Thursday, May 24, 2007


for a couple of weeks.
Please come back when I resume regular programming -- i.e. LATER.

I love my camera.

Just sayin'. I think I'm going to spend my graduation present money on expensive lens. I want a Nikon 18-200mm AF-S DX VR F/3.5-5.6. If you want to get me one, just let me know.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Picture 111 of 365

Picture 110 of 365

Kid Karaoke at my Graduation Party. They were most entertaining.

Picture 109 of 365

Proof that REAL BBQ in the UMC is Chicken.

Bits and Pieces

End of the school year mayhem. Kids going all over the place, teacher presents, b'day party for Entropy, 5th grade graduation, getting ready for summer vacation, getting substitutes for choir and pianist, getting cars serviced etc etc etc.

I'm ready for the beach!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Five

1. What would the meeting be like? (Continuing Ed? Retreat? Outside Speakers? Interest Groups? Workshops? Hot Stone Massages? Pedicures? Glorified Slumber Party?)
I would like to just meet up with my fellow bloggers. I would love to hold hands with some of these women and pray for a while, sing a little bit, hear a couple of them preach, listen to them talk about being women clergy... Just BE together.
2. When in 2008 might you be able to attend? January? Shortly after Easter? Summer? Fall? Some other time?
Summer is OK, as long as we avoid Annual Conference time. Maybe July or August? May is BAD.

3. Where would your dream meeting location be? (Urban Hotel? Rural Retreat Center? New England Camp? Southwestern Fantasy Hotel? Far away from civilization? Nearby Outlets or Really Great Thrift Stores?)
Given the choice between an Urban Generic Hotel in Dirty City with being Inside all the time Never Seeing Sunlight and Lovely Retreat Center in the Deep Woods with Running Streams of Living Water? Take a guess.... (Although near big flea market and thrift stores? Charming antique stores? Hmmmm... that would be OK)

4. Who would make a great keynote speaker? (That's if #1 leads us in that direction.)
Someone who understands the stress/spirituality /life demands of being a woman and a clergyperson at the same time. I would love to get Roberta Bondi, because I love to listen to her or Diana Butler Bass. BBT would be OK, too.

5. Did I leave out something you want to suggest? I would love to hear PPB and Stace play the guitar together... maybe with the Indigo Girls. I would love to have our brothers welcome, as well (PoC, the Frodo lover, Mark the Lepper, Gavo and JNorm.) I would love to worship with you people -- to have Eucharist with you. I would want the place we gather to have a "sacred space" of some sort. I would love Cathy to tell us more about music. I want to sing you all.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Picture 108 or 365

Picture 107 of 365

Picture 106 of 365


My life is cyclic. One cycle follows another, almost as surely as one season follows another. By graduating, I've altered the cycle, but certain milestones will be the same. I followed graduation by the "end of the semester torpor." That can last anywhere from two days to a week. Next comes the "I can't believe how yucky this house is" stage. I'm in the midst of that now. This will be the time where I clean those things that need to be cleaned a couple of times of year -- like scrubbing the cabinet under the sink and cleaning behind the washer and dryer. Yuck. It's also the time where I tend to do things like paint rooms and refinish floors. (And yes, I've got paint chips already!)

While the kids are out of school, it's the time where I begin to set up my routine again. Morning prayer, a chapter out of the Bible, a chapter out of a "good book." Clean the kitchen after b'fast (we don't finish up at night, like my family did as a child.) After the kids get out, I will spend a bunch of time pushing them to get out of bed in the morning, clean their room and a lot of time fussing at them to stop fighting.

I've a to-do list started; I want to throughly clean up this house and help finish sorting the Loving Husband's g'father's estate out. I need to finish sorting stuff in the garage and the storage unit. I've listed bunches of books on Amazon and I need to get some items listed on eBay. I want to do some more writing. Chaos wants to do some trips to take pictures; Entropy wants to learn how to Photoshop. I want to go to the beach (paradise). I've got Conference, VBS, they have music camp, I've got Pastor's school, Entropy has summer school. I've got to finish applications for ThM programs and CPE, but I don't feel in a hurry.

I do like routine and structure. But I like setting time in that structure for contemplation, prayer and just drinking coffee. Like I'm doing now. How come we don't put "time to sit a while" down in our schedules? Do we not value it? Well, for me it's going to be around 9:30 am. Come sit a while with me.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Picture 103 of 365

I'm looking pensive -- staring off into the future. (BTW, I hate that cap. I had a bad case of hat hair for the rest of the day!)
And yes, I am short.

