Showing posts from December, 2008

2008, A Year of Settling In

I'm in the recliner in my living room. Still coughing, still feeling lousy. But I've had a litte time to read some of my favorite blogs this afternoon, and that has lightened my mood. Wish I had time to read more, but Jan, Mompriest and Kate alone have really helped me. I've been in a bit of a funk, I guess, mostly just because of this persistent illness that leaves me so tired. I haven't wanted to reflect on anything, and that's never a good thing for me, a sure sign that I'm not myself. Jan's on a wonderful trip with her husband, which makes me smile. Mompriest is able to feel truly happy in circumstances that would put anyone down. And Kate's reflections on her entire year are profound and deeply moving. I'm inspired! The year began for me in a new place, a new job in a new church, new faces, new church culture to learn. Having left a dysfunctional church that allowed a few mean-spirited people to behave badly toward its clergy, I needed a while t

A few photos

Just some photos from our Georgia trip. These are views from my inlaws house. Several mornings there was a beautiful fog on the river...

The Pain of Exclusion

We went to a Christmas Eve service at a Baptist church in Georgia. This church recently decided to abandon its downtown location and move to the suburbs where it has built a functional, and actually quite nice, new building. I was fine with the service for the most part until it came time for communion. The minister asked the deacons to come forward. More than 20 people rose and came forward. All of them male. Every blasted one of them. Male. Of course I knew going into it that this church did not have women deacons. But seeing those twenty men up there at the front of this huge church, I knew it in a new way--viscerally, in my heart. I was surprised by how painful it was for me. Tears stung my eyes. We receive communion, the body and blood of Jesus who was the Christ, to say Yes to being with Christ as the disciples were with Christ. Two thousand years forward in time and that same Christ is present among us, too, and that same Christ continues to invite all to the table, to know this

This Christmas Eve

On this Christmas Eve I wish all my blogging friends a most joyous Christmas. May you all be struck by the true wonder of our lives, our world,our amazing God.

Will the Abusers Pay for their Crimes?

This from Newsweek: The United States, like many countries, has a bad habit of committing wartime excesses and an even worse record of accounting for them afterward. But a remarkable string of recent events suggests that may finally be changing—and that top Bush administration officials could soon face legal jeopardy for prisoner abuse committed under their watch in the war on terror. In early December, in a highly unusual move, a federal court in New York agreed to rehear a lawsuit against former Attorney General John Ashcroft brought by a Canadian citizen, Maher Arar. (Arar was a victim of the administration's extraordinary rendition program: he was seized by U.S. officials in 2002 while in transit through Kennedy Airport and deported to Syria, where he was tortured.) Then, on Dec. 15, the Supreme Court revived a lawsuit against Donald Rumsfeld by four Guantánamo detainees alleging abuse there—a reminder that the court, unlike the White House, will extend Constitutional protectio

Here's a video by Elizabeth Warren, the chair of the Congressional Oversight Committee for all that money, $700 billion, authorized by Congress to help us out of the financial crisis. I first heard her on Fresh Air and thought how amazingly understandable she was.

Christmas a little early

I'm tired. Up till 2:00 a.m. last night wrapping presents and picking up the house. Gosh, I can't do that and feel like a human being the next day. We had our "Christmas" this morning. All the chidren were here. We opened presents (for a very long time!) and then had a nice Christmas dinner, thanks to my husband's skill in the kitchen. Our little two-year-old granddaughter was a live-wire. She needed a nap big-time , but no one could entice her to it. Well, we enticed her time and time again, but she simply refused. And she got it in her head that I was her special friend today: " My KK. My KK," she kept repeating...."play with me, KK!" "come here, KK," "where my ball, KK?" Of course I loved it, but with low energy to start with, and six full hours of playing, I'm one whupped pup. My husband and I leave for a visit with my inlaws soon. The kids will be here and in City to the South at various times, but coul

Homage to Little M (and all God's children everywhere)

Resurrecting Footpaths has this quote from Chesterton that I had forgotten: The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening,“Do it again” to the moon. It may be that he has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, our Father is younger than we. This quote is part of a great post. Took a look ! I often sit on a chair and put little M on my knees and play "Pony." Giddyup pony, go t

"Image," Images and Imagination

I recently subscribed to the journal Images: Art, Faith, Mystery, and my first copy arrived yesterday. I'm reading the article "Unapologetic Visibility," and it has this paragraph: We cannot afford to jettison the imagination because it is the sensitive spot into which God's image stamps itself. It is a place that needs to be filled, like the blank walls of a Florentine chapel, a space that opens to God by being filled with images--frescoes with likenesses of the body, the means by which one person opens up to another .... The imagination, like the skin, is sensitive, and like the mind it cannot endure a vacuum. Whether you like it or not, billboards and screens are ready to pounce upon the imagination. Its sensibility requires us to cover it actively, even if we do it weakly and diffidently. I wonder how the imagination has been effected by television and movies. Is the 21st century imagination the same as imaginaton in the 19th century? How do I actively "cove

Personal Training

Well, I've completed my second week of working out with a personal trainer. I go Monday and Wednesday mornings. It's been good. Bill is in the same Ph.D. program I finished in 2005 and works part-time as a trainer to help supplement his income, so we have something interesting to talk about as we go from machine to machine and back again. Surprisingly, I haven't been very sore. Some, but entirely manageable. Is that a good sign? I should ask him. Even more surprisingly, I'm psychologically getting a real kick out of this. Just something about how I'm actually doing it is VERY satisfying to me. Obviously it helps to have an appointment with someone--there's a sense of accountability, an obligation, that gets me out of bed. So, it doesn't seem like I'll be using the trainer just to teach me how to learn each machine and then do it on my own. I think I'll always need another person there to encourage me and hold me accountable to show up. It

A Conduit of Love

The sermon today was on imagination--imagine a new world where no one is hungry or filled with despair. That kind of thing. It's the first Sunday of the month, so we celebrated Communion. Sort of. Toward the end of the service, he asked us to imagine, in solidarity with the poor and those who are suffering this day--to imagine that the loaf and cup are really there, that we are really taking Communion. He asked everyone to come forward and, although the plate was actually bare and the cup empty, to nevertheless hold out their hands as he and I gave them, not tangible bread or juice, but a blessing. Everyone was asked to open themselves to imagine receiving. I thought the idea was innovative. But I never imagined (no pun intended) how powerful, how incredibly meaningful it would be for me to give each person who approached a real blessing... "This is the bread of life, Mary (or whoever). This is the cup of grace and blessing, given to remind you of how much you are love

Witnessing Awakenings

I love so much seeing God at work in someone's life. Really, it just thrills me. It's Friday night and I'm dead tired, yet there remains somewhere within me a sense of energy, excitement at what I have witnessed in my counseling and spiritual direction practice these last couple of weeks. Of course I can't write about the specifics of what happened. Generally, it's people recognizing the lies they've been telling themselves about who they are--recognizing how those lies have covered up what is good and true and beautiful within them....It's people growing up, no longer stuck emotionally at the level of a 15 year old, but facing the mistakes they've made, facing the reality of how they have conformed to the expectations of others, facing an unknown but full-of-fabulous-possibilities future....It's people coming alive, seeing the beauty on the faces of those around them, seeing the truth that no one else has the power to make them unhappy, seeing G