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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

To all the Saints

To all the saints …

Hallowe’en has never been part of my lifestyle – but I have to admit I love the colours at this time of year (and all those mouth-watering pumpkin and apple recipes from last Friday’s Five and especially all those glowing Jack o’lantens. ) A friend of mine here in Finland had a party last weekend and it featured spider-web cake and bloody fingers on the menu. The mind boggles!

In England we celebrate Guy Fawkes night on November 5th – more about that next week (perhaps!)

Anyway for starters ... let’s go hunting around in the RevGal and Pals’ pumpkin patches and see what we can find.

The best of the batch (awarded by yours truly) goes to LutheranChik who writes about an event at the pumpkin market last week - and yeah this makes me want to be a better person a do-er of the Word too.

QuotidianGrace throws out a Hallowe’en challenge for all of us. “Why not join El Jefe and I in making a donation to IJM to help children who suffer unspeakable evil not from imaginary ghosts, witches, and ghouls, but at the hands of their fellow man?” Why not, indeed!

While still on the Hallowe’en theme Presbyterian Frog poses for the camera as Miss California or something ...

In response to great public RevGal demand the winged man presents A recipe to Woo with. Apparently this dish won him his wife …and it looks absolutely delicious. Wonder if I could persuade hubby to take up cooking or is this recipe only for angels? Mmmm

Talking of angels -because we were a bit thin on the ground (when I first looked!) I poked around our webring of saints and bring you five entries at random that caught my eye

Emily at Hazelnut reflections writes there’s something about this prayer thing.

Pure Christian I think at Rebel without a Pew writes about something that’s new for her

Susan Rose at Musings of a Discerning woman talks about how the Pope approves of the blogsphere. Does he really? mmm wonder if he’d like to join us here at RevGals and Pals? No , maybe not, I think he might not meet our criteria!

Writing as Jo(e) has “gone in search of sheep, real life sheep, to throw at my facebook friends. I'm tired of cheap imitations.” Check where here

Last but not least: Hey Jules over at Maced with Grace is pumped up – no infused – as she reads blogger RWK’s book Today at the Mission. (He’s a great blogger in his own right so you could also check out his blog and send him a wonderfully friendly Rev Gal greeting!)

I know there are really very many other good posts out there on the ring, so during the next few days if you come across something that catches your eye, makes you think, or even makes your blood boil - nominate it for next week’s festival so that the rest of us don’t miss it. Simply send the link and a brief blurb to And don’t forget you can nominate yourself too.

Now back to the nominations we did get this week ...

Being a Reverend is of course a calling and a ministry. In Kathryn’s (good in parts) church in England there’s been an annual service for bereaved families....she’s blogged about it here
(with a link to the words she preached this evening, which are posted over on her sermon blog)

She writes “it was such a holy and healing evening, I'm anxious to share it with you. See what you think.Thanks. Kathryn xx

Know what I think? I wish I’d been part of Kathryn's congregation when my dad died ten years ago. You see as part of the service Kathryn gave each mourner something tangible – a real sign of hope – to hang onto –and that I think will have made all the difference to them!

There are many different paths /stages along the road to ministry - and ReadHead Reverend (and hubby) have their ordination interviews this week Thursday. Stop by her place and wish her luck and also send up a prayer or two for clarity of mind and calling during the interview itself. Must be nerve-racking! Let us know how you got on Red!

Songbird (Set Free) shares a beautiful dream

Lutheranhusker’s been to a special Red Sox confirmation banquet

And on a very different note Mother Laura (Junia’s daughter) is miffed about the way we address women including those in ministry: “Female pastors in denominations which have had women clergy for longer face fewer explicit and conscious attacks, but many is the congregation where in common parlance "Jill" carries out her ministry of Word and Sacrament beside "Pastor Dan." This sends a clear message to her and all the laywomen and girls of the congregation that some pastors--and some Christians--are more equal than others.”

She then asks if "Susie? This is Fr. Joe," is the correct way for a young male priest to address an older female in the congregation, and if not, what is the politically/spiritually correct respectful way to address females both clergy and laity? Add your 2c to the discussion over here

If you are thinking how to answer that – skip over to following Frodo and help Gord out. You see he’s struggling with a different dilemma –how to re-design the order of worship and wants suggestions.

And PPB’s running late. Have you ever been in a similar situation? (She posts a great link to Fidelia Sisters- part of the Young Clergy Women Project be sure to check that out too!)

Deb over at Another Unfinished Symphony is musing and thinking about the end of the "growing season" - - and what it means in a spiritual sense…

At Cheaper than Chocolate's (what a great name for a blog!) Queen Mum asks for your help in retreat ideas. Skip over there and see if she’s missing anything. Thanks! Don't forget Queenie to let us know how it goes !

Philosophy over Coffee wants to know if you think he should go for a DMin or not. Why do people pursue D.Mins, anyway? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Talk about a Skewed View though ... I’m wondering just what SpookyRach is going to put on her own tombstone!

Lastly a farewell to Mary at a raid on the inarticulate. She’s recently been ordained as a deacon (congrats!) but at the same time thrown in the towel for blogging. Heaps of Blessings to you Mary, we’ll miss you!

That’s all for this week saints. Have a great start to November!

Blessings and love,

Lorna (see-through faith) who's written about seemingly un spiritual things this week such as saunas (pronounced SOW-NAH) and tattoos. (shudder) .

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" Edition

Perusing this week's lectionary texts : What does the Reign of God look like? Whether you use the Habakkuk or Isaiah lesson, you know what it doesn't look like -- a society based on injustice, where people haven't "learned to do good"; a society that gives lip service to God but whose spirituality is purely superficial; a society teetering on self-destruction.

But when the Reign of God breaks does so in a surprising way: Not God "kicking butts and taking names"; not God patting the backs of the holy folks for jobs well done; but Jesus, God With Us, audaciously inviting himself to dinner at the home of one of the most notorious and despised characters in the community -- a man as small in the virtue department as he is in the stature department.

And -- bonus points for those brave souls willing to tackle the 2 Thessalonians reading, whose visions of vengeance against "evil others" seem at odds both with its own salutation of "grace and peace" and with the Gospel lesson. Perhaps an illustration of the tension, where we live, between the "now" and "not yet"?

What will you be preaching about/praying about this coming Sunday? And is anyone putting the thematic focus of your worship on All Saints' Sunday? Discuss!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Trick 'R Treat, Meet 'N Greet!

Hey, y'all, let's all go over and Trick 'R Treat at our newest member's (ktjhawk's) blog "Not in Kansas Anymore." She states, "I grew up in North Dakota, lived in Kansas for 11 years and now am living in the San Francisco Bay area and looking for a job in Southern California (and now Northern California). It's a weird life."

She's currently in the middle of a call process, so go make her feel welcome!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Music Video

Today one of the hymns we sang was How Firm a Foundation with the tune Foundation. I found this nice instrumental arrangement, which also includes Rock of Ages.

I don't know about worship for you, but today it seemed that folks sang with a little extra enthusiasm from those of us considered to be one of the frozen chosen. Perhaps we were thawing out a little.

And how was singing at your church today? And what did you sing?

