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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Bungee Cord Edition

I am following up last week's Hosea story with this week's.

When I read the NRSV version of verse 4, this jumped off the page at me:

I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love.

I have been doing word studies all morning on the "bands of love". I've come to the conclusion that they must be bungee cords.

How else could we have a Divine Parent who welcomes us back, no matter how far away we roam?

But, boy, that ~SNAP~ when the cord loses slack is surprising!

What are you pondering this week?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Monday Meet n' Greet: Ketchup Edition

What did the big tomato say to the little tomato when he fell behind?
"Ketchup!"

And 'ketchup' we must as reading books is great and all but we have fallen behind with the latest additions to the webring!

WELCOME!!!

Processing Counselor: A search for spirituality and discussion of different religions approachs to spirituality and treatment their gay and lesbian members. Thoughtful discussion by a licensed mental health counselor about spirituality and her approach to spirituality and thoughts about a high power. About herself Counselor in Process says, "I am a licensed mental health counselor and certified rehabilitation counselor working with individuals with disabilities. I am active in lesbian activism and spiritual activites particularly mindfulness meditation."
Her latest posts range from condolences for friends, a reflection on heaven and a birthday celebration.

suffer well: Musings, on faith, vocation, theology, and the chaos of family life. I'm recently separated from my husband of almost 5 years and we have a 3 year old son. Severely underemployed and in dire need of a vacation! Her header includes this quote, "I found treasure not where I thought, peace of mind can’t be bought…"
She also celebrates a birthday and a major decision.

Skewed View: I'm a preacher's kid living in a small West Texas town, full of the wicked, the weird and the woefully uninformed. I love it here. That's right friends, hop into your favorite car o' justice. It's spookyrach. Go check it out for your own dab of "understated spookiness with a touch of whimsey."

FugueStateKnits: Musings of a middle-aged wife and mother of 6, grandmother of 2 and attorney for about 120 young people who through no fault of their own are dealing with the legal system. I am a rabid liberal in politics and a fairly new Episcopalian, having been a Catholic for 31 years. Love to sing in my church choir and love my family. I'm for same-sex marriage and making our faith more real. Let me tell you how I really feel....
Knitting and autism are the topics in the July 29th post. There are more posts but that one is a great place to start.

Shuck and Jive: A Presbyterian minister blogs about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus and lightening up. John Shuck is the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, Tennessee, a Progressive Christian Community. But wait. There's more. "This blog is part of my outreach and teaching ministry. I comment about theology, social issues, political issues and what not. These are my views and do not necessarily represent those of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!"

Thoughts and Amusings: Thoughts and Amusings from a kiwi 22 year old. From a Post Modern emergent point of view with a strongly Evanglical/Wesleyan bias too. Also features: a liberal dose of humour. Bible College Student, Youth Leader and School Teacher. Lisa writes about herself, "From Lower Hutt, New Zealand Single Christian, Relief School Teacher, Class Co-ordinator of a Music School, Bible College Student. Searching for God's will ....... "

Be sure to take some time today to introduce yourself!
Welcome one and all!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Treasure.....




This song from Iona captures the mix of celtic spirituality lived oout in a modern world- the pictures aren't to good but the words and the music are great!


Where is your heart? May it be at peace this afternoon....

Sunday Prayer

I enjoy reading Anne Lamott's reflections on life and faith. One of my favourites is her clarity and wisdom around the mysterious ongoing conversation we have with the Holy ~ prayer.

Lamott believes that most prayer can be summed up in this way: Thank You & Help.

God, thank you. God, help. Amen.

I'll invite you to fill in the blanks of gratitude and intercession as they present themselves in your life today.

Peace be with you, friends.

*************************************************************************************

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, July 28, 2007

11th Hour Preacher Party: Give Us This Day Edition

This has been one of those in-between weeks for me: in between two sections of vacation I worked a week in order to accommodate a bride. It has also been a week with no day off. I am not fresh. I am not motivated. If I've ever needed a Preacher Party, this is the time!

Happily, I'm here to throw one not just for me but for all of you.

I'm taking the Luke text and working up a sermon about prayer. What's your plan? Need a cup of coffee before you decide? Have a seat over here and I'll get you a cup.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday 5- floods and droughts




Here in the UK we are struggling with floods, other parts of the world have similar problems without the infrastructure to cope with it, still others are badly affected by drought.... My son Jon is in Melbourne Australia where apparently it has been snowing ( yes it is winter but still!).... With crazy weather in mind I bring you this weeks Friday 5...






1. Have you experienced living through an extreme weather event- what was it and how did you cope?


2. How important is it that we wake up to issues such as global warming?


3. The Christian message needs to include stewardship of the earths resources agree/ disagree?


And because it is summer- on a brighter note....


4. What is your favourite season and why?

5. Describe your perfect vacation weather....


No bonus this week I've already asked a lot from you :-)


Let us know in comments if you play. 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, July 26, 2007

Ask The Matriarch- It's already Thursday!

Greeting and welcome to Ask the Matriarch! I’m filling in for a few weeks, so I have two requests:

1) Bear with me
2) If I’m not doing this the right way, please let me know!

On to the question for the day:
I'm a pre-Seminarian (hoping to start in August), and I'm getting plenty of ministry practice time in at my home church. The sermons I've preached thus far have been for specific dates – Ash Wednesday, Mother's Day, etc. which have provided clear direction for sermon topics. My pastor doesn't use the lectionary, and only occasionally does a sermon series. Starting in September, I'll likely get a turn in the pulpit every 4-6 weeks.

This means that if I have a random Sunday to cover (like I do on July 15), I have no parameters. Freeing, on the one hand, but without years of experience and training to draw on, it's a little intimidating. I'd love 2-3 approaches to answering the question "what are you going to preach?"

Answering the last question first, PPB offers this:
I had a lovely friend in seminary--one of those seersucker suits with bow ties and a honey-sweet accent---who used to answer the question, "what are you going to preach about" with this. "sin...........(long pause)..........I'm against it."

As for the bulk of the question, there appear to be two main suggestions.

1) Preach the lectionary anyway.
PPB suggests, “It doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing. Just choose to use it yourself. The reason I recommend this (even though I am in no way married to the lectionary myself) is that you can make yourself crazy choosing a text otherwise, and you have more things to worry about than what text you're going to choose. Once you pick the text, the sermon is about the Bible. So your answer to "what are you preaching on?" is Luke 15, or Psalm 25. The only trick to using the lectionary when the other pastor isn't is you run the risk of duplicating one of his texts--so just ask---"I'm wanting to preach on this text in October, and this on in December--I'm just checking to be sure they don't overlap with what you're doing?"

