Monday, July 31, 2006

The Church of the Girly-Man, Ya!

I have been debating with myself whether or not to blog about this. But I finally made my mind up to blog.

David Warnock in his blog 42 writes this :
I don't get it: JOLLYBLOGGER: The Church of the Girly-Man, Ya!.
It seems to me that there is a thing going on that starts with a goal (attracting American men to Church) and then interprets scripture to support it. In my own naive way it seems that trying to create a gospel that appeals to a particular group in society is getting things backwards.
Neither the churches that Jollyblogger criticizes, nor some kind of male authority/testosterone based cult sound very like the sort of churches based on the gospel that I find in scripture. Lets get real about Jesus, this is no way to do it.

I am not surprised that the JollyBlogger's David Wayne would have a major post on what is being called "The Feminization of the church" coming from David Murrow's book Why Men Hate Going to Church. He has referenced several other blogs which have also addressed this issue from the side of feminization of the church and girly-churches. Sean Michael Lucas wrote this : As women transitioned from leadership of mission's organizations and "women of the church" groups to the leadership of congregations, this is viewed as part of the reason why American men have stopped going to church, why mainline Protestants have lost members in droves, and why the church is in crisis today. The answer, according to these recent books and conservative evangelical leaders, is to "re-masculize" the church, freeing men and their sons to embrace their manhood (by drinking, smoking, risk-taking, and other behaviors in smaller male-oriented groupings or by exercising "male headship" in various leadership roles in family, church, work, etc.).

Anthony Bradley has this to say on his blog: Believe it or or not, decor makes a difference. Many sanctuaries are painted a soft pink, eggshell white, or lavender, with cushiony pews and neutral carpet. The altar features fresh flowers while the walls are adorned with quilts or felt banners. Honestly, how do we expect men to connect with a masculine God in a space that feels so feminine? (pg. 190)
Flowers, soft pink, wall quilts. I laughed OUT loud when I read that. I guess for Murrow some churches look like the sets of Martha Stewart's or Oprah Winfrey's show. Hmm, churches with better (gender blended) aesthetics that fit the image of a masculine God can been found in old-school Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran, and Presbyterian Churches(ever been to 10th Pres. in Philly--awesome!!), and so on.Fellas, thoughts? Does your church's pink walls, etc. bother you? Should it? Should a guy walk into a church and say to his friend, "wow, dude, this is so pretty?"

Well I can put up with those thoughts for awhile because I know from whence they come. I was a little surprised to see this though at the UMC. org under resources, Real Men Don't Worship by Dean Mcintyre. The year 2006 is the 50th anniversary year of full ordination rights for women in The United Methodist Church. There have been new hymns, liturgies and prayers, worship services, books and articles, and grand and glorious gatherings in recognition and celebration… as there should be. Everyone celebrates the righting of past wrongs. Should we also be concerned with what is happening in the church with the disappearing men? In looking at some of the reasons mentioned above, we may be tempted to ask if it is right and just for men to feel that way. But we must get beyond that question and recognize the simple fact that many men DO feel that way and we must ask, "What shall we do about it?"
Questions about hymns and hymn singing:
Does this mean we should avoid singing "I Need Thee Every Hour" and "As the Deer" (The Faith We Sing, no. 2025)?
Should we sing more of "Rise Up, O Men of God," "Onward Christian Soldiers," "Lead On, O King Eternal," and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"?
Which is better for the language of hymns: getting rid of male pronouns for God or using BOTH male and female pronouns for God?
Do men enjoy singing less than women? Is it socially more acceptable for women to sing than men? Has our culture trained men to disdain singing?
Do people respond differently according to the gender of those who lead music in worship? or those who preach the sermon? or those who lead committees?

Its a good article, asking some good questions. Here are some of the statistics of today's testosterone-deficient churches:
Ninety percent of American men believe in God, and five out of six claim to be Christian (according to Barna Research Group), but only two out of six attend church.
One out of three attendees are men; two out of three are women. This is the case in 70 percent of United Methodist churches, 55 percent of Baptist churches, and 25 percent of nondenominational churches.
One-fourth of married women attend church without their husbands.
Lack of men in church is a predictor of church decline.

I don't know why but the whole thing bothers me. I have the book Why Men Hate Going to church and have read it. I was left wondering about the accuracy of his research behind his statistics, and reasons for why men don't go to church. But I was also bothered by how he really put the blame on women, and on women clergy in particular. I just don't think you can do that if you don't have some studies to back you up. And I think those who are borrowing his book's ideas to back their reason for why women shouldn't be clergy, and why men are to be the head of the house, need to be very careful. I really believe that the church needs to be in ministry to all people.

And I am concerned that young men in particular seem to be leaving the church. When I got to St. John, what I learned was that it wasn't just the young men, it was the young women too. They had a good youth program, but once you were finished with youth you were out of there, and there wasn't anything else there for you. And so many of the young people went to other churches that did offer a young adult program. Now mind you there is a college in Florence, with a good population of students. Alot of the young adults from this church went there. Okay so you got young adults, college students, but no program. Uh I think I see the answer here. Hopefully one of the things we can get started here and grow is a young adult group. I pray for the one's that we can reach out to, and involve, and help find Jesus in their lives.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Vicar's Study

I just had to wonder when did he visit my office and draw the cartoon. Anybody that knows me and my office will know it looks an awful lot like this. Taken from Church Times. But it was drawn by the wonderful cartoonist Dave Walker at

Now if I can just find my sermon for Sunday, and the report for my District Superintendent, and the notes for the Administrative Council meeting....

cheesecake Bob

Okay Rhiannon asked for a cheesecake picture of my hubby Bob. See the post on the Friday Five about the bonus question.
So here is a cheesecake photo of Bob and cheesecake photo of boy, Zach, as a bonus. Not sure which one is the cheesiest, but the tall dark and handsome guy stole my heart long time ago.

Welcome to MDA's Official On-Line Application

Welcome to MDA's Official On-Line Application

Help, I am being put in Jail, the slammer, Lock-Up for MDA. Help, I have to raise my own Bail money to get out of the jail. So please, please won't you help my by clicking the MDA official on-line application and donating a few dollars to the MDA for my bail money. I have to raise $2600 to get out. I have to raise the money by August 17th. If you are not comfortable with the online stuff just let me know via email what you are willing to donate, and we'll collect later.

