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Saturday, February 16, 2008

11th Hour Preacher Party: Blowin' in the Wind Edition

Sing along with me this morning:

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

There, I hope that woke you up! It occurred to me yesterday, while struggling with a sermon outline, that the questions in Bob Dylan's song bore some slight resemblance to the questions Nicodemus had for Jesus: "How can this be?" And of course, Jesus' answer, "the spirit blows where it wills...." reminded me of the answer, that is "blowin' in the wind." So how is it going with your sermon preparation this morning? Are the answers blowin' in the wind? Does the light shine in the darkness? Are you born again or from above? Or are you on the road with Abraham, or cogitating with Paul? Or has your journey this Lent taken you someplace completely different? If you're not preaching, what are you doing tomorrow?

I have some coffee brewing (can you smell it?) and some banana chocolate chip muffins for anyone who wants one. If you are giving up chocolate for Lent, how about some, ummm rice crackers? Or anything else you would like to contribute to the party.

As for me, I'm with Nicodemus in the dark, and the answers that are blowin' in the wind. But, the light of the world is sitting right here with me, so I'll keep plugging along, even though it looks dark!

Keep me company?


  1. Huh... well I am working on a sermon today although i keep telling myself I am farther along than I have been in recent weeks.

    First recycling and dropping off The Boy at his grandparents which I write as if it is not a total score for him. I was going to hit the gym but time is running short. My pizza with a pastor's family in the area was moved from yesterday to today so the gym must wait.

    Pass me whatever is over here and sure you can sit next to me!

  2. I'm here, too!
    I'm getting a start on writing, or trying, but Molly Dog is howling for attention in the background.
    Back a little later.

  3. Checking in from the Ministry Discernment Weekend. Big day for those here being "discerned"...all my work will come a little later. In the meantime no sermon for me this Sunday since I am here...

    Pray for us as we "listen" to these six I will pray for you all as you listen to the wind and the words that will come for you sermons.

    Thanks diane for hosting...

  4. hi all, I just got back from walking the dog (short trip) and and ready to sit down with a cup of coffee and get going! Will be very interested in what you're doing will smama and songbird!

    I think I have a good IDEA, but I'm not sure about the execution... the idea being that by the end of the conversation with Nicodemus, he is still in the dark, but WE aren't. We know who Jesus is and something about what he does. But how to help the congregation "see the light"? that's the issue.

    Hey mompriest, praying for you and for the discernment process.

    I'm here and am glad there are people who will keep me company!

    Although I do have to take a brief break for a Bible study this A.M.

  5. I'm here too. I'm working on a couple of sermons today - I'll be out of town most of next week and will not have a chance to work on next Sunday. Woo, somebody should have told us in seminary that Sundays came EVERY week!

  6. Well, we have a nice group here keeping each other company! I have some oatmeal with brown sugar for breakfast. Anyone want some? Or are you sticking with the Banana bread?

    How about some Bread of life?

    Going to Bible study now. Be back soon!

  7. Hi everybody! A quick peek in before I head off to a regional governing body event that the committee I moderate is putting on. I don't have to be in charge of it, but I figure it would look bad if I didn't show.

    I wrote page one yesterday, in anticipation of a busy day today. That only leaves the interpretation of the message, and the main point and conclusion to go...sigh...

    Wondergirl has another Big Dance tonight, so I am hoping to get the sermon finished after my event, but before she leaves the house so Spouse and I can spend some time together this evening.

  8. Our associate is preaching tomorrow, so today's a more leaisurely day for me.

    Praying for those who are discerning vocations, sermon themes and more today.
    I have some homemade granola to share...and vanilla apricot white tea.

  9. I thought I had a sermon. Then Thursday's shooting happened practically in our backyard. All of "our" students are okay, but shaken up. Our high schoolers and their parents are freaked out (NIU is a popular choice because it's a good school, they give good scholarships, and you can come home if you need to since it's only an hour away). I'm not feeling like I can preach my Abraham sermon the way it was.

    So--back to square one. I still need to fit in the Lenten theme of "Holy Insecurity" and I still need to use Genesis 12, but I have to find a new way to approach it.

    First, though, I have to go to the huge regional Pom Competition. One of my kids is on the squad that performs at 9.29. After I talk to her post-performance, I'll be back. I pass Star$$ on my way home--anyone want anything?

  10. I'm here too; hovering on the outskirts since I don't have to preach tomorrow...But much pastoral care to do today and tomorrow--visits to hospital, nursing homes, and private homes.
    And I'm immersed (read stuck) in a little conflict that's brewing within the faith community. It involves my son and the SS class he teaches for little kids. Oh God I HATE this crap!
    I'm praying for all who have messages to prep!

  11. Well the spaghetti sauce is on to heat/simmer till supper. Now to sermonize....

    WHere is the church? Where should/could it be? Where do we wish it was? Where does teh church's presence make us uncomfortable? Where do we want it to stay away from? These are teh questions floating through my mind today.

