Thursday, November 30, 2006

Will Rick Warren stand his ground about Sen. Obama?

Famed pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren on Wednesday had to defend his invitation to Sen. Barack Obama to speak at his church despite objections from some evangelicals who oppose the Democrat's support for abortion rights. He had invited Sen. Obama to speak at a along with nearly 60 speakers scheduled to address the second annual Global Summit on AIDS and the Church beginning Thursday at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.

But Conservative evangelical Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, e-mailed reporters Tuesday to protest the visit because of Obama's support of abortion rights. "Senator Obama's policies represent the antithesis of biblical ethics and morality, not to mention supreme American values," Schenck wrote.

Saddleback responded with a statement acknowledging "strong opposition" to Obama's participation. The church said participants were invited because of their knowledge of HIV/AIDS and that Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life," opposes Obama's position on abortion and other issues.

"Our goal has been to put people together who normally won't even speak to each other," the Saddleback statement said. "We do not expect all participants in the summit discussion to agree with all of our evangelical beliefs. However, the HIV/AIDS pandemic cannot be fought by evangelicals alone. It will take the cooperation of all - government, business, NGOs and the church."

Sen Obama issued a written statement saying while he respects differing views on abortion, he hopes for unity "to honor the entirety of Christ's teachings by working to eradicate the scourge of AIDS, poverty and other challenges we all can agree must be met. "It is that spirit which has allowed me to work together - and pray together - with some of my conservative colleagues in the Senate to make progress on a range of key issues facing America," Obama's said.

It sounds like "The Purpose Driven Life" meets the "Audacity of Hope".
I hope that Rick Warren does not renege on his invitation to Sen. Obama. And I hope he can withstand the heat he is going to get for joining forces to work agains the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It is going to take everyone cooperating and working together for the Kingdom of God. And perhaps that is just what God is up too, breaking the barriers, breaking down our labels, bringing us together. Tomorrow Dec 1st is World AIDS day. What will you be doing to end the prejudice to HIV and to fight to help the forty million people are living with HIV throughout the world?

You can go to Pastor' for the full response made by the church and Rick Warren.

Whether to Blog or not to Blog

Whether to blog or not to blog?
Whether it is nobler to air one's dirty laundry or not?
Whether to utter the dirty word; burned out, stressed out, played out, preached out?
Whether to resign oneself to the daily tasks that is one's duty?
Whether to quit blogging at all?

For what is a blog after all but words strung together like a pearl necklace
For what is a blogger but a person who is a wordsmith perhaps not a blacksmith
For what is one's thoughts but free floating words like bubbles blown by a child and then the wind.
For what is one feelings but that which is provoked like when a bee stings or when your heart sings
For what is life but jigsaw puzzle pieces of words, thoughts, feelings, and relationships being brought together.

And yet in the bringing together of the puzzle pieces there are often pieces of thoughts and feelings that don't always seem to fit.
And there are sometimes no words for what happens in relationships or for the jumbled pieces
And there are sometimes when the words used reflect deeper hidden thoughts and feelings from the past.
And there are sometimes when one's words, thoughts and feelings hurt a relationship in a way not meant to be or not meant to happen.

Suddenly the moment has come and is over in a flash of light.
How does one then pick up the pieces of the puzzle of the relationship again?
How does one deal with the jagged pieces of the feelings and thoughts?
How does one say I am sorry and make peace with the jagged piece of a relationship?

It is painful to write this but must be done.
For I am human and have hurt and been hurt.
Words have been said, feelings provoked, with one I love.
And now the raw jagged piece is there between us.
I confess that from a deeper vulnerable place within, I then reacted in pain, hurt, anger and shame.
I now find from that same place and from that piece of relationship the willingness to say I am sorry and please forgive for I forgive and do love this one I have hurt and who hurt me.

Whether to blog or not to blog,
Me thinks I will blog.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanksgiving Week Message from Bishop Will Willimon

Every Week Bishop Willimon sends an e-mail out to the Northa Al. United Methodist Clergy and others who subscribe. (That means you too can subscribe to his email, or you can go to his blog, A Peculiar Prophet, or the North AL website, to be able to read the same content.)


On Nov. 15, Highlands United Methodist Church’s ministry with homeless people on Birmingham’s Southside made the front page of The Birmingham News. The article noted that this ministry has drawn some fierce criticism from some quarters. I love it when the United Methodist Church makes front-page news not for losing members or fighting over some social issue, but for being the Church and doing what Jesus commanded us to do when he said “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25: 35-36).

Way to go, Highlands!

