Showing posts from September, 2007

Trying to be "good girls"

During last week's Companions in Christ small group meeting someone said something that reminded me of a childhood experience. We lived in a town near Beaumont Texas. I must've been about 6 and my sister 5. As I've written here before, we didn't really go to church (and when we did, after I was older, it was to the Christian Science church). At 6, I had no experience of church at all. Carol was a little friend who lived down the street from us. I still have her picture in one of my scrapbooks. She invited me and my sister to her Baptist church one day, and my mother obviously said OK. I suppose we went to Sunday School first, although I have no memory of that. What I do remember is sitting in the sanctuary, on the end of a pew, with my sister next to me during the new and quite alarming experience. The minister began to preach, and whoa ...! My sister and I had no idea what was happening. Hellfire! Damnation! What in the world was this? What did he mean? Toward the end


Had a great time babysitting little Julia this weekend. Oh, she is SO cute! Two years old, blond, blue eyes, HUGE vocabulary, sweet tempered, and loves to laugh. I'm so glad I have friends who are young enough to have a baby! What a joy.

Temporality: living authentically inside time

Temporality has always interested me. What does it mean that "I," a self, am part of the present moment? I learned from my short practice of Zen the importance of the present moment. What else is there but the present moment? But then I go to graduate school and begin to understand how the past and the future are just as real, and part of the present. Even eternity is part of the present, in a way. I'm reminded of something I wrote previously, that when time and eternity intersect, the present moment gathers the self into a whole that exists fully in this fragmented world. Thus a space is opened for a “yes” to the transcendent call to freely choose ourselves in our “eternal validity,” as Kierkegaard would put it, that is, to risk everything and in faith and true freedom live out who we are given to be. God calls to us from eternity, reaching into time, calls us to be the people we are meant to me. The "extra-temporality" of our existence--we exist in both time

The answer to: "Is our children learning?"

Sometimes I do feel sorry for him....I wouldn't want every single word I uttered to be scrutinized. Honestly, though, this was during an EDUCATION event. An Extra 'S' on the Report Card Hailing a Singular Achievement, President Gets Pluralistic By Peter Baker, Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, September 27, 2007 NEW YORK, Sept. 26 -- As a candidate, George W. Bush once asked, "Is our children learning?" Now he has an answer. "Childrens do learn," he said Wednesday. The setting was, yes, an education event where the president was taking credit for rising test scores and promoting congressional renewal of his signature education law. To create the right image, the White House summoned the city's chancellor of schools, a principal, some teachers and about 20 eager students from P.S. 76. The visual worked fine. The oral? Not so much. For Bush, it was a classic malapropism, the sort of verbal miscue that occasionally bedevils him in public speaki

September 25th

Today is the anniversary of my mother's death. She died September 25, 1994. I miss her still.


I woke up this morning thinking how grateful I am for my life. I am with someone I love and who loves me; we enjoy each other's company (most of the time) :-), and we share each other's burdens. D has so much integrity. And he has allowed his life experience to become wisdom, a wisdom that has sustained me greatly in the last few weeks. I chose well. I have three wonderful children-by-marriage who are SO easy to love. Btw, Young Man with Integrity has a great job now, a job that he excels in and that he can benefit from in many ways for his future. It's amazing how my heart just leapt when he told us this good news last night. I enjoy all three children tremendously--love it when the girls come home for the weekend, love it when we spontaneously call Lovely Passionate Feminist in her dorm and drive up to have a quick lunch with her, love it when Beautiful Genuine Drummer Girl is here and we get to talk and go to movies together. I'm doing work that I love. The context m

More wisdom from the Tao Te Ching

Many many thanks for your prayers... Let me give my heart some space here...More from "The Art of Pastoring--Contemporary Reflections" by William C. Martin: Thought 15--Qualities The qualities of a pastor are impossible to describe. We can only see them in action. No noise or clamor, but a careful manner of moving through the daily parish activities; clear eyes steadily seeing to the heart; kindness and humility in the presence of others, needing to defend nothing, prove nothing -- therefore able to respond with the sureness of the flowing river. Hiding nothing, therefore able to speak truthfully with ease. Can you do this? Can you wait patiently until all the voices that clamor for action settle down? Can you resist the temptation to do what the parish seems so desperately to want you to do until the Spirit of God reveals naturally and gently the next step, and events unfold as they should without pushing or shoving? The pastor does not seek success. She does not see people

In case you haven't heard this one....

