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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wednesday Festival - Almost March

Greetings to you all on February the last! This is a very quick festival...sorry for the lack of editorial graces which usually connect these entries. Um, I'm doing it on purpose for Lent! :) No, I'm just in a mad rush....getting ready to lead a women's retreat this weekend. The retreat topic? "If Only I Had More Time!"


Poor Mad Peter's Lenten Journey has begun...go read about it here.

Mid-life Rookie played catch-up on her blog over the weekend, with reflections written both before and after receiving some Very Good News. Hooray!

Quotidian Grace reviewed an important book about America's historic involvement in the Middle East.

Here's an nomination for Irreverent Musings. Elizabeth+ isamazing in her writing and reflections on life, especially about healthcare right now since it is hitting so close to home with her father. Please go and visit and maybe leave an encouraging word.

Lorna is wondering whether God's love is unconditional? She would really like some input from you all.

Cathy's been to see the movie Amazing Grace, and reviews it here.

Boy, am I ever glad to hear from RevEm! She has, as she says, "come out of the fog" and shares an update on the last few months.

PamBG posts on the Temptations of Jesus.

Sally is thinking about Methodist Foundation training and revival.

Jonah shares items from his 365 blog:
People singing and praying by candlelight
The cross draped in purple
Horned moon

On his regular site, Jonah also shares an Ash Wednesday post, on the theme of bearing the cross.

Guess what...Tripp has an assignment for all of us! Woohoo!

Carmen shares about how a scene from the Sound of Music has made her think more deeply about Jesus' compassion.

Melissa has a new favorite Bible verse, and invites you to share your favorite unexpected verses!

Tawonda says: "Totally NOT in the solemn and penitential spirit of Lent, I posted a very short, very lame joke on my blog, and I also did some frustrated, what's-it-all-about-Alfie kvetching about the vagaries and lack of meaningful one-on-one mentoring I'm experiencing in my lay ministry program."

Blessed days to you all...and if you'd like to share something that didn't make it in this edition, well, shout it out in the comments!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Clean Up Edition

Dear friends,

Here in the frozen Snow Belt, many churches cancelled worship last Sunday. (Or as one clever elder put it when I called to take a survey of the Session's opinion on this, we merely postponed it a week.)

As misfortune would have it, we were set to begin week one of a series last Sunday, so I will be scrambling this week to figure out how to fit 2 weeks' worth of gospel into a service that will already contain communion. Oy.

The Revised Common Lectionary can be found here. (I love the series of photographs that the Vanderbilt site includes with the lection.) I am surprised to see the T-Fig story revisited this week. How many of you will preach that one?

What else are you contemplating this week. Is anybody else preaching a 2-fer like I am?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sunday Prayer

As always, this prayer is cross-posted over at my place.

God of us all, Source of Life, Creation and Beauty, we ask your blessing upon us as we begin our Lenten journey. We have a long way to go. The cross is so far ahead of us that we can barely see it on the horizon.

And yet, we know it will come into view soon enough. Sometimes we feel tempted to avoid the difficulties of this season of Lent. Sometimes it just seems too much to endure, and we would rather find an easier path to travel. God, stay with us, we pray. Remind us that the journey is as vital as the destination and that we are not alone - you are with us.

In praise and thanksgiving, we are thankful for the deep blessings we experience in this life and for the assurance of your abiding and eternal presence with us. Bless all who are in need of your love - the grieving, the lost, the lonely, and all who suffer in mind, body or spirit. God, place your healing hand upon our woundedness, and grant us your peace, for we ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.


Don't forget the Wednesday Festival: it's easy! Anyone can play!

All you have to do is click on the hyperlinked words: RevGal Wednesday Festival to create a mail message to the Festival team.

Nominations should be from your own blog or another RGBP ring member's. Please include a brief description of the post (a sentence is fine!) and the URL for the post, too!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

All Preachers, Report to the Party Immediately!

Okay, you don't really need to come right this minute, but you know, sometimes relaxation is an urgent matter!

On the other hand, it might just be temptation...

Speaking of which, what party fare do you offer people when it's Lent and the lectionary Gospel text is about Jesus resisting temptation? Surely not rich, ooey-gooey brownies...which is a good thing, for I have none. I do have some oatmeal butterscotch bars and, as always, coffee - hot, strong, fair-trade, and plentiful. You're welcome to help yourselves.

As much as I'd like to bow to the temptation to procrastinate, I have a morning meeting and then a day of condensing a wide array of thoughts into a preachable sermon ahead of me. Where are you finding your focus today, or what is keeping you from focusing? How will you be observing this first Sunday in Lent? What do you have to say about temptation?

Come one, come all, and party on, preachers!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday Five: Companions on the Way

Dante had Virgil as a guide. Before he had younger siblings, my oldest child had an imaginary friend named Patrick. Betsy had Tacy. Laura Ingalls depended on her brindle bulldog, Jack. All of them were companions on the way.

As we take the beginning steps of our journey through Lent, who would we take as a companion? Name five people, real or imaginary, you might like to have with you as guide or guardian or simply good friend.

Thanks to Jonah for suggesting this week's theme! Let us know in the comments if you play. And if you're feeling up to it, post a direct link to your blog entry in your comment using the following formulation:
<a href="the url of your blog post goes here">what you want the link to say goes here</a>
For a complete how-to, click here.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ask the Matriarch — Knowing Whereof Ye Speak

Our question this week comes from someone who is concerned about giving a sermon on infertility, but she broadened the question to include any of those situations where we are talking about things we haven't directly experienced or had close proximity to.

