The Quixotic Pastor

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Things Pastors Shouldn't Say Aloud ...

... at least in certain situations.

For instance, when counseling with somebody: "Here's a quarter --call someone who cares."
When receiving an offering: "What's in your wallet?" [Although I think that would be a great stewardship sermon title ...]
When receiving an offering: "Jackpot!!!!"
When consecrating communion: "Spppppphhhhhh! [splutter] Alright, who put wine in the communion juice?"
When consecrating communion: "Darn! Wish someone Would put wine in the communion juice!"
When baptising someone, especially in certain denominations, "Dive, Captain, Dive!"
When baptising an infant wearing one of those lovely --but slippery-- satiny gowns: "I'm losing her, I'm losing her!"
During the reading of Scripture: "Jeez, who writes this stuff ...?"
When receiving an offering: "For me???? Aw, you shouldn't have ..."

There is great potential for comedy during worship ... think about experiences you've had. If you are reading this, why not take a moment to share and add a comment concerning real encounters of a comedy kind you or a colleague have had during worship?

I'll start ... once when I was preparing a bulletin, I accidentally typed in "What A Fiend We Have In Jesus" for one of the hymns. Fortunately I caught that typo before anyone else did ... but notice spell check would not have corrected this one ... I can just imagine what would have happened Sunday if I didn't catch the error. The pianist to the pastor: "'scuse me, Rev, I can't find this one in the hymnal ..."

I also, by the way, find Communion bloopers really funny [perhaps because I'm warped]. There is the time a pastor in rural Arkansas realized at the last minute that the communion loaf was not forthcoming. So he ran to the nearest grocery, a tiny little rural store, and purchased the last loaf of bread they had, a loaf of french bread. When it came time during the consecration for the breaking of the loaf, it was so stale, the whole thing shattered in tiny crumbs everywhere ...! Wish I knew how he recovered from that ... Wafers do have their advantages.

[Sound of trumpet] "Cha-a-a-r-r-ge!!!!"
Rev. Dona Quixote

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I am just fascinated ...

... by the whole idea that cows may have regional accents, as reported in various news venues, but I first saw on the Yahoo home page and was just reminded about on NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me".

Michigan UP and Canadian cows: moooooooooooooo eh?
Southern cows: mooooooooo y'all.
Valley cows: like, mooOOOOOoooooooo
Hispanic cows: moooooooo-le'
Hawaiian cows: moooloooha
Yiddish cows: moooooo vey

Then of course, there's the whole "is Pluto a planet or not" controversy ...

Yup, you guessed it ... it's Saturday, it's sermon time and ... I'm feeling punchy!!!!!!

You just THOUGHT the BeeGees knew what Saturday Night Fever was ...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Got Resurrection?

Last night it happened again. I woke up at dark O'clock and could not get back to sleep ... did my usual meditative things, breathing "Jesus" [inhale on "je", exhale on "sussssssss"], mentally singing Taize choruses ["Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten ..." or "O God hear my prayer, O God hear my prayer, when I call, answer me ..."] but nothing helped this time.

Too many worries --did Angel make it thru the night at the vet's? [Yes she did] Will I be able to afford the vet bill? Will DH find a job somewhere in mid-Michigan? What if she doesn't? Should I ask for a raise on my salary? Should I look for a little part time work to supplement my income ... Question piled upon question, worry upon worry, soooooo ... I gave up and got out of bed at 7:00 am [that is early for me, since I don't usually get to bed until after midnight] made coffee and sat before the TV, oddly and unusually comforted by the banality of the mainstream media, instead of being infuriated by all the stories they're not telling.

I love this painting ... Matthias Grunewald, the Easter vision of the Isenheim altar [It's Good Friday companion piece is equally moving ...] and I have been craving its message today. Very simply, in the midst of death, there is life; in the place of shadow there is light; and redemption prevails despite pain and sin. "Even if he slay me, I will trust in God" Job says --and Grunewald understands why.

Now if only I could remember that at dark O' clock ...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Earth IS crammed with heaven ....