If you want to learn more about Muscular Dystrophy you can go here:

And yes this is for Jerry's Kids. But it is also for all those who suffer from the other 43 and more diseases. Bob and I have friends who have suffered from Myasthenia Gravis and other muscular diseases.
So yes I am going into lockup shamelessly to raise money for MDA. Besides some of the best Christians I know were in lockup once.

RevGalBlogPals: hot hot hot friday five

RevGalBlogPals: hot hot hot friday five

Many areas of the United States are having a heat wave. Global warming, anyone? Look on the bright side of melting glaciers and enviro-destruction by taking a crack at the Friday Five:
1. What's the high temperature today where you are? 93 is the predicted temperature with storms coming.
2. Favorite way(s) to beat the heat. Swimming in the lake, pool, or ocean, but mostly staying inside with the air conditioner and reading a good book.
3. "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." Evaluate this statement. This is a Southern saying and it is the truth, you can be hot, but the humidity will drag you down, ruin a haristyle, make clothes go limp, makeup run, make you tired and worn out, nothing will dry, and thus it makes the heat feel worse than it is. Football teams from areas that are not use to the humidity will just be wet rags and expereince muscle cramps in the game, and then the local team will win.
4. Discuss one or more of the following: sauna, hot tub, sweat lodge, warm-stone massage. I'll say this it is too hot for any of these right now. I don't like sauna's because I feel like I being smothered. I do like being in a hot tub with my hubby. Will not do a sweat lodge for same reason as sauna. dont' know a thing about warm-stone massage, don't know that i want to. Most often prefer the regular kind of massage, and not the quickie that President Bush did to the Chancellor of Germany at the G-8 conference.
5. Hottest you've ever been in your life I don't think I am hot commodity, but if you are talking about living in heat, working in heat, it was the summer of Junior year of College. I was serving as a Summer Missionary in the Panhandle of Florida, not on the beach though. We would stay in their homes and work in their churches doing vbs, youth, children, whatever they needed us to do. At one of the very small churches, we stayed in a very small travel trailer with no air conditioner, no fan, and no air circulation. I and the other college student got heat exposure. It was one of the hottest summers ever and HUMID. We both thought we would die. In fact neither one of us served as summer missionaries again after that, and prior to that I had served every year. It was a great experience and it was part of how I discovered God had been calling me and preparing me to be a minister.

Non-temperature related bonus: In your opinion... who's hot? I really can't say, I don't get to see movies, I don't get to watch movie videos or listen to music, I don't even get to watch the entertainment news to know. So I would have to say my husband Bob is hot.
As always, let us know if you play--and those of you who are linking directly to your posts? You're hot. And cool.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Alligators, Gators, everywhere

The other night we had supper at Fudpuckers in Destin, Fla. If you have never eaten there, it is one of the touristry places to eat. It is a good hamburger, sandwich place. One of it's attractions is Gator Beach where you can feed the gators, watch the gators while you wait, but don't go swimming with them. "Just attach a piece of specially formulated “gator bait” to a cane pole and lower the food down into the pond!" They also have "Gator Shows" throughout the day.

Seeing all the gators made me think about the gators we have to deal with in life. Alligators are an opportunistic feeder which means they will eat anything that crosses their path if they are hungry. They are people who are like that you know; they will take advantage of, run over, or eat you for lunch. It doesn't matter if you are friend or foe to them. Fortunately, alligators do not see people as a source of food, and you are more likely to get struck by lightening than you are to be eaten by an alligator. However, some people will see you as a source of energy or power or use you. 99% of all alligator attacks are provoked. By feeding an alligator in the wild you are actually provoking an attack. Alligators can associate humans with food and people may be attacked because someone else has fed the alligator.

Seeing the gators lying around in the sun made me think of the gators in the church as well. Sometimes there are people in churches like the gators waiting for the preacher to make one mistake, say one thing wrong, forget something or somebody, and they are ready to eat the preacher alive. Now not all church members are like that though, thank God. They too look for an opportunity to strike usually to bring uproar and dissonance to a church. They are not looking for harmony. They are looking for "gator bait", which might be an unsuspecting new member or new Christian as well as a staff member.

I grew up in Florida on the lakes around Avon Park and Sebring, Florida. There were plenty of gators around, and my parents were very protective of us. Finally they moved into town away from the lakes. But we still swam in them. I have even seen them come up on land into people's fish ponds. I remember being fascinated by them and yet keeping my distance.

Here is some SAFETY INFORMATION about gators

  • Don't feed alligators. This is a most important rule. Providing food for these wild animals not only makes them bolder and encourages them to seek out people.
  • Keep your distance. Although they may look slow and awkward, these animals are extremely powerful and can move with a startling burst of speed on land over short distances. A safe distance from an adult alligator is about 60 feet.
  • Never disturb nests or small alligators. Some female alligators protect their young and may become aggressive if provoked. A baby alligator should never be captured, even if the mother is not visible. She may be watching you and decide to take action to protect her baby.
  • Keep your pets and children away from alligators. Large alligators do not recognize the difference between domestic pets and wild food sources. When they are hungry, alligators act on their hunting instinct and might attempt to feed on your house pet if given the opportunity.
  • Don't swim in areas that are known alligator habitats. Always be careful around water. Splashing can attract alligators that think a prey animal is injured. They may act on instinct and attack. Or, a protective female may believe her young or eggs are threatened and take defensive action. Be cautious when fishing in waters with alligators, as some will not hestitate to grab a hooked fish or eat the fish on a stringer.

Having read those makes me think of some the suggestions that Peter Steinke has in his books on systems dynamics of churches. Be a non-anxious presence. Don't get triangulated. Be direct and honest. Don't keep secrets. Keep your own boundaries clear so you can be self differentiated. Be aware of emotional cutoffs. There's more, and maybe you have learned a few in life or Pastoring you would be willing to share. Just add your comment.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

God on the beach

I wish I had a picture to show you. But then I am not sure the picture would really capture it. Today I was with my three kids at the beach. I would stand in the water with them while the waves were breaking around us. They were holding onto me and scremaing everytime a wave came. Then there was giggles and laughter when they got knocked down or the wave pulled them a little bit. Then they wanted to dig in the sand and make sand castles. I sat in the beach chair watching them from not far away. More giggles and laughter. Zachary would dig up the sand and put it in his bucket, smooth it over and then dump it out. He was most intense, yet happy as he did this. Katy and Kara were scooping up sand and water then throwing it out. After awhile they gave up on that and were laying down in the water as the waves came at them. More giggles and laughter.

