Thursday, September 25, 2008

With that, the great timber wars of the North Coast came to an end...

What a great line. 
It evokes the image of a long-whiskered grandfather sharing glories of olden days. It conjures memories of Bugs Bunny reading bedtime stories to his nephew Clyde.

But such playful platforms are not where I encountered this 
magnificent ending to such a seemingly fantastic tale. No, it's actually printed in the ink-smeared text of an Associated Press article: Tree-sitters descend from giant redwood. Every time I read it - "With that, the great timber wars of the North Coast came to an end" - I chuckle (*also a delightful word*) ... not the response I'd thought to have at the final descent of individuals (part of an extended network, of course) who've lived their protest for more than 20 years. 

I'd thought I'd have sniffles
I'd thought there'd be tears
Not *chuckles* or wordplay at this ending of years
where protest and demand 
marked love for the trees
made people take notice -
now what will we see?

May the Lorax live on, holding 'Grandma' 
(the "massive double redwood joined at the base") in his vision.

Friday, September 19, 2008

When in Our Music God is Glorified!

"How often, making music, we have found a new dimension in the world of sound,
As worship moved us to a more profound Alleluia!"
-When in Our Music God is Glorified
NCH # 561

"Make a joyful noise to the Lord, All the earth!"
-Psalm 100:1

From my vantage in worship, I recently watched a small (3yo) child during a hymn. He stood tall on his pew, held his hymnal high with both tiny hands gripped tightly on either side, pure oneness with his congregation on his face, his mouth opened wide. I don't know if actual words came out or if he simply made a "joyful noise" to intertwine with our communal singing - and it doesn't really matter. He felt the music in and around him, and he chose to be a genuine participant in it and our life together in worship. 

I know that I received much in the way of edification and worshipful celebration just by watching him... perhaps just a glimpse of the love the Holy experiences in knowing this child.

Fall Equinox Friday Five

RevGalBlogPals has a "Friday Five" each week 
that stimulates memories and hopes and fun and more...
Since fall is my favorite season, I decided to play -

As this vivid season begins, tell us five favorite things about fall:
1) A fragrance
mmmm...the crispness in the air - how do you describe that scent? 
2) A Color
all of the oranges or rustiness against a wheat-colored backdrop: from pumpkins to leaves set around drying corn stalks and the remains of my non-flower garden or the neighbor's fading lawn
3) An item of clothing
jeans, jeans, jeans (this is the best season for them because your legs feel so loved, wrapped in cool denim - sometimes still with sandals, sometimes with boots ...)
4) An Activity
snuggling in a light blanket with my patio door open so I can feel the cool and smell the air and hear the rustling leaves being blown
5) A special day
this year it will have to be Thanksgiving, as we're heading back to my "most gorgeous place on earth" at just the right season - the Deleware Water Gap! (Okay, visiting family for the holiday is the purpose, but I get to be "home" in the fall).

Friday, September 12, 2008

Instant Sermon 2008

(I guess I'm following up on the "feminist" theme)

Picture 3 clergywomen
- ages 31, 33 and 38 -
dressed in robe and stole
(green for ordinary time)
standing in the center of a church chancel.

Then imagine a 6-foot-something
retired air force colonel
with a deep voice - sometimes compared to the "voice of God"
(my feminist self has problems with this, but skip it for now) -
posing theological/biblical/spiritual questions for the 3.

This was our "Instant Sermon" this year, since our [male] Sr. Minister was on 4-month sabbatical, I became head-of-staff; our [female] CE Director is ordained; and our interim was another woman. Thus, 3 women clergy under one roof [!].

The questions, as usual, were asked by church members, written on cards the week before, then collected by Deacons. Clergy don't get to read the questions ahead of time. Yikes! I dislike the run-up to the annual event, but I always appreciate having taken part.

A celebratory piece came in our Church Council meeting this past week, when a church member commented, "There isn't another church in town that can even imagine having 3 women ministers who could do something like that!" ....Unfortunately, I don't think there is another church in town with even 2 women ministers (much less 2 of them queer).


Feminist Pastor

I just read this piece from Fidelia's Sisters. I greatly appreciate when people can put pain and joy and hope and need and expectation into words... and then publish them for the world to read and critique. Because you know that a majority of readers would critique this "Feminist Pastor Top Ten" if it were in any general circulation (outside a women's clergy publication, I mean).

As I was reading it I realized that I had to stop my own critique - of "most churches". I've been able actually to speak some of this challenge in front of my congregation. Very tentatively, in April of 1995, I wrote this sermon on God's name as metaphor. 

More recently (this past summer), I was able to express my deep sadness around several domestic violence-related murders that happened in our community, and state the ways that I believe sexism and God-talk feeds such actions. There were a number of fathers crying by the end of this sermon.

I know that I'm very blessed in having a congregation able to hear some of these words sometimes. I wish there were other avenues to reach people of faith with similar discussions.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I love my cats. In fact, I'm a bit cat-happy. Obsessive?
You tell me:

But aren't they adorable?


People I like.
People I don't.
People together.

Working in hope.
Working for Creation.
Working to grow and change.

Or just being.
Being playful.
Being centered.
Being present.

This coming Sunday is about COMMUNITY. Koinonia. 
It'll be fun and hard and joyful and worrisome and right and wrong and full of love and frustration. We'll break bread and drink wine. We'll be the same; we'll be new. 

This is church. 
It's broken yet hopeful. It is for us, and yet we must be for it in order for it to be