“Earth is crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit and pluck blueberries.” -----Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Yup, that's essentially my theme for worship for this week. I am joining some pastors within the Australian Church and God knows whom else in participating in the Season of Creation, one Sunday ahead of time. What is the season of creation? Check out and find out. But the first Sunday in the season of creation is Earth Sunday, and I am busy delving into Earth Prayers [Harper San Francisco, 1991] for liturgy for the service.

As I write this, I think about and pray for my faithful dog Angel, who is hospitalized at the vet's with an unknown but potentially very scary illness. I hope she makes it through to join me at one of the Blessing of the Animals services I will do this year ... Pooter and Corky [they're cats] and Boy [DH's dad's dog, whom we inherited] offer their prayers for Angel as well.

PS It was so nice to receive such a warm welcome from various members of the RevGalBlogPals family --thanks y'all!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Stepping Even Further Into The 21st Century ...

Wow, more new technology for Dona Quixote: I am attempting to join a webring --or a blogring, as the case may be, revgalblogpals, into which I have wandered and lurked off and on for awhile now. Just waiting to see if I meet the rules, regs and requirements for this blog to become a part.

This is, of course, all very new to me. I don't yet know what I have gotten myself into ... but I look forward to finding out. [sound of trumpet] Cha-a-a-a-a-a-arge!!!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Friday was good for me, part 2

So, besides challenging me to do better self-care, Nancy also provided me with a much needed "sanity check."

But, although I almost did it this morning, I have yet to accomplish the one easiest change I promised myself that I would do after our mini-retreat. I have yet to start walking daily. A 45 minute walk daily will add 5 years to a woman's life, Nancy says --even more to a man's life-- what a simple change to make for such a high yield in benefits.

All I have to do is set the alarm for an hour earlier. All I have to do is be willing to wait an hour before morning coffee. Give up my morning news --which wouldn't be much of a loss, given it is MSM and therefore highly suspect anyhow ....

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Friday was good for me, part 1 ...!

Yes, indeed it was. I went down to Waterford to meet with area MCC and other Clergy for a clergy mini-conference with the Moderator of our denomination, the Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson.
The subject of the mini-conference was "Balance, Boundaries and Breakthroughs" and was devoted to clergy self-care.

As someone who has served in our denomination as a sucessful local church pastor for probably 30 plus years, and who now serves as the spiritual leader of our movement, when Nancy talks about the necessity for as well as the nuts and bolts of clergy self-care, she knows what she is talking about.

Why is clergy self-care such an important topic? First, the role of clergy of any denomination has changed from "high prestige, low stress" to "high stress, low prestige", high stress because clergy must know more and do more than even as little as a decade ago they were once required to know and do. Nowadays ministry is low prestige because of many factors, everything from increasing secularization in our culture, transitions in the nature of the church itself, and the new public awareness of and decreased toleration for clergy misconduct, especially sexual misconduct.

But clergy self-care within MCC is even more important, because MCC and other GLBT clergy face unique challenges their more traditional counterparts do not. It is for us an even higher stress and lower prestige role, for all kinds of reasons.

One of the things that Nancy mentioned is that the occurrence of borderline personalities is increased in oppressed populations --and the GLBT population is certainly oppressed! Then of course there's oppression sickness, in which members of oppressed groups do anything to hold on to what power they have, even to the point of oppressing others!

Another way of thinking about oppression sickness is the old "crab bucket" analogy. When you go crabbing, you don't have to worry ever about any crabs climbing out of your bucket even if there's no lid because, whenever a crab raises itself and tries to escape, the other crabs pull him back into the bucket! I certainly have witnessed that phenomenon within my local GLBT population, in a particular organization of which I am a part, where infighting, mudslinging, perfectionistic power grabbing and all sorts of self-defeating behaviors plague us as an organization.

The worst part of oppression sickness is when we GLBT actually believe in the stereotypes our oppressors use to define us and keep us down, that we are not worthy, that we are not fully human, that we should be ashamed ...