Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Spider

She lives under the downstairs toilet. The one we don't use very often. 
She spins her web and deposits her leftovers on the floor underneath.
She's small - takes up very little space. She's unobtrusive, even shy.
Her luncheon carcasses are even smaller. Tiny gnats (I'm not sure how they get in there).

This week dear friends are coming to visit and use that toilet. 
What do I do with my spider?
I can't expect them to find her dinner exciting ("ooh, you feasted today!").
Nor can I demand they accept her company.

She must go. Will she like the shrubs out front?

Text for next week: Gen. 32:22-31

"Jacob was left alone".
Resting at the river - having sent his family ahead.
Preparing to cross this threshold, return to the land he'd fled.
Would Esau still be pissed?
"Jacob was left alone".
Knowing that the next day he'd face his brother again,
face his own deceits and betrayals.
Crossing this river meant bringing his new family into the land of his birth
and being responsible for them amidst potential hostility.
"Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak".

Wrestled with him. And Jacob wrestled back.
Bodies of flesh and bone thrown -
down the bank and over stone;
drenched with sweat - their own
and each other's;
the river's waters washing them clean
only to begin again.
Breath coming shallower and shallower;
gashes from hard falls growing deeper.
They wrestled.

"When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him in the hip socket; and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him".

But still Jacob hung on. He was hurt. Yet he held tightly to his attacker.
"Let me go, for the day is breaking" came the demand from the one who refused surrender.
"I will not" was Jacob's reply, "unless you bless me".
So he knew. Jacob understood that this was no ordinary encounter
of a traveler alone. He knew: "I will not let you go, unless you bless me".

It's ironic, as blessings go.
He who supplants, he who takes by the heel,
becomes he who wrestles with God.
Because "you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed".

And this is a blessing?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Unending Wrestling

It seems to be a theme right now (like pink!).


The sermon thing. The 2 brothers thing. The insomnia (w)restlessness thing. And once again, Jacob. 

Yes, Jacob/Israel has found his way into the weekly lectionary again. Although I'm going a little off (I'm using the text a week early, so I can play with the feeding of 5000 - not counting women and children, of course! - the following week). 

I don't think I ever learned that the name Israel - while meaning "wrestles with God" - can also mean "God wrestles". My thoughts are brewing endless possibilities about the fact that God wrestles too. We're not acting solo (I knew this, but have I ever known it in this way?). 

God wrestles. We progressive Christians seem to think that we're the only ones struggling against, arguing with, talking back to God. Maybe God is doing the same. The United Church of Christ (UCC) says, "God is still speaking,". 

I wonder: can I face the challenge if I, even for a moment, think that God is stepping into the ring with me?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Midnight...way past my bedtime.

I hate when I can't sleep. I'm so agitated that my energy interrupts Jamie's dreamtime, and the cats swarm around my restlessness (okay, so there are only 2 of them, but they still seem to swarm). Sometimes I'll take a benadryl to send me snoozing, but then I'm groggy in the a.m. And I need to be up in the a.m.

And doesn't it seem that restlessness should have a "w" at the beginning? Since I'm wrestling with the bedsheets and my brain (and the cats) and all?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Talking Back

In our church we have a wonderful practice called "Sermon TalkBack". 

Each Monday morning, the preacher from the previous day gathers over coffee with anyone who wants to get deeper into the sermon. Folks are welcome to disagree with, add to, pull apart and identify with the sermon in any (speaking the truth with love) way they choose. 

This is worship in a big way for me. At the coffee shop we have food and noise (and caffeine) and everything I appreciate about a community who cares for one another. We're not ashamed to raise our progressive yet diverse Christian voices in a public space, where anyone *gasp* might hear us. We are skeptics and whole-hearted bible-believers and everything in between.

I wish that people who have never experienced an open, questioning, faithful dialogue could experience this just once. They would make the conversation that much deeper.

Talk back!

Friday, July 11, 2008

More on Brothers...

Isaac & Ishmael.
Still loving them! This didn't make it into my sermon (not this week's, at least), but as I was reflecting I found it quite wonderfully balancing that Isaac was the ancestor of Israel and Ishmael was the ancestor of Islam.

We all knew that, but the part that has me so excited about this ancient relationship (beyond all those Is-names) is that Israel means "wrestles with God" and Islam means "submits to God". And the reason we all need each other is .... DUH!

I love this stuff :).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

On Wrestling a Sermon

Oh what a painful few weeks. The Genesis texts are delightful (okay, so that's the wrong word for these murderous, deceitful, spiteful stories) in Pentecost Lectionary Year A - and yet they are frustrating all my hopes right now. 

Take Sunday's sermon for example. I'm trying to go with my love for these stories and the people who passed them down. But they make it really hard! Or I make it hard. This week we have Esau (who I've always had a secret crush on) and Jacob. Three weeks ago I tried to meet Isaac/Sarah and Ishmael/Hagar where they were, but I couldn't make the appointment. 

So this week I'm conflating the stories - if they weren't already, and later became their own (note the two strong & outdoorsy types, and the two "stay-in-the-tenter" types who seem to get all the accolades) - asking my congregation "Why can't we all just get along?" with the sibling rivalry stuff. So, in the way of a blog, here are my rambling preparations...

Why me?
Warring in her womb
Esau - the elder
Jacob - so close
Rebekah finds no relief
not in pregnancy
not in labor
not in birth
not in growth
Is she dead when Jacob
finally returns
conciliatory gifts sent ahead
wives in tow?

Isaac -- poor 
beer-bellied schmuck!
Chosen one of Abraham's
line. Why are you so

Is God in this story?
Is God still speaking?
My question is:
Is God there?
Does God have to 
be there for us to 
hear a word for us?
Can't God be here without
us having to put God there?

That's all :).

Dragon in the Light

I'm a dragon-spirit. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Oh, and I'm a Christian minister. Of the progressive/liberal variety, of course.

And I've been on a pink kick lately - thus the rosy background choice. As I was wrestling with a sermon today at the library (more to come on that), I realized that I was writing with a pink pen, drinking from a pink water bottle, listening to an iPod with a pink cover ... and my favorite pants ('though I wasn't wearing them) are the same shade of pink. 

So the Pink Dragon it is! (If you know me, can you please start calling me that for my nom de plume).

First crack at a blog here. Doing it for me. Me and the Spirit. She's been calling me to write more. For me. For her. For the people I love (that would be YOU). So I am here. I'm still not sure what I'll do here, but here goes...