Thursday, February 26, 2009

Even Amoebas Have Boundries

I mean really! Even something as low as a single-celled organism has more boundaries than some people in my congregation.

I have had a run in with this person before. (I was trying to find if I posted about it but I am too lazy to look.) Last time she was all upset because my office was "messy." I told her that I would just close my door. I kept my office the way I wanted my office and if that was annoying to her, that it was just too bad.

She had a problem with the stuff on my desk and with placing my coat and my duffel bag on my chairs: "Someone might want to sit down and would have not place to sit." (Of course, I would NEVER move my coat, I would make anyone wanting to sit down sit on my coat. Yeah, right.)

Last night, after the Ash Wednesday service, I was talking with a parishioner and I had my office door open. (I was standing about 3 feet from the door.) This lady walks into my office and picks up my coat off the chair. She then puts it back down and walks out.

I don't know if I was more shocked or furious! Well, probably shocked first, then furious.

What shocked me even more was at the last vestry meeting, the senior warden made a statement: "Fr. Ben's office is HIS office. However he wishes to keep his office is HIS choice. Enough said."

Well, obviously, enough was not said.

A friend suggested that I should stop over to her house for a "pastoral visit" and just walk into her bedroom and start rearranging the furniture.

That might be an option!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

We Christians Should be More Outraged.

westboro baptist church and gandhi
see Sarah Palin pictures

Weekend Round-up

(I am going to have to start rerunning titles because I am running out of synonyms for "recap.")

Well, one of the high points of the weekend was being able to preach one of my favorite sermons. I wrote this a few years ago and have been able to preach it about three or four times. It does just about everything I think a perfect sermon should do: It has pop-culture references. It tires the references back to theological truths. It catches your attention. It is applicable to our lives. It draws us into the church and sends us out into the world. I even had a friend remind me of part of it. (More on that later.)

The job situation still is causing me problems. I just don't want to be doing this anymore. But the feeling of being trapped is just overwhelming and the thought of quitting is untenable. That is the trapping aspect.

I was able to chat with a friend from the church about the whole job/church thing. She helped me to keep in mind that I need to remain present but not entangled. She also helped me to find some ways of moving beyond what is happening and see that there really is a future beyond Starbucks. And she also reminded me of my sermon and helped me to look at the light of Christ instead of the dim light of the world. The job is a tool. It is not an end point. I need to keep remembering this.

Nick and I did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on Saturday and it was WONDERFUL! We just sat on our butts, watched the snow fall, and played computer games. Sometimes that is what is needed; no pressure to do anything. We all need days like this.

Now it is time to start a new week. I feel my anxiety level is going up, but hopefully I will be able to keep it in check.

I just want to tell the world how blessed I have been to have Nick. Even when I am freaking out, he has been calm and supportive. My actions have serious impact on him but he still manages to keep his perspective, even when I have lost all perspective. He reads my blog so I just want to let him know that I love him more every day.

Ok, enough of the sappy stuff.

While talking with my friend, she also gave me some perspective on what is happening in the church. She has let me know that there have been some really positive changes happening in the congregation. She said we actually appeared to be "church," which is something new for this congregation. So even though I may not see change, because I do not have perspective, change is happening. And not just change for changes sake, but positive change.

So I guess the weekend did what it should do, it provided a time of renewal: and that is good!

Peace to all...


Even if I could do this, I don't know if I would.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Do You Suffer From SAD?

This Sunday's sermon is here.

Preach It!

Scooter Libby
see Sarah Palin pictures

Drag Race!

(h/t to Cake Wrecks)

This just in!
We always knew Barbie was just a beard! Ken has been seen on RuPaul's Drag Race in this beautiful party dress. He looks good enough to eat!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Continuing Saga of the Starbucks Job


I went to work today. I had want to speak with my boss and try to work some things out. (Now remember, she was trying to talk me into staying.) But it seemed like any time I tried to bring up the conversation, she was busy.

Then I called to explain that I was going to be off work soon. My boss still wanted to speak with me and told me that she would be over. A half hour later and 15 minutes of overtime, I went home. No call, no show, obviously no concern.

I guess the two-weeks still stands.

Venting My Spleen

I sure hope this helps me to get to sleep!

I quit my job this evening. I had had enough of all the shinanaigans that go on there. I felt like I was babysitting. At least babysitters get $10 per hour, not a measely $8 I am currently getting.

I really do try hard to do the best job that I can, but when you have management that shirks their duties, it makes it hard. And when you have coworkers that appear to not care at all, it makes it almost impossible. And if no one around me cares, then why should I care? I end up feeling like a fool.

I know I am not irreplacable, but with the current staff they have, it is going to be difficult. But I just don't care anymore. I hate the person I have become since working there. I hate the way I feel like I have to resort to being a child to get anything to happen. I try to conduct myself with some sense of decorum, but the only way anyone seems to notice is if you scream and stomp your feet.

I did get talked into going back tomorrow, but we will see how long this will last.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Just a note to keep you up on what has been happening. I am doing better today. I am hoping to get outside and get some sun, that should help.

Monday, February 16, 2009

And Now For Something Totally Different....

