Thursday, August 31, 2006

Quotation from Albert Einstein

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind. by Albert Einstein He also said; Before God we are all equally wise - and equally foolish. His most famous quote was this; 'I want to know God's thoughts ... the rest are details.' Einstein did once comment that "God does not play dice [with the universe]."

He was a US (German-born) physicist; discovered special relativity 1905 & general relativity 1915-1916; explained photoelectric effect & Brownian motion; Nobel Prize in Physics 1921.

This page has some of Einstein's thoughts on Science and Religion. This site clarifies some of his thoughts on Religion as well. This also addresses his thoughts on Religion and Science.This page has links to some of his other writings. This page lists his books he has written that you can by at

You can also buy a Albert Einstein Action Figure.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Pascagoula and Gulfport areas after Katrina

This is still the week we were staying in Gulfport and working in Pascagoula. We worked on a Day care Center owned by a private owner, but was where a lot of Exxon employees left their kids. It was closer to the Gulf and so had more damage. The owner and her family lived across the street from the center and the home was ruined on the inside and out as well. We had a big discussion as to whether it could be saved or needed to be torn down and build a new one. It was decided to save it, that is what was left and rebuild from there. We weren't sure if could be done, but guess what it was. Why am I wearing a mask, you may ask? Not because I was the masked cleaner or anything like that. No the Black Mold which is very dangerous was already showing and growing. That's why we had to be very careful, and use clorox to clean with. This owner was so grateful, she thought she was going to have fix the day care and their home. God is good and so was Exxon.

I've been reading articles about the problem of PTSD among the survivors of the hurricane. There was a study done by Harvard and is being reported in the news. Here it is from the Washington Post; In the six months after Hurricane Katrina, the rate of serious mental illness among the storm's survivors doubled, an unusual study has found, but the number of people contemplating suicide did not budge. Most survivors, in fact, said they had found a new sense of purpose, strength and community through coping with the disaster.

Overall, the researchers found a "pervasive optimism" among hurricane survivors on the question of whether they expected to be able to rebuild their lives. Emotional resilience was as high -- and by some measures, higher -- among low-income blacks, a group that suffered some of the worst deprivations, as in the survivor population as a whole.
Nevertheless, six months after the storm, many people were still short of money, housing, security and employment. The researchers are not certain the generally encouraging psychological state of Katrina survivors will endure.
"Optimism only lasts so long," said Ronald C. Kessler, the psychologist at Harvard Medical School who heads the study. "How long? We know from survivors of other hurricanes that after about 18 months people start to wear out."

The finding seems to conflict with reports that New Orleans' suicide rate tripled. But in an event such as Katrina, the vast majority of those who may have contemplated suicide may be less likely to act on it because they realize they are part of something bigger. Conversely, those with suicidal thoughts who don't have others with whom to share the disaster experience may be more inclined to kill themselves. So the findings are not inherently inconsistent, Kessler says.
Kessler says the absence of suicidal thinking reflects a newfound faith in the ability to start over. But he added that "optimism only goes on for so long" after a devastating event.
Psychiatrist Eugenio Rothe of the University of Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, who wasn't involved in the study, says there's reason to worry. "We did a study in Miami after Hurricane Andrew," he says. "The first year, people were busy getting through the day, rebuilding, getting their lives back in order.
"Then it hits them how much they've lost. They start mourning their losses."

The people who have these terrible experiences — they're often the ones who have these epiphanies," said Ronald Kessler, a Harvard University researcher who led the survey.
This capacity to grow from catastrophe may be an ancient survival mechanism that evolved to help humans live through frequent disasters, researchers suspect. It is sometimes called post-traumatic growth: External disasters may shake us, but also make us unwilling to give up — as in the resolve people feel in wartime.

It's also unclear if the apparent protective effect against suicide will be permanent. If survivors eventually lose hope in the recovery, they might become more susceptible to giving up, researchers suspect.
"There may be a crash-and-burn experience ... months down the road," cautioned Alan Green, a Johns Hopkins University counselor who treated survivors and knew of the survey findings.

But Kessler, a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School, said the number of people reporting a desire to kill themselves declined, in part because many survivors had forged stronger ties with loved ones and their community.
"We found an extraordinarily high proportion of our sample who said that despite the understandable sadness with all they lost and the understandable anxieties about the future ... that they felt closer to their loved ones, they felt connected to the community in a way they didn't before," he said.
"They felt much more religious, they felt that they had a purpose in their life and a meaning," he said, noting that 88.5 percent of the survivors in the survey said Katrina had helped them develop a deeper sense of meaning or purpose in life.
"Those are the people where these suicidal tendencies decreased," he said.

This is a message hope for all people. I like what the last paragraph has to say that they had forged stronger ties with loved ones and their community. They felt closer to their loved ones. They felt more religious and had a purpose and meaning in their life. I pray this continues for them, that they don't crash and burn and lose hope and faith. I pray that we keep praying for them lifting them up, supporting them with our time and talents and money. I pray they experience the presence of God in their lives, their marriages, families and communities. But it may be that they become a witness to us, and we learn from them.

More thoughts on Katrina and the Gulf Coast

This was the first trip I made with a team from the Roanoke district to Gulfport. We were there the second week after Katrina hit. We were sent to a Baptist Church in Pascagoula to work in its Child Care Facility. The Exxon company was doing everything they could to make it possible for their workers to come back and be able to come with their families. So one of the things they were doing was cleaning up, repairing, rebuilding the Child Care Facilities their workers used so they would have a place for the kids to go to while they worked. They spared no expense, if we said we needed something to do a job they got it.
The church had been flooded, the Sanctuary, class rooms, and parsonage was ruined. We cloroxed the walls, ceilings, floors, windows, nooks and crannies, and yes, even ourselves. We scraped up whatever needed to be scraped up, tore out whatever we had to be torn out, built some things for them, and then we cloroxed everything again. We worked with a team of Exxon employees who they themselves had lost their homes and were living with relatives. We prayed with each other, cried with each other and laughed together. At the time all the focus was on New Orleans, and what was going on there. The people we met and worked with felt forgotten, but also felt like they would make it. I had made a vacation trip to the Gulfport area of Miss, a couple of years before. It was hard to see the places we had gone to and torued, just wiped away or badly damaged. But it was so rewarding, and inspiring to go and help. After this trip, more members of my church who had hardly done anything like that before made several trips themselves on disaster relief teams. There is still much work to do, but it is possible to do it. And it is a long period of recovery. If you have not gone, pray about it, and go. There were volunteers from ages 12 on up to 85. Don't let your age stop you. There were volunteers with disabilities and some health problems but they found a way to be helpful and work.

Monday, August 28, 2006

prayers for the Gulf Coasts areas

These are the group of clergywomen, and laity that went and worked on First UMC in Pass Christian. This church was also destroyed by hurricane Camille and rebuilt. The whole area was just about all flattened. It was a sobering sight. I am choosing not to post the pictures of the area, because well they are all over the internet. I wanted to show you that people cared then and they still care.

Yesterday in church we prayed for the areas affected by hurricane Katrina, and the areas in the path of Hurricane Ernesto. It seems such a small gesture to an area so deeply traumatized.

In honor of them, I wanted to show pictures of the work teams I have gone with down to Miss.

