Sunday, September 30, 2007

BACK TO CHURCH

At church this morning our head pastor (just back from painful ankle and foot surgery) announced that he's stopping the capital campaign three weeks hence because they've only been able to raise half of the funds needed. The plan is to scale back and just build the children's pavillion and remodel one of the halls so the music department can have new offices. Apparently only 10 million is needed for this instead of the 13.6 million that had been asked for. And they only have 6.8 million so far. All this after building the 11 plus million dollar family life building and worship arts center.

The worship arts center has kicked off their "Ovations" program with an art show of secular paintings that loosely try to tie into scripture. They're nice paintings. Though I do not understand what a painting of an old man gardening in his underwear has to do with Jesus. Or of a lady slumped over asleep at a table. I must just be thick headed.

The new building did not enlarge the sanctuary. And we really needed that. But the idea was to put overflow into the worship arts building so folks could watch their kids or the programs on a live feed video screen.

Our pastor acknowledged that he knew he had offended a lot of the congregation with the enormity of this building project. Especially when it jumped from 8 million to 24 within 4 years. It really doesn't matter whether or not it was his personal fault that all this has gone remarkably south, but I felt an apology from him was in order. It was not at all forthcoming.

Instead, the congregation was chastized by telling us that the only thing keeping our church alive is the constant incoming flow of new families and if we don't build this big expensive new building then that flow is going to stop and our church is a' gonna die. Gotta have the pretty, expensive building or the church will die. And that's that. And if that's what we want, that's what we'll get if we don't sign onto the five year plan of giving. I hadn't been all that offended before. Just skeptical and incredulous over the session's idea of how the numbers were supposed to work. NOW I am offended. I know the church is in trouble. But there is just no way I believe a pretty, expensive new building at the cost of what would rebuild a sizable portion of Katrina victim's houses, or maybe make a profound positive impact in Africa, or both with that kind of money, is gonna save our church.

Children and families will come when there are good programs based on Jesus and teaching the Bible. *shakin' my head* And of course they'll come to party with interesting secular programs and to play pool and basketball in the shiny new buildings. But then it won't be church any more, will it?

I would love to find a smaller, spirit centered rather than secular centered, church with my mom, but Wonderboy loves the children's choir so much and the leaders are spirit centered. So, for him, I'll hang in there. And there are good people there. Though some of my pals have left. And the junior and senior high programs are also centered on Jesus and scripture. Though the entire time I've been at this church there has always been a disconnect between youth, adult and senior groups. Now I understand why.

Oh, and they're starting a new study group on "The New Atheists: A Christian Response". I wish I had time for that one because I have always thought that being an atheist meant that one did not believe in God. Apparently there are new requirements for the club. Maybe a secret handshake or something. Or maybe it's a "unborn again" program. *shakin' my head again*. I had thought that the church already had a Christian Response.

Can I get a witness?

Friday, September 28, 2007

FRIDAY FIVE - Reverendmother's Swan Song

Reverendmother sings her Swan Song thusly: "Well friends, as I prepare for the birth of Bonus Baby, it's time to simplify life, step back from the Friday Five, and let one of the other capable and creative RevGals take the helm. It's been a great almost 17 months of co-hosting the F5, but it's time to say goodbye... so here's my swan song."


On Endings and Goodbyes:

1. Best ending of a movie/book/TV show

Movie: Field of Dreams, James Earl Jones' character walks into the cornfield, "Ray" has a catch with his dad as all those cars are a'linin' up to come and see.

Book: No contest - "Gone With The Wind". Never been a better one.

TV show: I do watch TV, but that I can't come up with one here tells me that in my opinion, the end of every TV show is a good thing.

2. Worst ending of a movie/book/TV show

Movie: Ingmar Bergman always left me hangin'

Book: Stephen King's "The Stand". Loved, loved, loved the story. But the book needed to end two chapters earlier. It was obvious that he had fallen in love with the place and his editor didn't have the cajones to tell him to get out sooner.

TV show: Twilight Zone. That show should have never ever ever ended. The ending wasn't bad. That it ended was bad.

3. Tell about a memorable goodbye you've experienced.

When I said goodbye to my dad last October. I could tell him, but he couldn't talk to me because he was in such bad shape. But I told him, "Everything's all done now dad. The lawn's mowed. The yard is watered. All your tools are cleaned and put up. The house looks beautiful. You're sittin' in your easy chair with the cat on your lap and a nice cool beer on the side table. Just lay back now and rest. It's all done now. And all is forgiven, all is forgiven."

4. Is it true that "all good things must come to an end"?

All things come to an end, period. But the ending of one thing is always the beginning of something else. Good, bad or indifferent.

5. "Everything I ever let go of has claw marks on it." --Anne Lamott
Discuss.

The material: cat claw marks, or the claw marks of not being able to let go easily.
The emotional and ephemeral: ditto the claw marks of not being able to let go easily.


Bonus: "It isn't over until the fat lady sings." I've never loved this expression. So propose an alternative: "It isn't over until

..........the very last proton has degraded."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

SAD SO LONGS

Two blogfriends I have greatly enjoyed, respected and have found enlightening are leaving.

Will Spotts, formerly of the Truth in Love Network, is leaving the PCUSA and has written a powerful piece on his experience and reasons.

And Bill Crawford, Bayou Christian, is hanging up the blogging towel for awhile.

I am sad, but I wish them both God Speed and Tender Mercies in their life travels.

Monday, September 24, 2007

George Carlin Talks About Stuff

Here is the story of life this week. Thank the Good Lord that George Carlin could make a prescient presentation based on the current disaster sitting in my mothers new apartment this very minute.

