Friday, December 16, 2011


The Priestly Ordination went without a hitch last Saturday!! TB2G!!
AND I am beginning a new blog with my real name attached - the most basic page layout is there with the first test post. I am sure I will move some stuff from here to there. I do still want to keep this one as anonymous as it is. This is still sacred space for me, even if I don't need it in the same way I once did - TB2G for that too.

Friday, September 30, 2011

I'm Still Here

Time is flying by faster than I can keep up with most days. The two jobs are great if overwhelming - I feel like I'm trying to sip from a water hose most days. There are some frustrations of course: the diocese is a very anxious system, I really suck at being an associate (thank you Vicar for helping me name that one), my step-mother-in-law may drive both me and my DH to drink, and the 16 yr old has already totaled his first vehicle. All of this is mostly manageable except when it all occurs in the same week. Last week was one of those weeks, but this week is better so hope reigns.
Next week I have my first ever diocesan clergy conference Monday-Wednesday, meetings Thursday and Friday, rest on Saturday, escort youth to Six Flags on Sunday after church, and then fly out later on Sunday to Manhattan with my two teen boys until late on Wednesday! I'm sooooo looking forward to this trip. The boys have never been there. We'll stay with the 25 yr old in her tiny apt and see two shows. We already have reservations at the World Trade Center site and I will take them all through St Paul's Chapel.
We have a whole family vacay scheduled for Thanksgiving week. I had to book a cruise for us before I get on another boat for BE 5 - otherwise I would have had mutiny on my hands around here. Once I counted, I realized that I took off the grand total of 2 days since my ordination in May. Some time off is sorely needed before the December 10 ordination.
I have begun a family systems class that I believe will be good for me and my self-care. When I showed up for the first class, there were 2 dear friends there besides the one I knew would be there - great blessings. It's nice to have been around long enough to run into colleagues unexpectedly.
I keep meaning to start a new blog but just have not gotten there yet time wise. I tell myself the fable that I will one day be organized enough - however I am really already organized now. So I remind myself of one of the truths I learned in CPE: good enough is good enough.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sermon 19A - Out of the Boat

I love the theme of Patriarchs Behaving Badly – we certainly have more of that this week in the Genesis reading. Israel, “Jacob,” does not see that the favoritism he shows Joseph creates some of the same problems he’s already lived through and that his own apples have not fallen far from the tree. Just as he tricked his own father, now his sons will collude to trick him – just different means and different ends. If you know the stories of Joseph and his siblings, you know that within this story there is rape, adultery, murder, mysteries… Colorful history for us!

But I’m intrigued by our Gospel today and how I see it interweaving with us here at St Martin – and within the larger diocese and Episcopal Church. We have a simple story on the surface: Jesus performs a miracle by walking on water – the disciples are afraid – then the disciples worship Him. It’s different than how Mark would have told it, right? The disciples never get who Jesus is. But this is Matthew – and only Matthew who tells this story. And poor Peter – he always the impetuous one – the one who will question and test. I’ve heard this preached many times: “if only Peter would have kept his eyes on Jesus…”

Let’s look at it differently. Jesus MADE the disciples get into the boat – he put them out to sea – He may have pushed them away from shore and waved goodbye even!! He wasn’t worried about them – he knew where to find them at dark-thirty when he was ready for their company again. Then he surprises them with the miracle – the second one they’ve seen in less than 12 hours – remember Him feeding the crowd? And Peter wants in on some of the action. He wants to try it too. It would be exciting wouldn’t it? But being merely human, Peter cannot pull off the miracle and is assisted back to the boat by Jesus – but because Jesus got to prove who He is, the others believed and worshipped.

How about us? It’s no real coincidence that there is a lot of “boat” language in the church – a lot of churches are even built to look like boats from the underside – huge hulls. We get into our boats every time we come to church – and we’re here today. All in this boat together – rocking along. Jesus knows where we are – he’s here with us – He is as a Ghost among us – a Holy Ghost – we count on that – we bank on that – we have faith in that every single week when we ask ordinary elements to become for us the body and blood – we believe He is here with us in bread and wine – in our hearts – speaking to us.