As I sat there, and even as I write this, I am tearing up and crying tears of joy that I am so blessed with these wonderful children and such a wonderful moment. I rejoice to see them having a good time, laughing and being happy. It is a good moment that I want to cherish. I see the beauty and differences in each one them, how God has made them unique individuals. I thank God for the blessing and for these children. For the time on the beach with them, and for time on the beach with God.
Yes God is on the beach, but God is in the home too.

Hi God, it isn't "From a Distance.." or "What if God was one of us?" You are here, you are close you are one of us. Help me not miss you okay.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Some bits of wisdom for the pastor

I found a wonderful website called Pastor Hacks, by Bobby Hyatt. It is a lot like Life Hacks, 43Folders and Parent Hacks.

The idea is to increase your productivity as a Pastor, to help you understand new technology and how to use it. He also uses as a resource one of my favorite books of recent, and one that I have been using David Allen's Getting Things Done. He also quotes from George McDonald's book "Ordering Your Private World" like this one: "If my private world is in order, it is because I have begun to seal the "time leaks" and allocate my productive hours in light of my capabilities, my limits, and my priorities." and this one; "If my private world is in order, it will be because I have made a daily determination to see time as God's gift and worthy of careful investment." He titles those "memo to the disorganized." I am that disorganized person. He also has quite a bit on using the IPod.

So Pastors get yourself to the website to learn all you can to be able to become more productive.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

It's Raining

Oh my it's raining here.
What a beautiful site to see.
It's also, lightening and thundering so
no going out to play in it and feel it on your face.
But thank God it is raining!

If you look for me today at my blog
I won't be here. I'll most likely be blogging
over at revgalblogpals Saturday Party.
And if you call or come by the house, I won't be here either.
I'll be at my office finalizing my sermon.
(Wrote a bit of a rough draft yesterday.)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Happy Birthday: Friday Five: RevGalBlogPal Anniversary Edition

Can you believe it has been a whole year?!?!!Last summer, in the midst of a hurricane threat to a clergywoman blogger somewhere on the Gulf Coast, a dozen or so bloggers began to realize they had become a community. That clergywoman suggested we needed a t-shirt, and in a thread that grew to more than 100 comments, the RevGalBlogPals were born. St. Casserole posed the question on July 19, and by July 21 we had refined the suggested name to connote inclusivity (yes, that was my doing), opened a Cafe Press store (thanks, reverendmother!) and started a WebRing and blog page (kudos to reverend mommy!).From the beginning our numbers included clergywomen, other women engaged in churchwork as both Christian Ed professionals and devoted volunteers, seminarians and women discerning vocations to Protestant ministry and Catholic sisterhood. We are happy to include several men among our BlogPals, too. For some of us faith is the primary focus of our blogging, while for others it is the quiet underpinning of all we do and blog. We are preachers, mothers, poets, fathers, dog-lovers, cat-bloggers, married and single. We live in the US, Canada, the U.K., Finland and Australia. Our denominations include, but are not limited to, PCUSA, ECUSA, UCC, UCCan, Roman Catholic, United Methodist, Baptists of various stripes, Church of England, AOG, RCA, ELCA and Disciples. And even one UFMCCer! (Thanks, Rainbow Pastor!) (If I left you out, tell me in the comments, and I will keep editing later today.)I think we could all agree that Hurricane Katrina galvanized this community. Our collective concern for St. Casserole and her family made checking in at this blog a more frequent occurence, and guided our decision to donate profits from a writing effort to Hurricane Relief. reverend mommy suggested the book project and with help from many others we have now self-published two books, A Light Blazes and Ordinary Time.
On a lighter note, we have achieved some modest sales at our Cafe Press Store. There are some 80 pieces of "pulpit" merchandise out there floating around! After a discussion on the blog, we agreed to raise the prices of each item in order to generate mission money, and we designated Heifer Project as the destination. To this date we have given about $80 to Heifer, for beehives and most recently two gaggles of geese! Thank you to reverendmother for continuing to work on this project.A council meeting of RevGals took place at the Festival of Homiletics in May, and so did a happy meeting between Rev Gals old and new; read about it here.
Many people wonder, when will there be a RevGalBlogPal gathering? In hopes of making such an event possible, your Matriarchs have engaged in applying for incorporation, the first step in becoming a 501(c)3 group able to receive grant money. Great thanks are due to Quotidian Grace for her efforts in this area. Look for further announcements here when there is official news.

And now the Five:
1) What is your first memory of the RevGalBlogPals? Finding it through someone else's blog, maybe reverend mommy, maybe live preacher, maybe talk to the preacher, and feeling like wow, people I can relate to.

2) Have you met any of the other ring members in real life? Yes, I have. I met Reverend Mommy, songbird of Set Free, The Almond Branch, and St. Casserole at the Festival of Homiletics. It was really neat to meet them. I know Rachel from Gonia Gleanings because of Society of St. Andrews, North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church. Although Rachel is in Birmingham, 2 hours away.

3) Of those you haven't met, name a few you would love to know in person. A Church for Starving Artists, Bad Alice, Cheesehead in Paradise, Clever Title Here, Contemplative Chaplain,, Dylan's lectionary blog, FollowingFrodo, Gallycat's Lounge, Grace Happens, Hipchickmamma goes to seminary, in the open space: God, Inner Dorothy, LutheranChik's, maggi dawn, PamBG's Blog, Pearlbear's Blog, Philosophy Over Coffee, Pink Shoes in the Pulpit, Possible Water, preacher, blogger or procrastinator, Promise Land--Disney Land--Chaplain Land, Quotidian Grace, Rebel Without a Pew, Rev-to-be-Mibi, Rev. Dr. Mom, Revem, reverendmother, sense and nonsense, Shield the Joyous, Sojournering, Talk With the Preacher, The Big Dunk, the lone barista, The Mercy Blog, The Owl's Song, The Psaltery,
the sacred art of living, I don't like choosing sides either, but given the choice, I would like to meet them all.

