Thursday, August 31, 2006

A New Video

Found at the Work of the People

I will never be able to use this in worship, but it is powerful. It is about human trafficking in real life and the internet. Sobering.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

This and That

and the other thing.

First, that article in my previous posting is indeed making its rounds in the internet -- or at least the RevGal part of the internet. I don't know what to think. I do know that through my experience and what I have observed, I will never, ever have "big church" by myself. My children's generation -- well, maybe.

I've worked in a male-dominated world before. When I was in the computer world and attending computer shows, I was never taken seriously until I pulled out the corporate checkbook. When it was realized that I controlled the money, the geeks would talk to me. But their memories were really short and the next day, I'd have to pull out the checkbook again.

I've seen men work in a female dominated world recently as well -- in the hospital there are a handful of male nurses. In a children's hospital, that is truly rare. And I must say, they were treated differently. Most of them were treated with great respect until people realized they weren't doctors and then the male nurses were looked at as if they had two heads. An oddity.

I know so many clergywomen who don't get the respect until they wear a "uniform" of some sort -- the Anglicans and Lutherans have it easy b/c they can wear the collar. It was interesting to listen to BBT on NPR the other day talk about taking the collar off. How it's a full circle. Hmmm....

Anyway, I've been very quiet this week because I am working on a video to use in our prayer time this Sunday. It's called "A Lament for Katrina" and I am going to upload it to mac dot com. If you want to see it, drop me an email at candlemb at and I'll email you the URL. It is still rendering (much faster with the Duo-Core, btw) -- 42 minutes more to render, then the upload will take forever, but it should be done this afternoon.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Friday, August 25, 2006

It's funny

I've spent 12 (really 13) weeks in CPE now. I was getting very used to getting pushed and stretched. I had so much to say and so little time to say it in. I became very tender (sore) and really open. I stopped using makeup -- and started using my real name in my favorite chatroom instead of "reverend mommy."

I now have had a little time to process stuff -- time to think and even sometime to begin dreaming again. And it's funny. What I am using to find comfort is mathematics -- I'm compiling statistics and doing statistical analysis for a congregational analysis. Yes, I am going to use it in Teaching Parish -- in October! But I'm doing it now for the sheer comfort of it. It's really analytic and really cerebral. I don't think it's a permanent retreat -- it's just a respite. I'll do more of the "self-awareness" stuff, but its going to be in a little while (actually in a couple of weeks). I'm giving myself a sort of break.

And I giggle because very few (VERY few) people use statistics and analysis of statistics (Oooo!! I could do a ANOVA between my 5 groups!!) for comfort. Heh. (Woo Hoo! a ANOVA regression analysis! Yeah boy!)

In fact, that's hilarious! hee hee hee.

This just in!! I was tired of doing everything in Excel. I mean, it's a great little spreadsheet program, but it's so hard to get it to do what I want it to do. I've used some freeware/shareware in the past and they were.... ok (I guess). So, I surfed around for a few minutes and found this. Oh. My. Goodness.

With this product, some good chocolate and a glass of red wine, I think I'm in heaven. Too bad I can't use the computer in the bathtub -- but I could use some candles....

Another Christian Product


To quote their website:

"Inspirational Scripture Shoe Inserts

Designed to aid in the daily prayer, meditation and growth of a strong spiritual relationship with Christ.

In-Souls inserts are designed to provide a tangible support to assist Christians to literally "walk in the word of the Lord." Worn in the right shoe, each one provides a related scripture and affirmation. To enhance the spiritual walk with God, the inserts help one to "stand" on His Word, meditating on it day and night. Inserts may be alternated daily to help cultivate the word of God in your life. Look for other In-Souls sets to cover a variety of topics - from trust, obedience, patience and redemption to marriage, work and body image."

They vaguely remind me of Tefillin or phylacteries, which are the two boxes containing Biblical verses that have black leather straps attached to them to strap them onto the arm or forehead. They are used in rabbinic Jewish prayer, but then removed for the rest of the day.

I suppose this is disturbing to me because the foot was considered (at the time of Christ) as the dirtiest part of the body. It doesn't seem to be a sign of respect.

Again, Christian marketing the leaves me speechless.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I have nothing at all to say

I feel drained. One on-call left and then life starts over again: school, home, church and the like.

CPE has been one of the most valuable experiences in my life so far. I'm planning on a residency year after I graduate.

