Friday, September 29, 2006

Fall is here. I know it actually began a few days ago, but it’s really here now.

I would have to say that it’s my favourite season. The others have their charms—the coziness and stark beauty of winter, the rich unfolding joy of spring, the laziness and relaxation of summer—but fall is my favourite. I like the transformative seasons—fall and spring—more than summer and winter. I like to see the changes—the slow greening of the trees in the spring, the growing colour of those same trees in the fall.

Perhaps it’s also because, unlike my other favourite season, spring, my sense of fall isn’t tied to one day or event or holiday. Spring is always connected to Easter for me, and my birthday, which falls in early April and therefore usually close to Easter. Or, in the case of 2007, is the same day as Easter… But spring means all those traditionally Easterish things—the tulips and hyacinth and lilies, and new green grass and apple blossoms and cherry and pear blossoms, and the dogwoods and azaleas (well, not the latter, not around here—too cold in the winter). Not to mention rabbits and chicks and other birds, and Easter eggs and so on.

My sense of fall is centred more around the richness of harvest—the golds and yellows and browns of apples and pumpkins and corn, of grapes and squash. And the glowing colours of the trees—the red and orange of maples, the blazing yellow of birch, and the amazing changes of the Bradford pear I once had in my front yard, which metamorphosed from green to yellow to gold to red. My memories of fall are of outside things—picking the windfall apples in an orchard at the local cider mill for the youth group to make into cider and sell at church; canoeing on one of Michigan’s many rivers; raking leaves; hiking; camping one last time; making apple butter over a fire at the local nature centre; driving the country and stopping at a farm stand for the shining glossy red and gold apples, the glowing orange pumpkins, the gleaming knobbly squash, and the bunch of Indian corn cobs for the front door; the hayride with the youth group; our annual work camp at the conference camp to put the camp to rest for the winter; the smell of leaves burning in our backyard; and horseback riding in the crisp air with the sun shining like gold.

See? Fall brings out my purple prose!

I’ve even changed my computer desktop to a picture of the woods in the fall. And my screensaver, too.

Perhaps the real question is why fall brings out this feeling in me. Is it because it feels so bountiful—the harvest and the storing up of food and other needs against the coming winter? Or is it the sense of settling in for the winter—close to the storehouse of harvest feeling, but not quite the same. It might just be the beauty of the season. Maybe it’s because, ironically, I always have a sense of new beginnings, of fresh starts and another chance in the fall.

Whatever the reason, I wish each of you the most glorious fall on record, a season of grace, of the harvest of all that is good in your life—love, health, support, friendship, fulfillment, and the knowledge that you are where God intends you to be, doing what God wants you to be doing, answering the divine call. May your storehouses of blessing be full to overflowing!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I'm Still Alive!

Rumours to the contrary, I am well and breathing!

Saturday I usually spend my day popping in and out of the 11th Hour Preacher's Party, writing a sermon with much struggle, on and off the computer all day and then on Sunday venting my relief that it went well (or at least no tomatoes were thrown!). Monday I often blog to get my pump primed for the week. Yeah well...

It's been one of those weekends. Saturday was a membership class all morning (two new members, yay!) and then in the afternoon it was unpacking (winter) clothes and packing (summer) clothes. I did work on the sermon, but didn't have time (sorry!) for the party.

Sunday I was just tired.

Yesterday I spent with my mother and a visiting sister in Capitol City, and what with that and the drive there and back....well, blogging just didn't happen.

Tomorrow--forget it! Errands to run in the morning and meetings all afternoon, plus a church planning meeting in the evening won't leave me any time for it. Thursday is the sermon and the service for the Saturday wedding, plus planning worship for October.

I'm trying to get ahead so that when I go on my retreat next week, I won't have to worry about the sermon or worship on that first Sunday (I have a wedding the day after I get back, too).

How DO you get ahead, those of you who manage it? Someone? Anyone?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday Five--Boo Boos!

As is my habit on Fridays, here's the RevGalBlogPals Friday Five meme. Thanks Songbird!