4) What has Ring Membership added to your life? Well it has new friends, new peers, support, enlightenment, encouragement, thoughtfulnesss, openness, love, and care. I really like the new format for Saturday, being that I am usually waiting to the last minute. I know I am not alone on that day.

5) Describe a hope for the future of the WebRing. I hope that we continue to grow, and continue our openess. It would be something for a reginal meeting or a gathering of us all. I think we to need to write more, a collaboration of our learnings as female clergy for female clergy, and perhaps some fiction. I like to see us continue to raise money for Hurricane Relief, Heifer project, other worthwhile missions. Build a Habitat House. Go tdo a mission trip together. Get on the Ophrah show or other talk shows, NPR, CNN, etc. Start a foundation for women going ot seminary, so they don't come out broke totally and beyond. Mentor the younger owomen. Have a Carnivale on the subject. There is probably more, but I am tired and ready to go to bed.

Prayers work

Thank you all for your prayers, thoughts, and hugs. We both felt lifted up by them. The news is good news. The ultra sound is clear and the biopsy is clear.

Benign enlargement of the prostate. Yea! Poor Bob though is in a bit of pain from the number of needles they poked him with to get the biopsies. 14. Ouch.
He is taking it easy.

He wants all to know he is grateful for the prayers.

And oh yes, it is raining here for the first time in a long time. I guess the rain dance er prayer worked.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

P. S. A.s and the male Prostate

Posting today about my husband's prostate, is a little difficult for me. I think I have been in some denial about Bob's P. S. A. numbers, (Prostate-specific Antigen). Bob is good about having his PSA's done every year like a good boy should at his age. He takes Palmetto Saw Grass to help. Right before we moved he had his PSA ran, and it had gone up a couple of points. That means he went to see the Urologist. Well, the Urologist referred him to one up here in Florence because we were moving. This urologist reran the PSA, and did the DRE (digital rectal examination), and he didn't feel anything wrong. Because the PSA was still up, Bob goes today for a biopsy. This is the next step in determining if he has Prostate cancer. So please pray for my dear Bob. And men please get your yearly PSA's done, starting at age 40. They are as important to men as they are to women to get their yearly Pap smears and mammograms done. Dreaded, uncomfortable, humbling, intrustive, but important(The PSA's aren't that bad.)

I was Pastor to a man who died of Prostate cancer the year before because it was found too late, and one who found it early enough to have a successful surgery. I am pastoring a man who they found his late, and well it isn't a pretty story. We are waiting to hear about my Pop, my 100 year old Grandfather, who also had prostate cancer and radiation treatments years ago. It is a possibility it didn't get it all and it has returned. Men, this is a VIP healthcare issue for you. Don't wait because of your pride, your fear, your laziness, your thinking you are immortal. Those things will cost you. I have posted several links for you to go to enable to get more information about Prostate Cancer. And spouses, friends, and lovers you should be informed to for your man's sake.

And women for God sake go get your yearly exam done. It is the best prevention you can take against cancer. I know I had cervical cancer that was found early and removed, because I do yearly exams. I also have yearly mammograms, I had a small fiborous turmor removed at age 26. Okay so this was more than just about the prostate.

But please say a prayer that the biopsy comes back clean, and if not that we will be able to handle and do what has to be done.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Chaplain to the Fashion Industry

Anglican Priest to Bring Holiness to Fashion World

This is actually not a humorous article, but it would be humorous if my appointment was to be Chaplain for a college of Fashion. I only say this, because those who know me, know I am not a fashion plate. I do know how to dress well, but I don't like to take the time to do it everyday, especially in this heat. You can tell I have somebody to meet, some meeting, some conference, somewhere to preach or something like that by how I dress. Take today, I have slacks on with a blue denim shirt on with the Camp Sumatanga logo on it. So where am I? I am in the office working on the bible study for tomorrow night and the sermon prep. (The church's air conditioner needs repairing.) I might change for tonight though, the women are going out to eat, and then I have a finance comittee meeting. I will look up what colors will say what, and choose accordingly.

Now if you really want to find out about how to dress, then go to Beauty Tips for Ministers. This woman says it all. I have even begun to take her advise to heart. And Clergy men she includes you all too. And what's great about her, she does it with a sense of humor, prayer, and love. Perhaps we should suggest The Rev Joanna Jepson of the Church of England go read the Beauty Tips for Ministers blog before she makes an absolute fool of herself and the Anglican church.

Seriously, what a risky thing to do, and the Jesus thing to do to reach out to those in the Fashion Industry. Wouldn't it be great if we all would take a risk and reach out to those in the very industries, and walks of life that we instead condemn. But that would be too much like Jesus, wouldn't it. And we wouldn't want to be criticised like he was by the Pharisees for hanging out with sinners, and "tax collecters" or be accused of being a gutton, or a drunkard.
(Mat 9:11, 11:19). No sirree, not me. Oh, God forgive me that I am not willing to risk that now. God give me courage to be like you and hang out with whomever you would hang out with. Prayers for the Rev. Joanna Jepson as she moves to her new ministry in Sept.

This is a little from the article: The Rev Joanna Jepson of the Church of England is swapping her full-time ministry as curate of St Michael’s Church, Chester, for the glamorous design studios of the London College of Fashion where she is hoping her new role will help the church to take a first step into an industry that exerts enormous influence on society."The fashion industry has a huge impact and influence on vast numbers in our society," she said. "It has a particularly powerful role in shaping the self-image and views of young people, and it's important for the church to be involved with this type of community. It's amazing that it hasn't had this link before."

"We cannot merely remain in holy huddles in parish churches. It is imperative that there are more of these kinds of chaplaincies that reach into cultural networks and communities, which would otherwise be untouched by the church."

I think she is right, we can no longer remain in "Holy Huddles". Why was Jesus so successful? He went out and was with the people more often than he was in his office, meetings, etc at the local synagogue. God get me out of my office, meetings, study groups, "Holy Huddles" to where you are, your people are. May I have the courage that Rev. Joanna Jepson has, and other have had to go out to the highways and byways of life.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Mental Health Day

Hi friends,
You can read my major post for the day, which is the one before this one. But I am writing no more, I am taking a mental health day. Even thought I got a boat ride on Saturday, it was not enough. And So I am taking care of myself, my mind, my heart, my body and soul today. God be with you all today, and I'll see you in the blogs tomorrow.

