Thursday, April 28, 2011

a morning off....

I am taking this morning off.
You see, I commute across Boston to get to my office/church, so once I go over there,
I stay.

So, I am sipping coffee, got to see Lady Gaga perform "Judas" on Ellen, catching up on emails (o.k., so that is work, I know), reading blogs, and will need to exercise at some point.   I wish I could go to a Zumba class, but nothing close by.   That's o.k.

So, some of my favorite moments are like this.  Writing, relaxing, coffee, three doggies snoozing around me and one cat meticulously grooming herself.   The windows are open, the breeze is strong and even a little humid, and in this pause I realize how blessed life is.  

I go on--that I ought to be doing so much more with this blessed life.   I don't mean that in a self-deprecating or self-scolding way.   I mean it as a question, a yearning to live even more deeply and authentically in my call.  

The feeling of impatience overshadows me.  I am so ready to move ahead, start something new, be more of who I can be as pastor, preacher, fellow journey-er, seeker of justice and action.  I have been holding back some, because of the nature of my position as "associate" and how that plays out in my current call.

However, knowing that all we have is really the moment--I know I need to not be "waiting" until the spring program year is over.  How do I...dear Holy One, how do I agitate the now, how do I engage in empowerment and excitement...or at least open windows?  

How do I know how You are leading me?
Help me get it, help me be open to discerning and thinking creatively with the information and perceptions you put before me....
You know, feel free to Knock. Me. Over. My. Head....I can be a little dense, but what I really, really, really need dear One,  is clarity. and courage.   And open eyes and heart to see, to get what might be right under my nose.

This is my prayer.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


So, I had planned twenty minutes ago to run out and get a coffee before confirmation class.
Before I left, I wanted to look up a couple of things on the web, and as the web as  a knack for doing, I started going down some rabbit holes....

You see, I think Google is a kind of goddess.  I look something up, say, a website.  When I find the website, then I look around for what I am looking for...and then a question forms in my head, and I can't find the answer on the website, so I just google my question, and VOILA!   I find the answer--or at least what I am looking for.  I love that I can type a question in, and find several options for the information I am looking for, or wondering about.  

I am not picky with my searches, either.  They range from where can I buy true vegan cheese to whether a church is gay friendly or if a certain person I think exists really does...I look for yarn and beads and seeds and the best deal on pottery tools.    I look for free patterns, for jobs, for dankso shoe outlets and t-shirts.  I ask questions about spiritual formation and children and look up my friend's ministries and more. 

And before I know it, I have paid so much homage to the Google Goddess, that it is now too late to worship the coffee gods.   

Jus' sayin.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Tuesday Confession

in spite of being incredibly productive, especially for me on a Monday....
My being was very low.
I can't really chalk it up to being busy with Easter, because really, I didn't do any planning/preaching/creating for Holy Week.  I did help set things up, and participated in the services, but you know what I mean.

It's been a long program year--and the next six weeks are packed.
I realize that as of now, I am in the same place I was last year at this time, but now it is totally different.

I am looking for my Easter Joy,
my groove,
my spark. 

The sun is shining today. 
It is warming my soul.

In spite of mixed emotions,
there is so much to be grateful and thankful and hopeful for.

I just wish I had more control over it. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

good friday...

I am working into this, this Holy Week.
Trying to find my place, in the words, in the music, in the ministry, in the liturgy...
It's easy to disconnect from it when my part is ancillary...
It's easy to go through the motions of it...
I suppose that is why I need the cross, then, isn't it? I am standing there, right now,
feeling petty and small
instead of getting it.

Last night, at the Maundy Thursday service,  the music was transcendent and deep.

We always do foot washing, communion, and then a service of Tenebrae.  The youth do the readings. We all sit around two long tables in the shape of the cross. After each reading, the reader extinguishes a candle, and then joins the congregation, until the church becomes completely dark.  

