Heart Flutter

Last night, I went to the place where hipsters pretend they are cooler than cool. It's a bar I don't actually enjoy because it's filled with young kids and loud music. Really loud music -- but last night I went to hear Musicman spin.

That's what we're going to call this boy. He's going to be the Musicman, partly because that's what he does and partly because he swooped into town and blew me away like some cheesy musical.

So, anyhow, I went to hear him spin. He's a DJ and a drummer and a writer and other things. But, last night, he was the DJ at the obnoxious bar. Clearly, I was going to see him. This was the first time that I had the opportunity to actually see him in action in the now two weeks that I have known him. I still think this is a little like the Match.com guys that want to "check me out" at church. But, I'm assured that's not the case. They may be stars in my eyes, but he was good. Really good, I thought -- though the snobby kid with the faux-hawk seated at a nearby table did not think so. Get a haircut kid.

I didn't want to be sitting there alone so I brought friends. I'm scared of the people in this bar. I don't want to talk to them so I brought people I wanted to talk to while Musicman did his thing. After we got our drinks, I went over to say hello to him. I felt really awkward about this for two reasons: (1) I was having that weird 'I'm with the band' feeling and (2) I would be horrified if someone I knew approached me in the pulpit in the middle of worship. Somehow, this was the same thing to me. That's why I had my girlfriends. They told me that's what I was supposed to do. So I did. He managed to somehow get away from all his equipment to visit with us later on. He met my friends. He was engaging, charming and adorable. The second time he comes over, he tells me that when I first approached him that night, I made his heart flutter. He said this holding his heart. I think mine fell on the floor.

I let him talk me into another drink which was a complete ploy to make me stay until the end of the gig. I didn't pick up on this. I just thought I was walking home after seeing this talented cute boy. And then, I would actually get a full night sleep. Not true. I don't know what I was thinking. Instead, I helped him load his stuff into the car and he gave me a ride home. He asked if I wanted to take a walk in the park -- and that's when we sat on a park bench and talked about how we're both scared. This isn't what we expected and it's going fast. It's good. It's really good. But, we're both a little overwhelmed. Did I mention that he brought up this topic? My heart flutters.

Yeah, and then we made out like teenagers. Again. Glory. Alleluia.


My Very Own Emotional Roller Coaster

I've been the giddy girl this week. Aside from angry grieving daughter, things have been great at church. Things have been great in my personal life. Life is pretty fantastic. Really.

This morning, I'm crying. Yes, that's why I'm an emotional roller coaster. In about 30 minutes, I'll be officiating at the funeral of a church member that I came to adore. This is the first time I have witnessed a memorial service for someone that I actually knew. And for some obvious reasons, I think this is going to be a little hard. I think I can pull myself together but I'm awestruck at how life presents itself in so many dazzling colors.


Happy Things

I was tagged by APBS to name the ten things for which I’m grateful -- which is a fun summer exercise for this young preacher gal that can't stop with the stupid smile.

1. Making out like teenagers. (Judge what you will.)
2. Rising to a Challenge
3. Reading words written by another that resonate with my heart in poetry, in blog, in book or in the sand at the beach.
4. Having steady work, health insurance and a pension, when the economy is so crazed and driving a Prius when gas prices are sky-high. (I copied this one from Sarah as I have offered this thanksgiving several times over recently).
5. My baby sister that turns 17 today!
6. Having family that I know I can turn to when something goes wrong. Or even when something goes right.
7. Finding and creating community across the many places I have called home.
8. Having the perfect song come on the radio which calls me to sing out of tune or dance around my apartment like a crazy woman. This also works really well with running outside. 80s music is great for that.
9. When God proves that I'm not the cynic or pessimist I think I am. It's humbling but I love it when God proves me wrong.
10. The women of YCW that read my blog. In our virtual board meeting yesterday, I was overwhelmed by the power of the prayer community we share and I often take for granted.

And so, it is now my task to tag others, so here it goes: Rev. Ez, Ann, Pink Shoes, Teri, Father Stacy.


