Over on RevGalPals we were asked to post about five Christmas memories . . . this is hard, but let's give it a try . . . in no particular order:
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Over on RevGalPals we were asked to post about five Christmas memories . . . this is hard, but let's give it a try . . . in no particular order:
Friday, December 17, 2010
Our department/team will be going Holiday Caroling at the hospital next Tuesday . . . this shows the tension in chaplaincy between being inclusive and honoring your religious tradition . . . it is interesting the Jewish Chaplain suggested we, at least, sing Silent Night as THIS is Christmas and the majority of the world -- especially the folks hospitalized and those who work at the hospital, are Christian . . . so Holiday Caroling and then the departmental Christmas party and then one day of on-call before a week off for Christmas with my Mom and sister.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
do I let things bother me so much? Yesterday I E-mailed a colleague asking that I be included in the mailing list for the Ecumenical Ministerial Alliance in this area . . . this woman is also the secretary of my denomination's cluster gatherings . . . I receive 3 E-mails from her when I get home . . . the first saying she has added me to the mailing list for the ecumenical group . . . the second telling me that she thought I might have wanted a break from receiving information about our cluster meetings . . . let me be frank, I hadn't been attending and hadn't even noticed that I had stopped receiving the announcements . . . but as I responded to her I am still a member of the presbytery, in good standing, thus a member of the cluster . . . I don't understand how she felt entitled to make a decision NOT to send me announcements . . . the 3rd E-mail. by the way the cluster clergy luncheon is tomorrow . . . of course, I can't make it as I have had no opportunity to make arrangements . . . I wasn't invited last year either . . . obviously having spent a large amount of time in 2008 and 2009 serving the presbytery in many, many capacities meant little to my colleagues . . . I guess the saying is true "out of sight, out of mind" . . . this is hard for me to adjust to . . . obviously, I had misjudged my relationships with these people . . . many I thought were friends . . . it is hard to adjust to the fact that they were (are?) colleagues, at best . . . now, I am not even sure of this.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I have always loved learning and spend a lot of time exploring things that interest me . . . now as part of the CPE Program learning is a part of the process . . . most of it is learning by talking and doing, but the new assignment is to present a theoretical model for pastoral care -- these are basically psychotheraputic models . . . I was just going to play it safe and present on General Systems Theory -- it is the model taught in both my undergraduate and graduate Social Work Programs so I am thinking to myself, "easy, breezy" . . . as I begin refreshing myself I am drawn to a new model for pastoral care that I find . . . Psychosystemic Pastoral Care . . . so I have order THE book on it and have begun reading it . . . it boggles my mind . . . it is hard, it shows how little I have really done intellectually since leaving seminary.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
I spent most of the weekend with my Mother to celebrate her 85th birthday . . . today I attended Worship with her . . . she has been a member of a smaller membership UMC congregation for about 10 years now . . . they are on their 4th pastor . . . it, like many mainline smaller membership congregations, has been struggling . . . their organizing pastor left after receiving his D.Min. to work for a national for-profit ministry . . . their 2nd pastor committed suicide . . . their 3rd pastor -- the pastor at the time that the greatest number of people left, was arrested and charged with a felony assault -- it was evidently changed to a misdemeanor, he plead no contest, paid a fine and the Bishop moved him to a new position . . . when I walked into the sanctuary today there was obviously a new Spirit moving in the church . . . I couldn't put my finger on . . . the sanctuary had been decorated for Advent (it was beautiful) . . . the seating had been changed to make it more intimate . . . there was a more traditional Worship service with hymns (in the past there were only two hymns and we only sang a verse or two of each) . . . the hymns went along with the Scripture readings (in the past this seldom happened) . . . there was special music . . . laity was involved in the Worship as readers and as folks that prayed . . . their was a children's sermon . . . the sermon was EXCELLENT and challenging . . . the pastor asked that I say the concluding prayer . . . afterwards she came to thank me . . . I told her that I sensed a new Spirit in the church . . . she told me that during the recent revival the guest preacher had done an exorcism -- not really but in a prayer had reclaimed the building and the congregation for the work of Christ . . . for the first time in a long time I think the congregation, I know my Mother does, senses HOPE . . . isn't this what Advent is all about!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
I have been away from the church for six months now . . . when I left the church it is as if I lost contact with all of my colleagues . . . well, this isn't true . . . I have had lunch with one of them . . . one has called me to get some information . . . I walked into a restaurant Friday where two of them were eating and they didn't acknowledge me . . . there is one person who keeps in contact with me via Face Book . . . I wonder what it means when we say we are connectional . . . I wonder what it means when we take vows to be "friends to our colleagues" . . . I wonder about what it all means beyond words to people who continue to struggle with the pain of being kicked to the curb
Saturday, November 20, 2010
There is an old saying that time flies when you are having fun . . . the fact is time flies . . . my first unit of CPE is over . . . well, not quite as I have some work to catch up with this weekend.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
2) Have you ever received an unexpected gift from a friend? A material gift, I don't think so, but other kinds of gifts OFTEN . . . a smile, a hug, a card, a prayer . . . for me these are the gifts that count.
