Tuesday, December 13, 2005

To the Christians in this time of Christmas ...

What kind of Christian are you?

So, what kind of Christian are you? Are you a Matthew 25:35 Christian or a John 14:6 Christian?

These seem to be the two camps. Those who place all of the weight upon John, when he reported Christ saying “"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” and those who put their attentions on Christ’s words: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me… I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' '”

So, which are you?

If you call yourself a Christian, when faced with tolerance and inclusiveness, which path do you choose? When a salesclerk at Target greets you with a merry, “Happy Holidays!” do you choose to turn to the verse of decisiveness that declares no tolerance for those of a different religion or do you turn to the verse that says that whatever you do for the least person, the person of the lowest class, you have done that for Him?

What Would Jesus Do?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Walking the ministering walk

Our congregation doesn't currently have a minister, so I've been asked to do some ministerial type things this year. Most, I felt to be a stretch for me, but stretching is good. Most recently I did my first memorial service and my second baby dedication.

The memorial service, which, for obvious reasons, stressed me out -- this sounds like a weird thing to say about a memorial, but it went really well. I was very surprised that while I was in the pulpit, I had no urge to cry. Of course, the lady whom I was memorializing was highly strong, very dignified -- I could almost hear her saying, "No, of COURSE you aren't going to cry. Strong women don't cry! And you have a job to do. Buck up!"

Now, as soon as I left the sanctuary and a crying parishioner came up to me, the tears flowed. But that's okay. I have it on good authority that seminarians are allowed to be human. Of course, once I'm ordained, that's revoked. Ha.

The dedication was quite enjoyable. All baby dedications are, but in a way, this was my first. The actual first one was when I had to step in for a minister who couldn't attend as planned, so I was using her words and script. For this one, it was crafted between myself and the family. And the baby and her brother were adorable. Hmm. I need to get a minister or seminary student to come by our church so *my* baby can be dedicated.

Got our holiday cards out the Friday after Thanksgiving, which is insane. But, we just moved, and figured ours better be the first, if we wanted to get our new address on everyone's list. "Everyone's going to hate us," said The Husband. "No," sez I, "they'll realize it's because we moved." "Nope. They'll just hate us," responded Hub.

So, my best friend calls me up. "You suck," she informs me.

Score one for the cynic.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A little surreal, this ministerial stuff

To Do List for Today:

* Watch weepy movies like Beaches and Steel Magnolias, in an effort to find my emotional Kegel muscle. Ain't that a great term? See, I'll be doing a memorial service in a couple of weeks for someone I cared about. I am a crier, and am afraid that I'll be weeping the whole time. So a learned friend of mine recommended that I cue up sad movies to the cry scene, then practice stopping the flow of tears. Exactly like when they tell you to practice stopping your pee to find your Kegel muscle.

*Pore over "The X-rated Bible, an Irreverent Survey of Sex in the Scriptures" to find a good reading for my sermon about sex (and canvass) for Sunday.

*Work on plans for the annual Halloween party.

*Deal with a baby that is fussy from innoculations.

Just your average ordinary day for a seminarian/mother of 4.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Fleeing a hurricane

Left home 9:45 am.

Hour 5: was 20 minutes from our house.

DVD player not working.

3 kids, plus one 4 month old baby.

1 German Shepard

1 cat

101 degrees outside. We were alternately turning off the a/c or just keeping it low, to conserve gas. Already, we are passing cars that have either overheated or run out of gas. People are just sitting by the side of the road. All the businesses we pass are closed up. You can’t even go in anywhere to use the bathroom. We have plenty of food and water in the car, but I’m rationing it out, because I don’t want to have to stop for potty breaks. Which would be, “peeing in the weeds” breaks. About every 20 minutes, The Husband and I question ourselves – is it more risky to stay at home, perhaps facing a Category 5 Hurricane, or take this trip, and perhaps be stranded by the side of the road when the hurricane hits?

They interrupt the weather/traffic broadcast because Bush is giving a speech:

“We now got another hurricane coming, Hurricane Rita … As we meet our responsibilities in dealing with these two significant storms, Katrina and Rita, our focus on defending our country remains undiminished.”

He then proceeds to give a speech defending the Iraq war.

Can you imagine how comforted I felt?

Monday, September 05, 2005

Toilet Paper and Bra Straps

Okay, I forgot to add a great moment from yesterday.

After "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was sung, I had to do a reading. Well, the tears were streaming, no way I could hide it. So, I took a second, then explained to the congregation that I had requested the song weeks earlier and that when, on Friday, I realized what song would be played, I told my friends, who began taking bets as to whether I would burst into tears or hysterical laughter. "So you see, I opted for the tears." Good, sympathetic laugh.

Made my way through the reading -- not easy, because I had no tissue, so was having to sniff every line or so. After that, a hymn, during which a little old lady brought me some toilet paper and whispered that my bra strap was showing.

Tee-hee-hee! She was so like my mother, as women "of a certain generation" take very seriously the faux-pas of visible undergarments whilst my generation could not care less. For some reason, this cheered me immensely and helped me to continue on with the service with new energy.

Thanks to "the little old lady whispering" ... well, not "hush."

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Lizard Eater returns

I'm back.

Well, after months of selling one house, buying another, having a baby ... I have returned. Months that included serious questioning of myself about going back to seminary, do I really think I can be the kind of parent I want to be AND be a student/minister ... well, the call goes on.

Had already been scheduled to give a talk out of town this weekend ... then Katrina hits. Radically changed my sermon, of course. How could you not address it?

