The Quixotic Pastor

Monday, November 20, 2006


OK, starting today and going thru to Sunday the 26th, we Revgalblogpals are making the effort to stop the practice of lurking. When people read through your blog without commenting or otherwise acknowledging they have visited, that is called lurking.

Some lurking is kind of systemic --for instance, I believe my blog is not set up to allow anonymous contacts so, if someone does not have a blog ID of some kind, I don't think they can post a comment to anything I've written. However, I am still in something of a techno-fog around blogging so I could be wrong about that.

But it's nice to know when someone has read your post, and ppb's idea of leaving a blogstone, (o), lets the author know you were there. Or, as someone else suggested, just a "thank you" comment added.

We do indeed have a huge online community here --and there is an abundance of caring and support within it, praise God!

Just knowing that there are lots of people out there who struggle with some of the same things professionally that I do is tremedously helpful. And I am especially grateful for the blogs of our lay ministers, pastor's spouses and students, for the different and much needed perspective they provide.

So I am thinking of the song we sang at both churches yesterday:

I am the church. You are the church. We are the church together.
All who follow Jesus, all around the world, yes, we’re the church together.

The church is not a building, the church is not a steeple,
The church is not a resting place, the church is a people.

We’re many kinds of people with many kinds of faces,
All colors and all ages too, from all times and places.

And when the people gather, there’s singing and there’s praying,There’s laughing and there’s crying sometimes, all of it saying:

Friday, November 17, 2006

Revgalblogpals Friday Five: Giving Thanks

Today's Friday Five is, appropriately, naming five things for which we give thanks.

1. I give thanks for the goodness of God in the gift of my partner DH.

2. I give thanks for the existence of my denomination, Metropolitan Community Churches, in which my full participation as a GLBT person in the life of Christ's Body is neither questioned nor debated. [We fight about other things, of course, and we have our own inclusion issues, but that's a subject for another time.]

3. I give thanks for good friends of all kinds, and my family's love and care.

4. I give thanks for the warm, furry creatures that grace our household, Angel the Aussie, Boy the Retreiver, Pooter the Gray Tabby and Corky, the Krazy Kalico Kat... [despite the fact I have to change their cat box this morning.]

5. I give thanks for the two faith communities that call me to be their pastor.

Thank you, gracious God, for all of these things and so much more: the challenges and opportunities of change, old wisdom and new learning, the joy of this holiday season and most especially for your loving presence in which we and all things move and live and have our being! Amen.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Did Jesus ....

Do you suppose Jesus totally gave up carpentry and being a handy-man type of guy [a tekton in Greek] after his baptism, after his ministry began? Did he occasionally build a shelf for someone in need, and the evangelists didn't tell us because that didn't fit within their priorities/agenda? [I can hear Luke now --"Hmmm, maybe we better leave out what he said that time he hit his thumb at that widow's house ..."] Maybe when Jesus weekended with the Bethany crew, he helped Lazarus repair the yoke for the family oxen, pointing out that, while this yoke was pretty heavy, Jesus' yoke was light ... and Lazarus said, "Yes, but we've got a garden to plant, if you and your friends want anything to eat the next time you visit."

I wonder if occasionally the apostles had to drop a net, even when they were carrying the Gospel to the farthest reaches of earth as they knew it at the time ... did Matthew do bookkeeping on the side? [Who is the patron saint of bookkeepers, by the way? I really, really need to know! Prayers --maybe even a special Mass of Intention-- are in order.]

Paul evidently supported his ministry by making tents ...

I'm just asking because, today, instead of herding cats for Jesus, I'll be out in the backyard herding leaves for our house. Notice I said herding, NOT raking --there are too many, the time is too short before the snow flies and the backyard grass is in danger. The plan is to use the riding lawn mower to move the leaves against the back fence, which is shady and has no grass to kill anyhow. We did indeed used to have a leaf blower, but it gave up the ghost when DH was using it to clean up the front and side yards, and it lies dead on the workbench in the garage.

Friday is, of course, my day off, when I would normally do this type of thing --but Friday the weather is supposed to be nasty, not good for herding leaves since the rain and snow mix would make them heavy and sticky, more difficult to herd --so I'm herding leaves today.

I will make it about Jesus somehow. ;) Just a different kind of opportunity to practice the presence of God.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Latest Friday Five

From the revgalblogpals: Those of us who are in the United States have just been throught quite a topsy-turvy election. During the campaign we heard a fair amount about red states and blue states, when in fact most of us live in some shade of purple. And so... a lighter look at those confounding colors:

1. Favorite red food Sushi!!!! Especially that nice, fresh, deep red raw tuna [Of course, that's also my favorite green food, my favorite yellow food, my favorite orange food ...]

2. Tell us about the bluest body of water you've ever seen in person. Torch Lake, right here in the land of God's left hand

3. It's movie rental time: Blue Planet, The Color Purple, or Crimson Tide? The Color Purple is one of my favorite all time movies ... and Shug Avery says that God get pissed off if you don't notice it.

4. What has you seeing red these days? Last week I would have said politics, this week I'm feeling unreasonably giddy and seeing lots of rose shades ... pity it won't last.

5. What or who picks you up when you're feeling blue? Singing. Dancing. Laughing.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Never made it to the jacuzzi ...

... but I spent a lot of time at our regional conference on the mourners bench contemplating cliff diving.

I was remembering that, when I was a little girl, I used to watch ABC's Wide World of Sports almost every Saturday without fail. Ever so often, before the sport was outlawed, the show featured cliff divers in [I think] Acapulco-- it must have been the original Xtreme sport. At any rate, there were two tricks to avoid death. First, one must carefully time the dive to coincide with the tide flowing in instead of ebbing out, because the water became deeper. Second, one had to dive far enough away from the cliff face in order to avoid crashing into the rocks below. I remember how every diver, before mounting the precipice, would kneel and meditate before a shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary [Our Lady of Guadalupe?] for quite a long time in order to center, focus and prepare ...

Cliff diving is a metaphor of faith and ministry for me --it is how I describe that feeling of mingled fear, anxiety, elation and anticipation when I feel called by God to do something new, risky and possibly dangerous. The last time I felt something like this was when I marched into my district superintendent's office, told him that I was a lesbian and that I intended to resign my credentials as United Methodist clergy --all of this without knowing anything about the GLBT community or what I would begin to do for a living. That was a truly scary time of transition!

Which brings me to the mourners bench. During several of the worship services and a couple of the workshops, I experienced a profound conviction of some of my "professional" sins, some ministry issues I must address. I also experienced healing and grace in the sense that I have a pretty clear vision of what to do next in my churches. Essentially, I am going to be drawing some new boundaries and issuing some new challenges to some of my congregants to get off their butts and get busy because I am not the only minister in the congregation. So I will be starting by defining who I think a pastor is and what a pastor's ministry ought to look like and what some of my new ministry priorities are. Along the way, I will acknowledge some mistakes I have made. Next, I will remind them that they are disciples of Christ and, as such, have their own ministerial responsibilities. I will be saying things that some of them will not want to hear, things will be tense for awhile, and some of them might just leave. The worst thing would be if nothing changed ... which would feel like a failure to me.

Then, I am planning to devote Advent worship to preparing us spiritually for our ministry together in the coming year. I have a feeling that I will continue off lectionary until Christmas Eve ...

More later. It's my bed time ... and either DH or Angel Dog is snoring already and I'd like to join them. We're getting up bright and early tomorrow to go vote at 7 am when the polls open --let the revolution begin!