Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Looks like Sororities have not changed

Well, especially if you were a member of the Delta Zeta at DePauw University. Perhaps you read the news story; When a psychology professor at DePauw University here surveyed students, they described one sorority as a group of “daddy’s little princesses” and another as “offbeat hippies.” The sisters of Delta Zeta were seen as “socially awkward.”Worried that a negative stereotype of the sorority was contributing to a decline in membership that had left its Greek-columned house here half empty, Delta Zeta’s national officers interviewed 35 DePauw members in November, quizzing them about their dedication to recruitment. They judged 23 of the women insufficiently committed and later told them to vacate the sorority house.The 23 members included every woman who was overweight. They also included the only black, Korean and Vietnamese members. The dozen students allowed to stay were slender and popular with fraternity men — conventionally pretty women the sorority hoped could attract new recruits. Six of the 12 were so infuriated they quit. Tthe picture above is of some of the girls

“Virtually everyone who didn’t fit a certain sorority member archetype was told to leave,” said Kate Holloway, a senior who withdrew from the chapter during its reorganization.“I sensed the disrespect with which this was to be carried out and got fed up,” Ms. Holloway added. “I didn’t have room in my life for these women to come in and tell my sisters of three years that they weren’t needed.”

The mass eviction battered the self-esteem of many of the former sorority members, and some withdrew from classes in depression. There have been student protests, outraged letters from alumni and parents, and a faculty petition calling the sorority’s action unethical.DePauw’s president, Robert G. Bottoms, issued a two-page letter of reprimand to the sorority. In an interview in his office, Dr. Bottoms said he had been stunned by the sorority’s insensitivity.

The sorority “is saddened that the isolated incident at DePauw has been mischaracterized,” Ms. Menges wrote. Asked for clarification, the sorority’s public relations representative e-mailed a statement saying its actions were aimed at the “enrichment of student life at DePauw.” Uh, depression, having to withdraw from classes, battering people's self esteem sounds like enriching to me. Not. Hey even the President got booted.

I knew I didn't have legacy. I knew I wasn't going to be in a sorority, and I didn't care. But to people who have legacy, want to be in one, it does matter. I was a member of Service Sorority where looks, money, popularity, skin color, any of those things didn't matter. I enjoyed the sister hood, the fun, the service we did, and other good times. I had friends in sororities, and if this happened it would have been devastating. I guess I am naive I keep thinking we can get past looks, money popularity etc, but I guess we can't. It makes me sad for these girls. It makes me sad for the girls of the future. And it makes me sad for my girls, I guess they won't be sorority girls either, being Asian. They will have to find their fun and group else where.

Thought for Wednesday

Thought for Wednesday

The true test of happiness is gratitude.-Gilbert K. Chesterton [adapted]

Scripture for the day: Jeremiah 33:11 The sounds of joy and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will be heard again, along with the joyous songs of people bringing thanksgiving offerings to the LORD. They will sing, `Give thanks to the LORD Almighty, for the LORD is good. His faithful love endures forever!'

Read more here, and see the video for Give Thanks.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It isn't American Idol, but it is Nashville Star

Two people from Florence, actually brother and sister, have made it to the top three of Nashville Star, of the USA Network. I had no idea that it existed at all until the Shoals area has gone Nashville Star crazy for the Hacker siblings.

Thursday is the final. I don't know these people, who are these people. But apparently they are famous around here, and were country before this happened.

Angela Hacker is from Muscle Shoals. Her child goes to school with my daughters. I didn't know it until I saw it on the school's outside sign. One of the things she says in her profile in response to the question "What are you afraid of?", is that she is afraid of nonbelievers. UH? Now that I don't get. She says her biggest hero is Jesus. Well if your hero is Jesus, what do you have to fear? Perfect love cast out fear. OH well.You can listen to her vidoes at the contest here.

Zac Hacker is from the Lagrange, AL and is her brother. You can see his videos here.

One thing for sure whether they win or lose Nashville Star, they have helped their cause and will move beyond Florence. Although yall do know that the Shoals is known for its music tradition, ranging from W.C. Handy, the “Father of the Blues,” to recording pioneer Sam Phillips, to numerous No. 1 hits recorded in local studios.

But then again we are also known for where Goober Pyle has a film festival every year known as the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival.

Thought for the day

Thought for the day:2/28/2007A humble talent that is used is worth more than one of genius that is idle.

Scripture for the day Matthew 25:21

Read more here:

Monday, February 26, 2007

Sunday's Sermon: Death by Taxes

I started a new sermon series for Sunday called Christ on Trial. It goes along with the Wednesday night Bible Study we are doing. We had a drama of the Prosecution interrogating the witness, Matthew the former tax collector turned disciple. Bob, my husband played Matthew, and did a good job. Gary Webb played the prosecutor, and really got into the role. People asked if they were going to redo it. The are doing it again on Wednesday night. And every Sunday we will have a new witness.

Here is my sermon titled "The Case of Death by Taxes" (It almost turned into "The Case of the Missing Sermon". Someone took my sermon manuscript off the pulpit for some reason. We couldn't find it at the start of the service, so I started praying that I could remember most of it or say what God wanted me to say. Bob went looking for it, and found it right before the offertory. Some one had taken and put it on my desk with a stack of other papers. Whooh.)

Read the sermon here:

Check out LaDonna Witmer's New Cinepoem

LaDonna Witmer has a new cinepoem called Elastine.

