Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Five: Odds & Ends

RevGal Sally invites us to play this week's Friday Five:

I have had a ridiculously busy week so apologies for the fact that this is rushed and even a bit late, but here goes, even in the busyness of the week what has

1. Inspired you
2. Challenged you
3. Made you smile
4. Made you cross/ made you want to weep
5.Kept you going?

Sally, thanks! I've been busy, too, but not too busy today to play along.

1. What has inspired me:  I was inspired by the Confirmation classes on Monday night. The younger class is not into it, even yet, but they keep coming and trying to figure it out. The second year class has formed a group, is interested in church life and is responsive to their pastors. They are so full of potential and energy and they, at least at the moment, want to spend some of that on/at church.

2. What has challenged me:  A conversation with a beloved young relative who is choosing a non-traditional path and part of that is being unashamedly "not Christian" although exceedingly Christ-like.  I am challenged to be a whole lot more clear on the desired outcome of my own life and ministry. I'm also challenged about my role in "church as usual" even though that's not what I want either.

3.  What has made me smile:  One goofy thing: This cat thing in the picture above. It sits on the middle of my mom's dining room table. During the day, its hand waves up and down because of that solar cell.  Waving hello . . . or good-bye . . . ? ? ?

4:  What made me want to weep:  The struggles of another beloved young relative.

5:  What kept me going:  VACATION!  I arrived in Baton Rouge Tuesday about noon and have been hanging out with that branch of my family until I go to New Orleans tomorrow to get on the big boat for BE 5!  The anticipation of ten days of vacation & continuing ed, a little Cajun Country time, sun, laughter . . . that's what's been keeping me going for awhile now.

Friday, January 06, 2012


Vintage Light BulbWelcome 2012!  A New Year brings a new resolve to write the blog more regularly.  After spending the last few days trying to decide when and how to jump back into the blog pond, here comes inspiration from this brand new Friday Five, thanks to kathrynzj at RevGalBlogPals.

The question:  What are five (more or less) of your "A-ha" moments.  Where have you had a moment of clarity?

Some of the many "A-HA!" moments that have brought light and hope to my world:
  • Don't take anything personally.  Receiving someone seriously (respectfully, attentively) is more helpful.  Whether it's a cut-to-the-heart criticism or a glowing compliment, it says much more about the one who delivers it than the one to whom it is delivered.  This "a-ha" was courtesy of Don Miguel Ruiz' book The Four Agreements.  Each is simple (not necessarily easy) and "a-ha"-inducing: 
Be Impeccable With Your Words
Don't Take Anything Personally
Don't Make Assumptions
Always Do Your Best
  • I am still standing.  The title of one of my favorite Elton John songs, "I'm Still Standing" could be the title of the "a-ha" moment I had during one particularly dark moment as I was living through the aftermath of the end of my 23-year marriage. I couldn't see even as far as the next moment. No way could I figure out what I would do or how I could make it financially, emotionally, physically, professionally -- you name it. It all seemed hopeless and empty.  And then I took an honest, more objective, inventory of what was really there.  I had food in the house; I had a house to live in; I had children who loved me and who hadn't rejected me; I could count on some friends to be friends; I had a job (two jobs actually!) and income capability . . . the list probably went on, but it didn't need to.  It wasn't even about "counting your blessings" but rather seeing all that is there rather than what isn't there.
  •  I'm just not that into . . . Christianity.  The "a-ha" was finding out that neither was Jesus.  Jesus was a Jewish rabbi and carpenter who predated Christianity.  Jesus showed us what God is like, not what religion should be about.  Jesus embodied life and love, not law and rules.  Jesus welcomed and included and invited and turned things upside-down, all the while pissing off the powers-that-be and the religious apologists and traditionalists.  A-ha!  Maybe it's OK to be a Jesus-called, Christ-devoted pastor serving the institutional church and appreciating church history, and still not be (too much) into the religion of Christianity. 
  • I'm more suited for interim ministry than settled pastorates.  It turns out that it is possible to be successful by certain standards, and still be unfaithful to the real me.  So, now I am through measuring "ministry success" by particular accomplishments or by how well-received I am in congregations I serve. I have been very blessed in each setting in different ways.  But in interim ministry, I am more ME, more authentic and free, and I have more fun and get to play games.  A-ha!  Maybe those I serve will be more free, too!
  • I'm older than I thought I was!  I know very well that I'm 58 years old, but when I got an invitation to the denomination's retirement planning seminar -- two years ago! -- and realized that invitation wasn't extended at all prematurely, it was a real, and not-altogether-unpleasant, "a-ha" moment. You mean I get to be this age and still feel this good and enjoy life this much?!  WOW!