    BUt first off to the church to set up an assistive listening device we are testing for one of our members (who is essentially stone deaf)

  12. I wanted to be here early, but I had to take my son to school for a math contest, then a quick trip to the Evil Place (that starts with "W" and ends with "mart". Came back and was in the middle of writing an email to try to straighten out a scheduling conflict and my computer shut down in the middle of it to install updates. ARRGHHH!

    I'm off lectionary this week, so not much to contribute to the Nicodemus conversation.

    {{Teri}} I think dealing with the shooting fits well with your theme of Holy Insecurity. It has created an atmosphere of insecurity - for the students, for your church families, a trusted place has become a frightening place. You could explore how a person of faith responds to that loss of a sense of security.

  13. I've got cinnamon raisin bread with cinnamon butter over here and some fresh coffee brewing. I've also got uninterrupted peace and quiet here--quite the novelty.
    As far as the sermon, well, it's one of what I call my puzzle sermons. Lots of pieces that I write down as ideas come to me and I have to try to put them together into a complete picture now.

    Teri- it looks like you have a great place to start a sermon about insecurity since it seems like everyone is a little (or a lot) scared right now. I won't presume to tell you where to take it, but I know the Spirit will guide you to the words God needs her children to hear right now in the midst of this tragedy.

  14. Teri, I sensed that there was probably at least one of us dealing with the NIU shooting in a particularly intimate way, so I have been praying for "you" since yesterday.

    I have some really fresh yunny oranges to share.

    No good sermon ideas however, although Abram's call has some resonance with my personal experience right now. But it is kind of a "gut" thing and not easily articulated.

  15. I'll have some cinnamon bread, Rivkah, that sounds yummy!

    Well, after gallivanting around Sister City--er, attending a life-changing conference--with RDQ last week, and some distracting personal developments, and trying to get ahead on other things because I'll be gone next week...well, not much sermon prep happened this week.

    I'm looking at Nicodemus and the wind--it blows where it wills--but not sure how to tie that in with Lent.

    And I have a deadline as there's a community event to attend tonight, and I was out late last night at a fundraiser for a cause very close to my heart, so I'm not quite firing on all cylunders yet. Oh, and one of my contacts is acting up...

    I have apple cake to share!

  16. ((teri)) and ((quakerpastor)) praying for you in your discerning "holy insecurity" and in your church conflict situation.

    I'm back from the Bible study and ready to sit down and get past the first two paragraphs. Need to go to the hospital later too. And be done by 5:00.

    Rivkah, your cinnamon raisin bread sounds heavenly. I think I'll have me a slice.

  17. Howdy Y'all! Trying to get going this morning, really I am. Slept way too late, have a funeral tonight accross town, and need to come up with great john sermon for Youth Sunday. I didn't understand youth when I was one! We wanted to have our youth give the message but session at little church on the hill nixed that idea. "We want to be sure the WORD is preached." It makes me laugh, afterall I'm only 10 years older than our oldest youth, and they trust me? Silly church people!

  18. Silly church people indeed.

    Greetings all!

    Tomorrow is our annual meeting. The expectation is that the service is shorter (therefore a brief reflection in place of a longer sermon) because the meeting starts immediately after worship and folks want to get it done and get home.

    Kind of like root canal.

    This year's meeting has at least two contentious topics. For the first time in six years, I'm kind of dreading it.

    Enough - it will play out as it must.

    Sermon/Reflection: I loved the midrash on the call of Abram that Listing Straight posted on Tuesday. The problem is, if I use it, that's kind of the whole sermon.

    All I would need to do is contexualize it a bit and point out the faithfulness of hearing God's call and moving forward even in the midst of uncertainty, which certainly fits our congregation's current situation.

    It is more or less done. Why do I feel like I'm cheating? I will, of course, give appropriate credit to the midrash writer Rabbi Marc Gellman. It's just that I have this feeling like I've contracted out my sermon to Gellman.

  19. Just stopping in to say "Hi," but I won't start working until a little later. I am exhausted and it's only 9:48 a.m. I was up early with the baby trying to get a horrible plugged milk duct unplugged (sorry if that's TMI). I was in a lot of pain through the night and much of the morning until we finally got it worked out. Now he's sleeping soundly, probably because his belly's so full. I had hoped he'd nap when my husband took the toddler outside to play in the snow that piled up this week, but he's not back from the ecumenical men's breakfast yet. Oh well.

    The little girl is tugging on my leg to play some energized games of Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders. I can't resist that, and wouldn't want to. I'll pray they nap at the same time this afternoon and I can get down to business!

    Prayers for those of you working already. I bet I'll be in the late night crew again this week!

    (Oh yeah - - working with Psalm 121. It's called "Travel Assurance" because "insurance" had bad theology to me. You have to pay for the protection with insurance, but with God it's free.)

