Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holy Spirit of Christmas Past

Welcome home for Christmas!
You probably think I am nuts for saying that, and you are probably right.  But that is beside the point.  Today I would like to invite you on a journey home.  I would like to invite you on a journey home for Christmas.
Now, some of you are probably asking yourself, “What is he talking about?  Welcome home?  I have never left!  This church has been my home since the day it opened!  How can he, a new comer, welcome ME home?”
But even to you, I want to say, “Welcome Home.”
One of the sad things about home is that we can move away from it while never setting foot outside of it.  I learned this when I finally did move out of my hometown of Dodge.  I couldn’t wait to get out of it!  Dodge was small and boring and full of hicks.  Nothing of interest happened there.  I couldn’t wait to shake the dust of that town off of my feet and go out and really begin to live.  Well, as you can guess, now that I am away from Dodge, I have truly come to realize how much it was my home.  It wasn’t small and boring, it was really quite beautiful and filled with wonderful people and things.  Too bad it took moving away for me to notice it.
What I hope to do during this time of Advent is to help you to see the wonderful home and gift you have from God right here in St. Swithin’s.  I hope that you will not have to leave to learn this and I hope that you will find right here in this community the strength and courage to invite others home for Christmas and for the rest of their life!
What I want to use as a guide along the way is an idea I borrowed from Nick, but I am sure he borrowed it from someone else!  This is the idea of the Spirit of Christmas Past.
Our past is what makes us what we are.  Without a past, we are nothing.  Our past is where we learned the joys of life and our past is where we made the mistakes that give us wisdom and insight.  Our past is full of wonderful things that make us smile and some not so wonderful things that we forget at our own peril.  But no matter what happened in our past, our past is the proper place to start.
Together, we have only had one Christmas.  I remember it being warm, bright, and cheerful.  I remember the sanctuary full of people, both people from the congregation’s past and people from its present.  I also remember snow!  I remember it as a time of coming together and feeling the Holy Spirit of Christmas within our midst.
I want to remember this feeling; this feeling that anything is possible.  We were capable of all kinds of wonderful things!  God had promised us a Savior and we were celebrating that Savior’s birth!  We as priest and congregation were still unknown quantities to each other.  But we had the belief that God was with us and in that, we were capable of anything!
This is a feeling I want to remember, a feeling I want to trust.
But I am sure we could go back to some other Christmases that were not so good, not so happy.  I am sure we could go back to Christmases that seemed happy on the surface, but were anything but happy once we dug a little deeper.  I always wondered why Scrooge needed to go to these not so happy Christmases.  Why not just stick with the happy ones and be done with it.  Why can’t I just remind you of happy Christmases and be done with it?  Well, it is in the unhappy memories that we also have learned.  We have learned that some things cannot be trusted.  Some people will hurt us.  I am not saying that the person or people were intentionally trying to hurt us, but in our lives, we will be hurt.  And part of our life is to remember the hurt but not get caught up in the hurt.
Probably there have been Christmases that have hurt us.  I know I have had my share.  But each of these events, I believe, has helped me to be more caring and more loving.  I would hope that painful experiences within the congregation could be used as a means of growth and a means of reaching out.  We don’t want to get caught up in the past, but we also do not want to give up the lessons that we worked so hard to learn.
This is the lesson we learn from the Holy Spirit of Christmas Past.  We see how throughout history, the coming of a Savior had been foretold.  It helps us to see that in the midst of all the difficulties we see in life, that God does in fact have a plan and that this plan is unfolding.  In the Old Testament reading, Jeremiah tells us that the days are surely coming; that the promised one will arrive.
As a congregation, we have many things to remember and many things to be proud of.  We have had Christmases that have shown forth in Christ love and Christmases that were filled with warmth and love.  These were given to us as gifts from God.  We were given these as gifts to nurture us and to help us grow.
I also know there have been some Christmases that were not so warm and loving.  And these are also areas for us to learn and to grow.  These are also areas that can make us stronger and areas that can grow our faith.
As we begin Advent, I hope we can fearlessly look at our life together as a congregation.  I hope that we can look at what we have done in that past that seemed to have worked and continue doing those things.  I also hope we can look at our past and face the troubles with faith and courage.  I hope we can learn and grow and create a community of faith that can become a beacon of light to our community.  As we begin Advent, I hope we can feel truly welcomed into the community of Christ, and into the church.  I also hope we look for ways to extend the welcome to others, others who need to feel the love of Christ.
As we begin Advent, it is my prayer that we wait, not as ones with no hope, but as those who see the journey home as a gift of life and growth.