Sunday Prayer

God of Creation, God of all Goodness, hear our prayers as we come together in prayer as a faith community. We thank you for the strength and inspiration we are blessed to share with one another as fellow travelers on this path.

God, we give you thanks for all the ways in which your best hopes for humanity are lived out around our world. We thank you for people in positions of power and influence who understand the urgency of creating peace in our time and saving our planet. We pray that they will find the courage to continue to speak out against injustice everywhere.

We thank you for non-governmental organizations who work tirelessly for causes relating to justice, hunger, oppression and peace. We thank you for mission churches who step in where bureaucracies fear to tread. We thank you for individuals who make a difference in so many small ways.

As we look ahead to this week, we pray for children everywhere. For those whose excitement will build for costume parties and trick or treating – we pray for their safety and find joy in their laughter and fun. Even so, God, we know that so many children will be hungry that night. God, help us to find hope in a world where children go hungry and wars rage.

God, help us to BE that glimmer of hope in the world. Help us to be leaders in our community – sharing a word of peace and justice wherever we go.

We pray for all who have need of your grace and your presence today. Bless each one of them, O God, and shower your love upon them, and bring them the miracle of your peace.

All this we ask in the name of the One who calls us forward and invites us to be the world’s cause for hope, Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray together singing…

Saturday, October 27, 2007

11th Hour Preacher Party: Rainy Day Edition

It's a rainy Saturday in City By the Sea, where the leaves continue to change and fall. It's the season for warm drinks and looking for that warm sweater to keep a preacher cozy while she finishes (or starts) her sermon.

Pumpkin carving is also on the agenda today.

What commitments will interweave with your writing?

I have the coffee on, and hot water for tea, and I would be happy to make oatmeal for anyone who likes it. Someone want to pop out for pastries?

Leave a comment here and let us know what you're facing on this Saturday.

("Autumn Rain," a painting by Julian Alden Weir, is in the public domain.)

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's a Pumpkin/Apple Friday Five

All Hallows Eve (Halloween) is near. As a child, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. We didn’t yet worry about razor blades in apples or popcorn balls or some of the other concerns people have with Halloween these days. Halloween was a chance to be mildly scared, and better yet, to dress up and pretend to be something we really weren’t. Let’s talk about that a bit, but then let’s add in some food ideas for this year. Where I live the leaves are falling, the temperature is chilly and pumpkins are for sale everywhere, along with many kids of apples. What's more, the "Holiday Season" will soon be upon us. ACK! I could use a new idea for dessert. So, here we go…

1. How did you celebrate this time of year when you were a child?

2. Do you and/or your family “celebrate” Halloween? Why or why not? And if you do, has it changed from what you used to do?

2. Candy apples: Do you prefer red cinnamon or caramel covered? Or something else?

3. Pumpkins: Do you make Jack O’ Lanterns? Any ideas of what else to do with them?

4. Do you decorate your home for fall or Halloween? If so, what do you do? Bonus points for pictures.

5. Do you like pretending to be something different? Does a costume bring our an alternate personality?

Bonus: Share your favorite recipe for an autumn food, particularly apple or pumpkin ones.

I have to leave town for most of Friday so I am posting early, but I'll visit as many blogs as I can when I get back to my computer. Meanwhile, others will help out. Have fun!

Let us know in comments if you play. 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, October 25, 2007

Ask the Matriarchs: The Big Event — Ordination

Greetings all! This week's question is about celebrating one's ordination. Our seeker is being ordained to the transitional diaconate in the Episcopal Church, and then to the priesthood in six months. And she finds herself wanting to put together a small event for her out-of-town guests, but... doesn't know where to start:

You know how when folks get married, the parents help as much as they are allowed to because they have been through it before and been to many weddings? Well, what I need is an "ordination mother"- my own mother would do it but has never been ordained, and come to think of it has never been to an ordination in this denomination.

The ladies group at church is putting on the reception, so that is set. But I am being ordained many miles from where I started (moved here in May) and am considering a brunch at my house the following morning for those who come from out of town. Thoughts? What am I not thinking of?

Soooo, what are the customary gifts for this occasion? What do I say when the relatives ask? Anyone have a list of things every Episcopal Priest should have?

Peripatetic Polar Bear notes that "ordinations are generally elaborate services with fairly simple receptions, so your ladies guild is doing a fabulous thing for you. Having a brunch the next day is nice, especially if people have come a long way. My understanding is that the priestly ordination will have a big first eucharist thing the next morning, so you may want to save your brunch chops for that--or do it twice."

As for gifts, PPB offered up some ideas that aren't denomination-specific:

  • certificates to religious bookstores (cokesbury, etc.) to buy those big old commentaries that you can no longer access from your seminary library
  • crosses--particularly the big ones worn over robes
  • stoles, robes and clergy shirts
  • communion sets (the small ones you take to the hospital)
  • general "getting started in a new career" stuff--briefcase, business card holders, personal stationery with your name engraved, things for your new office walls, etc.

Ann of What the Tide Brings In joins us as a new matriarch, and an Episcopal one at that, and she had this to offer: Don't worry about anything too much, as it's all happened to someone in the past. "One thing to remember—no matter what happens at the service or the reception, you will be ordained, and all the other incidents around the event will become the stuff of legend and much grand storytelling in the future. Anything that can go awry has happened before, so enjoy your day."

She encourages you to enlist lots of help for your brunch event, because you will be exhausted. But it may well be the most important part of your ordination! "Let your friends and family do whatever is comfortable for you," she says. "At my diaconal ordination we had a dinner before the service with friends and family. The feeling of being ordained happened at that event even more than at the actual ordination rite in the Cathedral. So party with those who have loved you along the way."

She stresses that it's better to give giftly hints lest you wind up with "all sorts of Hallmark angels, etc." She adds that it's customary for your family to give you a stole, but be sure they "get one that can be used as a priest stole, not a deacon style one." Preferably one in red, she adds. And, the bishop will give you a bible.

Other ideas:

  • Gift certificates to Almy or Womenspirit for shirts, vestments, collars, episco-dodads.
  • A communion visit set works well as a group gift, but be sure they "get an Episcopal one with a single chalice. I was given one with individual cups!"
  • The combination Book of Common Prayer/Hymnal 1982. The leather binding version, she notes, is more durable and won't crack.
  • An extra-long vestment bag, if you are going to be traveling often, is good for transporting your robes and albs. Even better if it's personalized, she notes.
  • The out-of-print-but-still-on-Amazon Burial Services: Rite One and Rite Two With the Holy Eucharist, Rite One and Rite Two and Additional Material by Joseph Bernardin
  • Extra collar studs
  • A shoe polish kit

For those of you reading, what was the most useful gift you received at ordination, or what do you wish you had gotten but didn't? And does anyone else have tales of ordination celebrations to share? If so, please post them in the comments!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday Festival - Fall Edition

In our area of the Great Sinkholes Region, it is definitely autumn. This picture is a fairly good representation of the dominance of the yellows and oranges in this year's colorfest. I'm not exactly sure what conditions are needed to make the combination of leaf colors, but I know that God had a Hand in all of it ... just like God had a part in our Festival entries for this week!