1) Are you a baby about small injuries?
Not really. I've fairly accident-prone, so I'm fairly used to a scrape here, a cut there, and a burn elsewhere. I usually wince, say, "Ow!" and move on.

2) What's the silliest way you have ever hurt yourself?
I have four nominations--not sure which is the worst. But they all involve falling, oddly enough. Not so oddly, I do have a fear of heights and of falling!

My senior year of high school, I was in the spring musical ("Carousel"), and working at the local mall after school. A bus ran by school directly to the mall, and there happened to be a bus at, I think, 4:45, which got me to the mall by 5 so I could work until 9. One day we were late getting out of play practice, and as I came to the parking lot I had to cross to get to the bus stop, I saw the bus coming. Afraid I would miss it, I took off running--not a good idea in platform shoes! I fell hard, scraping my right knee and the heel of my right hand to tatters (not to mention my stockings!). My job that night was sitting at a slow register putting price tags on hair colour, so I could sit down.

Then, at a friend's family reunion, I fell again. It was just dusk, and I was crossing their yard, when I fell into a shallow drainage ditch I didn't know was there! I hadn't been to the house before (it was their summer trailer by the lake), so my unfamiliarity with the lay of the land and the dim light, not to mention the Dr. Scholl's (R) I was wearing combined to make me stumble and fall flat on my face. The worst of it was that I was about 19, and the crowd assumed I had been testing the beer in the keg on the back porch--and I hadn't. I was mortified to have fallen front of so many people, most of them strangers. It was a running joke the rest of the (very long) weekend.

And like Songbird, I fell off a curb. It was December 23, I was a newly-wed going to my in-laws for our first Christmas. I had worked the 3-11 shift at the hospital, and we were leaving right from the hospital (where I worked) to my in-laws'. My husband pulled up near the curb, I stepped off to get in the car, and fell as my ankle twisted under me. By the time we got to my in-laws', it was swollen; the next morning=Christmas Eve!--when we got up, I couldn't put my shoe on that foot. I went to their family doctor, got an x-ray and an Ace bandage, and spent the holidays on the couch with my foot up.

Finally, when we lived in Germany, at a village fair, I was crossing a railroad track (in a field, not at a crossing) on foot and carrying my son, who was a toddler. As I stepped on the gravel, I felt my foot give way, and instinctively twisted to fall under TO, instead of on top of him. I did it, but pulled a muscle in my back that still bothers me from time to time.

None of those are really funny (although my friend's family thought the one was); all a bit odd, though!

3) Who took care of your boo-boos when you were a child?
Oh, my mom or one of my older sisters. Merthiolate and a bandage!

4) Are you a good nurse when others have boo-boos?
Boo boos, yes--blood doesn't bother me. Digestive upsets, yuck. I once knew a nurse who hated the sight of blood, believe it or not. She did NOT work in surgery!

5) What's the worst accidental injury you've suffered? Did it require a trip to the Emergency Room?
When I was about five, I put my arm through a window and needed stitching up. I still have a "J" shaped scar on my right upper arm from it. We didn't go to the ER, though--in those days, you went to the doctor's office and got hustled in ahead of everyone who stared at you, startled and horrified at all the blood.

You know, in putting this together, I had to think about all the times I've hurt myself. I am accident prone! There's the cut on my arm, one on my hand, between my toes (don't ask; that should be number five of the silly accidents), sprained ankles (three times), sprained knee, back muscle, innumerable falls (including two while I was pregnant), several burns and cuts in the kitchen, and three minor car accidents. If you suscribe to the theory that we get hurt when we aren't happy with ourselves, then I was suppressing some major anger from time to time. On the other hand, perhaps I was just distracted and thinking Great Thoughts.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Random blogthoughts…

I just received word that will be able to stay at the retreat centre for a full week, instead of the five days it originally seemed it would be. One of the groups scheduled to come the weekend before didn’t need the cottage after all, so I will be installed there instead! I’ll be sharing a bit more about what this retreat will mean to me in the next week.