This week, most of us our preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving with our families. All over Alabama, feasts are being prepared. Highlands, in the name of Jesus, has a considerably expanded notion of “family” this Thanksgiving. Highlands feeds the hungry and the homeless not just on Thanksgiving, but almost every day of the week. That’s what Jesus does to a church.

Whether it is feeding hungry people, building homes for those who have lost their homes in natural disasters, visiting those who are in prison, or providing a safe place for families struggling with the pressures of life to find hope, Jesus calls us to serve and not to be popular. The Gospels are full of stories where Jesus was criticized and hated for the ministry he did. Something’s wrong with our discipleship if we’re never criticized on the front page of The Birmingham News.

I thank God for Highlands United Methodist on their faithful ministry to homeless people. Their ministry is more than a quick hand out. Staff and members are building relationships and learning the names and stories of those people on the Southside that others hurriedly pass by. This church is not just giving out food and services but is also inviting those people who are served to join Highlands in worship.

Earlier this month I was part of a Conference called “The Heart of the Gospel: A Call to Follow Jesus,” a joint effort between Highlands United Methodist Church Committee on Church and Society and Urban Ministry, Inc. During the Conference, we did a very Methodist Christian thing - we focused on what Jesus makes us do in response to what our society does to the poor. I commend David Carboni, Reggie Holder, Emily Penfield and other staff and members of Highlands UMC for being in discussion with their merchant neighbors who take issue with their homeless ministry. I am encouraged by this discussion and hope the merchants and neighbors will join the church to begin to work on issues that can be solved in this situation.

The problem is not that Highlands United Methodist Church offers food to homeless people. The problem is that we live in a state where over 15% of our neighbors are living below the poverty line. The problem is that 23% of Alabama’s children live in poverty. When you sit down to dinner this Thanksgiving, please join Patsy and me in specifically praying for the poor children of Alabama.

Christian ministry is messy. Jesus never promised that the newspapers would approve of us. I thank God that Highlands United Methodist Church is more interested in pleasing Jesus than the newspaper. Thanks to Highlands, the rest of us are reminded that Jesus gives all of us a considerably expanded notion of “family,” a wide area of responsibility, and a means to do unto others as God has done unto us. That’s something for which to give thanks!

Will Willimon

"The problem is not that Highlands United Methodist Church offers food to homeless people. The problem is that we live in a state where over 15% of our neighbors are living below the poverty line. The problem is that 23% of Alabama’s children live in poverty. " (The numbers may even be higher. And actually Highlands does even more. Praying is great, but what about being the hands and feet of Jesus, and helping eliminate poverty and hunger in AL? And how about more often than just Thanksgiving or the Holiday season, although that is good too? And what can North AL. conference be doing as well? )

Christian ministry is messy. Jesus never promised that the newspapers would approve of us. I thank God that Highlands United Methodist Church is more interested in pleasing Jesus than the newspaper. (Yes, Christian ministry is messy, very messy, especially when we get out of our pews and our ivory towers. And people won't approve of us. And sometimes our very church members won't approve, don't want those kind of people in our church or will think those people are taking advantage of us. But people didn't approve much of Jesus either.)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Yikes, The church is now PETA's recent target

PETA mistakenly targets church's nativity scene

MSN reported the following:
"The pastor at Anchorage First Free Methodist Church was mystified. Why was the activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals chastising him? No animals are harmed in the church's holiday nativity display. In fact, animals aren't used at all.
People, however, do dress the parts — Mary, Joseph, the wise men, etc. The volunteers stand shivering at a manger on the church lawn in a silent tribute to Christmas. The Rev. Jason Armstrong was confused by an e-mail this week from PETA, which admonished him for subjecting animals "to cruel treatment and danger," by forcing them into roles in the church's annual manger scene. "We've never had live animals, so I just figured this was some spam thing," Armstrong said. "It's rough enough on us people standing out there in the cold. So we're definitely not using animals."

Jackie Vergerio, PETA's captive animals in entertainment specialist, said her organization tracks churches nationwide that use real animals in "living nativity scenes.""Those animals are subject to all sorts of terrible fates in some cases," Vergerio said. "Animals have been stolen and slaughtered, they've been raped, they've escaped from the nativity scenes and have been struck by cars and killed. Just really unfathomable things have happened to them."
In the letter to Armstrong, Vergerio shared some sad fates of previous nativity animals — like Brighty the donkey, snatched from a nativity scene in Virginia and beaten by three young men. Ernie the camel fled a creche in Maryland but was struck and killed by a car. Two sheep and a donkey had to be euthanized after a dog mauling at a manger scene in Virginia.