Picture 102 of 365

Dr. Walker Ray was our pediatrician for 13 years -- he retired last month and goodness knows I'm going to miss him. He spoke at commencement as the President of the Alumni Association.

Picture 101 of 365

Dr. Saliers and the top of my head -- or at least from the nose up. He amused me yesterday -- he encouraged Chaos with her cello practicing and said something like, "You know, my daughters are musical, too." Dr. Saliers is the master of understatement.

Picture 100 (give or take) of 365

The Diploma Ceremony. And, yes, I am short. What about it?


Here is the URL for the Commencement page, complete with Real Audio for the ceremony itself. You can see just a bit of the Theology Faculty at minute 18 or so and a bit of my class at minute 20. We're the ones with the crimson on our hoods.

Emory gave out about 3800 degrees and certificates yesterday -- we are just a fraction of that. It was a sea of people; a crush of people. It was long and tiring. I even heard on the radio that the amount of people going in and out of the campus was disrupting all of the traffic on the east side of Atlanta.

I've more pictures, but I'll post them later. I'm going to get some headache pills and get some coffee....

Saturday, May 12, 2007

It is finished.

It is finished.
I'm through with exams and papers. I've passed and on Monday I'll get the piece of paper.
Praise God.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Three Days (Slight Panic is setting in)

Three Days!! And so much to do!! Aarrgghh!!
Two Papers, one final, worship Sunday, Choir Practice

And on the home front:
Out of town company. That means we have to be able to find the beds in Entropy's room. That might not seem to be a problem to some, but she's a Clean Sweep dropout. Mission Organization would not touch it.

Well, maybe it's not THAT bad. Or maybe it is. I've been working in the room for a hour a day or so this last week and you can't tell it. I'm thinking about big black trash bags -- just scooping the stuff up and stuffing it in the attic and then bring them out one at a time to sort. That way it might seem manageable. She's really attached to her stuff, and yet doesn't know how to care for it. I suppose it's really up to me to teach her. Chaos is pretty good at the cleaning of the room activity and the sorting of stuff. She regularly brings stuff down to give away to Goodwill or Salvation Army. Entropy just didn't inherit those genes.

I suppose she didn't get that nickname for nothing. Time to work on papers.

P.S. Net -- thank your son for the idea. I think I'll get some flip-flops.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sunday, May 06, 2007

More Procrastinating

It turns out the Cathy and I love the same place -- St. George Island. And Mary Beth grew up vacationing in the area too.

It will be St. George time soon enough....

But I want to go NOW!

Old Friends

My youth minister, friend and minister who married me (actually he performed the ceremony -- I married my LH) is now keeping a MySpace blog here. If you want to track this kind of stuff, there are SEVERAL of that youth group who went to seminary and then were called to ministry -- 5 or 6 at last count out of maybe 40. He was a blessing to me in Sr. High and in college. Please go visit and say "hey." He's heading out of town to a mission trip to Africa this week.

And I'm working on my next to-next to-last paper. It's a beaut. Basically 18 pages of Wesleyana -- specifically comparing Wesley's via salutis to his own faith journey. I'm so far behind!!! I may just have to scream now.

Morning Prayer -- We Are One In the Spirit, 1 Cor 3:1-2

And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations? For when one says, ‘I belong to Paul’, and another, ‘I belong to Apollos’, are you not merely human?
-- 1 Cor 3:1-2

We are One in The Spirit,
We are One in The Lord.
We are One in The Spirit,
We are One in The Lord.
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.
And they'll know we are Christians by our love,
By our Love,
Yes they'll know we are Christians by our love.
-- Peter Scholte

Almighty Lord, no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid. That foundation is Jesus Christ. We admit that we have not been able to finish building on this foundation in such a way that we may become the dwelling place of God. We have sometimes even been the cause of its ruin. Even if our work should be lost, save us, Lord and give us a fresh chance to work for unity. Create in us an ardent longing for the unity of your church and enable us to work towards it. Amen.
(from The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, 2005)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Dern it.

I hate it when I need another resource and I google the topic up only to find either my own article from Wikipedia or stuff from my own blog. I wanted more information about United Methodist Distinctiveness and found myself. Now that's a little too self-referential.

Vacuuming Cats

I don't think Little Kitty would like this either.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Thoughts of Gender and Ordination

(Yikes! Grammar problems abound. Passive voice rules. This really needs to be cleaned up. Nonetheless...)

To begin a discussion of the ordination of women, we can begin with the biblical witness. There are no references in the Bible to women priests. There are no references in the scriptures for women apostles or for the laying on of hands for women. There are very clear statements in the Bible, such as 1 Timothy 2:11-15, which states, “Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.”