  20. hi all - checking in to say hi and thanks for the song - now i've something to hum today.

    gotta go get breakfast for a little boy - hopefully back later.

  21. oh Sue i'm totally with ya on the 'contracting' the sermon thing this week...

    i have a chest cold that's sapping energy. we have a big outing tonight with friends for hubhc's birthday... and so i'll have to actually fix myself up for this... (ie, fix hair, put on makeup, dress very hip) ha!

    so in the meantime... as i sit here covered in blankets and (still) vicks vapo rub... i have 2 paragraphs of an intro.

    not sure where it's headed but thinking of what we fail to see in the midst of each day... does that fit? dunno....HELP

  22. Teri -

    In my experience our most powerful moments of the Word come in response to these tragedies. People are aching for the church to respond. Allow the Holy Spirit to work with you and with your journey today. I'll be praying for you...

  23. Sue, I'm guessing on annual meeting day, no one will mind. If it suits your context, give thanks to God and Listing Straight, and move on to the next thing!
    I'm back from Weight Watchers, where I am still plateau-ing despite faithful eating and much activity. I am trying to have a good attitude. Building muscle will eventually lead to the loss of fat and therefore, weight.
    Did I ask this last time?
    Anyway, I'm home and working on my sermon.
    I'm pondering the way we are called into the unknown, and how ill-lit the unknown can seem, whether like Nicodemus we are going somewhere in the literal night time, or like Abram, leaving the known behind for that we cannot even imagine. Feels appropriate for a church nearing the end of a search process, although I hate to draw too much attention to the search committee tomorrow, since they will be elsewhere hearing a candidate.

  24. Teri, those parents must feel like the people Abram left behind.
    My prayers for you and for those around you.

  25. Teri - recently having had a shopping mall shooting in our community (w/multiple fatalities), in my experience... people will come Sunday hungry and thirsty in their souls.

    you know this. and you also know they will know everything cannot be tied up in a neat package of understanding. preach the gospel. how we live in a good friday world... but we're called in the midst of that to be an easter people. maybe that invovles stepping into the unknown like Abram did...

    prayers Teri - God will give you the words...

  26. songbird, I KNOW the muscle thing is true. This will bear fruit. I like your ideas about light.

    And I like your words to teri, too. Light in the darkness. Even though sometimes it's just a little light.

    Gerhard Frost once wrote:
    Of all the fact I daily live with,
    there's none more comforting
    than this: If I have two rooms,
    one dark, the other light,
    and I open the door between them,
    the dark room becomes lighter
    without the light one
    becoming darker. I know
    this is no headline,
    but it's a marvelous footnote;
    and God comforts me in that.

    It seems very dark for your parents today, I'm sure.

  27. Feel better hotcup! It's hard to be "on" and go out when you feel lousy.

    Teri - thinking of you and praying for you.

    Songbird - I will go with the midrash, I just have to let go of my guilt/anxiety around it. In other words, I need to listen to my own sermon and go forward in faith. *sigh*

    And Songbird - you are doing so amazingly well with the WW!! We're all rooting for you, so keep up the good work.

    To all of you preachers who write sermons with babies and toddlers needing and deserving of your attention - God bless you. My boys were all grown up by the time I was writing sermons. I'm not sure how well I would have juggled it all back then. I do so admire all of you!

  28. Hot... hope you feel better soon.

    I'm offering up sesame seed bagels... real cream cheese... and coffee. I'll bring a chili cheeseburger and fries to anyone that wants to place an order.

    This is what I'm thinking about the texts this week. When we talk about baptism... and being the church... most people don't get it. I don't get it. Nick didn't get it either. We ask how... how Lord. But Jesus answers... I'm doing this for you... forever... for all sin and pain and death. We don't have to figure out how... we are just called to believe... and through God's grace act on that belief. Nick did just that... he believed and he acted on it. Later in John he defends Jesus(chapter 7) and then later (chapter 19)... he brings myrrh and aloe... to help bury Jesus.

    God is too big to understand... and the question how will take more than our life time. All we need to know is that God keeps God's promises... and that's all we need.

    PS... if it doesn't make sense... then it's the new drugs. I'll check in later... after we get back from the rehearsal dinner planning session.

  29. I have decided that I need a nap. If I must, I will call it a holy nap. Whatever works.

  30. Thanks for sharing that quote/poem Diane ... what a beautiful image!

    Sue, I think that utilizing someone else's words or story in a sermon is like using someone else's recipe to prepare a meal. If your recipe for a particular entree is better than mine for whatever reason, I would certainly happily use your recipe, and tell everyone where the recipe came from.

    We share recipes all the time here, don't we? And think nothing of it.

  31. reverend dona - yes, I agree. The stories we share hear are very similar to recipes.

    I guess my problem this week is that the story takes up *most* of the sermon time (as opposed to a shorter poem or illustration that is a smaller part of the whole sermon).