Confusion about 'living nativity'
Seems the confusion started with the church's choice of phrase. PETA flagged Free Methodist's display as a "living nativity," and indeed, that's how the church describes it on its Web site.
To PETA, that means animals.

Free Methodist's display is peaceful, Armstrong said. The congregation erects the stable. Members spread straw and don costumes. Some even dress as manger animals. The volunteers stand beneath a brightly lit electric star as Christmas music fills the frosty air. They don't even speak.
"No one's come by protesting or thrown bloodstained fur at us or anything," Armstrong said. "We even use a plastic baby."

Okay, so if you are going to have a "living Nativity Scene" at your church, either be careful how you advertise it or don't use live animals or be sure you are careful how you protect them and take care of them.

I had no idea PETA tracked these things as well as everythingelse it tracks about animal abuse. We are having a living Nativity Scene this year. I was asked if we were going to have live animals, and I said I honestly did not know. I enherited this practice, and they have been doing it for 2 years now.
At Aldersgate we had a Living Nativity that the children did on one Sunday evening. We didn't do it in Wadley, everybody was too old, although we had all the animals we needed. Okay so, what do you call it now? "Partial Living Nativity"? Do you use a disclaimer; no live animals or real baby used? M-m-m? How does one deal with this. "Life size creche', only actors used."

Shop, Go Broke or Buy Nothing?

Black Friday Five from revgalblogpals

Reverendmother here... My husband accompanied my brother this morning to stand on line for a Nintendo Wii. They headed out at oh-dark-thirty this morning but were, sadly, thwarted. There were 30 people in line for 6 units. They are trying to be philosophical about it--"That's the most I was willing to do, so I'm OK with it... imagine the people who waited for hours!" my brother said.

So this is a "Black Friday" Five (aka Buy Nothing Day) in honor of the busiest shopping day of the year:

1. Would you ever/have you ever stood in line for something--tickets, good deals on electronics, Tickle Me Elmo? NO!

2. Do you enjoy shopping as a recreational activity? NO!

3. Your favorite place to browse without necessarily buying anything. Not sure you would believe this or understand this, but if I browse there are a couple of places that I like to that at. Having grown up with mainly 5 and dime stores, I end up browsing at dollar stores. I browse the candy aisle, especially around the good chocolates. I browse pet stores. And finally but most important, I browse the bookstores.

4. Gift cards: handy gifts for the loved one who has everything, or cold impersonal symbol of all that is wrong in our culture? I'll take another view, when we adopted Katy we received several gift cards which were very helpful to shopping. We had no idea what size she was going to be, so people decided to give gift cards. I have bought them for my grandchildren when they lived far away, and I knew I wasn't going to be able to get the present there to them. But I normally don't buy them. I think they are another invention of the business world to get you to spend your money. And by the way some stores even if they don't have an expiration date on the card will charge you extra if you don't use it within a certain period of time.

5. Discuss the spiritual and theological issues inherent in people coming to blows over a Playstation 3. Now, this is what is wrong with our culture today. It reminds me of the movie that Gov. "Arnie" made Jingle All the Way. Theologically, God is not God. We are god, the thing is god, money is god, the kids are god. Instead of loving our neighbor, its all about me god, and get out of my way. It bespeaks our emptiness and need to fill ourselves up with things. It also speaks of our parental spiritual neglect of our children. And then the rest of it is the true meaning of Christmas or Christ mass is irrelevant to us. Whose Jesus anyway? Isn't Christmas about how many gifts we can get or give, especially if it is the newest, latest item? Person beware.

And now for the bonus item: It was "Buy Nothing Friday". Did you buy anything, shop at a mall, or retail store? Did you get up early and shop? No, no, no, and no. I can't the pictures to upload on here, but if you go here or here you can download one. You can go here to adbusters for more on Buying nothing for Christmas. If you haven't visited the Church of Stop Shopping with the Rev. Billy, then you have missed church. Or about the Church of Immaculate Consumption.(click on the picture to get to the website.) At Alternatives for Simple Living you can find some good resources for Advent and Christmas, like "Whose Birthday is it Anyway?", Their freebies and archives are very useful, I have handed out their devotionals to use in my previous church and plan to do so in this church.