Jan thinks that, “The lectionary is a great tool for teaching, especially during advent, lent. You could introduce ‘the suggested lessons of the day’ and start a revolution. “

2) Create your own sermon series.
Jan: “You could also preach a series like a serial novel -- they only get new episodes every 4-6 weeks. And this may not be as disruptive as it sounds. For example, I know a pastor who preached a series on addiction using one of the twelve steps once/month. On "his Sunday" he preached on one of the 12, and being so intense, it was probably better for the congregation to hear these sermons once a month rather than 12 weeks in a row. You could preach a series on "stories nobody ever preaches" which could also be intense (I'm thinking of Phyllis Trible's Texts of Terror) and better in small doses than every week for several weeks.”

And PPB: “Choose a sermon series for yourself, and then people will know that when the intern preaches, it will be her/his series on "women in the Bible" or "Psalms". By and large,though, I think this is harder to do than just running with the lectionary. I did, though, spend one year covering a church on the first Sunday of every month (and 3 others took turns with the other Sundays), and I just did a Psalm sermon every single time. I happened to choose the lectionary Psalm, but the folks did sort of know what to expect and even started requesting favorite psalms. It can be done.

The common advice? Enjoy this preaching opportunity.


So how about the rest of you? Other suggestions?
I’ve been a lectionary preacher for more than ten years, but the Head of Staff at my intern church (an excellent preacher) thought the lectionary was a crutch. So how about it?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wednesday Festival: Thursday Edition

Greetings folks! Have you been waiting with bated breath for the Wednesday festival? Well, you can start breathing again!

I'm going to include everything that's residing in the Festival mailbox; if there are some duplications, please go re-read them! And if we missed anyone (dang that spam filter...) or if you forgot to nominate yourself or another...please do so in the comments!

I (Mary Beth) am very excited about the RevGals' being featured in the United Methodist Reporter online! I also said a very sad goodbye to an important person from my past.

Way back on the Fourth of July, Preacher Mom had a very brave and gallant hero come to her aid. Sweet times....

Erin could use some TLC from you revgals. Go see her soon at Construction Time again.

LutheranHusker has some great posts to share: his son had a meetup with a baseball mascot; he got to preach a rare sermon; and "if it's not too much, I've got one more I'd like to add to the list--a post with an update on the baseball mascot situation, a link to a video of Kiddo singing "Now the Feast and Celebration" (AND Marty Haugen's response in the comments!!!!), and my decision to let folks know my real identity (no, I'm not Batman)." Wow, Marty Haugen!

Milton shares a poem about his father-in-law, who is in the middle stages of Alzheimer's.

PresbyterianGal writes powerfully about where we're needed and why we're needed, now and not later...inspired by her frustration over what she considers an extremely over-reached building program at her church.

Here is a tale of miracles and wonders from Earthchicknits: "I almost lost my son in a "spontaneous sand hole cave-in" at the beach last week. Getting him back was sheer grace, and something like a miracle. I feel like the woman in the parable of the lost coin - I need to celebrate with everyone I know that I got my little boy back." Amazing! Praise God!

Lorna came back from New Wine Finland in a process of blessed renewal. Be sure to read what happens when God invites you to step out of the cave!

Sally at Eternal Echoes diagnoses Martha's problem to be her inability to sit and to be because she had become chocked by the weeds of distraction. She is also pondering self love..."we must learn to accept the love of God, and through that love as we discover ourselves loved, and in that discovery as we allow the love of God to occupy the space of the selfish "I ", we will love others also."

The Yellow Rose of Texas celebrated 25 years with her sweetheart!

In fashion news, go see Quotidian Grace's many hats and Mindy's discussion of (gasp) clown shoes! With a CLOWN!

Pam is thinking about "What's your gift?"

Kievas has a series of reflections on Things Remembered. See it in parts: One, Two, Three, Four.

Don't forget to nominate for next week! Your posts or any posts of other ring members. Email them to: wednesdayfestival@gmail.com

Love y'all!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Children of God Edition

I'm struck by the images of us as children of God in this week's lectionary. If you haven't had a chance to read the alternate Old Testament reading (Genesis 18: 20-32), it is the story of Abraham's conversation with God about the destruction of Sodom. God's willingness to spare the city for ten righteous ones is a striking image of God's mercy.

In the traditional Old Testament reading (Hosea 1: 2-10), God's mercy provides the twist at the end, in that those whose loyalties have been divided shall yet be called "Children of the living God."

Again in Luke 11: 1-13, the emphasis on God's care for us as a parent to a child in offering the support of the Holy Spirit serves as a reminder that we are not in this alone.

"Children of the Living God" is an auspicious title. It may, for many, come with a certain amount of baggage (or what feels like baggage sometimes). How do we live up to it in our daily lives?

What are you pondering this week?

Monday, July 23, 2007

RevGalBookPals Discussion: A Vision of Light

Since we’re well into the summer vacation season, the RevGalBookPals chose a “lighter” selection for this month’s book discussion. A Vision of Light by Judith Merkel Riley features one of the most engaging heroines in historical fiction, Margaret of Asbury. I hope you enjoyed traveling back to fourteenth century England to meet her.

There are a lot of interesting characters in this story, but let’s start our discussion with Margaret.

Why do you think Margaret was granted the Vision of Light and its healing power?

Do you think that Margaret’s faith and her relationship with God are portrayed convincingly in the book?

The gift of healing got Margaret into trouble with the church of her day. How would your church react if a member claimed to have this gift?

Brother Gregory is Margaret’s antagonist at the beginning of the story. How and why does his attitude toward her change?

Why is it so important to Margaret to learn to read and write?

In my opinion, Margaret’s second husband Kendall is the hero of the book. Do you agree?

Contemporary historical fiction depicting strong women protagonists often ascribes anachronistic attitudes to them or to other characters in the novel. Do you think the author avoided this common problem?

In some ways the church in fourteenth century England is also one of the characters in the book. In what ways did the church of that time provide for the needs of the people and in what ways did it fail to do so?

That’s enough from me. Now it’s your turn to join in the discussion by leaving your comments. Like it? Love it? Meh? Fie --Away With It?

There are two sequels to Vision of Light that carry forward Margaret’s story. If you’d be interested in the BookPals reading the next novel in the trilogy, In Pursuit of the Green Lion: A Margaret of Ashbury Novel (Margaret of Ashbury Trilogy), please let us know.