    I get your point though, and it helps me to get my head around it. Thanks.

  32. hi friends--back from the pom competition--saw two of my youth and their parents...excellent. Now it's down to work. I so appreciate your thoughts, prayers, and good words. I know what has to be done, I just want to be careful about it, I guess. This turns out perhaps not to be the week for the "give up your sense of security and trust in God" sermon, and maybe more the week for "we have had a serious and tangible reminder that security is an illusion--now what?" sermon. They know that "security" the way we talk about it isn't real. so what does holy insecurity look like in our lives right now?
    I have no idea how to I'll have some kettle corn (microwave) and think about it. anyone want to share the bag with me?

  33. is Dr. Pepper a good way to fight a cold?

    sermon: 959 words
    caffeine: 2 cups joe, 1 DP
    chest pains: zero!
    ways to wrap up sermon: zip

  34. Yes, Teri. Yes.
    You're good to go with that approach.

  35. Dr. Pepper and margaritas are the two best cold-fighting beverages.

    It's a little early for the latter, so go with the DP.

    (this is based on extensive personal research...)

  36. hotcup -- dr pepper is a dr, right? I'm sure it will help. praying for your sermon, and especially the ending!

  37. Chili cheeseburgers and lots of fries... are on the table. I'm making tea... some come on and get some sermon-writing fuel.

  38. Diane has it right. He is a doctor, after all.
    I'm having Winter Squash soup, delicious! (Yes I bought the stuff already chopped up, but I actually cooked it with my own little hands.)

  39. Ooh childhood memory from waaay back I can barely remember.

    We used to drink hot Dr. Pepper, heated up on the stove, for a cold.

    My mother added something to it, I think ... lemon? And maybe a capful of bourbon?

    I'm about to go to the bank and grocery shopping ... want anything?

  40. Teri - I know this is a serious time for you and I really respect that. I would also like to say that I am so glad it was a pom competition and not what I originally thought I read.

  41. Teri, I will take your word on that research, and may ( as it is 7pm here) go in search of a margetitta!! Prayers for your sermon writing, that is one tough task...

    Did I hear talk of cinnamon bread??? Has it all gone???

    Not preaching tomorrow- I am officially off sick... and driving myself and everyone else mad...

  42. pick up the bourbon please! and while you're at it Teri i think might want some... and Songbird might need something to help that squash soup...

  43. Cinnamon bread please... yes to the warm melted butter part.
    A splash more of coffee...

    And now back to it... seriously.

  44. ok, don't hate me because I have to preach at 5:00, but I have a draft here and I'd really like feedback.

  45. I know, I never do this, but let me know what you think.
    I'll be back after hospital calls.

  46. I just finished cleaning the place. The sermon is halfway done. I just need to do application, so I'm hoping to have it done in the next hour. Then I'll have the rest of today to do whatever I want. Yeah!

    I've brought some devil's food cake I made last night. I didn't give up chocolate for Lent either. :)

  47. Pray for me, friends. I'm in the airport, trying desperately to write a bit more on Abram before getting on a cross-country flight home after a conference. My laptop battery is shot, so any work on the plane will be longhand, and it will be 9 pm by the time I get home. Ugh. Had not planned to use the midrash story, but may end up going that way for time constraints. As of now, all I can think of is how much a hassle this journey is, and what can I say about that relating to Abram's journey? I have 2 pages. Maybe that's enough to begin. Peace to you all.

  48. I love this plae, three of us visited Diane at the same time, I posted my comment to find others published- how cool that we can encourage one another!!!

  49. sermon: done
    showers: none
    toothpaste in house: none

    so i'm hoping the sermon wont' stink... and now i'm rewarding my writing with an incredibly looong hot shower! (while hub trots back to the store for toothpaste which he forgot in the 1st trip...) *sigh*

  50. Sue - - I guess we all do what we've got to do. I went to seminary straight from college (like 6 weeks after graduation) and, watching my 2nd career friends, I always said I couldn't imagine going back to school and getting into the studying routine if I had already been used to having a life!

    Kids are napping, and I'm ready to get busy!

    Just had some Ghiradelli chocolates, and have more to share!

  51. OK so I haven't made it to the grocers yet --I got a wild hare and decided to make home made pizza for dinner tonight which meant I had to make the dough so it could rise ...

    And tomato sauce from pureed home canned tomatoes ...

    This is what sunshine does to me this time of year.

    I thought about my sermon the whole time. Really. Really, I did.

  52. WS--heehee!
    I took a nap. I didn't realize how exhausted I actually was until I tried to just sit and think for two minutes....which turned to a 2-1/2 hour nap. But now I'm awake and ready to go! If only I had a beginning...

  53. Thank you all for visiting me! I'm back from the hospital now and getting songs for NEXT week's contemporary worship service to give to our blind pianist. (forgot to do it yesterday) Then off to get ready for 5:00 p.m.