Here is the link for Buy Nothing UK
Luonto-Liitto Finland
(I)nterenational Buy Nothing Day
Stories from Canada

Maggie Dawn (revgalblogpal) wrote a post in her blog about buy nothing day

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Road Home

Hi all,

Gosh I am overwhelmed with all the lovely supportive encouraging comments. Thank you. You all are such a generous group of friends. I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

You can read the story about the blogstone (0) over at PPB's, if you wish to learn more about where the idea came from. Or perhaps you recall the movie Schindler's List, here is the detailed story-line; that at the end, they are visiting his grave? memorial? and leave a stone there with all the others left. What a meaningful idea.

It is a long drive home for us to Fla. We were delayed through two cities with traffic and traffic accidents that made it longer. We spent the night in Dothan, AL. and I am so glad, I was the late night driver with my eyes beginning to close on me.

The next day we were on the road by about 8:30 or 9. Don't go there about why not earlier, just remember 3 children under the age 6, and Bob and me. As we crossed the FLA line and entered the land of "Sunshine", where a cold snap had laid claim to the air, we began to see those moss covered oaks. I noticed within me some feelings begin to stir. The thoughts crossed my mind, I am going home, this is familiar, I am a child again, and I miss my dad. We still had about 5 to 6 hours to go, but now it was okay with me. The scenary is familiar again, the lay of the land, flat with scrub brush, palm trees, palmettos, cows, pine trees, swamps; I almost home. At one point I can taste the sugarcane my Pop has handed me to chew on. Of course we can hear the familiar strains of "Are we there yet?"

I drove or rode on this road, HWY 19 going back and forth to college in Tallahassee. I drove and road this route from the days I lived in Bham. It has changed some, and yet has not. They call it the Nature Coast and it is. You won't see high rises, fancy hotels, white sand, and fancy cars here. Rather you see pickup trucks, 4 wheelers, old cars, even broken down junk cars. Old houses, some falling down, farm houses. But it is home to me. You also see big boats that are used, not just sitting pretty in the water. The livelyhood here comes from the land or the water, and sometimes both. It doesn't make for rich people. They truly are the salt of the earth people, and salt of the water too.

But what I love most is the tree covered highways with the moss hanging down, the blue skies, and the sunshine. Only it is cloudy these days. I can see my daddy driving the car, and hear his voice as he is talking about life. But he is not really with us, he is gone, but he is with me now. I am remembering all the drives home, and seeing him there, but he is not here now, but he is. I see that quirky smile on his face, hear his raspy voice, and feel his rough hands. I smell the pies and cakes he has baked and other goodies also, but he is not here, and neither are the pies and cakes. Mom doesn't do it like him.

And we are not really going home, the home I grew up in, no, mom has since sold the house and moved away. We aren't even going to the town I knew so well. Denise and mom have bought a nice home in a nice housing development in Hernando, about ten miles to the East of Crystal River. Is that to get away from the memory of Dad? Who knows. I miss coming home really. I miss my dad, and that home. I could go for long walks there. I could go into the woods there and meditate. I can't go for long walks here, there are no sidewalks, and you are more than likely to get run over, but I'll dare it anyway. I can go into the woods here though and meditate. And there are the similar trees with moss hanging down.

It is a long road home to my family home from Florence, AL. But it is a long road home to my real home that I long to go to one day. I wonder if it too has moss covered tress, scrub brush, palmettos, palm trees, the rivers running to the ocean, the swamp lands? I do know that my Daddy is there along with other family and friends, and I long so for that home with them. One day I will be there, but it is a long road home. And I wonder if it will have all the pies, cakes and goodies with those sweet smells? I bet it will.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Thanksgiving Delurking Week

There are so very many things in our lives that we can be thankful for. I personally, am thankful for such a wonderful group people represented by the RevGals and BlogPals and our community here online. At Bits and Odd Pieces of Mindy's Kingdom recently, some of us were noticing that there has been a drop in commenting recently. So, in honor of Mindy, Princess of Everything, we are having a Thanksgiving Delurking week! (Please notice the cow; that's for Mindy).Place this image on your blog and announce Delurking Week, starting today and going until November 26th. When you visit a blog, you can either just say "Thank you for blogging" or place a blogstone (o) (The invention of PPB of The Ice Floe) or whatever verbage the Spirit moves you to leave.Let the Delurking begin!

Posted by and art work by the reverend mommy on Sunday, November 19, 2006 at 3:40 PM at revgalblogpals

I too am very grateful for for my revgalblopals, my other blogpals I have found or have found me, and my Methodist blog pals. How blessed I am to know these wonderful people through their blogs, their comments, phone conversations, and actual face to face meetups.