Amy at Faith Musing says, "'s just not worth it! Feeling your pain, Amy!

Our church as recently been contemplating a move in the service time,"
says, "But how, exactly are these things set, anyway?" Tradition? Ours was set years ago by "milking time."

"The Gov. of Ga. has declared a state of Emergency and a natural disaster area. Water is running out ..." declares Reverend Mommy. Prayers ascending for our sisters and brothers in the drought-afflicted areas!

"Stop by and see my pictures of Ireland,
invites See-Through Faith. Do you have colorful autumns in Finland, Lorna??

A cranky LutheranChik nominates a trendy catchphrase for banishment in the LSSU 2008 Banished Words List. A good point, LC!

Mother Laura
suggests ways to make sacramental Confession a more safe and user-friendly experience. She says "Would love to hear the thoughts and experiences of other folks on that as well…." . She then goes on to add, "I posted a follow-up to yesterday’s suggestions for making people feel safe to try Confession with suggestions for helpful penances once they do (unfortunately inspired by a recent personal experience of confessional malpractice….too bad there aren’t any lawyers with that specialty!"

Christine invites you to her every-other-week Poetry Party at the Abbey. "Come and be inspired by the image offered to share your own sacred words."

"I had a first! A "first dunk"!" shares Deb. Celebrating - GOD'S work!.

1-4 Grace has issued an invitation for us to join her for some cake and punch to help her celebrate a special anniversary and her 100th blog. "BlogPets are welcome (always!) too!" Micah, Jasper and Asher will be coming over and bringing the Kitty Cookies, Grace!

reverendmother considers the phrase "spiritual but not religious" here.

Sally offers, " A couple from me: musings on reading from my Pastoral Theology Classes."

"I have a post containing some haiku I wrote in a fit of creative boredom at a theological conference," confesses Lutheran Husker.

RedHeadRev invites, "Come guess how old I am today at my Blog. Happy Bday!

And I will be starting the celebration of the last year of my forties on Sunday!

I love AUTUM!!!!!!

Be blessed,

net (Grace Happens)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Under New Management edition


This will be my last "at bat" for this feature for a while. I am taking a break from contributing, in order to refresh both myself and the Tuesday lectionary post. The good news is that you will have wonderful new contributors in this space: Listing Straight and LutheranChik, among others who will fill in from time to time.

It has been a joy to prompt here, and I have loved the lively exchange of ideas that have sprouted. However, I have begun an in-person lectionary discussion group among my presbyterian colleagues, and must devote some of my Tuesday morning energy to that effort for now.

Now, on to this week: I am going with a Reformation Sunday focus, since I am doing a pulpit exchange on Nov 4 and the preacher who is filling in for me that day at St Stoic doesn't "do" Reformation Sunday. (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God? What's not to like about that?) I have many, many former Lutherans in my congregation, so it is a meaningful Sunday for many of them.

Text Week lists several specific texts for Reformation Sunday. However, I am using the texts for this week. Specifically I am looking at the Luke passage and how the Pharisee lifts himself up as the example of piety. When we compare ourselves to others, in other traditions, are we guilty of this? For those of us who claim a Reformation heritage, it is clear that we should boast not on ourselves, but on Christ.

Some of you may be focusing on All Saint's Sunday. Tell us about your plans!

It has been a pleasure, friends. See you soon!

And don't forget to submit a nomination for the RGBP board if you haven"t already! Deadline is midnight tonight!

Monday, October 22, 2007

RevGalBookPals - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

CATHY: It all began in the spring, as I was looking for interesting new books to read. Perhaps I should say it all began, because I had been dabbling in eating healthier and being more intentional in my eating habits. Our local community had decided to go on a weight loss program which produced a total weight loss of almost 10 tons, and being slow on the draw, I don’t participate in the community’s program but my own diet, with the help with an online weight loss program.

However, I tried to think back as to when I had the earliest recollection of buying locally. I remember the vehicle well - it was a mint green Rambler Station Wagon and the man came to our neighborhood with his vegetables and eggs. I remember that he looked OLD to me and he had glasses that made his eyes look really big to me. (Funny how you remember such things in childhood). He would open up the back of the station wagon to show off the vegetables and eggs that he was selling). Then as I was shaking the cobwebs out of gray matter, I remember the milk being delivered in glass containers with a paper lift lid on the top and being delivered to our front door. Sometimes we had to go to the dairy to buy our milk and it was less than a mile away from our home. Wow, I guess we really did buy locally back then.

I don't know when that all stopped, but convenience became a big deal -- tv trays and frozen dinners were magical back then -- as we would watch the evening news for dinner (well we didn't watch it because we only had one TV and it wasn't facing the dining room table and well, tv trays were only for special occasions). And no fighting on what channel to watch, because only one channel came in good then. Anyway, I digress...

Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life takes us through a journey of a year in the life of their family as they "go local" - growing their own food, as well as buying local foods from the folks that lived in their community. The discuss the trials and tribulations of living life without bananas (they don't grow in the southern Appalachians), eating foods only while in season, and sex (yes sex! but it's not what you think so read the book if you're interested). And they had their exceptions to the rules (ahhh coffee!). (Note that you can check out their web site here to find local resources in your area).

Our church book club just finished discussing this book and I will say it brought some very interesting thoughts about what we could do and what we were not able to do as consumers in today's world. So, in light of the book, these are some questions I pose to you readers of the book. If you have not read the book, you may want to listen to the interview here.

1. Two churches in our diocese whose book group has read this book for a book study. How might this book be used in terms of personal stewardship? How might it affect ministry in the church if they took on a ministry in this area?

2. In listening to a radio interview, Kingsolver states that it is a peculiar habit we have in today’s world to begin our daily quest for food with the question "What do we want?" instead of "What do we have?" How might that apply to other parts of our lives? How does it apply to our spiritual lives?

3. One of the ways that the book has influenced me was to encourage me to search for alternative options for obtaining our vegetables. Our family subscribed to a gardening subscription service (community sustained agriculture) in which we receive our vegetables from a organic gardener. It’s one step that we have taken that we found works for us. How has this book changed how you are eating or purchasing food? What alternatives are available in your area?

Now for fun... what is a local food that is unique to your area? For example, grits is a main staple where I live (YOU SHOULD SEE THOSE GRITS FIELDS). For some of you, you may have never eaten it. So.... suppose I came to your place and visited. What would you want me to have that would be a part of your world?

I have a pitcher of iced tea (sweetened for those of you who want to have the local experience), a bowl of boiled peanuts, as we are in the height of pulling peanuts here. I would offer apple pie, but we can't grow apples here. How about some fried sucker fish and swamp gravy (in our fair city)?

Mary Beth will come in to cover the day shift here and will add her assortment of local foods. Please join in to the party and discuss your thoughts on the book. I'll be around after work.

MARY BETH: Thanks, Cathy! for the great kickoff! I must say that I have never eaten any sucker fish but I am certainly intrigued. And, grits...ummmm.....sign me up.

Cathy's the one who turned me on to this book. I was already a HUGE Kingsolver fan from way back. I went out and BOUGHT it (a big step for me) and it was not a mistake). I spent a sleepless night finishing it, and arose changed! I wrote about it on my blog here.

