Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Church that IS the church

Thats where you'll find me...Our church has made some important decisions:

People are more important than issues.

Being loving is more important than being right.

Jesus Christ is the head of the church, and no one else.

These sound simple, but it's not easy. They worked hard. The hardest work, at times, was being quiet and letting go of control. They were steady without being strident. They were faithful without being feisty. There were mistakes made, to be sure, and forgiveness sought. Someone has said that it's not over, and so it never really is. There is much to celebrate today and be thankful for. For me, gratitude to God is for a church that knows what it means to be the church -- and to act like it.

Friday, August 12, 2005

What Friday Is Good For

Usually Friday is my day off, and I'm pretty good about taking the whole day off to do UN-CHURCH-RELATED things. This week is our Vacation Bible School week so I am taking a half day off and then going to do some visitation before Vacation Bible School this evening. There's a lot that can be done in half a day off:
  • Exercised first thing
  • Listened to Air America Radio and spend a few minutes crying with Cindy Sheehan over lives lost in the war in Iraq -- and wondering if she will get her questions answered because they are my questions, too.
  • Ate a very delicious breakfast of egg-in-toast, an orange, and coffee
  • Finally watered the two geraniums on the front porch. I kept thinking it would rain. It hasn't. Now, we are expecting severe thunderstorms this afternoon, so I'm not watering anything else until I see if that happens. It's dry as Texas here!
  • Cleaned really well approximately 1/3 of the kitchen and got the kitchen window washed (at last!)
  • Put in the first of 2 (or 3) loads of laundry
  • Updated my web site and am now writing this blog entry
That's it. In case there was any doubt, I'm not an overachiever! I do enjoy a good day off, though, even if it's just half a day.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Pollyanna is alive and well in LeRaysville, PA

The only thing that seems certain in my life is that I can manage to see the silver lining in every cloud. I'm the one making the lemonade when life hands out lemons. In a sea of cynics, I'll be the one in the rose-colored glasses. They call me "Pollyanna" and I'm not sure it's always meant as the highest praise. No matter -- I can't help who I am!

So, I have just had the second of two meetings in my church where some people are very confounded by the recent "marriage equality" resolution passed by the 25th General Synod of the United Church of Christ. Some people are yelling and some people have (sadly) left the church. Some think we should leave the UCC; others think we should just not give them any more money. Some are presenting misinformation as truth. Others are being way too quiet! It's a tough time. It's a tough time for all who are engaged with the issue or involved with those who are.

But not for me -- of course -- ultimately -- because now that I have heard what I've heard, and now that I've cried over it most mornings in recent memory, my Pollyanna outlook is back, and here is her list of the GREAT things that have happened to me in all of this:

  1. I am uplifted by John Thomas' pre-Synod speech which does so much more than merely endorse *the resolution*.
  2. I found this wonderful article -- The Past as Prologue: The Church and Change, by Barbara Brown Zikmund. She is incredible.
  3. I actually did go to the Synod, and I do have the most wonderful memories of friends, colleagues, worship and music, laughter and hugs, and having my spiritual tank filled up to overflowing.
  4. I have a congregation that is so ready to hear -- and perhaps learn for the first time -- what the UCC really believes!
  5. AND ... they will have the chance to hear the biblical rationale that homosexuality is a sin AND also the perspective that says that the Bible cannot be used today to condemn homosexuality. Thank you, Toby Holleman, Penn Northeast Conference Associate Conference Minister! What a great and timely gift for our congregation!
  6. I found out that people are quoting ... I mean mis-quoting ... my sermon around the community. Who knew that anyone noticed what "little ole me" was saying ?! I wonder what I'll have to do in the future to preach another memorable sermon?
  7. I always think I'm totally dispensable in the church, but do know that I am needed now. I'd rather be dispensable.
  8. I have not been left alone in this. I never am.
  9. This is a tremendous opportunity for our church to be different from the others, even if the biggest difference is simply that we can disagree and be diverse without creating division. Actually, nothing simple about that!
  10. I am still so very happy to be a pastor in the United Church of Christ. There is no other place I would want to be. I can only hope that my enthusiastic joy is contagious!