You can watch it several places. U Tube My Space Her website or here
It has some beautiful scenes of Paris. Here is what she shays about her poem: Elasticine is a very non-linear kind of girl who's really enamored with a certain French phrase. She talks a lot about seasonal mud pies and haunted shopping carts. And if you ask me what the hell it all means I'll just say, "Well, what does it mean to you?"

The Power Rangers

My son Zachary loves the Power Rangers, what little boy doesn't. He also likes Batman, Spiderman, and Superman. You get the idea, all the superheros. Well, the girls have taken a liking to the Power Rangers too. Why? Because there are girl Power Rangers. Our grandson, Joshua loved PowerRangers, and now our other grandson, Austin loves them. Want to know what you can learn from them besides Karate, winning over the bad guys?

From their website it says they teach the following values:
  • Standing for what is right
  • Teamwork and cooperation
  • Confidence
  • Physical Activity
  • Caring and Friendship

When they started in 1992 there was only one tv show and group of Power Rangers, now there is Power Rangers; Mighty Morphin, Operation OverDrive, Mystic Force, SPD, Dino Thunder, Ninja Storm, Wild Force, Time Force, Rescue, Galaxy, Space, Turbo, and Zeo. My favorite tends to be the Mystic Force, cause they got adults like me in it.

Why am I blogging about this? Because it seems like everyday the Power Rangers enters into our conversation. It usually goes like this; (this was at lunch yesterday)

Zach: "When I grow up can I be the Red Power Ranger?"

Me: "Yes, you can be the Red Power Ranger."

Katy: "I want to be the Yellow Power Ranger."

Kara: "I want to be the Pink one."

Zach: "Mom, which one are you going to be?"

Mom: "I am the fat purple power ranger, my power is my blubber, get out of my way or I am going to squash you."

Laughter all around.

Yesterday we argued over who was going to be Dog who is over the Power Rangers SPD, and who is Cat who is the computer expert.

Not sure where Dad fits in here, I think he ended up being Dog..... (I like Dog.)

I can guarantee you there will be a Power Ranger discussion tonight.

Thought for Monday

Here is the thought for the day, Monday the 26th
It's better to know some of the questions, than all of the answers.
-James Thurber

You can read more here, includes the Mercy Me video I can Only Imagine

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Thought for Sunday

Serving Christ under law is duty;
under love it’s a delight.
read the rest here

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Thought for Saturday

Thought for the Day
2/25/2007 Knowing Scripture is one thing;
Knowing the Author is another.

read the rest here

you can also read a lenten prayer for Saturday here.

Friday, February 23, 2007

thought for the day for the friends and family of St. John UMC

I have been sending out a daily email to the St. John Church family as for about a month now, as a way of staying in touch, encouragement and inspiration. I decided to start posting them on my blog Preaching to the Choir. I include the thought for the day, a prayer, a scripture and sometimes some links. Hope it is helpful to you. On the blog post, I may add a picture, video or something that is appropriate. I get the thought for the day from Communication Resources, thought I better say that. I'll try to post the back ones too, but it will take awhile and some work. But for now here's today's thought. Today's thought has a video to it as well as the thought, the scripture, prayer, and link.

Just for Today

This helped me a lot in recovery. I don't know why I put it down or away. But I am pulling it back out for this process. I don't mean to take away from diet, weight loss or exercise, indeed I mean to enhance for me. And for me it is about the food and more, but I cannot ignore either side of the process. I am sharing it for anyone else who it can help, (I already posted it on a private blog dealing with weight loss. If you want to join read this invite) . And I am posting it to remind me of I have today and just for today.....

Sibyl F. Partridge

1. Just for today I will be happy. This assumes that what Abraham Lincoln said is true that, "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." Happiness is from within; it is not a matter of externals.

Go here to read more of Just for Today

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Thief on the cross

This is the message I delivered at the N.W. District's minister's prayer fellowship as part of our Lenton study. We are looking at the Seven Last Words of Jesus, using the book , Thank God its Friday, by Bishop Willimon. We were asked to take one of the words and write about it without referring to the book. And then after we spoke we invited others to express their thoughts and feelings. W. G Henry is our Spiritual Guide and he lead us in discussion, interspersing it with things the Bishop wrote. I was disappointed that I could not show my powerpoint or video for the presentation. I did lead them in singing the Taize song "Jesus, Remember Me". Wonder what your thoughts, your perspective is on the Thief on the cross, and Jesus second word?

more on The Thief on the Cross

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A person in overdrive

I feel like a person on overdrive. Can I give that up for Lent?

