Thursday, July 29, 2004

Blame John Kerry -- I am outed to my mother

Well, high on John Kerry's speech at the Democratic convention, I was talking to my mother on the phone and wound up "outed" at a potential UU minister. As Jimmy Buffett sings, "'s my own damn fault." Still can't keep my secrets from that woman.

She:, why aren't you running for public office?
Me: Oh, I think there's other things planned for me.
She: Yes, you won't run for office, but you're raising three wonderful children.
Me: Errr...

Back and forth a few times, Me: I don't want to tell you, She: Whaaat? Whaaat? Me: You'll have to bite your tongue ...

So, I told her that I didn't want to hear a reaction, but that I was applying to grad school, going to answer the call to be a minister. In her defense, she didn't say anything negative; just said that she was glad I was going to grad school, anyway. Umm. Well, I skipped the explanation that where I'm applying is specifically seminary. Let her think I might graduate with a Master's in, um, English lit or something.

Oddly enough, she is, actually, a Unitarian. I think this may be an old-school Unitarian thing -- go to a Unitarian church for the children, but don't let them get bit with the bug so much that they actually want to BE a UU minister. Tee-hee.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Universalist movement outside UUism

I just put it all together.

There's someone else preaching our message. Though in real life, he believes the only way you can be saved is through Jesus, and though in an interview, he will admit to being socially and politically conservative on issues such as abortion and homosexuality, his sermons are completely Universalist. J-- O-- of L-- Church on TV, preaches about the love of God. No hell or damnation. He preaches to those of all stripes. He is a cheerleader, encouraging people to be their best self. Face it, he's a modern-day universalist, giving them "not hell, but hope and courage."

UU's, are you paying attention??? He stays away from politics, preaches simple messages designed to appeal to the heart. And his congregation, in addition to being huge, has no racial majority. We preach about it, he's living it.


In related news, I preached today. "I like your passion," said one lady. Well, I guess I was on fire today. Admitted a mistake, saying hey, if Stephen Hawking can, so can I. I used to believe that charity begins at home; I have since learned the error of my ways. The churches that grow are invested in outreach. It's kind of like the belief about wealth, that if you learn to give it generously, you will have more than enough. We have such an incredible message of love and acceptance. Unlike the aforementioned church, we don't have to hide our hidden feelings -- you will be loved and accepted in Unitarian Universalism, whatever your sexuality, whatever your belief structure. We have to take this message out to the people.

Is there such a thing as a charismatic UU? ;P

Went and drove to the theology school today. It looks charming, but I'm going to have to figure out the best way to get there. The Spur is closed for the next year or so, so we wound up wandering all over to get there. Being in the downtown area, you see homeless folks here and there. I remarked that I would need to buy some of those Balance bars that don't melt to hand out. Husband replied that he wanted me to carry mace along with the bars.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


Good. Got an email back from B--, that he'll give me a professional reference. I guess I'm going to have to write a cover letter explaining that my academic recommendation is instead a professional recommendation and both of my professional recommendations are, in fact, based on volunteer work. Which, for my money (or lack thereof) should mean they're more impressive, not less. Not that I get a vote.

I have to write a sermon to present on Sunday about a message from GA. I don't want to turn it into an "all about me" thing, so I'm not going to make any kind of announcement about starting seminary. I'm having a hard time trying to translate the breathtaking experience of GA into a message that guests to our church will get something from.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Talked to VP at school

Okay, so I reached the Student Services VP. Very nice. Made me feel like if I go to The School, I won't just be a face in the crowd. I went to UT, where the idea of having an "advisor" is laughable. The "advisor" is some stranger that signs off on your classes, just making more red tape.

Anyway, Dr. K-- said that it's fine to not have an academic reference, two professional ones are okay. Hmm. Didn't ask him about both of my professional references being from volunteer work. Oh well, hopefully it will be okay. I've been a full-time homemaker for the past 6 years, maybe I can have my 8 year old give me a reference. Nah. I don't trust what he'd say.

"Although Mrs. C-- is liberal with her tv and computer privileges and makes really good pizza, her insistence on such items as bedtime, vegetables and brushing one's teeth leave me no choice but to withhold any recommendation."

Called my old boss for a reference, but she's out of town til the middle of next month. Am still going to try and get a reference from her, but am trying to hedge my bets with the two volunteer recommendations.

Oh, and Dr. K-- said that there's no minimum course load, unless you're applying for financial aid.