I have to apologize though for my recent absences on my blog and in comments. Not only have I been busy with parenting, regular Pastoral work, and life, but I have the charge conference looming. And you Methodist know what I am talking about; extra meetings, budget work, nominations work, and paperwork and more paperwork. I hope once that is done, I am back on track with blogging and some other things I am taking care of in life, like friends.

So go ahead and delurk, and you are invited to use this for your blog as well.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Give Thanks with a grateful heart

Friday Five: Giving Thanks

Songbird said "It's that time of year.

In the U.S., college students will be on their way home, traffic on the highways will be at its highest point, cooking and baking will ensue.

But before the gorging and napping begins, let's take a moment to give thanks.

Please tell us five things or people for which you are thankful this year. "
I am so grateful for my husband Bob, my daughters Katy and Kara, and my son Zach. And I include in the rest of those I am grateful for is my family and friends. And I am especially grateful for my revgalblogpals. And I am grateful for my parishioners. Now my Katy would say,"And mommy are your thankful for yourself, and I would say yes." Finally I am grateful for God.

Bonus: Praise Songs or Hymns that express thanksgiving that I like;
"Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart"
"He has Made Me Glad"
"Now Thank We All Our God"
"God, Your Blessings Overflow" (a new hymn by
Carolyn Winfrey Gillette)
"God of the Sparrow, God of the Whale"
(Scroll Down to see the words)
Musical Thanksgiving (A list of Methodist hymns on Thanksgiving)
Cyberhymnal's list for Thanksgiving and Harvest

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Deep Calls to Deep

This morning, I went for my mammogram. It was not as painful as some I have had. I was not going into the office yet, because I was going to Zach's preschool for a Thanksgiving Feast. Well, as it turned out, I had some time on my hand. Imagine that time on my hand, boy its been awhile. What to do? I had my laptop with me so I thought about going to the library and working on my sermon, or bloggin or surfing. But that didn't appeal to me. The mall and other stores were just moments away. So I went to the new Kohl's store to look at the New Balance walking shoes they had on sale. I ended up looking at everything they had. But I didn't buy anything, I had to remind myself we have no extra money for these things. I decided my old shoes would do, until we begin getting Bob's paycheck, and get some of our bills and debt paid down. (Remember, I am walking now.)
So I left Kohl's and went to Books A Million to look for a book that had been suggested for me to read, "Writing Down the Bones". But they didn't have the book, so I kept looking at the various books in categories I like to read. I saw quiet a few, I would like to have, but again I reminded myself, we just don't have the extra money, and I got books I haven't finished yet. Book stores can be dangerous to my pocket book, just ask my husband. But as I was browsing, picking up books and reading them, I began to experience some sensations. I began to feel relaxed, a sense of being taken away, a sense of going inward, deeper within, centering, a peace coming over me. A thought came to me, that recently I had a reoccuring thought, "Deep calls to Deep". I had not known what that was about, and yet here I began to experience my depth getting in touch with the depth of the other, God. I began to experience the deep. I allowed myself just to experience it, just to relish it, to see where it led me inside myself. It seemed like it was a long time, and yet, I had plenty of time to get a cup of coffee, and go to Zach's preschool. After the thanksgiving lunch, I went back to my office and continued the meditative state, the deep breathing, the mindfulness. I realized how much I had missed and needed this, and so journaled about it. God's deep had been calling to my deep that was calling to me. I am so glad I had that time today, that quiet, that browsing, that peace. Next time, maybe it won't take so long to get me to answer God's call....or listen to me.

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. Psalm 42:7

I will give you the treasures of the deep, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord..." Isaiah 45:3

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Times that try a mama's soul

Well we finally made it through Zachary's oral surgery. It was quite extensive. But that will hopefully take care of the problems he had been having due to a cavity filled mouth, rotting teeth, etc. Poor guy was pretty upset the night before as big sister described surgery for him. He hates shots. He was really upset and crying Monday morning until they gave him a happy pill. And per Dr. Madusa's prediction, it wasn't long before he was up and playing. I realized he had probably not had anyone with him through his previous surgeries in China, and maybe not much comfort. So I was going to be sure he was comforted. And man was he hungry. Thank you to all who prayed for him and us.

We got some good care at the hospital also, as did Zach. I wonder if it had been an adult would it have been as caring? He came home with all kinds of things that they gave him. I think they would have taken him home too if they could have. All of them said how good he was. And he is a good kid.