Thursday had early morning meetings and phone calls, then I went to Huntsville for a meeting. Dealt with a death in a church member's family.
Friday I finished up preparations for my practice talk for the Walk to Emmaus on Obstacles to Grace, and worked on my sermon, and saw my kids somewhere in there. I think I fell asleep next to my hubby.
Saturday, drove back to Huntsville for the Emmaus Team meeting, did my practice talk. Came back to deal with family and then finish for Sunday morning preaching.
Sunday, preached. Dealt with family. Worked on my homily/meditation for Monday Morning Minister's Meeting on the second word from Jesus on the cross. Dealt with some church member's needs. I think I saw my family a little bit.
Monday morning finished up homily which included power point presentation, and then presented it. Then we discussed it and added our ideas. Came home around 2pm to work on my report for Board of Ordained Ministry for one of the candidates for Elder's orders in the Methodist church that was due that day. Nothing like working at the last minute. Got it in that evening. Went to a meeting that evening.
Tuesday went to Memphis to the Shea Ear Clinic to see what they could do about the ringing in the ears. It was an all day adventure. lots of testing. He does think he can treat the ringing, but I have to set it up since it is a three day outpatient treatment. Recommends hearing aids also. Came home, missed the eating out with the women once again. Spent time with my family, and then worked on things for today. Set up the church, the kids helped me set up the altar it looks neat for Ash Wednesday.
Today, I have been here since 7:30am for Ash Wednesday.I have had 3 people come at 10am. We had a brief yet meaningful service. So I have been working on the liturgy and sermon for tonight. Finishing emails that were delayed. Taking care of phone calls. Doing the bulletin for tonight. My secretary is out with her son who has the flu. Zachary is sick, Bob took him to the Doc, but she was not overly concerned. He took him to school, but then they called and said he had green snot coming out his nose and for him to please come get him. Zachary was glad to be home. He can't blow his nose yet, he breathes in instead which has made a simple cold worse.
Whew. I'll be glad when today is over. We have a Ash Wednesday worship service at 6:30pm. I am done when it is done.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a little less intense and busy.
I am coming out of overdrive and resting.

Oh and my 101 year old Grandpa is in the hospital in Jacksonville, and they don't know why yet.
And Bob is applying for Social Security. He actually seems relieved.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy New Year!

Actually, Happy Chinese New Year! It is the Year of the Pig. The new year is the year of DingHai. Year 4704 by the Chinese calendar In China, the Boar ( ) is associated with fertility and virility. To bear children in the year of the pig is considered very fortunate, for they will be happy and honest.

If this is your year, the year of the Pig:
Simply put, the Pig can have it all in his own year. You are generous by nature and have much to give, and now you can expect to get even more back. Entertaining will be very much on your mind, with lavish parties and great company. Yet you'll also be devoted to your work, and the payoff could be quite grand. Get your original ideas out and circulating, as all eyes are on you now.

Your Attributes: According to customary superstition, the Pig type is usually an honest, straightforward and patient person. They are a modest, shy character who prefers to work quietly behind the scenes. When others despair, they are often there to offer support. This type of person is reserved with those they do not know too well, but as time passes and they gain confidence, those around them may discover a lively and warm-hearted person behind that mask of aloofness. Despite those born in the year of pig having a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, they have few close friends who understand them and share their inner thoughts and feelings. It is easy to put trust in pig type; they won't let you down and will never even attempt to do so. Such people simply want to do everything right according to social norms.
Also according to customary superstition, that these people are not vengeful creatures. If someone tries to take advantage of them, the pig type tend to withdraw to reflect on the problem and protect themselves. All they need in such situations is a little time to find a constructive way to respond. The people of the pig type are conservative creatures of habit. They dislike being made to travel too far from familiar surroundings, unless it is a trip to the countryside. They love nature and are never happier than when they are out somewhere, far from the city. There is a tolerant and peaceful side to the character of Pig types. Such people are never afraid to allow others their freedom of expression; they do not want to cause arguments and if there is any way to avoid arguing, they will probably take this option. They are not weak, however, and if the situation forces them to fight these people will rise to the occasion, whether it is to defend themselves or those close to them. People of the Boar type are the most admired by others.

Not sure of your year or animal? God here to a Chinese Sign birth Chart to find out more.
Want to know how to celebrate the Chinese New Year? Go to this site that tells you what to do for each day of the 15-day celebration! For instance: The first day of the Lunar New Year is "the welcoming of the gods of the heavens and earth."Many people abstain from meat on the first day of the new year because it is believed that this will ensure long and happy lives for them.
I am welcoming God today, and plan to abstain from meat.
You can go here to know more about the Chinese New Year. (There are really some good sites explaining it. Just put Chinese New Year in your search engine, and then go read the sites.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Unwitting Tourist (I hate the idea of being the ugly tourist)

Friday, February 16, 2007
Friday Five: Tourist Edition

reverendmother here... It seems like this topic has been done before, but I can't find it in the archives, so......

I am downtown on retreat this week. Most of the retreatants are from out of town, so I get to experience this place through the eyes of visitors. So in the spirit of tourism:

1. What is one place you make sure to take out-of-town guests when they visit? (you can be vague to preserve your anonymity if you like) I am still new here, but Florence and the Shoals area is so beautiful with the river. So here is where I would take any of your rev gals who come to visit me. Definitely I would take you to: Tuscumbia is the birthplace of "America’s First Lady of Courage," Helen Keller’s Birthplace:, After that I would take you for lunch to Marriott' Shoals Hotel & Spa We would have lunch(the restaurant is in the round and gives a great view of the river and the area.) and then go to the spa for a relaxing afternoon of being ministered to,(iknow all you rev gals want it and need it.) The next day we would take on a boat ride on the Tennessee River with a picnic lunch. After that if you want to do anything else, I would take you, but not force you to do anything. If you have kids. I would take them for the boat ride and to the Children’s Museum of the Shoals which is next a great kid's park. And the dad's can go golfing or fishing. We will hire a baby sitter and go back to the spa or the Y to the Y to the sauna and hot tub. You get the idea, some fun, some relaxation and good food.

2. When visiting another city or town, do you try to cram as much in as possible, or take it slow and easy? This depends on where I am going and what all there is to do, andif the kids are with me. Naps are a must or you get fussy wussy kids.

3. When traveling, where are we most likely to find you: strolling through a museum, checking out the local shopping, or Probably all that, plus hiking, meeting the people, and eating at good resturaunts.?