3) Is there an old friend you wish you could find again? Or have you found one via Social Media or the Internet? Last year I found my old boy-friend from college . . . feeling nostalgic one night I visited the unofficial site of one of the singer's he introduced me to . . . I knew right from the moment I clicked it open that he was the Web Master . . . you couldn't mistake the funny little cartoon replica of him . . . it is great to be reconnected . . . I found that he finally realized he is gay -- something most of us knew although he didn't . . . he is in a long term relationship . . . our reconnection has brought me much joy.
4) Do you get your good friends together in a group or do you prefer your friends one-on-one? OK I will admit it . . . I am selfish . . . for the most part I want my good friends one-on-one . . . otherwise I don't feel like I have quality time with them.
5) Does the idea of Jesus as a friend resonant with you? Yes . . . have you heard about Jesus' other name? Andy . . . And He walks . . . yes, this is especially helpful when I am having a bad day . . . or just feeling a little sad . . . when I remember that no matter what is going on in my life that Jesus is my Constant Companion things don't seem so bad.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
The Church (and it doesn't matter what denomination) reminds me of the Japanese proverb of the Three Wise Monkeys . . . see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil . . . in some renderings of this proverb there is a 4th monkey with cross hands -- do no evil . . . now this proverb is most closely associated with what it means to live the virtuous life . . . however in this context I am using it to indicate that the Church is NOT living the virtuous life by refusing to see evil, shutting their ears to complains of evil, and not using their voice to condemn actions that assault the dignity of women, men and children by any form of clergy sexual misconduct . . . does the Church not remember that each of us are created in the Image of God.
I struggle with knowing all of this . . . it makes me complicit in a way as I am a part of the Church . . . I don't know what to do . . . I have raised my voice . . . and in raising my voice I have lost . . . so I continue to struggle praying God will open a door to letting me know how I am to be used in this situation.
Lord, have mercy
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
"We need to in this country begin again to raise civil discourse to another level. I mean, we shout and scream and yell and get very little accomplished, but you can disagree very much with the next guy and still be friends and acquaintances." ~ Leah Ward Sears [Sears, an African-American female jurist, was the Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court from 2005 until her retirement in 2009.]
What has happened to civil discourse in this country? We -- that is the royal we, have become uncivil and coarse . . . behind this, I believe, is fear . . . fear that is being fanned by professional politicians and entertainers, ugh, commentators who are more concerned, imho, with lining their coffers than the health of our country.
When I subscribed to Face Book I became friends with many people who I didn't know through my aunt and cousin . . . to be frank that side of the family has always been different than my family . . . although I didn't grow up in the "big city" I did grow up in a thinking environment (both my family and the community) and also in a denomination that stresses thinking -- sometimes to the detriment of experience . . . and yes, I understand that this sounds really pejorative . . . I don't mean it this way . . . my cousin and my aunt are really wonderful woman, but they grew up in small, rural, conservative communities . . . those experiences shaped them to be conservative today . . . both politically and religiously . . . they are on the Christian Right (they are so on the Christian Right that my aunt and uncle would not come to hear me preach one Sunday when I was preaching in their hometown and staying at their house . . . OUCH!) . . . they are devotees of Bill O'Reilley and Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express . . . and so are the Face Book Friends.