I am extremely fortunate to have grown up with North Florida grandparents who had huge gardens at both their town and beach houses. They grew (let me see if I can get it all): Vidalia onions, garlic, pimientos, bell peppers, cream peas, green beans, blackeye peas, squash, zucchini, figs, MILLIONS OF TOMATOES (there was a separate patch just for tomatoes) and I don't mean a little bit of each one! They canned and canned and canned and canned...they also dragged a net for mullet in front of the beach house, set crab traps, went fishing and scalloping...made jam and jelly. I don't think 'eating locally' was their impetus. They had lived through the Depression, so saving money was, and using what the land and the sea gave us. Memamma was a farm girl (who cooked for field hands all her life, even when WE were her audience!) and Bigdaddy was a chemist who loved experimenting with soil amendments.

The upshot was, though I grew up in a suburb of Houston, I knew where a lot of my food came from, from my grandparents and from my mom doing the same things. I remember watching a 50's movie in 8th grade science where Dick and Jane were watching Mother can jelly. The voice-over said, "You've probably seen your mother pour the jelly into jars before the canning process..." all around me kids were laughing, shaking their heads, saying, "nope...never saw her do THAT!" It was as if the movie mom were Wilma Flintstone, cleaning a pterodactyl.

Back to this summer and the book. I LOVED going to the local grower's market each Saturday. I delighted in it.'s over until June. What to do!? teh Internets!

To find out what's in season in YOUR neck of the woods, I suggest a Google search such as "produce in season 'texas'" This, for example, brought me to the Texas Department of Agriculture's Produce Guide, listed by month. To find a local or organic foods co-op, try a search like "north texas organic food coop" (you'll substitute your locale, of course!) The one at GreenPeople is a good starter. Also, if you have a local natural food store, you can buy there - they are usually pretty good about labeling local produce as such.

I am struggling a bit with keeping up with my local eating resolve. It was so much easier this summer...when the bounty was spread before me in the courthouse parking lot, and my neighbors were the sellers. But I'm determined to keep working on it!

Oh, and what's my local delicacy right now? Umm, corny dogs and fried Oreos at the State Fair of Texas? No?...well, I'm loving fall greens like kales and turnips cooked into soups. Sweet potatoes. Butternut squash. Gotta go make a grocery list!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Music for a Sunday

As we prepare for Reformation Sunday, here is a hymn for your contemplation:

You are all invited to join Mary Beth and Cathy tomorrow in the RGBP book discussion on Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. It's potluck tomorrow - bring a favorite dish, and maybe a recipe or two of a regional or local dish that makes where you live unique. Mary Beth and Cathy will post some questions to get the mental juices flowing while they share their thoughts over Kingsolver's book. Since Cathy will be at work during the day, Mary Beth will be around during the day to keep plenty of food at the table. Cathy will be swinging the second shift.

Now, what did you all sing in church today?

Sunday Prayer

God of all Goodness and Grace, we thank you for the joy and freedom of this time we have shared in worship. We recognize the blessing of coming together to share our faith in safety and without fear of oppression. We pray that people of faith all around this world will one day celebrate the same freedom. We pray especially for the people of Burma/Myanmar and their continued struggle.

God, we thank you for one another, and for the life and work of our congregation. We pray for the United Church of Canada and for our Moderator David Giuliano as he continues to heal from his recent radiation treatments.

We thank you for this planet we share and we ask that you guide us as we seek to be ever more faithful to its gifts and wonders. Help us God to be better stewards of the earth.

We pray for all in need of your love and strength this week. We pray for those named aloud in our space this morning, and for those whose pain is known only to you. May your Spirit’s breath bring courage, warmth, comfort and power to those who feel powerless.

God, we pray for peace, for freedom and food for all your children. For clean water to drink and for education for every child. For the First Nations people of our land. For all who are grieving or ill or enduring suffering in body, mind or spirit.

God, we turn our prayers to you in the hope that those prayers will transform our world and transform us. Send us out from here today as bearers of your love so that everyone we meet will know that it is your name etched upon our hearts – the name of love – the name of the One who taught his friends to pray when they gathered together, singing…...


Saturday, October 20, 2007

11th Hour Preacher Party

In my denomination, it's Peace and Justice Sunday. I'm not sure if other denominations have this or not, but for me, it's a lovely excuse to preach about things that have been on my heart lately as I've watched the struggle for justice in Burma/Myanmar. Monks and nuns in Myanmar have been quite persistent in calling for justice in their nation. Where is the persistent Christian voice - the widow's voice if we're looking at Luke 18 - for justice in this world? What are we asking? What are we doing?

That's where my sermon is going this week - toward the ways that we seek peace and justice, against all odds and sometimes at great personal risk. What are you thinking as Sunday draws closer? Where are your questions and roadblocks? How will you bring good news to your people? And for goodness sake, does anyone have a great children's sermon?

I'm also officiating a friend's wedding today, so I'll be in and out for that, but the coffee is set to brew early, and I've set out an apple crisp that has enough oatmeal in the topping that it's surely acceptable as a breakfast food. It's that time again, so let's get to the task of finishing up those sermons, with the comfort of knowing that we're not alone.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Friday Five: Homage to the Top Chef!

This Fall my family has been energetically watching Top Chef on the Bravo channel. My teenage daughter watches with the dream of some day being a chef. My husband watches because he loves reality shows and I mean, really loves them. Plus the whole competition thing really works for him. Me, I love cooking and good food. Every so often I get an idea from this group of talented young chefs who are competing for big money and honors galore.

The winner for this season was Hung. Not the fan favorite, but he won fair and square. In his bio, he says if he were a food "I would be spicy chili - it takes a while to get used to, but once you eat it you always come back for more!" With that in mind, here is this week’s Friday Five.

  1. If you were a food, what would you be?

  2. What is one of the most memorable meals you ever had? And where?

  3. What is your favorite comfort food from childhood?

  4. When going to a church potluck, what one recipe from your kitchen is sure to be a hit?

  5. What’s the strangest thing you ever willingly ate?
Bonus question: What’s your favorite drink to order when looking forward to a great meal?

Let us know in comments if you play. 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.

Have fun and bon appetite!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ask the Matriarch -- Seen but not heard?

It's happened to everyone: a baby has started wailing in the middle of the service, or four five-year-olds have decided to play a loud round of hide-n-seek in the middle of the church, or you ask a rhetorical question during a sermon and the precocious eight-year-old in the third row is not only listening, but fires off a grade-school answer that would make a sailor blush in his "outdoor" voice. Earthchick has a whole list of things: "We have certainly all been in situations where distractions happen
during our sermons - cellphones go off, babies cry, someone has a coughing fit, people enter or leave the sanctuary, a child won't settle down, etc." she says. "To me, it is the mark of a professional to be able to carry on in the face of such distractions - without calling more attention to them and/or saying/doing something to make the person/people involved feel bad."

So imagine one ringmember's distress recently when the following happened--and afterward, the family was divided about how appropriate the response was:

I went to a wedding this weekend, where I had no official duties except to sit there and be a proud aunt. My two grandnieces were flower girls--a little young-- 2 and 3 --but really cute. They did their job well and delightfully, walking down the aisle, spreading their petals. After the bride and groom had gone up onto the platform, the two flower girls went to the side, front aisle and sat with their mother and grandmother.

