Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Tardy Thanksgiving Blog

It's weird having another blogger in the house.

Although I know they have a blog and we both actively read and comment on one another's posts, there was something about having them RIGHT THERE that kept me from logging on and even sharing the briefest of comments.

So I am tardy with this, but here it is:

1) Did you cook or bake anything for Thanksgiving?
The joke is that I make cranberry sauce every year. Hats off to those who make fancy jellies with various rinds and eye of newt, but I am a Neandrathal who enjoys it out of the can... with lines please.

This year it was particularly hard to make because the brand we bought did not have a rim at the bottom for the can opener to open the bottom lid. There was no way to release the suction in the can so that the beautiful column of sauce would be intact naturally. SO I had to use all of my cooking skills gained at the cooking academy and use a spatula to coax the cranberry sauce out into the bowl.

There were some minor blemishes but the flavor was there! Thanks be to God.

2) How was it received?

It was received well by all but my mother-in-law who just doesn't 'get' me and frankly doesn't care to. Someday, we shall blog about this... but not now.

3) Anything left over?
Actually had to MAKE leftovers the next day.

4) What's the best use of Thanksgiving leftovers you have ever seen?
In my belly.

5) And the worst?
Too much in my belly.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Children's Sermon, Part II

So our 8th grader fill-in did great on the Children’s Sermon. She had a glass mostly full of water and then handed out rocks to all of the children. She talked about how sometimes we think our lives aren’t full enough, like the glass of water, and when that happens we should count our blessings (the rocks). She then invited the kids to take turns and come up and place their rocks in the water and as they did to say something they are thankful for.

Of course the idea was that the glass would overflow because of the water displaced by the rocks.

All of the kids would put a rock in and say something they were thankful for and then go sit down.

“Family” [plip]
“Baseball” [plop]
“Dessert [plip]
“Jesus” [plop]

One of the people who had come up front for the children’s sermon was ‘Michael’ (3) and his Daddy who was holding Michael’s 7 month old sister, ‘Julie’. When it came around to Michael’s turn he just stood there and wouldn’t budge. Around and around the kids went and the water moved its way to the top of the cup but didn’t go over.

The whole event started to drag out and the kids were running out of things to say (I knew things were getting desperate when one of the kids mentioned me). STILL the water refused to overflow and STILL Michael would have none of it as his father began to struggle with keeping Julie quiet and away from the stones he held in his hands.

Eventually the kids threw in their last rocks and all eyes soon rested on Michael and family who were the only ones with rocks left and the cup had still not overflowed.

With the pressure mounting Michael’s Dad stood up with Julie, walked over, dropped all of their pebbles into the cup and in a baby voice said, “breast milk.”

The cup… and the laughter overflowed.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Serendipitous Laziness

The woman who usually does our children's sermons told me on Friday she wouldn't be there. I have been attempting to slowly climb up the mountain that is my 'to-do' list for now through December 26th so in a whim of laziness and stubborness I sent out a mass email to my congregation: Would anyone like to give it a try?

No one wrote back, but last night TDH and I went to see some of the high school kids we know who are in a Shakespeare Troupe perform. One of the siblings of a Trouper was there and she said she would like to do it. She is in the 8th grade.

How cool! Now I am really glad I decided to send out an SOS and I'm willing to bet that hers will be far more thought out than mine would have been.

Yeah God!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Revgalblogpals' Friday Five

Alright. Enough with the hormone surge

1) Earliest book you remember (read to you or by you)
Corduroy (thank you Songbird and my nightly 3AM think tank) and the Pokey Little Puppy.

2) Picture Book you would like to climb into
Make way for ducklings

3) Favorite series of books (then or now)
Then Bobbsey twins. I think I've read all of them - I was stunned to find out they were not real and that the books were formula books written by a group of writers. I think when I learned that my childhood officially ended. Fortunately I didn't figure it out until I was 30.

4) Character you would most like to meet
The swan from Trumpet of the Swan

5) Last childhood book you re-read (for yourself or to someone)
Goodnight Moon

Follow Up Question

Okay, as I continue to blog about things with great theological significance vital to life as we know it - what about hottest guy in a particular role?

Example for me would be Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It. I remember being convinced that whoever that guy was his last name HAD to be Redford.

Or Matthew Schoeffling in Sixteen Candles. The timing might have just been right for me on this one.

