Saturday, November 22, 2008

To Blog or Not to Blog

As I walk through the final steps towards a new call there is a LOT on my mind. A LOT.
I have been trying to get it all on paper because when there is a lot swirling in my brain it usually helps to get it down on paper and organize it. Sometimes I even break down the 'to-do' list into the days they have to happen. There is actually too much to even get it all down on paper.


Just about everything is a positive, but of course there will be some loss. One of the losses that might need to happen is this blog.
1) I have seen folks get seriously burned when folks find their blogs.

2) My blog is pseudo-anonymous which in my mind means although it wouldn't show up in a search, if you just happened upon it and you know me, you will know it is mine.

3) I don't get too crazy in my posts, but I do use them to be silly at the least and occasionally to vent. If I can't use it - or trust it - to be that kind of outlet for me then I might as well start another one and be totally public on it.

3) I am running low on time to blog now. I am quite sure becoming Head of Staff of a church 5x my current congregation's size is not exactly going to add to my available blogging time.

4) I could see me and the other associates working on a blog for the new church which combined with #3 means even less time for a personal blog.

So... do I stop? Drop? Or Roll?

Stop blogging/twittering here or anywhere as will smama?
Drop this blog from the internet atmosphere or just leave it up?
Roll into another blogging persona using my real name and real church setting like some of you quite successfully do?

I am not expecting you to answer this for me. Just thought I'd think out loud about one particular thing on my mind before I get back to pen and paper and sorting out the rest of the bajillion things.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Revgalblogpal Friday Five: Kitchen Appliance Edition

Songbird writes:

In a minor domestic crisis, my food processor, or more precisely the part you use for almost everything for which I use a food processor, picked the eve of the festive season of the year to give up the ghost. A crack in the lid expanded such that a batch of squash soup had to be liberated via that column shaped thing that sticks up on top.Can you tell this is not my area of strength?Next week, I'm hosting Thanksgiving. I need your help. Please answer the following kitchen-related questions:

1) Do you have a food processor? Can you recommend it? Which is to say, do you actually use it?
Ummm, what?

2) And if so, do you use the fancy things on it? (Mine came with a mini-blender (used a lot and long ago broken) and these scary disks you used to julienne things (used once).)
Seriously, what are you talking about?

3) Do you use a standing mixer? Or one of the hand-held varieties?(And isn't that color delightfully retro?)
If this is what I think it is, I like the pretty colored one but chuckle every time I see how expensive it is.

4) How about a blender? Do you have one? Use it much?
Sometimes in my mind I pretend I am someone who would take the time to find the ingredients and make healthy drinks in a blender. Then I remember I don't have one.

5) Finally, what old-fashioned, non-electric kitchen tool do you enjoy using the most?
Other people cooking for me.

Bonus: Is there a kitchen appliance or utensil you ONLY use at Thanksgiving or some other holiday? If so, what is it?
My oven.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Verdict

Friends.... a fairly large, fully staffed, very healthy congregation is about to call their next Head of Staff.

And it is I.

This means I get to:

  • Use the lessons I have learned here to continue to thrive in ministry and more importantly equip others to thrive as well,
  • Own a home,
  • Move out of the fishbowl life that is living on the property of the church in the manse,
  • Be fully involved in the life of the church but because of its proximity to where I have lived the last 7+ years keep my friends and support system in place and yet...
  • It is far enough away that I no longer will run into TOW1.

There are still some hoops to jump through and the congregation has final say (most likely not until early January) but the committee has chosen me and deep, down in my soul it feels very, very good.

Thanks be to God!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A sign?

When I was a kid I totally thought this was going to be me... except for the Japan part.

Maybe it's a sign.
The committee meets tomorrow night. I'll let you know soon after I do. Probably in the Twitter feeds below before I can get to a post.

Thank you all for your prayers.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Sanctity of Marriage

From a wedding meditation:

The passage in Matthew talks about using our hearts and our minds and our souls to love as God calls us to love. It is the ultimate back up plan, because married life is committed love, it is wonderful love - it is not always easy love. The passage says heart, soul and mind; I am here to tell you that all three aren’t always on board at the same time.

That is why the Song of Solomon passage is so powerful. It talks about a love that is strong and fierce – a love that survives, a love that is worth fighting for through the spats and the selfishness and the tugs put on our lives by the world we live in. So maybe your heart isn’t into it, you darn well better make sure then that your mind is. I guarantee if you tap into one, then the rest will follow.

Today we celebrate all of these loves and lean on the perfect love of our God who gives us the gift of a passion and a desire to be together. The vows you will take are a response to God’s love for you and a commitment to one another. These vows are a declaration of love and the foundation of your commitment to one another.

Above is a section of the wedding meditation I did last year for my sister and now brother-in-law. In this case, the Scriptures they chose were Song of Solomon 8:6-7 and Matthew 22:35-40 but no matter what is chosen I always have two goals to achieve in my wedding meditations.

a) Marriage is an 'all-in' committment.
b) If you treat marriage like an 'all-in' committment, you will greatly benefit from the most amazing relationship you will ever have in your life.

