Friday, June 29, 2007

RevGal BlogPals Friday Five -- Gifts and Talents

Sally has us reflecting on gifts and talents with the following questions:

1. Personality tests; love them or hate them? The first magazine I ever laid hands on, probably McCalls as my mom's friend got it and she would let me cut the Betsy paper dolls out, had those do it yourself ones....I think I was taking them right after I got done cutting out Betsy! Always wanting to know "who am I" just hooked me in. Still does. Now of course I have a more critical eye as my "psychologist self" babbles away at me about reliability and validity. And the rest of me is gushing "Oh look, I'm a creative seeker who loves purple and desires a soul mate!"

2. Would you describe yourself as practical, creative, intellectual or a mixture ? Oh a mix all the way. Gemini, generalist, Renaissance woman, dilettante...I like to think of myself as someone who can utilize her intellectual pursuits creatively to solve practical issues for myself and others. On a good day.

3. It is said that everyone has their 15 minutes of fame; have you had your yet? If so what was it, if not dream away what would you like it to be? The day I was ordained, the local paper ran a half page article about me. With a picture. On the front page. That is about as famous as I think I could ever stand being!

4. If you were given a 2 year sabbatical ( oh the dream of it) to create something would it be music, literature, art.....something completely different...share your dream with us...If money also were no object in the creation of this (might as well dream really big!) I would create a place where people could come to heal. A holistic place where there would be peace and safety and resources for all kinds of wellness, physical, mental, spiritual. People would have meaningful work as part of their role in this community, we would hold one another in prayer, we would laugh and play together as well. Minimal red tape, maximum accessibility.

5. Describe a talent you would like to develop, but that seems completely beyond you. I think tightrope walking would probably be difficult for me as I have a fear of heights. And I'm not sure that counts as I don't really see a talent in myself for circus performance. Beyond that, I guess I don't believe there is something "really beyond." If the talent is there, my desire is there and God is willing anything can happen. The last five years of my life has been teaching me, never say never!

Bonus question: Back to the church- what does every member ministry mean to you? Is it truly possible to encourage/ implement? In our church we have "Total Ministry" or team ministry. We have a six member team, three of whom are locally trained and ordained clergy, the other three are comissioned for specific ministries, though not ordained. We have no seminary-trained priest or pastor. This model, while it is partially a response to the inability of small congregations to pay for full-time seminary trained pastors, is also a living, breathing work in progress of the ministry of all the baptized. We are consciously articulating to the congregation that we are not the only ministers, you all are too. And in reality, the size of us (about 15 average Sunday attendance) means that everyone is very active in church. The thing we keep doing is reminding them that, yes, this is ministry. And the other important piece is to remind folks that what they do in the world is also, and, I think even more importantly, ministry. Last Fall we asked everyone to fill out a little form telling us all the things they did "out in the world" that they considered ministering to others. Then as part of the service we named each one and blessed those things. We plan to make this an annual event. So yes, possible. Sometimes challenging. It is a culture change from the top down model. There is resistance and it appears in interesting ways. But talk about talents and gifts! In our congregation, as in all, they so abound, it would really be a shame to miss them!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

In Hot Water

We got the hot tub fixed! Last November when our priest moved on, we bought their hot tub. In all the confusion, somehow we missed the part about “blowing out” the empty tub being important and instead we let the water sit in the pipes after it was drained for the move, and it froze in there and blew out a part of the heater. So after moving and installing it, with visions of winter hot tub parties in out heads, we were pretty bummed to find out that as fast as the water went in, the water came out! The hot tub guys told us that since it was already frozen solid, to fix it at that point would require a haul into the shop, a spendy proposition, to say the least. If we waited until spring, we were told, it would be less so, though how much less, they could not be sure. So for seven long months I have been reproached by this thing as it sat there not working. There were times I have in my mind called it Kate’s folly and the world’s most expensive redwood planter. I asked myself what had I been thinking to even buy the darn thing in the first place. But sometimes gratification delayed is the best of all. Because last night for three, count ‘em, three, glorious hours, the Dear One and I sat and pruned ourselves silly. Consumed a bottle of good wine, watched the sun set and the stars come out and talked and talked and talked. Remembered who we were. Took time to recall what it was that brought us together in the first place. Gently touched some of the bruised places that need healing between us. Laughed some, a lot actually. It was a wonderful baptism for our tub as in water and the Spirit new life came forth.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Notes to Myself