I am due to preach during Lent and am considering a topic and issue that I have no actual experience with but rather have been an observer of others in this experience. This particular issue is a painful one for many and already causes many people to feel alienated from the church. So my question: Is it possible to preach a meaningful and sensitive sermon without a true understanding of the experience? At first I would say yes of course, but the more I think about this particular issue and talk to those who have actually experienced it the more I question whether I would be able to do it the justice necessary.

~Lenten Preacher

Well, one thing I have learned over many years of parenthood is that everyone, regardless of their experience with kids, wants to tell you how to raise yours. I realize that's only tangentially related, but this busybody syndrome is a common one and we applaud your thoughtfulness on this issue.

Jan just preached a series on The Twelve Step programs without ever having been in one. "So I have a tiny idea of the awkwardness here," she writes. "I had talked with lots of people about the spirituality of the 12 Steps, and read the books they suggested. The whole [sermon] series was a result of their request, so maybe this is a different situation."

You're not alone
But, truth of the matter is, we don't all have direct experience with every situation. I'm raising a teenage boy despite never having been one myself, as he's so fond of pointing out. But that doesn't mean I don't have wisdom to share. Same goes for you. "No one gets into the pulpit knowing everything about a topic. No one. Not W. Brueggeman or Barbara Brown Taylor," writes St. Casserole. After all, she continues, you're at least aware that you need to be sensitive about this subject and you are concerned that you do not harm your listeners.

Your sermon is an opportunity to help people make a connection—in this case, between infertility and spirituality. St. Casserole notes: "Please talk about infertility! Please make people aware of how difficult an issue infertility is! Please help people understand the connection between infertility and spirituality! Your sermon will be about 12-14 minutes long so you can't handle the entire topic, but you can raise the questions. Leave your listeners with hope, if you can do so genuinely."

Honesty, still the best policy
"You can certainly speak about something you don't have personal experience with, but be honest and say so," says Jan. "Don't pretend that one of your losses in life was 'just like' your sister's infertility if that wasn't the case. Being authentic is key. And those who are sitting in the pews who do know what it feels like to want children and not be able to have a baby will appreciate it."

Here's another approach you may be able to work into the process. Jan did a Lenten series about various foms of loss some years back. "While the sermons dealt with biblical examples, we had a breakfast speaker prior to worship each week that offered a speaker who directly worked with those personally affected (people with loved ones in prisons, AIDS patients, infertile couples, etc.)."

I'm sure our fellow RevGals have been through this from time to time. Any other thoughts you'd like to share? Post them in comments!

Highlights of the February RGBP Inc. Board Meeting

The board of RevGalBlogPals, Inc. met electronically Monday evening, February 19. We would like to share with you the highlights of that meeting.

1. As of February 19, 2007, there were 273 members of the webring and 58 members of RevGalBlog Pals, Inc. Nineteen blogs do not have working ringcode on their pages. The board authorized the Webring Administrative Committee to delte blogs that haven't posted the ring code within a month of joining the ring. If you don't have working code on your blog, please get it on there as soon as possible!

2. The board approved a suggestion that we open an Amazon Associates Account. Books included in this account will be limited to books suggested by the Matriarchs in the Ask the Matriarch Thursday feature or chosen for a new monthly book discussion feature that will be posted on the fourth Monday of each month. Watch for more details about this on the blog!

3. In response to requests to promote events or link to blogs outside of the RGBP ring, the board established a policy that will allow advertisement of events if it promotes the ordination of women or the nuture of clergywomen and is harmonious with the mission of RevGalBlogPals, Inc.

4. The board will begin brain-storming ideas for an RGBP Inc. event in the future.

A FAQ is whether you have to belong to RGBP Inc. to be a member of the webring. The answer is no--but we would love to have you join and help us develop this non-profit group so we can do another publication, plan an event or workshop, and find other ways to support revgals and revguys and revpals who support the mission and ministry of RGBP. Check the link on the sidebar for more information about joining. We welcome new members any time!

If you have questions about the meeting report here or about the corporation, leave a comment and I will try to answer it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday

Today begins the liturgical season of Lent, a time of self-examination, penitence, and prayer. Please feel free to share about your observations of the day and the season in the comments.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fat Tuesday not Wednesday Festival

We are going to have the Wednesday Festival posted a little early in keeping the solemnity of Ash Wednesday set aside for Wednesday's post. Sooooooo..... Here we go!

Celebrate with See-through Faith as she shares of a church celebrating 50 years – it is especially unique in that it is a United Methodist Church serving the Russian speakers in Tallinn Estonia. She asks for prayers for God’s work in this country of Estonia. What an interesting history this church has!

Check my blog out for this posting – I am looking for children’s books which use hymns for the text with illustrations to go along with it. Are you familiar with any more than the three I have?
Chartreuse Ova has a heartfelt series of 1, 2, 3 postings on making faith decisions, confessions, and reconciliation.

Sarcastic Lutheran posts that she can’t help that she’s a Christian.

Eternal Echoes and her husband just celebrated their 25th anniversary. Look closely at the pictures and I bet you see a silver lining! In another post, she shares her struggles with depression and feeling disconnected. A poetic prayer offers us beauty in her words.
Book meme alert! You know you want to! Go to In the Open Space – see what she has read and not read, and do the same (actually has an additional spin on it too – check it out!)

And to finish this roundup, let us move into Lent with Abbeyofthearts as she shares reflections for Ash Wednesday and a call to the practice of lament for the Lenten season. Her post will be up on Ash Wednesday, so check it out then.

Want your blog featured here? Did you know the majority of the blogs featured here were recommended by the writers of their blog? You can do that too! Just send an email to Give us a little information along with the link and we'll post it!

And... if you did not find one of your postings up here, do not fret, you can place it in the comments!