Too Good to Be True

Have you ever had this conversation with someone?

You start talking about how everything seems to be clicking so well that you are both unnerved. I find this is not really something to complain about. But, it has happened often recently. There's my friend that got dumped by mean boy last night. She and I have had this conversation several times over. We've only known each other a year -- but our friendship just fell into sync. This happened with another friend when I moved here. He is like my brother. It was so overwhelming in the beginning of our friendship that he asked me if we were dating -- and because he's gay, I thought this was hysterical. This would be a good day to write that article for The Ones We Love that I have been meaning to write.

And yet, the reason I'm thinking about how things are a little too good to be true this morning is because of my fabulous date last night. There were cocktails, food, a walk on the pier, cuddling on a bench watching the planes fly in (ok, it doesn't sound that great), another glass of wine and some making out.

Between sips of that last glass of wine, we actually had that conversation about things being too good to be true. It wasn't awkward or strange. We both agreed. There was happy silence between us -- the kind that you don't rush to fill. You are just happy to be together. That's when the conversation started about this too good to be true business. This is a little unnerving for me. Ok, totally unnerving. But, I think I like this boy. I think I really, really like this boy -- and this seems too good to be true. Who the hell cares though? I'm going to wear my silly girly smile into the day and pray no one dies because I can't stop smiling.


This is Why I Love My Job

Because I sat here this morning with church members studying the Book of Ruth and looking at this view.

This is why my job is the best.

I'm Not the Senior Pastor

A church member died on Monday.

Angry daughter just appeared in the building to announce that she wanted the funeral here. Mind you, she had already decided she didn't want me to do the service. She's going to wait two weeks until the Senior Pastor is back from vacation. Ahem. But, the church is not avaiable. It's under construction. We have covenanted to meet the deadline of a church member's wedding...

No, we can't make exceptions.
No, I'm sorry. We are trying to honor a church member's wedding date.
Yes, I know your mother was a member for a long time.
Yes, I understand this is hard. I'm so sorry.
No, I can't make that decision. You will have to speak with the Senior Pastor when he's back from vacation.

I understand that she wants the pastor that has ministered to her mother for 18 years. I understand this is hard. But, I WAS THE ONE THAT FUCKING VISITED HER IN THE HOSPITAL! I was the one that walked with her toward death, not my colleague. Intellectually, I get it. But, this was not a good end to my day.

I have to go get in a good mood before my date. (Ooooooooooh! Yes! A Second Date!) And this means, I must leave the church building. NOW.


Too Much Religion

I know it's Tuesday and most of you will be annoyed that I have a sermon draft today -- but this week looks ahead to many a funeral, and I need this to be done (with the Senior Pastor on vacation especially). I would love insight as I feel that it doesn't wrap up all that well -- though perhaps that's not a big surprise with the story of the binding of Issac (Genesis 22:1-14).

Too much religion. That was the unanimous opinion of my family last weekend. The memorial service for my grandfather was nice – but the minister was a little heavy on the religion. It was too much. Too much religion.

Maybe this was the same thought in the back of Abraham’s mind when he makes his way to Moriah to “offer [his son] as a burnt offering.” Even as he “rose early in the morning” to go to the mountain that God would show him. Even though he was going to worship on top of that mountain, perhaps Abraham thought – somewhere in the back of his mind – this is just a little too much religion.

My family’s complaint was the long-winded preacher’s repeated emphasis on the passion of Jesus. They wanted to celebrate my grandfather’s 79 years of life – not focus on the sacrifice that Jesus may have offered with his life. My aunt said that the point was made, but he didn’t have to keep going on about it. My father protested that the death of Jesus was not the assurance he wanted, not at this moment, if ever. It was all just too much. Too much religion – as I suspect it must have been for Abraham – even if he doesn’t seem to bat an eye.

