Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sermon Number One For the Day

Worship at Un-named Children’s Hospital (Like you all don’t know where I am…)


Lighting of the Candles by the children (all of them, blow a couple of them out if there isn’t enough -- We circulate with the candles and the candlelighter so that the kids in wheelchairs can participate) and sing “This Little Light of Mine”

Worship Sequence number 61 in the Celebration Hymnal, litany based on Nehemiah 9:5-6, “Blessed be the Lord God Almighty” then “All Creatures of Our God and King”

Sermon -- Ask, Search, Knock – Matthew 7:7-11

Introduce the Decision bag: Green velvet bag that has stuff inside. How do you make decisions? One of my friends lent me her decision bag – Let’s see what’s inside.

Piece of paper labeled with a big One. So first, it says “make no decision at all.” Illustration: Paper or Plastic – Making no decision is really making a decision or sometime the decision is obvious – should I get gas? Let’s eat at Chick-Fil-A on Sunday….

Piece of paper labeled with a big Two: Look! A Quarter – flip a coin. Illustration: where are we going to lunch today? Heads for Mexican, tails for Italian – ah, heads! How about best two out of three. Some times we have the decision already made.

Piece of paper Labeled with a big Three taped to a Magic 8 Ball. Hey, look a Magic 8 ball! Let’s ask some questions. Should we go to lunch right now or wait until after worship? Should I hug Kelly? Sorta like the coin, huh?

Piece of paper labeled with a big four taped on my cell phone: Call a friend. Huh, she’s not at home. Oh yeah, she's at church. Well, I can call my interior decorator to see where we need to go to lunch. Wait – she can tell me what color to paint my walls, but she doesn’t know what I need for lunch. Maybe not a good idea.

Piece of paper with number five: taped to a key chain that says “Ask, Seek, Knock” Matthew 7:7-11

7 ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Hmmm… I think she told me once that for the big decisions, I should pray to God.

(OK, at this point I’ll either a) wrap it up or b) talk about how asking is first, seeking is getting active about it and knocking is persistence. Ask – if you can’t get your answer, seek the answers in the scriptures, in others around you, in their prayer life and faith and knock on God’s door until you get an answer. It may not be the answer we want – But God gives good things to those who are faithful.)

Hymn of Response – Seek Ye First – Celebration Hymnal #713

Prayers of the People

Closing Sequence – Celebration Hymnal #703 – 705 – Litany based on Psalm 34:408, “God will Make a Way”, “It is Well with My Soul”


Friday, July 28, 2006

RevGal Friday Five -- Hot

OK, I'm not the best at doing the question thing.

So here's a picture with a thermal camera. I've discovered that I'm pretty cool.....

and a self portrait

I'm having fun with the little isight camera on the MacBook.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Jimmy C who I met in RLP's chatroom last night has an interesting posting pointing to this article.

Now, about 3 months ago, I would have been just as outraged as Jimmy. However, I have a new perspective.

We all assume that people are just like us. That OF COURSE that this person is going to think XYZ just like us. But it's not exactly true. Some people get so tied into grief that they can't think. Some people really don't have the best interest of the child at heart. Some people let their own psycological garbage take over. *

This article doesn't give enough information to really understand all the dynamics in the story. WHY did the kid and the parents choose alternative medicine? Are there other adults involved in the medical decision making like biological parents or grandparents? Was the alternative medicine being effective? What did the kid really want -- did he make this decision truly informed?

So, I would say that I just don't have enough information to judge what these parents are doing and this judge is doing. I'd like to hear more of the story.

*OK, now in a not so diplomatic ways -- some people are greedy/stupid/self centered/hopped up on drug themselves/limited in understanding or education/tied up in divorce and trying to hurt the other party -- who knows what's going on? I trust the Judge on this one. Also, who knows if these parents haven't been investigated by DFACS for a long time?

And I will conceed that it could be a violation of privacy. But I'm not going to assume it on the basis of this article.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

An Argument for Chocolate

Chocolate is good for you. Yes, health food, even.

1)Chocolate helps your memory. At Wheeling Jesuit University Professor Bryan Raudenbush led a study "Effects of Chocolate Consumption Finds That Chocolate Consumption Enhances Cognitive Performance on Enhancing Cognative Performance" and determined that chocolate can improve your brain activity. I have not read the study, but I find it facinating.