Fourth Anniversary

Today marks the Anniversary of the first time Nick and I "Got Biblical!"

He has been a joy and an inspiration to me!

I love him so much! I had given up on finding someone to love and thought I was going to go through life all alone and surfing the internet. But, as they say, when I wasn't looking, someone appeared!

For those of you who have found love, congrats! For those who have not, don't give up!

To my Honey! Nick, I Love You!

Ass of the Month (Possibly Year!) Award

Braindead Riggata! (Not his real name, but actually, quite close!)

Yesterday, I called into work to see about getting the day off so I could go with Nick to make plans for his mother's funeral.

The above mentioned manager's response, "If you feel you need to go, then take the day off."

Now, if I called in and said that my wife's mother died, would I have gotten the same response? "If you feel the need to go with your wife, then take the day off." I highly doubt it. But, because I am gay, my relationships don't mean as much.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Dear Person From Knoxville

Dear Person from Knoxville,

If you are related to Nick, it is VERY important that you give him a call.



Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Lurkey Time!

Ok, it is a Christmas song, but it does say "Turkey Lurkey" which is really fun to say!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

One Month To Go!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Ranting at Life

*This is a pitty-party rant.  You may want to skip it. *

I have truly been having difficulty with work lately.

As many of you who are readers of my blog know, I am very introverted. But as you also know, I am in very extroverted jobs. This causes some problems! One of the biggest problems is that I have a difficult time finding space to regroup and re-energize.

This is especially a problem at BUX. We are a licensed store, not a corporate store. And we are in a very confined space. And while I am at work, I am confined to this space with my coworkers and with the people who are coming to get coffee. There is really no way to get away from it.

Now, in the very introverted, when the threshold of stimulation has been reached, any more stimulation becomes VERY uncomfortable. (Common guys, you know what I am talking about!)  The problem at work is trying to find ways to allow the stimulation to abate.

Then I also work with two VERY (I might even say PAINFULLY) extroverted.  The one is the twink I talked about before. The other is the (I would bet BIG money that he is closeted) Lead Barista who has an ego that is so big that it will not allow anyone near.  Everything that happens has to be tied back to him.  (Said to a customer:  "That cookie isn't nearly as sweet as me."  Or "This drink is filled with Hossiness!" (His name is "Hoss"))  He also is constantly referring to himself in the third-person.

Now, I am sure to most of the customers, this is nothing.  But putting up with this for eight hours a day gets to be a bit much.  And being introverted and having to deal with this is psychically painful.  As I said, most people who come into the store probably do not understand what the problem would be.  Hoss seems like a nice guy and seems like he would be the life of the party.  But for me, the repetitive jokes and the "patter" gets really tiresome.

It has gotten to the point where thinking of working at Bux leads to an anxiety attacks.  And although it may sound like I am being a drama queen, the coffee shop has begun to feel like an attack.  I become frustrated and anxious just thinking about it.

Unfortunately, weekends do not provide a respite, either.  Most weekends are spent preparing a sermon, preparing Sunday worship, doing Sunday worship, and going with Nick to his Sunday Worship.  Oh, did I forget the 200 mile round trip journey in all of this?

I am not complaining about traveling with Nick, I enjoy hearing him preach and I enjoy the people in the congregation.  I also want to be along to provide Nick with some company during the trip because it is a long trip for him too.  But it just become more things to do and no time to regroup.

I also do not know where the whole church thing is going.  We are holding, but not growing.  I have been told that things are going well, but I still have bills that are not getting paid.  I want to trust in God, but I am getting tired of waiting.  I need to get people to go out and bring in new members, or give more money, or both!!  But that is not happening.

I have now spent about 5 hours doing NOTHING and feel guilty about it.  I know I shouldn't feel guilty but I also know that I should be looking for a different job.

