Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"God"... a boy's name?

I know, I know, I'm a broken record (but some folks have never heard the song). 
Josephine, over at Left Turn at Joy!, has put into words many of my own thoughts that I'm not able to clarify (I keep trying!). In her post God is not a boy's name, she offers this piece regarding what the church can do.

She says:
For the sake of my sisters, I can no longer tiptoe over language, afraid of offending someone. One of the amazing people who works at the shelter where I have spent time asked me what I thought the church could do to help. There are many, many things that we as followers of the one who refused to stone a woman to death should be doing. But the most important perhaps, is to begin to reshape the language that shapes the minds of our children.

....The way we speak about God in our churches and our homes is not just a conversation, it is applied theology. It shapes our understanding, or stories, our metaphors, even the lens through which we view the world. It sends a thousand unspoken messages.

If what we speak is inclusion, and equality, but the words we use say the opposite we send, at best, a mixed message. More likely we say "this is what we say, but secretly that is what we believe." We may say God is beyond gender, we may say God created both men and women in God's own image, but if we speak of God as only He, as only Father, then the truth is, we have assigned God a masculine gender.
She offers so much more about this, so please visit her and read the rest of the post. It echoes this sermon and (deep breath for sharing such an intimate piece) these thoughts...


I need the Father
            I need the connection that Jesus knew –
            his immanent and intimate relationship with
                        Abba –
            I need him, too.

I need the King
            I need his absolute authority over my life
            (although I tend to rebel – don’t you?)
                        his protection and care
which balance my utter dependence.
            I need him, too.

I need the Lord
            My allegiance only to him
            my devotion and faithfulness to the One beyond all earthly
            I need him, too.

Father – King – Lord
            he continues to comfort, encourage, challenge
                        and you!
            He is strong and determined to keep me
            and my 21st century kin
            from falling prey to powers and principalities
            that strive for more and more
                        –our very souls.
I need the Father-Lord-King of All.


I need the Mother
            her warm breast nourishing my hunger
            her bleeding womb fertile with creative energy
            her intuitive wisdom shared over baked, broken and buttered bread.
I need her long, unbound hair that identifies me
            as beloved daughter in her image
I need her flowing skirt harboring openness and freedom for my sex
I need her Name spoken with love
            and her love spoken with joy
I need the Mother,
my God –
God of All.

images from top to bottom: George Burns in "O God!", Morgan Freeman in "Bruce Almighty", "The Treasure Within" by Mary Southard, CSJ (at

Sunday, January 24, 2010

"The Issue of Homosexuality..."

I am not an issue.
My life is not an issue.
My wife is not an issue.
My family is not an issue.
My ministry to God and Christ and the Church is not an issue.
None of this is an issue!
What is an issue is
                        your discomfort with your body
                        your discomfort with sexual conversation
your discomfort with God's extravagance in Creation.
Your discomfort is the issue.
I am not an issue.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Words for the Heart

I hadn't realized I'd not followed the "rules" to post the party on my blog - oh dear! I'm belated and befuddled and (almost) done with a sorrowful sermon for Sunday. With all of that on my heart, I decided to finally post "Words for the Heart." Thanks to CVP for her ministry at the Abbey (and I promise to invite ya'll to the next party).
WORDLE - Give Me a Word

Invitation to Poetry: Words for the Heart

January 11, 2010 · by Christine

Welcome to our Poetry Party #43!
I select an image and suggest a theme/title and invite you to respond with your poems or other reflections.
Poetry Party Theme: Words for the Heart
I was so moved by the response to my New Year’s call for words to shape your commitments for the future.  I loved the power that each word offered, how a whole world of hope was wrapped up in just a few letters.
My invitation to you for this week’s Poetry Party is to write a poem using only the words in the image (or variations of them) and connecting words such as and, the, is, etc. (and maybe a pronoun or two).  You don’t have to use all 132 of them, but spend some time with them and see how they want to come together.  You can click on the image below to enlarge it.  If you didn’t submit your own word yet, consider choosing one and making it the title.
(you can see a larger version of the word art by clicking here)
My (Sharon's) contribution:


Sing, Wisdom!
Nurture serenity
shed pain
order light-and-dark authenticity
            on this threshold journey.

Freefalling, we surrender sanctuary
            for spaciousness
discipline for courage
sacrifice for radiant lightness.

Grounded, we abandon victorious paradigms
            for flexibility
joyful trust.

Dance, Ruach!
Blaze wonder through these openings
and carve a bold YES!
in this unfolding pilgrimage.

Release an adventure.


It's later in the day for this Friday Five (offered by Jan over at RGBP), but I simply couldn't pass this one up! After some strenuous sermon-prep this morning, "if" is something I'd like to play with...
1. If you were a color, what would you be?
This week, I think I'd like to be be pink (see bonus)!
2. If you were a flower (or plant), what would you be?
I long to be a sunflower, face smiling toward sun's rays, tall and stretching my stalk to the sky.