The next RevGalBookPals discussion is August 27. The book selection is Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott.

From the RevGalBlogPals, Inc. Board

Dear RevGalBlogPals members and contributors,

The RGBP Inc. board has read and noted the comments from those who disagree with our decision to remove one of the blogs from the Ring. In consideration of the privacy of the blogger involved, we have refrained from discussing this decision on the RGBP blog.

We appreciate the respectful tone those questioning this decision have maintained. Since the issue was raised in comments on the birthday post, as a board we want to let you know that the decision made by the board was unanimous and took place after over a month of thoughtful and prayerful discussion and consideration both online and in person.

There are many issues on which, informally, members of this ring have agreed to disagree from its very beginning. As the Ring expanded from a dozen or so to over 300 blogs, questions arose that had never occurred to anyone to ask in the beginning, including whether to allow commercial blogs or how to question applicants about whether they actually support women’s ordination or what to do about a blog linking directly to the materials of a cult. The Ring may be a community to most of us, but to some applicants it is simply a tool to increase traffic. The Ring’s profile has risen with its membership, and as our denominations have become aware, too, questions have been raised in some quarters about what it means to belong to the Ring.

Our standards for membership at one time were discussed by all contributors to the blog. Over the past year, since we incorporated, a board--first of three volunteers and then of seven elected members--has wrestled with these questions and tried to anticipate what may lie ahead. It may be for some of us that the lines we feel required to draw are different than for others, and members of the board are truly sorry if there is pain for some Ring members as a result of the recent membership decision.

If you wish to be more involved in the operation and governance of RevGalBlogPals, we would encourage you to join the corporation. if you have not done so, and participate in the elections that will take place this October. It is our belief that God does have further growth in store for RevGalBlogPals, and it is our prayer that we will be guided in that growth by the Holy Spirit.

In Christ’s Peace,

Songbird
St. Casserole
Jody
Mary Beth
cheesehead
reverend mommy
RevAbi

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Music Videos - Be Thou My Vision

Not long ago, I spent an afternoon on Youtube amazed at the diversity of the videos available. Especially of interest to me is the sacred music that has been performed and made available on video. There are performances, multimedia, and "follow the bouncing ball" presentations.

So on Sunday afternoons, we present you with findings that might be a continuation of the prayerfulness that Sue offers on Sunday mornings.

I offer the following video for you to enjoy:




For more information on this hymn, go here.

*************************************************************
Remember to join us tomorrow for our discussion of the book A Vision of Light: A Margaret of Ashbury Novel (Margaret of Ashbury Trilogy) , led by Quotidian Grace. And if you want, go ahead and get a jump start on August's book Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott. You can purchase it through Amazon (and RGBP benefits) or check it out of your local library!

John Wesley on Prayer

God's command to "pray without ceasing" is founded on the necessity we have of his grace to preserve the life of God in the soul, which can no more subsist one moment without it, than the body can without air.

Whether we think of; or speak to, God, whether we act or suffer for him, all is prayer, when we have no other object than his love, and the desire of pleasing him.

All that a Christian does, even in eating and sleeping, is prayer, when it is done in simplicity, according to the order of God, without either adding to or diminishing from it by his own choice.

Prayer continues in the desire of the heart, though the understanding be employed on outward things.

In souls filled with love, the desire to please God is a continual prayer.

As the furious hate which the devil bears us is termed the roaring of a lion, so our vehement love may be termed crying after God.

God only requires of his adult children, that their hearts be truly purified, and that they offer him continually the wishes and vows that naturally spring from perfect love. For these desires, being the genuine fruits of love, are the most perfect prayers that can spring from it.

From "A Plain Account of Christian Perfection", as believed and taught by the Reverend Mr. John Wesley, from the year 1725, to the year 1777.

And, of course, the Wesleyan Covenant Prayer:

I am no longer my own but yours,
Put me to what you will
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for you or laid aside for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal
And now glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
You are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And this covenant now made on earth, let it be satisfied in heaven.

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, July 21, 2007

11th Hour Preacher Party: You Didn't See Me Here Edition

Hello, all~
I believe Stacey was meant to fill in for me today, and I'm just noticing there's no post, so I'll start one for you and continue my vacation.
Blessings on your preaching,
Songbird

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday 5- looking back, looking forward


When I began work here at Downham Market a wise friend told me that after one year I would see a few changes and sense God at work- years two and three would cause me to question and to wonder why I had chosen to accept the post here and in year four I might see the beginnings of something new.

And so with that in mind alongside yesterdays celebrations I bring you Friday 5 Looking back, looking forward..

1. Share a moment/ time of real encouragement in your journey of faith

2. Do you have a current vision / dream for your work/ family/ministry?

3.Money is no object and so you will.....

4. How do you see your way through the disappointments? What keeps you going?

5. How important are your roots?

6. Bonus= what would you like to add ?
Let us know in comments if you play. 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, July 19, 2007

Happy Birthday to Us!

Two years ago, shortly after a hurricane threatened a clergywoman blogger somewhere on the Gulf Coast, a dozen or so bloggers began to realize they had become a community. That clergywoman suggested we needed a t-shirt, and in a thread that grew to more than 100 comments, the RevGalBlogPals were born. St. Casserole posed the question on July 19, 2005, and by July 21 we had opened a Cafe Press store for the t-shirts, then gone on to start a WebRing and blog page.

From the beginning our numbers included clergywomen, other women engaged in churchwork as both Christian Ed professionals and devoted volunteers, seminarians and women discerning vocations to Protestant ministry and Catholic sisterhood. We are happy to include men among our BlogPals, too. For some of us faith is the primary focus of our blogging, while for others it is the quiet underpinning of all we do and blog. We are preachers, mothers, poets, fathers, artists, dog-lovers, cat-bloggers, married and partnered and single. We live in the US, Canada, the U.K., Finland and Australia. Our denominations include, but are not limited to, PCUSA, ECUSA, UCC, UCCan, Roman Catholic, United Methodist, Baptists of various stripes, Church of England, AOG, RCA, ELCA, Independent Catholic, UFMCC and Disciples of Christ.

We have suffered growing pains along the way as our ring has grown to more than 300 members. From a group of a dozen who "knew" each other, though only online, we have forged new connections, said good-bye to bloggers who retired from online life and suffered with each other in loss and grief, as well as celebrating births, new calls to ministry and answers to prayer. There are many areas in which members would disagree, but we are all committed to the support of women in ordained Christian ministry.

In our second year, we achieved 501(c)3 status, the first step toward planning a face-to-face meeting, since we hope to attract grant money to keep expenses to a reasonable amount for members who will be able to attend.