We are going through the transition of Bob working on the weekends from 12am to 12pm. Kara has regressed back to some of her acting out, thoughtlessness, lack of safety, you name it. And the other two are having some emotional upheaval as well. I am trying to do the best I can do as Mom, but weekends are full for me too. And Sunday is a killer of a day. Friday they were out of school and because of Bob working, I was the one running them around. We had to do Zach's preop and see his pediatrician. Got all three of them their Flu shots, probably could have avoided it, but we were there and they were giving them. All three screamed and hollered and fought me. But gave them ice cream to make up for it.

Took them to the public park to play later that day. #1 rule is they are to stay together, and play where I can see them. What did Kara do, run off away from the group and where I couldn't see her. Maybe I watch too many CSIs, Court TV, Cold Case, Without a Trace, and NYPD, but I have a thing about watching the kids especially in public. Several times I lost site of her, and several times I had to catch her, make her sit out and retell her the rules. And she would do her sullen pouting act and I hate you act toward me. I was never so glad than when we left the park.

Sunday after church we go to get something to eat before we go to WalMart to get what we forgot on Saturday. I let them choose McDonald's. Boy did I goof up. They are usually pretty good there, but not this time. They would not come when I called them, they kept playing. They wouldn't eat their food. Finally I said that's enough we are leaving. They did the Oh mom thing. Didn't work we left. We went to WalMart to get somethings for Katy's school project. We get out of the car, and I am getting Zach out of the child seat, I hate the seatbelts in those things. While I am doing that Kara just walks out into the middle of the lane and here comes a car. Fortunately Katy yells at her to get back. I give her another talking to about safety, and make her hold my hand to the store, in the store and out of the store. She gave me that sullen pouting I hate you act.

Most of that weekend she is acting out, and then doing her pouting, sullen I hate you to me.
By the time I get to bed on Sunday, I am exhausted.
It is the times that try a mama's soul.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Red, Blue, and Purple: Friday Five

Friday Five: What's Red and Blue and Purple All Over?
Attention Friday Five from reverendmother over at revgalblogpals:

And now, on to the Five.Those of us who are in the United States have just been through quite a topsy-turvy election. During the campaign we heard a fair amount about red states and blue states, when in fact most of us live in some shade of purple.
And so... a lighter look at those confounding colors:

1. Favorite red food Devil's Red Food Cake.
2. Tell us about the bluest body of water you've ever seen in person. The Ocean. Does it matter which one? I just know the times I have been deep sea fishing, the water is deep deep blue.
3. It's movie rental time: Blue Planet, The Color Purple, or Crimson Tide? Crimson Tide.
4. What has you seeing red these days? Charge Conference Paperwork, and my laptop, it is giving me fits. Acts right for awhile and then goes crazy. It will be seeing a Doc. soon.
5. What or who picks you up when you're feeling blue? Bob, Good music, God, and if those don't a little Chocolate, friends.

Where is the bonus question? Where's the Purple Cow? Deep Purple? Purple Haze? Purple Rain? Purple People eater? Purple Heart?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My Birthday week and gifts

This is my birthday week. I always like to extend the fun and celebration as long as I can.

Monday was my birthday. My age now equals the year I was born in. Yep, and I can't imagine it.

I wanted to share with you the gifts I got this week.

1. My husband, Bob, finally started his new job, after much paperwork, gyrations, and having to wait. Yea!

2. Bob preached for me on Sunday, and helped serve communion.

3. I had an administrative council meeting on Monday night, boo. But the admin. Council did the right thing and gave a good raise to the secretary. Yea. And yes, they gave me one too.

4. We completed our wednesday night bible study of the life of David. Yea.

5. I got money.

6. I got the dvds of the Vicar of Dibley which I had been wanting for a long time.

7. The elections changed the balance of power so that it is now balanced.

8. I am going on a date tonight. Double, Triple yea!

9. I took Tuesday off for me.

10. The kids sang happy birthday to me.

11. I got lots of cards and telephone calls.

12. I am working on my charge conference paperwork, and snowed under, er that's not a birthday gift.

Now if you want to keep sending me gifts, they will be happily recieved.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Preaching and Creativity?

Is creativity a part of the preaching process?
Is creativity part of your preaching process?
Do you consider it important to your reading of the scripture for the sermon?
Does it come into play as you are writing the sermon?
And how about when you are presenting the sermon, does creativity matter?
Does it come into play as the congregation hear the scripture read and the sermon preached?

I ask because I came across this about creativity at Braingle mentalrobics: Creativity :: Noticing the Unnoticed. The title alone caught my attention. I think part of reading the scripture is to notice the unnoticed.

The article further said: Our minds are constantly filtering and processing data so that you don't have to pay attention to everything. Your consciousness is only presented with the most relevant data that you need to make decisions. Small details are often ignored. For example, do you know which color is on the top of a traffic light? Or which direction Lincoln is facing on the penny?