It was then the real show began. The two girls, after having traveled, rehearsed, and having been at the church for pictures since 10:00 a.m. (it was a 1:30 p.m. wedding) were a bit frazzled. They both regularly take afternoon naps--their schedule had been upset for the two days before the wedding. They never really did sit down when they got to their aisle seats. They moved, talked, laughed, messed around a bit. It was somewhat cute, and funny to me and my spouse. They weren't really distracting and I could hear everything fine.

BUT, in the middle of his message (about 20 minutes!) the pastor stopped and said "Excuse me a minute, would you please take the little girls out of here?" He then repeated it, I guess because they weren't moving fast enough. The wedding then proceeded, although it was several minutes before I could pick my jaw up off the ground.

My first thought, when I was thinking again, was that I should have offered to take over for the pastor, if he was getting flustered. My dad--who wasn't there-said he would have just told the pastor "No, they're staying."

Now, you can all save yourselves a lot of frustration by making sure there's a discussion about this with the bride and groom ahead of time, say the matriarchs, who are pretty much as astonished as you were. But we all learn from experience, says Karen. "I had a similar experience at a wedding recently--complete screaming meltdown by flower girl and ring bearer--who were cousins to each other and niece/nephew to the groom," she says. "I didn't ask them to leave, but I was plenty peeved that some responsible adult didn't undertake this task themselves as it was so obvious that this is what needed to happen. But I am partly to blame because I didn't give this particular bride and groom my "kids in the wedding party" spiel because the kids were a late addition to the plans and there were other crises afoot that day."

Remember, they *are* children
Karen suggests addressing the following points with your bride and groom:
1. Think long and hard about having kids younger than four in the wedding party--because those are the ones most at risk of creating a real disruption. "I had a colleague early in my ministry years who flat out would not allow kids younger than four in wedding parties he was working with," Karen says. "He was the father of a toddler at the time, so it wasn't that he hated kids, he'd just seen too many disasters. I don't go that far, but I lay out what I see as the risk factors.
2. If you really want to include your adorable toddler/preschooler in the wedding party, make sure you have designated, responsible adult who can step in if need be. And, there needs to be a planned escape route that allows for a quick getaway.

Our newest matriarch, Jacquelyn of FaithStones, also emphasizes the importance of laying it out ahead of time, and makes a further point of understanding how much kids at various ages can handle, and to consider each child's individual personality. "Some children will be able to remain in the front and standing with the wedding party while others, usually younger, children do need to do their part and then go sit with family (as they did in this case). The other piece, however, is that the pastor and the family consider the needs of the children in planning rehearsals, picture-taking and the service. It seems unreasonable to have a morning picture-taking session (or rehearsal) and early afternoon wedding and to expect young children to be present for both. I always do an early evening rehearsal the night before the wedding. At least any pictures that involve the children would be taken after the ceremony."

Jan agrees, and adds that the type of ceremony can make a huge difference, too. "If the couple really wants the children in their lives to be included, then they surely realize that little children can be squirmy, talkative, etc. Not a problem, if they want everybody there. Big problem if they assume theirs will be an elegant, sober wedding ceremony."

The rehearsal is important, though
Abi allows as how there's a line between distracting and disruptive, and it may be different for every pastor, perhaps something that should be underlined and pullquoted in every wedding magazine and planning book. Her own daughters were in a wedding recently, and while she had to signal to one daughter to quit waving the flower basket around, they mostly handled it well. (The ringbearer, she says, was another story.) "At the wedding rehearsal we worked out how the kids were to be dealt with, who would do what with them, and what was expected. Before the wedding, we even went over things with the girls again, and the big reminder about behavior," she says. "I think that is why having a rehearsal and being clear as the Pastor and the bride about what you expect of everybody, making plans for how the kids are to be handled in a wedding. I don't think a wedding is the same thing as a worship service or a sermon being preached. Kids are kids and are going to be distracting--learn to handle it. Now, kids being disruptive is a whole other matter."

Jan agrees that it's in your best interest to spell it out ahead of time, and if you are dealing a wedding planner or coordinator who's trying to boss everything from the outset, you need to assert yourself there, too. "I always tell wedding coordinators (for my own protection probably) that they are in charge of what happens before and after the wedding, and the officiant is in charge of what happens during the ceremony. Nevertheless, my jaw dropped too, after hearing this. Clearly the bride and groom wanted these children in their wedding. Clearly they knew their ages, temperaments, ability to hold it together (or not) for a lengthy ceremony. But it was their wedding, their call. The pastor could have said, "No children" at the get go. But he didn't."

It's about the love!
Earthchick sums it up nicely: "Better the pastor be flustered, irritated, or *gasp* not listened to, than for little children and their families to be made to feel bad during a ceremony that is intended to celebrate love, commitment, family, and the God who makes it all possible."

But, it should be noted, every single matriarch said, in parentheses, some variation of "A 20-minute sermon?!!?"

Now I know you guys have some great stories to share about famous interruptions you've had to deal with. After, all, America's Funniest Home Videos had long segments devoted to ringbearers and flower girls!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Election Announcement


It is time to elect a new slate of officers for the RevGalBlogPals!!
Corporation members are eligible to vote. An official ballot will be e-mailed to all corporation members later in the month, marked with a return date.

If you have not renewed your membership, please do so following the instructions in the sidebar.

The following RGBPs have been nominated:

Songbird at Set Free
Cathy at Cathy's Grace Notes
St. Casserole at St Casserole
Quotidian Grace at Quotidian Grace
More Cows at You've Really Got to Love Your People
Teri at Clever Title Here

If you have a favorite blogger who has not been nominated, here is your chance! You may submit nominations to this e-mail address:

Please mark the e-mail with "nominations" and "Cheesehead" in the subject line. Nominations will close at midnight in the Central Time Zone on October 23rd.

Oh--please make sure the person you are nominating is willing to serve if elected!!


Wednesday Festival - whoopsie edition

It's really because I wanted to give Cheesehead plenty of room at the top that I waited to post this late (well not really, but it sounds good). But it's still Wednesday by my calendar so here we go!

Who doesn't love a good disaster story? Mitch shares a couple of stories here with us.

When Baptism Goes Bad and Communion Disasters

and... he believes we need to be an equal opportunity pet community so he recommends the start of RevCatsBlogKittens ? (I think it is purrrrrfect for the cat lovers in this ring.) Any takers?


And from Desert Spirit Fire are two of the graphics she's submitting to the digital art competition one of the local churches is sponsoring; the first illustrates a phrase from Hillsong's "Shout to the Lord"; the second illlustrates God's covenant promise from Genesis 9:13.


Gord had a column to write this week on one of my favorite things to do:Sing to the Lord, Sing out a new song.


Know the expression "if the shoe fits, wear it"? - Well, Deb has a spin on that

If the survey fits, wear it!