In our third year we look forward to holding The Big Event!!! The dates have been chosen: Thursday, March 27 to Sunday, March 30, 2008. Watch the blog for more information soon about the location. When the Board of RGBP, Inc., met in person for the first time last week, we prayed earnestly for God's guidance as we take the next steps along the path of faith. We ask for your prayers, too, as planning for The Big Event continues.

Finally, I want to thank the many volunteers who make the blog, the corporation and the webring "run." Bless you all!

I'm headed out of town but hope you will use the comments to celebrate RevGalBlogPals on this Happy Birthday!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Wednesday Festival

Take a break from whatever you're doing and check out some of these fine posts!

Towanda shares her sermon from this Sunday, and a request for vacation reading….

And speaking of requests, Will Smama is looking for vaccuum cleaner suggestions!

Leah Sophia entered the blogosphere with desert spirit's fire five years ago! Happy day!

Snow on Roses is in need of a reading for a short service to open our next vestry (governing board) meeting. Head on over and help her out!

Kathryn at Good in Parts shares some thoughts about being an Anglican in a Roman Catholic school and its impact on my faith and ministry since.... She’d appreciate your feedback!

And, Reverend Mother shares one final Harry Potter sermon.

Happy Reading!
Pink Shoes

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: "Martha, Martha, Martha" edition

For those of us who watched "The Brady Bunch as kids, we might remember that classic moment when the middle sister, Jan was whining about not feeling special because her older sister, Marsha seemed always to be in the spotlight.

As a girl with a younger sister who seemed to be the center of everyone's attention, I can identify!

The gospel lesson this week is the story of two other sisters, Martha and Mary. They couldn't be more different, and had different ways of being around Jesus. Martha wonders aloud to Jesus why she gets stuck doing all the work while her sister just sits and listens. Jesus' response to her "Mary has chosen the better part" has always stung me just a little. (Okay, a lot.)

I find that when a text irritates me, that irritation is often the starting point for my study and reflection. So that's why I'm starting with the gospel this week. How about you?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Announcements, Announcements, Annou-ounce-ments!

Two important announcements for a Monday evening:

1) Don't forget our next RevGalBookPals discussion is coming right up next Monday! There are at least ten good reasons for reading A Vision of Light.

2) Gmail has decided that certain first names of female senders are more likely to be spam than others, and we believe we have lost some e-mail that may not have been spam. If you have e-mailed revgalblogpals@gmail.com recently and received no response, please re-send. Now that we are aware of the problem we will scan our spam folder more carefully!

Monday Meet n' Greet: The Edition Edition

Thanks to Reverend Mommy for giving us quite the list of people to meet last time around. Be sure to go and catch up on those folks and also take the opportunity to welcome...

Beneath the Ivy Wreath: ...the frustrating rollercoaster of a middle class mother's struggle to keep her sanity while attempting to establish herself as a serious writer and juggle her hopes and dreams to the backdrop of her daily grind.
C.H. Green tells us more, "Writing has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the rural South in Crockett County, Tennessee. I attended public schools and obtained my B.A. in 1988 from Union University, majoring in English with a minor in Psychology and Secondary Education. It is my faith in Christ that has brought me thus far in life. I owe everything I have and am to Him."
Her latest posts include a prayer request for Diane's son Curt and the latest installment in her Worship Wednesdays feature.
Go say hello!




And now it's time to greet...

*Net at Grace Happens!!!


1) Where do you blog?
Grace Happens

2) What are your favorite non-revgalblogpal blogs?
Locusts n Wild Honey; My Fight to Live Stronger

3) What gives you joy?
Waking up in the morning; that first fresh cup of coffee; listening to my grandson's laugh; having my family all together in one place.

4) What is your favorite sound?
Crickets and cats chirping.

6) What do you hope to hear once you reach the pearly gates?
Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy that has been prepared for you since before time began.

7) You have up to 15 words: what would you put on your tombstone?
She did the best she could with what she had to the glory of God.

8) Write the first sentence of your own great American novel.
It was a dark and stormy night ….

9) What color do you prefer your pen?
Blue.

10) What magazines do you subscribe to?
BHAG's Quilting; Simple Living; National Geo; Reader's Digest.

14) What is something you want to achieve this decade?
Getting my weight down to a healthy level.
This lifetime?
To love God with all my heart, my soul, my mind and my strength and to have lived life well.

*These surveys were completed quite awhile ago and so the highlighted blogger reserves all rights to ask that information contained herein be changed to better reflect where they are today.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sunday Prayer


MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

- Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"

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, July 14, 2007

11th Hour Preacher Party - Everything Old is New Again Edition...

...or so I hope. Every time I write something this week, I look at it and think, "Haven't I already said this?" And I'm afraid to look back at my previous sermons on this week's passage because, chances are, yes, I have indeed said this before. Hazards of preaching on a well-known passage like the good Samaritan.

So, I'm in need of coffee this morning, and a lot of it. How about you? I'm also making whole wheat pancakes (surely there's something healthy about that, right?). Anyone have any other nourishing or inspiring treats (or sermon ideas) today? Come on - be a neighbor!

Okay, so if you've looked at the time on this post, you've noticed that I'm actually writing it before I go to bed, but I'm sure all these things will still be true when I get up. For once, I have no Saturday band rehearsal, so I'll be hanging out with my preaching pals most of the day. So, whenever you may arrive, find a comfy seat, help yourself to some of the always wonderful refreshments, and let's get writing!

Friday, July 13, 2007

If You Can't Say Something Nice

Over the nearly two years that we have included Friday Five as a feature, various commenters have felt free to complain that they did not like the day's topic. Please remember, it's a game, an ice-breaker, not a replacement for spiritual direction. Topics vary from the sublime to the ridiculous. The purpose is to get us visiting one another, not to top last week's entry or to anticipate the needs or wants of any specific individual. The authors visit your blogs; if you say something rude, they are going to read it. Is that the tone we really wish to set for RevGalBlogPals? I would ask you all to consider that the header of this blog describes us as an open table, but the sidebar reminds us that disruptive activity is cause for removal.

This post is closed to comments, but you may e-mail me at the ring address with any questions.

Songbird
RevGalBlogPals Web Ring Administrator

Friday Five: Wotcher, Harry! ...or not

(Don't miss the big news in the post below! Mark your calendars!)

As you may have seen in this Wednesday's Festival, Pottermania has hit the RevGals---though not all of them. Yes, I am all over Harry like a Seeker on the Snitch, but I know there are others who will be ecstatic to see the July madness end.