Some may think it is odd that someone who is divorced would think these things are important to include but I was always 'all-in' committed to my marriage. The counselor had to pry my hands from our marriage's dead corpse.

And so as I hear folks in California, Florida and New Mexico among others talk about the sanctity of marriage, I agree with them... but think they have found the wrong place to make their point.

Our entire country needs to stop treating marriage - among other things - like something that is fine when it is easy and fun but easily disposed of when it gets difficult. I am FAR more hung up on that than I am about what genders involve themselves in a committed relationship such as marriage.

I think marriage and how great it can be is one of the best kept secrets out there. I loved being married and during what I thought was our darkest hour I remember thinking that one day we would come out on the other side and be all the stronger for it. Sadly in my case it got a lot darker although I did come out on the other side stronger.... but I digress.

As part of my attempts to be more pro-active I have been pushing some of my own parishioners a little bit on this issue. I ask them what they are so afraid of?

Don't they think God can handle it?

Why are they witholding one of the sweeter things in life from, in one case, their son.

We are a society that seems to want freedom... but not for that guy over there. You have probably heard by now that the great irony of the get the vote out effort in California is that 7 out of 10 of African-Americans voted against Proposition 8. This led Jon Stewart to quip on his show, "Free at last! Free at last.... hey! Where do you two boys think you're going?"

I used to not know where to stand or how to stand on this issue. The great irony is that the conservative, baptist, "family values" family that I once was connected to made the final, convincing argument to me that everyone should have the right to marry the one they choose, and everyone should treat it as a privilege to do so.

Living a Nightmare

On Thursday my friend took his 10 month old to a routine pediatrician's visit. 24 hours later they were checked into the pediatric cardiology unit at the hospital with a son whose heart is badly damaged and needs a transplant.

Very fast and very scary. He is also in between calls - has left one church and has not yet started at the next. They are in the process of moving into a rental.

They have a lot of family around and are in a good hospital system.

Please lift up young 'HT' in your prayers and his family.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayers...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes We Can!

The speech from last night. Thanks to MSNBC.

Hello, Chicago.

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.
We are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment change has come to America.

A little bit earlier this evening, I received an extraordinarily gracious call from Sen. McCain. Sen. McCain fought long and hard in this campaign. And he's fought even longer and harder for the country that he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.

I congratulate him; I congratulate Gov. Palin for all that they've achieved. And I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart, and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on the train home to Delaware, the vice president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation's next first lady Michelle Obama.

Sasha and Malia I love you both more than you can imagine. And you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the new White House.

And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother's watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight. I know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my sister Maya, my sister Alma, all my other brothers and sisters, thank you so much for all the support that you've given me. I am grateful to them.
And to my campaign manager, David Plouffe, the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best -- the best political campaign, I think, in the history of the United States of America.

To my chief strategist David Axelrod who's been a partner with me every step of the way.

To the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.
But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you. It belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington. It began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston. It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give $5 and $10 and $20 to the cause.

It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep.

It drew strength from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on doors of perfect strangers, and from the millions of Americans who volunteered and organized and proved that more than two centuries later a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has not perished from the Earth.

This is your victory.

And I know you didn't do this just to win an election. And I know you didn't do it for me.

You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime -- two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.

Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us.
There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after the children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage or pay their doctors' bills or save enough for their child's college education.

There's new energy to harness, new jobs to be created, new schools to build, and threats to meet, alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.

I promise you, we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can't solve every problem.

But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years -- block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night.
This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.

It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.

Let us remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers.

In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

Let's remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity.

Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.

As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.
And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

To those -- to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

That's the true genius of America: that America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we've already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight's about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.
She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons -- because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.
At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.

And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.
Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.

This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


I realize posts to this blog have been few and far between. I miss you all.
Full time parenting and full time working have put a new time management spin on my life. Although, if you know who I am in 'real life' and we're friends on Facebook then you know I am able to fit in umpteen status updates.

The real time vaccuum is the job search. It's a weird process because I have spent the better part of my ministry here encouraging honesty and transparency... and then I have to sneak around for a job search. This has been made all the more challenging because the church I am the furthest along in conversations with is only a couple of towns over.

It's exciting and nerve-wracking and calming all at the same time. This weekend my Mom and The Boy and I looked at our first house. I am currently in a manse (home owned by the church) and a move would mean - HAS to mean - that I will be buying a home. Right now the plan is that my Mom will retire and my parents will move in with me in order to be the family support system for The Boy and I. This, of course, will offer up its own challenges, but if I want to make the move to Head of Staff at a large church, there needs to be a support system at home.

Discernment is such an intangible thing. If I was trying to put it in lay terms I think I would say it is a series of hints and clues and signs that lead you to an educated guess as to what the best decision is. Of course, there is also a large spiritual component but I am not even going to try to describe that.

Looking at the first house felt good. It felt like the right move and although it wasn't the PERFECT house, it really helped in starting the process of what could work and what definitely won't. All is to say, as part of the discernment process it is definitely put in the 'plus' column.

This committee comes to hear me preach on 11/16 and then we go out to lunch.
Prayers appreciated...