Whenever you have a free moment, look around and try to notice something that you don't normally see. Study all the minute details about an object and recognize that it was made that way for a reason. What is that reason?

Sometimes art students are instructed to look at the world upside-down by bending over and looking between their legs. This different orientation often allows you to see things that you normally wouldn't see. Try it. You may also try getting really low to the ground and see what the world looks like from an ant's perspective.

I don't know that we have to go through such areobics to look at scripture creatively. But I do wonder if we are invited to look at scripture with a creative eye and mind. And I wonder if by our looking at scripture that way as preachers, that we are also inviting our listeners to do the same. Perhaps, that is part of why Jesus told parables.

See if you can use creative eyes to read the lectionary scripture for Sunday, Mark 12:38-44. In fact, I think Jesus is inviting the disciples to use creative eyes. Can you see what he is inviting you to see?


Victor Shepherd in his sermon on The Holy Spirit as Breath, Oil, Dove and Fire says this of the the "Spirit as breath; 'Breath' in Hebrew denotes creativity. The breath of God that God breathes into his own people is that movement of God upon us and within us which enlivens our creativity and frees it for service in God’s kingdom."
Matthew Fox has written a book titled CREATIVITY: WHERE THE DIVINE AND THE HUMAN MEET. In this book he writes about “The Divine Artist Within”, the creative Spirit, the Holy Spirit at work in us. You can read an exerpt from the book at his website.
Sarah Stockton writes about creativity as a Spiritual Practice. She writes the following "The impulse to create — an impulse familiar to so many — is part of our yearning to live. When we become aware of and then act upon our creative impulses, we recognize and align ourselves with the Holy Spirit, the Sacred Breath of Life, the Divine One, the Ground of our Being. For in the creative process we attempt to give life to our own understanding and experience of existence."
In this sermon, "The Trinity as Creative Idea, Creative Energy, Creative Power" on Genesis 1:1-2:4, Margaret Gunness goes into depth about the creativity of the Trinity in creation and now.

When I read the Genesis passage of the Creation story, I became more aware of the creating work of God. That may not make much sense, but somewhere in my thinking, and in some ways from what I was taught; I was convinced creation was once and that was it, and on top of that it just had to do with the creation of the world. Perhaps it was my age or spiritual maturity? But as I have studied the scriptures I become more aware that this creating work is still going on. Okay I am a little slow sometimes. I have come to believe in the creative work of the holy spirit in us now. I believe that this creative work of the Holy Spirit is at work/play in us as we read the scriptures, prepare the sermon, pray over the sermon, write the words, and then deliver the word. I also believe as people in the congregation listen to the sermon and open themselves to the Holy Spirit, the creativity continues in them and their lives. What about you? What do you think?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Inside of sacred space..

Inside of sacred space you are indestructible, even though you feel quite vulnerable and unsure of yourself in many ways. Inside of sacred space you can love America and critique America at the same time. Inside of sacred space you can weep for the bigger evil of which both sides are victims. Inside of sacred space you can imagine an alternative universe because you have now been there yourself. Inside of sacred space you can - if you can dare imagine it - hear God.
- Richard Rohr

This little quote that I got in an email recently, really touched my soul. I needed to hear it. I don't think I have a sacred space in my life. I think I need to find or make some sacred space.
I do know there is a place inside of me that I do weep. There is a place inside of meI feel my vulnerability. And inside me I do try to hear God.

But with little kids that sacred space is hard to access. And with full time work it is hard to access that space. God bring me to the Sacred Space in me.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Oh My Aching Tooth

Friday Five: Nothing But the Tooth as at revgalblogpals by songbird.

We are in the throes of what will (hopefully) be the final set of braces in this family, and so my mind is on the tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth.

Please share your thoughts on the following:

1) The Tooth Fairy She's a cheapskate these days in our house. I like the Tooth Fairy from the Tim Allen Movie, Santa Clause II,who then becomes TheMolinator. The Tooth Fairy in our family seems to forget that there was a tooth lost that day and put under the pillow.

2) Flossing Used to hate it, but must do it to avoid worse problems with my gums. Have discovered the ready made flossers and use those extensively while driving, watching tv, working on the computer, and and.....

3) Toothpaste Brands Whatever is the cheapest or the brand on sale, except Bob can't use certain types so I think it is colgate.