And so the anxiety continues.

*End of rant*

Saturday, November 21, 2009

We Already Know How It Ends

In seminary, I had a professor who admitted to an interesting habit:  He would read the last chapter of a mystery first, and then he would go back and start the book from the beginning.  We, quite naturally, objected.  We said that knowing how the story was going to end would ruin the whole book.  What enjoyment could you get if you knew how the story was going to end?  His response was interesting:  he said it all depended on what you wanted from the story.  If you wanted the big surprise of “whodunit,” well, then you needed to read the story the way it was written.  But if wanted to enjoy the craft of the artist, then you needed to read the last chapter first.  When you know how the story is going to end, you can watch the way the writer weaves the various threads together to form the finished product.
Thinking about it in that way, reading the last chapter first kind of makes sense.  Granted, it is a different way of reading, a different way of enjoying the book.  It may not be the way most of the world reads books, but just because it is different does not mean it is wrong. 
Now, there is something else about reading the last chapter first – and this may sound a little odd – but there is something comforting about it.  No matter what is going on in the story, you know by the last page of the last chapter, the story will have reached its resolve.  It may sound obvious, but since you know how the book will end, you know that the book will have to get to that end.  So you can comfortably watch what happens in the book, knowing it will all work out.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do this in life?  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to know exactly how life is going to work out; to know the last chapter?  You know we try to read the last chapter.  We read horoscopes to give us some insights into what is going to happen.  We have all kinds of ways to try to predict the future.  Ten years ago, there was all kinds of anxiety about Y2K.  Many people thought they had read the last chapter and that everything was going to end when we entered the year 2000.  I guess even one of the local Mega-church pastors was telling people that they needed to be prepared for the end to come in 2000.  Now, we have movies and books telling us that we need to worry about the earth ending in the year 2012.  (Dec. 21st of 2012 to be exact.)  And so the anxiety continues.
This is the interesting thing about what the world puts out there as the last chapter of the story:  In just about every story we hear from the world, the last chapter involves pain, death and destruction.  Bad things happen and few people, if any, are able to escape.  But so often, the last chapter, as told by the world, involves total destruction, complete annihilation of all.  And I think the really sad part of this is that the world just eats this stuff up!  I don’t know why, but people just seem to go crazy over all of this stuff!
And people have been going crazy over these end of the world scenarios for centuries!  I once worked with a guy who kept quoting the Bible, especially the Book of Revelation and kept talking about The New World Order.  He kept telling me about how “they” were trying to create one world currency and how “they” were keeping track of us by our debit cards.  Truthfully, I felt that if “they” needed to keep track of everything I did, “they” must surely have a boring life!  But he kept it up.  He was totally worried about the whole New World Order thing.  He also kept pulling Bible verses to back up what he said.  Finally, I had to put a stop to this.  I asked him, “Did you read the end?”  He stopped and looked at me.  I asked him again, “Did you read the end?”  He asked, “End of what?”  “The end of the story?  Did you read it?”  I asked.  “In the end, God WINS!”
This seemed to have no effect on him.  Well, almost no effect; he did stop talking to ME about The New World Order.  But I am willing to guess he still will not use a debit card.
As people of faith, we should be more like my seminary professor than like my coworker.  We need to remember that God has written the last chapter.  We need to have faith that we can trust in the true word of God.  Through our faith, we know how the story will end.  We know that the last chapter has everything to do with love and nothing to do with death.  In faith, we know that Christ vanquished death and that eternal life reigns.
Today, we celebrate the feast of Christ the King.  Today, we celebrate the end of the story.  Today, we celebrate the victory of Christ over death.  The feast of Christ the King gives us strength and comfort in the same way that reading the last chapter can give us comfort.  No matter what we see, we can be sure that Christ will emerge victorious.
We do not need to worry about asteroids striking the Earth.  We do not need to worry about Yellowstone exploding.  We do not need to worry about total chaos breaking lose in 2012.  We do not need to worry about these things because these things are not the end of the story! 
Knowing the ending opens us up for all kinds of possibilities for us!  Knowing the ending gives us the comfort of knowing that we really can’t mess things up too badly.  Knowing the ending means that we have the freedom to be out and about in the world.  If we trust that Christ is King and believe that Christ will reign victorious, then we can be comforted in knowing that no matter what is happening, that God the creator is still in charge.
Christ the King marks the end of the church year.  It is important for us to remember at the end of the church year the promises that God has made to all of us.  It is important that have faith that what we see now is not how the story ends.  It is important for us to know that God has more in store for us!  Remembering that God has already written the end, allows us to enjoy the way the story of our lives unfold.  Remembering that God has already written the end allows us to appreciate the genius of our creator God.
Today we celebrate Christ the King, the end of the story.  Next week, we begin our wait for the birth of Christ, we wait for the story to begin.  But in all things, in our times of celebration and our times of waiting; we need to remember we are people of the promise.  We have the promise of life, love, and joy in abundance.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