I love watching the faces of the youth.  They are squirmy, and haven't practised their readings, and are nervous and giggly, all the while they are reading about the betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus.  Such a juxtaposition--but somehow it works for me.  In the past, I would have given them my teacher eye--you know what I am talking about--the look that says it all to shape up and be serious and reverent---I have perfected that look.  However, now I just gaze upon the youth, with a half smile on my lips, loving them the way they are.  They are always serious when they actually read.

It's a hard and intimate thing, reading these scriptures.   Just like adolescence--it's hard, it's intimate, it's uncomfortable, it's happy, it's dreadful, it's beautiful and sad--it's so so much.   Just like the Passion of Christ.

Our seminary intern asked me after the service, if it was hard, seeing these amazing kids grow up, and then leave.   You know--it's not.  I love watching them develop and grow--and yes I miss them when they move on, but they always, always stay in my heart.  Even when I forget them over time, and then remember.   It's the stuff of ministry.  It's the stuff of love.

It's the stuff of Passion, and hopefully, of Resurrection.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

full head!

Do you ever have those weeks--well, of course you do.
Literally, from Friday to about Tuesday around 5:00 I was so discombulated FOR. NO. APPARENT. REASON.  I totally blew writing my prayer for prayerpals, I forgot an important appointment on Tuesday at noon, I messed up submitting a contribution to a blog that I only need to remember once in awhile.

On Sunday, we had the reception of new members--and my colleague sent me the outline to place in the bulletin.  I felt there was something missing, but the service bulletin was so packed, I guess I thought I was simplifying things.  Turns out, before worship, that I had left three elements out, because of the way the outline opened on my computer earlier that week.   We didn't lose anything, and it wasn't a big deal, but
I am usually pretty good with details--although I am no where near OCD.   So feel bad.  And I am sorry to have let others down.  I hate that.  I hate that it all looks irresponsible. Or at least, not together.

I have snapped somewhat out of it--I've had some breathing room today, and am crossing t-s and dotting i's .

What else.  Holy Week is upon us.   For most, this is a hectic time.   We have all our bulletins finished for the services next week.   I am not preaching  NOT once in the four services we will have in the next seven days.  I haven't been a participant in planning them, except to proof the bulletins. (no, really, o.k., yes, I do have mixed feelings about this....)  I am really not used to the idea of using the same outlines every year, but I guess that's tradition.   Sometimes I like to bust out of the routine, you know?    Enough of this line of thought, for now.

Well, it's an absolutely gorgeous day, and I have to go the office supply store.  Luckily, it is next to thinking to swing by TJ's too, and get some groceries before my next meeting. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

RGBP Friday Five: Towards Resurrection!

Over at RevGals, Dorcas offers us a hopeful Friday Five, based on the journey from Lent to Easter, Darkness to Light.  She writes:
".... today I am askig for your thoughts on that movement from darkness to light.  Tell us five ways in which you are anticiping, or your life is moving towards light, joy, hope--new things:  new ideas,  new hobbies, new people...and so on."

So, here are my thoughts.....

1.   I am a five day old VEGAN.   I have been thinking of making the switch from vegetarian to vegan for quite some time, but couldn't imagine life without cheese--and I do love eggs once in a while.   However,  my love for living creatures was creating a disconnect--there is so much cruelty and non-accountability in the business of corporate chicken farming, and let's not talk about the standards in traditional dairy farming.    If I had the time and energy to consistently seek out a small farm where I could buy eggs from little chickens running around, I would.  And certainly, at the farmer's market, where I might meet someone selling her beautiful goat cheese that she made from her herd of 20 goats, I wouldn't be able to open my wallet fast enough.    
      So, for me, a daily practise of eating vegan is a better way to go---with the occasional foray into humane dairy eating.   The wonderful thing is that I feel really, really good.   I think I might have been clogging up my body with all the mozarella from my three day a week pizza parties.  ;-)

2.   My beloved and I have started a practise of exercising together at 5 in the morning.  Our schedules are so opposite, and one of the things, in the past, we would always do is exercise together.  Neither of us have anything scheduled at 5 in the morning. so off to the gym we have been three times this week.  
Yay for us.  If we can get in 3 or 4 weekdays at the gym, I would be very happy.  