2)Chocolate makes you feel good. Other research shows that some of the ingredients seem to affect the brain's neurotrasmitters. One is Tryptophan (which can also make you sleepy) but is utilized by the body to make seratonin, which is a neurotransmitter that releaves some of the symptoms of depression. Another is phenylethylamine which works by stimulating the pleasure centers of the brain.
A third is anandamide, which is a neurotransmitter that acts like THC, the active ingredient in cannabis (pot, mary jane).

3)Chocolate may prevent tooth decay, or at least according to scientists at Japan's Osaka University. The cocoa beans which are the raw chocolate product contain an antibacterial agent that fights plaque.

4)Chocolate contains called flavinoids, which thin the blood, helping to prevent clotting. Flavinoids are also anti-oxidents. They help prevent heart disease.

5) Chocolate helps you live longer. At Harvard, research shows that people who eat chocolate as rarely as three times a month live approximately a year longer than those who do not eat chocolate at all. However, only for very dark chocolate, as the fat and sugar in milk chocolate will counteract the benefit.

6) Chocolate is being researched to see if it can help the immune system. The chemical polyphenol CMP, which is contained by chocolate, may inhibit the rheumatic response (arthritis) and inhibits IgE which worsens atopic dematitis and asthma.

Thus, I argue that one MUST eat at least one square of dark Lindt Chocolate or it's chocolatey equivalent at least once a day.

Submitted, July 25, 2006 to those who would prevent Chocolate purchases at my house by the Reverend Mommy.

Monday, July 24, 2006

And now for something completely different

That turned out surprisingly good.

Do you know this scene? I haven't been to the store in a while. Family is hungry. Time to "invent." This invention was actually pretty good.

1 package of frozen ravioli (cheese)
1 stick butter
1/2 a head of broccoli
1/4 of an onion
1/2 cup mushrooms
1 cup marble cheddar
can of broth
4 oz of sour cream

That's what was on hand. My mission? To combine the ingredients into something passable.

I started by melting the butter and making a white sauce. OK, no milk, so I used flour (about 1/4 cup) and broth. Then I put in some cheese and sour cream, salt and pepper. I cut up all the vegetables, dumped the ravioli into a baking dish with the veggies, poured the sauce on top, topped with cheese and baked for 1/2 hour on 350.

It was very nice with a salad and a glass of wine.

Now for tomorrow’s dinner – what can I do with a can of pumpkin pie filler, a can of stewed tomatoes and a can of tuna?

Answer? Go to the store.

Friday, July 21, 2006

An Afternoon at the Koi Pond

Actually, it was just lunch.

RevGal Friday 5

Edited because I have mush for brains right now. I left people out of my "Want to meet list."

1) What is your first memory of the RevGalBlogPals? Hmmm.... I remember more than a year ago feeling isolated. I had blogged a couple of years before that and dropped the blog. I restarted my blog in November of 2004 (?). I blogged for a while, coasting around looking for like-minded people. I found St. Casserole. I started commenting. I found Reverend Mother, Songbird, Emily and Jane Ellen. I commented more. I discovered a Polar Bear. I kept a blogroll and started sorting it according to "nice people" and "fellow clergypeople." When Reverend Mother started the Cafe-Press store, I started a webpage and a webring. Songbird and I managed it for a long time -- I'm now in CPE, so Songbird is doing it more or less by herself. I promise I will pick it up again in the Fall.

2) Have you met any of the other ring members in real life? Yep. You wanna list? First, Cheesehead. Then Lydia, Stacey, Songbird, Reverend Mother, Not-Shy, The Casserole, Rev Abi, Gavin (who has great hair) and someone else, but I can't remember b/c my brains are oatmeal.
I'm meeting Teri (Clever Title Here) on Monday....

3) Of those you haven't met, name a few you would love to know in person. PPB, for sure. Cathy Knits, Lorna, Bad Alice, Church Lady (she's going to be my sec. one day....), Wills Mama, Helen, Pink Shoes, QG, Mibi, Jane Ellen, Emily, Mary Beth, Mindy and Rach (like, who WOULDN'T like to me that pair!), PureChristianIThink, Caroline of the Alabaster Jar, SingingOwl, the LutheranChik, James, Jeff, Church Nerd (aka Mark), Susan, Inner Dorothy, Haevy Revvies, Juniper68 and how could I not meet Gord and Tripp and OF COURSE Kathryn, whose Parts are Very Very Good and Sally and do I have to do this? Repeat Oatmeal comment.
I actually would like to meet you all... After all, I'm a smidge extroverted.