What's a Happinin'?

I haven't wrote much of what has been happening with me over the past few weeks. I am not sure if it is because I am too busy or just tired of complaining.

I have come to the conclusion that the phrase, "Well, at least you have a job" needs to be deleted from the English language. Yes, I have a job, but no, I am not happy to be doing it. I know that I am not "above" the job, but my gifts and talents are not being tapped in this area. Making coffee is not rocket science. But by the time I am done with the job, the introverted me is exhausted.

We, at church, just finished our Craft Bazaar. I did pretty good, I made about $100. I am going to put the cash to getting some glasses. I didn't think I was over priced, but people just didn't seem to be buying. I don't think $5 for a glass mitten ornament is too much, but people were not interested. Maybe my design was not appreciated.  I actually ended up giving more of them away then I sold.  We had some non-members who came to our church to open a booth and I gave them a mitten to say thanks.

The Christmas trees did not sell at all.  I had $7.50 on them.  The buttons alone were probably worth that much.  The buttons were antique.  Oh well, they will either go on our tree, or they will become Christmas gifts.  I like them!

The church didn't sell, but that is ok, I wasn't expecting it to.  The Bazaar was a good excuse to make it.   When finances are tight, a good excuse is a life saver!

I had a baptism on Sunday.  It went ok, except for the fact that I had gotten the baby's name wrong in the sermon.  Well, I got it right where it counted and I guess that is all that matters.  (Although I don't think God cared if I misspoke or not!)

Between my church's worship service and Nick's church's service, we went to Bronner's.  Man, that place was packed!  But we kind of expected that.

Now I am home for the day.  Nick has to work.  (I still wish I could afford a vacation for us.  I will have to think about how to make this happen.)  I am hoping to get some applications put out for a different job today and make some things for Christmas.  One thing I want to make is a "yard flag" for in front of our house.  (Out of glass, of course!)

Other wise, life is what it is.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Baptism Sermon

