Friday, October 5, 2007
Friday Fave Five--Thanksgiving
I follow a blog of a group of women clergy from all different denominations and from all over. We exchange ideas, frustrations, joys and just plain silliness at times. Many of us are in small parishes or isolated from other women clergy or those of our own denomination. For the most part I find this group supportive, alert and intelligent.
On Tuesdays we begin the discussion of the next Sunday’s lesson—most of us follow the lectionary. On Thursdays there is an advice to perhaps younger clergy or issues that might provide discussion about how to handle sensitive issues in our churches.
On Fridays we have “The Friday Five”, a day in which we respond to questions by the sister moderator. We can choose to comment on our blogs which allow our fellow blogpals to know a bit more about us. Most of the time I don’t participate in the Friday Five because Fridays are my days off and I try not to do a lot of church work. But today’s Friday Five challenge me. “List at least five things (people, places, graces, miracles...) for which you are thankful. You may elaborate as you wish, or keep it simple.”
I have just come home from a three-day clergy conference within my own tradition. The event was tedious and difficult with emotions of all kinds being expressed, discarded and walked upon. It often happens when the designated leadership is weak and the young bucks take over who do not respect the wisdom of those who have gone before. Because they are young they have no understanding of the cost to those who have made it possible for them to be there. The younger crowd’s desire “to move on” is understandable but facil. If something happened before their ordinations, it doesn’t count. And I am finding what I first entertained as freshness and ingénue is now becoming tyrannical and shallow.
I need this call from my sisters in faith to remind me of thankfulness. So here goes.
1. I am thankful for those who went before me in the ministry. Those who were patient with me as a young cleric in the beginning years of women’s ordination. These folk like Ned Cole, Charlie Grover, Kelly Whittaker, Dave Talbot, Judy Upham, Betty Bone Schiess, Mary Bruggeman, Suzanne Hiatt , Carter Heyward, Pete Speer and Ed Stiess, gave me a sense of myself as being a part of a Church that was much greater than I was conscious of. They helped me understand my place and my responsibility in the parish, the diocese and the greater Church.
2. I am thankful for the laity who taught me what it meant to be priest to them. All the learning of seminary did not teach as much as the Dan Knights, the Charlah Skinners, Huge Joneses, Mary Lou Crowleys, Warren Youngs, and Corinne Farnhams did--lay folk who knew what they needed to hear about God and who allowed me to share my experience of God with them and who shared their vision of God with me.
3. I am immensely thankful in the present for my parish—for their stability and strength as well as for their need for a pastor which I pray I will be able to provide. This gift of ministry and being “back in harness” is a blessing. It is a lot of work, but it is what God has called me to. And that in and of itself speaks more to what Eucharist –thanksgiving means.
4. I am thankful for my cats who even when the person who was supposed to feed them forgot, were waiting for my return and still are willing to lie here on the couch as I write reminding me that family means more than blood kinship or even two-legged kinship.
5. And I am thankful to all my GLBT friends in and out of the church who have helped me carve out for myself an image of what it means to be faithful, honest, loving and humorous in the face of discrimination and hatred.
6. And above all I am thankful to God for all of these things.