The Quixotic Pastor

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Best Thing I Ever Gave Up For Lent

First, here's a warning:

Unabashedly Queer Content follows in this posting. If you are looking for the Friday Five, scroll down a posting or two ...

... but if you are curious, read on.

Lent of 1999 I gave up .................................................................................................Women.

Yup, that's right. This lesbian gave up women for Lent.

Please don't misunderstand me. It isn't like there were a lot of them to give up! I suppose to be accurate, I should say that I gave up worrying and lamenting about being single and handed that off to God, but it's much more fun to say I gave up women.

Because what happens when you give up something for Lent?

Opportunities to enjoy what you gave up suddenly appear and loom larger than they did before, yes?

So, Lent of 1999 I gave up .......................................................................................... Women.

And what happened?

The Friday after Ash Wednesday of that year, when I was hosting an event called "Film --Not Fish-- on Friday", I met my Dear Heart for the first time, because someone had invited her for a "non-churchy" church event ...

The Monday after Easter that year we had our first date ... and we have been together in some form ever since. This past Monday was what we consider our 8th anniversary, the day we first met.

I hope you don't think that I cheapened Lent in some way in doing what I did in 1999 ... actually that decision was the outcome of a series of events [including the dream I mentioned in the Friday Five posting] so I truly believe the entire thing was inspired --"God-breathed".

In the meantime, I think DH is still trying to figure out why God [as she understands Her] saddled her with a preacher .... particularly since DH hadn't given up ANYTHING for Lent ...


Well, I received word this morning that one of my ex's has delivered a son!

Rev Ex on Tuesday night was preparing her Ash Wednesday homily --finished her sermon, prepared for bed-- and her water broke. Someone else got to deliver the homily, because Rev Ex was privileged to deliver ... a baby. A little boy made in God's [and a few other folks'] image.

Little G-man came into the world on Ash Wednesday. He's just over 48 hours old and already he is blog-fodder for an honorary aunt who lives half a continent away. Might as well get used to it --an Ash Wednesday birth will be sermon fodder forever.

Dunno whether to laugh or cry.

He is a talkative little guy ... I heard him babbling over the phone. Just wait till he's a teenager.

Friday Five: Companions on the Way

Dante had Virgil as a guide. Before he had younger siblings, my oldest child had an imaginary friend named Patrick. Betsy had Tacy. Laura Ingalls depended on her brindle bulldog, Jack. All of them were companions on the way. As we take the beginning steps of our journey through Lent, who would we take as a companion? Name five people, real or imaginary, you might like to have with you as guide or guardian or simply good friend. Thanks to Jonah for suggesting this week's theme!

Hmmmm. Thinking about my present Lenten journey [which in some ways began almost 2 years ago at our General Conference, and then really got rolling after our most recent Regional Conference this past November] there are actually 3 people whom I have chosen or whom others have chosen for me. Two of those people are groups ...

1. All you revgalblogpals are my cloud of witnesses, my balcony people cheering me on as I run the race that I am called to run. You I have chosen. I count on you more than you perhaps know. I have no clue what most of you look like. But your souls are beautiful --and that is all I need to see. And your witness is extraordinary!

2. A particular group of MCC clergy and supportive laity who share a particular journey and purpose at this time. This group has been chosen for me, but I am glad that it is so. Their collective blog name shall be called Captains Courageous.

3. My DH, my Dear Heart. We chose each other just over 8 years ago, [or did God choose her for me? She appeared to me in a dream six months before we met ...] to live the journey of life together. Sometimes that journey is easy sailing, sometimes it's like the last 2,000 feet of climbing Mt. Everest ... but I would not choose differently, even knowing what I know now.

Now for a couple of people I've never actually met in person, but wish I could ...

4. Madeleine L'Engle. 'Nuff said.

5. Meister Eckhart. [Ah, but if I chose Matthew Fox I could in a way meet Eckhart, Julian, Hildegarde, Teresa ....]

I am suddenly feeling like I'm on an H&R Block commercial: "I got people." Does this mean I can throw away my bills?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Fill Out Forms Thursday

After last night's Ash Wednesday service and an interesting closed session board meeting at one church, today I am celebrating a little discussed Lenten holiday called Fill Out Forms Thursday.