Today we celebrate one of the truly wonderful events in the Christian faith.  Today we celebrate the baptism of a new member into our faith community.  Actually, I feel odd saying “a new member” because it seems like we are saying that before being baptized, God had no idea who Mary was, and after we sprinkle some water on her head, suddenly there is a “poof” in Heaven and Mary is suddenly on God’s radar.
I guess this was, in part, the image I grew up with.  I remember given money for the poor pagan babies when I was in school.  We had to give money so that the missionaries could baptize all the babies so they would not be damned to Hell, or Purgatory, for those not old enough to know what they were doing.  And this didn’t even take into account those children whose parents seemed so uncaring as to not worry if their little baby was going to go to Hell or not.
So this was the image of baptism that I grew up with.  And this is the image that still haunts me.  The image of baptism as a fire escape.  The image of baptism as something that we do “To the baby” so that other terrible things don’t happen.  Probably for many of us, this image is still hanging around in our faith lives.  This is still an image that haunts us.
But, you know, this just doesn’t seem to make sense with what we read in the Bible.  The Psalmist tells us that God knew us, while we were “still in the womb.”  Baptism isn’t the point where God suddenly becomes aware of us, God know us before we are born!  Before we were born, before Morgan was born, we all were known by God and loved by God.
So, if baptism is not just a way of avoiding Hell, as I said before, a “Fire Escape” of a sacrament, if God new us from the womb, then why do we do it?
Well, we baptize as a way of saying to each other that we believe in God’s love.  We believe that God loves us and cares about us.  We baptize to tell each other, AND THE WORLD, that there is is a love that is more profound than anything we could ever know and that this wondrous love is for us!  We baptize, not as a means of making God love us, but in recognition for the love that is already there.
With the Christmas season coming, we are also entering the Season of Gifts.  Unfortunately, our world has taken the concept of gift and yanked it all out of proportion.  We have lost the concept of a gift as being something that is freely GIVEN with no expectation of anything in return.  A truly given gift is one that is given with no strings attached.  It is not given with the expectation that something bigger and better will be given in return.  A truly given gift is one that is given for the sole intent of pleasing the person who will be receiving the gift.  A truly given gift is given just to see the receiver smile.  There is no worry of repayment in a truly given gift, the only repayment that the giver receives is the joy that the gift bring.
All the gifts that we receive from God are, in fact, truly given gifts.  When God gives us a gift, no return payment is expected.  When God gives gifts, the only expectation is that we enjoy the gift; that we REVEL in the gift.  The only expectation is that we use the gift so much that we use the gift up!  But the strange thing about God’s gifts, we can never really use them up.  I have found that when we thing we have nothing left, God is there supplying more. 
In the sacrament of Baptism, we are saying, “YES!” to the wondrous gifts that God has for us.  We are saying “Yes!” to the love and care that we are given.  In baptism, we are saying “YES!” to the gift and sacrifice that Christ made for us; on our behalf.  We have been given a gift by our Savior, and in baptism, we are telling the whole world, “Yes!”
Sean, Helen, Erin, Renee, and Linda, in bringing Mary here to be baptized today, you too are saying “Yes!” to the promises of God.  You are saying “Yes!” to the promises of God in your own lives and you are promising to help Morgan see the wondrous gifts that God has given her.  By bringing her to be baptized, you are saying, “Yes!” for her for all the truly given gifts that we profess as part of our faith.  In bringing her here today, you are starting her down the road of love and wonder.
Mary’s baptism is not just a one-time event, though, it is something that will live with her and will grow with her.  Her baptism will be there to provide help and support.  We would hope that Mary’s life will be free of tears and trouble, but we all know that will never happen.  However, in her baptism, Mary will find the love and support of Christ that is reflected in the community of the Church.  Through her baptism, Mary will know that no matter what the world may tell her, she is special, loved and cherished.
This is why we baptize.  Baptism is our declaration to the world that even when thing may look lost, that we are not lost.  Baptism is our declaration to the world that there is something more to life than the idolatry and greed that we see.  Baptism is our declaration to all people that we have faith in a God that has forgiven our sins and loves us from the womb!
Some may think that the church is a little over decorated, today.  Maybe so, but why shouldn’t we celebrate?  Why shouldn’t we “bring out the good china?”  There is a new person in the world and we get to celebrate the fact that all the gifts and promises that God has given to us, God has given to Mary too!
I think it is great that we baptize babies.  This little person can do nothing to earn the wondrous gifts that she already has.  She has done NOTHING, but yet God has blessed her.  And there is nothing that she can do to earn the gift of love and forgiveness that was given in Christ.  Nothing!  All the wonders that God has for her are given, even before she would have any opportunity to prove her worthiness. 
On this day, we, too, need to remember that our baptism was a truly given gift.  Our baptism is the outward sign of the sacrifice made by our high priest Christ.  We didn’t earn it then and we couldn’t earn it now.  All we can do is take this gift and love it, use it, enjoy it!  REVEL IN IT!
Sean, Helen, Erin, Renee, and Linda, you have been given a great gift in Mary.  Love her, nurture her, help her to find the glorious gifts God has given her.  She is a special treasure and a child of God.  Help her to remember that every day of her life.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

I'll Give My Two Cents Worth

There’s a phrase that is not nearly as popular today perhaps as in years past.  That statement is, “I’ll throw in my two cents worth.”  In most cases, the person should have kept the two cents because that two cents worth really didn’t add anything of value to the conversation.  In general, two cents is pretty miniscule.