There are others: 1 Timothy 3:2 that specifies that overseers and deacons must be men and 1 Corinthians 14:34b-35 that states that women must be silent and in submission when in church. Any one of these verse would seemingly preclude women from taking any pastoral role or from any ordination. Most of those who would argue so would not question the origin of these pastoral letters or admit the possibility of an interpolation into 1 Corinthians.

However that is not necessarily the case. Many scholars now believe that the pastoral letters were written after Paul’s death and were given Paul’s name as an appeal to his authority. By the time these letters were written, it was evident that Jesus was not going to return next Thursday (the much celebrated delay of the parasouia) and perhaps an ordering of the church would be necessarily so that the church structure fit into the current society.

It is interesting to note that the society in which these scriptures were written, women’s roles were restricted: they never held positions of power and strict readings of the Hebrew Scriptures would have women regarded as property to male owners – their fathers and husbands. However, Jesus held women in high regard: he ate with them, he spoke to them and about half of his inner circle was female. (1) Paul seems to hold women in high regard as well in the book of Acts. Of the 40 or so proper names in the book of Acts, 16 are those of women. These women are not just people to provide meals for the men, but active in ministry. (2)

All of these verses are open for various sorts of interpretation. It could be argued that the Pastoral Letters were written as late as 150 CE and were written in Paul’s name specifically to discount all the references he makes of women being apostles and ministers in the earlier letters. My argument is one of optimization: why would God place gifts and graces for ordained ministry in women if these gifts and graces are not to be used?

There are other starting places for this discussion.. We can begin with doctrine, especially as redefined by the Pietistic movement after Luther. Christ is figured as priest, prophet and king, although this is not a concept that Luther particularly used. (3) Christ is also in complete relation with the other parts of the Trinity; they are in relationship. We are told to be as Christ – we are told we share with Christ and are partners with him and thus share in the communion of the trinity. Most radical is the idea that a priest’s authority is not only given from above, but bubbles up from below, as the priesthood of all believers entrust their God given authority to a priest selected from the assembly. None of the concepts are gender specific.

Yet for generations the Roman Catholic Church has taught that a) The trinity is of the same substance and essence but yet b) there is an ontological difference (in substance and essence) between humanity expressed as male humanity and humanity expressed as female humanity. (4) If one considers Galatians 3:6 “for all are one in Christ Jesus,” these statements can constitute a true conundrum, or at the least two different classes of Baptism. Questions arise: could Christ’s sacrifice then even save women if they are of different substance and essence? Or as Mary Daly so eloquently puts it, “If God is male, then the male is God.” (5) In the Inter Insigniores, we read that “we can never ignore the fact that Christ is a man … in actions which demand the character of ordination and in which Christ himself, the author of the Covenant, the Bridegroom, the Head of the Church, is represented, exercising his ministry of salvation- which is in the highest degree the case of the Eucharist- his role (this is the original sense of the word 'persona') must be taken by a man.” (6) Yet just a couple of paragraphs down in this same section, it is made clear that the Church is female—the church is referred to as “she” and “her.” The priest is the representative member of this church (which is female). Would it not be plausible that the priest be female? (7) Again, these create a conundrum.

It is obvious that there are many other things that could be explored and said about gender and ordination. We have followed a pietistic and a Roman Catholic rabbit trail. We could also explore Eastern Orthodox and Anabaptist thought, but it’s apparent that most of these are indeed rabbit trails. There are interesting conclusions that raise interesting questions: if God is male and man is made in the image of God, where does this leave women? (8) If Christ came to be with the oppressed and the downtrodden and came as a lowly peasant builder, why did he not come as the lowliest of the low – a woman? (9) Is the feminization of church and society a result of having female clergy or is the ordination of women a result of the feminization of the church and society? (10) Or is there really such a thing as a "feminization" of church?

Given these questions, perhaps it is time for Christianity to revision ordination. These questions spotlight deep cracks in our understanding of some vary basic doctrines. If women and men (and thus by extension Christ) are of different substance and essence, do we need to revision our soteriologies and Christologies? Do we need to revision our doctrine of church itself into a “Church in the Round?” As Letty Russell pointed out “our current understanding of ordination is shaped by theological doctrines of hierarchical divine order rather than by a gospel understanding of the order of freedom. Women in ministry are questioning not just doctrines and models of ministry but the structure of the churches themselves.” (11)

If one is to understand Genesis 1:27, as I have in a previous footnote, that is the image of God is only complete in an intimate, ongoing, procreative relationship between a man and a woman, perhaps “Church” needs to be revisioned as well. Perhaps the best possible minister for a congregation is indeed representational: a married couple, a clergy couple. This clergy couple would not divide the tasks into “senior pastor” and “associate,” but would be co-pastors with the division of ministry done along lines that reflect the pastor’s own particular gifts and graces, rather than preconceived notions of gender roles.