So today's F5 is a Choose Your Own Adventure: do the magical version or the Muggle one, or both:



Option 1: Accio Friday Five!

1. Which Harry Potter book is your favorite and why?

2. Which character do you most resemble? Which character would you most like to get to know?

3. How careful are you about spoilers?
a) bring 'em on--even if I know the destination, the journey's still good
b) eh, I'd rather not know what happens, but I'm not going to commit Avada Kedavra if someone makes a slip
c) I will sequester myself in a geodesic dome to avoid finding anything out

4. Make one prediction/share one hope about book 7.

5. Rowling has said she's not planning any prequels or sequels, but are there characters or storylines (past or future) that you would like to see pursued?



Option 2: Please Mommy, Anything But Those Blankety-Blank Books!

And we do mean anything:

1. Former U.S. First Lady "Lady Bird" Johnson died this week. In honor of her love of the land and the environment, share your favorite flower or wildflower.

2. A man flew almost 200 miles in a lawn chair, held aloft by helium balloons. Share something zany you'd like to try someday.

3. Do you have an iPhone? If not, would you want one?

4. Speaking of which, Blendtec Blenders put an iPhone in one of their super-duper blenders as part of their "Will It Blend?" series. What would YOU like to see ground up, whizzed up or otherwise pulverized in a blender?

5. According to News of the Weird, a jury in Weld County, Colo., declined to hold Kathleen Ensz accountable for leaving a flier containing her dog's droppings on the doorstep of U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, apparently agreeing with Ensz that she was merely exercising free speech. What do you think? Is doggy doo-doo protected by the First Amendment?


Let us know in comments if you play. 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, July 12, 2007

RGBP Big Event News Update

Ask The Matriarch will not appear today so that we can bring you this special RGBP News Alert!

The Big Event planning group:

Facing the camera are--
Natalie (Take My Hand), Reverendmommy, Songbird, Quotidian Grace and Mary Beth.

Facing away from the camera are--
St. Casserole, Cheesehead and Will Smama).
Pictured meeting at New Hope Methodist Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia on Tuesday.
(Photo by: Questing Parson)

Mark your calendars for:
MARCH 27-MARCH 30, 2008.

This is the weekend of The Big Event. The date was chosen because it is the week after Easter, which is usually a good time for most RevGals to take a break from their regular schedules.

The group agreed to find a location for the event near a major metropolitan area with good airline service in order to minimize travel costs and logistical concerns and that has some members of RGBP Inc. in the vicinity who are willing to assist with the plans. During the next couple of weeks members of the group will research locations in several cities based on these criteria and suggestions that we have received, exchange the information and then choose a venue.

Relationship building and spiritual development will be the focus of the Big Event. Instead of having a keynote speaker and workshop format, we are looking for someone who will lead some group devotional time or guided meditations and offer spiritual development/formation training for those who are interested.

Plenty of time for interest groups to meet together and for those attending to have recreation and fellowship time are priorities as we begin planning the details of the meeting. Since we may need to obtain outside funding to make the event possible and since many RevGals may want to use continuing education allowances to attend, we will include activities that will make the event eligible for grants and to use continuing education allowances.

We'll post more information about the Big Event as decisions are made.

Ask The Matriarch will return to its regular schedule next week. Woo-hoo!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wednesday Festival: Harry WHO? edition

It's still over a week away, but the excitement is building. I'm talking about the July 21 release of the seventh and final installment in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Several of our RevGal blog folks are feeling the buzz.

Gord has joined the speculation about how things will turn out for our young hero, and he's inviting predictions about what happens.

Purechristianithink posted encore editions of a couple of posts about how various churches and styles of ministry fit the personalities of the different Hogwarts houses. Anybody out there want to be thought of as a Slytherin?

reverendmother explored the theme of love in a Harry Potter sermon (the second of three).

Michelle of Quantum Theology is off on retreat, but she shared some thoughts about the joys of silence in a commentary piece that was recently published in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Yeah, Michelle!

Lorna mourned the suspension of Sunday worship at her church for the summer, and pondered the challenge of making time for God.

In response to several requests, Shawna shared the recipe for Blueberry-Lemon Bread, and reflected in a blog titled Chicken-fried Ministry that more of Jesus' ministry took place over a meal than at the synagogue. She thinks maybe we should be doing the same.

swandive has returned to blogging and asks what mythological creature you are (turns out she's a chimera).

Mother Laura has posted a sermon about the Good Samaritan that she'll be preaching at one of Sally Coleman's church this weekend. "How cool is that???" Sally asks. Pretty cool!

At Eternal Echoes, Sally herself has a synchro blog on Utopia; Mrs Brown and the Kingdom of God, as well as a description of praying with colors/auras and a reflection on the experience.

And I, your humble scribe, am packing up for my mission trip to Alabama next week. I put the ebook version of Judith Merkle Riley's A Vision of Light on my pda (I'll be back in time for the July 25 RevGal discussion; we'll see if I'm finished by then!) and I'm loading up the mp3 player and looking for thoughtful podcasts to take along. Got any suggestions?

You can add your own nominations in the comments section below. To recommend a post for next week's edition, send an email to wednesdayfestival@gmail.com, including a short description and the URL.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: "Dance with the one that brung you" Edition

This is a quick edition of today's feature, written in the wee hours before I catch a flight to Atlanta for the RGBP board meeting.

The gospel lesson this week is Luke's account of the Good Samaritan story. It struck me, when looking at this story, that Jesus seems to remind the lawyer who is testing him that he (the lawyer) already knows what the answers to his own questions are.

Jesus does not seem to be breaking forth new earth-shattering truth in this episode, but reminding us all that we already know what to do. The command is to do what we know:live out the truth that is already within us, lean on the faith that has brought us this far, dance with the one that brung us.

I will be offline for a day or so,while in Atlanta, then traveling home, then taking care of some church business as soon as a get back. Please carry on without me; I look forward to seeing what you all are pondering this week!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Musical Musings: Calm Me, Lord

I left to go on retreat early this morning (I'm finishing the draft of this in the novitiate library, in fact and will pop in early Monday to post it). The second term of summer school began yesterday, and as department chair I was in bright (or at least early) to deal with the last minute minutiae and incipient crises. Unfortunately, I had made the tactical error of telling people not only that I would be away for the next 10 days, but unavailable. "But surely you'll check your voice mail?" That would be, no. "Better catch her now, I guess..." seemed to be the general response. The day, already packed with appointments, proved to be relentless. A parade of people tramped through my office, with concerns small and large. (One thirty minute conversation was interrupted every five minutes!) Calm me, Lord!

