Sunday, January 29, 2006


the oil on my forehead

marks me with a life that is not

mine but life is that is transcendent in nature


and personal redolent

with perfume that is both healing

and funerary which recalls both the fragrance of life

and the

stench of death i

am become transformed immediately

yet the core remains the same the weight and


that is laid on me

is/is not a burden and to me

transformative in nature yet transitory is its passage

as perfume

oft is dissipating

on the wind or perhaps the

fickle breath that comes and goes and we

know not

transformative and

maybe it will mark me with a moment

of forever and that will be all that is necessary

for me

to be healed

transformed by that which is other

and yet that which is always with/within/above/beside/beyond


i become that aroma

that smacks of radical yet it seeks

to be before dispelled upon that breath is it forgotten

the next

day the spice follows

me marking me for eternity or perhaps

just a transcendent rememberance of what it is to be healed

Written a while back. We had a healing service tonight -- after the chili cookoff. It's always a moving service. I enjoy the silence, the candles, the intentionality of it. It was beautiful. It's just a awful, awesome responsibility to do the laying on of hands. It's a time when I really feel a conduit -- when I wish self could melt away.

I wonder how much we conflate healer (little h) with the Healer (big H). And how we confuse healing with just a physical state of being.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

This Week's Video

Is found here.

This one was difficult. To make and then to watch. Feedback welcome.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

More about the previous

Interestingly enough, the comments on the previous are a sort of way of illustrating my point.

I will first say that, as the cookie crumbles, I sway toward inclusivity rather than exclusivity. It is a Wesleyan principle that membership in a local church congregation is a means of grace -- which means something very particular in Wesley-speak. (Metho-speak?) The means of grace are many: some are sacramental, some are not -- all are ways for God to act. There is previenent grace, justifying grace and sanctifying grace. Church membership could be any of those three. For me to begin to think of denying membership is something that I struggle with.

With that said, Methodists do not have a fully developed theology or doctrine of church membership. As I stated, to determine if a person is a member of the Body of Christ (the Church Universal) is way beyond my pay scale (as my government friend would say). It is not my decision to make.

Determining who becomes a member of the local church congregation is a matter for a Methodist pastor. In other denominations, their polity might require a vote of the governing body or the entire membership of the church. In a Methodist church, it is done by the pastor.

Personally I have never seen a person turned down, but I have not be a lifelong Methodist.

But in conversations with some of my pastor friends, I have heard discussed incidents where one might want to turn down a request for membership.

First, an incident in an inner city church where many of the kids were exposed to drugs everyday in almost all venues of their lives. Many had tried drugs -- many did not have a safe place that was not drug free. A man began to attend the church. Shortly after he began to attend, the pastor learned that he was the owner of one of the local crack houses. The man requested membership. He was willing to take the pledge to support the church with his prayers, presence, gifts and service. In conversation with the man's live in girl friend, she revealed that the man was insincere. He wanted membership into the church as a stamp of legitimacy and to expand his business. Confronted, the man admitted as much. The pastor turned the man down. (This was not a Methodist church and circumstances have been tweeked to preserve anonymity.)

Is this what Jesus would do? Theologically, membership in the local church could have been previenent grace. But the pastor felt that the threat to his flock was significant. The man appeared repentant on the service. If the authority of the pastor to decline membership in a local congregation is removed, how could incidents like this be handled?

As much as the incident early this year disturbed me, I think I'm more disturbed now. My vivid imagination can find other situations where the health of the flock could be harmed by the inclusion of a wolf in sheep's clothing.

This is a situation that I feel must be discussed in Methodist circles before we hastily change polity that has existed for quite some time -- two centuries. And a theology of membership needs to be developed.

The Judicial Council Rulings

The Judicial Council rulings this year have had me reflecting. I wonder if we are missing the issue. If you were to read in the papers about the Karen Damman ruling and the rulings this year about Beth Stroud and the pastor who refused membership to a homosexual choir member, you would believe the issue is all about homosexuality. And, of course, it is. But if we begin to reflect seriously about the events, I begin to wonder if the issue is more about our very badly formed understanding of church membership.

What is the Methodist theology of church membership? Do we even have one? Where do we start to discuss it? I of course start with the Bible. I understand the chuch to be the Body of Christ here on earth. This has Biblical backing. I understand each of us to be a part of the body. Some of us are hands, some are feet -- some of us have to be earlobes. Can the earlobe tell the hand that "no, you aren't a member of the body?"

I know this is really more about the Church Universal than it is about the local church body.

