The Quixotic Pastor

Friday, December 28, 2007

"Auld Lang Syne" Friday Five

Singing Owl in the RGBP F5 this week invites us to revisit 2007:

"It is hard to believe, but 2007 is about to be history, and this is our last Friday Five of the year. With that in mind, share five memorable moments of 2007. These can be happy or sad, profound or silly, good or bad but things that you will remember. Bonus points for telling us of a "God sighting"-- a moment when the light came through the darkness, a word was spoken, a song sung, laughter rang out, a sermon spoke to you in a new way--whatever you choose, but a moment in 2007 when you sensed Emmanuel, God with us. Or more particularly, you."

Hmmm. Lemmesee ... in no particular order:

1. The April Washington DC trip to lobby US Congress about hate crimes and job protections for LGBT people was memorable because I learned some things about myself and because I thoroughly enjoyed the people I travelled with.

2. Leaving one of my two churches and the entire process that led up to making the decision.

3. I have met a lot of people and made some new friends --more so than usual-- in the year 2007. I have become closer to some folks I already knew.

4. Entertaining my brother and SIL this summer, the first of my family to come from Texas to visit me up here in the Land of God's Left and Right Hands.

5. Realizing that I really do want to go back to school and figuring out which degree I want to pursue

These are quite lame, I think, but 2007 hasn't been exactly a great year for me.

Here's to a better 2008 ...!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve Meditation on Luke 2:1-7

There was no room. Absolutely none anywhere to be found. Not at the inn, not at any inn, no place where a weary traveler would normally go, because Bethlehem was filled to bursting with weary travellers.

There was a census, you see, a counting of persons like a counting of cattle, a crowding of nameless people brought together by the need of a foreign, oppressive government to know whom all it may tax, whom all it could press into military service, whom all could serve the needs of an Empire.

The Empire did not care for their needs as much as it cared for its own. No matter the human needs of individuals --the almighty dollar held sway then just as it often does now. So gathered together in that tiny little town were old and young, ailing and healthy, poor, rich, Jew, Gentile. Big families, little families ...

And one tiny family in particular, a couple who had chosen to make room for a most inconvenient child of mysterious origins. Mary said, "Yes --let it be done to me according to your will." Joseph didn't say much at all, but his actions spoke louder than words as he refused to divorce or shame Mary for her suspicious pregnancy, all for the sake of a dream, despite everything his society, his culture, his religion demanded of him.

Despite all of these obstacles, God Godself made room for the inconvenient child Jesus. In a manger, a feed troth filled with hay for the animals of all the weary travellers gathered in tiny little Bethlehem. It was in a barn: it looked like a barn, it smelled like a barn … and it was not the typical place in which a child would be born, but God made room there anyhow, in a place where usually only the poorest of the poor and the most unwanted of the unwanted would sleep.

But because God made room, and Mary and Joseph made room, it was the best of all possible rooms, made warm with the love of mother and father for child, with the Love of the One who is Heavenly Father and Mother of all of God's children on earth. It was a room filled with the light of people who believed in ancient promises made to them and were willing to make journeys based on that faith and hope. It was a room filled with the peace that comes at the end of a long struggle. It was a room filled with the joy to be found in new life.

For what have we made room this Christmas? And what kind of room are we making? Do we find ourselves like so many nameless cattle being counted by the store owners at the mall, seeking the very best Christmas ever in our search for the perfect gifts, the perfect meal, the perfect decorations, the best and brightest display of lights in the entire neighborhood? Do we work harder to have more to spend to make a bigger, better and brighter Christmas? Rooms filled with things, things and more things, because so much of the value we place upon ourselves and other people has to do with our ability to acquire things and to display them to others?

The story of Jesus’ birth tells us this, if it tells us nothing else: the best of all possible rooms, in this crazy season when people tend to gather together like cattle in malls and airports and can’t seem to find enough room or the right kind of room for themselves, is the room we make for love, a room decorated with light, faith, hope, peace and joy.

There is no better decoration to be found, and no better gift to be given. Amen.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Some of our Pets

This is my cat Pooter.

We call this position "doin' the whale" as in, "Pooter looks like a beached whale."

His belly is as soft and warm as it looks.

Yes, Pooter is a Fat Cat. He has quite the personality. He Thinks More Highly Of Himself Than He Ought.

For that reason, I am really hesitant to get him started blogging. He is really vocal enough already.

This is Angel the Aussie, as in Australian Shepherd. She also is very vocal, but at least she is far more humble than Pooter [although that is not saying much.] Her eyes are really a very lovely golden tawny color instead of the nasty red we see in this photo.
Angel is a killer of rabbits and chaser of squirrels.
Notice how possessive she is of the rawhide bone under her paw.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday Five: Rejoice!

Mother Laura, of Junia's Daughter fame, offers us an opportunity to consider Joy or Gaudete Sunday for this week's Friday Five.

"Can you believe that in two days we'll be halfway through Advent? Gaudete Sunday: pink candle on the advent wreath, rose vestments for those who have them, concerts and pageants in many congregations. Time to rejoice!
"Rejoice in the nearness of Christ's coming, yes, but also in the many gifts of the pregnant waiting time when the world (in the northern hemisphere, at least) spins ever deeper into sweet, fertile darkness."
What makes you rejoice about:
1. Waiting?

The opportunity to do other things while waiting that I might not normally do otherwise --like read murder mysteries during the "hurry up and wait" of airline travel.
2. Darkness?
The opportunity to slow down and rest more, although I do struggle with SAD this time of year. I sleep longer generally.
3. Winter?
Seeing my silly dog do the "happy dog back scratch dance" in the snow and ice like she did this morning ...
Evergreens lightly frosted with a dusting of snow ...
Real snow days, the kind where almost everyone stays home and feels justified in doing so.
The brilliance of sunlight reflected off the pure white of freshly fallen snow.
4. Advent?
At least as far as the ecclesiastical calendar is concerned --Happy New Year! We're finally out of cycle X [of which I had grown tired] and we're in cycle Y. We're finally out of ordinary time --the season that never ends-- and into the juicy stuff of Advent-Christmas-Epiphany. Church geeks, unite!!!!
5. Jesus' coming?
Mystery: the totality of divinity merges into the totality of humanity and the renewal of all creation begins. Incarnation, theologically speaking, is far more of a big deal for me than crucifixion and resurrection ...