Sunday, February 28, 2010

Prayer Request

Hello Everyone,

Monday afternoon I will be interviewing with the Board of Ordained Ministry for Commissioning in the UMC.  I won't be alone--there are interviews all day Monday & Tuesday.  Please keep all of us in prayers--both interviewers & interviewees.  I'm sure we all need them!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Some thoughts

I've been reading a FABULOUS book by Rev. Debbie Blue, From Stone to Living Word: Letting the Bible Live Again.  Rev. Blue is one of the co-founders of The House of Mercy, a church in St. Paul, MN.  She has a way of writing that takes your mind out of the book, which is transforms/translates the Biblical witness into a raw breathing and bloodied gospel.  It's tanglible, palatable, visceral.  Rev. Blue doesn't simply take you from the ivory tower of academia but she smashes it to pieces and frees you to get dirty and rejoice in living or be pissed about it--to be real about one's life, Jesus' life, and this Christian faith we are a part of.  I love reading it.  I even looked her up on facebook and sent her an email thanking her for writing the book.  She either has a life or does not care for stalkers--either way I'm perfectly fine with that.

Anyway, I've always been the "dirty" girl--getting my hands dirty, not afraid to let out a few curse words.  In seminary, I led a worship service about prision ministry and while reading letters from some of the imprisioned women I dropped the f-bomb multiple times (yes from the pulpit).  I did preface myself by saying that the world is dirty and harsh and if we are to minister to the world we can't be offended or afraid to get dirty ourselves and hence I was toning any of the language down.  It was appropriate--not just me dropping the f-bomb for fun.

Lately though, I've been pretty darn clean.  I've been working in the office, working on putting together our newsletter, crafting bulletins, doing paperwork, and it seems that if I wasn't doing that I was sleeping cuz I was really sick. This morning I was thinking how I don't always feel like myself, I'm not as free.  I'm now the pastor and so I need to be shinier, less dirty.  But as I savor Rev. Blue's words I begin to feel some slick of mud splatter and I feel a bit more like me.

Wer'e doing a Lenten study of Jonah and I've been reading scripture from Jonah instead of the lectionary's call for Genesis.  I love Jonah.  He's a huge jerk who thinks he's so much better than everyone else.  Jonah is sorta like the church.  We come in on Sundays, sometimes for Bible study during the week and feel pretty darn good about ourselves.  Yeah, we're holy.  Or so we tell ourselves.  We snub the woman who lives down the block.  She's married to a pig, she's left him 5 times or so and she's trying to again but we know she'll just go back.  Do we help her?  Do we even say hello?  Hell no!  She's a pain and sorta rude, sorta crude even.  Yep, we're Jonah.  We're either too good to deal with people like that or we're too afraid what it might costs us if we try to help.

I've always loved that Jonah gets vomited up on the shore.  It makes me smile a bit, laugh on the inside as I think "ICK!" at him getting thrown up with stomach juices,  maybe a bit sticky and definately stinky.  I would like to know what Rev. Blue would make of getting vomited up.

That was this morning.  This afternoon I ended up at Jesus Creed reading Scot McNight's take on the church.  He wants us to forget about needing the church to be perfect and holy and instead engage in Augustinian ecclesiology which I understood to mean that the church is not supposed to be holy and clean and pretty.  The church is a bunch of screw-ups who happen to love and want to follow Jesus.  Now that's my kind of church!  Really, how can it be anything else?

Lastly (for today), I was at a worship retreat with Marcia McFee (who is awesome!) and she talked about a church which had these great worship services but behind the scenes the people were fighting and bickering, it was a big ugly mess (my words not hers).  As she continued to talk about why it was difficult but because of learning/worship/personality styles it was appearing to work well, I zoned out wondering how in the world they could have a good worship, a real worship, a meaningful worship if they were angry with each other behind the scenes.  I've never expected worship to be perfect but have always thought that worship needed cohesion at least between the leaders/folks working together to create real and authentic worship.  Yet, here was a great worship leader and designer saying a group was doing it.  It was as though a cartoon bulb lit up in my brain--God can and does work in our brokeness!  How often do I or have I preached exactly that and yet here I was shocked by the fact that Jesus walks into a room with people fighting and still manages to touch the hearts of others that are there!?!

