Wednesday, October 14, 2009

larger than life--a rant

I've become larger than life
but the bigger I get the smaller I feel
The more I want to be seen and less and less

The pictures I take reflect the beauty around me
caught up in it all I have my picture taken
and suddenly I can no longer see

See the beauty
for a minute I felt it
it felt good
it felt inside of me

So how does another picture
make the beauty fade so fast?

Like a caricature of who I once was
overinflated on the inside
but its gone inside and shrunk everything else while it's gone larger than life can hold
in my body

Now to shrink the outside
to grow up and not out
that has got to be possible

But then I see those pictures
and think it's just not possible
to make this caricature real
but I desperately
want to be in a picture of beauty
and still see me

I want my body to be able to hold my life and not take out my knees.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

When we talk about the future of the church I want some specifics.

Ok, so I know that's not entirely possible.

HOWEVER...Diana Butler Bass spoke yesterday (perhaps my favorite, I think I might be a church history nerd) and pointed out that in psychology they say that the greatest predictor of future action is how people have behaved in the past. There fore, if we want a glimpse into our future then we need to examine which part of our church history to which we are most similar. When, where, who had similar issues, similar people, etc...

Diana Butler Bass then gave us a few suggestions as to what people are currently saying about that (she offered the examples and I'm offering some issues/people/way of life):
  • Early Rome--pre-Christendom, multiple faiths living together, a government that rules with violence and proclaims it's leader the son of god, wealth belongs to a very small few and most people struggle just to get enough to eat.
  • Reformation--a time of great change in which many are frustrated by the Church and some of its practices, the Church seeks to eliminate those voices which are different, the Church is nervous about losing its power.
  • Middle Ages--this was Diana Butler Bass' suggestion, she didn't go any further than to say she sees some similarities with our time and theirs. I really want to know more of her thoughts on this...do you know if this is any of her latest book?
  • 18th century/John Wesley--another suggestion by DDB in which I would have liked to have heard more. It excited me because of the Wesley thing. I see the similarities as far as there are lots of small groups of people who are frustrated with the church and these folks are meeting on their own, some having this be their church while some do both their formal church and their small group. These folks are concerned with living out their faith and not having it be a head-game so to speak.

What do you think? I'd really like to discuss and hear your thoughts.

On a personal note, I think I'm falling in love with church history because it reminds us that we are just a speck, another blip on the screen. We've lived through this and thrived before and we will again. DDB said that "history is the basis for wholeness." I think she's onto something with this.

DDB quoted John Meechum (please forgive me if I'm off on the spelling), "History is to a country what memory is to an individual." She asked us to insert church for country: history is to church what memory is to an individual. This applies to both Church and church. Then she went on to talk about what happens when an individual loses their memory, she reminded us about Alzheimer's and how painful and scary it is for both the person and for their loved ones. She goes on to say : Loss of memory is not funny, it is fatal. When you lose your memory you lose your sense of self. You lose your family. You lose your community. You lose your body’s ability to even function.

As a person who watched a loved one suffer with Alzheimer's for approx. 15 years, I know what she's talking about. I also know what it's like being on the side, the worry, the sadness, the hopelessness.

We can't afford to lose our memory--that is what will keep us going, growing, and thriving (ps. I'm not talking numbers here, I'm referring to spiritual growth).

So where do you think we're going? Returning?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

stream of consciousness rant I

hipster—what’s up with that? in general this is a trend in the emergence. what about those of us who are not hipster and attempting to bring emergence to rural ministry, who says it’s “just for educated hipsters” I counter that this “emergence” needs to be everywhere or else it will not emerge. a sort of “duh” moment. but when will we stop trying to imitate all these other churches and listen to our own church? our own location. that is what most emergent churches have done. often the difference is that they have chosen their location. they knew what they were looking for when they began or trusted the path would become clear.

what about those of us “placed” in staid places? we need to break through the crusted layers that keep Spirit out. peel those layers and Diana Butler Bass would have us help them remember who they were when they began—the good and the bad, put it in context with the Church, and then know where to go.

this can be difficult because when people are comfortable there is no need to peel back layers “that might hurt”. pastors need to be brave to do this. churches need to be ready to not worry about growth for a while, not numbered growth but spiritual growth. can the conference handle that? can our churches handle that?

some days I think I’d be up for working a full or part time job in order to have a church like this. but that means not making a new church, not making it easy. not that making a new church is easy—it’s not but it’s another challenge, another grape, another grapefruit. it’s transformation. are we ready for transformation and rebirth? let’s stop birthing new and start growing down (thank you Alyce Barrywood for that!). can the conference handle that?