Our human response is to assume that Abraham is angry and a little indignant. We assume that he’s questioning the accepted Jewish ritual observance of offering a sacrifice to his God – but none of this appears in the Biblical account. But, it’s not there – “no anguish, no heated arguments with Sarah, no teetering on the edge of faith.” Abraham just goes to the top of that mountain with his son following at his heels asking, “where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

And even with this question, Abraham doesn’t waiver. He assures his son that God will provide that lamb. God will provide, and they walk on together with the certain awareness that God never said this was going to be easy. The stuff of faith is not supposed to be easy. Sarah can laugh at God all she wants, but the God Abraham has come to know has done some pretty amazing things – all the while promising that “God will bless those who bless him, and the one that curses Abraham God will curse.” So, really what could go wrong? Why would Abraham’s faith teeter as he raises that knife to kill his son?

This is a stark and frightening image. Abraham was just listening to the voice of God. He “thought it would be the right thing, in God’s eyes.” But, these are not Abraham’s words. Even though he looks up, we don’t know if Abraham is looking up to see God’s eyes. We only know that when he looks up, he sees a ram.

This idea of it being the right thing in God’s eyes isn’t offered in the Biblical account. It’s transcribed by a Methodist pastor named Pat who shares the story of Anola Dole Reed with her friend over cups of tea. Her friend Rebecca is also a pastor, and they often share cups of tea and talk about the loneliness that often accompanies ministry. Pat confessed to her friend, “He killed her. With a kitchen knife. In front of three of their children. The baby was sleeping.” Rebecca listened to her friend’s story and then dared to ask the question we all wonder when we hear these kinds of stories, “Why?”

That’s when Pat talked about how Anola thought she was doing the right thing, in God’s eyes. This woman who had been murdered by her husband with a kitchen knife while her three children watched, thought she was doing the right thing. Anola was keeping the family together. Pat explained the pastoral challenge of this situation:

“A good woman would be willing to accept personal pain, and think only of the good of the family. You know, ‘Your life is only valuable if it’s given away’ and ‘This is your cross to bear.’ She heard, just like you and I have, that Jesus didn’t turn away from the cup of suffering when God asked him to drink it. [Anola] was trying to be a good Christian, to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.”

Too much religion. That’s what it sounds like to me. This is the kind of faith that ignores that Sarah or even Ishmael might have had something to say about Abraham’s actions. It is the kind of religion that focuses so tightly on the bindings – whether those are the bindings that held Issac to that wooden altar or the limitations that hold us back to a certain set of beliefs.

This is too much religion. It’s too much when we ignore how our stories and those on the news and those seated beside us don’t become part of how we hear the Biblical account.

Too much religion is what happened to Paul when he wrote his many letters to Rome or Corinth reminding the newly forming Christian communities what it means to practice love. Paul thought that the world was going to end. Any day now, Jesus would come back. His understanding of faith was all about sacrifice – because there was nothing to live for. Jesus was coming back and so these early Christian communities didn’t worry about how to govern themselves or what to sing. The only way for them to understand love was to look forward to the end of what they knew in Jesus’ triumphant return to earth.

But, we have stories. We are not limited in this way. Like Abraham, we look up in search of answers – but when no ram appears – we turn toward each other. This is what it means for us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Like Anola, we are trying to be good Christians. We are trying to be faithful – but that doesn’t mean that our lives are full of sacrifice. We want to do the right thing in God’s eyes, but we aren’t seeking tests. After all, it’s summer time. We would rather leave the tests and rules behind us, even if this is a story about Abraham being tested. We’re not counting the crosses we bear to evidence our devout faith.

If this were so, we would have no room for joy. There is plenty of personal pain. But, when there is too much religion, there never seems to be enough room for joy. And in a world full of sacrifice, abuse and tough stories, it seems that there needs to be more room for joy – if only we are brave enough to seek it buried beneath all of the bindings of our shared faith.

The story of Pastor Pat is from Proverbs of Ashes, which you should read. It's one of my favorite books on a very tough subject. I found another great sermon illustration in the chapter on Divine Suffering in She Who Is. It was a tough choice. I hope I made the right one.


