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Showing posts from 2007

Saturday Afternoon Video...

The MCC denomination has watched Amanda grow up and has cheered her all the way. What an amazing young woman. Have a hanky ready--she will move you.

Random Thoughts on the Way to Becoming a Sermon...

Joseph. The carpenter. The spouse of Mary. Jesus' earthly father. Him.

The Lectionary reading is about him this week, and I like that. I'm all about the ones who get overlooked, who no one notices, or really thinks about. And Joseph is one of those.

It must have been difficult for him--in his society, pregnancy before marriage just didn't happen--especially if the baby wasn't her fiance's. He had no idea what was going on, but it didn't happen in "decent families" and so he decided not to marry her after all. Now, I'm not sure, on one level, that he was being truly "righteous" when he decided not to marry her after all but not to make a stink about it. But then, we don't know what conversations Mary and Joseph had about it--if any.

Mary: "Look, I know this isn't the done thing. But it was the Spirit of God."
Joseph: (Incredulous) "Sure it was."

Another of those instances where we know the story so well we don'…

Tired, hungry

Week One of Pastoring/Office administering is behind me. I'm feeling frustrated because everything takes me twice as long as it really should--because I'm learning how to do it, and so I make mistakes. Lots of them. But it's very forgiving atmosphere (well, one would hope...) and the former OA is still volunteering. This week, he's training me and picking up the slack. Why did I decide to start the week before that Big Event that Will Smama mentioned earlier? Oh, yeah, a week's salary!

Tonight though, I'm feeling weary and hungry and worn out. I will grant you that part of that is because I was out late last night with Man About Town and some of our friends, celebrating the holidays before everyone takes off this weekend. And guess what that dear man gave me for Christmas? A gift certificate to the studio of my skin artist! (Lest you think all my friends are financially well-off, he received it because he donated some canned goods to our local mission through t…

Coda (which it doesn't fit either post but is interesting and an update)

Remember back in September I decided to get some skin art, inspired by Will Smama? And remember how the first appointment I could get was in January, and how I told them that if something came open earlier to call me?

Well, nothing's come open. And in talking to Man About Town the other day (he's a cousin of the artist), I learned that the wait time is now SIX FREAKIN' MONTHS! I feel lucky I only had to wait three.

And still excited by it--can't wait....January 23, 2008...

Two Weeks--Continued...

Well, in so many ways I am feeling blessed right now (see below). But I would trade it all for the health of two friends and active church members, one here in River City and one in Big Capitol City. They are wonderful people, and both are fighting variants of the same disease. Grief and worry is mingling with my happiness.

Two Weeks?!

Holy Advent, Batman! Has it really been two weeks since I blogged? Yikes...

Well, I will resist going back to the book I really would like to read (and highly recommend: "Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth Century America" by Lillian Faderman) to update you (yes, all ten or so of you!). There's been lots happening here in River City!

First, my ex, Army Guy, in a truly blessed moment of generosity, bought me a plane ticket to go to Big Capitol City and visit my son and friends after Christmas. He knows my financial situation (see below) and felt this was the best way to get TO and I together for the holidays. He didn't have to; but he did. And the interesting thing is, it's helped me heal some of the resentment I was (and am, a little) still feeling toward him. The most difficult part was moving past my pride to what's best for TO and our relationship (and thank you, Brit Boy, for the kick in the a** needed there). And blessin…

Advent Grumping Friday Five!

This week’s Friday Five sees Will Smama at her best:

Parishioners pushing for carols before you digested your turkey?

Organist refusing to play Advent hymns because he/she already has them planned for Lessons & Carols?

Find yourself reading Luke and thinking of a variety of ways to tell Linus where to stick it? (Lights please.)

Then this quick and easy Friday Five is for you! And for those of you with a more positive attitude, have no fear. I am sure more sacred and reverent Friday Fives will follow.

Please tell us your least favourite/most annoying seasonal....
1) dessert/cookie/family food
2) beverage (seasonal beer, eggnog w/ way too much egg and not enough nog, etc...)
3) tradition (church, family, other)
4) decoration
5) gift (received or given)
BONUS: SONG/CD that makes you want to tell the elves where to stick it.

I know, I know.... pretty grumpy for November but why not get it out of our systems now so we are free to enjoy the rest of the festivities.

Ooooh, I’m ready for this. I’m in …

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2007

Well what's to be said?

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was passed by the House of Representative of the US Congress, but without including gender identity. Non-Discrimination that is not inclusive is discriminatory.