President George W. Bush was scheduled to visit the Episcopal Church outside Washington as part of his campaign to restore his pathetic poll standings. His image handler made a visit to the Bishop and said, "We've been getting a lot of bad publicity because of the president's position on stem cell research, the Iraq war, hurricane Katrina, and the Veterans Administration. We'll make a $100,000 contribution to your church if, during your sermon, you will say that the President is a saint." The Bishop thought it over for a few moments and finally said, "The Church is desperate for funding - I'll do it." Bush showed up for the sermon and the Bishop began: "I'd like to speak to you all this morning about our President. George W. Bush is a liar, a cheat, and a low-intelligence weasel. He took the tragedy of September 11 and used it to frighten and manipulate the American people. "He lied about weapons of mass destruction and invaded Iraq for

The merging of doing and being

I saw God at work today. Wow! A woman came in for her second appointment. She is working on perfectionism issues and how perfectionism pushes her to do, do, do--to the point of feeling totally stressed. As we talked, she began to see the connections, all those times in the last five years when fear of failure, which has plagued her for years, has dissipated. Each time that's happened, she's been doing a certain kind of work, work for which she is now being trained and educated. When she does this work, she is unafraid to ask for honest feedback. When she does this work, her ego seems to empty and she allows herself to float in the midst of God's surrounding grace (my words). When she does this work, she is energized and has a sense of joy, and the notion that "love must be earned" is no longer the dominant motivation. When she does this work, doing and being merge. I wish everyone could have seen her face when she 'saw' her true self emerge like t

The Interview

Thanks to Jiff for the interview questions! Here we go... 1. I remember that you and D are big movie fans. What movie have you seen recently that you really enjoyed. Are you looking forward to any of the new films? The last movie we saw, just this week in fact, was "3:10 to Yuma." Western remake with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. Bale's performance was especially good. D and I both liked it (in the sense that it was entertaining and thought provoking), but neither of us thought it was a 'great' movie. I don't think I've seen a 'great' movie in the theaters for a LONG time. Looking forward to another movie about Elizabeth I. D tells me it will be out this Fall sometime. "Elizabeth" was a wonderful movie, unexpectedly dark and very powerful. I hope this new one, which is again starring Cate Blanchett, is equally good. 2. Tell us about your name. Is there a story behind why you were named Katherine Elizabeth? I had two aunts named Kather


I took Monday and Tuesday off from work this week. Monday was mostly spent seeing MR, which meant driving in the pouring rain to City to the East. Traffic jams galore. It took a good portion of the day, but the time was WELL spent. I have felt so free since then. The joy has returned to my work. Tuesday was a "piddle" day. Do you like to piddle around the house? Oh, I LOVE it! Didn't accomplish one single thing, but it felt great to just clean a bit here and there, read, play Free Cell, peruse different websites. I had it in my mind that I would work on my lecture, but I didn't, and I didn't feel a bit guilty. D and I had a "date" that night--just dinner out and good conversation. I love that. When he asked me how I felt about going back to work the next day, I was able to say "I'm looking forward to it!" Today is my regular day off. The carpet-cleaning guys are here right now--what a relief it will be to have clean carpet! I

Cross to bear

I've been feeling unsettled lately. I think there's a significant change on the horizon for me (more on that perhaps in another post), and it's thrown me off-center. Nothing I was doing on my own really helped more than a few hours...before I knew it, a vague sense of anxiety would creep back in. So I saw my wonderful therapist this morning. MR combines incredible life wisdom with a compassionate heart, not to mention amazing therapeutic knowledge and memory. Today she incarnated Christ for me. MR knows my history very well. She carries an image of me as a two or three-year old, standing in the middle of the room screaming--she's thinking of a photograph that I brought in a few years ago when I did group therapy with her. One has to wonder about my parents having a camera ready to catch me doing this, but my mother told me once that I was "always" doing it: I'd just suddenly stand up--arms at my side, hands in a fist--and scream at the top of my lungs. Tha

The Tao of Pastoring, Abilities

Part of the stress I feel is coming from not being the "perfect" pastor. William Martin's The Art of Pastoring: Contemplative Reflections helps me remember that it's authenticity I seek, not perfection. Mistakes are part of being human. Thought 10--Abilities "A minister of the Word has certain abilities: the ability to gently return a noisy mind to a quiet place of communion with God; the ability to release tension from the body and to remain supple and relaxed; the ability to cleanse the soul of accumulated negativity so the pure light of God is undimmed; the ability to lead the people in the parish without needing them to behave as you see fit; the ability to let even the most important events unfold without worrying or tampering with the process; the ability to detach from your own plans for the church and see the grace of God unfold in a gentle way. And if you are truly among the wisest of pastors you create a safe place for your people's creativity; you

The Tao of Pastoring, Future

I've allowed myself to feel some stress regarding the church I serve. Today I picked up a book that my sister gave me when I was in seminary, The Art of Pastoring: Contemplative Reflections. The author, a pastor himself, took the 81 chapters of the Tao Te Ching and "translates the essence of each thought into a message for the Western pastor." Thought 73--Future "Anxiousness about the future destroys the life of a congregation. Out of this anxiousness the pastor and people try to control events. This is a tremendous waste of energy, and drains the people of spiritual power. Events are always changing and nothing can be grasped. If a pastor can free herself and her people from the fear of death, there is nothing they cannot achieve." "(Do congregations die? Of course they do. They have birthdays and go through stages of growth. They search for meaning and struggle against fear. They eventually die. Realizing this can be a wonderfully freeing insight for a f