Showing posts from December, 2005

Serving Stephen

Acts 7:54-60
When the people heard these things, they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen. But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. "Look," he said, "I see the heavens opened and the Human One standing at the right hand of God!" But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he died.

Wow. What a powerful moment for the new Church. One of their own, one of their dearest, the deacon Stephen, pays for his faith with his life. And Saul—soon to be known as Paul—is there as well. It’s like a scene fr…

Christmas Eve Sermon, 2005

Our readings tonight have one theme, one message: Hope. The prophets of Israel, despairing in their exile, hoped for God to bring them out of the foreign land and return them home. We hope to be rid of the demons that haunt us, that make our days unhappy and our nights unsleeping, to remember that our children, whether of our body or of our heart, are still worth loving. We hope that our lives, too, obscure though they may seem, are not useless or in vain.

And behold, our hope is not idle. Our hope has been answered—through the birth of a child, God made flesh, God come to earth to be with us. Emmanuel—God is with us. Can anything be more wonderful than this? God came to be with us in a shape we could recognize. We are never without God—God is very present with us, always. But sometimes, our human eyes cannot see God as clearly as we would like to, as well as God would like us to see God. And so God came to be with us for a little while, as a human being.

And that’s what we celeb…

Another Woman!

Exciting news! My niece, who is expecting in early June, had her ultrasound this week, and she's expecting a girl! Another girl to add to my overwhelmingly female family! I'm one of five sisters, and three of my sisters have only girls (seven between them). With my mother, that's fourteen wonderful women! (Checking my math here--five sisters plus seven daughters is twelve plus a grand niece is thirteen plus my mother is fourteen. Yep, it's right!) And if you want to go back a generation, my grandmother (my mother's mother) had two sisters and no brothers, so that's three more women...

Life is good.

Tuesday Evening...

and Commander in Chief's not on! Darn...I was hoping for some relaxation and entertainment tonight. Instead I'll have to do some work. But I can procrastinate a little longer by blogging, right?

DP and I got our Visitor's Record renewed today. Quite easy, once they've (Canada Immigration, that is) decided it's close enough to the expiration of your previous document (see Exciting Canadian Politics entry, below). Drove to the US, drove back, told the nice Customs and Immigration man we needed to renew our VR's, he sent us into the Immigration Office, we showed the nice clerk our papers, she agreed we were eligible to stay another year, she did the paperwork, we got our new VRs, we drove home. All done!

I survived our annual congregational meeting. I'm not exactly up on Robert's Rules of Order, which is how the meeting is run. Other people are up on RRO, and let me know (nicely) when I wander. All the business of the church was taken care of for a year, inc…

Somebody Pushed My Button!

I was reading another blog, and a response to the blog got me going... So look out below, I'm on my hobbyhorse and rocking away!

The comment was on demographically focused devotionals, worship, etc. Such things as A Women's Devotional, or the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), a church founded in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community, or even Promisekeepers. One commenter took exception to such things, saying that all Christians should be one, and such things are divisive. My blogger acquaintance responded that such things are needed because marginalized groups do not always feel at home in the larger church.

Let's look at the Methodist Church. Back in the early 1800s, in a church in Philadelphia, the black members were not allowed Communion until all the white members had received, thus insuring that the white folks got Communion, while sometimes there was not enough for the black folks, to say nothing of the attitude thus indicated. The black members fi…

The Bone People, by Keri Hulme

I've been meaning to comment on this, since I mentioned rereading it and wondering if it would be as good the second time around. Well, it was.

This is one of those books that you start out reading, you're a bit confused, you take your time with the first fifty pages or so, trying to sort out who's who and what's going on. This was especially true for me, since a great deal of the book's power is in the emphasis on Maori culture, which I am woefully ignorant of. Then you really get into it and you start reading obsessively, desperate to find out What's Going to Happen. And then It happens, and you get depressed, and don't want to read anymore, except that you've started to fall in love with this characters, and you need to know how they get themselves out of this situation. And so you finish it.

Most of it is very good, well-written, excellent characterization and descriptive writing that makes you feel as if you are in New Zealand. The plot is fairly go…

Past Lives

I'm hopelessly addicted to those silly online quizzes--what's your personality? If you were on the series "Friends," which character would you be? etc. But I liked the result on this one! I was a belly dancer! Good thing, cause it's never happening in this life!

In a Past Life...You Were: A Gorgeous Belly Dancer.
Where You Lived: Argentina.
How You Died: Suicide.Who Were You In a Past Life?

Snowy Friday!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around the RP household! Not only did I get ambitious yesterday and haul down three boxes of Christmas decorations (which now adorn the house), but I've been playing Christmas music on the stereo and--it snowed five inches last night! Our neighbor's teeny tiny evergreen looks like a Christmas card with the snow on its branches perfectly rounded and smooth. It just needs a tiny cardinal or bunny to make it complete. It almost makes me want to go Christmas shopping!
DP has discovered a shop in town that sells goods from the Third World, with proceeds going directly back to the artisans. Finances aren't going to permit a lot of gifts this year, but I plan on visiting it for most of the gifts I do give. I wonder if they have anything for a 17-year old boy? TO's list is mostly electronic this year. Sigh.

Top Christmas CDs in my special Christmas CD box:
Mannheim Steamroller (several of theirs; they have a great catalog too, and I…

World AIDS Day

It's December 1, World AIDS Day. I remember when AIDS first showed up (then called GRID) in the public consciouness, as I was working in medical libraries at the time, so the doctors would want information on it, and we'd do a computer search on AIDS and get "finding aids," and grant information--but very little on AIDS itself.

MCC really came to the consciousness of many in the GLBT community in those early years--often an AIDS patient's own clergyperson wouldn't come, for fear of infection, or of seeming to condone their "lifestyle" (ahhh, don't get me started), so the hospital staff would call the local MCC, if there was one. A friend of mine who was in active ministry in the 80's went through a period of months where she officiated at 2-3 funerals a week. When the pace was slower, it was 2-3 a month. For comparison, when I served a small rural church with an aging congregation, I performed 3 funerals in one year.

Even now, when we can see …