But for today, I'm drained. So here are some more news stories that have caught my eye:

Teens for Pologamy

Bush Signs Law to Protect Giant Crosses

Granny's Take on Adam and Eve

T-t-that's All Folks!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lectionary Leanings

For those of you preaching the Ephesians text this week, it's not too late to get these.

Or maybe it is.

Pick my jaw up off the floor, I'm speechless.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Random Quotations Meme

From Linda

It's an easy one to do. The rules: "Go here and look through random quotes until you find 5 that you think reflect who you are or what you believe."

Here are mine:

The forceps of our minds are clumsy forceps, and crush the truth a little in taking hold of it.
H. G. Wells (1866 - 1946), 1903

I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then live with that decision.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 - 1962)

The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.
John Dewey (1859 - 1952)

Facing it, always facing it, that's the way to get through. Face it.
Joseph Conrad (1857 - 1924)

I have learned that to be with those I like is enough.
Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892)

And a bonus

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.
Albert Einstein

And some of my very favorite of all time

Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.
G. K. Chesterton (1874 - 1936)

There used to be a real me, but I had it surgically removed.
Peter Sellers (1925 - 1980)

My doctor gave me two weeks to live. I hope they're in August.
Ronnie Shakes

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

We are all here for a spell; get all the good laughs you can.
Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)


News Stories that have captured my imagination:

Man Stuck in Vat of Chocolate. The horror of it all.

The family that Shoots together Stays together

Not Goldfinger but Goldfang

The world is so varied.

Partially Realized

For generations, theologians have been debating if we are living in a partially realized eschatology. To be honest, there are days that I believe we are and days where it doesn't seem to matter.

What I would like to propose is slightly different. I believe that we are living in a partially realized Startrekology.

My evidence: Last week, I gave my husband my old flash drive (Lexar -- it's been a real workhorse). I lost the cap a long time ago, but it's been so very useful. I kept it on my keychain with my anointing oil and my WiFi detector. I took it off the keychain because with my Kroger cards, miniture charge cards and whatnot, the keys became too heavy. I went to Target and was shopping around and realized that we are already living in the "kingdom of Star Trek." I saw this little Microvault -- it's a flash drive as small as my thumbnail (literally). They even come in all sorts of pretty colors. Up to 2 gig of data. Does this not remind you of those pretty "data prisms" of some of the earlier Star Trek episodes? I pulled out my cellphone -- a thin little flip-phone (communicator) to call my husband. I had already placed a new PDA (PADD in "The Next Generation") in the cart along with a digital picture frame (do you remember Data's pictures of his cat Spot in "TNG"?)

I left a voice-mail -- I could have sent a little video (Captain, we have a message from Star Fleet!), but decided to send an email with my laptop. So first I pulled out my WiFi detector (Captain! We are picking up a information network on sensors!) and emailed my loving husband.

Partially realized. I can't wait for replicators and transporters. Or sonic showers.

(*note: OK, I didn't do ALL those things in Target. I leave the laptop behind some of the time. But you get the idea.)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Totally fluffly entry

I've got a shin splint from walking and standing without proper support. It's hard to find a shoe with proper support that looks dressy enough -- and one you can stand on for hours.

The doctor has warned me off of any heel higher than 1 inch -- even harder. So here's my shopping list.

This shoe is one I've had before. Great support, but nice lines with a tailored trouser. (Birkenstock, can you believe it.)

I really like the color of this shoe -- and the delicate detail. It will look great with shorter trousers. (Clarks)

These -- well, they felt great, but I don't know if I like how they look.

These I LOVE. I don't think they have the support I need, but they would be lovely for just kicking around.

My feet hurt today. Maybe that's why I'm obsessing about shoes....

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Just Thinking

I'm sitting in the very quiet and dark chaplaincy office this morning -- on call for 24 hours. I got here at 8:30 and received a page at, you guessed it, 8:30 that I've just finished at 11:45. So I'm tired already.

What has struck me about this experience is how differently I am thinking about words. I had thought of what words -- and sweated over what words -- that I would need to use. And the fact of the matter is, they just don't matter. The family this morning was hispanic and I don't speak Spanish. Yet I was a pastor for them. It was my presence, prayers and touch that mattered. The "right words" will never hit that mark without the presence and the touch.

That is why this medium seems so very limited to me. I cannot use my hands to speak, I cannot touch the listener, I cannot be present, really present with the listener.