God we want to pray for our brothers and sisters who are living in Post Traumatic Stress, living in trailers, living somewhere else than the home they knew. We pray as they come up on this time of rememberance, and as hurricane season has begun, the fears and tensions begin to rise. We pray for the rebuilding of not just buildings but of lives that were effected by Katrina. We pray for the churches that were just wiped out, and shells of empty buildings, but not empty of you God. They have been so willing to welcome and host those coming to work, and help. God you comforted your people in their time of exile, we pray you do so now. Strengthen the Pastors, counselors, and the helping persons. God be with those who not only lost possessions but lost friends and family. God helps us who can be your hands and feet and to do your work as needed.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Clergywomen Find Hard Path to Bigger Pulpit

Hat Tip to A. Linn at Longing for Home for finding this article from the New York Times

The article has this to say:

"Whether they come from theologically liberal denominations or conservative ones, black churches or white, women in the clergy still bump against what many call the stained-glass ceiling — longstanding limits, preferences and prejudices within their denominations that keep them from leading bigger congregations and having the opportunity to shape the faith of more people."

"Women now make up 51 percent of the students in divinity school. But in the mainline Protestant churches that have been ordaining women for decades, women account for only a small percentage — about 3 percent, according to one survey by a professor at Duke University — of pastors who lead large congregations, those with average Sunday attendance over 350. In evangelical churches, most of which do not ordain women, some women opt to leave for other denominations that will accept them as ministers. Women from historically black churches who want to ascend to the pulpit often start their own congregations.

This year, women were elected to lead the Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. But such success has not filtered down to the congregational level, said the Rev. Dr. Catherine Stonehouse, dean of the school of practical theology at the Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky.

It is often easier for women in the mainline churches — historic Protestant denominations like Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopal and the United Church of Christ — to get elected as bishops and as other leaders than to head large congregations, Dr. Stonehouse said.

People in the pews often do not accept women in the pulpit, clergy members said.

In the first decade after ordination, men and women usually hold similar positions, said Jackson W. Carroll, professor emeritus of religion and society at Duke University Divinity School and author of “God’s Potters: Pastoral Leadership and The Shaping of Congregations,” published this year.

In their second decade in ordained ministry, however, 70 percent of men had moved on to medium-sized and large congregations, Mr. Carroll said, based on a 2001 survey of 870 senior and solo pastors. By comparison, only 37 percent of women led medium and large larger congregations.

In interviews with 15 women ministers, most said they had worked or were working at small congregations, often those that were dwindling. In all cases, the ministers had built up Sunday attendance. But such a track record is often not enough to win a post at a larger, more affluent congregation.

Experts on women in the clergy said that while the leaders of mainline denominations support women in the ministry, not enough is done to back their rise.

One small but important step male pastors can take, these experts said, is to get congregations to hear women preach. For example, those pastors can ask women to be guest preachers or have them fill in when they go on vacation."

It further quotes from Clergywomen about their experiences.

It also has a Video: The Stained Glass Ceiling it is worth watching.

I search for my words to add this article or comment on it, and they do not come. I think I have said so much that I don't know what else to say. In my own Denomination, and Conference I would say the numbers that Duke reports would be more like this 95% of the men are leading medium or large congregations, and 5% of the women are leading small churches. (This is not fact, just an estimate and would need to be researched.) It can be discouraging for someone and at times has led some of the female clergy leaving the Pastorate and going into other fields of ministry, ie Chaplaincy, Pastoral Counseling, or Seminary Professorships. It intrigues me that if a woman has helped turn around a dying or stagnant church to where there is growth, why wouldn't that track record then lead to a larger congregation? I do not think in my tenure as a Pastor we will see women leading medium or large churches, I think it will come later after I retire. I think we are still pioneering the way for those coming behind us to lead in the larger churches. I think it takes education for the laity, and the denominational leaders. I think it takes experiencing women preaching, teaching, leading, and Pastoring. And I think it takes the work of the Holy Spirit.

Men Don't Preach, Only Women Preach

This morning as we were getting ready for church we were joking around. I said to Bob well here's the sermon, you preach it for me. He laughed, and then Katy said with all sincerity; "Men don't preach, only women preach." So Bob turn to me and said, "there you have it, men don't preach, I can't preach for you."

So now you all know men don't preach, only women preach. Out of the mouth of a baby, and a child shall lead them!

Friday, August 25, 2006

in the open space: God & culture: Playing tag

in the open space: God & culture: Playing tag

Oh my one of my favorite bloggers has tagged me to extol the God-prints in my life. My life spilleth over, and so do my answers. Ack. Anyway, here goes:

1. A friend who has blessed me: Gosh I have been blessed by so many over the years I couldn't narrow it down to just one. My friends Lynn Dimon, Carol Wolf, my new friend Jan McCarver, my friend Marty Schwartz, my blogging friends from the revgalblogpals, and the list could go on and does. Thank you God for all the wonderful friends you have sent my way.
2. An unexpected gift: God's Grace. Amazing, It is free and freeing, Grace is God's love freely offered to us. We do not do anything to "earn" it. “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:4-9).
3. A kind word shared with me recently: "You preach from your heart. You believe what you preach."
4. Something that makes me stop and praise God: Being with my kids. Being with my husband. The Beauty of the earth. Worship. Friends. Fun.
5. Something I’m looking forward to: Everyday I look forward to loving and being loved. But what else am I looking forward to? Time with my husband, time on the lake, time spent in prayer and worship. And one day i am looking forward to when I can sit down with God and ask God a bunch of questions, and finally get the answers.
6. A particular part of me I’m pleased with: Now this is a hard one, I have had a lifelong battle with not liking myself, expecting perfection and thus not being pleased with self. So mmm I guess I would have to say I am please with my willingness to learn and grow.
7. Something in my life I wanted but never expected: Being married to a wonderful husband, having children, serving a church as a Pastor.
8. A place that moved/moves me: China moves me. Love moves me. The Grand Canyon. Standing on the beach looking at the waves. Waterfalls move me. Mountains move me. Hiking in the woods move me.
9. One thing/person that always makes me smile: My kids make me smile. My hubby makes me smile friends make me smile. God makes me smile.
10. Most recent “love note” from God: A simple "I love you, Abi" during prayer, or in something I read in the Bible or a devotional. But most of all God sends me love notes through people who can put their arms around me and show that love.

And now it’s my turn to tag:

  • reverend mommy A very thoughtful person, but busy.
  • The Owl's Song She comes up with some of the best posts
  • SongBird at Set Free She is making up most of the Friday five meme's on revgalblogpals, plus I like how she writes.

    Feel free to abandon the meme, my blogdom companions, but I’d love to see your answers!

Well Carmen, I didn't abandon the meme, it just took me a long time to think about what I was going to say. Thanks for tagging me.

Cell Phone Theology

Over at Meanderings there is a blog about Cell Phone Theology. It is worth a read. Here is some of what he has to say; I recently read about a provocative cell phone advertisement that I haven't actually seen. I don't watch many advertisements on television, but I understand that the ad shows a cell phone client walking about with a crowd of his friends always accompanying him. No matter what happens during the day, there are always friends there to aid and support, and even friends dropping out of the sky to be there in difficult moments. The ad concludes, "You are not alone."One of the striking new features of life in recent years is the constant sight of people with cell phones at their ears. (He is talking about the verizon's commercial.)

ABC News ran a recent story on television about people who were addicted to their Blackberry's. One man admitted to answering email at 2 a.m., and another confessed to processing email during dinner with his wife. This constant connectedness can become an addiction. I think the most insightful aspect of this new phenomenon is that advertisement's conclusion, "You are not alone." While a sense of community and the support of friends are important at times, it seems to me that people are almost afraid of being alone anymore. The idea of walking the streets with only our own thoughts to occupy our mind seems out-dated. We can't be really cool if we are alone with ourselves.
But I want to advocate on behalf of being alone. I think we are over-connected, and need to learn to practice solitude. Seventeenth-century writer James Howell, put it simply, “Some are wise, and some are otherwise.” I suspect those constantly talking into a cell phone are otherwise.