Sometimes – maybe it should happen more often – we get excited about something God is doing – a miracle we want to participate in. We can be like Peter and check it out first – “Jesus if this truly is you, call to us” – once we’ve heard the summons then maybe we’ll climb out of the boat. Scary that “out of the boat” stuff – we know Peter could swim – it was part of his vocational work – Jesus never really put his life in danger, but there was a strong wind – anything could’ve happened. Peter got a taste of the miracle before he began to sink – which allowed Jesus to save him – he was in over his head – so Jesus got the Glory. What are the miracles we see happening around us? What miracles are we called to participate in? What skills do we have that would be slightly dangerous to test – because we might get in over our heads? HOW CAN WE POINT TO JESUS AND ALLOW HIM TO GET THE GLORY OF A PROJECT THAT WE CANNOT CONTROL? How can we show others WHO He is so that they can worship Him?

Paul has some great tips today: If you’re not sent, how can you proclaim? If you don’t proclaim, how can others hear? If they don’t hear, how can they believe? Everyone will be saved if everyone proclaims by words, by deeds, by example…

The strong winds against us are overwhelming – no doubt – hurricanes, drought, famine, civil wars, national wars, Somalia, Syria, Haiti, human trafficking, diocesan lawsuits, church property disputes – we can sink quickly – we might even be afraid to try – but Jesus is there – stretching out His hand to save us – probably thinking “You of little faith, why do you doubt?”

In a bit we’ll be praying Prayer C – commemorating our ancestors who behaved badly but were redeemed – and saying: “Deliver us from the presumption of coming to this table for solace only and not for strength” – one of my favorite parts – we’re in this boat together – give us strength to step out into the strong wind – to not be afraid to check out what we want to do by asking for Jesus to call us – to give us the strength to call out for help and ultimately to let Christ be seen and glorified in all that we do!!

Remember that Peter was the only one brave enough to even try…


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Episcopal Youth Event 2011

Took 10 teens to EYE - 8 from present diocese and 2 from ex-diocese. It was a fantastic experience to see how enthusiastic the teens are when allowed to worship with relevant upbeat music and engaging speakers. Our church WILL be changed but unless we push them all out, it will not die. The majority of the music was straight out of the '82 Hymnal with the tempo pushed up so that clapping and dancing could occur.

The most engaging of the speakers was Dr. Rodger Nishioka from Columbia Theological Seminary. I will admit that when I saw his bio stuff, I was afraid he would be someone who would talk about the teens, not to the teens. Wrong. He was gracious, authentic, relevant, sometimes irreverent, challenging, and inspiring. He had two other discussion sessions that were jam packed by teens and adults. His focus is teen/young adult ministry and he "gets" it. The main address is on youtube and I've linked it on my facebook.

After some time of reflection, I believe he personifies what our Evangelism professor taught us about what the next generation of Christians want. She said that they want leaders who are not afraid to tell their own stories, be excellent story tellers, be challenging. One of her main ideas was that the church was going to go through a "dark night of the soul" and emerge leaner and more authentic and radical than before. She truly believes that people want to be held to a higher standard and we, as a church, disappoint when we sugarcoat the Gospel. In my very few years of ministry now, I believe she's right - for those under 45-ish.

I'm wondering if there will be a rift that may be healthy. The 50-70 year olds seem to be holding the power and money in most congregations I know of... but the energy is with the under 45 crowd. Dr. Nishioka's scripture was Peter talking at Pentecost: "the young shall prophesy and the old shall dream dreams" - he focused on challenging the teens there to be prophets. What would happen if we challenged the older ones to support them financially in whatever they prophesy? What if the dreams and prophecies coincide?


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I'm still here... a few random thoughts

  • First time ever to work full-time as a mom - learning curve

  • Oldest turned 16 over the weekend

  • EYE June 22-26 - off to Minneapolis/St Paul

  • Feel VERY CONSPICUOUS wearing collar

  • Collar makes me a better driver so far

  • First hospital call on a parishioner tomorrow

  • Have been putting younger son in wrong (older) age group for tennis tournaments - fail

  • You?

Monday, May 16, 2011

My 400th post!!