(note: it IS a cleaner version of the earlier....but still contains profanity. Though the profanity is necessary for the story line. And the nudity has been omitted. ;)

Friday, September 21, 2007

FRIDAY FIVE - de-cluttering edition



In the midst of moving children off to college Sally says:

"Making the most of our resources is important, I have been challenged this week by the amount of stuff we accumulate, I'd love to live a simpler lifestyle, it would be good for me, and for the environment I think...

With that in mind I bring you this Friday 5;"

1. Are you a hoarder or a minimalist?

I am a hoarder with delusions of minimalism. I will go along and go along, believing that I have been brutal in tossing out all that's not needed. Then, without warning I'll discover that I can no longer walk into my closet.

2. Name one important object ( could be an heirloom) that you will never part with.

Just one? It would be my computer if it's just one. If I got just a couple more, then sculptures my dad made, paintings my mom did, my scrapbook photos of my son......

3. What is the oldest item in your closet? Does it still fit???

Usually I am the oldest item in my closet and I will sometimes fit. But I think you meant clothing. It would be a size 4 pair of jeans that, no, do not still fit. I keep them to remind me that I was actually once that size. For 5 minutes. Until I ate supper.

4.Yard sales- love 'em or hate 'em ?

I've no need of a new yard. I would be in the hate 'em category. I find them a large suck hole of time, where I end up finding nothing.

5. Name a recycling habit you really want to get into.

Lately, after what we've gone through with my mom, it would be furniture. Though my mom did a great job. We found a handyman who took her unsellable furniture to local shelters and hospice homes.

And for a bonus- well anything you want to add....

With my mom's big move, I've been thinking a lot about stuff lately. How it ends up such a yoke around my neck. It's such a blessing to be able to just consider the lilies as Jesus told us to do. Yet those clingy attachments to the thingies still abide. I've watched friends helping us pack, hovering over items of my mom's, asking "are you going to want those PG?" Then when I've said "No", finding them hoarded away on their purse or by their keys for taking home. Then considering my poor mom watching her life with my father so alarmingly dismantled before her eyes. And I again think of "consider the lilies". I just pray that when it's my time to downsize and dismantle my life, there won't be so much darned stuff. We need a Weight Watchers for stuff, don't we?

Now, please excuse me because I have to prepare my house to receive some of my mom's stuff tomorrow on our big moving day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

BEWARE THE AGING EFFECTS OF STRESS

Here I am just a scant couple weeks ago starting the process of telephone calls to move my mom, get Wonderboy ready for school and all the recent goings on of my life.










And here I am today.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Kid Abomi-nation and Reality TV Editing

Here's an interesting YouTube by Charlie Brooker showing how "Reality" TV is not necessarily "Reality". For those tuning in to Kid Abomination next week, think about this. And what was involved in the parents "selling" their children to make this show. Because, bottom line, selling them is what they did. And the sole purpose was financial profit.

Friday, September 14, 2007

RUMPLED SHEETS


Abbey of the Arts has had a poetry week going on. So I wrote this.



I lay beneath golden mountains of dreams
divided by chasms of snores.
Morning’s light creeps across the peaks
to kiss my face gently awake.

No, no, not yet, I’ve not finished, no please.
I’ve just another story to dream.
It’s warm and it’s safe and it’s sweet in this place
and I am not ready to wake.

But the bright light demands that I GET UP RIGHT NOW
Start the day, do the chores, meet the needs
of the family who hangs on my every strength, every breath
and my night time renewal is gone.

……still….through the day I carry about a sweet smile
my secret safe carried within
of my nightly climbs through the golden dream mountains
where I know I will travel tonight.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Friday, September 07, 2007

Rich Mullins - Creed (Credo)

Hat tip to Quaker Pastor

FRIDAY FIVE - On Overcoming

Sally's Friday Five is inspired from apprehension over taking her son for a cardioversion. (Prayers going up for him, Sally)


1.Have you experienced God's faithfulness at a difficult time? Tell as much or as little as you like...

I have indeed. By the spectacular, which I have concluded to be miracles; and by the quiet whisperings:

Finding my parents and then just my mom a home when needed....immediately and their home selling....immediately with no haggling.

And other miracles I've posted about before, here, and here.

And most profoundly, changing my entire life, this guy:



2. Have you experienced a dark night of the soul, if so what brought you through?

More like a couple dark decades. And even after coming through, another dark decade. I am part of an extraordinary family of beleaguered saints. The worst of the worst happens to each of us, over and over and over. Even my own Siggy says she's never heard tell anything like what we've gone through. Family darknesses (not just mine) include:
suicides
lawsuits
divorces
alcoholism
kidnapping and beating
rapes
attempted poisoning
death of a child
.....just to name a few

And what gets me through are humor, God's strength added to my own, miracles as talked about above, and the gift of a sense of the universe being so far greater and wondrous than all this. As in, will any of this really really bother me 100 years from now?

3. Share a Bible verse, song, poem that has brought you comfort?

The 23rd Psalm. And Jesus' sermon on the Mount.
And more Psalms.

4. Is "why suffering" a valid question?

Yes. It is on my list of "What was all THAT about?" for when I meet Jesus.
Also, you know, sometimes it occurs to me that I would not be where I am today, doing what I do the way I do it if there hadn't been such profound suffering in my life. As in the way steel is tempered. I figure my family should be a bag of diamonds by now.


5. And on a lighter note- you have reached the end of a dark and difficult time- how are you going to celebrate?

Sleep. Read. Reflect. Diet and exercise. Sleep. Oh, and did I mention, sleep.


Bonus- anything you wish to add....

Just one thing....that saying that God never allows more than you can handle. I do disagree with that. I believe many people get more than they can handle. And I believe that that's because this portion of our eternal existence is just a tiny tiny part. So yeah, we'll get more than we can handle here and then have to deal with it...there.