The more I think about it -- the more perplexed I become.

I also know the passages about rebuking those that continue in sin. I know that we don't do this as much or often as perhaps we might because membership in a local church body can be a means of grace. So within our midst we find drug dealers, prostitutes, forgerers and worse. (Maybe even the people Jesus would hang out with.) We are letting our feelings/emotions/opinions about homosexuality cloud the issue.

Another issue that I struggle with is the authority of the pastor. There is a part of me that really does not want the authority of the pastor to be diluted. The pastor should have the authority to say to a perspective member "no, as long as you are running that crack-house, I wonder if it is the best thing in the world for you to join this local congregation." Or "no, if you are not willing to pledge your prayers, presence, gifts and service, I don't think it's time for you to join us as a member." Or "no, you are continuing in sin -- you are still doing XXX which would be very destructive to XXX members of this local congregation. When you have stopped doing XXX, let's talk." I know this is not a particularly popular view right now. But if eating meat causes your brothers to lapse into sin ... (that again is a Biblical reference, btw.)

When we deny membership in the local church, we are NOT denying them membership in the Body of Christ universal. I don't think that any of us have the authority to do that.

Therefore, what I feel the United Methodist church needs is not more debates about homosexuality. That is not a clear-cut issue. There are no *clear* passages in the Bible (like "do not allow a homosexual into your midst, for yea verily, they are going to hell.") All the passages that are used are open to different interpretations. (In fact, I have never heard what I think is the strongest argument against homosexuality -- and I've never posted it or even written it up because I get tired of the Bible used as a weapon. And because the exegetical tools to build the arguement are usually considered "liberal" by those who gay-bash.) There are clearer passages about church membership. I think that we need a study done -- much like "By Water and the Spirit" and "This Holy Mystery" to explore what exactly a Methodist means by local church membership.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Time to think

For more than a month now, I haven't had time to think. I don't know if it is a normal or usual thing -- but most mornings (weekday mornings) I will get the girls ready for school, Daddy drives them to school, I shower and sit down with a cup of coffee in a warm sunny spot and think. Literally. I'll spend some time sketching out things I've thought about the previous day, the things I've thought about that morning. And then I'll take some time to just sit, meditate, read a couple of verses (Lectio Divina style) and pray. And then I'll think some more.

For 18 months we have been building a new building. I thought the stress would ease up over Christmas (Now, Christmas, that was an entirely different level of stress.) We moved into the building. Our minister of media had to resign over some issues in his life not under his control. I took over some of the media responsibilities. I started moving into a new office. I've done a lot of video and MediaShout. I've not been chatting with friends. I've been building furniture with the husband. I've done a lot.

But what I've missed the most is my time to think. And that time is probably some of the most important time I spend all day. So.... I resolve to spend some time thinking.

Note: OK, I've heard that today is the most blue day of the year -- most people have already broken their New Year's resolutions -- well, I'm so behind, I haven't made any. But now I have.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Crossposted from the RevGalBlogPals site b/c I'm lazy:

I have a blogger meet-up today with one of our number -- Gavin -- for lunch. Fun, fun, fun!

Then today is first day of classes at Candler. Only one class, but it's a 3 hour one. And parking on the first day of classes at Emory is SO, uhm, FUN! I'll have to watch out for the traffic monsters..... Pray that one doesn't grab me!

Gavin and Jonathon made it to Grayson.... but not in time for lunch. At first, the receptionist thought they were homeless guys.... (Actually, it seems that Jonathon's intuitive driving took them about 2 hours out of the way... but they had a good time being lost.)

While I wait for Gavo and Jonathon, I sit at the receptionist desk because my "some assembly required" office furniture that was delivered yesterday came in some VERY flat boxes. I assumed if "some" assembly was required, that some assembly was done. If this is "some" assembly, then a "unassembled" desk would come as an un-sawn log.

In the meantime, I get a call "Mama...I feel sick." I rush to the middle school to pick up Chaos. By this time, it's getting really late to leave for class. I get her to the office. She gets sick in the ladies room. No janitor. I call the husband. No answer. I interview Gavin and Jonathon for the Sunday project. I clean up the ucky. I get her home. I get a call from the husband, just in time to *not* make it to class. By the time he would get home to care for the girly and I drive to class, I could get there just in time to be dismissed. Sooooo..... instead, I call the Library committe chairperson and tell her to please send me the minutes, as I will not be there. I call my cancer support co-leader and tell here I will not be there. I fix myself and nice big salad and leave it untouched. I eat chocolate.