4) What has Ring Membership added to your life? Wow. Lots. A sense of "I'm not alone in all this." A touchstone for my day. Wonderful friendships, real and virtual.

5) Describe a hope for the future of the WebRing. I'm listening. I want a conference and more F2F meet up IRL. I would LOVE to do more books.

Duty calls... later.

Hard Week

It's been a hard week for the chaplaincy office. Two deaths in the NICU and perhaps as many as three more last night. Everyone looks tired.

The heat is also exhausting. When RM teased about 100 degree, uphill walks -- it really wasn't much of a tease. I'm drinking lots of water.

I have maybe 20 days left? I'm losing count. School starts for the girls on the 14th, and I'm not finished until the next week. I'll take a break at that point and determine what's next. At this point, I'm still trying to discern my path.

Ah, Discerment. Nice word, eh? Easy to say/plan, hard to actually do.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Donne for the Day

Whilst my physicians by their love are grown
Cosmographers, and I their map, who lie
Flat on this bed, that by them may be shown
That this is my south-west discovery,
Per fretum febris, by these straits to die ;

I joy, that in these straits I see my west ;
For, though those currents yield return to none,
What shall my west hurt me ? As west and east
In all flat maps—and I am one—are one,
So death doth touch the resurrection.

John Donne, "Hymne to God my God in my sicknesse"

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


1) I want those little Segway things the security people ride around this hospital. I'd be a Chaplain on wheels.
2) I want to thank the six to ten of you who are still reading.
3) I've been a victim of identity theft via ebay. Someone hijacked my account and put some unauthorized listings on. It's been a real pain to deal with. Moral of the story -- Always Change Your Passwords. Every two weeks -- every month -- whatever. I hadn't done it in a while. Who knows how the slimebag got my password. Just Change it.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

1 “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,
Let Israel now say
2 “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,
When men rose up against us,
3 Then they would have swallowed us alive,
When their wrath was kindled against us;
4 Then the waters would have overwhelmed us,
The stream would have gone over our soul;
5 Then the swollen waters
Would have gone over our soul.

6 Blessed be the LORD,
Who has not given us as prey to their teeth.
7 Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers;
The snare is broken, and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
--Psalm 124

It's Sunday afternoon and I'm on call at the hospital. I have many things floating around in my head. First and foremost, I wonder about the theology of being overwhelmed. This experience has been about being overwhelmed. There is just too much. Too much driving, too much laundry, too much hospital food, too much suffering and pain. I am overcome with it all -- it is overpowering. I know that this is just a sign of the tiredness-- the exhaustion that come from long hours, little rest, the long drive and so very much to do at home. But.

I wonder if being overwhelmed by all this prepares me in a very concrete way for an overwhelming by God, We depend so much on our own understanding -- we depend on our intellect and science, but what has intellect and science to do with coping with pain and suffering? The Psalmist here is overwhelmed by the wild and raging waters -- and swollen waters threatened to swallow him whole -- and yet God gave escape. His soul flew as a bird.

This morning I was overwhelmed by the welcome I was given by the children and families in this hospital. They were open and gracious to me -- and I was blessed by them. I was overwhelmed by their generous and loving spirits. It was a beautiful thing to see.

Peace, y'all.

More pictures of Great Egret and Snowy Egret
Click on the picture for more detail.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Oxford College

or rather, Emory at Oxford
Seney Hall

The Chapel

Seney Hall

More Photos

Why we don't skinny dip behind the beach house

Great Egret

Snowy Egret

Young Snowy

Tri-Color Heron


One of my favorite things

to do is to take pictures. So, for your enjoyment, here are some pictures.

First, Old Church in Oxford, Georgia.

From Harbor Island, SC some seashells:

Great Egret

Tri-color Heron, Breeding Plumage

Beaufort National Cemetery

Friday, July 14, 2006

pet peeves

OK, the RevGal Friday Five is about pet peeves. I have a couple.
First, snakes are VENOMOUS not poisonous. Only things YOU eat can be poisonous.
The thing in your car that makes it go is an engine, not a motor. Engines run off chemical energy, motors off electrical energy. Or at least they do in my universe.