She has linked to Christians for Biblical Equality's blog, "The Scroll". There's a phD candidate who needs help with a survey. She is trying to find Christians who have recovered from experiences of emotional and spiritual distress under authoritarian and controlling church leaders. The results of her survey will provide her with a critical piece of research and will help her on her way to the completion of her dissertation. Check it out!


Carrot Top invites you to come over to her place and peruse the questions she has on this post addressing visual arts in the church. She really would like your feedback.


Motherhood is full of little lessons. Chartreuseova offers us in her blog posting a much needed reminder about goal setting and success. And as a bonus, it includes photos. (Cute I might add!)


Presbyterian Gal offers us a new story of Living with Familiar Strangers. It's about how those we see every day can still surprise us. And is the "unseen" really all that unfamiliar?


Do you have a "seize the day" attitude? Pam offers a suggestion to the Carpe diem in us!

Sometimes feeling small isn't always a bad thing - read Lorna's post on Feeling Small.

Sally asks WWJD with the church. She is syncroblogging! In addition, she had a Harvest Service with beautiful pictures to share.

Good in Parts shares with us about Blog Action Day for the Environment - and she asks...if you don't know about something till after it has happened, are you still late? ( I sure hope not!)


As you know if you use Google, one can get the strangest results. Well, More Cows did and she said her post got buried. You should be dying to see it!


Now..... go to these blogs and read the posting and then comment and say hello - I mean, it's good manners to do that! Get to know your neighbors! And then come back and let us know you commented.


Well that's about it for Lake Revgalblogpals - where all the women are good looking and above average! (apologies to Garrison Keillor).

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: What is my problem? edition


I think this is the signal that it is about time for me to get an occasional sub for this feature! I apologize that this is the second late week in a row. Now, on with it...

I am thinking about persistence this week, both in the sense of God's persistence with us and our own persistence in holding on to things that might hold us back.

I'm thinking of the alternative reading from Genesis, and the Gospel lesson from Luke from this week's texts.

What are you thinking about?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday Meet and Greet

Forget all your troubles, forget all your cares and go
blogging...(Sorry Petula...)

It's our Monday Meet and Greet!

Come meet the latest Rev gals and guys and give them a big welcome!

Destiny Driven
I'm Tara. Wife to Craig (16 yrs), mom to five girls (15, 13,10, 5, & 1). I am also a licensed, ordained minister, writer, and work as a Payroll Administrator! But more than that, I am driven by an awesome force- the destiny predestined for me by God! To say I'm busy is an understatement... You can find Destiny Driven here.

Married to the church
husband to a young minister in the mainline church, father to a hilarious toddler, lover of music, fan of baseball, believer.... You can find married to the church here.

Lured by the Journey
I am in my second year at Drew Theological School. I'm a United Methodist by birth and I hope to become an ordained pastor. I'm a twenty-something that still has some hang ups about the mainline church, but I'm doing what God has called me to do... You can find Lured by the journey here.

And then, Greet Jan who let me interview her:

Where do you blog?

My personal blog is here: yearningforgod here.

For different sites that I visit: I like spiritual ones like RevGalBlogPals and I like liberal political sites. I have felt fortunate that Katherine E. got me to start blogging, so I naturally went to visit her friends, and that’s how I got acquainted with RevGalBlogPals.

What are your favorite non-revgal blog pal blogs?
Luminiferous Ether
The Quaker Agitator
Random Thoughts of an Aspiring Expat (my daughter AE)
Child of Illusion
The Garden Diaries

What gives you joy?: I feel joy when I think of loved ones and even better when I am with them. I feel joy often during the Eucharist. I feel joy in the beauty of nature, especially the mountains and the ocean.

What is your favorite sound?: I love the sound of waves on the shore, water rippling, rain falling.

What do you hope to hear once you enter the pearly gates?: “You’re home.” I’d also like to see my mother and hug her.

You have up to 15 words, what would you put on your tombstone?: Beloved

What color do you prefer your pen?: Black now, but when I was in junior high and high school, I loved peacock blue.

What magazines do you subscribe too?: Christian Century, Sojourners, Weavings, Conversations, U.S. News and World Report

What is something you want to achieve in this decade?: Finish my master’s degree in Theology and write a book.

Why are you cool?: I’ve never thought of myself as “cool,” but more “quirky” — so about quirkiness:
I hang all our laundry out on the clothesline except for permanent press items. I’ve done this ever since we first moved to Texas in 1978 and even did it in the cold in RI and NJ. For all four kids I hung out cloth diapers to dry, too!
I recycle even when we go on vacation, so that we carry bags of empty bottles and cans in the trunk of the car. (Sometimes cardboard, too).

What is one of your favorite memories?: When I was going to seminary in San Antonio and spending the night there, my husband and all of my children surprised me by meeting me at a restaurant called La Madeleine’s on my 50th birthday. DC drove from College Station where he’d just started college, and CB took the younger kids out of school early to drive to SA. AE was going to Trinity University in SA at that time, so she’s the one who took me to the restaurant to begin with. They even ordered a cheesecake in my honor.

Cheesecake, because every year since my husband was in grad school at Oregon State University, he has baked me a birthday cake on my birthday. That’s because one of his fellow doctoral students baked HIS wife a cake every year, so I asked him to! Ever since he has. CB bakes the best cheesecake I’ve ever had, with the basic ingredients of eggs, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla.

Anything else you’ve always wanted to be asked?: I've always wanted to be asked, "Why do you believe in God?"...

My life has gotten so much better since I started believing, and I have changed so much for the better. I always liked Thomas Merton’s saying that the closer you come to God, the closer you come to your true self, ever since I first read it over ten years ago. And I am becoming truer and more authentic, not through myself, and so I believe God is bringing this about. I love more than I used to and also feel more beloved.

Welcome to our new members and thanks Jan!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Music Video: What Wondrous Love is This

St. Augustine gets the credit for the aphorism "to sing is to pray twice" or, if you prefer the orignal Latin, qui cantat bis orat. I have a hard time separating my prayer from song, so perhaps it's not surprising that I've found a spiritual home with his monastic order. Each morning the Augustinians monks I pray with start their prayer with a sacred song, and end it with the words "through the cross you brought joy to the world". This traditional hymn enfolds that same tension between joy and sacrifice.

What Wonderous Love is This appears to have been originally collected from Appalachia in the early 19th century by William Walker. It is found in his 1835 book The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion. Walker was a singing master in the shape note tradition. Traveling masters trained communities sing and to read music by marking each note with a different shape, to make the music easier for novices to follow.

This version, by Blue Highway is a cappella, as shape songs traditionally should be, with a short instrumental introduction. The final verse is sung as a round with layers of harmony that reach way down into my soul.

The words can be found in the Lutheran Hymnal. Another version of the lyrics (and the organ tune) can be found at the Oremus Hymnal. You can get the album at iTunes or Amazon!

Please note: Here is a link to the CD here and at the RGBP Store.

Sunday Prayer

God of Grace and Glory, we pause now in this place of worship to turn our hearts, minds and spirits toward you. Yes, we have places to go and busy days ahead of us. It would be easy to skip quickly to the closing hymn and get on with our day. God, we choose to turn to you and say thank you from the deepest part of our being. God, hear our prayers.