So, for those times when three people have melted down in your office in succession and you fear you may be the fourth, I offer you this playlist:

1. Calm Me, Lord from Fire of Love by Margaret Rizza
The name says it all. The piece begins, "Calm me Lord, as you calmed the storm, still me Lord..."
The prayer repeats, vocals and instrumental parts interweaving. The underlying melodic structure is simple, moving up and down the major scale, with the last notes gently bringing you back to the start. I sometimes let this run through my mind when faced with a difficult personality in my office, rather like a prayer wheel.

British composer Margaret Rizza writes music that I find prayerful, stilling and that feels grounded in a deep prayer life and awareness of God's presence. I found her music on the daily podcast Pray-As-You-Go (a ministry of the British Jesuits). If you haven't tried these, the 10 to 12 minute meditations are wonderful to walk or commute with.

2. Sanctum Nomen from Fire of Love by Margaret Rizza
More Margaret Rizza. My Roman Catholic roots are showing, I'm afraid, with the Latin. Another "stilling piece" with a short text: Sanctum nomen Domini magnificat anima mea. My soul magnifies the holy name of the Lord. Just in case I forget what my role is in the roiling chaos of some crisis, this text reminds me to call on the name of the Lord. Though quiet, it's in C major, so strong and sustaining.

3. Vision: The Music of Hildegard von Bingen Very gentle music "resurrected" from medieval Abbess Hildegard's oeuvre. Despite the date, these are not set as plainchant or polyphony, but include vocals, electronic overtones and instrumentals. Part of their appeal for me is they are not chant, so I tend to focus less on the text. (Purists can find chant versions in Origin of Fire by Anonymous Four, which I like, but have not made it onto my iTunes playlist labeled: calm.) Both these pieces give me the sense of burbling water flowing past, and over me. Cooling and calming.

5. Suscepit Israel from State of Grace II: Turning To Peace by Paul Schwartz
All the songs on this album pull from one of two Latin texts, the Magnificat (Luke's account of Mary's joyous cry to Elizabeth) and the Stabat Mater (a typically medieval Marian prayer based on the sorrows Mary faced). After years spent living in a desert, the sound of raindrops on the roof was a sure sign of blessing, an image that the harp at the beginning of this piece strongly evokes for me.

6. Baba Wethu Singenile from Gospel Songs by Ladysmith Black Mambazo
"Our father, we have entered in the holy place...be close to us.. remove the darkness that surrounds us and give us your light.." The call and response form this piece takes reminds me to listen, really listen, to the needs of the people parading through my office and to the voice of the Creator who made us all. (As my spiritual director would say, think of it as a trialog rather than a dialog.)

7. Prokofiev: Lieutenant Kije - Symphonic Suite Op. 60
Violins and flutes send you off by train into the lavender covered hills of Provence or pick your own favorite scene from a French film. Relax.

8. Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012: V. Gavotte I & II from Bach: The Cello Suites by Yo-yo Ma
Just the cello, dancing gently, weaving one person out the door (and the next one in!)

9. Enfold Me in Your Love from Fire of Love by Margaret Rizza
Yes, this is a Margaret Rizza fest. Unlike the other pieces from her in this playlist, this has a longer text (six verses). Each verse ends with a plea to "O hold me, enfold me in your love".

10. The Grail Prayer from Fire of Love by Margaret Rizza
No matter how hideous it's been, you still have to go back into the fray. So this piece recommits me to the work at hand - but hopefully with an improved attitude (lest I be the one being committed!): Lord, I give you my hands....I give you my spirit, that you may pray in me...

11. Exaudi Nos, Domine from Fire of Love by Margaret Rizza
If you've only got 3 minutes to find your center again, try this one. No instrumental introduction, it gets straight to the point: Exaudi nos, Domine; dona nobis pacem tuam. Hear us, O Lord; grant us your peace. From a simple start it gradually acquires more layers, then slowly leaves you hanging on(to) the peace. You can hear a clip here.

Where to find the music:
Amazon.com has it all: State of Grace II: Turning to Peace, Vision : The Music of Hildegard von Bingen, Gospel Songs, Bach : The Cello Suites Inspired By Bach, From The Six-Part Film Series / Yo-Yo Ma, and Fire of Love

Be warned: Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Margaret Rizza are seriously pricey at Amazon! Better to order Fire of Love from GIA. Babu Wethu Singenile is available at iTunes. If you develop a love for Margaret Rizza (and you should!), and live in North America, GIA only sells two of her CDs. Kevin Mayhew in the UK sells them all (and Cathy tells me to watch for the occasional three for two sale...thanks Cathy!).

Sunday, July 08, 2007

RGBP Inc. Board F2F in Atlanta


(Cross-posted from Quotidian Grace at Songbird's request)

The RevGalBlogPals Inc. board will converge on Atlanta tomorrow for the first face-to-face meeting of the board of directors. We're so pumped!

We formed the corporation, approved the by-laws, elected the officers and had several business meetings through the miracle of modern technology. However there comes a point when trying to conduct a meeting via chatroom and/or email is just too inefficient.

So we're gathering in the Atlanta area Monday through Wednesday, thanks to Reverendmommy who arranged for her church to host our meeting and who is acting as facilitator for the meeting. Each director is traveling at her own expense, too. That's how dedicated this group is to making RGBP Inc. successful. The main item on the agenda is planning for the Big Event (a conference for RGBP Inc.), in 2008.

Bloggers that we are, I'm sure we'll be posting from Atlanta the next couple of days. Stay tuned!

Legal-Type BoilerPlate and Small Print: New readers and members of the RGBP webring who joined in the last few months may not be familiar with the RevGals webring or why we formed a non-profit corporation. (Click on the hyper-linked text for more information.) We did receive our 501-c-3 designation from the IRS and so we are eligible to receive grants and tax-deductible contributions.

Sabbath Prayer

For the next eight Sundays I will not be preaching and will therefore not be preparing lectionary-themed pastoral prayers as I usually do. Instead, I will post the prayerful wisdom of the ages as the Spirit so moves.

These words are from Julian of Norwich.

God, of your goodness, give me yourself. For you are enough for me. And I may ask nothing that is less, that may be of honour to you. And if I ask anything that is less, I am always in want. For only in you I have all. 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, July 07, 2007

11th Hour Preacher Party: Vacation, All I Ever Wanted Edition

Vacation
All I ever wanted
Vacation
Have to get away
Vacation
Meant to be spent with you*

Friends, I am ready for vacation, which begins as soon as my work is complete tomorrow. On Monday I leave for Hotlanta and the planning meeting for the RevGalBlogPals Big Event!!! If you live anywhere near Atlanta, check out our dinner plans for Tuesday and join us!

