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The time has come...again

I've been very quiet not only the blogosphere but in my real world as well.  In September I met with the district board of ordained ministry in order to move on to the next step in the ordination process.  For a myriad of reasons I was not approved to meet with the conference board of ordained ministry.  Yes, this was hurtful and irritating but something very good has come out of it.  2 members of the board came and spoke with me about the reasons why I was not passed on to the conference board--it boiled down to me not presenting my true self.  Instead of presenting me, they felt that I was holding back, trying to tame my edges, trying to be that person the board would approve rather than being myself.  At first I was offended by this, a little bit anyway.  I'm always who I am--I don't try to be anyone else.  But sometimes, often times, too often, I do hold back, limit what I say, tame those edges.

Throughout CPE I was reminded that God called ME into ministry--not some s…

Those kids...

Raising children is hard.  Raising tweens is hard.  Raising teenagers is hard.

Not just hard, it's heartbreaking.

One of my favorite lines about parenting is that it's like watching your heart walk around outside of one's body. 

A few days ago I was driving to a volleyball game listening to music from 20 years ago.  As Tracy Chapman's "This Time" began to play I couldn't help but cry.  There are 3 albums that I listened to nonstop during a very depressed and broken time when I was 19--Tracy Chapman's self-titled album & Crossroads, and the Indigo Girls's self-titled album.  It never fails that as soon as a song from one of those cds plays I remember all the heartache and emotions of that time in my life.  It transports me to that time in my life but it's not like a flashback and it's not emotionally crippling.  This last time I cried during "This Time" I cried for the girl I was, wishing that I could hold her and tell her th…

Rough draft for Pentecost...feedback is appreciated!

It’s that time of year again…it’s Pentecost.Pentecost as in Pentecostal…some of us are not so comfortable with that term as it brings to mind talking in tongues (not the same kind of tongue talking we just read in Acts 2), mumbling prayers, hands waving, and perhaps some snake handling.Pentecost in and of itself means 50, 50 days had passed since Passover, 50 days since the stone was rolled away from the tomb and Mary thought she was talking to the gardener but was speaking with Jesus.50 days doesn’t have much to do with holy languages, prayer, hand waving and certainly nothing to do with snakes.But it’s what happened on that 50th day that the disciples were gathered, waiting for a word, waiting for the Word, waiting for Jesus that changed everything, that has to do with prayer, hand waving, the languages we speak…I think we’re best to leave the snakes to themselves.
50 days since Easter for them and their time together was turned upside down, people where hearing the gospel in languag…

Authority--a word study

I had so much fun writing this for CPE I thought I'd share it with you. 


As long as I can recall, I've had "authority issues."It was no surprise to receive word from the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist, and that they wanted me to work on issues of authority.Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of their request was that they perceived me as not "claiming my authority."I did not receive instructions about needing to respect their authority, rather I needed assistance in learning to claim and own my very own authority as a pastor.I came to CPE prepared to further explore my "authority issues."
The word, authority, originally has to do with the work of an author or master of some trade/education.The word, author, needs some of its own exegetical work.According to the Online Etymology Dictionary (crafted by Douglas Harper)[1] an author is one who fathers or masters a particular subject or thing and even "…

Rejoicing?

Facebook is lit up with the news of Osama Bin Laden's death.  The news shows US Americans cheering, singing, and shouting in joy about his death.
I am sickened by our response.

I remember the outcries and the pain that came from watching videos of Al Queda's people cheering with joy at our pain and the loss of US Americans' lives on Sept. 11th.  I can't help but think about how our cries mimic theirs.  Both filled with hate and anguish, pain and punishment, revenge and terror.  Truly we are not so different.

Do we really believe this will be the end of Al Queda?  Do we really believe that this will somehow end the hate of the terrorists?  Do we really believe that we in the USA are now safer?

Even if his death somehow made us safer, our response that will be broadcast across the globe will not.  Won't the world wonder how we can cheer at the death of another human being?  Yes, Osama Bin Laden was an evil and horrible man  but shall we cheer his death?

Someone I lov…

Language

I picked up a book, The Incredible Woman: Listening to Women's Silences in Pastoral Care and Counseling, to add to my CPE bibliography (that and our final is due on May 9) and get all the required number of pages read.  I've just read the first chapters which have a lot to do with language for God. The thing that kills me is that despite the book being published in 1996, this issue--language for God--is still a major issue in most churches.  I know it's huge in my churches--if I were to use Mother God, Holy Mother, or heaven forbid, Goddess, I'd probably get kicked out of my pulpit.  Seriously!
I try to use non-gendered language for God because I believe it is faithful to a bigger image of God, it is faithful to the reality of God.  In the first few months of being here I had a conversation with someone about this.  The person pleaded with me not to repeat his thought that perhaps, just perhaps, the Holy Spirit was feminine.  He was ashamed to even think such a thing! …

New Life for the Blog

I've been reading "Life From Scratch" by Melissa Ford.  It's a great read and has rekindled my desire to blog. 