Fat Tuesday Lectionary Leanings

Hi friends! Those of us who celebrate Lent will find that our feet hit the ground running as of tomorrow, Ash Wednesday. Or maybe they already are pounding!

Even though I have sworn off fattening sweets, I did today enjoy a local treat, a Paczka (pronounced poonch-kee). I will have to do an extra five miles on the old treadmill, but it was worth it. Living in a Polish-American part of the world has its hazards.

I feel, in the interest of a holy Lent, that I must make a confession: I am going off lectionary for the next several weeks, and am doing a sermon series instead.

Nevertheless, the lectionary texts can be found here. I would love to hear what you all are pondering this week. I am thinking about Jesus and his encounter with Matthew, a tax-collector.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Monday Mission Momen: Rural Ministry Coalition

"No preaching, no praying, no politics" is the by-word for the Rural Ministry Coalition that unites 7 congregations in a sparsely populated area of Michigan. Lutheran Chik sent the linked article to us, suggesting that this would be an interesting subject for the Monday Mission Moment.

She wrote:
One important aspect that the article did spotlight was that this ministry was a way for very theologically diverse churches -- representing every tradition from Community of Christ to Roman Catholic -- to work together; that the "no preaching, no proselytizing" mutual understanding between member churches allows them to concentrate on their common concern for human need instead of focusing on their differences.

Another point, that I think may be difficult for persons in suburban or urban areas to understand, is that the coalition works in an area that is very remote -- most of the member churches lie far away from even the modest communities that qualify as "cities" in rural Michigan. The residents are far away from their county seats, and because of location have to travel a distance to conduct any kind of work or business; and they're also in a kind of multi-county situation where their kids may go to school in one county, while their post office is in another county, while they pay their property taxes to another county -- in other words, it's hard to perceive oneself as belonging to anywhere in particular.

One of the things the coalition wants to do is to encourage a sense of community, of place, of belonging.
The Rural Ministry Coalition is a unique example of ecumenical cooperation across a broad geographic area that emphasizes cooperation instead of competition between the different faith traditions in order to build a sense of Christian community.

Many thanks to Lutheran Chik for her suggestion for February's Mission Moment! Please send your nominations for the March Mission Moment to me and PCIT by emailing us using the Mission Moment link in the sidebar.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sunday Prayer

This prayer is cross-posted over at my place.

Wondrous God, Source of Life, Holy Mystery, hear our prayers. In praise and thanksgiving we gather now in mind, heart and spirit to offer up the blessings and concerns of this day.

God, we thank you for ways in which we encounter you day to day. We thank you when we see your love shining in the smile of a friend, or the sweetness of a baby’s laugh. We praise you when an embrace from a loved one reflects your love for us.

In prayer, in quiet moments captured in the midst of busy days, and in the most unexpected ways – you meet us as we are. We thank you God for these glimpses of holiness and for the sustaining power they bring to the nurture of our faith.

Strengthen us as we seek to live the faith we proclaim, and help us to bring the light of your love into the lives of everyone we meet.

Bless those for whom we have prayed aloud this morning, and those whose cares and trials are close to our hearts.

Be with all who are ill in body, mind and spirit….with the grieving and the dying. Bring strength and peace to those who are struggling with life’s troubles. Grant them the peace and courage that only you can bring, for we ask it in Jesus’ name, who taught us to pray together, singing…



Don't forget the Wednesday Festival: it's easy! Anyone can play!

All you have to do is click on the hyperlinked words: RevGal Wednesday Festival to create a mail message to the Festival team.

Nominations should be from your own blog or another RGBP ring member's. Please include a brief description of the post (a sentence is fine!) and the URL for the post, too!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

11th Hour Preacher Party

Welcome to the Transfiguration Express (or what ever your destination on this beautiful day.)

I would like to take a moment of your time to explain the safety features of your sermon.

Please make sure that your seatback is in its upright position and all your personal possessions are stored safely in the overhead cabinets or under your seat before beginning to exegete your text.

To fasten your seat belt place the flat metal end into the buckle --
Reach behind your shoulder and pull the shoulder harness across your chest and fasten to the seatbelt button
To tighten your seatbelt pull on the strap
To unfasten your seatbelt release the shoulder harness and lift up on the top portion of the buckle.
For most sermons, seat belts will not be necessary.

Should blood pressure change suddenly because of panic (i.e. you have left the sermon text at home or you have waited until Saturday to begin your sermon) a compartment above your head will open automatically and the Holy Spirit will be within your reach

There are fire extinguishers and portable breathing devices onboard located here
There is a therapeutic Preacher Party located here with coffee and companionship and a sermon First Aid kit located here.
There is an Automatic External Sermon Defibrillator located here and a Crash Axe and flashlights.

Reverend Mommy will be your hostess today and I hope you enjoy your flight.

Please let us know what we can do to be of assistance.

Thank you and enjoy the Transfiguration Express!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday Five: Tourist Edition

reverendmother here... It seems like this topic has been done before, but I can't find it in the archives, so......

I am downtown on retreat this week. Most of the retreatants are from out of town, so I get to experience this place through the eyes of visitors. So in the spirit of tourism:

1. What is one place you make sure to take out-of-town guests when they visit? (you can be vague to preserve your anonymity if you like)

2. When visiting another city or town, do you try to cram as much in as possible, or take it slow and easy?

3. When traveling, where are we most likely to find you: strolling through a museum, checking out the local shopping, or _________________?

4. Do you like organized tours and/or carefully planned itineraries, or would you rather strike out and just see what happens?