I could post about liturgical boo-boos, but really, they don't bother me THAT much.


An Afternoon Prayer

O Light of the world,
You are the pure brightness of the ever-living God,
You are our God, holy and blest!
We come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes fall upon the dwindling light,
We see your Glory and beauty and
We are moved to sing your praises.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O God, O Giver of life,
Praised by happy voices and glorified throughout the world.

Lord God, Maker and King of the universe,
We give to you all honor, glory, praise, and worship;
We praise you in all things, in all places and in all circumstances because we know that you love us. We know that you are in control over all things, including the things we cannot understand and those things that cause us pain and suffering.

God, we try to give thanks for trials and hardships but at times it is so very hard. We understand that life is a test, that you only give a hard test to a good student, that you never trip up a slow student with an impossibly difficult test, but God it is difficult.

Grant us wisdom and insight to find the little bright moments in these hardships. Help us find meaning in our suffering.

Lord, when you hung upon the cross, you experienced the most piercing form of loneliness and abandonment ever experienced by any human being. Have mercy on us, remember us in our loneliness. Lord, our hearts aches for fellowship. We grow discouraged, because there are few to share with. Grant us others to stand with us. Help us to take that help, even though it can hurt our pride.

Send your Spirit to fill us, to guide and strengthen us, to protect us from our own weaknesses; send your holy angels to counsel and defend us. Send us into the world to do your will.

Lord, we do not understand the things that trouble us now. Therefore we thank you for this adversity, because it has brought things into sharp focus, it has to power to bring us closer to each other and closer to you. We ask for your grace to persevere in faith as long as this trial shall last.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


I was on call last night, after a full day and then worked a full day today. A Day filled with CPE fun. My brain cells are gone. I don't know where they are, but someone has replaced them with chewed bubble gum. I feel numb/dumb. That's a 32 hour shift. And now I can't sleep. What's up with that?

Morning Prayer

At your feet, O Christ, we lay
your own gift of this new day;
Doubt of what it holds in store
Makes us crave your aid the more;
Even in a time of loss,
Mark, it Savior, with your Cross.

--Words: William Bright (19thC) adapted

I love you, O LORD my strength,
O LORD my stronghold, my crag, and my haven.
My God, my rock in whom I put my trust, *
my shield, the horn of my salvation, and my refuge;
you are worthy of praise.
I will call upon the LORD, *
and so shall I be saved from my enemies.

-- Psalm 18:1-3

Good and Gracious God,
from you comes every good and perfect gift:
Send down your Spirit down upon our people, our ministers, our clergy, and upon the congregations committed to their care
Send your healthful Spirit of grace upon them
and pour upon them the continual dew of your blessing.
Grant this, O Lord, for the honor of our Advocate and Mediator.

Good and Gracious God,
You are the Good Shepherd of your sheep
you gather the lambs in your arms and carry them in your bosom
I commend to your loving care all the children under this roof.
Relieve their pain, guard them from all danger, restore to them your gifts of gladness and strength,
and raise them up to a life full of your grace and glory.
for your dear Name's sake. Amen.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Wesleyan Take on Visiting the Sick

I believe that there is a "a marrow of truth" that stretches across humankind that can be expressed in the Wesleyan Quadrilateral.

• Truth is grounded in Scripture
• Truth is illumined by tradition and history
• Truth is colored by experience (or made vivid)
• Truth is confirmed by reason

My understanding of truth is grounded in these things – starting with the Bible. I take the Bible very seriously, not just literally and believe that the wisdom of these writings should always be considered but I also believe that each and every person maintains the right to rethink and rework their own personal theology throughout their lifetime. I believe in pure and true worship even though that may take on many forms and believe that the highest purpose of humankind is to glorify God and enjoy God’s presence forever. This is the reason we are created.

I am very sacramental and believe that the sacraments are not merely symbolic, but that something real and substanative occurs in the life of the partaker. I am involved in and impassioned by true social justice -- that which is grounded in the righteousness of God; in particular I feel that there is special concern for the poor and the oppressed expressed by all the prophet, by Jesus and by God. I believe that in each and every human interaction there is room for the Grace of God – prevenient, justifying and sanctifying and that as an expression of the Grace that we have received, we become the hands and feet of that Grace for others. This demands personal and corporate acts of mercy and acts of piety.