Glad I'm cutting coupons. Hmmm, maybe that can be part of my thesis -- "Jesus Saves! By cutting coupons and shopping wisely."

Monday, July 19, 2004

Coming Out

Well, I'm slowly letting people know. There are a few people at church that know, which will probably mean everyone will know by the end of the month. All the covenant groups I'm in, know. And I just told the story of "The Call" to my fellow Amazons.

Still trying to get an answer from The School about the "academic" recommendation.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Inventor of WWW a UU

Well, how cool is this. The inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, is a Unitarian Universalist.

Makes me proud. Though how ironic, considering that UU church sites are often so ... so ... well, BAD. We missed the boat on this one. Wicca has it all over us. Go do a Google search on "Wicca" -- 1,010,000 hits. Okay, now do it on "Unitarian Universalist" -- 179,000.


Saturday, July 17, 2004

Herding cats

Err, just had a meeting about how our pt minister is about to leave us. The old chestnut about how if you have two UUs in a room, you'll have 3 opinions, is often proven to me to be true. This meeting was no exception. Actually creating the agenda for our meeting with the congregation took about 5 minutes, but it was spread out in 20 second increments through conversations (arguments) about philosophy of ministry, do we operate as a church or a fellowship, should you come to church for the relationships or for UUism, etc.

"Is this really the life you want?" asks the heckler on my shoulder. Yeah, it is, gosh darn it. I'm proud to be in a religion that refuses to accept easy answers and constantly points out the emperor has on no clothes.

Even if, sometimes, he actually does.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Start Me Up

Okay, with apologies to Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally, when you finally stop fighting and accept the call to ministry, you want the journey to ministry to begin "right now." Easier said than done, since I have three kiddos under the age of 8. But I want to at least dip my toe in the water, so I'm attempting to really-fast-hurry-up apply to a school of theology here, in order to take one evening class in the Fall semester. Just to see how this being a mom and being a student thing will work for me.

One little problem: ever since getting rk surgery on my eyes (back when they used actual knives), I haven't felt comfortable about driving at night. And the school is way downtown and I'm in the suburbs. And The Husband doesn't get home from his commute before the time I would need to leave for my class.

Still pushing on through, though. This weekend I'm going to drive out to the school, see how I feel about the drive. Then if all goes well, I get admitted, etc, we have a friend we have adopted as a third grandma who is willing to be the gap care for me every week. And if she has something come up, we're figuring that I can bundle up the kids and take them with me, then meet The Husband at the school and switch cars (and kids).

Am going to just keep moving forward, assuming that if the universe/God is so gosh-darn-fired-up about me becoming a minister, it will open up a way to make it happen. Hmmm, parting the Red Sea vs. figuring out a way for a mom of three with night blindness to go to night school. Not sure which is more difficult.

Feeling very lucky to have a friend in our church's pt minister -- just when I need some encouragement, she's there. She's not the cheerleader type, which is actually reassuring -- if she says something, I know that I can believe it, 100%.

Friday, July 09, 2004

The Call

Okay, so what I didn't put in my GA2004 blog was pretty significant. That GA2004 was a literal, life-changing experience. I stopped fighting and struggling against the call of ministry and accepted it.

It was scary. I've fought this for years -- I have three small children, ministry was just NOT in my plans. But there I was at GA 2004, listening to the Service of the Living Tradition, watching all of those ministers celebrate special moments in their journeys. And sitting there, alone, (I was several rows away from anyone) in the dark, I was prompted with the question from inside (or perhaps, outside), "Will you be a minister? You don't have to say how or when, but will you be a Unitarian Universalist minister? Do you accept?" And out loud, I said, "Yes." Just to see how it would sound. I said Yes, and tears began pouring down my cheeks. It felt inevitable but oh so scary. I straightened myself up and three minutes later, Rev. Rosemary McNatt got up to speak. "Where were you ... when you stopped fighting ... and said 'Yes, I want to be a minister.'" Well, then the tears really poured. I didn't feel happy. I felt scared to death.

The next day, I went to my GA covenant group and at check-in, told them what had transpired. Again, I began crying. I was as soggy as a sponge by now. Our facilitator, Margaret, waved a piece of paper at me. "I just want you to know, this was already chosen. I'm not making it up on the fly." She then read it ... "What is your calling and when did you accept it?" At this point I waved my hand to the heavens and said, "Okay, already, I see you've decided to throw subtlety out the window!" Well, not surprising that God/the Universe would do so. As The Husband could have explained, I am frightfully hard-headed when it comes to following destiny. He should know.