God, we have so very much to be thankful for. Even in the midst of our private struggles, and those needs we have heard in our prayer requests, there are blessings. There are friends who care and pray for us. There are faith communities like ours who encircle those in need and of course there is your ever-present Spirit to guide and comfort us along the way.

For these, and for all your many blessings, we do give thanks, O God.

God, bless all who have need of your grace and healing this day. Bless those who are able to reach out and ask for help, just as you bless those who suffer in solitude. Bring peace to the hearts of those who live in spiritual, emotional and personal turmoil. Bring strength to all who need it and comfort to those who simply need to feel your presence near them.

Wondrous God, in thanks and praise, we pray for peace in our time. Make us agents of your grace. Help us to be a part of the world’s transformation. Bless this path we share as the friends and followers of Jesus, and hear us now as we sing together the prayer that he taught his friends so long ago…


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Quick Big Event Reminder

Today is the deadline for making the first $25 deposit to be part of The Big Event! Please go here to find out how. Can't wait to see many of you again and to meet others for the first time!

11th Hour Preacher Party: Plant, Grow, Bloom Edition

Good morning, preachers!

In solidarity with Jeremiah's instructions to seek the welfare of the city, or as Stan Wilson at Theolog suggested, the neighborhood, I am hoping to bloom where I am planted today. Later this morning I'm meeting my sister-in-law to pick out some plants for my front garden, bare since we removed shrubs some months ago.

Let us know what's on your mind and on your calendar today. Do you have a great children's moment planned? Are you desperately seeking inspiration?

Coffee is on, and a variety of breakfast possibilities awaits. But I know you want the Fiber One, don't you? ;-)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday Five: The B-I-B-L-E

Does everyone remember the old Sunday School song?

The B-I-B-L-E,
Oh, that's the book for me.
I take my stand on the Word of God,
The B-I-B-L-E

I have been working on an expansive language version of the Psalms and the Liturgy of the Hours/Divine Office/Breviary. (For you non-liturgical gals and pals, that's a set of prayers for morning, noon, evening, etc., mostly consisting of Psalms and other biblical texts).

So I have been thinking a lot about the Bible recently, and how we encounter it as God's Word--or don't--in our lives, prayer, and ministry. (Great minds think somewhat alike this week, as yesterday's Ask The Matriarch post dealt with ways to help as many people in a community as possible engage with a scriptural text in preparation for Sunday worship).

So, in that spirit, I offer my first Friday Five. I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's experience and reflection on these B-I-B-L-E questions:

1. What is your earliest memory of encountering a biblical text?

2. What is your favorite biblical translation, and why? (You might have a few for different purposes).

3. What is your favorite book of the Bible? Your favorite verse/passage?

4. Which book of the Bible do you consider, in Luther's famous words about James, to be "an epistle of straw?" Which verse(s) make you want to scream?

5. Inclusive language in biblical translation and liturgical proclamation: for, against, or neutral?

Bonus: Back to the Psalms--which one best speaks the prayer of your heart?

Let us know in comments if you play. 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, October 11, 2007

Ask the Matriarch: Contemplative Reading

My fiance gave me a nasty cold for my upcoming birthday (he's so generous!), so I'm going to keep this pretty simple this week. Our question, however, is much more complex and multifaceted than its one-sentence nature implies:

How do you get people to take a scripture, let it work on them the way it works on you through the week?

The short answers: Try lectio divina, and publish readings ahead of time to give time for reflection.

Earthchick writes:
When I was in seminary, I went to a church that had a Sunday School class entitled "Inward Journey." It was a very small class, led by a layperson, focused on doing Lectio Divina together on the lectionary texts for the week. Between Sundays, we were all asked to read the lections for the upcoming Sunday and to spend time reflecting and praying them on our own. Then when we gathered, we would share our experiences, listen to each other, etc. This kind of class won't appeal to everyone; the small group aspect of it was part of what really made it work.

Another option would be to periodically offer a half-day lectio divina retreat, to introduce people to approaching Scripture this way. Then, you could create a bulletin insert that could go in the bulletin each week, listing the lectionary passages for the next Sunday and asking three or four lectio divina-type questions for them to take home and ponder. I actually haven't tried this myself (though we do list the upcoming lections in the bulletin each Sunday), but now I just might!

Jan's thoughts:
During Lent one year, we met for group spiritual direction using the passage I was preaching on. It went like this: We would meet the Tuesday before the sermon and read the lesson as Lectio Divina. Then we would share our immediate thoughts on the connections the passage was making for us along with different tracks they might take if they were preaching. I'd receive further ideas from them through the week.

Short of meeting twice each week, it would be hard to do this but might be fascinating to meet early in the week (Monday or Tuesday) for lectio divina. And then on Sunday mornings, you could meet to reflect on how that passage was lived out/inspired/made alive through the week.

And from PPB:
The experience that I have had with this that was the most meaningful was at the last church where I was a member. We knew rather far in advance what the preaching text was (maybe that's where I get my penchant for picking texts early), and the week leading up to a Sunday, that particular text permeated the church---it was the choir devotional, the youth club devotional. It was printed in the newsletter, and at least one line of it was on the kiosk out front. It was the session meeting reading, and printed up and posted on the bulletin boards. If at all possible, the choir sang it. The homeless shelter read it before dinner every night. If at all possible, it was the pre-school chapel verse. Basically, the sermon text was the church's text for the week. So if you were active in the church, by the time Sunday came, you couldn't wait to hear what the pastor said---since you'd been thinking about it all week. And even if you were only a little bit active, it at least was not the first time you'd heard it.

It's not quite the same as "working in you" the same way it works on the preacher, but it was a close approximation. At least as a collective body, we heard it.

Your turn
How about you? Have you had success with one of these techniques or do you have another to suggest? Share it in comments!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Big Event Cruise Deposits due by THIS Saturday, October 13!!

Here is the information for making your $25 deposit for the RevGals Big Event Cruise!

You will need to have ready the following:

  • Full Legal Name
  • Date Of Birth
  • Mailing Address
  • Home And Cell Phone Numbers
  • Emergency Contact Number
Decisions to be made include:

The travel agent can take your credit card number over the phone, or you may fax them a copy of the front and back of your credit card. Please include a statement authorizing them to charge your card $25 for the deposit, a phone number where they can call you with any questions, and SIGN IT.

Call or fax information in to:
Triple H Travel
Wadley, AL

877-401-8889 toll free
256-395-9029 fax

256-395-4199 office (Sandy Harris)

Questions? Leave them in the comments, or email us at

Wednesday Festival: Fast Forward!

Zoom! Isn't this year just flying by!? How did it get to be mid-October? The blogging goes on apace; enjoy.

Don't you dare forget the upcoming RevGals Book Discussion on Monday, October 22! The book is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver. Cathy and I will lead this discussion, and it will be a great one! You may buy the book from the RevGals Amazon store by clicking this link. Or visit your library. But get reading, Gals & Pals!

Melissa posted a video and comments about
the newest video from the Real Beauty Campaign of Dove. She says, "It is powerful and everyone needs to see it!"

"No-one should end up friendless simply because no-one noticed or explained the differences in local culture!" says Lorna over at See-Through Faith. Great illustration, Lorna!

