Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Industry: Religion

I just received another packet of, well, let's call it what it is... crap... through the mail.

Encompassed in a large plastic sleeve which must be thrown away, 5 "magazines" of religious product news fall out. Under the guise of articles, various companies are writing to promote their products which range from clerical shirts to church playground equipments to sound system offers.

How does this fit into the message of the gospel?

Well, at least I can recycle the sleek pictures of a 7,000 seat sanctuary...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

5 Things I Dig About Jesus Meme

I was tagged by St. Inuksuk for this, my very first meme: Yeah!

1. I dig that Jesus was all about being human - life, friends, food, drink, etc.

2. I dig that Jesus saw through all the gunk that has us drawing lines and putting up walls: he walked through lines of gender, class, race, ability, sex... he crossed them all.

3. I dig that he was really with people - in all aspects of their lives. He was there in their passion, their hurt, their joy, their frustration, their hope, their fear... and our's too.

4. I dig that Jesus loved the world so much he became a part of all of us to live on in each of us.

5. I dig that Jesus didn't ask for membership cards, faith statements, documents, creeds or proof that people deserved love and healing.

Passing along the great love of our buddy Jesus, I tag:
Amused, Walking Wet, Pastor Peters, JJ

But if you haven't been tagged- tell us what you dig about the great JC!

Rules for this meme:
a)Those tagged will share "Five Things They Dig About Jesus".
b)Those tagged will tag 5 people. (if they can find someone untagged!)
c) Those tagged will leave a link to their meme in the comments section of the
blog of the person who tagged them (meaning this post) so that everyone can
keep track of what's being posted.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Backwoods Living

Living in the north woods, we have found there are some tools, machines and other doo-dads that everyone owns and just assumes everyone else owns. For example, almost everyone has some form of a:
fishing boat with at least two kinds of motors
a 4 wheeler or ATV
a snow machine (snowmobile to us urbanites)
an ice auger
a wood burning something or other
wait for it...
the ultimate show of backwoods manly man-and woman-ness....

The chainsaw.

We don't own a chainsaw up here in logging country... but I think my big city, urban loving husband is in deep chainsaw envy. As we had parishioners help with the downed trees in our yard, he stared longingly at the 3 - count them 3 for the 1 downed tree- chainsaws that were roaring away as he sadly pushed the lowly wheelbarrow of branches.

Of the list above, we actually have 3 - but the ice auger is a hand crank, and completely, I am told by those in the know, outdated, but hey, at least their pastor and her husband are slowly adjusting to rural backwoods living.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

cliffs notes for bookclubs?

Since reading time is hard to come by these days... I am rather picky about the books I read.
I want to know that I will like the book, because I am jealous of my time and want to be entertained.

In order to counter this tendency, I began a book club at the church. Our goal was not so much to read Christian literature but to read book whose authors have a story to tell that can enhance our lives as Christians.

This has been really a good experiment, but the one drawback to book clubs is when I really don't like the book, when I really can't finish it, (or I am drawn to re-read the 5th Harry Potter book in anticipation of the movie release) I feel really, really guilty. Like I've skipped a test.

(yes, oldest child syndrome is kicking in; yes, I am anal-retentive; yes, I turned in all my assignments on time)

And I am really, really bored by the current book.

I can't get past page 57.

I am leading a discussion on it Saturday. Sigh.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday 5: books, books everywhere... and even more to read!

RevGal Sally just returned from a meeting in Cambridge and I took the opportunity of a free afternoon in Cambridge's wonderful book shops. Showing much restraint, she only bought a few- and on sale at that! So with a head full of books we begin:

1. Fiction what kind, detective novels, historical stuff, thrillers, romance????
Fiction? What's that? Oh the kind of books I devour in one sitting and drink in like a thirsty traveler. When I have the luxury of fiction I love: Fantasy and Sci-Fi like: Tolkien, L'Engle, the Harry Potter books and the less lineage, but big dragon fight sort of D&D stuff. Great epic novels like Michener. Sometimes a trashy romance (because really, is there any less no-brain entertainment). and Most often the everyday- not a particular genre novel by Sue Monk Kidd, Barbara Kingsolver, or Lorna Landvik.

2. When you get a really good book do you read it all in one chunk or savour it slowly?
Sadly, my books end too quickly. They are inhaled- and sometimes I'll go back and read a good one again, a little more slowly. I think this comes from the fact that I don't get to read as much fiction as I used to.

3. Is there a book you keep returning to and why?
I have found that certain books are great to read every 5-10 years because new and beautiful thing appear. Some examples: A Wrinkle in Time, The Alchemist, Dakota, Teaching a Stone to Talk.

4. Apart from the Bible which non-fiction book(s) has influenced you the most?
Dakota by Kathleen Norris, Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Freire, Mere Christianity by Lewis

5. Describe a perfect place to read. ( could be anywhere!!!)
Well, pretty much anywhere I can grab some space. A couch, a chair, a bed, a comfy floor. Any uninterrupted place. When I lived in Moscow, the Metro was the best place to read- especially on the 30 minute commutes.

What books influenced and keep on influencing you?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Holy Grounds: Human Touch

Just when I am so overwhelmed by darkness in the world, God sends a friend, who sends me to this link - and I can't help but smile through the tears.

The Free Hugs Campaign

Thanks Amy- I watch this when I need to remember that God so loved the world that he sent himself to live, breath, and embrace humanity.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ecumenical Relations

Our small town clergy gathering is always an interesting one. As the only female and the youngest by about 20 years - the dynamic is very strange.