I haven’t felt well the last couple of days—nothing so much that I wanted to go to bed, but just draggy and slow and achy. Thanks to you all for your prayers (and a healing slap upside the head from Rev Dona…owww). I spent the time not terribly productively (but very entertainingly) in playing with themes and colours and wallpapers on my ‘puter. I am amazed at the variety of tastes and the amount of creativity in the world. If you like something, anything, you can probably find a theme, and definitely a wallpaper for it—from the predictable like angels, cars. Pets, various movies and TV series to wine, obscure authors, and even manatees. Oh, and a theme is a set of customized items for your computer desktop (wallpaper, icons, colours, pointers, sounds, screensaver, etc.) with a (duh) theme. So a theme on, say, the Fourth of July might use red, white and blue as a color scheme, with firecracker and brass band sounds (for programs opening, new mail, etc.), a desktop picture of a Fourth of July parade, and a screensaver of fireworks. I now have themes for cats and books (yes, together), wine, the beach, fall and an aquarium. If I could find one for corgis, I'd use it. Or Canada. Or Michigan. Or....

I’m working on planning a worship service for our denomination’s regional conference later this year. As many of you probably already know, it’s difficult to create a service when you aren’t preaching, consecrating communion, or directing music. Luckily I’m working with a good, long-time friend—one of the first people I came out to, my first UFMCC pastor, and a kindred spirit when it comes to worship tastes. We had a phone conference today and have worked out how we’ll deal with things. It’s good to know we have each other’s back in this…

I wish there was a First Parish Project for us “old ‘uns.” FPP is a wonderful program endowed by the Lilly fund and other organizations for pastors in their first church (please note, I tried to insert the proper html here for a direct link and Blogger wouldn't let me; the URL is
). I think we have one or two revgalblogpals who are participating. My worship-planning friend also participated (in the past), and he was singing its praises to me. Collegiality, mutual support, continuing education, etc. Well, shoot. I’m not in my first parish, really—it’s the second church I’ve served—but the first was only for a year. However, I’m way too old…upper age limit is 35, and I’m not even close anymore (Can’t open hailing frequencies, Cap’n!). Surely I’m not the only first “real parish” pastor over 40 out there? Does anyone know of such a program?

But, I have to add, he was envious of my community here on revgalblogpals. The concept of a community that shares values, interests, goals, hopes, dreams, fears, silliness and recipes while it transcends geographic boundaries intrigued him. He says he’s not that technologically savvy, but if I can do it, I think he can too. I have talked to more than one person recently who has that same reaction—“wow, what a neat concept! That’s what the Internet was supposed to be about!” Well, not quite, but that’s another lecture. However, RevGalBlogPals is a Good Thing, and I bless the day I found all of you!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sick Tuesday

I am not feeling well today. Nothing major, no sinus pain or sniffles or, um, digestitory issues. Just a little queasy and achy and blah.

This does not bode well, as at least four members of our congregation (one of them residing with me) have come down with "the crud" in the last two weeks.

I don't have time to be sick! Which, of course, means I will get very ill very soon. Maybe I can trick this thing, whatever it is, if I pretend I'm as free as the air and have all kinds of time to do whatever I want--if I take today off, and sleep and drink hot tea and read good books and ignore the vast pile of stuff to be done (prepare for church makeover class on Thursday, and for membership class on Saturday; start sermon; get the order of worship for Sunday to the designer--which means finding or writing the call to worship and possibly a responsive invocation/benediction/prayers of the people; preparing for our congregation's mission and vision retreat next month; phone calls and conversations with members of the various community groups with whom I have on-going projects; preparing for a denominational regional conference worship team phone conference tomorrow; and finishing our congregation's annual report, to name a few of just the "church" tasks, ignoring all that needs to be done around the house).