5. After an extended trip, what do you find yourself craving most about home?

Let us know in the comments if you play. And if you're feeling up to it, post a direct link to your blog entry in your comment using the following formulation:
<a href="the url of your blog post goes here">what you want the link to say goes here</a>
For a complete how-to, click here.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ask the Matriarch — Man, Oh Man

I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine's Day. We, like many others in the mid-Atlantic-to-Northeast corridor, were iced in. But we made the most of it.

For this week's question, I totally mangled a metaphor about if the shoe is on the other foot, wear it, if it fits, or something. But what it comes down to, this week, is:

As women pastors, how do we foster/encourage spiritual growth and group-building and service among the men of the church, when there is no formal organization for doing so?

As you know, in the Olden Days, only men held ordained positions in Protestant churches, but women had many roles that were clearly defined and, in their own way, powerful—as musicians, teachers, pastor's wives and (in our church at least) members of the fondly- remembered-but-now-defunct Women's Fellowship. The women of our church also got together to help each other with the children, to raise money for various good causes, to pray together and to drink tea while eating lovely sandwiches.

Now, a shift of power has taken place. We have two women pastors, and the men of the church are struggling to find their role. A few men tried to start a men's group, but it fizzled before it really began. We've encouraged them to attend a regional men's retreat, but they are not interested. A few men of the church get together informally to play cards or golf almost every week, so they are building good friendships, but there's a level of spiritual education that does not seem to be happening.


Hmm. Seems like fellowship-building activities are a bit easier to contemplate. I know the men in my life love going to game night (board games and pizza) and to the drum circle that my church hosts, though it isn't a church event. Peripatetic Polar Bear notes that at her parents' church, "the big manly bonding experience is Habitat for Humanity followed by pizza and beer. This does leave out the elderly men, but they seem to be well ensconced in the men's bible study: median age 96."

Jan shares a few things she's seen in neighboring parishes: "The R.O.M.E.O.s (retired old men eating out) meet for lunch once a week to talk about things that matter. Or things that don't matter. At Poker Groups (very 50s) - the men play poker; the women-folk go to a movie or out to eat." According to a male pastor who once participated, the conversation went something like this:

Male Pastor: So how's everybody doing?
Guys: Great.
Male Pastor: So nobody wants to talk about their marriages or anything?
Guys: Nope.
Male Pastor: Pass the Cheezits.

Jan's congregation has a "Men's Fellowship" that meets every other week for a Bible study, but only three or four guys attend. "My hunch is that this needs to be led by a charismatic person who is cool and spiritual in a we-could-have-a-beer-together kind of way," says Jan. "Sort of a Michael Jordan/Jon Stewart/Bill Gates kind of combo, which of course, doesn't exist in most churches."

Hmm, there's that beer idea again. My future husband makes awesome homebrew--it's the hobby he has that runs counter (or parallel) to my knitting. Homebrew shawl ministry. OK, maybe not.

Find fearless leaders
Jan's on to something with that charismatic leader thing, though. As St. Casserole observes, "We encourage spiritual growth and fellowship by identifying men who have leadership skills and the interest to get together with other men. What interests do these 'leader men' have? Do the old guys want to drink coffee at the church on Saturday mornings? Encourage them. Let them lead themselves, with encouragement from you. What do the younger guys want to do together? Build and repair stuff? Watch sports together? Find out what men want to do with each other as church members. Like everything else, building relationships between participants is the key. I'll go to a group of mule saddle refurbishers if the relationships there mean something to me."

Part of the challenge, as Susan notes, is making sure that those fearless leaders understand leaderhip. "Many of the men already in leadership upon my arrival had the opinion that leadership was making sure the bills were paid and that the church was growing both financially and in membership, like a business," she says. "In many ways, that's the leadership they've had both from previous pastors and from the judicatory. I've had them outright reject prayer or study as part of business meetings. The spiritual education has to start where they are and will take some time. Some of these guys needed to step down in order to change the leadership's orientation to something more God-centered than manna-centered."

She continues, "We do need to find men who have leadership gifts for men's ministry as well as for the church and empower those leaders with the knowledge and skills to be leaders. We need to acknowledge and value that men and women lead differently and have different spiritual and emotional needs. We need to offer leadership through our own family model and through our own partnership with men and women in leadership roles."

It's not something we can control
Don't push too hard to make something like this happen, and be willing to surrender oversight of the men's groups to ... the men! As Jan notes, "Honestly, I don't think we can control this as much as we can encourage it."

That promotes a generous spirituality, too. "Long ago, the men didn't want women to gather in church groups because the men feared what the women might do or say or think together," says St. Casserole. "The men had to control the groups. Why not lead in a different way today by allowing the men to do what they want without much input from us?"

On the other hand, women pastors may be able to provide men's groups with new insights. Susan shares an experience she had some time back: "Ten or so years ago, I went to one of the Promise Keepers clergy conferences. Our national United Methodist Men had lobbied hard for the group to allow all UM pastors to attend. I wanted to honor their efforts and find out about what was then all the rage for Christian men." Even though some of the speakers at the time couldn't allow that women had full clergy rights, and said so, she learned from that conference that women cannot empower men's ministry in the same way that men can.

But that's not necessarily a bad thing, she continues. "We can still empower men's ministry, but we are charting a new course," Susan says. "We can encourage small groups for men. We can call for equal partnership between men and women in families and offer a vision that supports the validity of different models for family. Several of the things that I could appreciate about Promise Keepers was the way they flatly stated that men in general had failed in their leadership at home as well as how they sought to bring healing among different ethnicities. I think a woman talking about leadership in the home would need to be more graceful by lifting up role models and possibilities rather than emphasizing failures."