I think there are two or more ways to look at this. I suggest we are not connected when on the cell phone or using the blackberry. When I see people at lunch with another person, and one of them are talking away on the cell phone while the other is sitting there alone, there is not a connection.When people are walking down the street or driving while talking on their cell phones, they are not connected. By this I mean that connected means attached, united, bonded. I don't see how their can be an attachment over a cell phone or blackberry, if anything it gives a false sense of being connected. But if we say the person is connected then what are they connected to or to whom? Are they connected to their cell phone or to the person on the other end or to themselves? Perhaps they have a false sense of being connected to themselves and the other person, and the cellphone or blackberry? Perhaps they then are connected to the wrong thing or wrong person. Most addictions are a connection to the wrong thing trying to fill an emptiness, loneliness, pain or insecurity. And most of the connections are never real they only give the sense of being real.

ABC's News article on "Crackberry" addiction compares it to drug addiction. To make time for the gadgets, some users will "give up time with family," Rutgers University School of Business Gayle Porter said. "They'll give up getting together with friends. They'll give up taking care of themselves, getting enough sleep — things like that."

The question comes back to what am I connected to or to whom? Am I connected to God? Am I connected to my friend and family? Am I connected to myself. And lest you think I am judging those addicted to their cellphones or blackberries, I am not. I cannot, for I deal with my own addiction to food, sweets, compulsive overeating, and those surely don't connect me to God, friends, family or myself.

Back to School Friday Five from Revgalblogpals

Friday, August 25, 2006
Back to School Friday Five

My late mother-in-law thought of September as the “real” New Year because of the number of programs and classes starting. By Labor Day, school is back in session for most of us in the U.S., although there is great variation by region (my children don't return until Sept. 7th!). To mark this, we bring you the Back to School Friday Five.

1. What is your earliest memory of school? First day, first grade. I was scared to death starting school. I felt lost. The school and classroom seemed so big, and I felt so small. But my first grade teacher was so nice that she made us all of us feel comfortable.
2. Who was a favorite teacher in your early education? You know my first grade teacher was my favorite, but my 4th grade teacher rocked. She let me use my artsy side in my homework, and she brought the best out in me.
3. What do you remember about school “back then” that is different from what you know about schools now?Well here are a few things, there are computeTV's, CD, cd players, no naps, early reading, early homework, early testing, dress is different, cafeteria food is different, snack time, desks are different, the classrooms are decorated, not so sterile that's just a few.
4. Did you have to memorize in school? If so, share a poem or song you learned. Yes, I had to memorize, but do you think I can remember what it is now. Okay maybe abc's, itsy bitsy spider. Pledge of allegiance. Now go away.
5. Did you ever get in trouble at school? Were there any embarrassing moments you can share? I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me, but if you must know; just about every grade I was in some kind of trouble. And I will not share any embarrassing moments. Teehee, it will be my secret, and the Principal and the teacher, and my friends. And the secret has died with the Principal and the teacher, and well my friends know the consequences of telling the secret.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sister Act - I Will Follow Him

This is our newest video. We changed into real nuns and playbacked a number of Sister Act, I Will Follow Him.

Please write in our Guestbook, Thank you!

Our website:

The Pope says "Don't Overwork"

Papal advice on overwork
43 Folders points to the article by The Herald about over work:
Holidaying Pope criticises overwork - The Herald

Words of wisdom from the vacationing Pope:

During his traditional weekly appearance to bless the faithful, Benedict XVI quoted from writings of St Bernard in the 12th century meant for popes of his time on the subject of overwork.
The saint advised pontiffs to “watch out for the dangers of an excessive activity, whatever… the job that you hold, because many jobs often lead to the ‘hardening of the heart’, as well as ’suffering of the spirit, loss of intelligence’,” Benedict said, quoting St Bernard. "That warning is valid for every kind of work, even those involved in the governing of the church," said Benedict, 79.

Thank you Mr. Pope, Benedict XVI and Thank you St. Bernard, Doctor of the Church. I don't want hardening of the heart, nor suffering of the spirit, nor loss of intelligence.

He wrote On Loving God, which you can read online. He wrote some other treatises and sermons as well. He also said this: "Love is sufficient of itself; it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in the practice. Of all the movements, sensations and feelings of the soul, love is the only one in which the creature can respond to the Creator and make some sort of similar return however unequal though it be. For when God loves, all he desires is to be loved in return. The sole purpose of his love is to be loved, int he knowledge that those who love him are made happy by their love of him." - from a sermon by Saint Bernard found at Patron Saint Index

Quotemeal: "Be thankful for the least ..." and my thoughts

Be thankful for the least gift, so shalt thou be ready to receive greater. -- Thomas à Kempis from Heartlight magazine

I love getting the quotemeal in my emails everyday. I have read some amazing thoughts. I have also read some thoughts that I don't agree with. This thought got me thinking about whether I am thankful for the least gift or not? To be honest, I am not, I keep looking for the bigger, better, gift. I tend to ignore the least gift. I have my blinders on and so I don't even see it. So how can I be thankful for something I don't even receive. God today I ask that you help me see, receive and be thankful for the least gift.

Want to know more about Thomas Kempis? b. 1379 or 1380, d. 1471, German monk, traditional author of The Imitation of Christ, b. Kempen, Germany. He was schooled at Deventer, in the Netherlands, the center of the Brothers of the Common Life founded by Gerard Groote. He joined the Augustinian canons (1399) and was ordained a priest (c.1413). His convent was Mt. St. Agnes, near Zwolle, in the Netherlands. Thomas worked principally at copying and writing. A number of his treatises on the monastic life and little devotional essays have been translated into English.

Want to read the Imitation of Christ? You can find it at Catholic First, The Christian Classics Ethereal Library , Cyber Library, and Five Franciscan Martyrs. The book is in public domain and so is available to all. I read the book while taking a course in Seminary under E. Glenn Hinson called the Classics of Christianity. It was one of the finest courses I took and introduced me to a life of meditation. It was too bad that the S. B. T. S. in their wisdom pushed Hinson out from teaching there. It was there lost, but he went on to teach at the Seminary in Richmond, VA. He has written some good books, especially on the Spiritual aspect of being a Leader. Here are some titles of a few; Spiritual Preparation for Christian Leadership ; A Serious Call to a Contemplative Life-Style , Seekers After Mature Faith, The integrity of the church, and The Reaffirmation of Prayer . He also writes for the Upper Room's Companion's in Christ. (It is a great small group study on Spiritual formation that actually brings about transformation.)

"Hold fast to Jesus both in life and in death and commit yourself to his steadfast love, for he alone can help you when all others fail. Your beloved is such that he admits no other rival; He wants your heart all to Himself and desires to reign there as a king on his own throne."
-Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (Book II: Chapter 7) from The Prayer Foundation

Wow then the question for me is do I hold fast to Jesus? Have I commited myself to his steadfast love? Have I let him have all my heart for his to reign as King on Hist throne? You know I have preached on this very thing, I have felt convicted of this, and at times I find myself in that steadfast love, and then I pull back. A lot of us get the Savior part, the friend part, and some of us even get the Lord part, but most of us shirk away from the King part. I think this is something we can seek in our lives, and yet may not happen until we die or Christ comes again. But it is no excuse not to seek Jesus and commit our selves to him, including myself.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

reblog on the story about the female teacher being fired

Today as I was searching across the blogosphere, I came across some posts and comments about the situation.

Ben Whitherington blogs about it along with some comments. He though makes the mistake of referring to the Baptist Church in question as being Southern Baptist, it turns out that it is American Baptist. But he does say this: "In the letter of explanation thereafter the pastor cites 1 Tim. 2.8-15, which of course says nothing whatsoever about Sunday school since such a church activity did not exist in the first century A.D. The Bible says nothing about anyone teaching Sunday school. It does certainly refer to Priscilla and her husband teaching Aquila in Acts 18. It does certainly refer to women praying and prophecying, a form of preaching, in the Corinthian worship service in 1 Cor. 11."