    And then will see if I have to change anything for tomorrow!

    also have some phone calls to make this p.m.

    Songbird, your soup sounds so yummy!

    What do you guys want for supper? I'm taking orders. but you have to wait until after six, when service is done.

  54. dona quixote, you and I are on the same page although my homemade pizza was preplanned and I refuse to eat Wild Hare pizza - blech.

    For ONCE I remained on task and have all but a conclusion which I am hoping will come later after company, bedtime for the boy, clean-up and another look at said sermon.

    Off to clean (painful since domestic goddess comes Tuesday) and prepare and shower - woohoo!

    Good luck all. Teri - preach it sistah!

  55. Laundry done: All of it!
    Bulletin: prepared
    Computer glitch preventing me from playing iTunes or synching with my iPod in preparation for my trip next week: Repaired
    Unnecessary but delightful telephone conversations: Two (no, I'm not including the time consumption on this one)
    Event to attend: One (taking about three hours)
    Contacts *still* acting up: One

    Sermons completed: None

    Um. Help? No, it's my own procrastination this time. I'll come home from the potluck and pwer through somehow.
    Y'all have some great ideas going here, though!

    Woot to the ones done already!

    Squash soup, chili hamburgers, fries, pizza--I'll take a little of each!

  56. I am choosing to fuel up (since I slept through lunch) with organic shells and cheddar. I don't seem to have any grown-up food in my house at all. Sad!
    If only I could come up with the first couple of sentences, I suspect the whole rest of the sermon would come pouring out. (That's what often happens, anyway....)

    Can I start with something about how this is the first story we look at in confirmation class? I'm not really sure where I would go from there, least it would be a first sentence....

  57. SheRev - I hadn't thought of it that way, but you're right, we do what we have to do.

    In seminary I was one of those uber-keen second career types. I was just SO EXCITED to be there - there's a good chance I drove my fellow students a bit crazy.

  58. I am struggling to write a short Noah drama. I wanted to finish up my series on the life of Noah with a little humor, and besides my husband has a full beard so would great as Noah. I usually find these easy, but not this time.

    Also still working out the point, and the sermon to go with the point. We have a church dinner to attend in a bit, so I may be here with semfem and other night owls this time.

    I know one thing I am doing. I am going to enter (Mrs. Noah) singing "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head." That has nothing to do with anything except rain, however.

    And we are supposed to get 10 inches of a sleet, ice, snow mix between tonight and noon tomorrow, so once again it is unclear whether we will have church tomorrow.

  59. ((((SO))))

    We were under a snow storm warning, but that has now changed to a FLOOD WATCH. Yeah. Ironic.

    (I guess when those three feet of snow sitting on frozen ground melt, we are going to be in a world of hurt.)

    Do you want to come down here and preach Noah in the southern counties???

  60. cheese, I just saw our flood watch too. What's funny is that first there's a winter advisory RE freezing rain/quarter inch of ice on everything...changing to a flood watch right around the time the second service will be starting.

    Maybe I don't need to worry about this sermon after all?

  61. The sermon is done and posted.

    I hope everyone where flooding can happen stays dry and safe. I'll be praying for you.

  62. SO, thinking of you. How many weeks are left?
    We're thinking about dinner here, or rather, I am. My daughter knows dinner will appear mysteriously...

  63. ((((SO)))) thinking about you and praying for you,

    and for all in the flood watch.

    songbird, what a mysterious dinner! what will it be?

    How is it going? I'm just about to try preaching it.

  64. Well, I put off magicking dinner up and finished a draft, which you can find over here.
    I apologize to those who post them earlier than I do for not commenting then; I just don't read other sermons until I have a full draft!

  65. Dear peoples...I wrote my "Big" sermon while I was away...but you have to forgive me, because it's sooo scary...cos I'm preaching it at a Cambridge college (by invitation of our very own revgal Maggi Dawn) and I don't feel in any way clever or interesting enough to be there...
    And I'm still trying to write a thought for the day on Nicodemus for the 8.00ers ....The other job is over on the st m's sermon blog if you felt like a trip...I've been at training to support abuse survivors all day..which has rather deprived me of intelligent thoughts on any text whatsoever. And it's definitely bedtime here...Aaargh
    Happy writing, and happier preaching to all xxx

  66. I have finally managed to write 935 words. My average sermon runs about 1200-1500 words, so I still have a little way to go. The problem is, of course, I have no idea where to fit that next 300 or so words in.


    Dr. Pepper has stimulated my brain, now if only I could get a LITTLE more inspiration, I'd be good!

  67. Teri, are you using the story Listing posted on Tuesday? Would that fill things in for you?

  68. Hugs to Singing Owl and everyone in flood watch areas. Scary stuff.

  69. Hi all...I'm late, and I'm not preaching the lectionary, and I've been seized by 2 naps today (sign I'm seriously overtired), and done a funeral, and have about 1000 words which is about half for me bacause I talk fast.
    Teri, my sermon the week of the VT shootings is here. Maybe it will help spark something for you, although it's a different text & a different school.