3.  My ministry is opening up in many ways.   I realize how much I have been "managing up" the past four spite of transition, I am feeling very positive.    Last night we had our Women's Spirituality Gathering, and it was so very lovely and special.  At the end, one of the women slipped a small tissue wrapped square in my hand.   She had been helping her mother pack up her house to move to a sr. living facility, and while they were going through things, she found a small stained glass ornament.    Sixty years ago, our church burned down, and nothing really remained except the rubble and shards of the beautiful stained glass windows.  The members collected what they could to recycle--and the stained glass windows became a fundraiser by turning them into ornaments!   There aren't many around...and when N. found this, she said she thought of me immediately, and wanted me to have it. 
It was so touching.  Good, good things moving towards the Light. 

4. I'm fostering two kittens right now.  They are full of light. 

5.  The hints of warm weather.   I hate socks...and no-sock days are on the horizon---hooray!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

So I only have about ten minutes...

..which will indicate for you the quality of writing on this post.   However, I have been thinking about something this afternoon that I don't want to forget about. 

This afternoon, I attended our interfaith clergy association, in which we met with the new superintendent of schools in the city in which I serve my church.  We have a fabulous school system. 

The Super is amazing-super.   I was so impressed with his facility of educational theory and knowlege and content, while being totally down to earth.  

We talked about stress on our teens.  He flipped the conversation to stress in our culture--and that yes, schools have a role to play in thinking about stress, but he wanted to go deeper-to talk about stress as a cultural issue  and what causes stress--
and he thinks it's fear.  Fear. 
Parents fear for the future of their children, fear of failing, fear of wanting the best, but not getting it....
 fearing  what the world will be like in 10-20 years.....

What do you think of this? (I am not representing the brilliant way in which he articulated this, so it might sound a little facile.)
I thought it was sort of theological, in a way. 
Jus' sayin'

Friday, April 1, 2011

ramblings...with a FF starter....

First, over at RevGals, Kathryn asks us to share five things that are good in life.....
1.  puppy Cooper, who turns 1 today.   (actually we made her birth date up because we don't know what her birthday is, and she is such a holy terror we thought April Fool's Day would be a good birthday.

2.  OPENING. DAY.    (Baseball, people.   Red Sox and Rangers, tonight, in Texas.)

3.  Clay.   I spent far too much time in the studio today to be legal, but it was great.  Can't wait to show you my mosaic I am working on.

4.  My Beloved.

5.  Almond milk.  

Oh....big sigh.  This week--actually the last month since the BE4 has been quite full.    I am really, really drained from everything.   SP resigning, discerning how to be in the transition, working with the Pastoral Staff Relations,  discerning some more; dismay at the termination of the staff person in our conference responsible for church vitality and evangelism.  Yes. Really.  And the defunding of the Hispanic Ministries that is so tender and growing....and it's not like it gets a whole lot of funding, anyway.    Collaborating with colleagues on how to address this injustice.....just a whole heck of a lot.   Like everyone else.   I'm not special in that way, I know.  

I have had lots and lots of opportunities to pray this month, though--in community, in meditation, in worship, with colleagues.....lots of breathing and reflection, which is appropriate in this season of Lent.

Today I decided I would like to start blogging more about my art and finding ways to deepen my experience with clay.  Right now I am working on a very whimsical level, which is fun, but I want to...make things that are pretty, too.    Intentionally.    After all these years in clay, I am just determining my style, which is interesting to me.   Chunky, bright, wonky.  

I think, that with so many others, we are all so weary of the winter, of the grey skies, the brown yards...

So my prayer is for Spring...may its tendrils begin to unfurl in my psyche and my heart and my body.