And in Canada, gender reassignment surgery has not been added back to coverage under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). Ontario has the highest population of any of Canada's provinces.

The situation is not much better elsewhere.

The list below includes individuals who were killed by others out of fear and hatred as well as some who took their own lives out of pain and despair. We cannot accept this as simply status quo.

Those of us who call ourselves Christian have an obligation to include; to draw the circle of God's love as wide as possible.

God did not say to love your neighbours who are like yourself; but to love your neighbour as much as you love yourself.

We remember the ones we have lost--friends, neighbours, loved ones, family members,…

Whatever is Pure, Honourable, Just, True, Pleasing, Excellent, Worthy of Praise…

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Well, that’s the meme for the RevGalBlogPals’ Friday Five today.So here goes:
1. Just: The Heifer Project.You’ve probably heard of the Heifer Project. An individual receives an animal or animals (heifer, flock of chickens, swarm of bees) from the Project, and thus has a start on a good income. When the flock/swarm is large enough, they are to share the extra with their neighbours; whenthe heifer calves, the young one goes to a neighbour. And so the wealth is shared. And you can too, here.
2.True: Mr.M., my dog. He’s older now, and finds stairs a challenge (well, he does anyway, being a Welsh Corgi). But when I come upstairs to work in my home study, he ignores my commands to “stay” downstairs and struggles up to be with me. Unfortunately, I can’t carry him up and down on a regular basis, as he is just over my carrying limit at 35 pounds. But he wants
to be where I am (typical Corgi), and will do what it takes to make that happen.3. Excellent: The care of my friends. I can’t begin to…

Extravagant Unbusyness…

I love the name and the idea! Sally at RevGalBlogPals is using this for the Friday Five. It’s all about self-care, and finding those little bits of the day to do something for oneself. So without further ado, here we are.Five things I would do to:1. Care for my bodyMove more. Living close to downtown River City as I do, I can often walk to events and all those band venues I love so much—also the main library, one of the two hospitals in town where I often have members, my favourite record store, my hairstylist, several friends and a couple of bookstores. The church is a bit too far, and I usually have too many heavy items to walk to the grocery store, but otherwise I don’t have to drive. I need to walk more often. It doesn’t add that much time, and it would be good for me.2. Care for my spiritLook out my window. I have two in my study at home (the ones in my office at church are frosted), and there are trees and squirrels and flowers (well, not any more, given the season here), and I …

Friday Five on Sunday!!

Special Edition! Only two days late!
Mother Laura’s Friday Five on interviews…. (yes, I’m running behind this week)1. What was the most memorable interview you ever had?
This one’s easy. My final interview before being sent to the conference’s three-day ordination interview (technically, consecration interview, since it was for probationary elder status). It took place at 10 am on Wednesday, September 12, 2001, near Washington, D.C. Needless to say, neither myself nor any member of the district committee on ordained ministry was in a fit state to decide my future. Nonetheless, we forged ahead, calling on the Holy Spirit for strength and guidance and comfort—many of us had friends in the Pentagon. The worst ones ever have been two of my ordination interviews. Nerve-wracking, with questions that I knew I had to answer honestly even though the answers weren’t what the interviewers wanted to hear (and they weren’t wrong answers, just not “politically correct” according the mores of the deno…

In Honour of Music Man's Challenge This Week....

One of my all-time favourite comedy routines...I laugh until I cry every time!

Food and the Friday Five!

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RevHRod at the RevGals is posing food questions for the Friday Five...

If you were a food, what would you be?
Chocolate Volcano Cake. Warm, generally liked and popular, with hidden depths not everyone is aware of. Also sometimes a mess.

What is one of the most memorable meals you’ve ever had? And where?
When my ex-husband and I lived in Germany, we had German friends who had a “cottage” on the Starnberger See, near Munich. One Sunday afternoon we went for a sail in their boat and returned to the cottage for dinner. The wind had picked up while we were on the water and clouds had come in. By the time we got back to the cottage, changed, and sat down to dinner, the rain was coming down in gentle gusts. Eva had made sauerbraten (marinated in town and brought in the day before in expectation of our visit). To “take away the chill,” we had shots of Jagermeister, then beer while we waited for dinner to finish cooking. Besides the sauerbraten (and a good burgundy—in the days when I was still dri…

Self Care in the Form of Ink--Postponed...

...Not through my procrastination, for once! I consulted, we designed, we agreed...and the first available date is at the end of January!!