It makes me wonder if this church is American Baptist how then is that women can't teach because American Baptist have generally been the most open of the Baptist.

At Think it is the comments that are the most interesting about this situation. Although Think Christian does give a link to a resource page biblically supporting women in all levels of ministry. Monday Morning Insight has a post on it, but again there is a good healthy discussion going on there. Mostly it seems they don't like how it was handled. They offer for discussion this question though: Does this not seem just a little cold to send an elderly lady a letter telling her she’d been dismissed from her Sunday School class? Oh my.

Also you can read Pastor LaBouf' response to the hullabaloo at the church's website: In his letter he makes reference to Christian Courtesy, but sending a letter to someone telling them they are no longer to teach Sunday School doesn't sound like Christian Courtesy to me. Vintage Faith blogged about it from the emerging church point of view. I don't think that emerging faith has decided what it is going to do with women leadership yet. And by the comments, it looks to me they are more leaning to the right.

Kittens taking their first steps

And now for something sweet:
the kittens begin to take their first st the kittens begin to take their first steps... the kittens are bruno, griffin, bindi, bear, tiger, hyrem, and lily ('little bit'). the kittens were delivered by a semi-homeless neighborhood cat. all found wonderful homes :-) the song is "music for a found harmonium" by the penguin cafe orchestra. ...

UnCut Video : atttitudecats

Something with a little 'tude;

Quote of the Day from Francis De Sales

Quote of the Day
"When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time."– St. Francis De Sales

Prayer of Saint Francis de Sales
O love eternal,
my soul needs and chooses you eternally!
Ah, come Holy Spirit,
and inflame our hearts with your love!
To love -- or to die!
To die -- and to love!
To die to all other love
in order to live in Jesus' love,
so that we may not die eternally.
But that we may live in your eternal love,
O Savior of our souls,
we eternally sing,
"Live, Jesus!
Jesus, I love!
Live, Jesus, whom I love!
Jesus, I love,
Jesus who lives and reigns
forever and ever.AMEN

About St. Francis De Sales
St. Francis de Sales (1567–1622), known as the Gentle Saint, was bishop of Geneva. His motto was, "He who preaches with love preaches effectively," and his religious texts, including Introduction to the Devout Life, have resonated with many non-Catholics. Pope Pius IX proclaimed him a patron saint of writers. Some consider him a patron saint of the deaf; he invented a form of sign language to teach a young deaf man how to communicate.

You can read his Introduction to the Devout Life online at Christian Classics Ethereal Library

Monday, August 21, 2006

Theology for beginners (5): Jesus

Here is #5 Jesus from Faith and Theology

Summary: Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed and enacted the imminent nearness of Israel’s God.In the first century CE, a wandering Jewish prophet and rabbi announced the end of history. He proclaimed a radical re-ordering of power, and the arrival of a new age: the “reign” or “kingdom” of Israel’s God was now dawning, and the story of Israel was fast approaching its climactic moment. Through both his words and actions, this young Galilean peasant announced that the promises which God had made to Israel would soon be fulfilled: God would reign, he would liberate his people from oppression, he would judge the wicked and vindicate the righteous, and the new age of God’s future would dawn. This was the message of Jesus of Nazareth.

Doesn't it just make you want to read the rest of what he wrote.

Cat Loves Dog

I love cats and I love Dogs

But this Cat Loves Dog

Let's Dance

For something a little funny: Let's" Dance! on Transbuddha

Church Fires Teacher for being Female

Church Fires Teacher for Being Female

Maybe you have seen this, but I thought this needed to be posted.

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (Aug. 21) - The minister of a church that dismissed a female Sunday School teacher after adopting what it called a literal interpretation of the Bible says a woman can perform any job - outside of the church. The First Baptist Church dismissed Mary Lambert on Aug. 9 with a letter explaining that the church had adopted an interpretation that prohibits women from teaching men. She had taught there for 54 years.
The letter quoted the first epistle to Timothy: "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent."
The Rev. Timothy LaBouf, who also serves on the Watertown City Council, issued a statement saying his stance against women teaching men in Sunday school would not affect his decisions as a city leader in Watertown, where all five members of the council are men but the city manager who runs the city's day-to-day operations is a woman."I believe that a woman can perform any job and fulfill any responsibility that she desires to" outside of the church, LaBouf wrote Saturday.
Mayor Jeffrey Graham, however, was bothered by the reasons given Lambert's dismissal.
"If what's said in that letter reflects the councilman's views, those are disturbing remarks in this day and age," Graham said. "Maybe they wouldn't have been disturbing 500 years ago, but they are now."
Lambert has publicly criticized the decision, but the church did not publicly address the matter until Saturday, a day after its board met.
In a statement, the board said other issues were behind Lambert's dismissal, but it did not say what they were.

Way to go Pastor, I think you just got yourself voted out of office. And thumbs up to the Mayor for being bothered by what the Pastor said and did. A woman who has been teaching for 54 years, is fired due to the Pastor leading the church to adopt a literal interpretation of the Bible. Really good P. R. I guess I thought Paul was talking about not teaching men, but women could teach children and women, is what I have always heard the literal interpretation to be. But then my understanding was that Paul was talking about a particular situation in the church that young Timothy was Pastoring. When I looked at the pictures of the two, it looks like to me a young whipper snapper firing his grandma. But then who am I to say anything, I am just a woman. "Hey Mary you can come over to my denomination and teach or preach or lead or whatever God calls you to do."


Last night for the closing hymn of worship we sang "Stand by Me". Don't know why the music leader chose it, it didn't fit the sermon, but maybe she just thought we needed to sing it. I haven't sang it since I served at Aldersgate UMC in Huntsville. It has a peppy tune, and good words. Here is the first verse:

When the storms of life are raging,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When the storms of life are raging,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When the world is tossing me
Like a ship upon the sea
Thou Who rulest wind and water,
Stand by me (stand by me).

Everytime I sing this song though I get the image of the movie Stand by Me. I know I know, I am just a little strange that I make the connect from a hymn to a movie. Four boys set out on a search for a missing teenager and have the adventure of their lives. Its taken from Stephen King's The Body from a book of short stories called "Different Seasons" . There must be something in the movie that connects in me with the song, something more than just the title. I haven't seen it since it first came out, I'll have to rent it and see it to figure this one out. The movie also has some great music to it on the soundtrack with the song Stand by Me by Ben King.

Maybe it is my own need to have somebody stand by me with this transition I am going through as a Pastor, mommy and person. mmm.

Here is some more from the hymn Stand by Me

In the midst of tribulation,
Stand by me (stand by me);
In the midst of tribulation,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When the hosts of hell assail,
And my strength begins to fail,
Thou Who never lost a battle,
Stand by me (stand by me).

In the midst of faults and failures,
Stand by me (stand by me);
In the midst of faults and failures,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When I do the best I can,
And my friends misunderstand,
Thou Who knowest all about me,
Stand by me (stand by me).

When I’m growing old and feeble,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When I’m growing old and feeble,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When my life becomes a burden,
And I’m nearing chilly Jordan,
O Thou “Lily of the Valley,”
Stand by me (stand by me).
by Charles Tindley

A celtic Prayer to start your day

Thanks be to Thee, O God,
that I have risen today,
To the rising of this life itself;
May it be to Thine own glory,
O God of every gift
And to the glory of my soul likewise.
Alexander Carmichael, Carmina Gadelica, Lindisfarne Press 1992, p. 188.

Want to explore a litte more: CARMINA GADELICA

Daily prayer in the Celtic tradition offered by the Northumbria Community

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Being a Sanctuary: Are the UMC acting illegally or doing the right thing?