4) Orthodontia for Adults Whatever turns you on or your teeth, or if you need it, or your parents couldn't afford it when you were a kid, or you want a mouth make over, or your childhood Dentist didn't think your mouth was bad enough for them, and so the Dentist you have now says you better get it done. I sucked my thumb for a long time as a child, and everybody told me I was going to ruin my teeth. As far as I have been told I have not done so. But I have had several adult friends who have had braces as an adult and were pleased. Can be helpful for TMJ!

5) Whitening products The OTC ones are a waste of your money, and mine. Better to get the Dentist to do it. In fact I have a very yellow cap on my front tooth (a story for another day) that would take professional whitening, and matching the white of my teeth. Oh bother, it seems like a big expense, a big headache. But I guess if it was necessary I would have it done. Those commercials really make me mad.

My Bonus We are in the process of paying a lot of money out on teeth too, but for bad teeth. They do not make the kids brush their teeth in the orphanages, nor does China have flouride in the water like we do. Zach's teeth are horrible, everyone of them. Plus, Bob's teeth are bad too. He grew up before the day of flouride in the water. He then was in the military where the dental care was a little lacking in his days. His teeth that are not capped are crumbling.

But on the worse side of things is what Meth does to people's teeth and mouths. November 5 watch: Meth: Kiss of Death The Learning Channel (TLC) will broadcast “Meth: Kiss of Death”, a 60-minute documentary that chronicles the lives of several methamphetamine abusers and which also shows how the dental profession can respond. The show features original footage along with 3-D animation that takes the viewer inside actual meth mouths and graphically illustrates the side effects of the drug on teeth and gums. The program debuts November 5 at 9pm EST, on TLC, but check your local listings for times specific to your area. The program will also repeat November 6, 29 and 30 at various times.

I copycat Cheesehead, Mindy, St. Casserole, sister Christer and any of the other revgalblogpals who have done it

'What" will your obituary say?' at
But MOM everybody who is cool is doing it?!!?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

In which I make good on my word to go see my Doctor

In this post: St.John's" Rev Abi: Pay attention girl: Its National Breast Cancer Awareness Month I blogged about the importance of getting your mammogram done for early detection of breast cancer. I admitted I had not had one in awhile even before our move. I also shared how I got started getting regular mammograms at a young age and have pretty much kept getting yearly mammograms.

Well for those who wondered. I did get my appointment for a physical, and the Doctor did it all including blood work, pap smear, and xrays. And I have an appointment for a mammogram. I then will be going back to for a followup. What they found that concerned them and is part of why I went to see them, was possible high blood pressure. It is on my father's side of the family. He thinks though if I get to exercising more regular, continue with my weight watcher's program and weight loss, I may not have to take the medicine. I sort of knew that, but I just have not been able to motivate myself to get back to regular exercise or to make it a priority. But this week I have committed myself to that regular exercise, even with the wet weather. Okay, so how did I do it? I walked around the church and sanctuary one day for 20 minutes. We have a pretty good size sanctuary and hall way. Then I walked in the gymn and up and down the steps the next day. Will I do it today? Yes I will.
You see until Bob goes back to work and we have a flow of his income, we can't afford the gymn or Y cost yet. But the Doctor knew about our basketball gymn from his kids playing there and encouraged me to do it. Why did it take his encouragment to do it? Or was it a receptivity on my part? Who knows but for today I am walking. How about you?
And yes I have continued my weightwatchers and losing weight. Yesterday was hard with all the candy around, and I did eat some. But overall, I am doing pretty good with the program, and have come to enjoy the vegetables too. The good byproduct is that our two girls who became too Americanized are starting to enjoy their vegetables too. The boy has always like his and kept liking them, even begs for them. How about you?

Well, several of my revgalblogpals have posted their thoughts, concerns and experiences on breast cancer.
Cheesehead says she has called her Doctor, and then asks have you?
reverend mommy gives some breast cancer urls and her story.
Mary Beth walked the Sue Komen with a friend of hers who is a survivor.
Cheaper than Chocolate is a recent survivor of breast cancer. She also has a love/hate with the pink ribbons everywhere.
Quotidian Grace played golf for Breast Cancer Research. (mmm, I might need to take up golf again, if just for a worthy cause? Wonder if there might be a revgalblogpals golf tourney in the future for a worthy cause?)
If I forgot you, forgive me, and just include your link in the comment section.
And go get your mammogram, your pap smear, your blood work, your xrays, your psa, your colonoscopy, your fasting blood work,whatever it is you need for physical self. Remember, and I am saying this to me too; Paul wrote that your body is a temple of the holy spirit. (Something I forget all too often.)