In make up we have a rather varied group with three conservative protestants: varying in conservatism and congregation size, two mainline protestants and a RC priest. Let's just say the group is diverse. I am the newest member of the group: 2 years I've been here now, and I have found myself in the role of: secretary, announcer, convener, copier, coordinator, press releas-er, facilitator and general light the fire under the guys' asses -er.

Yet I still don't have my name on the emergency fund checkbook. WTF?

Guess I keep hitting that small town glass ceiling. Words of widom? Anyone?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Are we there yet?

After way to much thinking, hrrmphing, changing our minds and other distracting and energy sapping activities, we finally decided to indeed make our way to the big city.

You might think this is a small thing, but one does not take a 8 hour round trip drive lightly. Especially when petrol is still at $3 a gallon.

But it was a great trip- even if we had to get there in two vehicles because of conferences and meetings in various locals. It involved fantastic Neapolitan pizza, yummy breakfast corn pancakes, amazing Thai curry (noticing a food pattern here...)

But then, after much research, study and walking up and down staircases: a long awaited addition to my gear geeky-ness:

Ain't she purty? This is my new best friend all ready for me to take her out west this summer! And the best part, I still get to add more geeky stuff like hydration tubes and stuff- you know, backpacking stuff. Everybody's doing it: Titanium silverware and neon orange bear boxes.

Now: Since I'll carry an extra 35 lbs when we backpack... I just need to lose 35 before we go. Right? right.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday Five: Getaway Island Edition

A lucky Rev Gal snitched a bit of time on an quiet island nearby this week. It was a last minute plan, escaping with a minimal amount of preparation. One must have essentials that make it a relaxing time. Perhaps you have had this opportunity to escape, or maybe it's only been a thought to get away. However, suppose you were told to pack some essentials for a trip to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Describe your location, in general or specific terms and....
Living in the middle of a continent and far from the city: I want a city cabin. Most people retreat to where I live, but I want to retreat to anonymity, to alive, busting marketplaces, to coffee shops full of people and art museums filled with seekers.

1) What book(s) will you bring?
Ahh... books... To be honest, I'd grab the first few that are lining my "to read" shelf behind my desk. They include: God of the Oppressed- Cone, A Generous Orthodoxy- McLaren, Our Endangered Values-Carter, Real Sex-Winner, Drinking from a Dry Well- Green... just to name a very few.

2) What music accompanies you?

A new album from Carrie Rodriguez, Beatles- real and covers, Girl power driving music like Indigo Girls and Dixie Chicks. But- planning to catch as much live music as possible while I am there!

3) What essentials of everyday living must you take (as in the health and beauty aids aisle variety)?
Soap. Shampoo. Hair gel stuff. Toothpaste and brush. light makeup. Hip outfits with accompanying shoes.

4) What technological gadgets if any, will you take with you or do you leave it all behind?
The laptop- while it has been a giant leap for our human technology, has managed to worm it's way into my psyche and I will not go far without it- especially in wireless territory where I will download live music schedules.

5) What culinary delights will you partake in while there?
Oh My. Everything. Everything Ethnic: more the question: what won't I eat? Burgers, fish fry, limp pizza and broasted chicken.

As a bonus question, what makes for a perfect day on vacation for you?
A wonderful mix of engagement with the world and an observance of the world. That is, listening to a lecture, meeting friends for breakfast, and then sitting in the lobby of a museum or a downtown park. Yin and Yang.

Where will you take yourself: physically or mentally?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Holy Ground... stormy weather

The past few weeks have been filled with weather adventures.

Almost every day has carried brilliant sunshine, loud thunder, torrential rain, muggy sunsets and cool breeze. One does not leave the house without layers or rain jackets.

As I am preparing for my sermon this Sunday, texts I have been wrestling with all week, I am watching the afternoon storm slowly roll in. Today it is a gradual darkening of the sky. The lights in my office become more and more important, because the natural light is dimming.

I know it is coming, the darkness. The sudden noise. The fierce pounding of water. Water that is life giving, but can also be life taking- in drowned flower beds, rushing rivers and flooded homes.

But I can also trust, as the past few weeks have shone, that the sun will reveal itself again on the other side of the storm. We will all slowly emerge from homes, basements, and shelters to shake out the wet clothes, bail out our flower beds and splash in puddles.

Perhaps this is the way we can understand the joy of the psalmist:
You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and no be silent.

It is after the storm, when we emerge from our shelters we have build to hide and protect ourselves from the storms of life, it is then that we dance in the revealed sunlight.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Summer is here...

The birds are singing, the thunderstorms crashing, the lawn is growing, the fish are jumping and... the puppy stinks.

Last year she had an, ahem... aroma rising from her back end and it's back again. Our wonderful vet claims he can teach me to "squeeze the glands" to rid her of this unpleasantness. Right.

Well. I saw the look on her face last year, and I am confident that the vet can do a better job. 75lbs of unhappy puppy is not something I wish to wrestle with. Can you imagine accidentally squeezing some of the stuff onto your eyebrows? Shudder.

But, I cannot claim exemption from this summer phenomenon:

What is it about having polyester clerical shirts, anyway? They don't breathe! Plus, they usually look terrible without a sweater or jacket over them. As we move into summer months, I forgo the robe and heavy vestments- no need for the pastor to faint during the Eucharist- but then there is the issue of the collar shirt and sweat stained attire.

Alas, I need to remember this complaint when I am wearing 17 layers of clothing in January...