I need to keep reminding myself about practicing what I preach. Oh not in that sort of finger wagging, shaming way that phrase has been used “at” me sometimes. But as a gentle reminder about remaining in the practice of what I share with others about my understanding of a better way to do, to be. Staying in the moment. Staying awake. Being conscious. Not judging….myself or others…so harshly. Remembering that we are all mostly doing our best with what we know in the moment to move away from the pain and toward something that seems better. Breathing. Being with myself compassionately in whatever it is that is happening. Remembering that there is usually a third alternative, something between black and white, another choice, and if I can just NOT react, it will usually come to me. Remembering that mostly, yes, whatever is going on here, it is not about me personally.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sermon for the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today we hear the story of the Gerasene man. A man “who had demons.” Lots of demons it turns out. “Legion,” they tell Jesus. Or in another translation, “Mob.” The man has literally lost himself. He has no wholeness. He is fragmented. Tormented. A man so full of his demons that he no longer remembered his name. The community is so terrified of who they saw him to be that they no longer allowed him to be among them as their own, and have consigned this man to live in the tombs outside of town. He lives naked among the dead instead of clothed among the living outside the boundaries of human society.
That is until Jesus comes along. On the lake while crossing over to get to this place a storm threatened the boat. Jesus had stopped the wind. The disciples, as was often their way, had responded with fear, speculating over just who this Jesus might be. Who is this who has such power, what might he do with it next?
So it seems that it might be significant, after such a harrowing journey, when they arrive on land, Jesus immediately says to them, “Here is a person who is so dangerous he has been chained, so outcast he lives naked in the tombs. Let’s go spend some time with him and his demons.” And this is pretty much the last we hear of the disciples for the rest of the story. They are conspicuous by their absence, if you notice! After a brief negotiation with the demons, Jesus curiously does not destroy them, but rather acquiesces to their request to find a new home in a herd of nearby pigs! Which to the Jews of Luke’s time, would have gotten a chuckle, despised demons going off into unclean pigs, how appropriate! Then of course, in the next disconcerting event for the people of the town, Jesus sends the demons off into the pigs and the pigs go head first into the sea! The swineherds, rather disturbed by the turn events have taken, alert the townspeople, who arrive to find the man healed and calmly sitting at Jesus feet like a disciple. Centered once more in his deepest divine self, now fully clothed and in his right mind, he is restored to a new life of hope and possibility.
As for the man’s neighbors? “They were afraid,” we are told. A man who had been wild and out of control now looks and acts like them. Radical change had taken place in their social order and they had no context for it. This does tend to shake people up, then and now. Strangely, they become even more afraid of the man - they could deal with him as he was - raving and naked. Now he sits calmly at Jesus feet, but terrifying to them in this new incarnation. Change, even when it is positive, can throw people! The townspeople now are so afraid of Jesus and the changes he has brought to their world that that they demand that he leave! And because Jesus does not force Himself where He is not wanted, then or now, He does leave. And the healed man wants to go, too. Maybe, understandably, to get away, but certainly to be with this person who has changed his life. Have you ever had such an experience? Met someone who changed your life in some profound way? And then one day you find out they are moving away? And what is the impulse? Of course, "Pack me up, I’m coming along!” And no less for this man. Awestruck and grateful, he begs Jesus to let him come with Him. But, Jesus suggests another rather amazing possibility – he gives him a commission, a ministry -- he sends him home to declare the goodness of God and rebuild his life among the very people who rejected him and chained him and cast him away from their society during the very worst time of his life! Sends him to live among the ones he had acted so crazy right in front of for all that time and tell this holy story of redemption and restoration and healing. To be a disciple and take Jesus’ place, to tell the story He Himself could not stay to tell.