The United Methodist Speak

I like my sister Alabamian Carmen Andres, who I have a lot of respect for her writings, have wondered; where are the church's response, pastoral message for the Mid East conflict. I guess it took them sometime to figure out what was going on, what to say, and then get approval to say it. Not sure.

But today, I found this at my denomination's (United Methodist) website: Mission Leader calls for Peace in the Mid East . It also includes the full text of his statement.

Here are some scriptures and a prayer to accompany this blog peace (piece) :

The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;he [God] utters his voice, the earth melts.The LORD of hosts is with us;the God of Jacob is our refuge. (Psalm 46:6-7, NRSV)

Our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12, NRSV)

Pursue peace with everyone. . . . See to it . . .that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble. (Hebrews 12:14-15, NRSV)

For Peace for Those Intoxicated with War

God of peace;
God of shalom;
God of salaam:
Save us from intoxication with war.
Turn down the media's frenzy and
unquestioning assumption that war will come.
Pull all peoples back from unstable international policy.
Deliver the nations from going out of control as the solution to conflict.
Bring us to sobriety of spirit.
Turn our hearts to peacemaking.
Give wisdom and light to our leaders as they choose the way to peace,
in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Daniel Benedict
February 1, 2003

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid." (John 14:27, NRSV) Jesus I know you said these words so long ago, that you leave us with your peace, but I am still trying to understand what your peace is. I pray for your peace in this world that has turned so hostile, and violent. I pray for your peace in the Mid East that once again has turned weapons of war to control. I pray for peace in Iraq for those who have turned on each other, and use sucide as an answer. I pray for you peace for the countries who build up their numclear weapons at the cost of their own peopls. I pray for your peace for the world leaders including my own, that often themselves try to bring about peace throught military intervention. I pray for your peace for families torn apart by strife and hatred. I pray for your peace in all our lives. Lord. Amen

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Israel-Lebanon situation made personal

I was out visiting homebound church members today, and so really had not kept up with the news. One church member told me she had been watching the news trying to figure out the Israel-Lebanon situation.

After I got home we took the kids to watch a movie at the $1.50 theater. So really I was without knowledge of what had transpired today. So I decided I would catch up by reading what was on the web, once we put the kids down for their bedtime.

I have to tell you I found the most interesting, riveting, chilling site throught a MSNBC article. The article talked about how contributors in Israel, Lebanon bring war to life in frequent-flier forum. So I followed the link and read their postings, and those who were keeping up with it all. It is really worth the read.
So if you just want to go to the forum here is the link to it.

on Wednesday when “Dovster,” a regular contributor from the northern Israeli kibbutz of Yiron, posted that he had been awakened by “a rather loud exchange of artillery fire.” In the hours that followed, Dovster pieced together what he saw and heard with local news reports. Then “BEYFlyer,” a regular forum contributor from Beirut, posted that the conflict was quickly spreading northward. “Woke up this morning to the sounds of rockets exploding on the airport runway,” he wrote. “… Roads south of the airport are severely damaged and bridges linking Beirut to the South are out. Traffic is non-existent in the city and I think the electricity and water stations will be next.”

The most recent post from BeyFlyer — whose online signature concludes with this quotation from Mahatma Gandhi: “An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind” — on Friday morning was even more ominous: “Going off line... this is getting (to be) a bit too much.”

I appreciate Mike Brunker reporting this site and what was being said there. Go and read. My prayers for those who are in the middle of this, persons who have family and friends in both places, and for those making decisions.

How Hot is It?

There are a lot of sayings about "how hot is it?" Hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. Hot as Hades. Hot as the hinges of hell. Hot as a depot stove.
Hot as a billy goat in a pepper patch. Hot as a summer revival. So hot the hens are laying hard-boiled eggs. It's so hot even my fake plants are wilting. Its so hot that my cold water faucet is as hot as my hot water faucet. hot as a two-dollar pistol; hot as a stolen tamale. hotter than a preacher's knee. Hotter than 2 possums in a mailbox. hotter than 8 Indians in a covered wagon. "it was so hot once that I was plowing the corn and it started to popping. The mule saw it, thought it was snow and laid down and froze to death." You all got any other sayings about this hot weather we are having or any you want to make up?

Even Jane Austen once said: “What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance” Well I too must be in a continual state of inelegance then. (Oh I do so like the British way of saying things. I think I will try that out on some people today.)

But the truth is, that it is extremely hot. In fact our local paper has had several articles about the heat. Here is what they say;

Jobs outside in the summer heat have some feeling the burn

It's difficult to avoid breaking a sweat just from listening to Terry Woodis' description of life as a roofer. "If the ground temperature is 95 degrees, it'll be 115 to 120 degrees up on the roof," said Woodis, owner of the Sheffield business, Champion Roofing. "Then, you add that hot tar coming out of the kettle at 450 degrees," he said."The type of work we do, for proper protection from the hot asphalt, you need to wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants and safety belts," he said. "That just adds to the heat factor."This time of year is difficult for workers like Woodis, who spend their days outdoors.Temperatures that regularly hover in the 90s, coupled with typical Alabama humidity, produce smothering conditions for those with outdoor jobs.So, how do they beat the heat? Local workers have a variety of hints."We try to start early in the morning, like at daybreak, and try to leave by noon or one o'clock," Woodis said. "After that, production falls so much because of the heat, that it's not worth staying out there."We try not to push our employees. We want to take care of them during this heat."Eats fruit and drink at plenty of water each day, staying hydrated is the main thing," Recommends wearing a cap and sunglasses to help provide shade. In addition, sometimes Gatorade helps. Another secret is to protect your head, Cliff Pounders said, as he pulled off his cowboy hat."You have got to keep your head covered up," he said. (my summary of the article.)

