Saturday, May 25, 2013

New Vision

Well, the day that I never thought would come has arrived. Insert heavy sigh here. I have just purchased my first pair of reading glasses. I probably need a completely different prescription for my contact lenses, but I don't have time to fool with that before I go on I went to the drugstore and made the purchase.

I was feeling kind of weird about it - not really sad, just weird to be old enough to need them. I guess I thought I would stay eternally 27! But, I'm going to play a "Let's pretend" with these glasses - we'll make it a game.

Let's pretend that they have magic powers that will inspire my words as I do research for my dissertations...sermons, too, for that matter.

Let's pretend that they have the power to help me more clearly see not only words, but life too...since they have magic powers.

Let's pretend that they can help me see any old problem from a new perspective.

Let's pretend that they help me focus my vision where it needs to be.

Let's pretend that they make me look intellectual, and heck, since they are magic glasses, let's pretend that they increase my IQ by serveral points.

Let's pretend that they make me see the good in everybody.

Let's pretend that they make me see signs of the Spirit - obvious signs and hidden signs.

Let's pretend that they help me see hope, find hope, and share the vision of hope with others.

I'm feeling better already.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pentecost and preaching

Today, we celebrated Pentecost. I know that Christmas and Easter get a lot for play time, but Pentecost is one of my favorite days in the entire church year. At Christmas, our attention is on "and the Word became flesh," and we think of that flesh as a tiny baby. We have a visual. At Easter, of course, our attentionis on the Resurrection, and we think of the empty cross or the stone rolled away. Again, we have a visual.

But, Pentecost??? Well, we have the tongues of fire in Acts. We have the Spirit brooding over the waters in Genesis. We have Jesus breathing the Spirit in John. We have fruits of the Spirit in many of Paul's letters. What we do NOT have is one visual. And, that's one reason I like Pentecost. It allows our minds to wonder! It gives new life to spiritual creativity. The Spirit comes in any number of ways to any number of people.

I suppose that makes me feel hopeful and challenged...both at the same time. It makes me want to pay attention to where the Spirit shows up in my own life, and it makes me want to hear the stories about where the Spirits shows up in your life.

I experimented with recording my sermon today. If you'd like to listen, here it is in MP3 format.

Pentecost Sermon 2013

And, since I'm posting audio, here is a sermon from May 5 - same format.

May 5, 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Trip to Greenville

Today, I got up early and drove to Greenville, NC to attend a pastoral care workshop on "When the Unthinkable Happens."  I can't remember the last time I drove to Greenville, although many years ago, I made that trip every week to attend classes at East Carolina for my Master of Social Work.  I carpooled with another student, and since we only had to be on campus 2 days a week (we were in local internships on the other days), she and I shared a hotel room...well, except for the very first semester.  I rented a room from a Greenville church lady.  Now that I think about that, I cannot believe I just called a church and asked for a referral, and they sent me to her!  Anyway, a lot of memories came back as I made the trip this morning.  The workshop was held in the heart center which was near what used to be Brody Medical Center.  Our library was located in the medical library, so I spent a lot of time in that building years ago!

The workshop today was very informative.  My favorite speaker was Rabbi Shaul Praver.  He is from Newtown, Conn.  As you can imagine, he had a different perspective on gun control and mental illness.  He believes, as do I, that the United States has a big violence problems that we are not dealing with.  He did not frame his discussion with politics.  Instead, he talked about creating a culture of peace.  I liked that.  He said that while public schools cannot teach religion (because whose religion would they teach), the fruits of the major religions are the same...compassion, kindness, generosity, love...  Those things CAN be taught.  He advocated for a curriculum of compassion...teaching kids to be compassionate...teaching kids to be peaceful.

I could feel myself getting excited about that idea.  That could be a fun thing to develop.  At the very least, it is an encouraging thing to think about.

He gave me much to think about, and while it was an early morning, I am really glad I went.  It's nice sometimes to be the one sitting in the audience.

Culture of Peace

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Five

So, a blog ring I follow, posts five questions every Friday for consideration and blogging - sometimes, they are serious.  Sometimes, they are fun.  Today's questions seemed particularly fun, so here goes:

Happy Friday Five....and although I don't have a theme for this Friday, I do have five questions for you to ponder upon:

1.  If you could hear what someone is thinking for a day, who would you choose, and why?

Hmm...the noble side of me would like to mention a great world leader or maybe even some of the leaders whose decisions embarrass me every day I pick up a newspaper and ask, "What are they thinking????"  But, the truth is, I'd be most curious to know what goes on in the heads of either one of my cats.  And, is it anything like this...

2.  If you were trapped in a tv show for a month, which show would you choose, and why?

Designing Women.  I loved Julia Sugarbaker and think I could learn a lot from her.

3.  If you could do any job in the world for a day, what would it be?

I think I would like to be a professional ballroom dancer for a day.  I cannot move at all, but I think it would be a lot of fun to be able to dance and jump and move and look good doing it! 

4.  What are you loving right now?

I am loving the warm weather....finally.  I am loving "Praying in Color."  I am loving the Moonlight Sonata.  I am loving that I will be taking a vacation in less than a month.  

5.  Use these words in a sentence:    bless, cheeseburger, chihauha, skipping, Georgia.

Lord, bless cheeseburgers and chihauhas that go skipping through Georgia!