Irony/irony/irony ... about 4 weeks ago, I had asked this church if they could get someone to do a particular song. They had an incredible singer today. The song? Bridge Over Troubled Water.

By "weary," I was completely melted down. Oh well. I had always worried about what would happen if I cried in the pulpit. Now I know. If you're crying in the pulpit, it probably means that at least half the congregation is crying already anyway.

Had something said to me after the service ... that touched me profoundly, and made me feel like, "oh, yeah, I really have been called ..."

So, good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise ... eww. Scratch that saying for a while.

Um ... good Lord willin' ... I'll start back in January. Hopefully The Wren will take a bottle by then.

Glad to be back.

Friday, March 04, 2005

busybusybusy and triumphs not our own

Am trying to do everything I can right now, since I'm having to "sit out" the semester, due to Baby Sparkle's impending birth. Including selling our house and buying a new house, after we realized that my difficulty in balancing family and school was due largely in part to the necessity of me being mother AND father AND a student. Hence, we will be moving closer to The Husband's work. House should go on the market April 1. Being the prankster I am, my friends have repeatedly asked me if this is merely an extremely elaborate April Fool's Joke. Not on my end, I tell them. Week after next, we move into a motel while our house is re-roofed, re-carpeted, and re-painted.

Triumphs not our own ... after experiencing the futility of potty training with my first two children (I agree with Vicki Iovine who penned that there is a particular date, circled on a calendar, of when your child will be potty trained. You can buy all the books and do all the work, but the date remains the same.), other than putting a potty chair in a bathroom and making books and videos available, I haven't done much with my toddler about it. Yesterday, out of the blue, she comes up to me and says, "I did it!"

What did you do? (Always a dangerous question.)

"I went potty!"

Being an experienced parent without the stars in my eyes, I asked the logical question: Where?

"In the potty!"

Uh-huh. Riiiiight. Okay, let's see.

Blow me down. Yellow liquid filling the potty.

Parade was thrown, grandparents and dad were called, lollipops were given. This was repeated later last night. And again this morning.

An independent kid, who jumps ahead and does something I'm not prepared for. Huh. Pretty cool, right now. We'll see when she's 13.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Sculpting Margot Adler

Went to a Women's Conference this past weekend with three of my chums. That was the most important component of the weekend -- driving up and staying in one room with three women, all of us spiritually and otherwise greatly compatible. So much talking, eating and having fun ... staying up til 4 am Saturday night, having philosophical and spiritual revelations. Am sick now, having run my motor at too high a gear all weekend!

Margot Adler, author of Drawing Down the Moon and NPR correspondent, was the theme speaker and led some marvelous ritual, including an opening spiral dance. That gave me the opportunity to come face to face with 4 members of my old Circle, which was exciting. Coincidences were abounding.

So, back to Margot. Like most folks exploring paganism, I read "Drawing Down the Moon" as one of my introductory pieces. So, I'm pretty star-struck about her.

At my second workshop -- on Theatre for the Oppressed -- she shows up to participate. With absolutely no manuevering on my part, she and I wound up partners for an exercise where we "sculpted" each other into various emotions. Very down to earth, she was, and fun. We also wound up doing a little skit together with two other women. Cool!

Our little group decided that on the years when Women's Conference is too far away, we're going to have a church women's retreat ... no roughing it allowed. Nice hotel, go out to a great dinner, etc. As I wrote above, that was the biggest part of the conference -- communing with other like-minded women. Partners and children left at home -- well, except for nursing babies, which I will be attached to next year. I keep forgetting that. I'm so busy, I literally forget I'm pregnant until I bump the huge belly into a doorway or the refrigerator door. Trying to sell our house and look for one closer to T's work.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Catch Up Time

Time to ketchup.

Okay, so first of all, I got an A in my Systematic Theology class. Of course, as I explained to a friend, I had to sell my soul to Jesus to do so. Ha. AND my professor requested a copy of my midterm to share with another student as an example of full complete answers.

This, perhaps, sounds like bragging. The truth of the matter is that the A, while it does show a willingness to work hard, mostly shows an ability to take really good notes and repeat them back to the professor. Which is, I guess, okay. This was a class for me to learn, not think. I would also add, to learn, not to accept.

Baby news: Baby does NOT have down's syndrome, nor any other chromosomal abnormalities, nor neural tube defects. And I have become much more sensitive to the fact that you can't just have a slash and burn "it's a fetus, not a baby" attitude. AND, I have become even more appreciative about the choices we still have, hard as they might be to make. The only thing that would have made this more difficult would have been if I were waiting to find out what the rest of my life would be like, as opposed to waiting to see if I had to make a very difficult choice.

Other news is that my due date is still under debate and it's too close to the end of the semester (might be some overlap), so no classes this semester. Was disappointed at first, but now am convinced with the old "everything happens for a reason." I plunged into school without first making a place for it in my life. Now, I have the time to figure out how to do it all ... how to have routines for the family, what I need to cut, etc. One thing we're hoping to cut -- me doing Mom AND Dad work. Husband drives 3 hours a day, which means I do the main parenting M-F. Had a wild idea ... gee, how about if we move closer to Husband's job, so he can be the dad, and I can be the Mom? Wow! Might even make me closer to school. So, we're looking at selling the house we've been in for 7 years and moving this summer. After our newborn comes into the world. Sometime between GA and the summer program. Have I mentioned that we suffer from insanity? Well, pregnant with my 4th, starting theological school, you may have picked up on that.

Cold day today, so we're making tons of chili to freeze. Love our vacuum sealer. These little joys in life.