Well a Methodist church has harbored a single mother who has sought safe sanctuary there. She is an illegal alien and was about to be deported. She has been there since Tuesday seeking safe sanctuary. The feds have said they could raid the church to detain her, but have decided against that. This deportion of illegal aliens has caused a firestorm. It could get worse if the feds invaded the church. Read the article here. The church has always been a place of safe sanctuary and should continue to do so. I think in some ways the INS has gone into a reactive stance because of 911 instead a case by case review. I know that we went through a very tedious paperwork to make sure our children are legal citizens. But what if you are desparate, running from the oppression in your country, civil war, looking for Lady Liberty, and di not have the ability to make it here legally?

Here is the article from the UMC news feature.

Illegal immigrant invokes sanctuary. Immigration activists around the country are taking up the cause of a single mother who invoked the ancient principle of sanctuary and took refuge in a Chicago church rather than submit to deportation to Mexico. Pastor Walter Coleman said his congregation offered Arellano refuge after praying about her plight. Coleman said he does not think Arellano should have to choose between leaving her son behind or removing him from his home.

But Joel Fetzer, associate professor of political science at Pepperdine University in California, said: "If the government comes in, it's going to look very jack-booted fascistic. It would look very bad."
Churches and synagogues also tried to offer sanctuary to illegal immigrants escaping civil war in El Salvador during the 1980s, a civil disobedience activity known as the Sanctuary movement. Susan Gzesh, a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago who assisted the churches and synagogues that offered sanctuary, said she does not believe federal authorities ever went into the churches to make arrests. (reported in this article)

Experts in legal history say the principle of sanctuary has roots in ancient Jewish law, while the ancient Greeks also allowed criminals to seek asylum in temples. The tradition continued into the 17th century in England when it was abolished as the secular authority of the monarchy exerted itself against church authority, said Wayne Logan, a visiting law professor at William & Mary College.( From the examiner)

I looked further to what Sanctuary means. Wikipedia says this; Sanctuary has multiple meanings. A sanctuary is the consecrated (or sacred) area of a church or temple around its tabernacle or altar. In medieval law, a sanctuary was a place of religious right of asylum for felons on the run from the law. An animal sanctuary is a place where animals live and are protected. In modern parlance the term is used to mean a place of safety. Sanctuary was also a right to be safe from arrest in the sanctuary of a church or temple, recognized by English law from the 4th to the 17th century.

Sanctuary means refuge: a safe place, especially for people being persecuted
A Holy Place: religion a holy place such as a church, mosque, or temple
A asylum
A shelter
Safe Haven
Place of Safety

What would I do as Pastor of our church? I would give her haven, get the legal people involved, and then go from there.

Asking for prayers

Dear friends who read this blog I am asking prayers for a sister minister and friend, Ruth Vann Lillian. She has had some bad news. I am asking for your prayers for her, her husband, Bill, and their boys, Liam (5) and Angus (almost 4). In mid July, she had a colonoscopy with the removal of 4 polyps. The largest (lima bean-sized) turned out to be cancerous. Such is rare at my "tender" age of 39. Because there is a strong indication that the cancer has invaded the colon lining, the doctors have recommended removal of about 10" of her sigmoid colon and nearby blood vessels and lymph nodes to check for spread of the cancer. The good news is that her prognosis is encouraging because the cancer was found early. She is one of the "lucky" ones who had symptoms and paid attention to them. The surgeon gives her a 90% chance of cure with this surgery. He does not expect to find that the cancer has spread..She will have the surgery Aug 31 at UAB and expect to be in the hospital 5-7 days. Then there will be a recovery time of 6-8 weeks. Obviously this will be very hard on her family. Angus was born with many deficits and disabilities and is given ongoing regular therapy which has really helped. So please be in prayer for her and her family.

Aside note to this is that it was over a year ago that another one of our sister ministers in the N. A. conference of the UMC died after fighting colon cancer courageously for more than 6 years. She was a friend of mine, and her death was a big loss to all.

Friday, August 18, 2006

True Confessions or My Secret

I was reading what the Church of Starving Artists had to say about True Confessions. In this post they talked about the different kinds of confessions people have made to them. And then make an elusion to Mr. Karr's confession to killing a 6 yr old girl. The truth is that we need confession. More of it.I'm all for going directly to the Almighty, but nevertheless wish we were better at going to each other. Which is way harder than going straight to God. Face to face. Eye to eye. No rich mahogany walk-in closet with privacy grill needed.

I grew up learning to confess my sins to Jesus. I really did not know about Roman Catholic confessionals. I believed we didn't need a priest that I could go to Jesus. When I grew up and worked as a Pastoral Counselor, I hear all kinds of confessions and secrets. People will often say I can't tell you, its too bad, and I know you have never heard something this bad before. And with encouragement I would listen, nonjudgementally and we together would offer those up to God for forgiveness as needed, and encouragement to ask forgiveness when they have hurt others.

But I have got to say this is the first time I have seen or read about something like this. See what you think

Check Out This Church Site:
, one of the fastest growing churches in America, has posted a new Web site called MySecret, where people can go online and "confess" their sins.

Hat tip to Corey Miller at Church Communicators Blog

Theology for beginners (4): Israel

As promised an update and link to number 4 in the series on Theology for Beginners.

Israel Summary: The story of ancient Israel is a story of promise; this is the beginning of the gospel. In order to tell the gospel, we begin not with Jesus himself but with the history of ancient Israel.

the section on "Jesus" now has four posts: Israel; Jesus; Crucifixion; Resurrection.
(Ben Meyers said he might be changing things around.)

Once again. Meyers includes some good resources as well.

You'll find more on his blog: Faith and Theology

RevGalBlogPals meme: Brilliantly British Friday Five

Brilliantly British Friday Five
In the spirit of My Word! and Says You!, Songbird and Kathryn offer up a Brilliantly British Friday Five.Below you will find five phrases seen or heard by Songbird on her British holiday. Use your imagination to define them. Points will be granted for humor. If you are one of our British RevGals, don't play, but please e-mail either Songbird or Kathryn to let us know of any definitions you find particularly amusing or inventive. There will be lovely prizes provided by Kathryn (Diocesan magazine, St. M's notelets, history of St. M's, parish magazine--come on Barbara Pym fans, I know you want that last one!!!), so do your best!

Adverse Camber An unfavorable, unpleasant, undesirable beach comber. Like as in; Set Free was combing the beach for shells, there passed by an adverse Camber. She quickly picked up her shells and moved on, as she didn't want to be near that one.

Butts Wynd This is a fart that has been emitted with a great and blustery sound, also smell. This does not need to be elaborated on.

Plague Church This a house of worship that is infectious. Such as in The spirit within the church was so infectious that many people flocked to worship. It can also be seen as a place of worship that is sick. Such as the congregation at St. Michael's were a ill-tempered lot, that very few worshiped there. Or it could be a Cathedral that plagued the town.

Free House One would be tempted to say that the house was free, but one would be wrong, for there is no such thing as a free house, for one must pay the taxes. That being said one could also think one was invited to one's house for a fortnight, but one would be wrong also, because the person will not be there, and really they don't want any company after all. Now one would think this means free on the house, such as all drinks on the house, but that person had no money so it really wasn't free either. So really there is no such thing as a free house, its just a saying, and it is lost in time and space and thought and the blogosphere.

Mind the Gap This a saying that women will tell each other in the bathroom of an eatery or pub, before going out the door. Or it can be said to one in their home, or business in private, Or the female priest before they enter the pulpit, or your mum can say to you. And what is this mind the gap about? It is to be sure you are minding the gaps made by all your curves, buttocks, hips, and well you know. It is like telling a gentlemen that they are unzipped. You just don't tell them in front of everybody. Fortunately with the advent of the girdle and other smoothing body wear that Peace Bangs tells us about, you don't seem to hear Mind the Gap as much any more.

