Monday, December 31, 2007

Still working on ordination papers

but being completely distracted because of my (late) Christmas present. He's black and fuzzy and about 5 months old -- the kids have named him "Johnny Cat, cat in Black." (like Johnny Cash, get it?)

He really is totally black -- black fur, black whiskers, black claws with startlingly green eyes. He's gorgeous. And very timid -- a real scared-y cat. I'm in love! He's too timid for me to get a good picture. I'll post it as soon as I do.

Little kitty, by the way, is not impressed. She wants us to take him back from whence he came. ASAP. Pronto. Bye-bye now! (Not going to happen, Little Kitty).

We are having to keep them separated. Johnny Cat upstairs, Little Kitty down.

So today is going to be like this -- write a page or two, love on a cat. Write another page, love on the other cat. Totally fun.

(BTW: I am really either stuck or just really dry. All I can think to write about evil and sin:

Sin is bad. Evil is bad. God is good. Yeah, God!

I think I probably need to get a little more in depth than that.... Off to write some more...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

Writing and writing and writing and writing

I'm still writing. The papers are due on January 8th -- and I sure hope I make the deadline. Either way, I'm finished with them on the 8th and then maybe things will be back to normal.

I'm giving my sermon to be evaluated by the BOOM (Board on Ordained Ministry) on Sunday -- I'm going to preach the Matthew 2 Epiphany text. I've got the sermon mostly finished. It's the transitions that usually give me trouble and so I'm working on them right now.

Then I have a 6 week Jonah Bible Study to finish and the 18 or so Theology and Practice of Ministry questions to finish. It's all started and in process, but I'm encountering some unease -- I never read any of my peers answers until very recently and mine are quite ... different. I wrote them like I write -- in a narrative fashion rather than a seminary paper. I hope my style will be OK; I'm a smidge bit anxious about it, but it will be as it will be. These papers are to reflect MY theology and my style of ministry -- and they certain will do that.

Edited: I just looked at what I've finished and what I've NOT finished. EEEKKKK!!! Off to write.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

It was a good day -- too much food and stuff (as usual). Not as many presents this year (because we don't need that much!) but nice and thoughtful things. Best of the day -- the Loving Husband gave me 2 gig of memory and a 250 gig hard drive for the computer. He's going to pimp my computer. Yeah!

The kids got Nerf popguns and have been shooting Nerf balls at things... And Chaos got a viola. We now have a full quartet of instruments -- and the nephew received a violin, so he can join in the fun as well.

Best part of the day -- seeing friends, spending quality time with close and extended family, watching "Amazing Grace" with them all. Good conversations. Lots of hugs and snuggles from the kids -- and for the very first time EVER (in 19 years of life) the cat slept in the bed with us last night.

I wonder what the kitty is going to do when the "last" Christmas present gets here (on Friday). He's about 12 weeks old, black and fuzzy and goes by the name of "Johnny Snugglecat." Hmmm....

Dearest and most Gracious God
Bless this Christmas season with Hope, Love, Peace and Joy,
Ridding each and every heart of grief and distress, loneliness and pain,
The sorrows of yesterday and the fears for tomorrow.
Fill us with Hope, as you filled the world with Hope so very long ago,
Fill us with Love, the Spirit of Love that has filled hearths and homes of times gone by
Grant us Your Peace, The Peace given to us with the birth of the Christ Child,
And may we rest in Joy in Your everlasting love.
In the precious name of Your Son, we pray, Amen.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I've been thinking about 1) stewardship and 2) ratios recently.

The Loving Husband and I are working on getting our spending, savings and giving in line with what they should be. If I get appointed to East PoDunk next year, the Loving Husband may or may not be able to maintain his current employments and so we need to get all things in balance. Easier said than done. He's reading Dave Ramsey's book; I'm contemplating ratios.

For instance, we spend about a third of our income on housing. Not too bad; some people spend up to two thirds on their housing. Then comes the uh-oh. We've been spending a third on food. That's a lot of money -- too much going out to eat. So we've been cutting down on that -- and budgeted $125 or so a week for food. It's really not been too hard, but I hope that number will go up shortly. We been giving pretty generously -- as we ought, but I realized that I've been giving "encumbered" funds -- funds for my pet ministries. I wonder if that's an OK thing to do. The money should be the church's to do with as it needs to do. I'm going to have to think about that for a while.

I was reading somewhere that there is more money spent on Lipstick in the U.S. of A than there is spent at NASA yearly. Interesting. I wonder what giving really is like in the larger communities? What is the ratio of giving to what we spend on our schools or maintenance of our roads and bridges? How much money is given for the Church to be as the Body of Christ as compared to our military budget? More things to research and think about.