Normally I would celebrate this holiday closer to Income Tax Day, but Annual Church Reports are due March 1st for both churches. My goal is to have these completely done and in the overnight mail by Noon Saturday. I don't think I will be taking my usual Friday day off fer sure.

I have lots of papers to collect, copy and attach too.

But, I am trusting that our regional leadership will evaluate these and use what they learn to plan some upcoming regional events ... so in a weird sort of way,I am kind of excited about doing them.

Pray for me!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

NOT Pouring Down the Drain Day After All

Yes, I know that I reported that last Friday was Pouring Down The Drain Day for my first batch of homebrew beer, but I didn't actually pour anything down the drain other than the two bottles I opened to sample, in the interest of having enough time to brew a second batch. [I am nothing if not persistent ...]

Just for grins, today I went down and got another bottle and opened it, just to see whether it tasted any better.

IT DID! It still has some lemony taste to it, but there's a definite improvement. I wouldn't share it with anyone just yet, but it is drinkable. The carbonation is better also, and it formed a much nicer head when I poured it into the glass. Perhaps when I sampled it last Friday, it was still too "green" --in this instance, patience may certainly prove to be a virtue.

It might taste better still when appropriately chilled. I think I will go put a bottle or two on our enclosed back porch, which in this weather is currently functioning as a very large walk-in refrigerator. Then sometime tonight I'll have another taste.

In the meantime, I have a batch of English style Brown Ale in the primary fermenter, currently at about 3% alcohol, which this Friday I will rack off into the secondary fermenter. Secondary fermentation should go about 10 days, then this second batch will be ready to bottle. That would make 2nd Batch Bottling Day ...... uhhhhhh.... Monday 26 February.

Good thing I have more bottles!!!

Friday, February 09, 2007

It May Be Worse Than Crack

Some person over in the Desperate Preachers discussion forum mentioned that the Lutherans Online website has a Fun and Games page [whooda thunk it] with a really cool online, free sudoku on it, [Why, o why won't blogger let me paste the link in a more elegant manner ...?]

I ventured forth ... and now I am hooked. It once took me 3 days to complete correctly a 5 star puzzle, the most difficult. Now I Lutheran Sudoku almost daily ...

God, help me!

Friday Five: American Idol

Songbird, RGBP of notable repute, has a true confession:

"Yes, it's true. I've been watching Season Six of American Idol with my daughter, our first time dipping into this particular well of pop culture."

I don't watch American Idol, but I'll play the Idol-inspired Friday Five:

In the spirit of believing you can do anything, as the auditioners so clearly do, please fill in the following five blanks.

1) If I could sing like anyone, it would be ________. Probably Judy Collins, who is one of my favorite singers. Next I would choose Cynthia Clawson. Both of these women have incredible range and talent.

2) I would love to sing the song _________________. The National Anthem. At any sporting event. Because one usually gets free tickets. I'll even learn and memorize "O Canada". [Note: DH has been nagging me to do this for years. She's also been nagging me to go on Jeopardy ... haven't done that yet, either.]

3) It would be really cool to sing at ____________. See number 2! But it would also be cool to sing in certain spaces acoustically ... like the Capitol Dome, perhaps, or Grand Central Station. The Toronto subway has a certain appeal as well.

[That reminds me of a story. The director of the seminary choir I sang in once "crashed" a funeral taking place in the Roman Catholic cathedral in Monterrey, NL, Mexico when our choir was on tour there. During the service, he surreptitiously tested the room's acoustics by coughing! Not satisfied, he actually started periodically kicking the kneeler! Shameless!!!!! But oddly tempting to musicians like him and me and some of the RGBP's out there.]

4) If I could sing a dream duet it would be with ___________. Oh this one is tough. Melissa Ethridge, because I'd love to meet her in person. I'd love to sing with Emmy Lou Harris, Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt on one of their Trio recordings [silly me, I almost wrote "album"] but then that would be a quartet, wouldn't it? A man I would want to sing with? Vince Gill. Roy Orbison [but that would truly be a dream duet, wouldn't it?]