  70. Hey Songbird, no problem. I can't read before I'm done either. It messes with my brain.

    How is everyone? Is it dinner break time? It seems quiet. Who is out there still working, and what do you need? (other than Dr. Pepper)

    I'm still at church, but will stop at the grocery store on my way home, and check in again. Can I pick up anything for anyone? Pizza? Beer? Anything?

  71. Beer would mean nap 3...but a little diet Dr. Pepper wouldn't go amiss, thanks!
    Off for a supper break & will check back. I'm looking forward to reading some sermons, if I ever finish mine...I could not find a way through John this week, which is why I jumped off the lectionary.

  72. WARNING! Rant to Follow!
    Feel free to scroll on by, I just need to clear this out (since my blog is not anonymous I couldn't post it there).

    LAst week I had a meeting with the Ministry & PErsonnel Committee. WE talked about holiday dates and other upcoming things (Cone Ed time, summer plans, out of town meetigns etc.)
    THen they had "2 complaints". BOth of them ended up sounding like "get your family to behave better"

    1) complaints about noise from the SUnday School students, with the example being "a couple weeks ago when [insert middle PK's name here] was calling for mommy and someone said if the noise continued they wouldn't come back.
    2)complaints abotu a couple of altercations/disputive discussions between the SS teacher (aka the minister's partner) and others. "DO you want to talk to P or should we? We don't want this to happen again"

    YEs I am simplifying for space (especially the second) BUt it frosts me a bit For starters neither of these were really issues for the M&P committee IMHO. ANd in the first case, do they not understand how easily "the kids are too noisy" ends up sounding like "kids are only welcome when they are appropriately quiet" AS for the 2nd, well did they talk to all parties involved? no, just the others. I wonder, if one individual involved disn't happen to be the minister's partner is that the forum in which it would be raised?

  73. God help me, I'm still writing my sermon while coping with a very sick partner (I was mightily sick last week and passed on my germs) and a very reambunctious (and teething) puppy who, I think, has decided that I'm Boring Mama. (Much of my day has involved taking things out of her inquisitive little mouth -- remote controls, asthma inhalers, eyeglasses, electrical cords -- and replacing them with toys and rawhide bones.) It's not really a recipe for profound thought.

    I'm finishing off our suppertime bottle of Peace Family Vineyard '06 Shiraz -- very good -- and am hunting for some chocolate. If I find any, I will share!

  74. Auuuggghhhhh!

    Thanks to some of your comments I checked the weather for tomorrow for mid-Michigan ... FREEZING RAIN? WTH?

    I have homemade pizza left, a meaty version and a veggie version. I also have mini M&Ms. Y'all hungry?

  75. Gord, you make me grateful for having a non-church-involved spouse. I'm so sorry about the way the committee brought these things to you. Is there a denominational executive type you can talk with about the whole thing?

  76. Aw man, that's harsh Gord. You're right - neither of those sounds like an M&P matter.

    I get so annoyed when cranky church people talk about "bringing in the young people" and then b*tch when said young people make a sound or (heaven forbid) touch the walls. Puhleeze.

    Ranting along with you there Gord.

  77. We're sick here, too. Three of us have a fever. Ugh.

    I am immensely grateful to Listing Straight this week, as the midrash provides the core of my sermon encouraging this congregation trust God and get moving in ministry. I'm also pointing out to this mostly elderly congregation that the Genesis story shows us that age is no excuse for not getting with it!

    Prayers for you, Teri, as you provide pastoral care from the pulpit tomorrow.

    ((Singing Owl)))

  78. Gord, you are absolutely right. It is NO PLACE to bring things like this up. sheesh.

    My spouse is music minister at another church. Thank you, Jesus.

    Is there a tactful way to tell them that this is not what this committee is for?

    Also, sounds like there's a lot of sickness here!

    Anybody looking for chicken soup?

  79. We are back from the city of the wedding. The rehearsal dinner is now finalized. Let the people say amen.

    I think I'm going to read the John text for tomorrow from The Message. It seems to speak a little more clearly than the NRSV.

    Hope the sermon writing is going well... and that no one has to pull an all-nighter.

    Peanut M&M's are in the bowl on the table.

  80. Just popping by to say hello. Not preaching tomorrow but working on a Sunday School lesson for the youth and prayer for worship, etc., while steadfastly avoiding cleaning the kitchen.

    Sorry to read of sickness, yucky church stuff, and bad weather. (Gord, what you're dealing with sounds so unpleasant!!).

  81. greetings to pk and earthchick. everyone is welcome, even if you aren't preaching!

  82. Gord,

    I'm sorry you're having to deal with that.

    My partner does not attend my church; one, because she deserves her own pastor and I'm not that person; two, because she knows that, however unfair it is, some congregants will persist in triangulating types of behavior.