“Return to your home and declare how much God has done for you.” Sometimes the last place we want to take our changed self is home. Just thinking about it must have given that man great pause. It hadn’t been that long after all since he’d been naked, homeless and living in the tombs, with no control over even his own comings and goings, driven to writhing and shrieking and horrible behavior. He’d had no community. He’d had no name. He’d possessed nothing and was possessed by demons. And then he encountered Jesus. And for him, nothing was to be ever the same. But to witness among those who know you best, especially if they knew you at your worst is asking a lot. But something so powerful had transpired in him that he was willing to take the chance. This man’s transformation was so complete that he did stay and did witness. The people chased Jesus away, but he was able to stay among them and be a disciple. When he encountered Jesus he had experienced a freedom of mind and spirit that brought him to himself - the person he was born to be, created in the image of God. And that freedom was so profound that even in the face of their fear, he could stand in witness without catching it. Calm against their storms.
We are in "Ordinary time" in this season after Pentecost. This time, we are reminded by the church isn't only about "everydayness." Even though "ordinary" in this context comes from ordinal, which refers to the numbered weeks after Pentecost, it's a fitting description for a season that doesn't lead to preparing for Christmas or Easter or any high holy days; rather this is a quiet season, a time when we have the luxury of consciously noticing, attending to and seeking the sacredness and transforming moments in our lives. As writer Annie Dillard observed, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. It makes sense to attend to the ordinary—believing that if God is in the details, surely God also is in the broad strokes.”
Even if they are not as dramatic as the legions of demons in this story, every one of us is held in shackles by something. Every one of us needs to have called out of us the things that keep us from being whole, that keep us from being in full community with one another. This is the healing and transformation that Jesus offered the man in this morning’s Gospel and this is the same healing and transformation that He offers us.
Latina theologian Ada María Isasi-Díaz calls an understanding of the sacred that is imbued with ordinariness as "lo cotidiano." Attending to the sacred through this ordinary time makes all of life a spiritual discipline that can bring us to a new awareness of how God’s still small voice that Elijah struggled to hear is above us, beneath us, and beside us. It can help us understand how God longs to heal us, to cast out all that is in each of us that keeps us from being whole and authentic, that keeps us wailing alone in the tombs instead of living among one another in the beloved community of the Kingdom where all may be one.
In the epistle, Paul names the deep divisions of his society and tells is that in Jesus these divisions are to be overcome. There are many such things that separate and divide us one from another, we could even call them demons, a thousand varieties of hardness of heart that shut out some people, and shut us in just as surely. In Jesus we are empowered to name and confront and heal and transform them. And as we follow Jesus, as we participate in his ministry of healing and reconciliation in the world, we find that the wailing and dispossessed outcast is not the only one saved. Like the Gerasene man, in our healing we too become ministers to one another. We were made for this unity with one another and with God that was Christ's mission. This is what God longs for. This is what God calls us to. Let us pray that it may be so. Lord, may your Kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven. Amen.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Blessings on Blessings

