Favorite-est things from #2015

 

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Oprah Chai Teabags from Teavana, which taste like lattes only healthier

Books:

Accidental Saints Nadia Bolz-Weber: Confessional Pastoral Tales of  mishaps & ministry–>seeing the holy in the messiness of humanity

Grounded by Diana Butler Bass: Mysticism, Spiritual but not Religious

Rook by Sharon Cameron: Fantasy YA version of The Scarlet Pimpernal

Six of Crows by Leigh Burdugo: Get together a crew to steal a prize, fantasy YA style

Prudence by Gail Carriger: Cyberpunk-ish tea drinking lady defies Victorian odds in werewolf and vampire politics

Court of Fives by Kate Elliot: Young woman in a Romanesque style class system competes in Olympic-like trials and uncovers the deep seated plots, classicism and intrigue (did I mention plots?)

Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas: Post Apocalyptic Sleeping Beauty Fiary Tale, where the world turns by story magic

Fairest by Marissa Meyer: Heart-rending portrayal of the villain of the Lunar Chronicles.

Movies

Star Wars A Force Awakens: Awakening a new (better represented diversity of) Star Wars fan with the now arch-typical stories of friendship and redemption

Martian nerdy science-ness and survival without a bad guy! No angst, just a collaborative game of survival

Inside Out what if feelings had feelings? Portraying the complex emotional development of children

Best Moments

Announcing Marriage ratification in the PCUSA

Love Wins: marriage equality Jun 29th 2015

My sister graduating from Oberlin May 2015, senior show, getting engaged…

Water on Mars!

Church Kids doing Charlie Brown Christmas Performance

Westley potty training!!!

Ashburn talking more

Franklin being creative and kind to everyone

http://www.transmography.net/brainery/ Fairy Tale Writing Class

Church: Kids day at the farmer’s market, 1st ever craft fair, 1st Breakfast with Santa, Doing Christmas all in Advent, NextChurch, 2nd Credo

Media

#blackharrypotter

#morallycomplicatedYA

#folkloreThursday

http://thiseverydayholy.com/ podcast about holiness in the daily

YAY BLOG

My Post on #Christianity I don’t think it means what you think it is

Theological Breakthru about my belief about Jesus coming

Things to work on

Gun Violence, Syrian Crises, Ebola, Floods, Climate, Poverty, Economy, other big things….

 

 

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Do the #refugees make you feel uncomfortable?

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Do the refugees make you uncomfortable? Do they shake you from your feeling a safety and make you rethink life? Perhaps they make you hug your children tighter at night.

Today my husband and I discussed the possibility of WWIII calmly trying to assess whether that is a reasonable concern.

Friends, my faith does not solve these problems, but it assures me that the risks are worth taking.

Another name for the Holy Spirit is “the one who stirs up.” The Holy Spirit both stirs us up and comforts us at the same time (I don’t know how, but its true).

Christianity isn’t supposed to be sitting on our laurels of blessings, feeling at one with the world.

It is a call to action to serve and love one another, to be open to other human being

 

And lets be honest, that’s dangerous. Its dangerous to open yourself to being in relationship with others. But that is our call as Christian.

We are called to preach and embody Christ and the Good News Even at the risk of our own lives. Does that include refugees who might be terrorists?

As a Christian you are called to be in some kind of relationship with every other human being on the earth.

Because they too are creations of God.
Do the refugees make you uncomfortable?

That might just be God tapping you on the shoulder.

 

 

#hopewins #notafraid #diwali Practicing Humanity & Defeating #Terrorism

Today is diwali the celebration of light winning over darkness, how fitting a reminder, for me a Christian when mercy and justice are hard to find today.

Fear Not!

Every time an angle appeared, every time God speaks, fear is cast out. God doesn’t want us to live in fear, God wants us to live into hope.

But that’s hard, its hard when attacks occur all over the world on one day–Beruit, Paris, Baghdad. Its difficult when gun violence continues to cause school shooter drills and institutional racism is unveiled again and again and again.

So what I do is, I cry. I pray. I look at the stars. I light candles.

(until we find the right words, we’ll light candles–Martha Spong)

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I live in hope.