  83. Well, the kitchen has been cleaned up twice with make-your-own pizza in between. Now I am weighing out go to bed and set early alarm or stay up now.. might be both.

    Sorry so many are fighting Da Bug and Gord is fighting da bugs.

  84. I took a bloggy break to finish my sermon,send WonderGirl off to the dance, have supper, and make a grocery store run.

    I have my sermon posted here.

    Gord: the "problem children" members of your committee need a *whap* with the cluestick, or as some clever person said earlier this week, the clue-by-four.

  85. Gord, when you're done with that clue-by-four, pass it my way. I could put it to good use. Argh.

  86. Gord--that's so lame. GRR.

    Once that clue-by-four goes around, can you send it over here? Maybe a good whack will bring me a sermon ending....(it's probably about that obvious too--I just can't see it yet.)

  87. OK - - I just read everything to catch up, and to say good night. I don't have a word written yet except for my blog. All my chances today were ruined by children who just wanted to love on me instead of take naps! I'm trying to put a positive spin on it. I'm feeling bad because it made me kind of grumpy with the toddler as the day wore on and the sermon was coming down on my shoulders even more. This is why I want to start getting them finished earlier in the week. Will that ever happen?

    Anyway, I'm chiming in now because I am not going to let myself come back until I'm done done done. Sadly, I just can't. Hopefully that means I'll be back to say goodnight in a couple of hours.

    I just started paying attention to the pronoun shift in Psalm 121. I know this happens a lot in psalms and I don't know if it's the most responsible way to deal with it, but I like thinking that it's one person talking the whole time, remembering how God has protected him/her and reassuring a new pilgrim that God's protection will be there for the journey, too. That works GREAT for my baptism tomorrow, too!!! Love love love it!!!

  88. ashe rev -- I'll leave the lights and the coffee on for you, and I'm praying for you. Sounds like some kinda day.

    teri -- hope you get that ending!

  89. Good night to those who will be soon to bed and Good Spirit to those who are still writing.

    She Rev and others with children of any age, I so greatly admire you for juggling parental and pastoral responsibilities.

  90. okay, I wrote an ending and posted the sermon.

    The sermon is still about 150 words shorter than normal, but I can't figure out what to add (if anything). oy.

    If anyone's still up and reads it, please comment because I know there must be some sort of gaping hole here! Have I left out the good news? The bad news? Some other news?

  91. Is anyone still up? Or did everyone get done early? Just checking back. Great to see some finished sermons!

    Take care everybody!

  92. I'm still up, trying to figure out if I have more to say than what I already said.

  93. I'm here, ready to start the night owl portion of the preacher's party.

    Songbird, have you heard of the Wendie plan? It's a way to juggle WW and try to break a plateau. You can follow this link and see if that might help. Good Luck.

  94. okay, teri, God's blessings on you. I have three services tomorrow, so I'm going to bed.

    vicar, throw a great party! and I'll check in tomorrow a.m.

    Gotta put my dog to bed now.

  95. P.S. I am thrilled to be one of the regular hosts of the preacher party now... and am learning on the job.

    Thanks for coming, drinking virtual coffee, eating virtual food and sharing real ideas and real encouragement!

  96. So are there any other late night preachers here?

  97. vicar, I'm still here but I think I am going to just let the sermon lie and come back to it in the morning. Maybe I'll see then if I left out something important.

    I sort of wonder if I need to mention any specifics--6 young people dead, 17 with lives physically changed forever, hundreds and thousands more who now inhabit a space we'd hoped to shield them from for just a little longer. I can't decide. And if I were to put something about that in there, how would I work it in? I can't seem to make it fit, which makes me feel like I'm forcing. Which is why I'm thinking of going to bed.

    But I'll leave you some Dr. Pepper for late night writing!

  98. I just got home from the dinner. So...yawn...I am still here, plugging away. I think I'm maybe half done.

  99. I'm back after about a 12 hour hiatus. Waiting for daughter to get back from a concert, and thought I should check in again. I have many notes, and a sense of an outline, but nothing cohesive yet. There is supposed to be snow by morning, but right now it's just rain. I may sleep on the couch until daughter gets home and then get up at four and finish this puppy.

  100. wow there's a crowd here!

    kim, a long time ago, I lived in Independence, went to school at William Jewell, and worked on the plaza. While I miss the plaza and Crown center (especially at Christmas time), I do not miss the snow at all.

  101. Vicar, Kim, Teri--glad to see there are other late-night writers here.

    Long story, but I was driving most of the day and then preparing for a house guest, and so I'm just getting started now. I have a few notes but 0 words. This may be an all-nighter.

    I'm focusing on the wind image...talking about how wind ebbs and flows, blows and stops, and how our faith does the same thing...but as Jesus says, just because you are born of the Spirit doesn't mean you know where it comes from or where it goes.