Children and Communion

I'm searching for story books that parents can share with their children about communion -- what it means, what it's like, the words we use, why we do it. All that stuff. I can't find a book. I'm horrified my denomination doesn't have one. They have some good books for parents -- but nothing that can be shared with kids.

Am I going to have to write one?


Book Challenge XI

Today I finished Zadie Smith's second book The Autograph Man. When I bought this at the local independent bookstore off the sale table, the nice bookseller told me that Smith fans thought this was her best book. I took this as a good sign having recently read On Beauty. I didn't like the second half of White Teeth -- but I really liked On Beauty so I was willing to give this a shot.


Smith has an interesting look at the world -- but it took a long time to get there with a character that I didn't really like all that much. But, I got there and so I move onto my next book. Sorry this isn't a ringing endorsement. I wish it were. I so wish it were.

Girls in the Pulpit

Last summer, when I attended the Young Clergy Women Project's Testimony Conference in Washington DC, my colleagues and I wrote a manifesta of what it means for us to be young, female and clergy. One of the lines of this manifesta that echoes in my head often is:
Let little girls play in the pulpit.

On Sunday, before church when she would be baptized, one of our little members told me that she wants to be a minister. After the hand shaking ritual after worship, I went back into the sanctuary to see this same little girl playing in the chancel. Her father reminded her that if she was going to be a minister, she couldn't roll around like that. Not intending to undermine her father, I encoruaged her to play in this space and then asked her if she wanted to see something "really cool."

I took her hand and led her to the pulpit where she cooed into the microphone and smiled boldly in stepping into this sacred space.

It was truly a moment for all little girls that dream of following God's call into the unknown.


Powerful Presence

I been prayin' more.

I find this is not a perfect art. But, I've been trying to practice more often -- I'm actually trying to practice a lot more often. Running. Hiking. Writing. Painting. Praying. These are the things that I'm trying to do more often. All in all, this results in a good week -- except for the teeny weeny fact that I got a little bitter recently. The lonely thing got a little overwhelming. I got to the point where I felt like the only one of my friends that wasn't in love (which, I can rationally admit is not so). I was not rational though. I was irrationally bitter -- which, might I add, made me a cup of joy to be near.

So, anyhow, I been prayin' more. It started when my spiritual director (I think I failed to post that I found one and it was good and I'm jazzed) asked me what God looked like now -- rather than what God looked like before. This may sound insane, but I hadn't thought about what God means to me now as an ordained person in the throws of ministry. Uh. Yeah. This is what I've been prayin' about. I started with that one word from Ezekiel in a little centering prayer. I repeated it over and over again. Prophesy. Prophesy. In my mind, it was framed as a revelation. I was looking for God to speak. (After all, I am one of those UCCers that believes God is still speaking). Now, I'm allowing myself to be present to this revelation. To see it. To touch it. To taste it. To drink it in. I still don't have a prophesy, but I do have more of a presence. Or rather, I'm more aware of that presence that I don't know how to name.

This got me thinking today because I met a boy. I'm going to try not to the gushy part where I soar ahead in time to the time when we are married with children in rock bands. Yeah, see that's a problem. Anyhow, I met this boy on the dreaded internet and he might be just perfect for me. We had lunch together today after church. And then, just as I'm daydreaming about him, he sends me a text message to tell me that he had a "blast" today and wants to see me again. AMEN! That was actually my reply. Did I mention he's a PK?

There is something about being in the same place as that thing that you want to be near -- no matter if it's a new love interest, your baby sister filling out college applications, your good friend on the nearby treadmill or the presence of God. There is something about being close that changes that relationship. It makes me more intimate and all the more wonderful. This is what I'm looking forward to this week -- being closer to God, my sister, my good friends and this new romance.


Preaching about Marriage

Y'all are sweet to ask about my sermon.