4. Do you like organized tours and/or carefully planned itineraries, or would you rather strike out and just see what happens? I have done both, again it depends on where I am going or if I am visiting someone who can show me the places and local bests.

5. After an extended trip, what do you find yourself craving most about home? MY BED,My family if I have traveled without them.

Bonus question: Where do I want to be right now for a vacation? answer? Paradise, a warm beach!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Random Acts of Kindness Week

Random Acts of Kindness Week
By David Price
Mon, February 12, 2007, 12:01 am PST

"No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted." - Aesop

I didn't know it was Random Acts of Kindness week until I saw this at Yahoo. But if you want a list of random acts you can do, go to the Good deed ideas page of the SSSSH(Secret Society of Serendipitous Service to Hal). The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation - inspiring people to practice kindness. Servant Evangelism theme is "Small Things Done with Great Love Will Change the World", "showing God's love in practical ways. Kindness builds the bridge for the person to receive a touch of love from God. It's simple, practical, effective, inexpensive and fun! Steve Sjogren is the founder and has written several books on Servant Evangelism. The Free Hugs Campaign- Go ahead give a hug, you know you want to. Or you can Dare to Be An Angel
or you can practice this habit everyday.
Here's Wikepedia's definition of Random acts of Kindnesd

Some Random quotes of Kindness
"Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate." Author:Albert Schweitzer

"Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." Author:Archbishop Desmond Tutu

"Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together." Author:Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

"Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can." Author:John Wesley (John Wesley I hope you see this, I quoted you.)

"Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can read." Author:Mark Twain

"Just because an animal is large, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t want kindness; however big Tigger seems to be, remember that he wants as much kindness as Roo." Author:Pooh's Little Instruction Book (inspired by A.A. Milne)

"Deeds of kindness are equal in weight to all the commandments." Author:The Talmud

Jeus said: But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

Paul wrote thatKindness is a fruit of the spirit.


Have you seen the Free Hugs Campaign video?

Growing Healthy Churches conference

Growing Healthy Churches conference challenges churches to be more obedient to God

Written: 2/13/2007

On February 9-10, more than 100 North Alabama clergy and laity gathered at the Brandon Ministry Center in Florence for the Growing Healthy Congregations conference sponsored by the Northwest District. The featured speaker was Dr. Paul Borden, author of the books Hit the Bullseye and a new book Direct Hit. Dr. Borden is Executive Minister of Growing Healthy Churches (formerly American Baptist Churches of the West), which is an association of American Baptist Churches in Northern California and Northern Nevada. Since the mid 1990s, this association went from only 36 of its 200+ congregations experiencing growth to now more than 170 growing congregations. They have now stated a new vision of a double portion which is to not only have growing existing congregations but to plant 300 new growing congregations by the year 2012.

You can read the full article here.

If you look at the picture on the front row, I am next to the woman in the pinkish orange blouse, I have on a brown long sleeve tee-shirt. Yep that's me with the short brown hair cut.

Highlights: During the two-day conference Dr. Borden shared stories and insights of how he has seen and helped declining local churches become vital, growing, disciple-making congregations. Growth indicates health; no growth indicates no health. He also explained one challenge for local congregations is shown in a recent Barna survey. It revealed that 91% of church members said they believed local congregations exist to serve them. Dr. Borden shared how this inward focused, as opposed to an outward, community focus, is part of the disobedience of many congregations. Borden explained how it was important for pastors and staffs to learn to exercise leadership behaviors such as passion, courage and flexibility. He also said it is important for leaders to keep growing and resource themselves and be resourced in their growth.He emphasized that the pastors and staffs role, as described in Ephesians 4, is to equip the saints for ministry. This means staff should help lay people discover and use their gifts and passions in the ministry of the church rather than doing all the ministry of the church. Borden also explained to pastors that is their job to establish the mission and vision of the congregations. And then not only cast the vision, but create a sense of urgency to energize people to jump on board and work toward that vision.

One thing I would like to do is go to the Hit the Bullseye Conference'07, here is the brochure for it. One of the reasons I want to go, is that it has workshops for women in ministry and dealing with change in your congregation, and the unique problems women can have. Plus you get to see and meet with the congregations that have changed. Anybody else interested? I think I'll ask for some financial help to go.

Our district has begun what they are calling Healthy Church Initiative based on Borden's work and Natural Church Development. I was able to get ST. John to agree to be part of this initiative. It hasn't started yet, but when it does, I'll be posting about how it goes.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's day to all my blog pals, my revgalblogpals, my methoblog pals, my friends, and my family.

I have been contemplating what to say today, and mainly I keep coming up with I love you as God loves me and you. I am learning to love you. I am learning from God's love.

So I thought I would put on today's post what I sent out in the email Thought for the day to my church members and friends of the church and family.
Here is the thought, scripture, and prayer for the day,

Real love is not gazing into each other’s eyes.
It is looking together in the same direction.

Scripture for today

I John 4:7 Let us love one another, for love comes from God. (NIV)

Prayer for the day,
Dear God, I don't know who wrote this, but sometimes gazing in the eyes of my love is important to me and I need it. It is so hard not to be able to gaze into your eyes, I have to imagine it. But I know what this person is saying too. At some point you got to quit the gazing and googooing to begin to make a life together, and it is not an easy task. You start seeing your differences, your weaknesses, things you may not like about each other. It is so important to have a dream, a focus together. But it is just as important to keep our eyes on you, and commit ourselves to you, and seek your guidance in how we treat each other and live out our love. I confess God, I don't always do that, my pride, my hurt, my wants get in the way. Forgive me. God empower me to keep my eyes on you in my life and in my marriage. Help us to be honest with each other, and to treat each other with love and grace in our marriages, and in our relationships. Amen

If you don't know the story of St. Valentine, you might want to take time to read about him. There are actually several versions. But perhaps there are some things we can learn from his life instead of the "Hallmark Valentine's day" we now celebrate. (You can click on the links to the articles.)