One of these is a lovely woman . . . she posts primarily inspirational ditties . . . things I really appreciate and when I disagree we have been able to have wonderful theological cyper discussions . . . I really like here EXCEPT . . . she hates President Obama . . . not just his policies, she hates him and is counting down to the days he is out of office . . . I don't understand how good people can have this much hatred for a person they don't know . . . yes, I know it is fear . . . what I don't understand is where this fear comes from . . . yes, I know that it flies out of FOX every night . . . but how can good people believe this dribble?
Today she posted 15 mug shots of people wearing Obama T-shirts . . . when I took exception to this by pointing out that The Smoking Gun Web Site who posted this in 2008 immediately following the election related that these 15 were taken from tens of thousands she got upset . . . I only passed it on . . . yes, she passed it on but was unable to see the not so subtle message . . . that Obama supporters are thugs . . . when I suggested that I could probably have found 15 people arrested the night of the Saints Superbowl win wearing Saints T-shirts, but that this didn't make Saints' fans (which she is one) thugs, she couldn't get it.
I hate to be overly dramatic, but I wonder if this is how people were feeling as Hitler and the Nazis were gaining power in Germany . . . yes, I see some parallels and frankly it scares the you know what out of me . . . I am praying that sanity will return and with it a willingness to engage in civil discourse as we try to discern a way out of the mess that we have made of this country.
Lord, have mercy on us,
Friday, September 24, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
Yesterday was my first 24 hour on-call rotation . . . three code blues (deaths) although by the time I arrived on units the two of the patients had been revived . . . the one early this morning died. Sunday I will also have on-call duties . . . as it works out 1x/week we will be on-call and 4 weekends in a three month period . . . I have call Sunday . . . Monday off and then hospital orientation.
Man, my feet have never hurt this much . . . can't wear backless shoes . . . my vice so am having to get use to "real" shoes.
I will be working with a UMC Pastor who has done the one year Residency Program and is now finishing up her three year Supervisory track in oncology and palliative care . . . this was my first choice as well as the first choice of one other person . . . after awhile at negotiating I was ready to give in and take my 2nd choice . . . feeling guilty as I was standing my ground . . . I guess somewhere I have gotten the message that I don't deserve my first choice or that I have to settle so the other person won't have to settle . . . Supervisor wouldn't allow me to give in and in the end I was able to get the units I wanted . . . although I am trying hard not to look to the future, this is the unit that I believe will provide better opportunity should I decided to pursue professional chaplaincy.
Exhausted by this first week but excited about this door that has been opened.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
for me . . . I am not sure the reason this is true, but one of the things I have talked with God about is that this year will not only be one of discernment, but also one of learning to take care of myself in all areas of my life.
One of the places where I have not done well at self care is on my physical self . . . the pre-employment physical yesterday revealed sugar in my urine and hypertension. I have been a borderline diabetic for 6 years and "assumed" I was controlling it with diet and exercise . . . but I was kidding myself . . . I wasn't really doing either . . . so yesterday I started on medication for hypertension . . . at my MD's appointment today my BP had already dropped . . . and today I start on medications for diabetes.
The doctor a young Asian woman is hopeful that at some point I will be able to come off of the medications . . . who knows, but I do know that I need to take seriously that when God tells us that we are to love ourselves . . . yes, "love your neighbor as you love yourself" this must include caring for ourselves physically. This is hard for me . . . I don't like doctors but it is a part of being faithful to how God would have us live.
And so a year of discernment and self-care is starting.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I have learned that I learned this unhealthy coping mechanism as a child . . . it reared it's ugly head to bite me in the butt as I faced a dysfunctional congregation that mirrored in many ways the family I grew up in . . . all of this has been new revelations . . . at least on a conscious level . . . as I have been in work with a new therapist.
It is hard work . . . work I would rather not do, but work I must do if I am to have the quality of life that I believe God desires for me. My therapist has me writing about my anger . . . not really writing about it as much as writing to it . . . this, too, is hard, but there is wisdom in her madness.
And so I am working to be a myth buster . . . What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ's body we are all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.
Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry -- but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don't stay angry. Don't go to bed angry. Don't give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life. Ephesians 4: 24-27