Tuesday, April 27, 2010

check it out: Baxter's Ongoing Thoughts

I've decided to make an effort to read more blogs and get back into blogging on a consistant basis.  Over at Baxter's Ongoing Thoughts is a great article on our thoughts about ourselves and our thoughts about God.  It's a great read and I highly reccomend it.

Baxter asks about our "I am nots..."  For example, I am not...
  • brilliant
  • amazing
  • deserving
  • smart enough
  • pretty enough
  • holy enough
  • thin enough
  • generous enough
  • musical
  • healthy
...you get the picture. Whar are you not?

He goes on to talk about what people think of God, a few examples
God is:
  • judging
  • angry
  • demanding
  • dissatisfied with humans
  • etc.
He points out that we often project our own negative aspects onto god.  God is so much more than anything we can projectonto  God-either postive or negative.  Why is this so easy to forget?  Why is it so diffcult to to recognize the ?Christ within us, I am like God.  I am...we are...
  • Loving
  • Kind
  • Compassione
  • sensitive to the needs and desires of others
  • respectful
  • creative
  • beautiful
What/how are you like God?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's been a while since I've blogged.  I hope to do better at blogging regularly.  This past week I was reminded just how important it is and has been in my life.  I was blessed to spend 5 days with some amazing RevGals! 

We were also blessed by the teachings of Nanette Sawyer and she directed us in the areas of spiritual discipline, hospitality to God, self, enemies, family, and creation.  I especially appreciated the times in which we named and shared those places and/or activitites in which we are especially awakened to the presence of God in our lives.  I remembered how good it feels to just write with pen and paper--not for any purpose, just to write.  I remembered that photography helps me to witness the beauty of this wondrous creation and to offer thanksgiving to God.  I remembered how wonderful it is just to pray with my girls and listen to their thoughts and prayers.  I was reminded how the laughter of good friends heals the rough spots of our lives.  I was reminded how wonderful it is to pray without worry of how one sounds or appears--just to pray alongside friends.  I was reminded that it's okay to cry and how healing it is to receive a hug from someone who cares and probably has a pretty good idea about the hells you've been through.  Thanks RevGals!  I love you all!

This afternoon I was also blessed to be with other UM clergy and learn more about sermon prep and preaching from Gene Lowry.  It's funny how one changes depending on the context.  Rev. Lowry subbed for a few of our preaching classes in seminary.  At seminary he seemed a bit distant and reserved.  Today he was jovial, witty, inspiring, and accessible. 

I better be careful or my brain might implode from all of this learning!  I just hope it sinks in and stays!

Have I mentioned how good it is to be home?  It is wonderful!  I loved being at church(es) today and being in worship with the people I am honored to serve.  I'm glad to be home, even if it is loud and hectic!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Does this sound right to you?

As I looked upon my Yahoo page this caught my attention, "Medical Rights for Gays."  Now, when I clicked on the link it led to an article called, "Obama extends medical rights to gay partners."  I was relieved to find a better headline but I found it troublesome to read "Medical Rights for Gays."  I am thrilled that finally partners/signficant others of anyone will be able to see their beloved when they are in ill condition or at their last in the hospital.  I've heard heart breaking stories from friends not being able to say good-bye because parents didn't approve of "their lifestyle."

When we say "gays" or "lifestyle" it totally takes the human reality of the relationship of love out of the equation.  Gays sounds like "the gays" or someother bizarro it/thing.  Lifestyle implies there is some other way of living--something other than breathing, eating, and loving.  It sounds as if "the gays", those things, live very differently than everyone else.  As if people who happen to love and be attracted to those of the same gender don't work, eat, get dressed, and emote just like those who happen to love and be attracted to those of the opposite gender. And what about thsoe who find themselves attracted to others regardless of gender?  Rubbish!

It's about damn time we stop with the dehumanizing of our brothers and sisters of this earth based on sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, potlitical viewpoints, etc!  And please stop using the Bible to justify it!  Why is it so difficult to understand that violence in the name of religion is wrong--whatever kind of violence it may be?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Glorious Easter!

Last week was a difficult week for me.  We lost a beloved woman, one especially close to my heart.  Her husband then fell and broke his hip, another man returned to the hospital possibly with an additional stroke (he regressed quite a bit in just a few days) and it was Holy Week with extra services and preparations. 

Quite truthfully, I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and struggled with some depression.  Then I read an email from another pastor in this area about his Easter experience which was wonderful.  As I emailed him back, thanking him for sharing his story I shared a bit of mine and it hit me just how wonderful and blessed I was by our Easter and how blessed I am in general, so I thought I'd share some good news for a change!

Within my first few months there was a crisis with a family that hit really close to home for me.  A couple lost a child far along in the pregnancy.  The doctors told them it was unlikely they could ever have one.  It was devastating.  Then they lost another.  This past Easter I baptized their infant son!  It was an extraordinary moment!  Additionally, I was honored to welcome them (officially) into our church family! 

Joel, my hubby/wanna be elementary school teacher, gave the most amazing and entertaining and profound children's sermon ever!  As he led the children's time, I continually thought:  "There is NO way I'm preaching after that!  There's nothing left for me to say!  I guess I'll just sit down and be done!"

But then there was an amazing musical special and a scripture reading between times and I was able to give a sermon and a very good one at that!  Which was a miracle in itself!  I had planned on telling a story that included my dad and not in a fabulous light, however the Spirit led me in a different direction.  Thank goodness for that because who showed up to surprise me?  Yep!  My dad and his fiance!  A little over halfway into the sermon I spotted him and then said a quick prayer for not revealing/sharing the story!

Our sunrise service had gorgeous weather and it was lovely.

I also worshipped at the nursing home that afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed making a joyful noise unto the Lord with them (I'm not a singer and most of them weren't either).

After that our family went to a hotel with a small water park and relaxed and played together.  There were only a handful of families/people there and so it was perfect!  Definitely an Easter to remember and rejoice in!

Thanks be to God!  God is great!  Amen!