    Well, I think that's where I'm going. But I do need to use wind in some impressive way. My SO suggested setting up a large annoying fan on the congregation to show that wind is sometimes a real problem to what we have planned to do.

  102. semfem, the fan idea is too funny. We have air conditioner/heater vents that blow our altar candles out if they aimed the wrong way.

  103. Hey folks! good to see other late nighters out there...i'm a late night writer...whenever I try to get started before 11pm, something always distracts...hey, I should try my hand at macramé!... excuse me, I mean, something always distracts me from it.

  104. Hi All,
    Small groups had dinner tonight, so I hit three of them (appetizers, dinner and dessert - my own personal progressive dinner) and said no to wine three times so I could come home and write -- now I better do it.

    She Rev, wow, I hear you. Those "to nap or not to nap" days are so exahuasting.

  105. all my stuff is printed, I'm headed to bed. God be with y'all

  106. I'm done, for now. I'll be up early to take a look at what is on paper. I'll be sure to put the coffee on! G'night, preachers!

  107. ok, midnight way out west and I'm as done as I'm gonna be. still need an ending paragraph, but I can do that in the morning. Cheers to all still writing. See you on the other side of a few hours of sleep.

  108. I'm still here...dozing a bit at the desk, then writing a bit.

    Is anybody else still here?

  109. semfem, i'm still here. i had an idea, but it just wasn't coming, so I scrapped the whole thing and started from scratch...just over halfway are you doing?

  110. Leanne--still dozing some and then writing some. Doing more dozing than writing. Need to switch the proportions around. I have about a page written, so need to aim for 1.5-2 more.

    Hope you are coming along...

  111. Just woke up to try to finish this thing up. I think it was about halfway done when I went to bed at midnight (4 hours ago). If I finish in an hour I can catch anothe hour and a half of sleep. That's my goal!

    I did a good job at restricted myself from playing here last night. It wasn't much fun, but it helped my productivity. One of these days I'm going to get this done early and come play here all day Saturday just shouting out encouragement. (Don't hold your breath though.)

  112. welcome back she rev!
    semfem, you can do it. I've finished and am now recording so that I can hand over a digital copy to go on our website. joy oh joy oh joy.

  113. Um. I think I just finished! And none too soon.

    I think I am going with the fan idea.

    Thanks for the late night encouragement!

    You can do it, She-Rev, princess of power!

  114. I'm back again. No snow yet, still lots of rain. I dozed on teh couch until 2:30 when daughter FINALLY got home (we'll deal with that later!) I called her at 2:06 and she answered the phone:"On my way." Went to bed and set the alarm for 4:30, and finally got up at 5. It will be a napping afternoon. Any body else still here or back?

  115. Kim--I'm here, but going to take a shower now and get ready for the day. Just printed the sermon and my council report (ugh).

    It's definitely going to be a day for a holy nap. No doubt.

    Blessings on all preaching, pondering, and proclamation!

  116. I'm here and finishing up. I'm in central time so it's just about 5:30. I'm hoping to wrap it up here in the next 10 to 15 min so I can crawl back in bed until the first child wakes us up for the start of the morning rush! I also need to finish up my Prayers of the People. Lots to pray for this Sunday - - including you and others in your situation, Teri.

  117. ok, everyone! let's preach! and then NAP (if we can).

    glad to see the late-nighters had company...

  118. I think it's done (1999 words), I think it's pretty good. I have an idea for children's time, and now it is snowing...hard. Do I want to close church or go and shepherd the faithful and fearless few? Do I risk the safety of that f&f group that shouldn't be out in this, but probably would anyway? Lord, HELP!

  119. Oh well. I didn't get back to sleep for a little, but that's OK. Instead I got a little visitor and companion for the end of my little sermon journey - - a toddler in pink fuzzy pajamas and Johnny and the Sprites on TV. I'll take this over a little more sleep any day. (Well, ALMOST any day!)

  120. The religion piece on CNN this morning was an interview with the Lutheran and Catholic chaplains at NIU. Marty Marks (Lutheran) was marvelous, talking about free will. I bet it will be on their website later.
    Blessings to all who preach this day. I am looking forward to my "Little Easter" this morning: a mocha!!!

  121. The sermon is up and on my blog. I stuck with Nicodemus. I still love the midrash from Wednesday, however, and will be getting that book as soon as possible. Blessings be upon all preachers and your congregations today. May there be open hearts and open ears.

  122. Same here, SO, I'm off lectionary, so I'll just use mine next week.

  123. No church for us. Ice is shining on the tree branches, the roads are slick, and snow is on the way.

    Next week I will be in Seattle for my sister's memorial service, but I guess I'll be ready for the Sunday after that.

    Which was supposed to be my last Sunday--but odd and maybe wonderful things are happening here. I'm not sure what it all means, but I may not be going after all. 8^O ???!!!

  124. singing owl ... will want to know more about that story!!!


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