3. If you were an animal, what kind would you be?
Having noted that kitties tend to find the best, most sunshiney places to nap then stretch to full length tip-to-tail and curl up again, I have to go with: feline.
4. If you were a shoe, what type would you be?
An old standard birkenstock with back strap (so I can walk quickly, if needed) - so comfy and easy and versatile (skirt, jeans, shorts, sweats). 

5. If you were a typeface, which font would you be?

Filosofia Grand Bold (I’m beautiful and readable and not very stand-behind-the-scenes… yet thoughtful and a bit old-fashioned).
Bonus: Anything connected with metaphors that you'd like to contribute.

"Nice iPod," he laughs
as he takes control deejaying.
"It's pink!"

Pink - he thinks - is the bubble-gum-cheeked child
learning to lower her lashes.
Pink is the delicate petal, fair blooms
pulled apart by "he loves me nots".
Pink is the paleness

So he thinks.

Pink granite
defines the labyrinth's boundaries--
the maze that upholds a hero's quest.
Pink vocals
demand attention with
"so what, I'm a rock star" confidence.
Pink dragon's breath
spirals with mystical wisdom,
burning hot but not singeing.
Pink freedom--
flirty and fun--
dances from my favorite linen skirt.
is an exclamation

"Nice iPod," he laughs -- and I laugh with him.
(poem reposted from August 09)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Dreaming Friday Five

Over at RGBP, Sophia writes: "...With the beginning of a new calendar year many of us are engaging with dreams of another kind: planning, brainstorming, setting intentions or resolutions, etc. And many churches will celebrate the baptism of Jesus this Sunday, reading the Gospel account of his vision of the Holy Spirit as a dove and the "beloved child" words of Godde that set him off on his mission sharing Godde's dream for the world. So let's take a few minutes on this (where I am at least) lovely snow-blanketed Friday morning and share about the many different dreams and visions in our lives."

1. Do you tend to daydream?
I don't think I do ... is that odd?
2. Do you usually remember your night dreams? Do you find them symbolic and meaningful or just quirky?
I can go through phases of remembering with great clarity then not even knowing that I dream. I'm in the process of leaving the latter phase and entering the realm of "bits and pieces" recall. And yes, I find dreams full of meaning, when I take the time to reflect on them. 
3. Have you ever had a life changing dream which you'll never forget?
Absolutely! It occurred in the summer of 1993, and I consider it my "call" to ministry; it was also very much a "born again" experience, even though my theology doesn't usually connect with that language.
4. Share a long term dream for one or more aspects of your life and work.
I've actually been struggling to discern my long-term dreams. One thing I desire for my entire life and work, however, is true and enduring HAPPINESS. Always.
5. Share a dream for 2010....How can we support you in prayer on both the short and long term dreams?
Sabbatical! I'd never dreamed that I could do such a crazy thing as taking 3 months away from all work to renew with things I love! Writing, reading, poetry and prayer. Thank you thank you thankyou, Creator!!

Bonus: a poem, song, artwork, etc. that deals with dreams in general or one of your dreams.

This isn't quite fitting for my reflections, BUT the thought, "what dreams may come?" has been on my mind every morning this week as I wake from dreams! Shakespeare does wonders with philosophical questioning. :)
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
      Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
      The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
      Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
      And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
      No more; and by a sleep to say we end
      The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
      That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
      Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
      To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
      For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
      When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
      Must give us pause: there's the respect
      That makes calamity of so long life;
      For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
      The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
      The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
      The insolence of office and the spurns
      That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
      When he himself might his quietus make
      With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
      To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
      But that the dread of something after death,
      The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
      No traveller returns, puzzles the will
      And makes us rather bear those ills we have
      Than fly to others that we know not of?
      Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
      And thus the native hue of resolution
      Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
      And enterprises of great pitch and moment
      With this regard their currents turn awry,
      And lose the name of action.-- Soft you now!
      The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
      Be all my sins remember'd.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Waters of Love (repost)

In honor of the upcoming Baptism of Christ Sunday, I offer this piece from last January. Remember your baptism... it is good, and you are beloved. 

Waters of Love
Genesis 1:1-5 and Mark 1:4-11

Life begins in the waters of creation.
The void. The deep. And the spirit of God swept over the face of the waters – 
first creating one-celled, 
then multiple-celled, 
and eventually the endless numbers of intricately-evolved organisms 
that populate the earth today. 
And God called it good, beloved.

Life begins in the waters of creation.
The womb. We’ve all been there. Floating in the watery sac of amniotic fluid, 
we each grew from 2 cells, 
to multiple organs, 
to the wondrously complicated being that sits in the pew 
next to your neighbor: you. 
And God called you good, beloved.

Life begins in the waters of creation.
The Jordan River. The place where Jesus stepped out of the waves and into his mission and ministry. 
Growing from one Word of love, 
to multiple acts of justice, 
into an infinite call for each person to follow… into new life. 
And God called the baptism good, and God’s child beloved.

The Deep. 
The Womb. 
The Jordan.  
New life begins in the waters of creation. 
And the new life is good.