It began at the processional. Funny term actually on this summer morning when we were running scant. No choir, no crucifer to follow. The procession of me! But it began there, with the first notes of the opening hymn. Falling into the Godspace. All else slid away. The long, long week. The struggles, the overbooked schedules, the meetings and worries left in their wake. Even the little frission of nerves that still comes with preaching. Especially THAT sermon. The longest day one. The one that I had at last decided was mostly okay, good in parts, with a pretty strong ending. But all of that was gone as if it had never even been. There was only the joy, the peace. The knowing that whatever had been, whatever was to be, it was all coming up there to the altar to be offered and celebrated, and it would all be well. And it was. All offered. All celebrated. All well.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Longest Day

At ten this morning I was actually smug about it. I thought, sure, no problem, I will be out of here by one, two at the latest. I was already pretty confident on Thursday that this one was going to flow. I have no idea what happened. At noon I was on false start number five and by one fifteen we were in the coffee shop laughing over the worst and most boring exegesis ever, as well as the false start follwing that one, which even held a tiny bit of promise at the time. One more hour, I'd promised then. Sure. No problem. Two and a half hours later, defeated, I went home. Ruminated through a quick grocery shopping trip, an e-mail or two, a trip over to RGBP, a few side blog visits, but by seven I was back. Slogging. One. Painful. Word. At. A. Time. At 10:30 I hit print. And......No ink. Off to the Big Box All Night Store for a cartridge. What do you know, they had one! One. That was all goodness and blessings. Got some mango sorbet, too. It's the least I can do for myself at this point. Cartridge in, print again, and ta-da....we have something on paper that I am only mildly embarassed to deliver to my people in the morning. I am perplexed and not yet edified by this. Perhaps if I sleep on it.

Friday, June 22, 2007

5 Things I Dig About Jesus Meme

This caught my eye over at Snow on Roses, and since a general invitation was issued to all comers I thought I’d take up the challenge. So here goes:

The Rules:

1. Those tagged will share 5 Things They Dig About Jesus.
2. Those tagged will tag 5 people.
3. Those tagged will leave a link to their meme in the comments section of this post so everyone can keep track of what's being posted.

5 Things:
1.Jesus was totally authentic.
2.Jesus spoke truth to power
3.Jesus thought we were worth dying for
4.Jesus trusted God.
5.Jesus loved.

Since the general tagging was issued I think that can just continue. I’m practicing a little rule breaking tonight. I have such struggles with links and I’d rather write than mess with it.
This grabbed me in the first place because of the title. Jesus and I have come a long way in the last couple years as my SD reminded me last night. When the discernment team met with me, one of them asked me about my relationship with Jesus, and I told them that I really was more comfortable relating to “God” in general and to Jesus not so much. Apparently I had somehow missed meeting Him. This has been rectified in the years since. Somehow in my RC upbringing I seem to have not heard much of the real Gospel. I am happy to say this has changed. And meeting Jesus in that Gospel has changed me, and continues to change me in ways that I don’t even begin to understand. “Personal relationships” and emotive testimony is not a hallmark of Midwestern Episcopalians. More than once since meeting Jesus I’ve thought it might be nice to have an altar call. I’d be first in line.

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five Hot Town Summer in the City.....

...or town, or suburb, or hamlet, or burg, or unincorporated zone, or rural area of your choice---pretty much anywhere but the southern hemisphere, it's summer. (Australians and others, consider this an invitation to take a break from winter for a while.)

1. Favorite summer food(s) and beverage(s) Food preferences: spicy and/or crispy and cold. Things like salads, gazpacho, nachos with really good fresh salsa or pico, fresh fruit....drinks of the tart and icy kind....margaritas are always good, or smoothies, iced cappucinos, or lattes.
2. Song that "says" summer to you. (Need not be about summer explicitly.) Just about anything by the Beach Boys. Guess I'm dating myself, but there you are!
3. A childhood summer memory. Day camp. I was seven maybe, a Brownie Scout. We had it in the big park up on the river bluffs. We made "sit-upons" from woven newspapers and ate campfire stew. It was my first time really "away" other than school, and it seemed like such an adventure. There were crafts and wonderful teen-aged counselors. Songs. Skits every day at the end of camp.
4. An adult summer memory. Visiting my friend Sue who was interning on an organic farm. We spent the whole day outside, working some, having good talk, driving the great horse team, lying in the cool shade resting drinking the best lemonade ever. That was the weekend of the "life changing conversation." Very memorable!
5. Describe a wonderful summer day you'd like to have in the near future. (weather, location, activities)Hot, beach, minimal
Optional: Does your place of worship do anything differently in the summer? (Fewer services, casual dress, etc.) We move the service an hour earlier and drop the formal choir. Otherwise, it doesn't change much.