Beliefnet has a great article on St. Valentine, including a video.

Christianity Today has a good article also on the history of St. Valentine.

History tells some also.
My kids gave me the neatest cards today, my husband gave me earrings and a beautiful card. I am so blessed, and grateful for their love. I gave them some gifts of bathtub fizzies, magic towels, and cards. They are certainly going to get enough candy today at school. I got a card for Bob, haven't given it to him yet. I want to give it to him without the kids around. That will be later today.

Thought for the day comes from Communication Resources
I add the prayer for the day.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The offensive that was not offensive

Hey, I promised I would write more about LaDonna Whitmer, and the conference. So here goes.
LaDonna rocks and was not offensive to me, but she was to some others. What an amazing woman she is. Here she comes from San Fran, California to speak to Pastors in Alabama. She was honest, real, and personal. She did take us to task for our lack of genuiness, authenticity, acceptance. She started by showing us a cinepoem called Sunday Misfit. I was truly touched and cried. She then talked about her experience in the church, which has been quite painful from age 4 on up. She has tried church in her adult life, but even that became painful. If you recall Willow Creek had a service reaching out to the post moderns, called Axis. She was going to that service, but even Willow Creek had trouble accepting and loving the post moderns. The Axis that is now is not the one she went to. (here is one article on the demise of Axis. Here is one at Jesus creed and this is Dan Kimball's take on it.)She has not attended church in 6 years. She had not stopped believing in God, but did not go to church. She and her husband has found a church called Revolution led by Jay Baker. If you get the Sundance Channel you can watch him in a show called One Punk Under God.Yep the son of Jim and Tammy Faye Baker. She also showed us vidoes of friends she had taped that didn't go to church either, and what they had to say about church. Lots of pain there of how they had been treated. I hope she saves those videos, they were powerful. She then took questions and answers from us about what she had said. Things went okay until one of our Pastors wanted to take her on about some things she said, and kept pushing her. She actually handled it better than I would have. I would have reacted, but she didn't. I talked to her briefly before the presentation about her website and blog. And then I spoke to her husband afterward.

All I can say is God forgive me for any way I have played in not being accepting, loving, showing the gospel to your children. God forgive us who say we are believers, followers, disciples for our judgementalism and abuse of those who don't seem to fit our idea of who belongs to the kingdom of God. God help me as your Pastor lead this church that I now Pastor to lead them to be accepting and loving and showing your gospel to those who they have not before. Thank you for LaDonna and her friends who willing shared with us their pain, their needs, and their selves with us. May we have the courage they had to do likewise.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

This is Saddleback Worship

Saddleback Worship - He Reigns

3 min 53 sec - Dec 10, 2006
Average rating: (38 ratings)

Compare this to the Welcome the Black Parade.
Is Saddleback even reaching the culture today?
(I couldn't get google to post it to blogger so you'll have to use the link) Sorry.

Welcome to the Black Parade

This is a piece of what we need to listen to. We don't listen enough according to LaDonna Witmer. We are talking too much. So watch and listen.

Culture can be offensive to our ears

I haven't finished my posting about the Prayer Summit, I will I promise.

But since yesterday morning I have been in a workshop at our District center led by Paul Borden.
And Bishop Willimon was here this afternoon to discuss and take questions. I'll post some more about that.

This afternoon, they are bringing a woman to speak to us who apparently is offensive to us, but an expert on emergent culture. Her name is LaDonna Witmer. Funny thing is I didn't find her offensive, I just found her alive, truthful, and real. I appreciate that. But if I need to be offended, then bring it on. Funny thing is we forgot that Jesus was offensive to the leaders of his day, the "elders", and the religious thinkers. Have we removed ourselves that far away today?

One of our ministers found her somehow or another and started writing her, and she started responding. She speaking at their church this weekend also. Wish I could be there. But it will be worth it all to hear today. I'll let you know more later and how offended I am.

She writes about her coming down here to Alabama in She Says.

She apparently was at the a Willow Creek conference and you can see a preview of the clip here:
I think I am buying the dvd if they have it here at our workshop.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I am that American Idol

From revgalblogpals by Songbird:

Yes, it's true. I've been watching Season Six of American Idol with my daughter, our first time dipping into this particular well of pop culture. In the spirit of believing you can do anything, as the auditioners so clearly do, please fill in the following five blanks.

1) If I could sing like anyone, it would be _Oh My I really don't know. Nobody today sounds like what I would like to sound like. Patsy Cline .

2) I would love to sing the song __Crazy or Sweet Dreams or I Fall to Pieces or Walking after Midnight. (These are UTube videos)

3) It would be really cool to sing at _The Grand Ole Opry .

4) If I could sing a dream duet it would be with _Harry Connick Jr._or Johnny Cash,

5) If I could sing on a TV or radio show, it would be The Super Bowl, I could do much better than Prince and I wouldn't expose myself like Janet, but man I would sing.

bonus: And Simon says: "You are incredibly, if I may say, deluded here."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Prayer Summit Day 2

This is a picture of the lake at Camp Sumatanga. It has a nice walking trail around it. We are surrounded by mountains. The wind is too much and too cold coming off the lake. I have been hiking the trails around the creek and the mountain, the wind is blocked from them. I love this place. Such a place of peace and joy and rest.