The modern context
Part of the problem may not be women pastors or men's groups so much as a lack of modern context for church groups. "The old form of Men of the Church may not work today," says St. Casserole. "The generations may not want to spend free time together unless the older guys know something about building relationships with the younger guys. I see changes in how Women in the Church function, too. The old forms work for the older people, the younger folks either fit themselves into the old patterns or don't participate. Many younger people have little interest in the old style church groups."

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't provide them with opportunities. Susan says, "From my experience, men are hungry for opportunities for spiritual growth, for bonding with other men, for true partnership in their families, but many lack the tools to do so. The only role models and tools they have are out dated and no longer work. We don't have to go on the camping trips or participate in the male-bonding experiences, but we do need to encourage such activities." Keep the male-bonding activities on the social calendar, then, and possibly add prayer or Bible Study to the events that already exist.

Next week, we'll be talking a little bit about those nerve-wracking early sermons. And we're also interested in hearing about dating tips for single women pastors, if you have some to share. Got a question? Some wisdom to share? Drop us a line at

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Wednesday Festival of Love!

People all over the country celebrate the beauty of love today. Flowers will be sent, chocolates will be savored, kisses will be exchanged. Many of the RevGals and Pals are also celebrating love at their blogs in different ways, so Welcome to the Wednesday Festival of Love!


Sally offers us a feminist perspective on loving God, loving others, loving self.


PamBG writes about dignity, justice, and peacemaking which rises up out of humans being formed in love by God. Julie explores the relationship between three big topics in her post about sin, discipline, and vengeance where she explores the relationship amongst the three and connects them to the Great Commandment we are all called to follow: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'


Deb at An Unfinished Symphony has posted about parenting and the ways love for our children helps to build their confidence in the world.


Under the heading of love for our bodies, Iris invites us to join a new blog for those wanting some support for weight loss from friends on this ring. Go here to find out how you can join and be a loser too!!


GallyCat needs some love sent her way as she feels stuck in limbo.


Mother Laura shares two connected posts from a series on the clergy sexual abuse she experienced as an undergraduate. First is the memory about which she felt the most shame and guilt and the following day, when she was able to find liberation and self-love in reframing of that moment.


Leah writes a post about baptism and the fire of God's presence.


Lorna writes that her heart is bursting with love for God and a desire to be moved by God and not her own restlessness.


LutherLiz needs some feedback on a sermon she is preparing and whether she can take on something she hasn't experienced with enough compassion and love.


For the fun of it: Alex has a self-professed unscientific study about the prevalence of women in ministry and invites you to participate and LutherLiz has a fun quiz which relates to what we do and teach.


Over at Abbey of the Arts, I share two favorite quotes and a poem about love.


Happy Saint Valentine's Dearest RevGals and Pals!

If we missed you, please leave a comment below with a link to your post!

May everyone you meet today experience God's abundant love through your words and care. ~Christine

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: T-Fig Edition

In case you haven't figured it out, T-Fig is my new ( in the style of J-Lo, K-Fed) nickname for this Sunday on the liturgical calendar: transfiguration.

I can honestly say that I haven't put much thought into this week's sermon yet, having been distracted by other things. If you have not read this post by Songbird yet, you should. It is what jump-started me in my thinking this morning.

Sometimes, when I am beginning to think about a text, I go back and see what sermon title I jotted on my planning calendar. Sometimes it is utterly unhelpful, but today I went back and read this:"With Unveiled Faces".

When I read the Hebrew Scripture text for this Sunday I am struck by Moses' taking the veil off and putting it back on. It seems to me that in human relationships we might think that we are being honest and transparent, and that we hide ourselves from God. Moses helps to show us that it can often be the other way around: we hide from each other, and are truly, deeply, initmately seen by God every time.

I hope that'll preach.

What are you contemplating his week?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Meet n' Greet: Migraine Edition

But why should you all have to suffer because I have a migraine?
Answer: You shouldn't!!!

Instead go check out the newest revgalblogpal!!!

Welcome One Woman's Search for Understanding!!!
In her own words: I am a healthcare profession discerning again-a 20 year old call on my life. I finally took a couple of theology classes but am not sure where I will end up. One woman's search for understanding- is my journal, platform and soap box. Joining the ring is my search for support thru community and thru reading your blogs too. It's nice to know I'm not alone.

Now I know you are thinking one of three things. Either
a) I cannot even IMAGINE how will smama is up already after having danced with Justin Timberlake on stage last night at the Grammys.

2) This sure seems like it would be a good time to put up a survey so we could get to know one of our bloggers better.

or) I wish will smama would go back to bed.

Well, you're right on all three.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday Prayer

This prayer is cross-posted over at my place.

Loving God, we thank you for the blessing of this day and the gift of being here together. We thank you for this faith community and for others like it all around the globe... For church families that pull together in times of need and celebrate in times of great joy.

We thank you for bread broken together and the mission we share in the name of Jesus, who called us to live the gospel we proclaim. We thank you for the particular gifts and skills that each person brings to our community and for their willingness to share those gifts.

We pray for the needs and concerns of all those we have named aloud in this place, and for those we have not named, and for those known only to you. Bring healing where it is needed, God, and may all know the power and comfort of your presence.

Help us God to find the balance we seek in this life, between caring for others and caring for ourselves, between being a blessing and being blessed, between being and doing. Keep us focused on the source of our healing and the strength of our being – Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray saying...


Don't forget the Wednesday Festival: it's easy! Anyone can play!

All you have to do is click on the hyperlinked words: RevGal Wednesday Festival to create a mail message to the Festival team.

Nominations should be from your own blog or another RGBP ring member's. Please include a brief description of the post (a sentence is fine!) and the URL for the post, too!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Blessed 11th Hour Preacher Party

Blessed are you who finish your sermons at a reasonable time, for yours is great peace and comfort.