Last week I was considering completely taking down the blog.  I've been a bad blogger for a long time, nearly three years!  This was supposed to chronicle my journey from seminary to rural ministry but it's been hit and miss.  It's understandable, life is busy and I was burned pretty badly by the unnamed small town in Kansas' response to my seminary blog.  The scars from that incident serve as reminders to beware of what I post online.  In no way is this an anonymous blog and so I must be a bit guarded.

Life From Scratch has reminded me how powerful and wonderful it is to connect with others, to have a  place for your voice to be heard (no matter how small the "readership").  I miss the conversations and connections I've had with other bloggers...especially other Rev Gals

So, today, the day after celebrating the Resurrectio…

still a writer?

i've struggled to write for at least the past 2 years, probably longer.  for a while i was sure that i was a writer and that it was in my blood.  however, since i've been in full-time ministry it's become the most difficult thing i do. 

even the daily devos that i write and email to the congregation has moved from each email being written by myself to me "assembling them" with favorite quotes and the like.  i actually think that is a postive, as the emails offer a broader scope of theology and Christianity.

but i wonder what is going on?  what do i need to do to find that spark that ignites my creativity?  i wish i could say my creativity has simply found other outlets but that's not the case either.  i don't feel depressed.  is this simply a lack of discipline?

how about you?  thoughts?  suggestions?

RevGal Friday 5: Good Things Edition

Kathrynzj writes, "So for today I am asking for five quick picks of things that are good in your life. And as a bonus, 1 pick for a thing you could do without."

5 good things I'm thankful for are:
My family--Joel, Merkin, Valerie, and Ainsley and I are crazy nerds that fight and fuss but together we can face whatever life throws at us.  They fill my life with joy and insanity and I couldn't be happier that they are mine!Fabulous friends--this past week I was blessed to spend time with some wonderful women with whom I attended seminary.   I realized how much I need these women and other equally fabulous women in my life to keep my grounded and reminded of who I am.Fridays--Fridays are supposed to be my day off, my Sabbath.  Often I find myself working on Fridays, especially ones that come right after being gone for a week!  Yet, even when I find myself working, it's on my schedule and I do so feeling relaxed and not stressed out (at least this Friday!).Zumba--it&#…

Wade in the Water--UMC Southern Jurisdictional Clergy Women's Conference

I just made my flight reservations and completed my online registration!  If there are any RevGals going it'd be great to have a mini-meet up!

I've never been to New Orleans and I'll be rooming with one of my favorite women in the whole world--possibly 2 of them! 

I need to double check but I think there is even a Tennessee Williams festival going on that week!  I can hardly wait!

RevGal Friday 5: Ministry Perks

kathrynzj asks "What are the perks of ministry for you?" Thanks for asking kathrynzj! 

My 5 favorite perks of ministry
We only work 1 day a week!  Right?!?!?  Ok, so maybe not but our hours are flexible which can be both the best and worst of worlds. Given the snowpacalypse of this week, I'm feeling very grateful for this perk.We get to ask and wrestle with the "big questions"--that is actually our job!  I LOVE this!We are invited into the holy moments of people's lives.Reading is a job requirement!Creativity counts--sometimes I forget this and get stuck in my personal ruts and/or the ruts of my churches but then there are days in which I remember that my job is to help others ask the big questions, invite others into holy moments and holy lives, work for the Kingdom (justice and peace), and walk with people in this journey to God--wow!  It's freeing and I remember that creativity, like reading, is a job requirement!  How cool is that?

Update

It turns out that I am magic!  My unicorn horn has been deemed an insignificant benign osteoma.  I deny that my horn in insignificant and is definately magical!

It was a relief to find that it's nothing to worry about.  I did find out that I have chronic sinuitis and am on some crazy antibiotic that they also give to people who've been exposed to anthrax!  It's tearing up my stomach so perhaps I'll lose some weight while I'm on it these next two weeks. 

Thanks for your support through all of this!

Ramblings on Shane C., my call, and CHURCH

This weekend I was honored to listen to Shane Claiborne talk about his life, grace, reconciliation, and God's radical love.  The thing about Shane is that he lives what he says he believes.  This is something that puts a lump in my throat. 

While we were at the conference, I said to Merkin "This is stuff that will get me kicked out of church if I speak it on Sunday" (only partly in jest).  The more Shane spoke the more I wondered if the corporate church can be the CHURCH in a radical way, in a Jesus way, in a living out loud sort of way.  As much as I want to say yes, I'm not sure it's possible. 

I can't quote precisely, nor confidently say this came from Bonhoeffer but he supposedly said that pastors/preachers cannot depend on the church for their income--it's too compromising.  I know this to be true for myself.  What I long to say, I hold back out of fear.  Sometimes it's fear of being written off, sometimes its fear of hurting someone else, some…

RevGal Friday 5: Books!

Jan writes, So tell us what you're reading, what you would and would not recommend--five books or authors!

I would highly recommend:

Toni Morrison--anything written by Ms. Morrison is fantastically lyrical, inspiring, and thought provoking.  The Bluest Eye and Beloved are two that come immediately to mind.  Currently, Burn this Book is on my Kindle waiting to be read.  It's next in line after Annie Dillard's The Writing Life.





