Friday, May 29, 2009

Revgalblogpal Friday Five: The BIG To Do

Greetings from the land of the Big To-Do!

It seems like every year I enter into the summer with a growing list of HUGE projects/events/trips that seem to have a permanent place on the 'to do' list.
This year I have a huge move pending so that takes up an entire list all on its own, but it doesn't take a big event like that for me to make plans bigger than my summer can hold!
How about you?

Is this the third summer in a row you have made a pledge involving your garage and actually getting a car into it?
Did you once again miss the registration deadline for the continuing education event of your dreams ?
Are you starting to think you couldn't even find the tents, let alone get it together to pull off a camping trip?

Here is your chance to get it out into the open and OWN your Big To-Do! Who knows? Maybe making the list will help you move the Big To-Do to the Big Ta-Da!

1) What home fix-it project is on your Big To-Do?
I have a paint project in the new home, numerous of them, in fact. My guess is that a couple of them will get done right before we move in but some will be left on the Big To-Do list.

2) What event (fun or work) is on your Big To-Do?
I really want to get to Festival of Homiletics one year. This was not the year and unless it is in Atlanta next year won't be either. Throw in potentially doing a D.Min and suddenly it looks like this may stay on the Big To-Do for awhile.

3) What trip is on your Big To-Do?
Disney, although that is cheating because plans are for that to happen in February. I HAVE to figure out when I am going up to see the new baby that should be arriving in our lives in late June/early July... you know, right at the same time as closing on the new house.

4) What do you wish was on someone ELSE's (partner, family member, celebrity, etc...) Big To-Do?
Celebrity - I wish J&K+8 had weaning away from their tv show on their list. I realize it is hard to know what is truth, but it just seems like they are living a modern day parable.
As for closer to my life, I wish the ex had moving farther away on his list, but he just moved closer so I doubt that is going to happen.

5) Getting inspired? What may end this summer having moved from the Big To-Do to the Big Ta-da?
I think I'll make some phone calls and start working on getting painters lined up for post-closing, pre-moving. I want to move out of our current shelter as quickly as possible!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Helter Shelter

I still remember the first night we ever spent in this place. After seminary graduation we had moved 5 times. Our stuff had moved 7.
In a year.

We were so excited to finally be in our permanent home that when folks kindly offered to let us stay with them until our stuff arrived a couple of days later, we said, "No thank you." We slept on an air mattress in the bedroom, ran out and bought a couple of lamps and quickly learned that brick blocks cell phone signals.

tdx started school the day after we moved so I was in a dark farm house with no tv and no way to communicate with anyone.
Still. It felt good.

As hopefully everyone has with their home there are some really good memories here -
I parked my pick-up truck in this lot.
The dog showed up about a year after we did.
We brought our son home here.
We have hosted bbq's, pizza nights, movie nights, wine & whines and family.
The yard and lot are a perfect place for a boy and dog to play.

There are also some brutally hard memories here.

The manse life wasn't our first choice, but it was an ok choice for us. It allowed us to save some money. It was fairly well taken care of, so our health/lives were never in danger. Not all of my clergy colleagues have been so lucky.

But it will be nice to not have folks come to my door asking for money based on my location to the church (I always told them my husband, the pastor, wasn't home right now).
It will be nice to not have banjos and bluegrass on my lawn until 10 on a Saturday night.
It will be nice to live in semi-anonymity where far less of a percentage of people know who I am.

It will be nice not to round every corner and have a memory flick me in the ear.

I know there are large challenges to home ownership. There is no one to call - and to finance - repairs, but at just under 40 it's time.

It is time to go. I no longer belong here. Even the paint that I chose and the wall paper border in the nursery look foreign. This house is no longer where I am supposed to be. And although wherever The Boy is, that is home - this place no longer is. I am ready.

I am ready to leave this shelter and head home.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sermon Ponderings - Easter 7

First, I am sorry I am not more consistent with posts. My current commute and responsibilities has placed a lot of things lower on the priority list - keeping up with friends, blogs and tv shows fall into that category. Soon...

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 1; Acts 1:15-17, 21-26
Working Title: Are You the Chosen One?

How do Memorial Day Weekend and a baptism fit into this? Certainly baptism does (but of course, only at 11).

It is the supplemental verse for this go-around but sometime I will use Psalm 1 for a sermon on choices.

How mainline denominational of them to worry less about the ascension of Jesus than of filling Judas' spot on the board.

Is it possible Peter got over-anxious (it wouldn't be unlike him) and rushed to 'fix' things before the Holy Spirit had a chance to speak (Gonazalez).

Matthias is never mentioned again so it could be interpreted that Peter made the wrong choice BUT the church still exists so... Spirit's power to build up is stronger than human's penchant to destroy. Maybe.

This text is quickly become an emergent post-modernist's dream. Down with structure! Down with what has worked before!

Effective leadership in the church must be Holy Spirit based - gender, age, color of skin, etc... don't matter.

Prayer key element of effective leadership via the Holy Spirit.

Just because we enver see the namesof Matthias and Justus again, does that automatically mean that they didn't do anything for the church?

Scripture for the unsung heroes.

I could do some things with Judas here, but I think I will save that for another year.

The church needs structure, but the HEART of the church is the Holy Spirit and her mission, not the structure.

Don't want to overplay the disappearance of Matthias from the text but also think it could be a good hook, especially with the baptismal vow the second service folks will be taking. Don't disappear on that child of God! Don't walk away because the structure that used to be, no longer works. You made a vow!

What the Sermon Aims to Say: Effective leadership in the church must be driven and inspired by the Holy Spirit.

What the Sermon Aims to Do: Encourage folks to respond to Holy Spirit's movement in them and in the church.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Discernment for Discernment

I am fresh off of one Continuing Education event and about to head into another. One of the places where you take your chances when going away to these events is who else is at the event. Most of us have been to a learning event (or seminary class) where there is one person who appears to be solely there just to prove to the instructors that they already know it all.

This past week I was blessed with an event where there was no one like that. We were all there at varying stages of our forays into being Head of Staff and gave each other room to learn from one another and the instructors.

One of the things we talked about was the dichotomy of pastor as poet when our denomination is very much based on a hierarchical/business paradigm. But at this event I met someone who is doing it so well, I am not convinced he knew it.

One of the things his church has going for it is a Discernment Team. This is a small group formed for the sole purpose of praying and discerning for the congregation. According to the Poet Pastor, "When not specifically working on a project for someone the Discernment Team is at liberty to study and pray about whatever suits its fancy..." At other times the Session has specifically given them a project or question for them to discern.

They report back to the Session after 3,6,12 months (depending on the topic) but are not in charge of implementing anything. They simply move on to their next discernment.

The make-up of the group is obviously critical as there are particular spiritual gifts at play here. Also it cannot be a person he describes as a 'stakeholder' (someone deeply committed to one particular ministry path).

I really like this idea and appreciated the thought about getting one in place BEFORE a crisis/major decision/issue is going on.

More than the idea though, I was so glad to hear that this was going on in at least one pcusa church. Our class was full with folks who aren't trying to be published, who don't want to be the next uber-church pastor, and who don't think they know it all. I felt like we were on the same page of simply wanting to be who it is God is calling us to be and get out of the way and get the things done that need to happen so that others can hear God's call on their lives as well.

And that is pretty cool...