This expression is one I use when things are uncertain. I toss it off in casual conversation as though it is easy, but it is so, so difficult.

Worrying is a human past time. Its a way to cope with the reality that evil is in the world. It is a tool that can be overused to the point where we worry too much and forget to live.

Fear also, is interesting. As Christians a tenant of our faith is the fear God. We are not supposed to base our decisions on what could happen, we are not supposed to live our life based in fears, we aren’t supposed to live into the worry and the guilt, because the truth is, we humans do not function well in those state.

When we are anxious and afraid, when we are guilty or judgmental, we make bad decisions.

No doubt, this is why over and over again we are urged only to fear God. “Those who fear God” is an expression in the Old Testament to describe all those who are trying to follow God instead of giving in to other things. But then God tells us over and over again to fear not. And counsels us to hope and trust in what is going on….

Its hard not to fear, not to worry that I’m not secure enough in money or friendships. Its hard when my body does not function the way I want it to, or when my children get hurt from the bad things that go on in the world. Its hard when the news talks a lot about the problems of the world and little about the solutions. Its hard when refugees and children are dying from violence and rejection. Its hard when people proclaim “its not like it used to be” with authority as if evil is new and spreading instead of being old and already defeated by Jesus.

But I live into hope.

I practice not being afraid.

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Building trust, assuming people are trustworthy, treating everyone with respect and kindness.

Because those are hope building practices, and this is how to defeat evil. This is how #hopewins, this is how we defeat #terrorism, not with weapons or policies, but with the refusal to live a life of fear.

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#Christianity, you keep saying that word, I don’t think it means what you think it means

1. Christianity to me isn’t about finding all the answers, but asking the essential questions (look at the Gospel its people asking Christ ?s and Christ asking people ?s) gathering together and acknowledging that God is bigger and greater than our understanding of things, and we’d rather see thing more God’s way than our own way, because our way is too small

2. Church is a the practice of community and worship so that when moments of extreme trouble come, you have a healthy way to bring them to God and process them. (Like fire drills). Every week isn’t revolutionary but every week is important.

3. Church is about community, there are few places where we commit to practice community with whoever comes thru the door Church is a practicum in faith just as its a place to explore spirituality.

4. Prayer is the ongoing conversation between you and God. As it is an ongoing, unique and individual conversation, my job as pastor is to act as mentor, guide and/or teacher. Where you are with God is based upon who you are, that’s why relationships with God can change a person because the two are so intertwined. This is why mature Christianity is (w)holistic Christianity. The kind where the Bible doesn’t necessarily tell you how to vote, but you have an evolved understanding of learning what God’s purpose is for the world and you apply that purpose wherever you are and as much as possible.

5. Faith is about seeking out relationships with God, people and the world. Loving things into a more real, truthful and essential existence than what they have before that love. Its not about controlling another person, quite the opposite, its freeing them to be who they are.

#fairytales #theology #valentinesday

“The great lesson of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ – a thing must be loved before it is lovable.” ― G.K. Chesterton |

This is why Beauty and the Beast is my theological fairy tale of choice

Cupid & Psyche–the basis for Beauty and the Beast– is simulataneously the last myth and the first fairy tale ever written…why? Because the transformational power of love and the possibility of “happily ever after” only come into being with the advent of Christianity and a new understanding of what theological hope is, telling a whole different story of good news

What is in a name?

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In the Bible…humans are naming creatures…..

And let’s face it…

We love to name things.

Who wouldn’t love to name a dinosaur?

How about naming children?

What about when we tell a story, analyze it and figure out what is really going on so we can “name it”. Its important, its our job….its fun 🙂

Pretty much, we are learning creatures, and we love to name things.

So why do labels matter? Why does it matter what we call God? Why do we have so many names for God anyway…Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer. Light, Hope & Salt. And occasionally even refering to God as “She” you know for all the mothering, growing, birthing language

because we are naming creatures

So….when it comes to sexuality & gender which we suck at talking about in the church (to put it lightly)–this naming act is so important.

So…if you want to know why saying what your gender is, what pronoun you want to be referred to…and what kind of sexuality you express is so important…

(i.e. why this is so important)

SOTU

….its because we are naming creatures.