Day 2 was such an awesome day of prayer, singing, worshiping, resting. We prayed for our families, our children, for each other, for our hurts. As one person said, it felt like therapy, although we did not do the therapy, the Holy Spirit did. We prayed. We prayed for the adult children who are "prodigals" and we prayed for their parents. So many of the ministers have adult children who don't want to have anything to do with the church, and some who are into drugs and alcohol, some who are very wounded. It was so powerful to pray for these children and for their parents. We broke up into small groups to pray for each other and our children.

Who would have thought that this would have been part of a prayer summit for North AL. I certainly wouldn't have? And yet I see for us to get to the vision of God we must lay our burdens down, be honest seek the healing power of Jesus. As we prayed, I thought of all the parents I know, just that I know whose sons and daughters have left the church, have gone their own way, are into drugs and alcohol or whatever. I thought of them and their continuing to be faithful. I felt that our praying for each other was a microcosm of praying for all our children and all our parents.

Wow, I am tired, but blessed.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Prayer Summit Day 1

Lots of praying. Lots of singing praise songs and hymns. Lots of reading of scripture.

It is without an agenda. The facilitator said that he had no idea where we are going either, that we were to listen to the Holy Spirit speak to us and through us.

Toward then end of the afternoon he had has focus though on the scripture God is love. God loves us. Well that became the turning point for the whole group. He said we were all seeking an encounter with God. He had us then reflect on the point we knew God loved us.

For about an hour and half he had us go walk with God and talk to him about his love for us. Who had he sent that showed us that love? Who had he sent that performed what he called a rescue operation of us.

Then after Supper we came back to pray about the above.

I am not sure I know how to write about this, just yet. It is different than anything I have been to. I am glad I am here. I'll write more later.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Prayer Summit

From this Monday until Thursday, I am gone to a Prayer Summit at Camp Sumatanga for the North Alabama Conference of UMC. Never been to one. Don't know what all is going to take place. Don't know what direction it is going in. I do know I believe in prayer. I do believe our conference needs prayer. I need prayer. Our Pastors need prayer. Our Bishop and Cabinet need prayer. Our churches need prayer. Our church leaders need prayer. Our church members need prayer. So until I have been through this I really won't know what to say.

I know there is internet connection at Sumantanga, but whether I will be able to use it or have time to use it, I don't know.

I do know this comes from International Renewal Ministries. (I find myself reacting to the main picture, and the male language, ie "Godly-men".)

Two of the N. A. pastors, Robin Scott and Paul Lawler have put this together. They felt led to present this to the Bishop to have his okay to do this. He agreed and they then proceeded with the planning of it. They have removed themselves as the leaders or facilitators, and are bringing in an outside facilitator from IRM to lead it. Robin found himself concerned about our conference after the last Annual Conf. (I don't blame him, I have been concerned for a long time.) So after prayer he discussed this matter with Paul, his friend, who is involved in a Prayer Summit in Huntsville. He suggested this. So I am going, and I'll let you know how it goes.

Hey what about praying for General Conf?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Super Bowl Sunday

Tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday and do you know where your church members will be?

Just what are churches doing with SuperBowl Sunday.

Well, some like St. John are doing Souper Bowl Sunday. Its not too late to involve your church or youth or children in the Souper Bowl of Caring for this Sunday. Simply grab a soup pot and collect donations, report your collection amount to, and send 100% of your donations to the charity of your choice. It's that easy! We asked our members to bring can food or money Sunday morning or evening. They Youth are collecting.

Some are using the event as an evangelism tool.

Some are having youth tailgate parties.

Some may not be doing anything at all.

The following was in the paper today:

"It's a way of reaching out into our community in a very informal, low-key way where we show people we're regular Joes like they are without the pressure of church," said Pastor Luis Acosta of Pines Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist congregation north of Miami in Pembroke Pines.

Pines Baptist has been holding Super Bowl events for a few years and expects about 300 people, mostly men, at its flag football game and watch party this year. The church drew about 250 people to a block party Jan. 13 which featured NFL-themed games, former Dolphins players signing autographs and giveaways including a plasma television.

Acosta said the church doesn't take a heavy-handed approach to nonbelievers who join in such events. There won't be so much as a prayer at the Super Bowl Sunday event. If a guest enjoys himself, a member might invite him to a church social group meeting, then maybe a Bible study, then perhaps an actual service.

"We just follow God's lead," Acosta said.

Pastor Mike Pierce of the non-denominational Poplar Creek Church in the Chicago suburb of Bartlett, Ill., takes a similar approach. About 100 people will watch the game on the big screen in the sanctuary. Like other church events - including a carnival, a play and a pig roast - it's meant to simply create a friendly, fun environment, but not an overtly religious one.

"We don't turn everything into a spiritual event," Pierce said. "Good, clean fun is still spiritual."

Many pastors agree, simply trying to make their churches welcoming environments for new guests. Carrollwood Baptist Church in Tampa has been holding a Super Bowl gathering for more than 15 years and attendees have become so comfortable at the event that some bring recliners from home.

"I like it because it's very laid back," said Robert Smith, a 32-year-old Rockford, Ill., resident who has attended Super Bowl parties at Dominion Christian Center there. "There's no pressure."

Churches also are aware many people are unwilling to do anything other than watch the game on Super Bowl Sunday.