Which will do several things: allow me to save up the cost separately from my "splurge fund;" allow me to get very nervous; allow me to become more certain; allow RDQ and Man About Town plenty of time to save the date.

So. I'm on hold for the moment. Maybe this will also allow me to learn some patience.

Thank You For the Friday Five!

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RevGalBlogPals is recognizing Harvest with a Thankfulness Friday Five. So here are six things I am grateful for.(I never was good at math).

My mother. She’s unfailingly supportive, even when she doesn’t quite understand why or doesn't think it’s a good idea. She’s never said, “I told so.” She’s raised me and my sisters to be independent women who never thought we couldn’t do anything we wanted to do. She lived through some difficult times, both in her own life and family and in the world at large, and has come out of it a strong, positive, happy and healthy woman who smashes all the stereotypes of older women.

My son. TO is my favourite person in the whole world. We haven’t spent as much time together in the last few years as either of us would like, but we love each other and keep in touch in a variety of ways (a subsidiary thanks here for cell phones and Facebook). He has grown into a intelligent, caring, aware young man, and I am very proud of him.

My friends here. I’ve lived in R…

More Self Care in the Form of Ink

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Wyldthing crystalised it it for me..."Put it where you want it...Pain is temporary."

This is my art, my body, my body art--am I going to let a stupid thing like pain stop me from getting what I really want?

H-e-double-hockey-sticks no!

RDQ and Man About Town have offered to accompany me. The company will be appreciated--more fun to share, don't you think?

So I'm going to set up an appointment with the artist today...

And that feels very good.

Edited to add: I'm going for the consultation tomorrow. We'll find out if this is even feasible. Editing may be required.

Self Care in the Form of Ink

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Will Smama, over at Preacher, blogger or procrastinator, is brilliant. She's getting some skin art next week and her posts about the journey toward that event are labelled "self care."

I like it.

I've been toying with the idea of a tattoo for a long time. More seriously since I've been single. I went so far as to actually consult with an artist a couple months ago. The good news? He knew exactly what I wanted--the triquetra symbol--and felt able to design one in rainbow colours. He was enthusiastic about it, in fact. The bad news? The location I had in mind (over my heart--well not literally, but on my chest; a root chakra), it turns out, would be painful, as there is not much padding there. Apparently, the bonier the location, the more pain. I never thought I would 1) hear that I don't have enough padding somewhere, and 2) have a complete stranger prodding that area of my anatomy in a public place.

We discussed some alternatives--other locations--but since it i…
The RGBP Friday Five from ReverendMother… We’re talking meetings!

1. What's your view of meetings? Choose one or more, or make up your own:
a) When they're good, they're good. I love the feeling of people working well together on a common goal.
I have to admit, I do like a good meeting. I like to work with others, hear other points of view, hear what other people are doing in their jobs/agencies/committees, figure out how we can work together to meet a common goal, and get ideas from other people on new ways of solving problems or doing things.

2. Do you like some amount of community building or conversation, or are you all business?
I do like a few minutes of “checking in,” if no other reason than if someone is having a crisis or even just a bad day, it’s going to impede the group. But more importantly, I really do view groups as organic, and we’re only as strong as we are together. We have to support each other, and that includes where we are in our heads.

3. How do you feel a…

Youth Group of a Different Kind

OK, let’s talk about youth. No, I know we weren’t—or maybe you weren’t. But they remain one of the most vulnerable populations in society—kids from 13 to 21 years old. And of those youth, the most vulnerable are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth. They face a higher rate of suicide than their straight peers, a greater risk of being homeless, of being forced into sex work, of substance abuse, and of being HIV/AIDS+.
Why? Simple. If they come out, they are often rejected by family, friends, church, school—the support system they so desperately need at that age, no matter their orientation. So they run away from home or are kicked out, and because most shelters aren’t set up for youth—or are not supportive of GLBT youth, especially trans youth—they end up on the street, often as sex workers.
Even if they are accepted by family and friends, it can be very difficult for them to feel at home in larger society at a time of life when all the forces of socialization are pushing th…

What's Your World View?

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I'm not sure I entirely agree with the conclusions (or all the questions) but another interesting quiz. Thanks, RDQ!

You scored as Idealist, Idealism centers around the belief that we are moving towards something greater. An odd mix of evolutionist and spiritualist, you see the divine within ourselves, waiting to emerge over time. Many religious traditions express how the divine spirit lost its identity, thus creating our world of turmoil, but in time it will find itself and all things will again become one.