As always,
please let us know in the comments if you play

Top 5 Bible Names

Now lest you think this be serious, thou must hasten thyself over to Bill Arnold's take on the Top 5 Bible Names

He asks what are your favorites and gives you a link to a list of names.

Now friends, I like what he has done, but I wonder if there are some female names that fit his categories also. If you come up with some names, male or female put them in the comment section for us to read.

Priscilla seems to me fit his category, especially when you say it with Aquilla, which is who she is married to in the bible. Now try this, Priscilla wife of Aquilla was a Disciple in Corinth. Interestingly enough, Priscilla in Torrey is the same as Prisca, which puts us even closer to Prissy. I had a friend whose Pug was named Prissy, and boy was she Prissy. Priscilla in Greek means Ancient. According to the Baby names Guide in Latin it means of Ancient Times. Mmm, wonder how it came to mean Prissy acting? Where did that come from?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Now for something lite

Geriatric complaint at U- Tube

Walk a Labyrinth

Grace Chapel and Veriditas online Labyrinth

But you can also go here for the online Cathedral labyrinth experience. It is very different than Grace Chapel's labyrinth.

The Labyrinth is a pre-constructed path established using sacred geometry. People walk from the outer edge (the periphery) to the center, and then back to the outer edge. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has no blind alleys or dead ends. It will not frustrate, because it is not a puzzle to be solved. You cannot get "lost" or make a mistake because there are no choices to be made once you have made the decision to start walking. By following the path you always end up either in the center of the labyrinth or back at the entrance.
There are three stages in a labyrinth walk. The first is purgation. During this stage the walker releases the worries of everyday life by winding on a set path toward the center. The second stage is illumination. This begins once the walker reaches the center. The center of the labyrinth is a place for meditation and prayer. The Third stage is union. It occurs during the walk out from the center. During this stage the walker reflects on what they've experienced. They also prepare to enter the outside world.
There are many variations which individuals will make to suit their spiritual needs as they walk the Labyrinth. For example, some will pause before walking to prepare their hearts and minds for the experience. Others will bring journals or Bibles to reflect upon once they reach the center.

"The profound experience it gives to the ones who walk in search ofhealing and nourishment. It may be called the power of grace, or simply thepsychological human experience which relieves anxiety and stress, butsomething happens when the heart of the one walking opens to the invisibleOne who walks next to him/her, as Jesus on the way to Emmaus"
Chanoine Francois Legaux, Rector, Chartres Cathedral, France

"The labyrinth allows us to offer up to God the reality of our lives, trusting in Godâs immense love and grace... The very life of Christian faith is a labyrinth -- full of unexpected turns and twists, requiring us to step forward in faith, confident that Christ -- our Way, our Truth, and our Life -- is at the center of the very universe and at the heart of our life in God." Marilyn Campbell

Needing Sacred Space

Sacred Space from the Irish Jesuits

Looking for a Quiet Place?

Quiet Place a Guided Prayer from the Daily Prayer by Church Resources

Thought for the Day: Joy by Martin Buber

But this joy must not be the goal toward which you strive. It will be vouchsafed to you if you strive to "give joy to God." Your personal joy will rise up when you want nothing but the joy of God - nothing but joy in itself.- Martin Buber

A Martin Buber Bibliography and other resources

Buber and Education; Has a good section on I and Thou, his best kown work.

Meditation for the Day: Forgiveness

Thursday 17th August, 2006Ezekiel 12:1-12. R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!—Ps 77(78):56-59, 61-62. Matthew 18:21 – 19:1.‘Forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’
An inability to forgive is destructive, not only of the person who has done wrong but of the person who has been wronged. Even if we do not actively (or passively) seek revenge against the wrongdoer, we cling to our hurts, unable to let go them because they form part of our identity.Letting go would lead to loss of self. But holding onto hurts is like clinging onto a rosebush—the thorns dig deeper into our flesh, only making the pain and the wounds worse. As Jesus observes, forgiveness, the decision not to allow a past suffering to control our present and our future, comes from the heart.God’s grace touches the core of our being, and we give ourselves permission to ‘let go’—it is God’s work and ours.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

And now for something "udderly" ridiculous

Now, don't say I didn't warn you. I wasn't going to include this but, after going to it and seeing it I have rethought my position on this website; Cow

Another hat tip to Locust and Honey who lamented that it was not included in the list of the 15 most influential websites.

Not sure I actually agree with him, but it was kewl.

Websites that changed the world

Websites that changed the world

Amazon used to be a large river in South America - but that was before the world wide web. This month the web is 15 years old and in that short time it has revolutionised the way we live, from shopping to booking flights, writing blogs to listening to music. Here, the Observer's Net specialist charts the web's remarkable early life and we tell the story of the 15 most influential websites to date.

Hat Tip to Locust & Honey

I notice that they don't list my blog or revgalblogpals. Oh well.
What do you think of their list? Do you agree or not? What other websites do you think are influential? Let me know in the comment section.

The 25 Most Important Questions

People magazine has its 50 Most Beautiful People … Time has a Person of the Year … And mental_floss magazine - besides having tons of fascinating, cool, and juicy stories, anecdotes, and trivia - now has something that trumps ‘em both:

The 25 Most Important Questions
in the History of the Universe.

Hard questions that matter, like "can a pregnant woman drive in the carpool lane?" or "how can I win at that ultra-important-corporate-decision-making- process, rock-paper-scissor?" and of course, "is turkey a country or a bird first?". Wait, is it *really* a natural bird? Never mind - don’t answer that.

The folks at mental_floss were friendly enough to let us feature their stuff - something that will become a regular feature here at Neatorama (so be kind to them and visit their brand new and very chic blog, ok?). The text is verbatim from the articles, although I did add links, pics, videos and probably a couple of typos.

I like Mental Floss, have gone there off and on to floss my brain when it gets to much tartar and plaque buildup. Some of you mental whizzes will appreciate their magazine. "Its where you can feel smart again." And it is "where knowledge junkies get their fix." Not so sure about Netorama, it seems to be, well of the unusual.

Quote of the day from Blaise Pascal

Faith is different from proof; the latter is human, the former is a Gift from God. - Blaise Pascal

A little about Blaise Pascal:

Blaise Pascal was a very influential French mathematician and philosopher who contributed to many areas of mathematics. He worked on conic sections and projective geometry and in correspondence with Fermat he laid the foundations for the theory of probability. Pascal worked on conic sections and produced important theorems in projective geometry. In correspondence with Fermat he laid the foundation for the theory of probability. Among the contemporaries of Descartes none displayed greater natural genius than Pascal, but his mathematical reputation rests more on what he might have done than on what he actually effected, as during a considerable part of his life he deemed it his duty to devote his whole time to religious exercises. In 1650, when in the midst of these researches, Pascal suddenly abandoned his favorite pursuits to study religion, or, as he says in his Pensées, ``contemplate the greatness and the misery of man''

Want to read Pensées, you go to this link. They also have his Provencial Letters, that includes his letters to the Jesuits.

Someone once gave me a copy of Pensées, and I did not know what I had in my hands. Can you imagine that this man Pascal who had beautiful mind could be known for his Mathmatic theories and teachings, instead choose to focus his whole time to religious exercises, and they called it "what he might have been or done". How many today see that time spent on getting to know God as "what might have been or done". What a royal waste of time, it could be called. I sometimes wonder if I spend enough time getting to know God, and in the Spiritual Disciplines.
And I wonder what I might be if I did spend more time, and what I might be able to do.