Nope, I got nothin' to do today, not me! (Hear that, flu germs? Nothin' at all!)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday Five Meme: Brushes with Greatness

1. Tell us about a time you met someone famous.

I went to a book-signing for one of Rita Mae Brown’s Mrs. Murphy mystery series, set in Crozet, Virginia. I have a corgi dog, and a corgi (Tee Tucker) is featured in the series. I had read Ms Brown’s “Rubyfruit Jungle” as part of my Women’s Studies class at university, and enjoyed the Mrs. Murphy series. I brought copies of my favourite two from the series and bought a copy of the new book for her to sign. I told her I had read “Rubyfruit” in college, “more years ago than I want to think about.” She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Honey, I WROTE the book, and I know how long ago that was.” I also mentioned to her that I had lived near Crozet and had in fact enjoyed many a Crozet pizza; also that I had a corgi. She signed one of the books to my dog, by name, and one to my mother, as I asked, and one to me, telling me, “You KNOW Crozet Pizza!” I was very impressed with the way she took the time to chat with people, and make sure they had a connection with her, but was also very open and down-to-earth. She is who she is, take it or leave it.

2. Tell us about a celebrity you'd like to meet.
Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama for noble reasons. For fun, Mariska Hargitay, Ellen Degeneres, Melissa Etheridge, kd lang, Megan Mullaly, and Bruce Springsteen (in no particular order). Mandela and the Lama are obvious—two of the greatest workers for spirituality and human rights the last fifty years have seen. I think it would be fun to have dinner or go to a party with Ellen and Megan—they just seem like fun people. Melissa, Bruce and kd are people who have a lot to teach me about tapping that creative vein in my heart. And Mariska just ‘cause (smirk).

3. Tell us about someone great who's *not* famous that you think everyone oughta have a chance to meet.

Christian de la Huerta. He’s a writer, Breathwork practitioner, and retreat leader. He’s written a book, “Coming Out Spiritually,” that encourages gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people to claim their spirituality in the face of those who would deny it, and offers descriptions of various alternate pathways to traditional religion, but which can be practiced alongside or as part of traditional organized religion (breathwork, meditation, yoga, etc.). He’s a warm, supportive man, and I am proud to count him as a friend.

4. Do you have any autographs of famous people?
I used to have one of Arthur C. Clarke, the science fiction writer.

5. If you were to become famous, what would you want to become famous for?
For my integrity—that I stood up for what I believed was right, spoke out for that belief, and that I was not afraid of the consequences.

Bonus: Whose 15 minutes of fame was up long, long ago?

Paris Hilton. Tom Cruise, and Mel Gibson. Get over yourselves, people!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Politics of Bingo, Ontario Style

Here in River City, many (if not most) charity organizations get a portion of their funding from bingo and other gaming revenue. Baseball clubs, alumni associations, churches, and service groups (Rotary, Kiwanis, etc.), to name a few, are all involved. In order to maintain control of the games, to be sure they are run in a fair manner and that all charities have a chance at the proceeds, the government licenses and supervises the bingos (and of course, so the government can get their share, too).

All registered charities are eligible for membership in a charity association (the organization that actually runs the bingo hall). The CA supervises the commercial organization that manages the hall—hires the callers and runners, purchases the paper, maintains the hall, etc. Each charity gets a certain number of licences (permits) per year to run a bingo. It is possible to petition for more, and some charities do (usually the very large organizations, like hospitals and the symphony). The CA schedules the charities into the hall, and the charity provides workers from their members (real members, not people they hire) to run the bingo. It varies from hall to hall—some places the charity workers sell all the paper (the cards people play on), in some they just sell the main cards at the counter, and in some they only take care of payouts (prizes) and keep track of the numbers. At the end of every month, the profits from the hall are divided up among all the charities that staffed the hall that month, based on how many two-hour sessions they staffed (not on how much was taken in during the sessions they worked). Some of the government’s portion goes to other charitable work (in Ontario, for instance, to the Trillium Foundation, which gives grants to community organizations for community improvement). So even organizations that don’t staff bingo halls benefit from bingo.

As to the moral issues—it bothered me from the beginning, and still does. As a former Methodist, I have a deep-seated aversion to anything that resembles gambling. I remember the ruction at a former church when the ladies wanted to raffle off a quilt—that was gambling! I’ve seen the sort of person who plays bingo—many of them surely could use the money to better effect. And certainly there is an effect on the church members—if the church is earning money from bingo, surely they don’t need as much in donations! That hampers discipleship and stewardship. And it takes a lot of energy—we have one person whose job is bingo coordinator—filling out the applications and obtaining the license every month (we do one bingo a month), making sure there are workers for the date, taking care of the paperwork (such as balance sheets through the session, float deposits, and a report afterwards, to name a few). The larger organizations that do several a month have paid bingo coordinators.