Here is another article: Forecasters calling for dangerous heat today
It's miserably hot in north Alabama, but not sweltering enough to issue a heat advisory."It looks like we're going to stay just below the criteria for issuing a heat advisory," said Robert Boyd, a senior forecaster at the National Weather Service office in Huntsville.In the Tennessee Valley, a heat advisory is issued when the heat index, which is the combination of heat and humidity, is expected to be 105 to 110 degrees during the day with nighttime temperatures above 75 degrees for at least two consecutive days, Boyd said. Heat indexes of up to 103 degrees and nighttime lows around 73 degrees are expected in the Shoals through the weekend.Boyd said that although a heat advisory is not in effect for Alabama, Shoals residents should still be careful when working or exercising outdoors. "Anyone spending time outdoors should drink a lot of liquids, preferably water or a sports drink," Boyd said. "You should drink more than you think you need because you will not realize how much you are drying out."People spending time outdoors should take frequent breaks in a cool place, Boyd said.Mike Melton, director of the Colbert County Emergency Management Agency, recommends scheduling outdoor activities early in the day before temperatures and humidity become brutal.Melton said elderly family members and friends should be checked on to ensure they are coping with the heat.Pets should have access to a shady area and their water changed several times each day. "When a pet's water gets hot, they are not going to drink very much. If they don't have a place to get out of sun and have cool water, they can be overcome by the heat, too." You hear that, take care of yourself, but take care of the elderly, don't leave your children and pets in cars with closed windows, and take care of your pets! Too many people assume pets will be okay, but they won't if its just too darn hot!

And then finally:Drought causes TVA to shift into conservation mode
Well many of you know we are in a drought that has been here for sometime. so the TVA is having to change the flow of water. With no end in sight to the drought plaguing parts of the South, the Tennessee Valley Authority is gearing up to shift into a water conservation mode on its reservoirs.TVA officials plan to reduce the amount of water flowing through the Tennessee River beginning Monday. Lake levels are not expected to drop.Randy Kerr, TVA's manager of river forecasting, said the federal utility must conserve water for August. Now this can cause algae to grow, and cause problems with drinking water. The reduced flow will decrease TVA's hydroelectric generation and could force it to buy more electricity from surrounding utilities, Kerr said.Rainfall across the Tennessee Valley is more than 6 inches below normal since Oct. 1, Kerr said. In the region downstream from Chattanooga, it is a foot below normal, Kerr said.

So you all be careful out there ya hear?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Refuge in the Storm

"Because storm clouds often appear well before a storm, we should take time in prayer to scan the horizon of the day for telltale signs of difficulty. If we sense a storm is developing we can find sanctuary with our Refuge. "

Isaiah 25:4 You have been a refuge for the poor a refuge in his distress a helter from the storm and a shade from the heat.

Years ago I bought one of those flip calendars with 365 calligraphic rederings of the Names of God by Timothy R. Botts. It was on sale. But time and time again I have turned to it, to read what name was the name that day. This was one of my calendars that was unpacked so I put it in my office, and turn to the name for that day. This was yesterday's name and scripture. I found it encouraging in the midst of the storms of this move and the heat that surrounds us all.

How many times did the Psalmist refer to God as a refuge? Over and over. Psalms 46:1 tells us this: God [is] our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. And what of God as our shade or shadow? Psalms 36:7 says this: How excellent [is] thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.

God thanks for being my refuge and strength, a very present help in this time of stress. And I thank you God for your loving kindness, and we do put our trust under the shadow of your wings. Thank you God. You are a sanctuary. And thank you for Martha, who read my last post and prayed for us. And thank you for others who are doing the same.

The stress of the day

Today I am aware of how stressed my family is. This move has uprooted us all from our dear friends. My little girl, Katy was crying this morning about missing her friends. Kara's anxiety was really high at lunch and she couldn't sit still or be quiet. Zachary was being all boy, and yet argumentative with the girls. Bob was spacing out. And I well I was yelling, trying to get controle of something or someone.

we tried to go for a walk, but that turned into a disaster. I just wanted to run away from them all. I was finalizing the bible study material for tonight on David's and Jonathan's friendship, and I started to feel that ache within of missing my friends, still aways away from other friends, and having to start anew.

When we left Wadley, Kara told her dear friend Theresa, who is an adult, that God would send her a new Theresa. I thought, boy does she get it, that God does provide for us. Well, God you sure are taking your time providing me with friends. And I sure could use one with the stress in our family, the new beginnings, the changes, the work at the church. And God so could you send friends for my little ones, they sure could use some friends.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Top 50 Influential churches

Todd Rhodes in reports that The Church Report Magazine is out with their annual list of the 50 most influential churches in America. This was compiled from about 2000 surveys that were returned to the magazine. It is an interesting list (as usual). This year's most influential church is...
Willow Creek Community Church. #2 is Saddleback. Rounding out the top ten are: Northpoint (Andy Stanley); Fellowship Church (Ed Young); Lakewood Church (Joel Osteen); Southeast Christian (Bob Russell; Dave Stone); Life Church (Craig Groeschel); Potter’s House (T. D. Jakes); Brooklyn Tabernacle (Jim Cymbala); and North Coast Church (Larry Osborne).
It’s interesting to me that six of the top ten churches on this list are leaders in the multi-site movement.
You can find the whole ‘top 50’ list here at The Church Report...

Todd then just for fun asks the following:
1.What is your response to the list. (I know that popularity contests aren’t great for churches), but what do you think?
2. What church(es) influence your local body?
3. Who would you add, or subtract, or move up or down on the list?

So just for fun how would you answer his questions?

After you write your answers you might go back to Monday Morning Insight and read some of the comments written.

Here are my thoughts: 1) There is just one woman among the 50. The men all seem to look alike. I think we now have a new style for ministers or a modified look. I am not sure we are talking about preachers or churches. I saw the Preachers but not the church. What makes them more influential than other churches? Most these men are on tv, write books or are quoted in magazines that build them up. So which is it the men or the church?

None of these churches effect our local body that I know of at this point. This church is not emulating any of them.

I think I would really look at the churches and their members and their ministries locally and abroad. How are they influencing and what are they influencing?
And who are they influencing.

It is telling that the focus is on the Pastor.

I would imagine there are churches that are not listed that quietly go about being the church they were called to be where they are.

There are many ways to be influential and in my book blogging is beginning to do that. I am finding revgalsblogpals have influence in a positive, nurturing way. I pray that I am leading this church to be influential for Christ in this community, and in the world.