Blessed are you who do not have to spend the day teaching a seminar and running hither and yon over the face of the earth, for you shall have rest.

Woe to you...Okay, none of us need any additional woes today, so I'll just stop there with my rip-off of the Beatitudes.

I'm off bright and early to teach Round 2 of a seminar on young adults and the church. I'll be back to check in this afternoon. The coffee is set to brew early so I can grab some on my way out. My pantry is bare, so I hope some of you have some breakfast treats to contribute to the party.

What are your thoughts for this week? And does anyone have a brilliant (or even adequate) children's sermon?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday Five: American Idols

Yes, it's true. I've been watching Season Six of American Idol with my daughter, our first time dipping into this particular well of pop culture. In the spirit of believing you can do anything, as the auditioners so clearly do, please fill in the following five blanks.

1) If I could sing like anyone, it would be ________.

2) I would love to sing the song _________________.

3) It would be really cool to sing at ____________.

4) If I could sing a dream duet it would be with ___________.

5) If I could sing on a TV or radio show, it would be __________________.

Let us know in the comments if you play. And if you're feeling up to it, post a direct link to your blog entry in your comment using the following formulation:
<a href="the url of your blog post goes here">what you want the link to say goes here</a>
For a complete how-to, click here.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Ask the Matriarch — ISO Questions and Answers

Hello, everyone! Due to a scheduling error on my part, I very neatly combined two questions into one week last week--and forgot to send out a new question for this week, in spite of your many wonderful submissions the week before. It didn't help that I was distracted by this shiny new computer that has me finally joining everyone else in the 21st century, after plodding along with my 1998 iBook for almost a decade.

Also, this past Saturday was the six month anniversary of our announcing this feature. During those six months, a lot of new people have joined us.

So I'd like to point out a couple of things. First off, it's really easy to read Ask the Matriarch as a series of columns, now that we've migrated to the new Blogger--in fact, it's really easy to read any of our columns as a group, using the "labels" function on the right. So if you missed any of the early columns, they're really easy to find now!

Secondly, I'd like to extend an invitation for new matriarchs. If you are a RevGalBlogPal ring member with more than 10 years of experience in ordained ministry—any denomination—and would like to share your wisdom with the group, we'd love to have you. Don't worry—Abi, Jan, Susan, St. Casserole, and Peripatetic Polar Bear aren't going anywhere, and I'll still be editing the column, that is, when I don't get distracted by shiny new macbooks. (Yum.) Check out the original post for additional guidelines, and please drop me a line at if you're interested or would like additional information. Be sure to include a little information about yourself when you write! We may not be able to use everyone who volunteers, but if you have a particular area of expertise, let me know.

At any rate, we'll be back in action next week. And if you have any questions, fire them our way. All queries are kept confidential!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Wednesday Festival

Welcome to the Wednesday Festival!!
It's bright and shiny where I am yet cold. I saw a beautiful sunrise these morning, once I got up. Had trouble waking up as I have taken a cold or sinus or something, but that does not stop me from hosting a grand time for the revgalblogpals. So here we go....

From across the pond:
Eternal Echoes sends us a picture to make us think? (You'll really want to see the picture.) And an article asking; What kind of God we follow/ preach?

Pam has become a Peace blogger , and writes a thought provoking post on Friendly Fire.

Lorna has simply been freezing:, and she also had a study day with exams tomorrow. (Lorna, prayers for your study and exams.)

And from Ontario
Frodo found a way out of preaching on the Transfiguration story. And has liturgy pieces to go with my alternate.
And speaking of sermons; Need some sermon tips??? Check out Cathy's blog - she's never written a sermon, but she found something for all of you who hang out on Saturdays writing sermons!
And for those who lead worship; Check out this story of leading worship with a mischievous child on one's hip at stories from the red tent. (Not one of us has had to do this, naugh.)

And now for one needing help
Luthern Chik needs good movies to fill up my new Netflix queue! You know you want to tell her the latest and best you have enjoyed. We already have one answer from Kievas Fargo; I'm encouraging everyone to get a copy of Facing the Giants for their church, and my post describes why this movie has had such an impact on me. (I second that motion.)

Here is one offering help
It is about learning to cope with the reality of chronic pain by inner dorothy.

Have you heard the one about the mission trip?
Walking in his path tells the story about her mission trip to Guatemala with pictures.

Are you looking for adventure?
Being a parent brings about new adventures in housecleaning. Exhibit A can be found here at Nachfolge with pictures.

Having a new computer can change your blog
After some computer woes, Gallycat is back. And her new computer is awesome. She's able to kick off her faithspaces art and photography project. Actually, she already did post some pictures for us to see.

Don't lose sleep over this one
Another Unfinished Symphony says that maybe it is because of all of those rhyming words in seminary (the -ologies, -isms, etc.) and all the late nights... at least, she is going to blame it on that! And then there was an "Ask the Matriarch" post where someone used "Model Seminarian"... At any rate, with the curse of hardly being able to forget a song, once she had "I Am The Very Model of A Model Seminarian" stuck in my head, it had to be written. She also has a re-write of Habakkuk (which some have already seen...)

Watched any good tv?
In the Open Space, has been spending some time with "House", and Pan's Labyrinth. Go read her theological and cultural insights into these tv shows and movies.

And I have been spending time at a Prayer Summit, something I have never done before. I have written about Day 1 and Day 2.