God made us fluid beings, full of creativity and the ability to love. The ability to find new ways of expression.

Since when is life so limited

Since when is God so limited

I bet a thousand years from now we will still be discovering new, fantastic ways of being and naming them right and left….

because we are, at heart, a people who love to name things

And when someone names themselves for us…we should listen carefully and give that name back to them–in the pastoral and psychological world we call it reflective listening…after all we have a lot of things to name ourselves

Love

We like to limit God

to say God only believes in one kind of love

two kinds of genders

and sexuality is easy to define–

placing all those who don’t fit into these “normal” parameters into a category of…

“sorry God just messed up when God was making you”

“God only believes that these aspects are valid in a human being”

“You are an invalid human being”

Don’t even get me started on ethnicity and differently abled folk

Seriously…what kind of mediocre God are you preaching about…

My God has way more flexibility, creativity and love

My God is so good that I fall to my knees before the Trinity–overwhelmed with a need to love & accept people for who they are in the way that God’s Wild Love can….

and if you say your God is very different from mine…I’m inclined to agree with you….Your God is a lot tamer than mine!

Christianity<–straight up!

“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”

You see, Aslan is not just a lion, but he’s a great Lion. He’s the King of the Beasts, and the real ruler of Narnia. Now, Susan asks the beavers, “Is he safe?”

Mrs. Beaver says, “If there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

Lucy asks, “Then he isn’t safe?”

And Mr. Beaver says this famous line about Aslan: “’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”  The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

Why do we want to limit love anyway?

Young Families in Church…continued…..

A lot of young people don’t go to church (I know your shocked, your really, really shocked).

Here is my vast knowledge about church

1. Its a good community…its a good way to have intergenerational interaction, its a good way to ask hard questions (at the good churches anyway)

2. Church Shopping is tough: churches are desperate (which isn’t that attractive) and its hard to church shop when you feel unsettled, and lets face it, with the way the economy is, most people are fairly unsettled, especially the young people. I have been at the same job for 4ish years…that is VERY unusual for a person my age. If you don’t have a steady job or don’t know if your going to have to move (again) within the same year, its hard to make time to church shop.

In theories churches should be helping with this process (how about get to know your town guides? New to the neighborhood events that aren’t creepy? My church does a playgroup that allows a little bit with this)

3. Churches need to advertise themselves as a pace of transition (ie we are a stable place to come while your transitioning)…too much to Churches self-advertise or give the impression that this is where to go when you start to sort out your beliefs or your all set on where you are in life. This is OPPOSITE of what church should be, church should be a place to be crazy, screwed up and confused, a place to support people who are figuring it out…….Maybe churches should be more like college and less like a government.

4. Young Families Basic Needs: tend to include activities at a time of day they can actually manage, Sunday School that is enjoyable, Family friendly events, Adequate Rooms for children, Babysitting for events that are not suitable for children, changing tables, cribs, and preferably a space in the Worship area for kids to worship during church (try getting that one done, its almost impossible)…want to welcome families? Go out of your way to give them a real space to be….

5. Try to focus more on the Sabbath piece of church. Every single person I know is stressed and overwhelmed, if church could be a place of sanctuary, rest and sabbath we might actually communicate our message better.

6. That whole forgiveness of debts thing: do that. We preach forgiveness of debts, practically everyone I know is WAY in debt, yet we do nothing to practice what we preach….um….yeah….

7. Engage, engage, engage, find as many opportunities as possible to serve the community, to experience the community and to get to know the community (this is that piece of advice every single leader of churches gives)

8. Do NOT talk about young people as the “future”; first off, they are already people, not just future people (get my drift?), secondly this gross genera9lizing of who the young are is not appreciated

9. Try not to be judgmental: To be human is to be judgmental, its how we separate the “us” from the “them” its a defense mechanism, its natural, and its sad….we don’t need to judge other people, that’s God’s job. Plus! loving is our goal, good news is our job, and judging people adds to their problems. I used to have someone call me up at night and tell me what I needed to worry about…guess what…that is the opposite of helping…

10. Have Faith: Preach Good News, practice joy, dwell in the spirit, worry not about today or tomorrow, consider the birds, consider the lilies of the fields, they toil not, but God takes care of them…