"We can offer a good event surrounding something the culture uses or we can just hold church and no one's going to come," said Jim Waters, an associate pastor and minister to students at First Baptist Church in Milton in the Florida Panhandle.

Like many other churches holding Super Bowl events, the Milton congregation will screen "Power to Win," a video featuring Christian NFL stars, during halftime.

Some churches are using the Super Bowl as an opportunity to reach the poor.

A number of Nashville churches will host the homeless, feeding them, washing their clothes, letting them watch the game on big-screen TVs and giving them a bed to sleep in on Super Bowl Sunday. And at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Libertyville, Ill., members will gather donations to help fund the parish food pantry, another one for the larger community, and a school under construction for African orphans.

William Baker, a retired University of Maine professor who has written two books about sports and religion, says the interplay between the two dates back to ancient times, and that in modern-day America, evangelical Christians make the most of the relationship. He calls sports part of the new "American trinity" - along with religion and patriotism.

"Any visitor from Mars on Super Sunday, whether he watches television or goes to the stadium in Miami," Baker said, "would say these people believe, maybe in God, but for sure they believe in the American flag and in the flyover military display and in patriotism, but most surely they believe in sports."

Baker said evangelicals had long rejected sports - for the gambling it often fueled, for it often being played on the Sabbath and for the general bacchanalia that it was associated with. But they eventually realized they shared athletes' win-or-lose take on the world (only one team steps off the field victorious, and only believers are rewarded after death) and wanted to take advantage of the immense reach of athletic competition.

"Sport becomes a kind of fish hook to catch the unbelievers," he said.

But if you haven't see this yet you need to read it: NFL to churches: Parties violate copyright laws

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Indianapolis Colts' first Super Bowl appearance made Calvary Temple want to party like it never had before.
The church planned a Sunday shindig for about 100 young adults, complete with snacks and a big screen TV to watch the game.

"It's just a good opportunity to get everybody together, have some fellowship and fun and watch the Super Bowl," business manager Bill Kaler said.

But temple leaders scrapped the idea after learning the NFL stopped a similar get-together at another Indianapolis church, saying it would violate copyright laws.

"I didn't realize the Super Bowl was a copyrighted thing," Kaler said.

Neither did several congregations around the country that have since curtailed or abandoned party plans to avoid ending up on the wrong side of the law.

Church leaders say the Super Bowl has turned into an annual way to connect with their community.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said these gatherings are fine, as long as the churches stay within certain guidelines. That's where Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis went wrong.

The church planned to charge admission to cover the food tab for its party and show the game on a big screen using a projector. It also promoted its "Super Bowl bash" on the church Web site.

Those are some copyright no-no's. The league's long-standing policy is to ban "mass out-of-home viewing" of the Super Bowl except at sports bars and other businesses that televise sports as part of their everyday operations, Aiello said.

Places are prohibited from charging admission to watch the Super Bowl, and the law prevents them from showing the game on a TV bigger than 55 inches.

Okay, but tell me this what are churches doing charging admission for things that have to do with Evangelism? I am not sure I remember Jesus or the early church charging admission for evangelism. But I do remember something about the temple leaders turning the temple into a den of theives.

Our party Sunday evening is free for everyone. We are bringing food, drinks, and games. It'll be fun.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Friday 5: Changes

Friday Five: Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes from the reverendmother:

Many of the RevGals using Blogger are experiencing some chaos this week as they move from Old Blogger to New Blogger. (Is that anything like New Coke?)

Change is a given in life, yet it's not easy for any of us. So strap on your seat belts and let's talk about it:
1. Share, if you wish, the biggest change you experienced this past year.
Moving to Florence from Wadley.

2. Talk about a time you changed your mind about something, important or not.
I was interviewing for the DMin program of SBTS extension in Col., GA. I had an anxiety attack that morning. I decided it was in my best interest not to do the DMIN there. It was about the same time all the changes were going on there to a more Fundamental stance.
3. Bishop John Shelby Spong wrote a controversial book called "Why Christianity Must Change or Die." Setting aside his ideas--what kind of changes would you like to see in the Church?
Whose idea was it to ask this question. I haven't even read Spong's book yet. I'll have to think about this. But one of the things I have written is to change some of the hierarchy, some of the structure, some of the boards, some of the meetings. I would like to see more openness and equality. I would like to see healthier leaders and churches.
4. Have you changed your hairstyle/hair color in the last five years? If so, how many times?
Changed my hairstyle in the last five years? Are you kidding? My hairdresser that knew how to work with my hair moved away and its taken me several years to find another one who can do my hair right. Color, I have not changed, but it has been changing itself.
5. What WERE they thinking with that New Coke thing?Let us know in the comments if you play. Money, and more money, and they thought we would really just like it and take it. Boy were they dumb, it took them a long time to regain their market share. They really thought this new generation would accept it. Wrong wrong wrong.

Bonus; Songs or movie about change:
A Change Is Gonna Come, Change The World, Change Your Mind, Don't Ever Change, The Change, Changes, The Times They are A Changing, A Change of Heart, Evil Ways, A Change (Would Do You Good), Free Bird, Nothing Going to Change My Love for You.

Spiritual Profiles of the Beatles adapted from The Gospel According to the Beatles by Steve Turner

Here is the latest from my continuing study of the book "The Gospel According to the Beatles", and their effects on culture, religion then and now. This comes from an article written by Dan Wooding Founder of ASSIST Ministries about the book.