My words in reflection of Genesis 12:1-9 are below. It's a sermon I called Barren Places. Somehow, my wonderful preaching professor urged me to talk about justice without being aggressive -- so I manage to be pastoral (to a fault). The response was that we needed a reminder about being Open & Affirming. I think we need more than a reminder, but OK. The lesbians (or as I call them, my lesbians) were all there in the front row. I name them in my sermon except for one -- who did the Children's Sermon so beautifully. They each cried. I freakin' cried.

I did a couple of other things in the service that changed the tone so that these words were not the focus. I made them sing (and dance) to Father Abraham for the first hymn. I led. We laughed and were filled with joy. And then, I benedicted by asking each worshipper to greet their neighbor and learn their name and one thing about them. And then, they were to acknowledge that they were family with the words I offered in the benediction. Because of these things, my sermon was no longer the focus -- but I'd be interested to hear reactions.

This is a story of beginnings. It’s the story that you may never have asked your own parents. (Never mind your Biblical ancestors.) It’s the story your parents were probably reluctant to tell – like how my step-mother was tripped into my father’s lap in a bar by a wise friend. The details may not be as juicy for Abram and Sarai – but we don’t know. The story isn’t told. Without any romance or ceremony, the list of ancestors in chapter 11 assures us that Abram took Sarai as his wife. That’s how the story begins. Abram takes Sarai as his wife – but that’s not all. Sarai is barren. You can’t trip over that bar stool. There is no way around that one. This is so much more than a juicy detail. This is a scandal! The story begins in a place without hope or possibility. This is a story that begins in a barren place.

Before we learn that Abram is expected to have children at 75 years old. Before God tells Abram that he will be made “a great nation” where all of the “families of the earth shall be blessed.” Before the risk of divorce for Sarai’s inability to bear her husband a son. Before God told Abram to go anywhere at all, this is just a story about when two people fell in love. This is just a story of beginnings – a beginning where Abram and Sarai affirm their love for one another before their friends and family.

This is the honeymoon phase of any relationship – before anyone knows that she will be barren or that he will become the father of us all. These facts are, of course, what confuse us. We know Abraham and Sarah how we know our own parents – as parents, not as high school sweethearts or even as young people tripping over bar stools in the Old Port. We don’t really want to know the details. We’d prefer the idealized version without the family pressures or scandal or any other complicating factors. Our parents can keep the barren places, in the past – where they belong.

I never wanted that. I wanted to know all of these complicating factors. As a child, I wanted to know every last detail about my parents, partly because it was the only way that I had to know my mother after she died. I only had these stories about their beginning. And then, my father remarried – and I got a new story of beginnings – but even so, my family’s beginning didn’t look like the beginnings of other families.

I was a child in the 80s when divorce rates soared. None of my peers had typical families – with one mother and one father. But, my mother didn’t live on the other side of town. My parents weren’t divorced. And so, I thought that our family – like Sarai – was barren. There was an emptiness. There was a void that I so badly wanted to be filled. I wanted my father to get married again. I thought that would make everything whole again.

Of course, this isn’t just a childish impulse. We all want the honeymoon. We all want our community to affirm our love so that barren feeling turns into blessing – even among the most complicating factors. It seems like a scandal – but perhaps it is just a barren place waiting for a beginning. Or maybe it’s even simpler about that. Maybe it’s just about love and the beginnings of love – as for Abram and Sarai. It’s about beginning a list of ancestors as two people start their lives together – as Joshua and Benjamin did.

The New York Times Magazine recently featured their story. They met in college. One of them wanted to see other people. The other was in hot pursuit and soon – they fell in love. And as so many of us do, Joshua and Benjamin wanted “what they’ve long seen espoused by mainstream American culture: a long-term relationship with a chance to start a family.”

“Go,” God says to Abram. “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” Abram was to leave behind all he knew to seek a new home – by faith. He took his new wife and his nephew, and they left to find a place where “all of the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Abram goes – trusting that God will lead him to a new land. And when he finally gets there, God keeps talking. “To your offspring I will give this land.”