I don’t want to go anywhere other than where I am. but I want to be a part of transforming this place, these 2 small churches. that’s what God is calling me to in this minute and I have resisted it. I’ve been afraid to be honest about what I’m here to do. I’ve been afraid if I said it out loud that they wouldn’t want me anymore.

but I think that’s what the churches want as well, to experience Christ in their lives as churches, as people, as a family of faith, and as individuals. I think these churches want real transformation. it’s scary though because we want to have enough money to make it, to pay the bills, we want to meet those standards set before us so the conference won’t move us, close us down. fear, not faith have guided us this far. I think I’m finding my faith again. will you come with me?

Christianity 21, Friday Update

I am so glad to be here in Edina, MN for the Christianity 21 Conference!



This is a quick moving conference and rather than wondering when the speaker will stop talking, we left wanting more! So far we have heard from:


  • Shauna Niequist talked about "currency earned through brokeness"

  • Carla Barnhill is our guide through weekend, giving us thoughts and bits of her wisdom as well.

  • Phyllis Tickle and Nadia Bolz-Weber "interviewed" one another which was not only highly entertaining but filled with LOTS of great information. Phyllis Tickle says we're in the "great emergence" which happens to be the latest "rummage sale" of the western church. Every 500 pears or so the western church has a big shift in which they reevaluate where they're headed and what they are taking with them. currently we are in the first "rummage sale" in post-christendom (no longer is the church and ...

grrr!! i lost connection and didn't realize it! so i've lost over half of my post and we're about to start once more! i will have to do this later. hence i'm going to be brave or stupid (you decide) and have a partial post.

know that is is awesome!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

lost in a morning haunt

this morning is pretty darn dreary. it's rainy and cold outside, the epitomy of a grey day. i was trying to get caught up on writing the daily devos and found myself falling asleep at the computer.

i laid down on the couch thinking i'd catch just a few zzz's, not being able to sleep for long on it. uh, not the case. i woke up 3 hours later! additionally, i had to pull myself out of the sleep. i hate doing that. they were some bizzarro dreams of a maze til i could finally know where i was. for a moment, i began to worry that the dream was real but finally i busted through to reality.

i wish i could describe the process better. i wonder--do others dream and wake like that? i begin deep in a dream, knowing it's a dream and that i want out of it. sometimes i can immediately wake up but there are some dreams that take longer to get out of and they warp into some bizzaro worlds before i can make it out and wake up.

now, that i had a LONG nap, i need to get working so that i can hit the road tomorrow and get to Christianity 21! woot! i can hardly wait!

i'm so glad i'll be in St. Paul/Minnapolis instead of Kansas City/Overland Park! sorry seminary friends but i'm thrilled not to be drinking the Hamilton/COR kool-aid!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

haunted (?)

This is my first "haunted" posting. i don't think it's actually "haunted." I think it's rather sweet. This summer at the country church a wonderful, beautiful, amazing woman passed away. These pictures were taken at the country church's annual "Homecoming."

Homecoming is when all the folks who used to attend church here come back for this Sunday and it's a grand celebration with a huge dinner afterwards. I don't know why those folks only return for this particular Sunday but they do and as long as I'm here I'll support this celebration and welcome them home. These are a few pictures taken at the worship service.





This last picture the light changes and is directed right at the woman's daughter. it has been suggested that this is her spirit. There's likely a technical explanation but I happen to like this one. You can decide for yourself. I think it's a lovely.



