Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thoughts on Lent 5

This is just me sitting in my virtual coffee house throwing out random thoughts as I do research/prayer/thinking about this Sunday's sermon:

Scripture: Psalm 51:1-12; John 12:20-33
Working Title: Fear of Falling

- Well, my first thought in Lent 5 is that I am sick of Lent. But much like Groundhog Day, I think that is the point.

- Serving the Lord is an 'all-in' committment, as is confession, as is worship. How many Reformed Protestants do YOU know that worship 'all-in'?!

- "We wish to see Jesus." - GET IN LINE!

- Focusing in on the grain of wheat that 'falls'. I wonder if as it was falling the grain of wheat also thought it was failing.

- Are we the grain of wheat clinging to keep from falling or are we bearing fruit?

- Do I get one more death/Lenten/Oh the humanity sermon in before the allelulia's kick in?

- 'Paradox' is the word. Jesus' ministry - paradox. earthly kingdom values/goals vs. grace & eternity = paradox

- Commentaries speak of BIG things: war, racism, sexism... what about personal/individual paradoxes: forgiven for our debts, but refuse to forgive our debtors, love God but hate that guy over there, hoarding of our personal gifts

- Jesus is SO RIGHT he refuses to fight the system. John's Jesus already knows he has 'them' beat

- Jesus ascts out of freedom NOT to buy into the system. Do we mere mortals have that freedom... even with the promise of eternal life?

- Is it okay to live within the earthly system if we continue to make the choice not to be owned/defined by it? Is grace for those places/times when we fail to make the right choice?

- Where does judgment fit in with all of this?

- On the cross, Jesus exposes (judges?) the system

- my brain hurts... and quite frankly, I am a little afraid.

FOCUS (what the sermon aims to say):
The hour has come.

FUNCTION (what the sermon aims to do):
Push folks to re-evaluate the choices they make in their lives and make changes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The View from Up Here

Just about a year ago I took the last little bit of my broken everything and put it on a boat.

I didn't know it right then (although I had a hunch a few days later) that this simple act was actually the end of the sinking. By walking onto that boat I officially kicked off the bottom and was headed back to the surface.

It was the ultimate flotation device with the life preserver being fresh air, permission to 'BE' and belly laughs... lots and lots of belly laughs.

I walked the word 'peace'.

When asked to describe where I had been I mentioned the image of walking to the very edge of a cliff and looking for any kind of support and seeing no one. Then I was encouraged to turn around and I saw this:

and this....

and this...

and of course, this...

and certainly this....

What an incredible group of women. What an incredibly holy place.

I will never forget how you listened and cared and gave me space and room to heal and to know that I am loved.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Things to Know When Raising a PK

I am not a PK (Pastor's Kid) but I am raising one. This week I learned two important lessons.

During the children's time last Sunday the question was asked what happens when the policeman sees you after you have gone through a stop sign. My PK, clear as a bell said, "You get a special ticket!"*
Here is where I learned important Lesson #1: If you don't flinch during the children's time most folks won't even know it was your kid who said it!

PK was calling up the stairs for me last night and as parents sometimes do I was waiting for the calls to move from the level of "I just want your attention" to "something's on fire." Finally he used language that got my attention and then it got my attention that this name in particular got my attention. He said, "Pastor Kathryn, I neeeeeeeeed you downstairs!"

Lesson #2: If your pk has to resort to the name that your parishioners call you, maybe it's time to listen.

* Not sure it matters but my brilliant PK was applying the lesson learned from Mommy driving too fast to what must surely happen if you go through the stop sign.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thoughts on Lent 4

This is just me sitting in my virtual coffee house throwing out random thoughts as I do research/prayer/thinking about this Sunday's sermon:

Scripture: Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22; Eph. 2:1-10; John 3:14-21
Working Title: Snakes on a Plain

- Wholeness and Healing is also going to be a part of this service

- I have pulled out the sermon from three years ago, mainly hoping to cut down on research time since I am in a new position with a lot of energy being placed elsewhere.

- Numbers text would be a good one to just skip right over except it is referenced as preamble to the most popular Bible verse on the planet (or at least the most popular at sporting events).

- Playing with a connection between W+H service and the #'s and Ephesians passages. We are given life by grace found in Christ.... both encourage us to keep our focus on what will save you - ignore snakes nipping at your ankles. John makes the parallel more blatant: And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in teh wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever belives in him may have eternal life.

- How can this be addressed without seemingly discounting the pain people are in - both physical and emotional

To be continued....


Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I ordered one of these this morning. 16gb.

I am pretty excited about it and only feeling a little guilty about it. I have been looking for a communication middle ground between email/internet only at home or in the office and the other extreme of paying $30-$50 p/month over regular cell phone fees for the honor of having everyone have access to me at all times.

I was looking for a way to keep my iPod Classic (isn't it weird that something I have had for only over a little over two years is a 'Classic') in the office but still have one to play at home.

Once I found out the apps include Facebook and Google Calendars, it really was a no-brainer.

But in case you need further convincing.... when I was setting up my office at my first church straight out of seminary I mentioned to the (now) ex that I would like a nice radio/cd player. He scrounged around in his plentiful boxes and found a transistor radio circa: 1960's which included tan fabric speaker and wooden encasing. It never worked right.

So my gift to me is buying the 'radio' that I want this time.

Can I justify any purchase or what?!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Some of our language's most familiar cliches are about perspective:
The grass is always greener on the other side.
Is the grass half empty or half full?

Admittedly, MPC and I are in the very beginning of the honeymoon phase so life is quite blissful at the moment. But it is already clear that they have a different perspective on me than DPC had.
MPC has begun with the assumption that I know what I am doing.
DPC began with (and in many cases kept) the assumption that I did not know what I was doing.

In fairness to DPC, although I had five years of church experience prior to going to school, I did arrive there out of seminary. Of course, over seven years later, many there were still treating me as if I knew very little... and deserved even less.

It's hard to name specifics, but I noticed the shift almost immediately. I had often used the phrase 'cultural collateral' to describe my frustrations with DPC. One of my frustrations was that no matter how much I did, with a few there was no cultural collateral to be gained. I constantly felt like I was proving myself to them with the lesson well learned that I am held accountable to God, no one else.

At MPC there is already a freedom that I am being trusted to do my job. There is no ethic of work-a-holicism. There is no withholding of funds because the Treasurer doesn't feel like writing the check. There is no filling out a huge form about the tasks I have completed which sometimes ends up taking longer and being more tedious than the task itself.

Now, I am not naive. I am trying to balance myself between realistic and 'waiting for the other shoe to drop'. I am still going to keep track of the major categories: visits, events, meetings. And they don't need to worry about my work ethic. But I think that is just the thing. At some point after two... four... six years I could never understand why DPC was still worrying about my work ethic.
And not giving me a legitimate reimbursement owed. Still.

There is a lot to do and I am experienced enough to know there are more lessons to be learned and some of them are going to hurt, but for now I am basking in the glow of a change in perspective.