Wherever You Go.....

The soulwork I have been doing around authenticity was triggered by a niggling sense of incongruence in myself. I kept saying that I didn’t feel like my insides and my outsides matched, and this created a sense of disconnect that was spiritually bothersome. My SD and I conversed about this at length! At first it seemed it was about my not measuring up to those inner critics who would demand I be perfect enough to be priest. Never mind that! When they got really riled they were demanding that I be perfect enough to deserve merely to inhabit space and breathe air. But thanks be to God and grace, I think I’m beginning to get it! Being congruent and authentic is about bringing this same, real self, as unencumbered as possible by masks and defenses, to all that is.

I had to testify in court yesterday. Of all the things that I do as a psychologist, this is one of my least favorite. Usually I am called as a witness in cases where one of my clients is about to lose rights to his or her children. This is always sad and there are no real winners, however it comes out. As I sat on the stand yesterday listening to the attorneys for both sides try to carefully craft their questions, it flashed through my mind that I was in a “witness” chair. How in this place could I give witness? Beyond the obvious of doing my best to give careful, honest, well-thought answers regarding my client’s situation, I thought, here might be a chance to dispel a stereotype, provide a moment of insight, and reduce someone’s ignorance about mental illness by just one tiny bit. Because this is all part of who I am. The psychologist, the priest, the teacher, each of those parts of me is not, as I say so often, one of my many hats, nor am I even someone who is bi- or tri- vocational but rather one who is simply “vocational.” Called. Called to live out the Gospel through the use of who I am, where I am in whatever role I happen to be serving in that day, in whatever way I can.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Grace in the Morning

I was whining to my spiritual director about the messiness of church life once. Those interpersonal corners we all find ourselves in now and again. And she said, “Why did God have to make all these confusing, annoying people to have to deal with? Oh wait- I am one of the confusing annoying people.” I go back to that quote now and again when I get frustrated and discouraged when church life gets messy. I am back there today. Because I am in one of those corners. Again. And it doesn’t matter if I painted myself there or if someone else did. If I, or they, did it with intent and malice or out of sheer humanity. Though I am aware that there is a part of me that wants to make that matter, and wants to make that matter very much. The payoff? Running with it means I can have the satisfaction (fleeting though it is) of having my tantrum of righteous indignation, stirring things up good, tripping on the sheer adrenaline, getting that ol' chaos rush that some part of me still gets off on now and again. It is, I admit, a little tempting. But only a little. I don’t really want to go there. Or anywhere, really. What I want to do is nothing. Be still. Pray. Wait on God. Let it be. This, I think, can only be grace.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Soul Work and Surrender

About a month ago I offered God the opportunity to engage in some serious work with me on my soul and psyche. I had been frustrated with some very old issues that kept rearing their heads again and again in my life, and finally in desperation I decided to stop trying to do it all myself (as is my usual MO). I decided to stop trying so blasted hard to barge my way through this, to stop willing it to change, to stop struggling with myself so hard. I decided to try to relax with it a bit, take a deep breath and (gasp) surrender and see what God would do with the whole business and with me.