2.  Debbie Blue is co-pastor at House of Mercy in St. Paul, MN. Her writing and preaching is earthy, honest, and irresistible!    Her two published books are Sensual Orthodoxy and From Stone to Living Word--don't miss either!  I hope she has another coming out soon!








3.  Joyce Rupp--I feel as though I'm indulging in those folks you already know but just this morning I was thinking about how it was time to read and journal through Cup of Life again.  It is one of the few books that I've worked through the entire thing and surely its the only on…

Festival of Homies

I'm excited to report that I just registered for the Festival of Homiletics!  I've wanted to attend for a few years but timing and finances didn't seem to work.  However, when I saw it was going to be in Minneapolis I had to find a way to go!  I LOVE Minneapolis and if I go a day early I can visit House of Mercy--the church Rev. Debbie Blue helped to start and with any luck she'll be preaching that Sunday!

I'm not sure if I'll drive or fly (anyone feel like a roadtrip?).  I'm hoping to find a roomie, so if you're interested please email me.  It'd be great to have a RevGal meet-up at the Festival of Homies.  I know they've had some in the past and hope there will be another this year.

Results

Sometimes the doctoring process makes me want to scream!  The MRI showed 2 things...I have chronic sinuitis which is causing the headaches and that I have a 7mm "coritcal(?) growth on my frontal bone of my skull.  DUH!  That's why I went in for the MRI!  Apparently the MRI doesn't read bone so well and now I have to get a CT scan of my head. 

The good news is that "It's not a tumor!"  I didn't think it was.  The doctor never mentioned that either. 

Thanks for all of your prayers and wonderful support.  I truly appreciate it.  It'll be a while before I know anything else as I probably won't get the Ct scan until Friday and then results the following week.  At least I know it's not urgent or really worrisome!  When I was pregnant one of the most frustrating things the doctors would say is "oh, sometimes that happens" and now I'm hoping to hear those same words.  I'm confident I will.

RevGal F5: Time to Get Up

SingingOwl writes,
Where I am it is dark, and it is cold, and it is snowing. I really wanted to stay in bed with the electric blanket cranked this morning. Share five things that made getting out of bed worthwhile for you today!Well, SingingOwl, you've made an especially difficult F5!  But I'm going to try to play along!
Hopefully, I will get my MRI results today.  Hopefully, I will hear something like "Oh, sometimes this happens and there's nothing you need to worry about." or "Wow!  I now believe that unicorns are real!" please see Snow Day 2 for further explanationOne last swig of Creme Brule creamer for one cup o' joe.  End of Year reports....oh wait, that makes me want to go back to bed and hide until January is over!My Kindle....I can't wait to read The Centurian's Wife, Things Fall Apart, The Greatest Prayer, Biblical Interpretation--A Road MapThe Woman's Bible (by Elizabeth Cady Stanton), and many others.  I love the Kindle becau…

Too good not to share...from Inward/Outward a Project of Church of the Saviour

God Says Yes to Me

by Kaylin Haught

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don't paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I'm telling you is
Yes Yes Yes

I did it!

Thanks to some valium and my friend, Susan, I did it!  The MRI is over and now we wait to hear from the doc.  Whew!

Thanks for your sweet thoughts, prayers, and support!

Clausterphobic

I found out that I am clausterphobic yesterday.  As the technician covered my eyes, stopped up my ears, padded my head so I couldn't move, my heart began to race.  As I slid into the MRI machine I felt as if I couldn't breathe.  I was freaking out and squeezed the bulb in my hand.  He was kind, patiently talked with me but I wasn't going back in.  He sent me to the hospital where they have a larger machine--perhaps if it wasn't such a tight fit I'd be okay.  She walked me back and let me just lie down and go into the machine to see if that would make a difference.  It didn't. 

I've never experienced anything like that before.  I'm the girl that just sucks it up and moves on.  I didn't.  I called the doctor and asked for some valium.  I'm going back in tomorrow morning, prepped with valium.  I pray it works.  I feel like a nut.  It's a tiny block of time--less than an hour.  It freaks me out just thinking about it.  I've never taken vali…

Snow Day #2

It finally arrived and now we have 2 snow days!  Hopefully not 3--there is a limit to how much family togetherness we can take without verbally, emotionally, or physically harming one another!

Don't get me wrong, I love my girls.  I love my husband.  I love my mother.  I love my mother and father in-law.  No, we're not like Charlie Bucket's family in which both sets of grandparents lived with them (and shared a huge bed!).  Our parents live far from us.  This weekend both sets came to visit.  It's been great, yesterday we played Hand and Foot for at least 6 hours (enjoyed until the last 2 rounds).  We've watched a movie or two, cooked many meals together, and overall had a great time.  But it's been longer than 3 days, today makes day 5.  It's smelling a bit fishy around here!

Thankfully this afternoon I have to get out of the house--I'm getting an MRI.  It's probably nothing but my doctor wants to be sure.  See, I have a "unicorn bump."  …