Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bishop Bev Jones

Blogging Life

I've not been able to blog much lately. I think it is just a dry spell -- or at least I hope. I always am afraid that I'm going to run out of things to say; that eventually all words are going to be used up. I'm always afraid that I'm not going to be able to preach on Sunday; that eventually I'm going to use up all my words. I know that there is always the Word there; it is eternal and unchanging; spoken yet ever being spoken and will be spoken. But I think that *I* am going to run out of words.

Life is also very full. Preaching; ministry; homeschooling; cleaning and housekeeping; ordination papers; relationships to maintain -- I've not left much time for quiet reflection. And I will admit to a certain amount of financial difficulty. We've almost paid off all credit cards -- not much left. We've almost paid off my latest hospital bill (from May!!) We have the mortgage(s), student loans and the ever looming threat of the loss of jobs. Things considered "secure" two years ago aren't so very secure.

There is one time in the morning that I can sit and be quiet -- after the LH goes off to work and before the kids get up -- an hour or so I can sit and reflect on life. I've been filling that time with busy work (or sleep!) -- I'm not going to do that anymore. I need this time, not just to blog or whatever, but to center myself. An hour of prayer and meditation. If I don't make this more this, there is the possibility that the hour will never be "given" to me.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Cats and Grace

I found myself sniffing and sniveling today as I was reading a passage written by Roberta Bondi in “Nick the Cat.” The book concerns reflections on the stranger; people we willingly or unwillingly open our lives to. She writes:
Of course, this is generally the way with stray cats and grace, too; they appear on your driveway or your doorstep in in the grocery store or gas station in an animal or person, your spouse, yoru child, or your worst enemy, you never wanted in the first place and certainly wouls never choose yourself. And one day you wak up to find yourself changed, wounded, perhaps, by love or something like it, understading or manybe not understanding what has happened to your, but filled with an unexpected gratitude as apparently impossible as the gratitude of the cat we ended up taking into our family.
Unexpected grace, in the person of someone I didn’t want or even want to care about. I cannot recount how many times this has occurred to me. Most grace is unexpected -- if not all grace. It happens slowly sometimes, over time, where you find yourself loving and deeply caring about people you never even wanted to know. It happens to me time after time, as I am moved from church to church. I think “I’ll never love these people as deeply as I love those who I left behind.” And then I do. Over time, I begin to care deeply for the people I have been given charge over; even if and when I protest.

Roberta tells of giving the unexpected cat away -- looking for a loving home and of a young man who dares to come and pick up the smelly, wounded animal. He scoops Nick up in his arms and Roberta finds herself saying “I changed my mind… I can’t send him away; I want to keep him myself.” She writes:

All this time, I had never one touched Nick deliberately, never petted him or stroked him. Now I held our my arems and Jeremy brought him to me. Immediately the big cat, for so he had turned out to be, rolled over on his back and wriggled up against me, watching my face and purring in ecstasy. I looked into his eyes and rubbed his dirty, hairless stomach with pleasure.
I teared up at this. She had begun to love Nick, not willing herself so, but growing into that love. I do not know what deep seated need within myself this stuck a chord, but I hear it reverberating inside me. Ah, to love and be loved! What grace can be found!

There is a young man at one of my churches who has begun showing up during services. His brother and sister in law attend, but not this young man. He told me that he thought that the roof would fall in if he went to church -- I’ve been praying for him. He feels unworthy of love; he feels perhaps that he has sinned to badly. This is my stranger who is living among us. He is not someone I would pick from a crowd -- but he is the person that God has given us. May I and may we live up to this challenge. What grace can we find? What blessing is in store for us?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Charge Conference Today

We've Charge Conference for both churches today. Lots of paper to put in exactly the right order. I've to preach as well -- I think I'll preach on the book of Numbers. No joke.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Life is Full

I've neglected a lot of things the last couple of weeks -- back burner kind of neglect. With homeschool officially starting today and Charge Conference in a week and a half, I've had my brain in other places.

I've also started to practice the piano some. I was actually "good" at one point; I even started accompanying at church when I was 12 years old and considered a Music degree. I stopped playing when I was 24 when I was hit by lightening and suffered a bit of damage. It seems that lightening courses over the body, especially the brain, it causes damage like a stroke. By 3 weeks after the lightening strike, my 2nd degree burns were healed, but I had coordination problems, especially with fine motor control.

I mourned that loss for a long time and wouldn't even try to play. I've taken it up again -- I figure that most of Music performance is really mental and only partially the physical ability. I hope that by practicing, I can regain some of that physical ability.

In particular, I've been studying Jazz. It is quite mathematical in form; almost formulaic. If I can get a good walking bass line going and practice some riffs, with practice I should be able to get pretty decent at it. I'm also studying some of the history of Jazz, so I'm starting with "cakewalks" and "stride piano." The difficult things have been tremolos and little with the physical coordination of 16th notes in the right hand and triplets in the left. But I'm working on it.

After I get some proficiency with the Blues, I'm going to move to "Gospel" piano.

In other things: I'm working on Charge Conference papers, ordination papers and I have some mentoring appointments to make before January. AND I want to clean OUT the house. Blogging, Twitter, FB et al -- these are taking a back seat right now....