Idealist81%Cultural Creative81%Postmodernist56%Existentialist44%Fundamentalist38%Romanticist31%Modernist13%Materialist0%
What is Your World View?
created with QuizFarm.com

Testing....

Rihanna - Umbrella lyrics

I'm thinking about using this as an illustration for the sermon tomorrow. Is that too edgy?
Hmmm

Is It Fall Yet?

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RevGalBlogPals Friday Five, courtesy of Reverendmother, in honour of the US/Canadian Labour Day weekend, traditional end of the summer.A highlight of the summer....
Can I say the whole month of July? It started with ten days of my denomination’s General Conference. The term comes from the Methodist church, which also calls meetings conferences. In the early days of the circuit riding pastors, largely isolated from each other except for conferences, there were some clergy who felt Conference should be considered a sacrament. When I was a United Methodist, I didn’t quite understand, as UM conferences have become more business-like and less sacramental. But now that I too am the one and only representative of my denomination in my fair city, I understand much better the value of these meetings—the sacrament of presence with each other. And I personally am spoiled—with 7 MCC churches within three hours’ drive in various directions, I am in a rare position among MCC clergy. So this gatherin…

Friends

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Not Brit Boy...

It's been a difficult week for me, and I'm not sure why. Heck, it's been a difficult month. At first I thought I felt depressed and slow and unmotivated because I was tired after eight non-stop weeks. As some of you know, I literally ran from one event to another from early June to early August. TO's high school graduation, with a ten-hour drive on each end of the weekend. Then two weeks of preparation for being gone for ten days with Pride following shortly thereafter. Gone for ten days, come back to a wedding the day I arrived back in River City. Then the three weeks of thousands of details getting ready for Pride week. Imagine Easter and Christmas rolled together for a mainstream church and you get an idea of what the Pride worship service means for a church in the GLBT community. And we had one of our denomination's singers/evangelists coming for that weekend as well, and staying with me as a houseguest. In addition to the church's events (wo…

Friday Five: Cultural Edition

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The RevGalBlogPals Friday Five this week is about cultural expression and spirituality. Warning...I left the Friday Five behind and got carried away towards the end.The challenge was to name one of each of these--book, movie, art, etc.--and why or how it affected your spiritual journey.

Book
This one is really difficult for me—there have been several.I won’t include the Bible, since that’s pretty basic.But there have been threethat have had a powerful influence. Coming Out Spiritually, by Christian de la Huerta. Should I just say that we can take this one for granted? I can’t overstate the significance this book had on me—in coming out, in being able to recognize on a psychological and spiritual level (rather than simply rational level) that I am and always will be a beloved child of God, and that there are many ways of being spiritual that respect the God I follow.The God of Israel and Christian Theology, by R. Kendall Soulen, pushed me to think about the real-world negative results of…

Friday Five--Holiday Edition

The RevGalBlogPals are all about word association today. So here we go.1. Vineyard The vineyards on the sloped banks of the Rhine River in Germany, seen through a fine drizzle. A memory of a long-ago vacation.2. Root

Grounding, basis, foundation. We grow from and are shaped by our roots.3. RescueAn image of one person leaning down and pulling another to safety. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about friendship and mutual support and love and caring for one another; rescue is one of the things we do as friends, too.4. Perseverance A needle scraping away at a brick wall. Also on my mind recently. It’s tiring and frustrating and sometimes even painful. And sometimes it still doesn’t get you anywhere.5. DividedA wall or moat. A river. Perhaps an ocean. Some kind of barrier. It splits and separates what was meant to be together: two people, a nation, a family.Short and sweet today.

(My apologies for the wonky formatting. I can't get blog…

Put Down the Duckie

What duckie do you need to put down to play your saxophone?

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five Stress Buster Edition

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It’s Friday and once again I have posted nothing but last Friday’s meme! Arghhh!This week, appropriately enough as I head off on vacation/holidays, we’re talking stress relief.Sally asks:First, and before we start busting stress, what causes you the most stress, is it big things or the small stuff?Both, really. I worry over the big stuff and try to plan for every possible contingency and obsess over what I’m saying or doing or planning. The little stuff builds up—too many little things going wrong in one day can be a huge source of stress.Exercise or chocolate for stress busting ( or maybe something else) ?Well, it’s not exactly chocolate, but I do tend to escapism—a book or web surfing or a favourite movie or a computer game—something like that. Usually I can get back to whatever it is that’s bugging me with a clearer head after a while away from it.What is your favourite music to chill out to?
Some good classic rock and roll. Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, …