Meanwhile, Naaman the leper is packing for his trip, taking with him "ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments." (2 Kings 5:5) The disciples are hitting the road, too, but they are carrying "no purse, no bag, no sandals." (Luke 10:4) Yes, there is a sermon to be written, Good News to be found and shared, before I can pack my bags and leave on that jet plane.

What can I offer you this morning, my friends? A light traveler's breakfast or a commander's buffet? I'm walking right now to the farmer's market to pick up some strawberries. I'll turn on the coffee pot. Pull up a chair and let's party!

*With apologies to The Go-Gos

Friday, July 06, 2007

MeetUp Opportunity in Atlanta (well, Lawrenceville)

Attention Atlanta Area RevGals and BlogPals: On Tuesday July 10, 2007 (that is, if the rapture does not occur tomorrow), the RevGals who are meeting in Lawrenceville, Georgia to plan the Big Event will be eating at Dominick's on the Square (the one in Lawrenceville, not the one in Norcross) around 6:00-ish. If you want to meetup with us, please email me at candlemb@bellsouth.net to let me know how many we will need to seat.

Attendees will probably include:
Songbird, St. Casserole, Cheesehead, Will Smama, MaryBeth, Quotidan Grace, Questing Parson, reverend mommy, Rev. Abi and Natalie of Take my Hand. (Have I forgotten anyone?)
Come one, come all! Email for more information.

Friday Five: Hasty Edition

Whoops! I have been in a family-induced haze these few days, with the July 4 holiday and taking time off while relatives are visiting. So I literally lost track of what day it was!

So rather than make you guys wait even one minute longer for the five, I'll dig up an oldie:

Today, what are you:

1. Wearing

2. Reading

3. Eating

4. Doing

5. Pondering



Let us know if you play. 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, July 05, 2007

Ask the Matriarch — This Space for Rent?

Woooooooooo, I made it. Wasn't sure if we were going to have an AtM this week because of all the holiday/vacationing going on, but you know, questions don't take holidays, and so I'm just a wee bit late rather than not here at all. I hope everyone had a happy and safe Fourth of July!

Now, for this week's question:

We have received an inquiry about renting space. There is a group in town working on a business plan to start up a day care facility focusing on the under-18-month age range (the current day care only takes children over 18 months of age) and possibly preschool age group for kids that need a quieter environment. Personally, I am not sure how well our space will meet their needs, but they seemed quite interested. Can anyone who has done this before share any advice/caveats/warnings/suggestions, in case we actually get to working out an agreement?


Karen writes:
There are tons of issues, but I'd say the one that came up most for us was the issue of shared space. Is everyone clear that the church can use the space rented to the childcare group when they are not there, i.e. as a Sunday school classroom or for childcare for evening or weekend church events? We ran into problems with some members of the pre-school's board of directors, as they insisted that by paying rent, they got exclusive use of that space. What about third parties? We had an AA group meeting on one weekday night in an area used by the preschool during the day. All went well until one morning a parent volunteer found a dirty coffee cup and half eaten brownie left behind by someone in the AA group. When it got out that an AA group (and you know how filthy and germy addicts must be) was meeting in one of "their" rooms, the $%@# hit the fan in a big way. Be sure all this is clear and in writing in the lease or contract.


And a side note: If you are thinking about enrolling your own kids in the pre-school/daycare that rents space in your church, be aware in advance that this will sometimes put you in an awkward spot—for instance, when church members are ranting about how the pre-school kids have trampled their carefully planted flowers, when the pre-school teacher complains loudly and publicly about how the church STILL hasn't managed to get the leaky toilet in their playroom repaired, when it's time to renegotiate the lease and everyone has new stipulations they want to put in, etc. etc. I did this for five years—but might have pulled out had my kids not been so settled and happy with the program. It's great to have your kids on site, but there are definitely drawbacks.


Abi writes:
At another church, we had someone approach us with a similar need. We began by getting information from our state and requirements. We ended up not going through with it, but it was because the interested party didn't follow through. But I would be sure to get the state regulations and requirements, even though some states don't require churches to go through them. It will help reassure parents who look to those licenses to know that their kids, especially that young, are well taken care of.

Another thing you can do is go around and ask other churches in the area of how they deal with day-care situations. I think if you have a lawyer they can help you with the contract agreements etc. I would recommend having an administrative board for the day-care facility. We had one at another church I worked at, and it worked very well to handle the concerns of the day care and those of the church. Bringing in another entity that is not part of the church is well something you want to be sure your administrative council is on board with. It is different than starting one up within your church.

How about you?
One of my parishes (the one I recently left, before I moved) has an independent day-care facility on its campus. I can look into getting more information on how they arranged that, but unfortunately I'm not privy to it. But I'm sure there are others here who have worked out arrangements like this and can speak on the topic. Or, perhaps you've worked at a place where it's worked out nicely and can share some examples. Feel free to share them in the comments!

Top 10 Reasons To Read A Vision Of Light


QG’s TOP TEN REASONS FOR READING
A VISION OF LIGHT by Judith Merkle Riley

10. You need a book to read on vacation that is diverting, but not ploddingly predictable or a bodice ripper that you will want to hide from the children or the disapproving gaze of your in-laws.

9. The author is a professor of political science, but the book is NOT about politics.

8. Historical fiction depicting women with appropriate sensibilities to the era of the novel is hard to find. There’s no “ Gweynth begged her father for a suit of armor so she could joust like her brother Garth” type stuff in this book. That sort of thing makes QG toss a book away in disgust.

7. Margaret of Asbury is one of the best characters in modern historical fiction—she’s complex, charming and intriguing.

6. God makes an appearance (or two or three) in the story.

5. If you thought your ex-husband or ex-boyfriend were Bad News, read about Margaret’s First Husband From Hell and be comforted.

4. One of the themes of the book is the power of knowledge and the importance of reading and writing.

3. A second theme is the ways in which the church of the Middle Ages failed to meet the spiritual needs of the people.

2. The most important theme is that God can choose an ordinary person, like Margaret, to heal people injured in body and spirit.

And the number 1 reason to read A VISION OF LIGHT is:

It’s the topic for the RevGalBookPals discussion on July 25 and you still have time to order it from the RevGals Amazon store (see link on the sideboard), read it and join our discussion that day!