Acts of Piety can be both corporate and individual, in fact they have to be both. Balance is essential. They include: Prayer, Study of the Scripture, Holy Communion, Fasting, Fellowship in Christian Community and Healthy Living. Acts of Mercy also are corporate and individual, always considering what is right, correct and moral: Visiting the Sick and Visiting those Imprisoned, Feeding and Clothing those without, Earning, Saving and Giving all that one can, Opposition to Oppression in all the forms that it takes, being a Good Steward of all that God has made.

Therefore, as I act as a minister, I am God’s hands and feet. I act, not out of obligation or duty, but from an outpouring of the bounty that I am given and my grateful attitude. I can be a Grace-bearer for God and a conduit of God’s undeserved and unconditional love. By visiting the sick, Grace is given to both the patient and also to me in a real and concrete way. How does this work? It’s a mystery because it is essential and foremost God's inital action -- mine are just an outpouring of what God has already done. As with my beliefs about Eucharist, it’s not up to me, or about me nor do I have to understand it. It is a holy and sacred moment and visiting the sick has overtures of being sacramental.

In a sacrament, God uses tangible, material things as vehicles or instruments of grace. Wesley defines a sacrament, in accord with his Anglican tradition, as "an outward sign of inward grace, and a means whereby we receive the same. Sacraments are sign-acts, which include words, actions, and physical elements. They both express and convey the gracious love of God. They make God's love both visible and effective in a new and exciting way. This is what is done in the visiting of the sick. As I continue to visit, I am being shaped into the image of Christ – sometimes it is a blessing and sometimes it is a very painful experience.

So, this is what I've been thinking about.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Today I Celebrate the Freedom to Vote

With snippets of Elizabeth Cady Stanton's final speech.

The point I wish plainly to bring before you on this occasion is the individuality of each human soul; our Protestant idea, the right of individual conscience and judgment—our republican idea, individual citizenship. In discussing the rights of woman, we are to consider, first, what belongs to her as an individual, in a world of her own, the arbiter of her own destiny, an imaginary Robinson Crusoe with her woman Friday on a solitary island. Her rights under such circumstances are to use all her faculties for her own safety and happiness.
And yet, there is a solitude, which each and every one of us has always carried with him, more inaccessible than the ice-cold mountains, more profound than the midnight sea; the solitude of self. Our inner being, which we call ourself, no eye nor touch of man or angel has ever pierced. It is more hidden than the caves of the gnome; the sacred adytum of the oracle; the hidden chamber of eleusinian mystery, for to it only omniscience is permitted to enter. Such is individual life. Who, I ask you, can take, dare take, on himself the rights, the duties, the responsibilities of another human soul?


I'm still alive -- but my computer is not. The laptop has given up the ghost. After 12 hours of continual use daily for 2 and a half years, after dropping it several times (once from a hight of 4 feet while running onto a stone floor), the laptop is ill. We are trying to see if a new motherboard/disk drive will save it, but only time will tell.

Chaos went to music camp at Oxford College this last week and we had the concert at Old Church. It's a beautiful building, full of history and ghosts.

Old Church was built in 1841 as the first Chapel of Emory University. It never was a part of the university, but the leaders of the University also were the leaders of the church. Much later (1910), the congregation moved to a newer building now known as Allen Memorial UMC. Old Church served as an infirmary during the Civil War and was the site of many Annual Conferences. It is where in 1844 the slavewoman Kitty ownership was debated -- and the place where the Methodist church split in two over her. Kitty's Cottage is at the side/back of the church and is open as a museum. Kitty’s Cottage was the home built for her after she was freed by Bishop O. Andrews, who lived next door to Old Church. Even though Kitty was free, she did not want to leave the Bishop’s family, therefore they built the cottage for her and she lived there until her death, as a free woman.

The interior of the church at the rededication in 1999.

Kitty's Cottage

So many events, so much history. The chapel is a quiet, restful place. I wonder at it. The kids at camp sang two African/American spirituals directly under the balconies built for the slaves of the wealthy -- "Sometimes I fell like a motherless child" and "Wade in the Water." I reflect on how far we have come and how far left we have to go.

CPE has been tiring, part because it is CPE and part because of the very long commute. I've been collecting information about the history of Scottish Rite Hospital. I've been reflecting on history. More later.