Henri Nouwen said, "Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.”

It seems so periodic or cyclic to me. You have to have words, then silence, then words. You have to have listening, then speaking; distance then closeness -- and finally distance again.

I want to tell you all about some of my experiences here -- but they seem too tender and they really don't belong to me. But I will say that death is a sacred thing and I have shared sacred moments. I am grateful for those moments.

So now, I will rest and wait for the next page. And in a little while maybe I will have enough energy to pray. But maybe just sitting here and resting in the Presence is enough prayer. I don't think I'll need the words.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

An Analogy

or allegory or whatever.

I have this incredible urge to find out little bits of trivia. Basic curosity type stuff; trying to understand the world type stuff.

Anyway, we were sitting around in the Chaplaincy office one afternoon and were dwelling in the age-old mystery: Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? Of course, I could not dwell long in that mystery because of my need to know. So I looked it up. To a biologist a tomato is a fruit -- a berry to be precise. However, the Supreme Court in the late 1800's judged a tomato to be a vegetable. So a tomato is both.

Or is it? Perhaps when speaking to a biologist, I need to understand their label of "berry" or "fruit," but if speaking to a politician or legal counsel, I need to use that label of "vegetable." Our labels are of our own making -- and speak to our own need. Some of us can embrace one label, other another, while some can embrace all labels. Even the word "tomato" is a label -- meaning that squishy red round thing that you grow in your yard and put in spaghetti sauce.

Where do I label things? Can I embrace all labels? When is there need for precise use of labels, will I be able and willing to do that?


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Stick a Fork in Me

I'm done.

Well, with the group portion of CPE. All that's left is three days and three (!) overnight on-calls (to make up the time I missed when I was sick with the stuff you only get in the hospital.)

So, stick a fork in me.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

O gracious light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of Life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.

Dearest Lord,
Tomorrow is a day of new beginnings for a lot of school children.
Help them to see You in all they do -- help them to see You in the faces of the teachers and the other children in the school.
Help them be attentive to the students, teachers, staff and classmates who may be very different; Help them listen for God in all, even if they don’t think they are going to find God there.
Be with them and keep watch over them.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

More Learnings from CPE

CPE is indeed one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself and your ministry. Yourself FIRST so that you can be a better minister. There have been bits that have been wonderful. And the work as a chaplain is absolutely fabulous.

That said, it's also sort of like a forced enema.

And finally to quote one of my colleagues, "I don't want to be any more self-aware right now. I want to be a cat."


Monday, August 07, 2006

Interesting Synthesis

I’ve been working on an interesting synthesis. There is a body of research about marriages, specifically traditional marriages verses egalitarian marriages with which I am fascinated. There is an article on line at here that examines some of the research that Drs. David H. Olson and Shuji G. Asai of the University of Minnesota, published in 2003 as well as some of the data gathered by Barna. Dr. Preato’s conclusion is that in egalitarian marriages people are happier, enjoy more intimacy and demonstrate less spousal abuse (by almost a 60% margin.) Preato backs his claims that the true model for a marriage and the Biblical model for a marriage is the egalitarian model with some very interesting exegesis.

I am aware of other research found here at Princeton that deals with congregational satisfaction. I remember looking at this body of research or the generation before and being shocked at basic “Methodist satisfaction” – that is the satisfaction of the church with their pastor and the satisfaction of the pastor with their church. It is lower than most others. Not too surprising, though, I thought in retrospect. After all, the Pastor has that prophetic edge that can be uncomfortable for most congregations. But it is also an artifact of the itinerancy system.

Third fact: there is a rise in most conference’s equitable compensation numbers. This is a matter of public record and can be found on the internet. Equitable comp is paid to a pastor from the conference when the church that she/he is pastoring is unable to make the salary. This could be because most of the rural congregations in American are aging and on a fixed income but another factor is most definitely pastoral competence. Once a Methodist minister is made a full elder, it becomes very difficult to put him/her out to pasture – or to force them to resign. But I wonder if some of this need for equitable comp is because the marriage between pastor and congregation is a dysfunctional one.

If we look at various and sundry liturgies of ordination, it’s evident that there is more “submission language” in the Methodist liturgy than, for instance, the Episcopalian liturgy. I begin to wonder if there are parallels between the research done by Preato in egalitarian marriages and what he calls “traditional” marriages (what I would call a submissive marriage) and the way that the Methodist system works.