Wow - who knew?!

Working on the Ordination bulletin now - 9 days and counting. I want to hand it over to the church secretary tomorrow if possible. Then I only have the nitty-gritty deatils to attend. I have written DAY OFF on the 26th in huge letters in my calendar and shown it to everyone who will look.

Great diocesan picnic yesterday - acolyte games on a diocesan level were fun!

I have been lurking on a lot of blogs lately - I'm gearing up to start a new one this summer and I'm checking out all the options. Got one you really like the lay-out of? Pros/Cons?

What's up with you?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Easter 4A

Do any of y’all subscribe to the feed The Episcopal CafĂ© on Facebook or Twitter? Or even just drop in on the site occasionally to see what they’re writing about? It’s a great site – they run stories about the Anglican Communion worldwide and stories about Christianity in general. They had a story yesterday that I think goes with our readings today. It’s the story about three homeless people: a chronically homeless man, a mom and her 10 yr old son who have been homeless for the last year after she lost her job at a bank. When the mom and the son became homeless, the older man began using his panhandling money everyday to pay for a hotel for the woman and her son so they could stay off the streets. He could be paying for a room for himself, but he doesn’t – he only takes what he needs from his money and donates the rest to the woman and her boy. He was quoted in the article saying that he has everything he needs – he has his faith in God – and he wanted to help this small family stay together and stay safe. That is a story of abundance.

There is an over-riding theme of abundance in today’s readings, did you notice? Maybe not in the reading from 1 Peter – I’m very troubled by that one – it could be dangerously misconstrued, in my humble opinion, so I’m going to set it aside for another day.

The Acts 2 reading shows one idea of abundance – describing the people who had sold all their possessions as having “glad and generous hearts” – and they were an attractive community – others saw their joy and joined the group!! This could not have been easy – it would have been no easier for them then than it would be for us today to sell everything and live in Intentional Community, sharing resources. No matter what century it is, this is never easy. But they saw the abundance of God’s grace and blessing even in the midst of what we know historically was a time of martyrdom and persecution for the Christians.

Psalm 23 is always the classic of the Psalms – even people who may nothing else of the Bible recognize these words. These words speak to us of the abundance of God’s love and comfort and justice and blessing and goodness and mercy. There is such an abundance of feeling cared for and cared about in this Psalm – The Lord is my Shepherd…truly beautiful words.

John carries through on the image of the Lord is my Shepherd. Jesus explains how He is the true shepherd and the one true gate to an abundant life. You know what that makes us? The smelly, wooly, sheep who are likely to bolt away at any moment – the ones who may not be the brightest on the food chain. We’re the sheep – He’s the shepherd.

There’s another way the image of shepherd is used – anyone know another person who carries around the big shepherd’s stick? I doubt if he’s ever used it to beat off a wolf or in this neck of the woods, a coyote. The bishop carries a crosier – he’ll be here later today for the picnic - he is a shepherd of sorts for us also. He has called for the entire diocese to live into the idea of abundance. Do you remember the video from convention – we also saw it at the annual meeting. It talked about living into the life of abundance – the same one Christ calls us to. How do we do that?

I suspect the idea may be easier to understand now than it was a few years ago. There may be things we would’ve taken for granted a few years ago, that we now feel thankful for. A few years ago, it seemed like everyone had a house and a job… a few years ago, it seemed like every Episcopal parish in the diocese had a building to call home… a few years ago… you can fill-in the blanks for your life. We will play hosts to the entire diocese here later today and I hope you’ll come to join the community in the breaking of the bread, in prayers and in fellowship. These events are not just for fun – the are all about helping us to realize the abundant life we already have in Community with each other.

Jesus doesn’t ever say that we’ll be given everything on a silver platter, that life will be hunky-dory. If a preacher tells you otherwise, he’s a thief or a bandit. Jesus calls us to a life rich with a sense of community – a life of thanksgiving for what we have – a life of generosity and compassion. If we listen, we can hear His voice and know that we are called into that life of abundance… we can pass through the gate without want, without fear and dwell in the house of the Lord forever. The Lord is our Shepherd. Amen.