Unspoken prayers:

I asked for strength,
that I might achieve greatness. I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for health, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things. I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power,
that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness,
that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for
But everything I hoped for. Almost despite myself, My unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men, Most richly blessed. - Rabindranath Tagore

A Canopy of Stars: Some Reflections for the Journey by Fr Christopher Gleeson SJ [David Lovell Publishing 2003]

Thought for the Day from Daily Prayer by Church Resources

Monday, July 10, 2006

Do not look up at a meeting

I have always been told if you don't want to volunteer for something don't look up and into people's eyes. So I have been practicing this since I was taught this nifty maneuver. And it has worked well. Usually I end up being volunteered for something, given a task, made the group leader, etc, and could never figure out why. So now I don't look up, Duh I was always looking up, looking into people's eyes and faces.

Well, I promise, I was not looking in people's faces or eyes or looking up at this meeting. There was no way to do that, there were too many people. But it didn't matter. I was the one of two ordained women at the meeting, and people knew who I was. And what happened. Yep, I now am one of the clergy on the District nominating committee for this new combined district with lots and lots of other clergy who could have been put on this committee. I give up, I am not even going to go to meetings any more. Although that doesn't work either. I have found out because I missed I was put on a committe or elected chair or something else that nobody else wanted. Maybe I'll just disappear.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Rant time

Can I rant? Oh please let me rant. Tonight at the Pastor/staff Parish Committee meeting, we did several things. First we counted answers to the survey the committee did in order to find out the direction the church should go in as far as hiring staff. And secondly we interviewed a candidate for the Youth Minister Position. On one of the surveys, which had to do with hiring, this was written in the comment section; "I think the Pastor should do the announcements and welcome during worship." All together the committee and I said; "Please." I am sitting there thinking, what does that have to do with hiring staff? I know I should know that answer, but I am too tired to pull it out of that hat. And we have a lay worship leader who is willing and able to do those things. Okay, so what about this don't I get, or don't want to get. At Wadley, I did everything, it was more like the Abi show. It is exciting here to share some of the worship leadership role. I think it is also pleasing to God. I am into that empowering the laity thing, not depowering them. I think that was Jesus did empower not depower. Okay off the rant box. Your turn.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A Short meme from RevGals

A Short Friday Five

A Short meme for what was for many a shortened week:tell us about five noteworthy Short things in your life.(Be liberally imaginative.)

Short People I am that Short Person. "Short people" (words below)"The Little Man Complex"
"Little Big Man" The many shorter people than me that I met in China.

Short Hops Are we talking about the hops that go into beer? Plane hops? Hopping? I am teaching my kids the game hop scotch. And being short I sure can't hop very far.

Short Stories A good man is hard to find. Any of Ferrol Sam's stories in Ephiphany. The kid's story "Runnaway Bunny" "I'll love you forever"

Short Lists Is there such a thing? Things for me. Places to visit.

Short Stops Are we talking baseball? Derek Jeter? Not sure who the rest are. Getting gas at the gas station

Short People
Short People got no reason
Short People got no reason
Short People got no reasonTo live

They got little handsLittle eyes
They walk aroundTellin' great big lies
They got little nosesAnd tiny little teeth
They wear platform shoesOn their nasty little feet
Well, I don't want no Short People
Don't want no Short People
Don't want no Short People`Round here
Short People are just the sameAs you and I(A Fool Such As I)
All men are brothersUntil the day they die(It's A Wonderful World)
Short People got nobodyShort People got nobodyShort People got nobodyTo love
They got little baby legs
That stand so lowYou got to pick 'em up
Just to say helloThey got little carsThat go beep, beep, beep
They got little voicesGoin' peep, peep, peep
They got grubby little fingersAnd dirty little minds
They're gonna get you every time
Well, I don't want no Short PeopleDon't want no Short People
Don't want no Short People'Round here by Randy Newman

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Fourth of July

Today has started off with a bang! My kids got us up at 5am. And like a fool I had stayed up late last night. I have had my two cups of coffee and they aren't helping. The weather forecast is rain. So this is going to be an interesting day.

I was remembering this morning that my favorite thing about 4th of July besides the family getting together was sparklers. I just loved sparklers, still do.
The kids love them too. Well, this is Zach's first time with sparklers. I cannot wait to see his face when he starts playing with them. I loved to swirl them around, make pictures, designs, you name it. I always hated it when they quit.
It was the closest we got to fireworks at home. My parents were absolutely against them. ("You'll shoot your eye out, burn your hand, blow up your face," you know the lines.) On the other hand my cousins would always have lots and lots of them. We would have to sit way far away to watch them. All the while my dad and mom would be fuming. Of course when we got old enough to stay up we would go to the city fireworks. I loved them.

When I met Bob we began the practice of seeing the fireworks at Ft. Benning. And boy were they loud, used real cannons, demonstrations by the rangers, helicopter flybys. It was all so exciting. Made you feel real patriotic or real scared.

But with Katy and Kara being afraid of loud noises, they never made it there. Our little town in Wadley didn't a fireworks display, thus began our journey into shooting off fireworks at home. Our neighbor owned a fireworks store, and so we got some pretty good fireworks for a good price. The girls didn't like the noise, but they loved the pretty displays. And best of all they loved the sparklers.

Florence does have a fireworks display at 9pm. I don't think these little ones will last that long. So tonight if it doesn't rain we will be shooting off fireworks, and playing sparklers in the back yard. And I will be taking pictures of the kids with their sparklers. But when the fireworks go off, even though I have a safety-minded husband who is careful, I'll hear those old voices saying; "You'll shoot your eye out, burn your hand, and blow up your face." "Hey, can't you old fogies be quiet and just let us have a good time." The funny thing is this morning the kids are putting on their chinese outfits, and talking about when they came from China. Okay fireworks originated in China. Fireworks/Chinese Outfits/ 4th of July. That'll work. I have got to get some pictures of this.

Monday, July 03, 2006

More on Bishop Jefferts Schor

I received an email that told me that Diane Rheam interviewed the Bishop Jefferts Schor on her show for NPR on June the 29th after her election. You can go to the link and click on real audio, Windows video, or podcast if you want to listen to the show. Or you can order a transcript, cassette, or cd of the show.

Apparently she had been very active at all levels of the diocese as a layperson before becoming a priest. So those contacts and network played into her being made a Bishop. You go girl. (Can you say that to a Bishop?)