(1) The longest conversation Jesus has in the book of John is with a woman and one outside of his normal circle: a Samaritan woman at the well.
(2) In Acts 9:36, Paul refers to Tabitha as a “disciple.” In Act 18:24-26, Pricilla is described as taking a pastoral role to a man from Alexandria, named Apollos. In Acts 16, Paul refers to Phobe as a “deacon” in the same sense that he refers to himself in 2 Corinthians and in Ephesians 6:21 where the word is used to describe a male person as a “minister.” In Romans 16:7, he refers to Junia as an “apostle.” These are only a few of these types of verses.
(3) This is the three-fold office as commonly understood. I understand from this concept started with Eusebius and was expanded by Calvin, but I have not located the exact references.
(4) Gaudium et Spes 12,4. Pope Paul VI, December 7, 1965 as interpreted by Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.
(5) Mary Daly, Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation, Beacon Press, p. 19.
(6) Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Inter Insigniores: Declaration on the Question of Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood, October 15, 1976, section 5.
(7) Especially if we understand the church to be the bride of Christ, as described in Revelation 19.
(8) A careful exegesis of Genesis 1:27 shows that perhaps neither man nor woman alone are in the image of God, that only the Adam (the human) before he was split into two was in the image of God. Perhaps the most complete image of God can only be found in intimate relationship, especially as found in the marital relationship. Through conjugal relations and through procreation, perhaps a joined couple experiences the fullest expression of being created in the image of God. It has also been of some interest to me that theologians become squeamish when discussing what will happen to/in creation itself when Christ and his Bride (the church) join in conjugal relations.
(9) To answer my own rhetorical question, perhaps this creates a stronger argument for a soteriology of Christ as kinsman-redeemer, as only the male could complete this task.
(10) For excellent discussions of these issues, I would suggest two books: The Gendered Pulpit: Preaching in American Protestant Spaces by Roxanne Mountford, Southern Illinois University Press, 2003 and Feminization of the Clergy in America by Paula D. Nesbitt, Oxford University Press, 1997.
(11) Letty Russell, Church in the Round, Westminster John Knox Press, p. 47.

How to Wash a Cat YouTube of the Day

Yeah, right. Just why don't you came to MY house and wash Litty Kitty? (aka Shred the Human?)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Amish Rap -- YouTube of the Day

Morning Prayer -- Showers of Blessing; Psalm 50; Matthew Arnold

Lord, I hear of showers of blessing,
Thou art scattering full and free;
Showers the thirsty land refreshing;
Let some drops now fall on me;
Even me, even me,
Let some drops now fall on me.

Pass me not, O God, my Father,
Sinful though my heart may be;
Thou mightst leave me, but the rather;
Let Thy mercy light on me;
Even me, even me,
Let Thy mercy light on me.

-- Elizabeth H. Codner

10 For all the beasts of the forest are mine, *
the herds in their thousands upon the hills.
11 I know every bird in the sky, *
and the creatures of the fields are in my sight.
-- Psalm 50

11 In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; 12 when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, 14 erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross.
-- Col. 2

We would have inward peace,
Yet will not look within;
We would have misery cease,
Yet will not cease from sin;

Once, read your own heart right
And you will have done with fears;
Man gets no other light
Though he search a thousand years.

-- empedocles on etna - matthew arnold - 1852 c.e.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Ninja Mythbusting - YouTube of the Day

Various and Sundry

First: I couldn't comment on the Methoblog so here's my observation about fresh clergy: I have calculated my student debt per month and my take home (at full LP salary). I do not have a parsonage (well, actually, we probably COULD live in the parsonage, but are choosing not to) and I have to pay all my own utilities etc... I calculated that after subtracting number above from the other I would have $618 to live off of. Good thing the Loving Husband has a good job, eh?