I like the quote for today. "Faith is different from proof; the latter is human, the former is a Gift from God." How many times do we refuse the gift from God. Perhaps like me a lot, "I don't have time today God, got to go do important stuff." How many times do we not recognize the gift of faith from God, and instead get angry at God saying, "Why, God?" "Where are you, God?" Perhaps like me a lot. I want proof more often than I want the gift. God forgive me for turning down the gift of faith you have for me. Have mercy on me. Empower me and enlighten me to recieve your gift.

Theology for Beginners: the Gospel

In a previous post, “Theology for Beginners” was introduced from the website Faith and In it the links to the the outline, Faith, and Theology were posted. A promise was made that when the next one the Gospel was written, then the link would be posted.
Here it is as follows.
1. Faith
2. Theology
3. Gospel

  • Summary: The verbal expression of faith must be shaped and guided by the story of Jesus. Theology is the attempt to articulate faith verbally. But while theology provides the vocabulary of faith, it is the gospel which provides the grammar of faith.
He also includes books to read to further your understanding and knowledge.

Up next? Jesus
  • 4. Resurrection
  • 5. Crucifixion
  • 6. Jesus
Am I learning anything? Yes.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

St. Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle

In a previous post a motivational saying from St. Teresa of Avila was used, along with some links to books and resources on her life, and writings. As I was searching for prayers for morning prayer, I happened upon this St. Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle. So the link is included so you too can read one of her writings. She writes this:



Come explore with St. Teresa your soul.... "as if it were a castle made of a single diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions."

And thanks to Catholic First for hosting this website on prayers and other classics on prayer.

Prayers for a Pastor and her congregation

There is sadness in my heart for my friend Cheesehead . She is having to Pastor her congregation through a horrible tragedy. Something that no one, no family, no Pastor, no church should have to go through, but most likely will. The members of the blog RevGalBlogPals have rallied around her, lifted her and the church members up in prayer, designating a time to pray while the visitation and funeral is going on for them. But frankly since we have read about the news we all have been praying. Many have written their prayers and thoughts. Calacirian has written a beautiful and powerful prayer on her blog.

I have had a hard time coming up with any words to say. Yes, it is hard to do that in the midst of trajedy. Sometimes the best thing we do have to offer is our presence along with the presence of God. But I can't even be present for her or the congregation, but God is. But Paul tells us in Romans 8:26-27; "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." There are so many times in prayer that I do so rely on the Holy Spirit to intercede for me, and that God knows my heart and mind and my needs. Thanks be to God.

I also know that when you the Pastor are affected as well it makes it harder to Pastor, because you have your own wounds and grief that need healing. So I pray for strength for her pastoring, people to turn to who will comfort, listen, and be with her. Tomorrow as the Funeral comes and it is a wearing day after many wearing emotion filled days, lift her up, and then give them the rest they need. Already you are work in a mighty way as this congregation seeks to love instead of seek revenge. We thank you for that. They will need you in the days ahead, the trials ahead, and whatever comes from them. We know that you go before us, behind us, over us, underneathe us, but most of all you go beside us with us through the valleys, the time of death and the sorrow that accompanies it. Father if there are others out there reading this and they need you and your comfort, hold them in your arms, with your tender mercy, enter lives through your people who will be your hands and feet for them. God we are all in your hands. We ask all this through your son, Jesus, and through the comforter you sent so long ago to be with us, your Holy Spirit, Amen.

Ode to Blogger

Oh Blogger, oh Blogger,
Where for art thou?
Thou didst forget me at the balcony of life.
There is no sun or moon in thine eyes.
I have lost my passion for thee,
for thee have lost thy passion for me

Oh Blogger, oh Blogger,
Thou wilt not post my pictures, art work,
Thou loosest them somewhere in the blogosphere.
I search for them night and day
alas no sight of them hast I seen,
I have lost my passion for thee,
and it seems thee for me.

Quick get thee some maintenance or aspirin
or some new css or html so that thou
can once again shine in my eyes
and the eyes of the blogosphere
Thou didst not accept my latest post
nor would thou savest my post.
I have lost me passion for thee,
and thee for me.

Now as this is an ode to Blogger,
Thou must admit that part of its attraction
is that it is free,
and as Journey Mama didst say,
it is the bain of its existence.
I have really lost all passion for thee,
and I don't care if thee have any for me.

The Book Meme Revisited

Ben Meyers at Faith and Theology was the creator of a recent meme that was going around the blogosphere, called the "One Book Meme" Well it really made the rounds of the blogosphere.

Well, guess what, yours truly did not do it. Can't exactly say why, other than I have had way too much going on in my life. The biggest reason was, I just could not think of one book for the categories given, my thinker wasn't working, and I needed to concentrate to be able to think.
Maybe you did it, if you haven't, maybe after this you will want to. I may even at some point.

But Ben pointed over to a post by Kevin Stilley at Silver and Gold
who took the different posts that he could find, and came up with which books received multiple recommendations. You will find these worth your time to see if what you posted is up there at the top. P.S. you are either going to be surprised or you are going to say, "oh I knew that would be in the top."

Faith and

If you have not discovered this wonderful blog on Faith and Theology, by Benjamin Meyers, you need to click on over there now. Don't hesitate, that's it, click it on and you will be glad you did.
You see most theology books, courses are in language that is often hard for the average Abi/Joe to understand. It often seems that well, that's for the ivory tower phders, or those studying in seminary to be a preacher. And those in seminary who are studying to be a preacher are often more eager to get out and be preaching than to be studying Theology. But there are those who fall in love with the study of Theology, the books, the Theologians, their ideas, the discussions, well it goes on and on. And frankly, it went on over my head many a time when I was in class. Often when I am at preacher's meetings or conferences, and peers begin to discuss Theology or the latest book or Theologian; I must confess I feel this disconnect in my brain, and I am off to the beach in my mind. I just get really anxious, I know, I know, I am a preacher, and that has to do with Theology.
But when I read the blog Faith and Theology I really connect and can understand what the Theologian is saying. I guess I am one of those that like to bring it down to where we live, where the rubber hits the road. One of the things I like that Benjamin is doing lately is a series on "Theology for Beginners". Wow what a great thought. So far he has three posts: The Outline; Here’s a provisional outline of the new “Theology for Beginners” series (21 posts in 6 sections). No doubt this outline will change once I start writing the posts – but it should at least give you a rough idea of what to expect: Here is what he is posting right now:

1. Faith
2. Theology
3. Gospel

He has a summary for each topic, and then a more indepth study. At the end he posts some books and resources for further reading on each topic.
Here is his summary for Faith
  • "In faith, we respond to the God who has already grasped us, and we discover that the reality of God is the meaning of our lives."

Here is his summer for Theology

  • Theology is the attempt to express faith verbally in a responsible way.

Now doesn't that make sense? Well it did to me. I am looking forward to the future posts on
“Theology for Beginners”. I'll keep you up on when he writes his next post on Gospel.

Benjamin also has some really good links, and other good posts. He even has a post answering the question Why is Theology Boring? "Theology is an intensely personal activity. If I am teaching or writing theology, I am offering a confession of my own faith, and in exactly this way I am attempting to express the faith of the whole church. Wherever faith is truly expressed, it is eo ipso the faith of the church. "

So there you have it, go and be bored no more, and quit boring other people. Besides, Jesus was anything but boring. And we who call ourselves Christians, are not meant to be boring either.

God's leadership model

From Leading with a Limp by Dan Allender:

Here is God's leadership model: he chooses fools to live foolishly in order to reveal the economy of heaven, which reverses and inverts the wisdom of this world. He calls us to brokenness, not performance; to relationships, not commotion; to grace, not success. It is no wonder that this kind of leadership is neither spoken of nor admired in our business schools or even our seminaries.