I have to say I have a lot of respect for the women who have become Bishops in our denomination, the United Methodist. It was a bit of a shock that there were two elected in the SouthEastern Jurisdiction. I sure would like to see a few more women DS's in our conference. We have one.

Further news on Martha post accident

A member of the Wadley Congregation sent me an email update on Martha and the church. Wanted to pass it along to you all along with other news about her.
The email from Marty Schwartz at Wadley made feel good about them, and their relationship with God, and their care for Jim and Martha;

Martha is managing to grind through physical therapy and the issues associated with that. But, she maintains a sense of humour about it all, while on a morphine drip. What a wonderful person she is...but only with the support of her husband who is the greatest encourager ever imagined. Her situation has pulled the congregation together. It is somewhat awkward, in that she is barely here and she is gone for the next month or so....if not longer. Please keep Martha in your prayers. Please.Guess who it has fallen upon to be the pastor, in got! God is working in me in ways I've never imagined. Not only have I taken on the responsibility of being the lay speaker coordinator for Roanoke, and all points north...but I have the responsibility of being the local pastor in abstensia for Martha. Please keep me in your prayers....PLEASE! I've deffered to the PPR committee and the DS, Paul, to determine what is best for this congregation. I'll gladly step aside if asked, but have been endorsed by the church to lead in Martha's absence. I will do what I can, in service to our lord. Again, please pray for me. We had the honor of having Rev Paul's new administrative assistant, Jim Robertson, speak at today's service. I was out of town when the arrangements were made and I thank Paul for his decision. Jim gave a great sermon and all were moved by it. I led worship in Margaret's absence and was honored to do so. Friend, please pray for me as I embark on leading our congregation through the unforseeable future. My efforts may be overtrumped by Paul, but I think not. They like me and my style, so I'm answering the call. While I feel so unworthy, I'm equally compelled to serve. Again, pray for me. We held a healing service for Martha after the regular service, and I was amazed at the turnout. ( I mentioned this on your blog ). Abi, the Holy Spirit was indeed present. It was one of those experiential moments that one would have to be there to feel. I'm so encouraged by the love and support of our congregation. I don't think there was a dry eye in the bunch. Isn't the Holy Spirit wonderful?!!! The only thing missing was........YOU! With that, I'll close. Again, pray for me as I pray for you in your position. I'm utterly humbled by our congregation's vote to make me the interim pastor. I only pray that I serve faithfully and in a manner pleasing to our Lord. Thank you so much for nurturing me and mentoring me.

Some of the clergy women and DS's have gone to see her, and they said her spirits were good, she was alert, and handling the pain with her morphine button. She has a neck brace on now, has one arm in a cast, and the other connected to many tubes. She also has a fractured eye socket. So keep her, the family, and the church in your prayers.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Beliefwatch: God's Girls

Newsweek Belief Watch had this recent article about the leadership of women in the different denominations:

July 3-10, 2006 issue - When Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori this month became the head of the U.S. Episcopal Church, she wasn't just the first presiding bishop of that faith—she became the first woman in American history elected to lead a major Christian denomination. Although there have been influential religious women in the past, like the 1920s evangelist Amy Semple McPherson and modern-day megapreacher Joyce Meyer, only two other American women have reached the pinnacle of a religion's organizational chart: Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science in 1879, and Ellen White, who helped to found the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1863. So what, if anything, does Jefferts Schori's election mean for women seeking a similar path?Women make up 61 percent of all Americans who attend religious congregations, but they still struggle for their place in some denominations. A national study led by researchers at Hartford Seminary found that only 12 percent of the clergy in the 15 largest Protestant denominations are women. And some 112 million Americans belong to denominations that don't ordain women at all, including Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Southern Baptists, Mormons, Muslims and Orthodox Jews.But there are indications that times are changing. Just this month, the U.S. Presbyterian Church elected the Rev. Joan S. Gray as its "moderator," a one-year position akin to being named ambassador. In recent years, both the Disciples of Christ denomination and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, a major organization of the 1.5 million-member Reform Jewish movement, have elected women leaders. The liberal religious group the Unitarian Universalist Association now has more women clergy than men; 60 percent of its active clergy are female, which is the highest rate in the nation.
Thirty percent of students enrolled in Master of Divinity programs are women. But according to Adair Lummis, coauthor of the recent Hartford Seminary study, it might be easier in 20 years for women to earn top positions like Jefferts Schori's than to increase their presence as senior clergy in many local congregations, where congregants' attitudes might still favor male pastors. The stained-glass ceiling "has certainly been punctured," said Lummis. But it's yet to completely shatter.
—Holly Rossi and Lilit Marcus
© 2006 Newsweek, Inc

See Beliefnet's chart on various faiths' policies on women leadership

Rev. Joan Gray new moderator of the 217th General Assembly (2006) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Gray has been an intentional interim pastor. She is currently between interim pastorates.

Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schor is 52, ordained priest in 1994 and was elected bishop of Nevada in 2001. She received a degree in biology from Stanford University in 1974 and a doctorate from Oregon State University in 1983. She received a doctorate from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 2001. Before ordination she was an oceanographer with the National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle. The new Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church is elected every nine years to serve as the Chief Pastor and Primate of the Church.

I am not Episcopalian, so I don't pretend to understand the process or her election as Presiding Bishop. However, I have read that her election has sparked controversy. What I don't get is how does someone go from being ordained in 1994 to Bishop in 2oo1? Not to be critical, but wouldn't you want a couple more years under your belt to be a Bishop? Much less then to be the Presiding Bishop. Sigh, I guess I chose the wrong denomination when I was searching for a place to Minister in the early 80's after the Southern Baptist Convention closed the door on the Female Clergy. But when I was looking they were not ordaining women in AL. I guess I should have waited. No jealousy here. When I started out as a minister I was headed to the top, no messing around for me, right to the top. But you know what, something happened on my way to the top, God changed my mind and heart. I really would not want to be Bishop today with the stress of leadership, the controversies, and all the work you have to do. I respect that she is now Presiding Bishop, perhaps, it is in God's plans for her to lead, after all the leaders he chose in the Bible weren't who most people would choose were they? They were always the most unlikely men and women. But God knows what God is doing. I don't and I am not going to mess with God's direction. But I will say I am one of God's Girls, serving God, and God's people.