those who still are, including my mom.

I'll come down off my soap box now, just for now.

Do this in remembrance of Me

Third in a series of Blogs celebrating 5 yrs of ministry at Wadley UMC.

"Christ our Lord invites to his table all who love him,
who earnestly repent of their sin
and seek to live in peace with one another."

We had tried Wednesday night prayer meeting, activities for children, bible studies, book studies, with little consistency in attendance and participation. It might start off with good attendance but eventually it would be me showing up, and well I could show up in my home. The best was prayer service after 9/11, but as the war went on, and we were winning, well there went the interest.

"Merciful god,
we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart. .... Forgive us we pray, Free us for joyful obedience, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Hear the good news;
Christ died for us while we were yet sinners;
that proves God's love toward us.
In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven."

Then I introduced the Order of St. Luke to a church member who had sought some advise about understanding his gifts. He quickly got involved, got his training, (something I never finished), and certification as a member of the Order of St. Luke. He requested regular communion for himself. I agreed to regular communion, ( John Wesley believed in it and recommended it), I felt though it should be done in community. So we began weekly communion, and have been doing it ever since with good attendance and participation. I, myself am always filled and in awe of the holy mystery that takes place every week. Do I get tired of the liturgy? Yes and No. It seems every week some word, some thought, some action, something I confess; speaks to me of God. The fact that it is a means of grace, God's grace that we all need touches me deep within my soul. Participating in communion with my brothers and sisters is rich.

"Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here
and on these gifts of bread and wine.
Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ,
that we may be for the world the body of Christ,
redeemed by his blood.

By your Spirit make us one with Christ,
one with each other,
and one in ministry to all the world
until Christ comes in final victory,
and we feast at his heavenly .

Through your Son Jesus Christ
with the Holy Spirit in your holy church,
all honor and glory is yours, almighty Father,
now and forever. AMEN"

The experts are saying that the Post Moderns are hungry for the Holy, to experience God, authentic community; but I think we moderns are hungry for the same. What better place to experience the Holy, God, and authentic community than at the table of the Lord...Come for the table is ready.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

God on the Mountain

"Life is easy when you're up on the mountain
And you've got peace of mind like you've never known.
But then things change and you're down in the valley.
Don't lose faith for you're never alone.

For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley.
When things go wrong, He'll make it right.
And the God of the good times is still God in the bad times.
The God of the day is still God in the night. "
These are the words to the song "God on the Mountain", a good Southern Gospel Song. If you want the complete words with a beautiful picture you can find it here. It was a song sang to me Sunday night by the Servant's Quartet, a Southern Gospel group who sang at our church. Mike Brown, who sang the solo, said before he sang it, "Abi we love you and your family. We can't thank you enough for all you have done for us here in Wadley with your ministry. You have touched a lot of lives, I know you touched mine, and we love you. I want to sing this next song for you Abi. Boy was I crying from that point on. I didn't know he was going to say that or sing that song for me. Mike had just found out I was moving, and he wanted to express his love to me. Mike and his wife left their church due to some things that was said to them, and about them. She came to our church for awhile, but then her new job had her working on Sundays. He just could not bring himself back to church. But I would still stop by and talk with him or her, check on them, encourage, support, and pray for them. Their sweet daughter does come to our program, the D.A.W.G. Pound, for 3-6 graders on Wednesday.
Well the tears have started. All these people saying goodbye, and my saying good bye to them. Tears of grief. Tears of joy. I will miss them and miss Wadley.
For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food?

Second in a series of Blogs celebrating 5 yrs of ministry at Wadley UMC. (It helps me grieve, and not beat myself up, which I do quite well, thank you.)

As I said in the last post, when I came here the Food Bank was closed. One of our first moves was to reopen the Food Bank. The funding of the food bank came from a grant given the Cooperative Parish from the North Alabama Parish, the churches of the Parish, other churches, the government and individuals. We regularly serve about 26 persons or more regularly. We follow the guidelines of the USDA due to purchasing of USDA foods. No person is turned away due to race, religion, or creed. We have had several plants close in our area, which is already majorily depressed, so when those have occurred we have had more persons using the food bank, and we opened more often. Plantation Patterns which makes wrought iron furniture (which by the way is very good furniture) is a seasonal employee, so we serve their employees when they are laid off. If there is an emergency, a house burns, illness, etc we immediately provide food and other items as necessary. One of the things we have been able to accomplish lately has been to get fresh food for the Food Bank, thanks to the work of the East Alabama Food Bank. It has been some really good fruit and veggies, and then it has also been on the verge of being too ripe. But we sure are grateful for it, and so are those we serve.

We also have been involved with the ministries of St. Andrews, especially the Potato Drop. Our foodbank has been recipients of their gleamed foods also good friend Rachel Gonia who is the Alabama coordinator, came and preached here about Hunger and the ministry of St. Andrews, my members were quite generous to that ministry. That day one of my men who owns his logging company, offered his service and trucks for hauling food items to where it was needed. Wow. If you don't know about St. Andrews or are not involved in it here is their link for you

When we reopened it was two of the church members and me involved. Now we have nine members involved. It has been a delight to work with these dedicated people, and with those in need.

We applied for, and got a grant to help persons trying to get off welfare and going back to work or getting a GED, or needing clothing, etc to get back to work. We also offered counseling, helping with applications, getting them to the agencies and resources they needed to do this. ( You know its a mine field like navigating FEMA or any of the other government agencies.) We have been able to help a few, but most were not interested or were the elderly. Recently, we have made a connection with the GED program at Southern Union Community College here in Wadley, and have begun to help those who can't afford it to get their GED. Because as you know if you don't have an education, you aren't going anywhere, especially here in the South. One of the new graduates is already moving up where she works. YEA.

The title is the verse Matthew 25:37, which comes from one of my favorite yet most challenging passages Matthew 25: 31- 46.
Lord, may these people continue to see you hungry and give you food or the means to get the food. May I as your Pastor continue to be sensitive to those who are hungry. And may I lead the next church in this ministry so as to minister to you. Thank you God for the opportunity to serve you.

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Church in Missions: soles4souls

In preparation to move to a new church, I will be posting a series in celebration of the present church I serve.

When I came to Wadley UMC, 5 years ago, the former Pastor had shut down the Cooperative Parish, the food bank, and any other mission or community service they had been doing. They were a church dead in the water and sinking fast.

Now, this church is a mission minded, and action church. So today, I am going to blog about one of the missions this church has taken on because of the great commission: The mission is called soles4souls. They have a website and blog. We are in the process of collecting shoes and money for this mission organization to go to those who are shoeless. We will be also volunteering in their local warehouse, and in any way we are needed.

I noticed when I googled for their website, there were several organizations doing this type of ministry. This is a ministry that began because of the hurricanes Katrina and Rita. People were literally shoeless. A man involved in the shoe industry was concerned enough to begin to ship truckload of shoes, challenge the shoe industry, and others to do likewise. His friend, Paul Wilson, who is here in Wadley, worked out the details of distribution, even going down there himself to hand out boxes of shoes. Did they stop there? No. They now continue distributing in the US and overseas to those who need shoes. And believe it is amazing how many in the world are shoeless. (You can read more on their website.) They also now have a ware house, and store in Roanoke, AL that you can buy new namebrand shoes for far less than the discount price. My good friend, Jerry Cotney is managing the store. (He has a story too.)

Would this church have gotten involved before? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I am celebrating that they are doing it now. I am celebrating that because of prayer, spiritual leadership, teachings; they are responding to the great commission, Matthew 28:18-20. They are no longer a sinking ship, but a ship sailing with God at the helm, and all the sailors folllowing his commands.