George Clooney in the Oceans movies and Out of Sight. Alright, kind of cheating because the man looks good - period. But as much as I love O Brother Where Art Thou I LOVE him with the tux and hair combed.

Brad Johnson in Always. Weird one for me, but when I went to see this awful movie in the theater (Audrey Hepburn must have owed someone a favor) I was stunned by this guy. I've seen him in other things and he has never struck me the same way.

Dennis Quaid in The Big Easy. I actually think he has aged incredibly well and looks really great in the ads for Yours, Mine and Ours although can you really beat Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda?

Finally the one you have been waiting for - the sexiest man alive himself - Matthew McConaughey in The Wedding Planner. Not bad.He pulls off the charming in this movie without edging over to the dark side of weird. I also like the glasses.

So c'mon people, jump on the procrastination train with me! You know you want to mention Pride and Prejudice one more time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Matter of Life and Death - well....

Okay, not really. And after going almost a whole week without a post, what an odd thing to grab my attention, but people I must know your opinions!

In your humble opinion, is MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY the sexiest man alive?

Is this all that we have left now that Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise have both gone to the dark side of infidelity and lunacy (not necessarily in that order, but probably)?
Did Jude Law make one to many bad movies and 'Alfie' his way right out of consideration?
Is Harry Connick Jr. too music-oriented or too charitable?
Mel Gibson too conservative and covered in fake blood?
Harrison Ford too old (and a bit sad with the earring)?
Clint Eastwood too genius?
Pierce Bronson too (let's interrupt this rant for a moment to imagine ourselves in the role of Renee Russo in The Thomas Crowne Affair............ mmmm)

Anyway, I digress....

Matthew McConaughey? Have you heard him give an interview - dude is weird! And not just Texas-weird (hello reverend mother, quotidian grace and others I just offended - hopefully you know what I mean, if not... sorry ;)).

People rally around and tell me:

Who IS the sexiest man alive?

(And consider this amnesty on having to list your significant other. We'll just consider it a given).

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Debunking the Myth

I don’t get along well with other women.

At least that was the myth.

The blame list goes on both sides.

On My Side:
I definitely feel more comfortable around men.
I speak ‘sports’.
I am not home with my child, my husband is.
I don’t look like them (no makeup, I love my jeans; I rarely care how I look).
I don’t smell like them (perfume… are you KIDDING me).
I don’t talk like them (my subjects: sports; my demeanor: confident, boisterous even).

On Their Side:
They always want to hug me even when we have just met. I mean, what is up with that? First, WE JUST MET. Second, I am from the northeast, we do not touch there. Third, I am usually way taller and definitely broader than the woman hugging me – so it is awkward. I have to simultaneously: guess which way they’re going so we don’t bump heads, not squish their multiple earrings into their heads, keep my boobs from poking them in the eye, and not crush them with my softball-playing, 25 pound baby-lifting, arms (really they are not that huge, but I FEEL huge when these tiny women come in for the kill).
They often seem very fake to me. Everyone is trying to hard to come off like the perfect Mom, the perfect wife, the perfect consultant… I don’t have time in my life for bs. I want authentice, non-bs relationships.

I admit a lot of this comes from my own feelings of inadequacy and not belonging. I have been Julia Roberts in the store and no one would help me because I didn’t look like them (perfect illustration except that I’ve never been to Beverly Hills, I am no longer a hooker (kidding) and I could not look less like Julia Roberts if I tried).

Lately, something pretty cool has been happening with my relationships with other women. I am not sure if it is because I am a bit older or if it is because I am a Mom now – but something has definitely changed.

I have found authentic community with three separate groups of women.

First, I have this blogging community, The revgalblogpals. My friend told me about The Real Live Preacher. I read his book first, I checked out his website, I registered… it asked for your blog site. Guess I’d better make one of those! I ‘chatted’ and then I was invited. I interact with these women on a daily basis. I have found authentic community with these women.

Second, there is a group of ordained PCUSA women (some with children, some without) in my area who commit to getting together. I had coffee with them yesterday. We laughed and cried and shared and drank coffee and ate scones and they accepted me for who I am and I accepted them right back. I have found authentic community with these women.

Third, a group of women involved in various religious organizations are attempting to pull together in our town. There is no agenda, no book to read – just a monthly lunch for those who can make it. We had lunch together today and shared ideas for Christmas day and talked about some of our hidden talents. I have found authentic community with these women.