I thought I understood what it meant to get and be dirty but I needed a good dose of Augustian ecclesiology!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Me & Kat Von D

I had the craziest dreams last night!  I didn't want to wake up cuz I was having so much fun!

(isn't she the cutest ever?)
Kat Von D.  is a great tattoo artist, LA Ink, is a TV show that takes place at her shop.  Each time I watch it I exclaim, "I want Corey to do my next tattoo!"  Corey is pretty awesome, I love his personality and watching how he relates with his clients.


In my dream, Kat's tattoo shop was more of a dark New Ageish book store--lots of goth clothes, books, candles, decor, & jewelry.  They even had some crazy exotic animals.  I had bought a huge snake but didn't like her very much, she scared me too much to be a good pet.  As I went in to check out the store I started talking with Kat and telling her that I didn't know what to do with the snake.  She said that I could bring it in to the shop and they'd see if they could sell it.

I brought the snake in and long story short--it ate a cougar!  How crazy is that?  It was quite a site watching the two of them fight and waiting to see who would be the victor.  None of us imagined that the snake would win! 

Onto to Kat.  She had to leave for a few days and asked me to cover for her int he shop.  Some of the folks were really concerned that a pastor would be working in their non-Christian store.  I knew it would be worse if I attempted to prove that I was cool enough to be there (cuz of course I'm not!) but I did promise not to mention Jesus unless someone else asked about Jesus or Christianity.  Then I went onto say that there were a handful of pastors with tattoos and who liked the goth cultre.  Needless to say that din't impress anyone.

It actually turned out to be a good day--other than the snake getting loose, going crazy, eating the cougar, and everyone seeing how I was completely afraid of my own snake (although not without reason obviously).  I sold some cool knickknacks/decor stuff and had fun talking with the kids coming into the store.

When Kat returned we decided that we'd have a night at the shop in which we'd talk theology--answering questions and stuff. In my dream Kat was wiccan/pagan ( I don't know about in real life) and so we'd have lots to talk about with the differences between our belief systems as well as where we cross over. 

I'm now questioning if I should even post this cuz it isn't coming out nearly as cool and fun as the dream experience!  Grrr....I guess it was a "you had to be there" moment.  Dreamland...the space in which everything is fluid and constantly interchanging and when I try to share it with someone else, the details become illusive and slippery.  I guess the cool conversation with me and Kat Von D will have to stay in Dreamland.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Church Buses or sometimes you've just gotta get it off your "chest"

Once upon a time there was a youth minister at a church.  One of the church folks came up and asked her to make sure the kids were nice to the children in the family she had brought to church that day. 
  "Of course!  I'll be sure to ask them to be nice but they are usually great about welcoming new kids."

   "The last family I brought to church had kids but now they are going to the Catholic Church.  I just want to be sure that this family stays here."

The young youth pastor thought, hmm...perhaps they WERE Catholic to begin with but didn't say this, instead
    "Well, it is good that they found a church that they like and attend, even if it isn't ours."

      "I'm not so sure about that!" replied the parishioner.

     "We might be on different busses but we're all going to the same place!" replied the youth pastor as she escaped the conversation and went to change into her robe and prepare for the worship service."

The worship service went well.  The senior pastor's sermon was on target as usual.  However, as soon as the young youth pastor was heading to her room to disrobe, the parishioner from the earlier conversation was disturbingly poking her shoulder, "Yes?"

     "I just wanted to tell you, that for the record, I highly disagree with what you said earlier this morning.  We are NOT all on the same bus!  Catholics are NOT Christian and certainly NOT going to the same place we are!!!"

Then the parishioner continued down the hall and excited the church while the young youth pastor stood with her jaw dropped to the floor. 

more odd snowflakes (the new photo uploader is making me crazy!)