Nobody went to Mitch's church on Sunday, but they were not sad! Go read about why!

More Cows is seeing dead people and she wonders what you're seeing. Check it out.

Christine at Abbey of the Arts invites you over to her bi-weekly Poetry Party. There's a photo for inspiration, just bring your poetic words. There's even a prize for one lucky participant.

Hee hee, Rev Anjel contemplates the pressures of consumerist culture on the church: Why Church Really is Like a Sewer

A post from PamBG: If God is Love, Then I'm Confused

Thanks be to God! for the encouraging report on Sally's Chris, here. Sally is thinking also about the costly nature of grace.

Milton wrote this week about one of his favorite hymns (and mine too).

Helen over at gallycat has had not
one but two essays published at the Daily Episcopalian: one about gen x acting as a bridge between the Boomers and the Milliennials with specific insights on reaching the unchurched, the other about what happened when she stopped being just plain ol' Gallycat (among other personas) online and reverted to using her real name because she HAD to, in spite of her reservations.

The Mollinator has shared an awesome video celebrating Moms and all they do. Go see!

Deb is struggling with a sermon; she says, "
I am really struggling with the strict 'Haddon Robinson' style outline I am required to do for this assignment." Go check it out.

Tawonda says:
At my place, you can read a Cute Kid Comment overheard in church...see some travel and dog-blog photos...and read a crabby little parable that may resonate with other readers' workplace experience.

Wishing you all a lovely day.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Holy cow, where did the day go? edition


So sorry for this late post. Pastoral life got in the way today. This morning at my lectionary discussion group we were all about the lepers. That seemed to be the prevalent passage for some of us from among this week's texts.

I am trying to jump-start the Stewardship emphasis this coming Sunday, and I think that this passage might just work out well. A friend was taking about the "power of ten". What would it have been like if all ten lepers would have been thanking Jesus and openly displaying gratitude for the blessing of wholeness? Isn't that what our stewardship is about?

Hmm...good thought to chew on a while. I think if I went that direction, a great sermon title would be "Would It Kill You To Send A Thank-You Note?"

I'm thinking abut the real-life implications of healing on those ten, and wondering what it must have been like for them to return to society as if nothing had happened, when clearly they had been dramatically transformed. So often we take church community for granted, returning to our ordinary life on Monday (or even Sunday afternoon) acting as though we hadn't been in the presence of the Holy in Sunday worship.

Hmm...another thought to chew on. No catchy sermon title yet.

What are you chewing on this week?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Musical Musings - [mostly] United States of North America Edition

American Composer Listener-Participant Musical Musings

Like many members of this community, I have a formal background in music and regularly play the piano (sometimes organ) in church and elsewhere around town, so I've linked to scores for some of the music I enjoy playing, and almost for sure you'll be able to find bound or single hard copies or possibly an online PDF at nominal cost for most of the rest.

As I started this month's Musical Musings, I noticed most of the music came from a specific place, so initially I decided to focus on geography rather than genre, and I also opted for a short chronological span--the last half of the last century. Whether as listener or performer, much of the music I resonate with and keep returning to comes from those decades, and I ran with my instincts! Given that we all became increasingly familiar with non-Western expressions in the fine and popular arts that often ran parallel to alternative expressions of the church as the 2oth century aged, my inclusive, multicultural side longed for this Musical Musings to reflect more diversity, but in the end, it really doesn't much at all. I've included music many of you likely know and possibly some none of you have heard. For the "albums," I've mentioned my favorite tracks, but you might find another more appealing. For each category I've invented a possible heading without specific comments about the individual tracks, but whatever your previous preferences, set your imagination free!

CDs/Songs: for worship and devotion

Leah Taylor - Faithful Friend
  • In Christ Alone, of Newsboys renown
  • Beyond the Tears
  • Falling Up
Darrell Evans - Trading My Sorrows: The Best of...From Latter-Day Saint Paul Cardall - Songs of Praise - with guests Steele Croswhite and Cheri Magill
  • Grateful
  • Agnus Dei
  • Green Hill
Rich Mullins - The World As Best I remember It, volume 1, 1991Mercy Me, Spoken For, 2002Samuel Barber: Prayers of Kierkegaard

Randall Thompson: The Peaceable Kingdom - excerpts from 1, 2 and 3 Isaiah juxtaposed and intertwined in a glorious cantata-style sequence for a cappella SATB chorus; I love it all, but esp recommend...
  • Say ye to the righteous - Youtube link
  • The paper reeds by the brook
  • Have ye not known? and
  • Ye shall have a song
secular vernacular variety assortment

David Benoit - Urban Daydreams, 1989Jewel Kilcher - Spirit, 1998Tracy Chapman - New Beginning - with wonderful photographs from the UC Santa Cruz Greenhousesconcert-hall array collection

Samuel Barber: Knoxville, Summer of 1915, 1947 - text taken from a prose poem by James Agee written in 1935, now included as the prologue to Agee's novel, A Death in the Family. If you sing and want to learn the piece to perform it; here's the vocal score with a piano reduction of the orchestral parts.

Roy Harris - Symphony No. 3, 1938 - 18 minutes long, 1 movement in 5 sections: raw, angular and elegant

Christopher Rouse - Phaethon, 1986 - started as a mini-concerto for orchestra to narrate part of the Greek myth, and turned out to be in memory of the Challenger's 7 astronauts

music to play for worship

Mark Hayes: Lord, Be Glorified - Keepsake EditionGlory to His Name! Charity Book Putnam
  • Glory to His Name/Holy Manna Medley
  • On Jordan's Stormy Banks--Southern Harmony's "Promised Land" - Youtube link
Stephen Nielson At the Piano
  • Fanfare
  • O For a Thousand Tongues
music to play mostly outside of worship
For piano scores I've linked to Sheet Music Plus, with its huge selection and fast, cheap shipping, too
Lukas Foss - Fantasy Rondo, 1944: I played this one-movement piece with its ever-changing key signatures, time signatures, textures and dynamics as prelude to worship on one Trinity Sunday; together with Leon Fleisher, Foss was on the piano faculty the summer I spent at Tanglewood; Scott Dunn plays Lukas Foss' Complete Piano works

Vincent Persichetti - 3rd Piano Sonata, Opus 22, 1943: Declaration - Episode - Psalm - amazing! I also love to play Persichetti's relatively austere Organ Sonata, Opus 86, 1960

Paul Creston
  • Prelude and Dance, Opus 29, #2
  • Prelude and Dance, Opus 29, #1
--Creston wrote a zillion pieces called "Prelude and Dance" for almost every instrument and instrumentation imaginable

...and two more...

Because I won't get to do this very often, in Latin, written by a German
Ernst Pepping - Te deum (1956) for soprano and baritone solos, SATB choir, woodwinds, brass, timpani, drums and strings. I got an ancient Deutsche Grammaphon recording on vinyl on eBay and couldn't find a CD anywhere I looked, but here's a Te Deum details page

from KiwiLand--New Zealander Douglas Lilburn brings us elegance with Aotearoa Overture
(here is a Youtube link of the Aetearoa Overture - go for the listening, not for the visual)