(h/t to Joe.My.God)

The Spector of Depression

Sorry this is a long whine. You may want to click on something else now!

Lately it has been like a shadow that passes by the window that you catch out of the corner of your eye. But more and more, it seems to be hanging around, looking in and trying the door.

I should be happy. I have a great partner who is understanding, helpful, supportive. He loves me and cares about me even when I am not a whole lot of fun to be around. And I do have a job and a church job. In this economy that in and of itself should make me happy. I have a place to live and some critters to push me off the futon.

But my energy level always feels low. (Was the word "level" intentionally palindromic?) I always feel tired no matter how much sleep I get. And I feel eternally edgy. It is at times like this that I hate being around myself. And, of course, that feeling just compounds the other feelings.

Tired, cranky, edgy, unpleasant.

I preach all kinds of high ideals, but incorporating those ideals into my life seems to be an exercise in futility. How pathetic is that, a preacher who will not even pay attention to his own sermons.

I have enough self-awareness to know that most of what I am feeling is, not necessarily inappropriate, but overblown. I know that something else is going on that is blowing these feelings out of proportion. The problem is that fighting these feelings just makes me tired.

I am tired of being tired.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

No "Santa Jesus" Here!

This Sunday's sermon can be found here.

Happy Valentine's Day

Did you know that St. Valentine is the Patron Saint of Epilepsy?

Friday, February 13, 2009


Happy Friday the 13th!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

(Click to embiggen)

I saw this on facebook and thought it was hilarious!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


(Summer 1987 or so)

I have been hanging around Facebook a lot lately. I have found people I have not seen nor talked to in over 20 years. What seems amazing is that in some ways, it is as if we have never parted. Granted, right now we are all just reliving our pasts, but we are also learning about how each other has grown and changed. People talking about their children. People I knew as teens talking about breaking out a bottle of wine. Although things have stayed the same, some things have defanately changed!

I don't know if nostalgia is such a good thing, though. We only seem to remember the good times, this puts a lot of pressure on daily life. Daily life is a combination of good and bad times. When we selectively remember only the good times, our present cannot ever hope to compete.

I guess one of the things that makes me sad about all the nostalgia is looking back at all of the old pictures. I used to think I was fat and ugly. I look at that picture now and my thought is, "I was kinda hot!" But I would never have stated that before.

I keep thinking about the sound "Everyone's Free (to wear sunscreen)" as I write this. It seems like my youth was a waste. All the things I didn't do because I was afraid. All the people I didn't approach because I thought I was ugly. The only satisfaction that I can take from this that I would not be the person I am today without these past experiences. Would I be a better person if I took these risks? I don't know. Would I be a worse person? I don't know that either. I can never know. All that I know is I think I am pretty ok, so I guess my past did its job ok.

Please do read through the words to "Everyon's Free" they are pretty simple but sometimes we need to be reminded of the simple things. Reminds me of preaching to pastors: They need to hear Jesus loves them too!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Easter 1971

Six year-old Ben, such a fashion plate with my stylin' fedora!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Just Go Out There And Do Something

For what it is worth, here is this Sunday's sermon.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Thursday, February 05, 2009


Dr. Ur-Spo, I am pleased to tell you that I am now officially certified in the fine art Tea. After tasting over 20 different teas, I now have my tea certification pin!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


"Aftermath" is the word that I guess fits. Not really in the sense that what is happening is horrible, but in the way of having something big happen and then having to deal with "what comes next."

Work yesterday was terrible! I kept thinking, "I am going to be able to quit!" If this goes through, I will be able to quit this whole thing. But the problem is that the full-time stuff won't be able to happen until August. I keep trying to put a positive spin on the job (I work here so I can keep the church job) but it really doesn't make things that much easier.

I just wish I could get out of this job. We have three SBX in a one mile area. And with all of the talk of closures, it is making all of us (at least those of us over 25) nervous. The younger ones are just being kids, but in this market, we need to outshine our neighbors, not just keep up.

I also really want a vacation, not just a couple of days off. Unfortunately, the "couple days off" end up being used for church stuff, not really getting away. Even if we go somewhere, there is always the thought of "is the sermon done?"

But the other good thing with the possibility of full-time is HEALTH INSURANCE! It will be nice to have it again after almost three years.

So, life goes on. The full-time thing is not written in stone. I need to make sure that I don't jump onto it just because it is there. But at this point, it sounds like something good.

Monday, February 02, 2009

OK, All Together Now: "Awww..."

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

He Saw His Shadow!

Anyone know a good (or even not so good) taxidermist?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Did You Hear It?

I think there was a cosmic "thunk!"

I met with the Bishop on Friday. It was a great meeting. There are some really wonderful things in process. Hopefully when this is all over, I will have a full-time church job. I would be working with two churches; my current church and a large, downtown church. Between the two, I would have a full-time job.

There would be the opportunity for some cross-pollination between the churches also. This would be very helpful for the church that I am at currently. They are a small group and having access to a larger church and its resources would be great.

Nick's job in Lansing, our moving back to Lansing, a position opening...

It is hard to wait, but when it all falls together, well, God is there.

This is not a done deal, but it is definitely in the process.

More details as they become available.