I was flipping through Bill Hull's latest book last night - Choose the Life: Exploring a Faith that Embraces Discipleship. This quote jumped out at me:

The myth of competence is the idea that we will outgrow our weaknesses, difficult sins, fears, and disappointments. We will reach a place of spiritual competence where we have it together. It's a myth because that time never comes; in fact our dependence on God grows as we become more like Jesus. Brokenness is living life in the light of that reality.

More to come from this book. Free resources on the book are available here. Thanks to Naomi for recommending this book.

I quote these because I am tired of the business model of church, as if that is the way to do it. I am tired of being made to feel incompetent, because I don't lead that way. And I am sick and tired of having it slammed down my throat. I am just not sure this is the way Jesus wants us to go or he lead. Yes, we are to lead with excellence. I think sometimes it is my sins of ommission that are more costly in leadership than my sins of commision. Dan Allender has written some very fine books. I met the man at a Pastoral Counseling conference, he is a man of integrity. I will be buying this book and reading it.

And as far as Darryl's post on Spiritual competence I give you what John Wesley wrote;

John Wesley wrote: "The process of sanctification, or Christian perfection, begins when we are justified, made right with God. The process of perfection lasts a lifetime, cleansing away all sin with God’s gradual work on the soul. For most people, perfection comes at death. For Wesley, the scriptures were clear: God can and will forgive sin and cleanse us. The love of God can grow in our souls such that we are able to love completely, loving God and one another. Although it is possible to be perfected in love, it is not possible to be without errors, which flow from our human imperfect logic. “It is as natural for a human being to mistake as to breathe,” Wesley explained.(p.56) It is also possible to be tempted, and even stray from that perfect love. At all stages of spiritual growth, even perfection, it is possible to “grieve the Holy Spirit of God” (Eph 4:30), so we always need Christ, to give us grace, atone for our mistakes, to be the root of our spiritual growth. John Wesley explains that if, in fact, all things are possible for God, then how can anyone refuse to accept the possibility of being made perfect through Christ’s grace? In other words, what have you got to lose by believing that perfection is possible? “Let not those who are alive to God oppose dedicating all our life to God.” Click this link if you want to know about John Wesley:Holiness of Heart and Life, An Invitation to Spiritual Growth,

A thought for the day from St. Teresa of Avila

"Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they enkindle and melt the soul."

Saint Teresa of Avila
Spanish ascetic, nun, & saint (1515 - 1582)
A little more about St. Teresa of Avila; Spanish ascetic, mystic, Carmelite nun, & saint; co-founded reformed Carmelite order; patron saint of Spain. Want to know even more, here is a detailed biography of her.

Want one of her books or a book about her; here's the list at

A Comedy of errors

It all began rather pleasantly, nothing out of the ordinary. The church was having a picinic at one of the member's lakehouse. It was a beautiful drive out to the place. We took our boat and put it in the water at the community boat ramp. No problem there.
Road the boat across the lake over to the lake house. Beautiful setting. Had a good time being with the members, sitting by the lake, talking and then eating. Great food. After we ate, which inlcuded homemade ice cream,(yum yum) we had a devotional, I mean I led a devotional. Thanks to the revgalblogpals, I did one on the fruits of the spirit. Then the trouble began.
We went to take people for a boat ride, and the engine wouldn't start. Thought at first it was the battery. But no it was not the battery. Thought it was the battery cable, but not it was not. Turns out it was the starter, so no boat ride. But wait what to do with the boat? We are across the lake from the trailer, and the boat ramp. Well all the men stood around, and then they got an idea. Uh oh is this dangerous or what? Apparently at one time the family used to put their boat in right there by the dock and there was gravel there for launching your boat. So their idea is that someone will take Bob to get the trailer and put the boat on the trailer. (Now don't get ahead of yourself, but you are probably right). Bob comes back with trailer which he backs up into the lake onto what is suppose to be gravel. The men push the boat over toward the trailer and onto the trailer. Some of them are in the water now. They get the boat on the trailer, can't get it all the way on, so Bob backs up a little further. Yes, you guessed it, the car is now stuck.
So men gather together again to figure out what to do, and have another brillant idea. They'll hook some chains to the front of the car, and to the back of one of the trucks and they'll pull the boat and car out of the water. So Bob hooks up the chain to where he thinks you are suppose to do it, like a wrecker would do. Only...only...he didn't, he has hooked it to something that breaks when they pull the car. And oh the car and boat are still stuck. They think it is the oil pan, but the guy who is a engine genius and figured out the starter problem, figures out it is instead the transmission fluid line. Which is worse? But it means, the car is going no where and we need a tow truck and ride home. But then we decide to do the tow truck the next day because it is getting really late. Luckily, they had brought the church van so we had a ride back.
Poor Bob is in agony over the whole thing, and feels like an absolute failure. He is kicking himself all over the place. I say to him, you know Bob we are alive, we had a good time, we are all together, its okay. Its fixable. I'll work out. How many times have I done something wrong or made a booboo.(Don't go there.)
So today we go back to the lake house with the tow truck. He pulls the car, the boat up out of the water. We unhook the boat, so he can transport the van to get repaired. It was a beautiful drive out there and back. Zach had a good time being with mommy and daddy. It will all work out. But it truly was a comedy of errors. Oh and when the van is fixed we will go back and get the boat. Then depending on how much the car costs, we'll think about fixing the boat motor. Yes, indeed a comedy of errors.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Thanks for the prayers and thoughts

I am deeply touched by all the prayers and thoughts that have been sent our way about Bob's emergency room visit. Wow. And so many of you can relate to this gallbladder thing. He is fine. A bit tired, but fine. I think in some ways it was once again enlightening to what people go through who go to the emergency room.
You see, the job he has applied for, interviewed for, and finalizing a lot of paperwork and other matters for is an emergency room job.

And of course without fail, as a Pastor we are going to spend lots of time with members and their families in the ER.
This week left me tired from the very beginning. But we are fine. No more gallbladder or gas pains for Bob.

Thank you to all for asking, praying, and commenting. You all are the best!!

Friday Five: Bursting with Fruit Flavor

From the RevGalBlogPals Friday Five:

Reverendmother here...
On to the F5:
Well, those of us in the United States are on high alert for air travel. Thank heaven, it appears that a huge disaster has been averted. Meanwhile, dreadful conflicts continue in the Middle East and around the world. We here at RGBP certainly hope and pray for safety, peace and fullness of life for all the peoples of the world.

Galatians 5 describes the fruit of the Spirit. With all the sadness and despair out there, we certainly need it! So, the Friday Five is simple. Pick any five of the following attributes and go wherever the Spirit leads you... your choice! Suggestions: When have you experienced this attribute? When have you struggled with it? Or who embodies it for you?

Or if you're feeling light-hearted--just assign a fruit to each one. I think Generosity is a Banana, don't you?


As always, let us know if you play.

What a fruit basket turnover we have here for the Friday five. I have even preached a sermon series on the fruits of the spirit. One of the most enjoyable and well received series I have done.

I seem to be in a child like mood today so I went here for Fruits of the Spirit as fruit.
Here is here suggestions: Love is strawberry(fruit of love), joy is pineapple(think of the happy smell), peace is watermelon(piece of... play on words), longsuffering or patience is lemon(have to eat it slowly), gentleness is peach(soft), goodness is banana(child's favorite fruit), (sorry reverend mother), faith is cherry(two together on a stem), meekness or kindness is grapes(good to share), temperance(self-control) is apple(garden of Eden).

This site has symbols for the fruits of the Spirit: Love's symbol is a heart, joy's is an angel, peace's symbol is a dove, patience's symbol is a camel/donkey, kindness' is a gift, goodness' is a star, faithfulness is a rainbow, gentleness is a lamb, self control is a stop sign.