What can we get for two cents today?  We probably cannot even get what used to call “penny candy.”  Penny candy is now at least a dime and probably more likely a quarter.  Oh!  You can get a ride on Sandy the mechanical horse at Meijer, but not much more.  No, we can’t get much of anything for our two cents worth.  But two cents was all the woman in the Gospel story had.

She must have been pretty self conscious as she put her money in the treasury.  See, today we have nicely padded offering plates or baskets.  You can throw money into them and no one really knows how much or how little you’ve given.  Many people today give by check which makes no sound in the plate and most churches have gone to offering envelopes that make how much is given even more quiet.  But in biblical days things were different. 

First off, all the money was in the form of coins – no paper money, no checks, just coins – coins.  And these coins made noise!  Also, they didn’t have offering plates that got passed around.  They had big horn shaped receptacles where people came by and dropped their money.  When the money dropped in, it made noise.  It would clang and it would echo.  So, of course, the rich liked to give because the loud noise would let everyone know just how generous they were.

But the poor widow, she only had her two cents worth.  That amount of money would only make a poor, pitiful, “plink, plink” of a sound.  I can understand why she would wait until almost no one was nearby before she gave her money.  She was hoping that no one would hear how little she was giving.  Besides, with all that the “fat cats” were giving, she had to question what possible difference her two cents worth could make?  Let’s face it – most of us won’t even bend over to pick up a stray two cents.

She could have decided not to put anything in the collection and kept what little bit she had for herself.  She could have kept it – no one would even have known – but she gave it.  She gave all that she had and trusted that God could make something of it and that God would somehow sustain her.  That is a lot of faith and trust – I am not sure I would have been able to do the same in her situation.

In the reading from Kings, we have a similar story.  All that the widow had was just enough oil and meal to make a small piece of bread.  Why couldn’t she just go home and eat it with her son and then simply die either of starvation or more quickly, die of thirst as they were in the midst of a drought?  The prophet had the nerve to ask her for water.  Where was she supposed to get any water?  But this poor widow gave the bread and a bit of water to the prophet Elijah.  It probably amounted to about two cents worth – all she had, but she gave it.

Now lets turn to another example.  All this guy had was the entire universe and the immensity of all eternity.  He was the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega.  He was and is the ruler of all. He had it all and should never have to suffer or want for anything.  However, his people were suffering and in pain, they were lost and without hope.  He loved the world enough that he gave it all for others.  He felt our pain and ultimately gave the greatest gift possible – his very life in a gruesome and painful death.

Christ gave his life for us.  When he asks us to give, he isn’t asking for anything that he himself has not already done.  When he asks us to love, he knows what he speaks of.  When he asks us to be willing to risk, he knows what risk and sacrifice are all about.  When Christ asks us to give, he is not asking us to do anything he has not already done.

Everything we have is given to us by God.  We have talents, skill, gifts, likes and dislikes.  Sometimes we think that all we have is just our two cents worth.  We look at our little bit and have to ask, “What difference will my little bit make?”  Sometimes we think we shouldn’t even try because it doesn’t matter and besides, we need this little bit more than the church or that brother or sister in need.  But God calls us to give and gives us examples like those in our lessons today.

The widow is the Gospel is lifted up because of her trust in God.  She gives all she has and then trusts in God.  She does not worry about her own needs; she trusts that God will see to them.

The widow in the OT lesson is cared for because she trusted in God.  Not only is she saved from starving to death, but her whole household is preserved because of her faith.

So where am I going with all this?  Am I suggesting that we should give everything away?  In some ways that wouldn’t be a bad thing, but it is unrealistic.  Does that mean that we shouldn’t even bother trying?  No – we are called as a people to give as God has given to us.

Jesus placed the discipline and challenge of giving before us not to intimidate or shame us, but to challenge us to be the Body of Christ in the world – to see needs and be willing to respond; to be willing to make do with less in order to reach out to others; to trust that God will provide rather than relying on ourselves and what the world “gives” us.

Jesus wants us to live life and to live it abundantly.  However, he does not want us to rely on idols like possessions and money, power, or fame, but to fully rely on God’s goodness and that God will provide.  The goal of giving that is put before us is there to motivate us to be the body of Christ in the world.  We need to begin to see the world through God’s eyes.