On the other hand, if we were not working the bingo, someone else would be. And while I may feel that the customers could spend the money in better ways, they are all adults and able to choose how to spend their money. Bingo is not as addictive nor as expensive as other forms of gambling (say slots or horse racing or roulette). And it does (or did until recently) bring in funds to allow us to keep the church going while we go through our transition.

On balance, I have to say I am glad we are being forced to find other means of funding. I resisted going into bingos in the first place (and the church had a bad history with bingos in the past), and we were clear at the time that it was temporary only. Well, it really was!

My concern and frustration is that so many of the charity organizations are simply being dumped, in effect. The hospitals, cultural groups and service clubs will find other methods of fundraising via grants, benefactors, and so on. But the small clubs, the community support group, the kids’ soccer league—those sorts of organizations face a real possibility of collapse, and there doesn’t seem to have been any kind of forethought about that. Many of the grants that the larger groups are eligible for will be harder to get since there will be less revenue from the bingos (which fund many of the granting foundations). What will we do without the baseball clubs (many of which used bingos to keep costs low so all the neighbourhood kids could participate), the free anger-management classes, the respite care groups, the safe house for domestic violence victims? The government will have to step in, at least in some cases, to provide equivalent services, or else face increased costs in other ways—through the court system, when the abuser faces charges again, because he couldn’t get into an anger-management class, or the new Canadian who is forced onto welfare because the English as a second language class was full and she can’t get a job.

In fairness, it could be said that the province couldn't have known that the situation would get this dire--several factors came together in a "perfect storm" scenario. The increased difficulty of crossing the border, the higher exchange rate, the smoking ban, the layoffs--all these added up to fewer people in the bingo halls. But the gaming authorities had to know that there would be some effect on the bingos (and on the Casino in town, which is a private concern, but a large employer).

I can’t argue with the demise of bingo, to be honest. But I wish some more thought had been put into helping the organizations that depended on it—partial funding for a transition period, training in other methods of fundraising, and so on. It’s become a sink-or-swim system in which some organizations that deserve to live will drown. The hospitals and symphony and Rotary will survive. But the Southside Baseball Club and the Immigrant’s Centre and the Family Support Centre may very well not. And that would be a pity and a crime.

It's Done!

Several things are done today.

1. Finally, finally, our office has been repaired. New ceiling, new paint, and even a fresh wax job on the floor from the wonderful custodian at our host church. We're still not sure about that mould in the ceiling, but there's not much to be done at the moment. We're working on the alternative. That will take a bit of time, but if it all works out, we will be in a wonderful space with lots of options for ministry.

2. Bingos. Now, the propriety of supporting a church through bingos is another post (which I feel coming on and will try to post today sometime), but the fact remains that we have used them. However, the bingo industry (and it is just that, don't fool yourself, at least here in River City) has been sliding downhill for years. A lot of our bingo players used to come from the States, since the exchange rate was good, there was plenty of parking, and the prizes were generally better. But after 9/11/2001, it became harder to cross the border, and things slackened. This summer, the province instituted a smoking ban. And then the car makers laid off a lot of people. Taken together, these have done severe damage to the bingo system. The hall where we ran our bingos has closed as of the end of the month. We can find another location if we want to, and we will make the attempt. But we are also looking into some other options. Bingo is done, at least for us.

3. Pride. The chair and the finance committee were meeting last night to finalize the financial report--all those invoices that hadn't been paid yet, the past-due bills the vendors hadn't paid, etc. It was amazing and magnificent this year--ten days with events almost every single day, from a play to an AIDS vigil, from bowling to a church service, a night and an afternoon of entertainment that was just outstanding, and a parade that was the largest ever. We garnered more sponsors this year than ever, and the publicity and press coverage was amazing. So now we meet to review the final report, and then catch our breath and elect officers for next year.