BONUS RGBP INC. UPDATE: The RGBP Inc. board is meeting in Atlanta next Tuesday, July 10. The main purpose of the meeting is to begin planning a RGBP meetup/conference for 2008!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Happy Independence Day!

to America and Americans out there!

The country of my birth is 231 years old today (by traditional measures anyway). I am praying today for the best that is in this nation and our leaders, and that it will come to the fore of our private and public lives. And for the worst that is in us, that we will find the courage and fortitude to address it and change it and become the nation and member of the world community that God would have us be.

What are you all up to? In the US, most of us have a holiday and there are picnics, parades, fireworks…Hopefully, wherever you are, you are out enjoying the day! I have been fussing with Internet Explorer this morning, and have apparently finally declared my independence from it...it would not let me into Blogger to post this, so today's Fest is brought to you by Firefox. How's it look?

On to the Fest!

ReverendMother has shared a wonderful sermon called "Post Comes on Sunday Too."

Mags has written recently about gendered writing... she says, "Using an online widget called "Gender Genie," it is possible to seek whether one's writing is more "male" or "female." I got some surprising results, and I'm interested in having others try the experiment and tell me what they think." Check it out!

Mags has also received a new call! Read about it here...

Art as a Prayer shares a wonderful link called, “What is your Gift?”

Sally attended a Ready to Serve workshop which also explored gifts. She reflected on it here
and here

Songbird is inspiring folks all over the world!

And writing some pretty darn wonderful sermons

And Mindy is the amazing Swapper, Sewer, and Bargain Shopper Extraordinaire!

Lorna is considering the choice between what is right and what is easy… and writing wonderfully about burning bushes.

Leah Sophia attended the Orientale Lumen conference last week. Your editor is utterly fascinated by this event and WANTS TO GO NEXT TIME!

Deb posts a little rant (reaction) to her reading of the book Why Men Hate Going to Church.

Kathryn is beautifully pondering where God is in Alzheimer’s disease

She also asks for our prayers for her friends in Andhra Pradesh, India, who have suffered the effects of a mini tsunami and devastation of flooding

Milton shares an awesome reflection on the nature of time

ReverendMother has become the de facto person for folks in her area to contact with questions about maternity leave (wonder why!?) . She would like to hear from those of you who can share a strong leave policy...or if you have experiences to share.

Singing Owl writes about why the church needs the church, and some perfectly wonderful pictures! Her blog also has a great new color scheme!

Kievas Fargo has an excellent and thought-provoking meditation on world hunger and how we, as Christians, can make a difference.

Wishing you a safe and happy day, no matter where you are or what you are up to. God Bless us all.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Traveling Light Edition

In the gospel reading for this week's lectionary we find Jesus sending out the 70 (or is it 72?) to carry out the mission, and giving them authority such that they could walk on snakes and scorpions and emerge unscathed.

There is a catch: they are to travel light, to pronounce peace upon each household, and if they are rejected, they are to leave, shaking the dust of the town from their feet. Those are harsh words for modern-day ministry, and even just for living the Christian life together.

I'm thinking this week about the balance of authority and the dependence we all have on each other, and how this relates to those in the pew. Passages like this are often easily interpreted to be part of the 'ministry manual' for us church professionals, but what deep meaning is there for those who minister as members of the "priesthood of all believers"?

If this is not where the Spirit is leading you, how about the fun story of Naaman the leper who is asked to dip himself in the dirty old mud of the Jordan to be healed of his skin lesions? I remember preaching this text last time it was year C with the title "Getting Down and Dirty". Miraculously, they did not ask me to leave on the spot! I think this is when they started to figure out my sense of humor.

What are you pondering this week?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Red, White and Blue Meet 'N Greet

We have so many new members today we are just going to "Greet" today and "Meet" someone next week!

One Wild and Precious Life

I am an Episcopal priest, serving a pretty church on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. I enjoy yoga, running, reading, writing, poetry, time outside (especially with my 2 dogs), gardening, television, travel, and the training I'm receiving to be a spiritual director. I also enjoy playing at creative work: drawing, collage, painting, photography, writing. I grew up in Indiana, then lived and worked as a psychotherapist in Buffalo, NY for 21 years prior to becoming a priest, and for 3 years thereafter. I love grappling with some of the larger questions of life: what role does God play in our lives? Why are we here? What is my specific little part in the larger plan? I like living close to Mystery. Welcome to our ring!


Tales of Grace

Whose name is Ann and describes herself as "a mom, a student, a teacher, a writer, an artist, and a seeker." (And she list JNorm on her blogroll. Boy that guy gets around.) Welcome to our ring Ann!

For a Season
Whose name is Muthah+ lives in Upstate New York, US and describes herself as "an unabashedly liberal Episcopal priest from a time when being a liberal was a "good" thing. If I am knee-jerk about anything it is about seeing that justice is done by those of us who call ourselves Christians or who are about serving Christ in the Church." Her picture is shows a beautiful smile. I think I want to get to know her just from that smile. Welcome Muthah+!

Earthensoul
Who is also known as Karlassi. She says "I am a wanderer, a seeker, an artist pastor with passion and humour for living this journey. "ssi", when added to a name, connotes a sister-relationship in Korean. My sister pastor friend in Seoul calls me Karlassi." She blogrolls a pottery blog that side tracked me for about 10 minutes... Welcome Karlassi!

Timeless Text Messages

Also known as sistacala (Carla R) who describes herself as "an ordinary woman serving an extraordinary God. Although I am employed as a medical laboratory technician, my spiritual calling is that of a teacher. I enjoy studying the Bible and helping people along their Christian journey." Welcome sistacala!

Blue Window

Also known as Ruby who is "a civil rights lawyer in a very small blue state. I live in an old house with my spouse, four children, two dogs, a cat, a hamster, two geckos, eight geese, seven guinea hens, and a full fishpond. I love books, politics, music, cooking, the Episcopal Church, my family and my friends, though not necessarily in that order." What a house full of God's creation! Welcome Ruby!

Traveling At the Speed of Life

Jennifer Walters is Dean of Religious Life at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She seems to be interested in ecological issues and her father has recently died. That is indeed a very hard thing. Please drop by and say hello -- Welcome to our ring, Jennifer!

Walking Wet

mamaS is a "Lutheran pastor-to-be, a lovers of the outdoors, a country girl stuck in the 'burbs (and doing urban ministry). I am a wife and a mother, as well as a daughter and a sister. I miss the mountains almost as much as I miss the lake country." Welcome mamaS!