Video of Jonathon and Gavin!! yes indeed.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Another quiz

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Rev mommy!

  1. The water in oceans is four times less salty than the water in reverend mommy.

  2. Banging your head against reverend mommy uses 150 calories an hour.

  3. Reverend mommy is incapable of sleep. (Ain't that the truth!)

  4. Without its lining of reverend mommy, your stomach would digest itself!

  5. The porpoise is second to reverend mommy as the most intelligent animal on the planet!

  6. Reverend mommy is worth her weight in gold - literally.

  7. The blood of mammals is red, the blood of insects is yellow, and the blood of reverend mommy is blue.

  8. Reverend mommy has little need for water and is capable of going for months without drinking at all.

  9. There are roughly 10,000 man-made objects the size of reverend mommy orbiting the Earth.

  10. If you put a drop of liquor on reverend mommy, she will go mad and sting herself to death!
I am interested in - do tell me about

Monday, January 16, 2006

On MLK's birthday

Here is Bishop White's yearly letter to Martin Luther King. I admire Bishop White enormously. He is unfailingly polite to everyone at Candler -- everyone from visiting bishops and ex-presidents down to the janitorial staff get respect and a warm greeting. He greets you as if you were a valuable human being, meeting your eyes when he talks. And in his eyes is the light of Christ. A beautiful man.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sunday afternoon

And I am tired. A good tired. We are now doing 4 worship services and two Sunday School hours. I celebrated communion for the first time in the new chapel. I realized that it was a red letter day -- for the first time in the history of Grayson (that I know of), the celebrant/preacher was female, was assisted by a female, the musicians were female and the acolytes were female. All the major participants were women. Wow.

I did a full sung liturgy. You can hear a snippet here. It is really refreshing to do the Great Thanksgiving so very intentionally. There were no announcements, no offering, a short homily, a warm atmosphere.

I checked in on the Sunday Schools -- then I did the media in the 939, assisted in the 11:00, praise and worship practice at 12:30 and now I'm tired.

No big theological revelations. No quiet reflections. Just a good Sunday.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Just a minute

to post something.

So here it is. Something.

I haven't downloaded all my pictures yet. I'm no longer in a hurry. I'm learning MediaShout and am going to teach it on January 21st. (Is that REALLY next week??) We have a brand spanking new computer lab, so that I can REALLY teach it, the way I used to teach computer classes. I may plan to teach a couple of others -- maybe basic word processing, HTML stuff, PhotoShop. I'll stay away from (bleh) Excel and Access -- an anything having to do with numbers/finance. Yuck.

I'm collecting media/song lyrics/video to use. This is going to be so much fun! I love this sort of stuff. The video that I built for the grand opening went over well, even though I wasn't 100 percent happy. Of course, I'm NEVER 100 percent happy -- they would never be "finished" if it were up to me.

I must say that as much as I love traditional liturgy, I love contemporary worship as well. And I think that contemporary can BE good liturgy.

I also am going to preach in the new service in the Chapel on Sunday. I'm selecting a full sung communion liturgy. What fun! I'll do the full high church thing and then go directly to the contemporary service. Hope it doesn't lead to too much culture shock!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

It all worked

Everything went as planned. There were a few snafus -- the spotlight and the camera didn't stay together too well at times. We skipped a part of the liturgy -- and then had problems getting the correct text on the screen once. But we swapped computers/live feed/DVD etc. according to script. It was hot in my robe and stole. The wicks on the candlelighters got totally melted before the procession.

Oh, and the bulletin I did said "2005" instead of "2006" -- all three people and myself who proofed it missed it. I didn't even notice until after the service. Sigh.

And now I'm tired -- tired-er than I think I've been in a long while. After services today, I plan to sit and stare at a wall for several hours. After opening a bottle of Merlot.

I'll post pictures -- tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Dancing as fast as I can

I'm busy. REALLY busy. Like a one-armed paper-hanger in a windstorm. With a bucket over her head kind of busy. Just had to say that.

And here's a URL to aerials of the new building. Isn't it beautiful?

We are having a "Gumball" (consecration service) on Saturday at 5:00 to 8:0 or so. It's going to be wonderful!

Monday, January 02, 2006


I'm taking a break. I'll blog about it later. Lots to do. Little time to do it in. We're in the new building -- LOTS of work. Grand Opening on Saturday (actually consecration of the building, dinner and a concert, fun!) and I'm doing the media. LOTS of work, but fun.