God seems to have taken me at my word, and God has been taking no chances with me getting the point! Rarely have I been beset with such serendipity, such a surfeit of synchronicity and apparent coincidence. Conversations, books that keeping leaping at me, random encounters with things on the internet (links to links to links), insights found while looking for other completely unrelated information, even things I overhear other people talking about, all center on the same theme, which “just happens” to be the one I have committed myself to, that of authenticity. Trying to bring my deepest, truest self to this endeavor of priesthood. Not some perfect person, someone who would be good enough, holy enough, perfect enough to be called priest. For this is what the chorus of critics in my head would have me think! But in my saner moments, I know this paragon is not who God called. God called the one she created in her own image as me, the me who is unencumbered by the masks and armor of false selves. The task of this time is to clear away that which is not true, that is not authentic, to gently allow all that is real to be birthed into being. To move away from anything that stands in the way of the priest God called me to be. I’ve been thinking about what it is I am called to leave by the side of the road in the quest to follow Jesus. It seems it is the masks and the armor of the false selves. What could be harder? What could I be more attached to? They have been the stuff of survival for so long. To step out in radical trust that I can live as that authentic being requires faith in God’s love at a soul level. And yet it is promised, that love. Jesus prayed that all may be one. I can’t help but wonder if some part of that prayer was about a kind of an internal oneness – a life without subterfuge, a totally authentic life like the one He lived. And I think again about the Incarnation discussion from last week, the great “both/and” Jesus showing us who we can be…..

Soul work is not for wimps. I am grateful for good people and good tools. Yoga is helpful. Breath, awareness, observing, practicing the balance of clear-seeing and equanimity, remaining conscious as much as possible, acceptance, non-judging. It is definitely a practice. And a process. And new life does grow here. Thanks be to God.

Nine Months Today

I was ordained nine months ago today. If it had been a conception, we’d be having a delivery. Makes me appreciate even more the miracle of life that can create a fully developed new human in that amount of time. For certainly in this time we have not achieved a fully developed new priest! Far from it! But there was a new being conceived on that beautiful September day. One who in many ways had no clue about the many wonders God had in store (and I’m sure still does not). I have said that I was seduced by God into ministry by the liturgical priesthood, and with a rather limited view even of that. It was an idea of priest that had, I must admit, a lot to do with singular mystical moments between God and myself. A narrow, if romantic view of things, heavily influenced by my partially pre-Vatican, exceedingly Roman Catholic upbringing. But God wooed me well, and I have no doubt I am where I belong. And now I can continue to grow into it, understanding that this is but one small aspect to be serving God in this way, to be living out my baptismal vows in this particular fashion at this moment in time.

And now
Bridget demands
equal time!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Books, schmooks! I'd rather nap!

Charlie Brown

Friday Five on books!!!

1. Fiction what kind, detective novels, historical stuff, thrillers, romance????
My favorite is the "cozy"...the little mystery with the protagonist who has some other life, and within that is the sub-genre of the protagonist's other life being female Episcopal's that for narrow! The best of these are by Julia Spencer-Fleming and Michelle Blake.

2. When you get a really good book do you read it all in one chunk or savour it slowly? If life allows I will read in a gulp, sometimes sacrificing sleep if necessary. Julia Cameron's autobiography Floor Sample had that effect lately as did BBT's Leaving Church.

3. Is there a book you keep returning to and why? Anthony DeMello's Acceptance because he says things I need to hear over and over. I find there are others I read in cycles from time to time, fiction and non. Right now I am re-reading Stephen Cope's Yoga and the Quest for the True Self. Read it five years ago and it is time again.

4. Apart from the Bible which non-fiction book has influenced you the most? When I was fifteen I read Dag Hammerskjold's Markings and it had a profound effect on my developing soul. Emily Dickinson's poetry had the same effect and I return to her and to other writers, Ranier Maria Rilke, Thoreau....just now and again when I need a certain kind of nurturing. Also at a young age, Teilhard de Chardin and Martin Buber affected me. Hard to name just one.

5. Describe a perfect place to read. ( could be anywhere!!!) Anywhere my current books are!
But I am very fond of my porch swing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Last week I went to Summer Seminary way out in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It’s at a lovely old church camp out in the Hills. It's in a thin place. You can feel the Spirit there. And also the spirits of the Native peoples that have walked that land for centuries. The trees never stop whispering. The sky is large. It snows in June. It's a land that keeps you wondering.