4. Summer's about over. I know we theoretically have a few more days of summer here in the northern hemisphere, but I've seen the leaves changing, and we haven't had temperatures over 75 in weeks. If I want to enjoy the porch, I'd better get out there and do it!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Clerical Sartorial Splendour (Female Version)

I was thinking in the shower this morning, as I often do, about what I was going to put on when I got out of the shower. It being Sunday, I debated wearing a clerical shirt and collar. I decided against it, but it got me thinking.

I rarely wear a clerical collar. It's not because I don't like them, or have any philosphical distaste. It's actually swimming a bit against the tide of my denomination, in which most clergy wear a collar at every opportunity.

In my experience, they are useful sometimes--for instance, on hospital visits. Sometimes they command respect, and they always identify you as undoubtedly clergy. However, sometimes they arouse anger or distrust in people.

I wear mine when I am clearly representing the church--such as the media event last week--and when I am being interviewed by the media. I wear it sometimes when I visit in hospital, but there I also take a hint from the person I am going to visit. Some people are pleased to see the collar--I guess it gives me legitimacy in their eyes, or in the eyes of others they are concerned about--and others, as I said, distrust it. Occasionally--I will admit it--I wear it for the dicomfort factor. This is a heavily Roman Catholic town, and so it often disconcerts people to see a woman wearing a clerical collar. This can be an advantage, depending on the situation!

As to which I wear, I have both tab collars and one Roman collar. The tabs are easier to put on, but the Roman looks classier (to me). I have two long-sleeve and two short-sleeve. I would like to get one more of each, so that I don't have to immediately wash them when I take them off. Sometimes I wear them with a suit, sometimes just with slacks, sometimes even with tan khaki-type slacks.

United Methodists (my previous denomination) rarely wear them, in my experience, so I'm still getting used to the idea, and trying to work out what works best for me.

How about you? Tab or Roman? Every day or never? Ever tried a Janey? With suits, jumpers, vests (the latter two in the US sense!), skirts? Only on Sundays? Any make you prefer? Where are they least expensive?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Preaching Without a Net

One of my preaching professors had us do a great exercise. She told us it was Sunday morning, twenty minutes before the service started, and we had scheduled a guest preacher for today, who had just called to say he was in the emergency room of the local hospital with his wife who was having an asthma attack, and he wouldn't be able to be there. We had to come up with a sermon in twenty minutes, with no commentaries, no Web access, only our Bibles and our brains.

We then had to preach our sermon to the class.

She handed each of us a scripture citation, put twenty minutes on the timer, and said "Go!"

You want to talk panic?!

Well, each of us had something to say when we got up there, all right. Some of us more than others.

I started off quite well, went places with it, and wound up for the great resounding climax--only to fall flat without a firm conclusion. I sputtered around for a few moments, and finally said, "In all God's many names, amen. Will you please rise and join together in our response hymn?"

So now I always make sure I have something great for an ending. I figure even if the rest was not so hot, if the ending is knock-out, the congregation will remember that and forget about the rest...

All of which is to say that I'm preaching from an (extended) outline tomorrow, but I wrote out the final paragraph so I don't ruin the effect (if any) of the rest of the sermon, or else that I end it coherently at least (depending on how the beginning and middle are!).

PS The prof was feeling kindly; I got a B+.

Five Things I Have Enjoyed This Week

1. Dinner Friday night. We had a “porcetta,” a rolled pork roast seasoned with dried sweet red peppers, dill, and a couple of other spices/herbs I couldn’t identify. Our friends from the Yellow House, who are in the midst of home renovation, brought some wine. We had rice and steamed carrots with a brown sugar glaze with the porcetta, and ate everything til it was gone except the rice, which I mixed with the sauce from the carrots and put in the frig for our lunch today. It was a change from our recent dinners which have been a steady procession of ground beef in various dishes and chicken. And best of all was the company. It was a spur of the moment, hey-they’re-in-the-dust-of-renovation dinner invitation, and in the manner of spontaneous invitations, was heartily enjoyed!