Now ya'll have a good day and be careful out there!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Deep Freeze Edition

Happy Tuesday friends! Whether you are experiencing the below-zero temps of those of us in the Northern Plains, the unseasonable snow and ice of the nation's Southern Plains, the freak storms of the southeast, or the really, really frigid temps of our pals in Canada, I think we can agree: Winter has arrived in North America. Wondergirl has had two days off from school, since the district decided to not try to heat the buildings to a livable temp in these -20 to -30 wind chills. (Old timers find this hilarious, y'know. I mean, its Snow Belt for crying out loud.) I ventured out to St Stoic this morning, to get some books and paperwork to bring home. I then got caught on some unexpectedly icy freeways (did you know that road salt doesn't work at -10 degrees?).

So, all this to say that today is a great day to put a log on the fire, put some water on for tea, and delve into some scripture. If you are a lectionary preacher, like I am lately, you can surely start here.

I am struck by the blessings/curse theme that runs through all of this. It reminds me of Stephen Colbert's "Tip of the Hat/Wag of the Finger" except in the gospel lesson we have the great reversal of fortunes that Christ brings. I am also struck by the fact that Jesus came to a level place to give his sermon on blessings and woes. Is this indication that Jesus is the great equalizer who levels the playing field for all of us? If so, how do we respond to that metaphor in a world where some are more equal than others?

These are some of the homiletical rabbit trails I'm exploring this week. How about you?

Bonus: I reread Eugene Lowry's The Homiletical Plot this past weekend. It was a wonderful refresher to the survey of this book I did in seminary. If you were taught to preach using the "Lowry Loop" like I was, you will enjoy this book.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Monday Meet n' Greet: Lost Weekend Edition

Actually, it is not that the weekend was really lost, but it was a busy one for my family so I am not quite sure I remember it. Good thing we took lots of pictures. In the meantime, we have new blogs in our midst. CHECK THEM OUT!

peaceable kin-dom: Composed by Katie M. Ladd, a United Methodist Pastor, This site is made for those who want to build a positively defined progressive Christian community as well as those who may be seeking ways to step onto the path of personal spiritual renewal and discipleship rooted in peaceableness, justice, and compassion.

The 40-Year-Old Seminarian has a header that Whistle, Fish and littlemankitty will appreciate (truly that is a sentence I never thought I would type). This blog is written by MoCat, a UCC minister in the making, and is about the spiritual journey of a 40-year-old seminarian on her way to becoming a parish minister in the United Church of Christ.

Collar This! - Simply put this blog is dedicated to conversation about the attire of young women clergy, and the search for easily convertible shirts.

Got Grace 2! See if you can read this explanation without falling down exhausted: Speeding through this thing called "Life" as a wife, mom, Pastor, Worship leader, Kids Church Director, homeschooler, and anything else I might feel like this day. I totally love God, the Holy Spirit, & Jesus Christ, I love to worship, play the keys, read, rubber stamp, scrapbook, school my kids, hang with friends, a good cup 'o joe (not my husband, the caffeine!)& talking God stuff. Come hang out with me!

Welcome one and all!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

RevGal Prayer Pals

If you haven't paid a visit yet, I hope you will surf over to RevGal Prayer Pals, a new prayer blog for ring members. At the moment it is still open to all readers, but beginning Tuesday, February 6th, around 8 p.m. EST, it will go "quiet," which is to say it will be available to read by invitation only.
The thought behind making it a private blog is to allow for greater privacy for prayer requests or difficult situations.
If you would like to be part of the prayer blog, you need first to be a member of the RevGalBlogPals webring, and then you need to send an e-mail to Songbird asking to be invited. It's as simple as that!
Meanwhile, go over and get a sense of the kind of daily postings you will see there, inviting you to prayer. Specific concerns and requests for support may be left in the comments. Many thanks to the ring members who have volunteered to post on the blog. We're all set for the moment, but I will let you know if we need further help in the future.

January's Trivia Winner!

Zorra is our latest monthly Trivia Challenge Winner. Of the 92 players that participated in the challenge, she was on the top of the heap!

According to Zorra's profile, she writes, "I am (among other things) a wife, friend, dog mama, native Southerner, naturalized Texan, clinical psychologist, Presbyterian elder, and amateur theologian." Now she can add she is a Trivia Challenge Winner!!!

As her prize, we get to go to her blog and congratulate her of her high achievement - I mean it isn't easy with these folks here - I don't even come close to the top, and I feel like the Poky Puppy with some of these folks. However, it's fun and we have a good time - won't you join us? You know you want to.
Now... of to Zorra's blog - make a comment and give her a high five!

Sunday Prayer

As always, this prayer is cross-posted over at my place.

Most Gracious and Wondrous God, thank you for this day and for all the blessings it may hold. I thank you for the gift of faith and for the depth of the Spirit's guidance and comfort in all the ordinary and extraordinary moments of my life. Thank you God, for walking with me through every joy and every sorrow. In my life, I know I am blessed.

You call us, God, to live more lovingly, more justly, more passionately for the gospel we proclaim. Guide me today as I seek to faithfully respond to this call. And tomorrow, when I start all over again, walk beside me and show me the way. My prayer is that by your grace, I might be a blessing to someone who needs to know your love.

I pray now, most Loving God, for everyone who is hurting and in need of your healing touch today. For those who are ill, or frightened, or lonely, or sad. For those who are anxious, or desperate, or confused. For those who do not know where to turn for help and for those who show them the way to peace and healing...all of these, and all of your children, I lift up in prayer before you.

Bless us, God, your children, and send us out as agents of peace, justice and love in the name of Jesus, who calls us and walks with us and teaches us to pray together saying...


Don't forget the Wednesday Festival:it's easy! Anyone can play!

All you have to do is click on the hyperlinked words: RevGal Wednesday Festival to create a mail message to the Festival team.