And on top of the place the program itself is topnotch. This was my second year there, part two of The History of the Episcopal Church. Both years were taught by the Rev. Dr. Don Armentraut of the School of Theology at the University of the South at Sewanee. Last summer, we had covered the history of the church in England and this year, the topic was the history of the church in America.

Early in the week Dr. Armentraut made the comment that one of the reasons that it is important to understand history is to get perspective, to have a big picture. I kept thinking of that through the week, as we learned about all of the times through the years when the church came dangerously close to slipping out of existence, then suddenly, fired by the Sprit, through some wonderful prophetic voice or amazing circumstance, it would come alive again. Or when we learned about how during the Civil War, when of necessity, we had to separate into two churches, North and South, we were able to come together again with grace because the center held. I loved hearing the story about the Northern Bishops simply marking the Southern churches “absent” for the General Convention that occurred during the war years. Then when the war was over, and two of the Southern Bishops came north for the next GC, they were met and warmly welcomed back. Or when we learned that we integrated our seminaries because it was the right thing to do, not because the law said we had to. So many times last week, I felt this sense of pride in “us” that we have so often done the right thing, the generous thing, the inclusive thing. I felt like, as I did last summer, I really “got it” in terms of why we are who we are as a church. . . . That the Via Media comes from somewhere, that we are congruent and make sense in our theology and identity. The other piece of what Dr. Armentraut does that really made this course so meaningful for me is the way he connects history to theology and Christology. We spent almost an entire afternoon talking about Incarnational theology. He puts it so beautifully as he says that, “Jesus was the great both/and, showing us both who God is and who we can be.” I’d say that will preach!

Another thing Dr. Armentraut said really resonated for me. He talked about how important it is that we be able to articulate our theology, to be able to talk about why it is that we draw the circle wide, that it is not about being wishy-washy but about making a path that can draw in rather than exclude, that can make it possible to have conversations with as many people as possible around the table. And without some sense of history this is not possible. Of course we talked about the current situation in the church. As an historian, he has a perspective that is refreshing. He sees this as one more situation that we will survive as we have all the others in our hundreds of years of church life. He explained for us the understanding of scripture and of polity that informs the African Primates’ worldview. This helps take some of the “stridency” out of my own reactions to them, which I hope I can in turn communicate to some of my congregants who are struggling to make sense of what is going on in the Communion.

And beyond the classroom, there was the fellowship of my classmates. Not having been to seminary, this is my taste of that community. Learning, praying, laughing and sharing together for a week is so restorative and wonderful. The folks in my “day job” wonder about me when I tell them this is how I spent my vacation. But then, they wonder about me anyway, this strange hybrid many-hatted bivocational person among them. And it’s my idea of a good time!

Monday, June 11, 2007

I've been tagged: Eight Random Things

Before I play today, in case anyone is wondering about the name change...I've noticed there is another Kate that posts on the RevGals so I thought in the interest of reducing confusion, I'd modify a bit.

Okay, first the rules:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3.At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

8 Random things about me:

1. When I was seven I played "Mass" with my dolls. I was always the priest.

2. I was asked to leave the convent. It's a long story!

3. I tried out for Fiddler on the Roof in our local community theatre three years ago expecting to get a part in the chorus. I was so amazed when I found out I was cast as Golde, especially since I had not acted since high school and had never sung a solo in public!

4. Last Thursday I got to play in the snow! I was at summer seminary in South Dakota and we had a real live snowstorm that left us with about two inches of lovely white stuff, for about two hours. I think that's how all snow should be. Quick, pretty and GONE!

5. I built a stairway once. It functioned. There was however something a bit off with my math and the risers were narrow and the steps were really high. It had sort of a ladder effect, but it got us to the second floor. That was the same house where we connected the toilet to the hot water. Until somebody told us it might explode the tank we thought we had invented a total new thing in winter comfort!

6. I have never had stiches or broken a bone. Sometimes, I feel like I am living on borrowed time, or grace alone!

7. Sometimes, when I am celebrating the liturgy, I almost have to pinch myself to know that it's really me there doing this amazing thing. I want never to get over this!