2. My network of friends and acquaintances here in Windsor. There was a “media event” for a local community group on Friday morning, to which I was invited. While the speakers were doing their thing, I was looking at the group assembled there, and realizing how many connections I have made here in less than two years. Many of the folks I knew there were friends—people I could call and say, “Hey, we’re getting together tomorrow night, come on over.” Others were more what I would call connections—folks from the various groups that I work with, who are doing projects that synergize with some of ours, that sort of thing. But it made me feel warm inside to see how many people smiled and greeted me when I entered.

3. I have a habit to confess to. I get up earlier than I have to in the morning, just to have a half-hour or so to read my devotional, read a good book, and sip a cup of coffee before I face the busy-ness of daily life. When I can’t do that, when I have to get up and jump in the shower, and dash off to meetings or appointments, I feel grumpy all day. Some days that’s the only solitude I have, and I need a certain amount in order to function properly. So, yes, it’s gotten to be a habit. But a pleasurable one…although I suppose all habits are pleasurable in the beginning!

4. The pool party on Sunday. Friends of ours who live nearby had a “end of summer” pool party last Sunday afternoon. DP and I went over after church, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was too cool to swim, but nice enough to sit on the deck and chat, drink wine, and eat potstickers until we were stuffed. These are friends to whom, like our friends of Friday night in the Yellow House, we are just RP and DP; not “the pastor” and “pastor’s spouse.” It’s refreshing, not least because we talk about things besides the church! They don’t hold us to a higher standard, so we can be ourselves. Someone once told me to be sure I had friends who weren’t members of the church, so that I could be myself somewhere; they were so right! It’s not that I wear a mask at church. It’s more that my being human sometimes surprises the members; although they say they’re fine with it, the reality is somewhat different.

5. Sitting on my front porch enjoying the wonderful weather! It’s been in the 70s all week, with low humidity, and some rain at night. Yesterday I sat on the porch for a couple of hours, reading The New Yorker and working on thoughts and ideas for the sermon. Life is good.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Random Tuesday-ness

Ack, it's been almost a week.

Well, I have several very good excuses. I won't trot them out, but I know I've got them, if anyone wants to hear them.

Many thoughts, and again they will be random--I hope to be more organized and coherent later in the week. But tonight, I'm all over the map!

Rhetorical questions (reflections welcome!)
How do we integrate stewardship and our mission? By that I mean, how do we translate what is in our mission statement into ways that people can participate through time, treasure and talent?

If I change my template on Blogger, will I lose all my links and ring codes?

Why is my September calendar full already?

How do we build community in our congregations? How do we encourage folks to be friends, so that they call each other, go to the movies together, drop by each other's home, share recipes, etc?

Why do so many congregation members think the pastor should be the one to greet new people, when, if you ask them after a few visits, they say they would rather talk to another member, NOT the pastor? I guess we intimidate them.

And a couple of observations:
I was told today that many activists working with acquired immunity deficiency syndrome now want to use the term hiv/aids rather than HIV/AIDS, because the latter looks like yelling the name, and we don't, after all, yell the name of other diseases like DIABETES. Never mind that it's an acronym... I haven't heard people involved with ALS or COPD making this complaint. I am very very supportive of people living with HIV/AIDS--many of them are dear friends. But this seems a bit off the deep end to me.

To those who recommended "Getting Things Done," by ? Allen--thank you thank you! I've listening to it on CD (print not available), I haven't finished the first disc yet, and I'm already using what he says. Love it love it!

And to those who mentioned "Generation to Generation," by Friedman (why can't I remember first names tonight?), another big thank you. It had been sitting on my shelf and I just hadn't gotten around to it. A pastor friend said to me the other day (seeing on my coffee table), "Oh, you're reviewing Friedman?" She was shocked when I admitted I was reading it for the first time, but told me it would be the most useful book I read all year.

And now it's Rainbow Pastor time--some frozen yogurt, a good book (history of Canada) and bed.

Clarence Darrow--Beyond Scopes and Leopold & Loeb

Personalities fascinate me--people do. One way I try to understand history and places is through people--which is why I love good histor...