But, we already stopped listening. We’re stuck on the fact that Abram went without asking any questions. Does he even know that his wife his barren? Why would he go? Why doesn’t he ask? After all, there are no offspring. Sarai is barren. There can’t be any offspring! We are not like Abram. We do not listen. We ask questions. We begin to edit the story so that we might better understand it. We take the facts and rearrange them into some logical explanation – as if we had any control over how this all started. We focus on those barren places and ignore God’s assurance that “all of the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Go, God urges when we are stubborn.

Go from what you believe to be true.

Go from the expectations of your friends and your family.

Go from your small town where (just maybe) you were accepted as you are.

Go from the barren places without hope of new life.

Go from your parent’s house to the possibility I will show you.

We are going together to find a place of possibility – that beginning of a possibility that we all want where we are known and loved. Where our families – in all of their shapes and sizes – are blessed. This is where we are going. This is a story our beginning. It started when our church family covenanted to be an Open & Affirming congregation, when we dared to welcome and bless each and every one of God’s people. We began to listen to each other’s stories, which is not as easy as it sounds. Listening means that we have to acknowledge that we don’t have all of the answers. We can’t be God anymore than we can be like our parents (though Lord knows, we never want to be like them). We can’t tell them where they went wrong. We just have to listen. But, when we are brave enough to listen, really listen, like Abram did and perhaps go along with the story without editing or deciding how the story should end, we might find that we are all truly blessed.

That’s the strange thing about this place. We meet people in the midst of their stories – when they wander through these doors feeling barren, empty and alone – and we get to listen to their stories and be transformed by their stories until somehow those stories become part of our place on Meetinghouse Hill. Those become the stories that affirm our possibility that all families can really be blessed – no matter what the legislation of our state upholds.

And though we might want to edit or insist on scandal or begin their story for them, that’s not our task. This is the story of our beginning. This isn’t the story of one gay couple in Massachusetts or one lesbian couple in California. It is our story to tell how we answer God’s call together. After all, we are a group of people that believe our mission is not only:

to worship God as made known in the Scriptures, as revealed in Jesus Christ, and as encountered through the Holy Spirit;

but also:

to serve our members, our community and our world, working in faithful witness toward justice and peace for all people;

to educate people of all ages toward a deeper understanding of their individ ual faith pilgrimage, their relationships with others, and their responsibilities as stewards of God’s created order;

to grow in fellowship as the Body of Christ, inviting others to share in the Good News of God’s love.

This is our mission. This is what we believed it to be in 1993 and still do. This is how we claim our life together in this family so that when God tell us to go, we don’t question. We know that it is our call to serve, educate and grow with the stories that we hear. It is these stories that inform who we serve, how we educate and whether or not we dare to grow into what God is calling.

These are the stories that matter and shape our ministry together – not only the story of Joshua and Benjamin. They have their story of blessing, but we have many others that require our careful listening. After all, Abram couldn’t go anywhere unless he listened. He had to hear God before he could go to that place where all of his offspring might be blessed.

Like Abram, we must begin to listen to those barren places – whether it is the story of a lesbian couple who have begun the countdown until their wedding while dreading the reality that the one of the bride’s parents refuses to come. It’s the story of another couple that comes to find sanctuary here because their pastor insisted their love was a sin. These are the stories in this place. These are the possibilities that are trusted with us and waiting for blessing. And it comes. Trust me. It comes when one of our members taps her pastor on the shoulder just before an evening meeting to share the news that she’s pregnant. It is not only her pastor that jumps up and down in the church office, knowing the anxiety these two young women face in beginning a family. It is her entire church family that celebrates in this story because we get to be there as that new family is created. And with our faith, we will grow with them listening carefully for God’s voice urging us to go – just as Abram did. Go from what we believe to be true. Go to worship, serve, educate and grow, invited others to share in the Good News of God’s love right here.


Prophesy Mortal

I have fallen out of the practice of prayer. I won't make excuses. It is what it is -- but I noticed it and became proactive a few weeks ago. I started reading the Bible (again) for myself. Not for sermon study. Or other ministerial roles. Just for me. I jumped into the Book of Exekiel wanting to eat and to live.