Of course, some adjustments on my part will need to be made. For one, sometimes I need to listen more and talk less. I love community and I love making people laugh, but there is a time for that and there is a time to shutty. Also, I will have to adjust things so that all of my authentic women groups do not meet in the same week or else we will have no authentic sermon!

In the end I guess ‘it takes one to know one’ is a good phrase for me. I think being involved in ministry can only be truly understood by others involved in ministry. This goes even more so for being a woman in ministry.

It is that bond that can transcend all of the other stuff we carry with us.

Maybe someday I will be able to have authentic community with women who are not in the ministry, but for now this is good.

Thanks for debunking the myth.

The Plot Thickens...

Well, now I am feeling a bit more pastoral towards this guy. Would you really want to make your fortune like this?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

An Open Letter Concerning Science and Religion

There is a Clergy Letter Project within the Christian community that is taking a stand against militant Biblical literalism. It is called An Open Letter Concerning Science and Religion. Please check it out and if you agree, sign. If you know others, please forward the information to them.

The effort is attempting to collect 10,000 signatures and is a bit stalled at 9,300.


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Benefit of the Doubt

I think I have something in common with George W. Bush.

I said I think.

There comes a point in everyone’s interaction with a group of people when they believe they deserve the benefit of the doubt. I think this is what George W. was banking on from the GOP when he introduced Harriet Miers as his nominee for the Supreme Court. Sure, he did it out of allegiance to her and certainly she was not qualified (this ranks as old news, I know) but I do not think he expected the extreme, violent negative reaction from his own side. My guess is he figured they would give him the benefit of the doubt.

He could not outright say, don’t worry boys, this chick is 100% ready to set this society back at least 100 years. He could not say it out loud, so he tried to ‘wink, wink; nudge, nudge’ and hoped they would give him the benefit of the doubt.

I have been at this church for over four years. It is true that this is my first ordained call, but it is not my first position in a church. I served as a non-ordained interim to the interim at a church after seminary when their pastor retired and before the interim came in. This gig included five funerals in two week. I interned for one year at a church during seminary. I did a year long CPE at a psychiatric hospital. Before seminary I worked in a church as a Youth Director for 5 years and when the Head Pastor left about halfway into my stint the other Associate and I took on a lot of responsibilities.

If that isn’t enough, I am not new to the Presbyterian Church – I am one of those first-borns who was baptised, hung out in the nursery, went to every VBS and was eventually president of the youth group (whatever that means) in the Presbyterian Church. I GET it. I know we are decent and in order and I know what that means for worship (liturgy, seriousness, God forbid we clap or shout ‘Amen’).

SO – when last Sunday I had my reasons for coming down out of the pulpit during the children’s sermon and throwing rice krispy treats into the congregation I think I deserved the benefit of the doubt(no one got hurt, trust me – you do not know me as well, but please read the title of this essay).

In the 4+ years I have been here I have never done that. On this day the woman who always does our children’s sermon (whom we love, but can be a bit flaky) did a bit about sharing and handed out bags of M&M’s to the kids. She RAN out of M&Ms before she ran out of kids. I was already down there and saw the crisis and her panic so I created a diversion. She also had Rice Krispy Treats in her bag so I teased her about holding back on us and if she really wanted to share she should share everything that is in her bag. I then proceeded to ‘hand out’ the contents of her bag.

It went along with the flow of the service. People laughed. Trust me, although not something I would recommend for everyone and for all occasions it was okay at that time and in that place.

Most people I am sure were ok with it – giving me the appropriate benefit of the doubt – a few were not. One even felt it necessary to apologize for me as if I were her 10 year old delinquent child to a couple who have been visiting. She also felt it necessary to make sure that I knew that she and others did not approve of my behavior and that in the future such displays would be unwise.

When she cornered me yesterday (yes, Saturday) I was hungry, I was tired, I was in day 3 of The Migraine and I snapped, “Betty, I’ve never done that before and I will most likely not do that again, can’t you just give me the benefit of the doubt for once.”

Now it is Sunday afternoon and I did not throw anything into the pews this morning. No one seemed too worse for wear and the visitors were all back again this week. Some folks told me they thought it was a riot – others seemed relieved when I mentioned it in worship as part of a sermon illustration… almost like acknowledging the big, elephant in the room. Yes, I KNOW I threw rice krispy treats last Sunday, yes I KNOW it was inappropriate.. but c’mon people,
can’t you just give me the benefit of the doubt?

Thursday, November 03, 2005