On Pilgrimage

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Uluru

It’s Friday and I haven’t posted in forever, so to get things started, here’s the Friday Five meme from Reverendmother at RevGalBlogPals. 1. Have you ever been on a pilgrimage? (however you choose to define the term) Share a bit about it. If not, what's your reaction to the idea of pilgrimage?
My trip to Poland in the spring of 2001 to study the Holocaust was a pilgrimage. Our visits to the concentration camps and ghettos were pilgrimages within the pilgrimage. Each person in our group had burdens related to the trip: German or Polish ancestry, military service, having been raised in the Roman Catholic faith, and so on. The two most powerful moments for me were standing at the execution wall in Auschwitz and at the monument in Treblinka. Two among many.
2. Share a place you've always wanted to visit on pilgrimage.
There are a couple. One is Iona, the site of Reverendmother’s recent pilgrimage. The other is almost literally at the other end--of the world, and of the spiritual…

Prayer for Pride Flag-Raising

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River City Pride kicked off today with the traditional flag raising at City Hall. The gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and two-spirited rainbow flag flies in front of City Hall, in place of River City's municipal flag, for the week of Pride. The mayor and the chair of the Pride Festival Committee together raised the flag, where a nice breeze snapped it taut.

As pastor of the River City MCC, I traditionally bless the Pride flag and the Pride Week festivities. This is the prayer I used this year, modified only slightly from last year.


Prayer for Pride Flag Raising Spirit of Creation, we know you by so many names—Ground of Being, Grandfather, Gaia, Higher Power, Jesus the Christ, Allah, God, Void, and so many others. Bless us, your people, as we gather to celebrate in the coming days. Bless our pride in who we are, in all our diversity, as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, intersexed, two-spirited, questioning, and straight people, as an expression of your creative love. Bles…

Reaction to The Good Sam

Well, several of you have asked, here on the blog and in emails, how it went over.

Sank without a ripple. No reaction afterwards. Not "Good one," nor "You might want to rethink telling stories."

In my experience, that means people are trying to decide if they liked it or not. It might have disturbed them a bit. Maybe it made them mad. Maybe they liked the point but not how I made it.

It's OK. I'm sure I'll hear more in the next few days. One thing about this congregation--they do tell me how they feel about my sermons.

And all I can say is, the Board wanted me to push the envelope. They said so in my evaluation. Can you blame me for taking them at their word?

I'll keep you posted on any more energetic reaction.

The Good Sam

(My sermon for this Sunday, July 15.)Greg groaned and tried to stand. His head hurt, but when he tried to raise a hand to touch it, the pain his shoulder stopped him short. Slowly he remembered; the picket outside that disgusting club—Miss KittyKat’s, it was called, full of drag queens and kings, perverts, homos and lezzies of every kind. He and the others from Missionary Four-Square Bible Church had shown them the power of God’s wrath, for sure. 100 strong, they had picketed that place of sin until the police made them leave. He must have taken a wrong turn on the way back to the subway—he put a hand to his back pocket. His wallet was gone! He had been mugged! The grinding pain in his head made his knees sag and he sat down hard on the doorstep. How was he going to get home? Then the grinding pain overwhelmed him again and he fell into darkness. Ryan hurried down the street. Marian was going to be furious, that was for sure. Ryan had promised his wife he’d be home by midnight, and he…

Enneagram

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free enneagram test

Yep, I'm a Type 2. Mother Teresa or a manipulative s.o.b., depending on whether I'm healthy or not.

Thanks to RDQ for posting hers which led me to do the same.

We Have a Photo!

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As promised, a photo of RDQ and RP at our Conference. RP is on the left (you can tell by the rainbow scarf), RDQ on the right.

Dinner, Part II

Well, I promised to let you know the results of coming out to two friends from high school.First of all, let me say how much they both are like they were in high school. One is still a little off-centre, off-beat. The other is still serene and sweet. And they’re still friends!We went to dinner and when the question came up about what MCC was, I took a deep breath and plunged in.The story of leaving the United Methodist Church and transferring to MCC was quickly told, and I lookedfrom one face to the other. “It must have been very difficult for you to do that,” said Off-Beat. “I’m impressed that you were able to speak your truth.”“The church has a ways to go,” said Serene. And that was it.Now, the emails may have flown fast and furious the next day, I don’t know. But the rest of the evening passed uneventfully, just three friends hanging out talking, drinking the white wine and iced tea. And when she dropped me off, Serene said, “Be sure to let me know when you’re in town next so we ca…