My new spiritual director teased me about this. She thought Ezekiel was an obvious choice for my present situation. Amusing. So, I've been pushing through slowly. I read a few chapters this morning in the middle. God's a bit angry which didn't help in my centering. There are two words that are repeated over and over: prophesy and mortal. After all, I am mortal and I'm hunting for God's words to prophesy into my dry bones (ok, I'm not that far into Ezekiel).

Prayer leads to interesting things. This is all I have to say. That 10 minutes provided an important reminder to begin my day. I hope you found the same strength this morning in familiar words with new prophetic power.


Saturday Night Fever

It's not a fever exactly but a ball of nerves that set into the pit of my stomach about 30 minutes ago when my dear friend asked me, "So are you nervous?" Dear Friend had read my sermon manuscript earlier this week (the one that I will preach tomorrow). I asked him to do so because I was nervous even then. See, I'm preaching about gay marriage. Not exactly. I'm talking about love -- particularly love that doesn't fit into the one mother and one father stereotypical family -- based in Genesis 12. Dear Friend has been a great cheerleader this week (himself a gay man eager to be wed).

I am not so nervous that I will be kicked out of the church. I don't really think our covenant is that weak. I think we can say truth in love to each other -- and it helps that I really haven't rocked the boat in the pulpit. I've taught classes on torture and fair trade, but for some reason, I talk more about Jesus in the pulpit. Go figure. (And, yes, I know Jesus is an advocate for justice. I hint at this often. But, I rarely go for a hot topic.) Tomorrow, I will talk about something that will make one-third of our body of Christ wince. The rest of them might have an experience of the Holy Spirit. I don't know -- but this isn't what makes me nervous.

The subtext of my sermon is my own hunger for love. I get to be the minister and offer words of blessing upon new love and dance when one of my favorite lesbian couples gets pregnant (I warned her she's in my sermon) -- but somehow, I'm still the single girl. Indulge me in a little whining -- because I'm so happy that you (not you, but you) have found love, but there is this little voice in me that fears that love will not be part of my call. It was part of Abram's call -- assuming it wasn't an arranged marriage -- but I wonder if it will be part of mine. This is what scares me. Tomorrow, without speaking a word, I will put this fear into the pulpit. I will offer it as my barren place -- and this makes me want to stay in bed with a fever.


Cute Pulpit Shoes

On Sunday, a member of our choir was wearing green pumps. They were cute. I'm sure they have been in her closet longer than I have been alive -- but they were cute. They matched her green suit which could not be seen under her choir robe.

Since Sunday, I've been thinking about how fun it would be to wear shoes for each liturgical season. I don't wear green but this might be fun for the summer -- and it appears that this is a style right now. I wonder if anyone does this. Do you match your stole with your shoes? Any suggestions?


Painted Retreat

Here and there, I dabble in paint -- but it's been a really long time. I have begun to wonder if I can claim the title of artist in referring to myself. Are you an artist when you are not creating? I've switched my medium to prose -- instead of paint. However, it doesn't quite feel the same as getting messy in paint. So I decided it was time to recapture that messiness in my life.

I packed up my paints and headed for this B&B in a seaside town where artists used to retreat (before the New Yorkers moved in and changed everything) -- and I painted.

While the sun was still shining, I went to the gardens on the coast. I loved it so much that I bought a membership so that I could go back when it was actually in bloom. Spring comes late to Maine -- but it was lovely to sit on the rocks and paint. So I did. The image will not load for some reason onto Blogger. This is annoying only because I enjoyed this one the most. Oh well.

I went for a hike that afternoon and listened to Krista Tippett interview an academic about prayer -- which was perfect. I drove back to to the lovely B&B only to swerve off the road and paint this. (Yes, I know it's a church. It's not UCC sadly.)

And finally, I tried to paint the view from the B&B. I'm not sure if I recaptured my lost messiness. I did find something though. I know that much.