Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Memories . . .

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:

I was 6 when I got my first Barbie . . . it was a wonderful Santa gift . . . I can still see it in my mind's eye . . . I am dating myself --- it was the blond "bubble head" Barbie . . . she came in a flat box with a wardrobe . . . I remember the evening wear . . . it was orange (ORANGE!!!!) and sparkly;

When I was 9 Santa brought me a "big girl bike" . . . it was hard for me to ride . . . I remember asking my Daddy why Santa brought me such a big bike . . . he told me that Santa told him that it would have to last me a long time;

I was about 13 when Santa brought my Mother a new car . . . it seemed like everyone knew in the family except me and Mama that Santa was bringing this . . . YES, I knew that there was really no Santa . . . when I complained that everyone knew except me I was told everyone knew I couldn't keep my mouth shut;

At age 15 I wasn't the first one up on Christmas morning . . . not sure how come, but I remember my older brother (he would have been 25) coming upstairs to wake me up "so we can open presents" . . . being the youngest my brother (now deceased) and sister have expectations of how I should act (even now) as the youngest on Christmas . . . I think they (she) get upset when I am not that way

When we all got to be adults our parents -- I mean Santa, would always give us a check signed by my Dad . . . my first Christmas in seminary we got the check, but it was signed by Mother . . . I asked my Dad what was up . . . he had been sick most of my life . . . he told me that it was his time and I probably wouldn't cash the check before he went "Home" . . . now, I know that this sounds odd, but he was telling me that he was ready -- he was at peace . . . later I found a journal he has been keeping secretly . . . I never shared it with anyone . . . later I threw it away. . . it was full of his fears of his body becoming so weak that he wouldn't be able to be at home . . . it also was full of his faith that even though he was a fallen human being he trusted in the saving grace of his Lord and Savior.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday caroling . . .

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.

Merry CHRISTmas,


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why, oh, why . . .

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

Learning . . .

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.

As a local pastor I did lots of research for sermons and reading in church growth as I worked with our church growth consultant . . . but this is real work . . . it is exciting and challenging for me on many levels.

Learning . . . it is a good thing,


Sunday, December 12, 2010

A New Spirit . . .

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!

Come Lord Jesus, Come!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Just wondering . . .

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

Feeling sorry for myself,