8. Yoga changed my life. It has helped my very busy noisy head become a quieter place. It has helped me become more disciplined. It has helped me stay on my own mat, balance the two pillars of clear-seeing and equanimity. It has deepened my prayer life in ways I don't even begin to understand.

OK, Now for those who are tagged. Even though I am a serious rule follower, I could not come up with eight, so, four will have to do, and we only hope that I have the knack of links!
So it's:





Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Birthday of Reflection

It has come and gone. Someone asked me on Friday if I felt older. Since we had just finished a week of summer school at a church camp, I answered that I felt wiser and stiffer. Does that equal older? I am really paddling madly down the river named Denial about the fact that I am well into midlife. Midlife, indeed. Apparently I plan to live well into my hundreds! It's not so much that I mind getting older. It's the whole "time running out" thing that's freaking me out. I have so much I want to do, and learn, and become! I know some of my angst has to do with being a late bloomer. I didn't really figure out what I wanted to do with my life until I was in my forties and I'm paying off my student loans when I should be saving for retirement. The whole discernment and ordination adventure happened after the mid-century mark. So at a place when some of my peers are thinking about slowing down and retiring, I seem to be picking up speed and adding new things to my already full plate. Fortunately, if a bit strangely, I seem to have a lot more energy now than I did when I was younger. These new adventures seem to have infused me with new life. I do feel a bit out of sync with the calendar, or to be more accurate, maybe with what I think I should feel like "at my age."

Time does go way too fast though. There are too many things to do and far too little time to do them. And far too little time to do nothing as well. To just sit and be. I am always feeling pulled to the next task and the next. And then there is my list. The list of the things I want to accomplish in this lifetime. And it just keeps getting longer. It would help if I were not interested in so many things. If I were more of a specialist than a generalist. Or if there were fewer books in the world that I wanted to read. Or if I could learn to live without sleep. But there it is, and now and then something goes off and something else comes on. I really would hate to leave this world without doing the following: playing the cello, speaking fluent Spanish, seeing Ireland and England (and hearing a sung Evensong at Canterbury), spending some time doing mission work somewhere, playing Mother Superior in the Sound of Music (Community Theatre version), having a book published...and it goes on. This year's goal is the cello! And keeping the blog alive, and being a little better at relationship maintenance in the non-virtual world as well (I stand accused), and making a dent in the crate of books beside the bed. Once I promised I would read all the books I had before buying any more. I was young and foolish then. I am much older and wiser now!

Friday, June 01, 2007

RevGalBlog Pals Friday Five - Hopes, Visions, and Dreams

Been wanting to play and couldn't resist the topic as the Birthday of Reflection nears.

1. Think back to the time you left High School, what were your hopes visions and dreams for your life/ for the world?
My biggest memory from the summer before college is that I had horrible insomnia! Never before or since have I had that much trouble sleeping. There was so much excitement about whatever it was that what out there in the world. I don't think I even cared so much what it was, just that it was out there and I was going to meet it.

2. Have those hopes visions and dreams changed a lot, or are some of them still alive and kicking? (share one if you can) There are still days when there is still that certain fizz in the belly that just around the next corner....just up ahead, God has some wonderful thing in store. On the other hand, dreams I have forgotten and visions I didn't know I had have come to be. I played "priest" as a little Catholic girl in the 50's without ever even daring to name that a dream. Who knew I'd ever be for real! Mysteries and miracles.

3. Hebrews 11:1 " Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. " Comforting, challenging or frustrating? See #2

4. If resources were unlimited, and you had free reign to pursue a vision what would it be? A holistic space for people to come and heal from whatever ails them, body, soul, spirit.

5. Finally with summer upon us- and not to make this too heavy- share your dream holiday....where, when and who with...comfy seating, great views, good drinks, time to rest and catch up on reading and writing and visiting with friends....oh and my laptop....wireless for the RGBPS!