Second: The fires in S. Georgia burn unabated. They are costing the state of Georgia more than a million dollars a day. 136 square miles have burned and more than 20 homes have been lost, but no loss of life. This loss of forest is going to be hard because we also have elevated ozone levels in Georgia, a "cap" of heavy and dense air over us and we are on smog alert "Orange" (this may be why when I'm outside walking I'm short of breath.) The best "scrubber" of air other than rain are trees -- and now we have 136 square miles less of trees. We need rain! The moisture that is laid down in spring is what creates the pop-up thunderstorms that help cool us off in July and August. Without this moisture, the heat down here is going to be unbearable. (Georgia heat is pretty unbearable as it is, but this will pump it up higher). There is a burning ban in Atlanta already and watering bans. Lake Lanier took a hit last year when a faulty sensor cause us to spill off too much water and the lake is down. They were hoping for rain to fill it back up this year. We need rain!

Third: I've been blue since yesterday and I can put my finger on why. Entropy was in the school play last night and the place was pretty much well packed. It was your typical 5th grade play (do I need to say more?) The LH and I were both there, as well as Chaos, but Entropy was one of the few who didn't also have grandparents. It makes me very sad that not only do I not have parents to consult but the kids are missing out on the experience of grandparents. My grandparents were the "spoiling factor" when I was their age -- I could always count on an ice cream cone or a new dress when I had a play or a concert. I'm missing that today.

Fourth: I'm working on papers today. I worked on my novel some, but I'm having a problem. I keep redeeming my villains. How can I write a murder mystery if I keep redeeming the villains?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Interesting Juxapositions

First, I watched this video at Gavin's blog.
I didn't like it -- there are so many points that I don't like, I don't know where to begin. First, the overwhelmingly male (non-inclusive) language. "Men" this and "him" that, implying that leadership for the church should be exclusively male. Argh!
Second, the comments about sex. (yuck)
Third, this leadership style promulgates a cult of personality -- and the first one promulgated is that of the speaker. The EGO that takes! Argh! This person is very into multi-casting. Where is the incarnation in that?

Later in the afternoon, I got into a conversation with a good friend that I hadn't heard from in 10 years. She and her husband are involved in a "Fellowship" -- a house church that cooperates with other established churches, but is an intentional fellowship that meets for formal/informal worship (liturgy based, mostly Anglican and RC) in a house church setting. (Undisclosed Famous Professor) is a part of this group, so I know that there is solid biblical exegesis done here -- in this small group of 16 to 20 people. They take turning expounding on the Word, writing the prayers and liturgy themselves. They share the Eucharist, then have a pot-luck lunch together. I don't feel comfortable in sharing the name of (Undisclosed Famous Professor), but this person is indeed, famous and is indeed a Biblical Scholar (does the Lectionary writings in Christian Century frequently). They are a sort of renegade group, but affirm one another, reach out to others and keep their worship small and intentional. Everyone participates.

Guess which one I'd rather go to?

I've been thinking quite a bit about "What is church?" and "What is Emergent?" and "What is Emerging?" Which of these two should we do? Is there room for both? Can both be honest expressions of church? Jesus took small intimate meals -- Jesus also spoke to very large groups of people. Are they for different types of people or different types of purposes? Which should we emulate? Why do I find one of these models so compelling and the other so distasteful? Which is more authentic for me, personally? What should I do with these reflections?

Graduation YouTube Video

** Warning - Vaguely Crude **


The drought here in Georgia is the worse it has been in almost 100 years -- worse than the droughts that destroyed farmers and crops in the 1930's. South Georgia is 18 inches of rain low; Atlanta is 9 inches low. The ground is dry as dust.

We had a really late freeze that destroyed the blooms on the peach, apple and pecan trees, and that actually may be a good thing as that means the trees won't have to expend water and energy on fruit, but can conserve resources for their own survival. The little "truck gardens" that supply a lot of the fresh vegetables around are suffering, meaning that those farmers are suffering. Cotton, peanuts, soybeans, cabbage, squash, green beans, alfalfa, tomatoes, onions (Vidalia), you name it. It's going to be a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And the fires down south -- they are the largest wildfires ever in Georgia. They are burning the swamp down there, but also burning 20 year old stands of pulpwood -- another cash crop in Georgia that takes a LONG time to renew. A good soaking rain would put them out, but they have been burning for almost 2 weeks.

Combine all this with the high price of gasoline (almost $3.00 a gallon for the cheapest unleaded), it's going to be pricey to import fruits and vegetables, as well. Peanut butter prices will go up; dairy prices will go up because they will have to import hay and feed or butcher the cattle.

This is going to put some of these farmers under. They may have farms worth millions of dollars, but they also have tremendous debt. They need the proceeds from the crops to make payments on mortgages, equipment and so on. One by one small farmers are going to be forced out.

Most Americans do not live in harmony with the land anymore. Ancient Israel understood these pressures and stress. This kind of year makes one appreciate the years of drought and famine described in the Old Testament.

Please pray for rain.