Tuesday, October 6, 2009

being the parent of a teenage girl stinks

i noticed the fake smile
don't think i'm that dumb
it couldn't be missed
little miss

ugh! being mom to a 14 year old girl is hard. it's one thing when i'm frustrated with my own daughter and another when the urge to protect one of my girls pops up.

ugh! little girls thinking that they are better than they are and trying to make others feel as low as they can. why do they think pushing someone else down will make them better?

the mama lion in me is screaming with rage, i want to lash out at the little girl(s) who makes my girl miserable. what is wrong with me? is this normal? i thought i was the grown-up but i'm feeling like a raging 15 year old or something crazy.

Monday, October 5, 2009

haunted...not so much

i guess i'm not too haunted. i took on the challenge and have already failed to follow through and its only day 5!

i'm tired and cold. i really want to go snuggle under my covers.

tonight was spent watching Merk cheer and the both jr. high and JV boys stomp the Trojans in football. it was cold and then it began to rain/sprinkle. i'm not that hardcore.

Val said she was feeling crummy. she was warm to the touch. it's terrible but right now i'd be happy to have a day at home with her if she's too sick to go to school.

hmmm....i don't have any hauntings to write about today. perhaps tomorrow.

i can still recover and finish the challenge strong with the rest of the month.

peace out

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A few thoughts on Mark 10:2-16

Mark 10:2-16 The Message

1-2 From there he went to the area of Judea across the Jordan. A crowd of people, as was so often the case, went along, and he, as he so often did, taught them. Pharisees came up, intending to give him a hard time. They asked, "Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife?"

3Jesus said, "What did Moses command?"

4They answered, "Moses gave permission to fill out a certificate of dismissal and divorce her."

5-9Jesus said, "Moses wrote this command only as a concession to your hardhearted ways. In the original creation, God made male and female to be together. Because of this, a man leaves father and mother, and in marriage he becomes one flesh with a woman—no longer two individuals, but forming a new unity. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart."

10-12When they were back home, the disciples brought it up again. Jesus gave it to them straight: "A man who divorces his wife so he can marry someone else commits adultery against her. And a woman who divorces her husband so she can marry someone else commits adultery."
13-16The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: "Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.

Divorce, it’s a touchy subject. Apparently it always has been. In the Hebrew tradition there were a few reasons for divorce—all of them allowed the husband to divorce his wife but she could not file for divorce. A wife was at her husband’s mercy. Once divorced, she would have nowhere to go; it would be unlikely that she would be accepted at her home.

The odd thing that Jesus says is that a woman could ask for divorce. This wasn’t a part of the Israelite culture that historians know of, so one wonders why Jesus mentions a woman divorcing her husband. However, Jesus honored women, treated them as equals—perhaps this was another way in which he understood them to be equal, that a woman might desire to divorce her husband due to lust and desire for another.

Humans lust for the new, the prettier, the more beautiful, the smarter, and the stronger. Lust and betrayal are not limited to men or women—we are all susceptible to them. We are all susceptible to hardening our hearts, to turning against the ones that we have loved.

Children remind us how to love. Children love freely and without reservation. This scripture jumps from divorce to children. Children are often the ones most hurt by divorce and yet they continue to love in the face of great pain and anguish. This is what Jesus did on the cross. He continued to love in the face of betrayal, pray for forgiveness for those who hurt him, who crucified him.

Holy One, let us love and believe not like adults who have hardened our hearts but like children who love unconditionally, let us love like Christ with forgiveness in the midst of ultimate betrayal. Amen.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy October

October is my favorite month of the year. The colors are glorious--reds, golds, dark greens, orange, dark purples, and it smells of spices--cinnamin, nutmeg, a dash of pepper, ginger, and it's crisp and clean as well.

Pumpkins, costumes, scary stories, signs of the harvest, wheat stalks, hay bales.

Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin bagels, hot apple cider, hot chocolate with marshmellows floating in it, baked apples, chili, roasting chiles (i so miss Denver this time of year!), cornbread.

The sound of leaves crushing and crunching beneath feet.

Oooh, I LOVE it! Thank you God for autumn and October!

By the way, I am committing to blogging each and every day this month, and the blog theme is haunting/haunted (see the side bar) so it should be fun and even deep on some days.

As my wonderful Virginia would say, "coffee break's over!"