This I know -- I spent too much money this week on Baklava. A full fifth of the weekly food budget went on Baklava. Yes, Baklava is one of the world's most perfect foods, but it makes me go hmmm.....

Friday, December 21, 2007

T-minus Three Days

Christmas presents purchased.
Decision to send NO CARDS made.
All packages taken to Post Office.
Tree -- done.

Pick up house.
Make cookies.
Drink coffee/chai (depending on the hour.)

I've a start on all the questions, the sermon (that I will preach the Sunday after Christmas) and the Bible Study (Jonah, with an emphasis on 1) how to use study tools and 2) music.) But for some reason this is the hardest writing I've ever done....

Must. Write. Papers.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas update

Between the very flakey internet connection and the ordination papers, the blog is falling way behind.

In fact, I'm about writ out. I can't write anymore ... or rather, not what I need to write. I've been writing every single day since November 1 and now I've writer's block. I've written:
  • 10,000 words on a novel
  • Ordination Papers
  • 6 week Bible Study
  • Sermons
  • a Cantata
The novel is now on the back burner -- and can stay there for a while. The next sermon is researched and percolating, the Bible Study is being polished. The Cantata is over and done with. (Rant on: And about Cantatas -- I have a pet peeve. Why do churches do cantatas that don't match their polity, theology and doctrine? I don't ever want to do one of those again, so I tend to put together my own Cantata. I want it to be tight with nice musical segues and I want more than one voice for the narration. For this one, I took anthems and linked them together with passages from both the KJV and The Message -- the Nativity narratives. John 1 was the Call to Worship. A little interpretive verbage, lots of Bible. We used 6 narrators, to vary the pacing and put congregational singing in the middle of most of the anthems, using very common and familiar Advent and Christmas hymns. We had the kids dress up and act it out as we all sang. It was wonderful -- not professional and smooth, but as it ought to be. Rant off.)

I'm now going to try to clean up enough for guests, do the purchase presents thing and write ordination papers.

Oh yeah, and breathe. Y'all have a Merry Christmas, OK?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mr. Murray is Dead

Wil Shipley's beloved kitty slipped away today. He wrote this beautiful tribute.
You have my condolences, My. Shipley, and know this -- John Wesley would tell us that you will meet Mr. Murray again.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Prayer Based on the Antiphons of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel"

O WISDOM, God breathed You, He spoke You, You reach from end to end. You bring me forth from my chaos, You order all things mightily and sweetly: thank You for teaching me the way of prudence.

O LORD AND RULER of the all the Houses, the Houses of Israel and Judea, the Houses of all the world, but especially the House for those who cannot find harborage, the House for those who yearn for Home, the House for the homeless -- O Lord and Ruler who appears to me in the flame of the burning stars, in the gentle breath of a baby, in the breaking of the bread: thank you for redeeming me with arms flung open wide.

O ROOT OF JESSE, You spring forth again and again from this brusied reed, You spring forth from the stump of my felled trees, You spring forth in the broken rose cane again and again. Before You I can only keep the silence and before You I shall be waiting in anticipation and supplication: thank you for delivering me.

O KEY OF DAVID, and Sceptre of the House of Israel, You open and no one can shut, You shut and no one can open: thank You for bringing forth this captive from her prison, for bringing light forth from darkness and the shadow of death that always haunts me.

O EMMANUEL, God with us, My King, My Lawgiver, My Saviour, My Lover, My World -- the Word made flesh -- thank You for Your gift of life, thank You for Your gifts of bread and wine, help me to hold the baby close to my heart this Christmas, help me treasure Your Word in my heart and be a witness to Your light. I pray in the name of my Holy Infant, my Holy Child – Amen.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


  • Life if busy, and so blogging suffers.
  • BrownBlog has an interesting conversation started here about Second Life and the response of the Anglicans Online community article. Interesting stuff
  • Preparing for Christmas (is that a surprise?)
  • Cleaning house, sorting and giving stuff away. I gave away my Cappuccino machine, a blender, a food processor and a Crockpot this last week. Still selling books and eBaying.
  • Here's a what if: What if a female Muslim teacher moved into your neighborhood, started teaching at a local Muslim sponsored school, in which some are Muslim but most are Christian. Then the teacher allows the class (kindergarten or so) to name a teddy bear "Jesus" - what would happen? I don't think there were be thousands called for her execution and marching on the Capital, or would there be?