Nominations should be from your own blog or another RGBP ring member's. Please include a brief description of the post (a sentence is fine!) and the URL for the post, too!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

11th Hour Preacher Party: Snow Day Edition?

Maison Songbird
Originally uploaded by msongbird.
It's a would-be snow day here at Maison Songbird, but Yankees don't give in easily, and I am off to a denominational meeting 80 miles north with my aptly nicknamed son, Snowman. I have begun work on my sermon, but will need to finish it when I return. Meanwhile, I leave you with coffee and tea, Munchkins and a basket of fruit: bananas, oranges, apples and grapes. No time for oatmeal this morning! I'll be back by 2 or so, EST. Talk amongst yourselves!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Friday Five: ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Many of the RevGals using Blogger are experiencing some chaos this week as they move from Old Blogger to New Blogger. (Is that anything like New Coke?)

Change is a given in life, yet it's not easy for any of us. So strap on your seat belts and let's talk about it:

1. Share, if you wish, the biggest change you experienced this past year.

2. Talk about a time you changed your mind about something, important or not.

3. Bishop John Shelby Spong wrote a controversial book called "Why Christianity Must Change or Die." Setting aside his ideas--what kind of changes would you like to see in the Church?

4. Have you changed your hairstyle/hair color in the last five years? If so, how many times?

5. What WERE they thinking with that New Coke thing?

Let us know in the comments if you play. And if you're feeling up to it, post a direct link to your blog entry in your comment using the following formulation:
<a href="the url of your blog post goes here">what you want the link to say goes here</a>
For a complete how-to, click here.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Ask the Matriarch — The Better Part of Valor

Two questions in the pipeline this week on nearly the same topic: You might be discerning (or at least open to) a new call, but you don’t want to pursue it in such a way that it alarms your congregation. Question one: How do you ask for references without making it sound like you have one foot out the door? Question two: If a search committee is paying you a visit, how do you handle it without letting everyone in on the fact that you’re under consideration?

Reference or Reality Check writes:
I'm not about to leave my current church--at least I don't think I am, but I'm wondering: when the time comes, how does one go about getting references from within the church where one is pastor without needlessly alarming people?

The first time I had to do this, the types of people to ask were a no-brainer. I was in seminary, so our placement office advised asking somebody who knows me in an academic setting, somebody from my home Presbytery, somebody from my home church, somebody on my care committee, somebody from internship, etc. I even had one person from another faith (Jewish). I'm just not sure where to start this time! What makes a good mix of references in a subsequent call?

Jan says:
This is tricky because sometimes even the trustworthiest church friends find themselves a tad shaken when they think their pastor might be leaving. They might pull away,accidentally-on-purpose let the proverbial cat out of that bag, etc. You could consider a person or family that recently left the church under good conditions—for instance, someone who moved out of the area.

If that’s not possible, you can let the committee know that you hesitate to share a current parishioner's name with them until it becomes clear that this might really be a match. In the meantime, maybe there are others who can attest to your skills and gifts who are not parishioners (people from other congregations with whom you serve on committees, other local pastors, judicatory leaders, etc.) Way to think ahead.

St. Casserole says:
When the time comes, ask the church member who knows you well and is discreet. Asking Presbytery staff along with a person in the community who knows your service work is good, too.

The Personal Information Form (PIF) guidelines may offer suggestions for references, too. Often search committees place phone calls to references, so find out if your reference can receive non-business calls at work and when is a good time for them to be called. It will help you if your references are personable on the phone and adore you.

Not Yelling Fire in a Crowded Theater writes:
I anticipate having members of one or more search committees come to the parish I currently serve. While I had search committees come when I was serving as an assistant, I've never had them come while I am the rector and only priest. Only a few key people in the parish know that they are coming.

To keep the anxiety of the parish low, I am not planning to tell the rest. Is that a good idea? And, how does one best organize the day to welcome the search committee, maintain confidentiality of the process (assuming I don't tell the whole parish), and act normal when there is an "audition" under way? Any thoughts or experience with this will be appreciated. Thanks!

Karen writes:
How big is your congregation? In smaller churches, there is almost no way for a visiting search committee to be inconspicuous. In the end, there's not much you can do to prevent some folks from figuring out what is going on. But you can work with the search committee to prevent “major leaks,” so to speak.

Some things that you’ll want to consider:
  • Ask them not to sit all together. Six or seven visitors walking in en masse and sitting together is a dead giveaway for anyone paying even a little bit of attention.
  • Ask them in advance if they have an idea of how they will introduce themselves if one of your members approaches them, because, hey—you've been training your people to be open and hospitable to visitors, right?
  • Are they from far away, or from near enough that some of your folks might know and recognize them. (Hey! That's my brother-in-law's boss from Nearbysville! What the heck is he doing here?)
  • Will they be going out for lunch afterwards to discuss their search? If might be better if they don't go to the same restaurant that half your congregation is in the habit of frequenting for Sunday brunch.
  • (This one from Jan): Encourage them to split up, because five strangers sitting together would definitely be noticed, especially if it’s a small congregation.

Blogger Bleahs
We among the matriarchs are having a grand ol’ time figuring out this Blogger conversion thing, so bear with us when it delays our posts. I just discovered that many of you commented to a post I made in the Lounge at the beginning of January, so I just wanted to send belated thanks, and note briefly that the reason I’ve been so quiet over there is that I decided to look into that opportunity. We’ve codenamed it Operation Hogwarts.

We got some great questions last week but we could use a few more, particularly with regard to your problem parishioners and balancing your personal life (Dating? Marriage? Kids?). So send those along to our wise ones (as you’re so fond of calling them—aren’t they AWESOME?) at All queries are kept confidential.