5) If I could sing on a TV or radio show, it would be __________________. Prairie Home Companion, on the same theory as number 2 above. Besides, then I might even "get discovered" --without having to endure Simon Cowell's nastiness.

It's Pouring Down The Drain Day

Here's the latest in my beer brewing antics.

I have to pour it down the drain. It's just too sour to drink, even when it is thoroughly chilled [which tends to cover up a lot of beer flavor sins. This fact is what allows us Texans to drink Pearl or Lone Star.] Once again, DH will return home from a hard day at the office to experience a faint whiff of eau de frat-house-on-Sunday-afternoon...

However, when I poured some out into a glass yesterday, it did form a foamy head, so the carbonation process worked to some degree. It seems to have worked better in the groelsch swing top bottles than the capped bottles, which probably means I need to be a little more agressive with the bottle capper.

That's lesson number one.

Lesson number two --spend a few extra bucks and get higher quality yeast since the sour flavor probably comes from wild, undomesticated yeasty beasties pillaging the home of well-behaved, upstanding citizen yeasty beasties. [Think Capitol One commercials here.] Spend a few extra bucks for better quality malt extract too. ["What's in yerrr wallet?"]

Lesson number three --make sure to get a full, raging boil with the wort for the full hour of brewing, instead of a minor temper tantrum. This means engaging in the risky practice of putting the lid on the brew pot, but my stove just doesn't have the BTU's necessary to bring 5 gallons of water and other stuff to a full boil.

Lesson number four --when racking the wort from the primary fermenter to the secondary fermenter, be sure and top off the beer to a full five gallons with fresh water.

Lesson number five --follow a recipe. Damn! I've never exactly followed a recipe in my entire life I don't think, even when attempting a dish for the very first time, except perhaps in the cooking unit of home-ec in 8th grade, when getting an "A" depended on it.

So at some point today, I'm off to Really Cool Beer, Wine and Cigar Store for more brewing supplies and possibly to swallow my pride and ask Beer Meister for assistance. I'm told he can diagnose most problems by taste....... but I like the guy and wouldn't want to poison him.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Friday Five: ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Many of the RevGals using Blogger are experiencing some chaos this week as they move from Old Blogger to New Blogger. (Is that anything like New Coke?)

Change is a given in life, yet it's not easy for any of us. So strap on your seat belts and let's talk about it:

1. Share, if you wish, the biggest change you experienced this past year. DH is out of graduate school and navigating the minefields of building a new and different career. This means I no longer have to proof read her papers, and instead of conversing about her student peers and her profs, we're conversing about her coworkers, supervisors, etc etc etc. It also means our income has doubled, and we have much more than a snowball's chance in Hell of paying off our debts --I hope. :D [PS Don't tell my creditors I said that! Shhhhhh ...]

2. Talk about a time you changed your mind about something, important or not. I always swore I'd never have a dog. Dogs are high-maintenance. Cats are low-maintenance. So a friend of mine convinced me that, since I had a backyard, I needed a dog and she had just found the perfect one for me, one she couldn't take in since she already had 6 or 7 ... I have changed my mind. Both dogs and cats are high-maintenance, just in different kinds of ways. And I love them both.

3. Bishop John Shelby Spong wrote a controversial book called "Why Christianity Must Change or Die." Setting aside his ideas--what kind of changes would you like to see in the Church? How about full inclusion for women? Full inclusion for GLBT persons? How about faith communities that are truly cross-cultural? More churches that are as vocal about peace, poverty and ecology as they are about other social issues?

4. Have you changed your hairstyle/hair color in the last five years? If so, how many times? My hair color is changing alrighty ... but not necessarily by my choice. ;) It's turning silver from reddish brown, and I won't color it because I think the silver is pretty. My hair style is sometimes longer, sometimes shorter. When it comes to my hair, I'm lazy --I like it "wash and wear," just the way DH cuts it.
Oh wait ... I did color my hair once, from brownish red to red. I had just experienced a breakup, and was motivated by one of my favorite jokes ...

5. What WERE they thinking with that New Coke thing? I think New Coke [Faux Pepsi] was intentionally designed to motivate folks to recommit to Coke Classic ... if there's something being taken for granted, there's nothing like the "threat" of change to refocus attention on that something ... for better or worse.