To what is God calling us today as individuals and as a congregation?  Some would say that St. Augustine is just a small church and that we can’t make much of a difference in this community let alone the world.  But St. Augustine has made and is making a difference, starting right here with each one of us, and proclaiming love, hope, peace and joy to a people and a world in need. 

Last week, I gave you a domino to remind you how you fit into the great cloud of witnesses, the Communion of Saints.  Today I give you two cents. 

There is a story about how Mother Theresa wanted to start an orphanage.  She was told that how could she hope to start an orphanage, all she had was two cents.  She said, “For me it would be impossible, but with God and my two cents, anything is possible.”  Take these two cents and let them be a challenge to you.  Let us, with our two cents worth share our gifts with each other, with God, and with the world.

If you have the gift of gab, get out there and visit with those who cannot get out.  If you have the gift of teaching, who might God be calling you to teach?  If you have the gift of hospitality, I bet God is asking you to welcome those who come into our midst.  If you are a tinkerer, maybe God is asking you to come up with some innovative ways to look at problems and find creative ways to solve them.

We may feel like we, personally or as a congregation, may not have a lot to give.  We may feel like we only have a measly two cents to give.  We may feel like our gift would not have any effect at all.  But we would be wrong!  We have our gift, we have our two cents to give.  And if we are willing to give what we have, and are willing to trust in God, who knows what can happen!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Yes, I Hate Her.

I was all ready to go out on a major job hunt.  I was about to pitch the whole church thing and decide that being a clergy being was now something that was in my past.  I was all ready to tell the deacon that we needed to start working on how to move myself out of the congregation and how to get the congregation relying on themselves.  I was all ready to have this happen!  Well, yep, you guessed it!


The deacon (actually, Archdeacon) told me that after talking with the Bishop and telling him about what has been happening with the congregation, she is going to back out of the picture and I am being allowed to fly solo.  She said that I needed to get everyone out of my way and just be allowed to be.  She told me she has seen immense growth in this congregation and is very excited about what is happening! 

I was a bit whiny about how hard things have been going lately, but the deacon said, "God NEVER promised it was going to be easy."

I still want to find a new job, though.  I need to get out of Starbucks land and get somewhere where I can work and where the job doesn't attack me as a person.

I had the day off today and was quite irresponsible!  It was wonderful! 

Tomorrow, I have to get a sermon done.  Have to work on glass.  And have to do some research on baptisms.  Nick will be gone for the day and for Sunday, so I will be, to quote Lemuel, Homo Alone.  Hopefully I will be able to get a lot done tomorrow.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Why Reinvent The Wheel?

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My Lifestyle is an affront to me!

It is really a bit of a problem when what you do is in direct opposition to who you are. I am not talking about some big homo/hetero thing here. What I am talking about is an introvert/extrovert thing.

I am really VERY introverted. I can function in the world, but after a while, I need to get away. It really wears me down when I cannot get renewal time. This is something that other introverts will understand, and something that many extroverts just don't get.

I know my career is not the best for introverts. Being a clergy means that one needs to be out in the public world. But also, being a clergy means that we usually have an office into which we can retreat.

But when you are an introverted clergy who also works at Starbucks, it gets crazy. There seems to be no way to get recharged. The job involves being in an area with no escape, dealing with people who are just being what they should be, self-centered consumers. There is no way to get out of the spotlight.

Yesterday I had one of those humiliating events happen. Being closed into close working surroundings with someone who is acting very childish.(This person is 19 and is painfully extroverted.) I tend to back away because he can be so overbearing, but he sees it as rejection. He sees the overbearing as "trying to cheer you up!" I have tried to explain but it does no good. In many ways, this feels as attacking as a physical attack. I could not get away from the behavior. I could not get the person to talk to me. I just about walked off the job. All this for just $8.50 an hour without tips.

My problem is that when I get cornered, I go into escape overdrive. Major panic attack mode. THIS IS VERY EMBARRASSING! I don't want to return today because I am embarrassed for my actions. I feel like some kind of drama queen.

I just want to do my job.