The Beatles didn’t aspire to be gurus, but this is the role they played from 1966-1970.
Millions of young people smoked pot, dropped acid, investigated Eastern religions and marched for peace as a result of things the Beatles said or did,” Turner says. “And it wasn’t just impressionable fans but fellow artists and cultural commentators who thought of the Beatles as savior figures capable of transforming lives.”
The Beatles’ gospel is found in their hunger for transcendence rather than in conformity to a creed. Their “good news” was love, peace, and especially, freedom, Turner says. “The human problem in their eyes was one of limitations and constraints. We couldn’t reach our full potential if we were inhibited: ‘One thing I can tell you is you got to be free.’”
Their advice is always to expand the consciousness—to open up your eyes (Dear Prudence); to free your mind and change your head (Revolution); to learn to see (Blackbird); and to see beyond yourself (Within You Without You).
The Beatles were skeptical of the Christian church, yet many of their beliefs—love, peace, hope, truth and transcendence—were secularized versions of Christian teachings. Still, the Eastern view of life took over from the rudimentary Christian outlook of their youth. God was an impersonal force rather than a personal being. They meditated rather than prayed, believed in the karmic wheel rather than heaven and hell, visited an astrologer for guidance rather than a priest.
Hallucinogenic drugs were the crucial turning point in the Beatles spiritual explorations, Turner shows. “It’s unlikely that they would have been transformed from skeptical, worldly Liverpool boys who only believed what their eyes could see into mystics speaking of karma, nirvana and the coming golden age, if it hadn’t been for this chemical catalyst,” Turner says.

Here are the Spiritual Profiles of the Beatles adapted from "The Gospel According to the Beatles" by Steve Turner

John Lennon: Restless Seeker “People got the image that I was anti-Christ or anti-religion. I’m not at all. I’m a most religious fellow. I’m religious in the sense of [admitting there is] more to it than meets the eye. I’m certainly not an atheist. There is more than we still could know.” John’s doubts about orthodox religion coupled with his mystical bent provided the foundation for his subsequent ideas. His quest was to find a frame work that could contain both his skepticism
Paul McCartney: Pragmatic Hippy “If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That’s the single most important thing you could do. Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot: ecology, famine, cruelty.” Paul was as unlikely to contemplate having holes drilled in his head to expand his consciousness as he was to shave his head and devote his life to Krishna. His interest in religion was never rekindled after he left the Maharishi’s ashram in 1968. The closest thing to a religion in his life has been vegetarianism and concerns for animal rights and environmentalism. and his spiritual awareness.
George Harrison - Eastern Mystic “Everything else can wait but the search for God cannot wait.” George had been the most dissatisfied with the emptiness of fame and the one who most doggedly pursued a spiritual path. He was the only Beatle to remain convinced by Eastern religion although even his view was syncretistic, combining elements of Hinduism with Taoism, Buddhism and even a dash of Christianity. Krishna was the focus of his prayer and worship, but he never joined a religious order or participated in regular group worship George was the most unwavering in his beliefs. When he first espoused Hindu thought it was generally assumed to be another fad, but from the earliest days he was adamant that he would stick to it for his lifetime—and he did, until his death from cancer in November, 2001.
Ringo Starr - Happy-go-lucky Idealist “I’m quite happy to sit back and wait for whatever’s coming next. I haven’t found the answer to the question ‘What’s life all about?’ and I don’t suppose I ever will. It would take millions of philosophers millions of years to sort that out.” Ringo had never had more than a loose interest in the group’s philosophical meandering. He’d smoked dope, dropped acid, and meditated, but he was never as dedicated a pilgrim. But despite his happy-go-lucky exterior, Ringo was an idealist and a believer that peace would slowly be ushered in as the baby boomers took over positions of power.
His interest in religion was superseded by his interest in booze and partying. He was more forthcoming on the subject of spiritual values after being treated for alcohol dependency in 1988. He said he was now “comfortable with my spirituality” but that he had to go through a lot of turmoil to get there.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Dreaded, "Youve been fired!"

Today, my husband got a call from the contract company he was working for, and they fired him. Of course it is the 90 days, and they will fire you for any little thing in that period. He was in absolute shock. He had no idea that it was coming. When he left Monday everything was okay. He was given some kind of an excuse that made no sense, and doesn't seem to fit. But they would not give him the detail. He then called the person whose name he was given to call, but no straight answer. He then called the two people he worked with that were over him, and they had no idea either. So now once again he is without a job. He is devastated, mad, and feels powerless. We have kind of boiled it down to what we think is going on, but we can't really say if that is true, because we don't know and haven't been told. But I bet he is right. Something "smells wrong in China." I am being as supportive as I can without letting my anger get the best of me or my sadness and scare. But the feelings are real. Say a prayer for him will ya.

Zachary gets Baptised

This last Sunday Zachary got Baptised by sprinkling by the DS. Zachary was so scared he clung to Bob the whole time and was near tears. It surprised me, since he is usally so boisterous. At least he wasn't bouncing all over the place. Instead of a lunch afterward, we hosted the meet and greet breakfast. Alot of people showed up and we had hardly anything left. Of course all the teenage boys helped clean up the food too.

The DS told this congregation that they represented family to us and to Zach. And because they have loved and accepted us they represented that and family to the community as well. Not sure I am expressing this right. But I think that was the most profound thing he said, well at least to us. I am not sure they got it. But that is true. They are family to us since ours is so far away. And they are family to those who have none or are far away too. And since they have loved and accepted us, they do have that to give to others. Now if they'll do that.....

So Zach got Baptised Sunday. No he is not an infant, but he is an infant in the faith. Yea!