I am sure that if I looked hard enough, I could find instances of a pastor being abusive to the congregation within this system, with the minister knowing that there is little that can be done by the congregation to remove him/her because the pastor is there appointed by the Bishop and is not there because of a call by the congregation. Likewise, I know I can find places that congregations have been abusive to pastors because this is basically an arranged marriage.

Then I wonder if there is evidence of DSs being abusive to pastors and Bishops being abusive to DSs.

All this is not definitive. I would need more research into the hard and fast numbers. Also, just because a marriage is traditional does not mean that automatically it is an abusive marriage, just that the possibility of abuse exists. There are definite beauties to the Methodist system – I believe that it was Friedman that observed that a congregation that knows their pastor will not be around “forever" – a congregation that is prepared to lose their pastor every year becomes a better differentiated congregation. It becomes stronger and much less dependent on the minister and thus, in the long run, happier.

But it does give me something to think about and mull over for a while.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

I was Tagged

way back at the end of June by Osray and CPE has had me busy.


1. Race. I'm racing time to finish my CPE paperwork at the same time I finish CPE.
2. Ruin. I've ruined my children by giving them only expensive chocolate. They will never want Hersey's again.
3. Related. I'm related to my children. Most definitely.
4. Reproduce. Seeing I have children, I have reproduced.
5. Repair. I've repaired the fruit bowl since it was broken. With Elmer's glue.
6. Refreshed. I've been refreshed by having to sleep in this last week. A cold can be OK, you know?
7. Remarkable. The friends I've made with this blogging thing are remarkable. And quite a blessing.
8. Redeemed. One of my favorite words. One of my deepest beliefs is that all things in the end will be redeemed. All things. As in Romans 8:28.
9. Romans. One of my favorite books of the Bible, 'specially Romans 8.
10. Remember. As in "Remember who you are and whose you are."

Choose a letter and do it. Just do it. And let me know.

Maybe the Kids DO Look Like Me



And Chaos has VERY flexible fingers

This Week

This week, since I've been home, my little one who I call "Entropy" has been particularly snuggly. I sit on the sofa and she snuggles with me. I sit in the "Lazy-Butt" chair and she gets in my lap. I go lay down and she's right there. She also has been really good about getting me glasses of water and cough-drops. I cough and it's "Do you need a cough drop, mama?" She's so very sweet.

I don't think I really understood how much you can love a child until I had one (or two). I love her long legs and her delicate fingers. She's all legs and thin little arms and bunches of hair right now and when she snuggles with me, it feels like I have a little bird under my arm.

She got in bed with me last night and snuggled against my back. I rolled over and took her in my arms. She snuggled up and looked me in the eyes and said, "Mama, can I ask you something?"

Expecting great and earth shatteringly profound questions, I said, "Sure, baby. Anything."

"Mama, can Monks lie?"

OK, not as profound as I would have thought.

"Sure baby, they can lie, but they try not to."

"Oh. Okay."

We went on to talk about Monks for a while. How they try not to kill anything, except maybe ants and how they wear funny clothing. Then she asked, "Mama, is it true that Orangutans have people DNA?"

"Gee, baby, I don't know. I know that most life on Earth shares some DNA."

"Well, most life on earth is made up of the same elements, too, right? But that doesn't mean that it's all the same. (long pause) Mama, what rhymes with Orangutan?"

We play the rhyming game for a while after that. (Ant, Bant, Cant, Dant, Eant, Fant, Gant, Hant and so on.... but in this case (Angutan, Bangutan, Cangutan and so on.)

"Mama, what do you pray for?"

"All sorts of stuff. What do you pray for?"

"That we get more chocolate. And that the ants go away. And that you get better (followed by a kiss). Sometimes I just get really thankful for stuff."

"Like what?"

"Chocolate. And the internet (like is this my kid or what?). But especially Mama and Daddy and Chaos and Little Kitty."

Gee, that's exactly what I'M thankful for too. Daddy and Chaos and Entropy and Little Kitty and Chocolate and the Internet.

Thanks, God.

Friday, August 04, 2006

I'm not feeling well.

Actually, I've been home since Tuesday with something I caught ... somewhere. Deep cough, fever, night sweats. It's just lovely. I'll have some hours to catch up on with the CPE, but all will be well.