Friday, October 30, 2009

Revgalblogpal Friday Five: Lifesaver Edition

Katherynzj has said:

In honor of BE Three I thought I'd offer up a Friday Five of lifesavers. I'm going on our cruise (are you?) because I am excited about meeting up with my blogging buddies again, I am interested in the speaker and because when I went on the first one my life was saved (okay, that may be a little over-dramatized but if you saw me getting on the boat and then the difference when getting off the boat you would know of what I speak).
I don't expect - or need - another life saving moment but I want to support the conference.

Of course lifesavers can come in all sizes and with far less drama. I would readily admit that I have considered a person (children's sermon substitute), the location of a bathroom, and a beverage (the last diet coke in the back of the fridge - score!) all to be lifesavers at one point or another.

And so today I ask you - dramatic or fairly common - what have been/are your lifesavers:

Muthah+: Well, J and I are going too, so that is my next lifesaving event.

1) Your lifesaving food/beverage. Iced tea, no sugar, no fruit. All the time.

2) Your lifesaving article of clothing. For 3 seasons of the year: Fleece made into vests, jackets, hoodies, pants and sox and warm fleece lined boots.

3) Your lifesaving movie/book/tv show/music. At the moment it is a cross between Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony, Mahler’s 1st Symphony and Mama Mia. (Go figure!)

4) Your lifesaving friend. I have several. J. is the everyday turn to. E. is my professional lifegiving person. H. is the maintenance lifesaver and T. is my family go-to girl, B. and L. make me laugh so hard that I wet my pants and J and D are my couple friends that remind me of married life in a way that is whole.

5) Your lifesaving moment. When I came to know that God was real and loved me just the way I was.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Musical Friday Five

Songbird has come up with an interesting Friday Five.
She is younger than I and remembers cartoons that had "A Mighty Fortress" as their themesong. I don't remember that, but there are some tunes that mean life, love and faith.

It was the same Martin Luther who said:

"I have no use for cranks who despise music, because it is a gift of God. Music drives away the Devil and makes people gay; they forget thereby all wrath, unchastity, arrogance, and the like. Next after theology, I give to music the highest place and the greatest honor."

On this Friday before Reformation Sunday, let's talk about music. Share with us five pieces of music that draw you closer to the Divine, that elevate your mood or take you to your happy place. They might be sung or instrumental, ancient or modern, sacred or popular...whatever touches you.

Some of us even love hymns. (Well, I do.)

Please visit one another to read answers, because you never know when you might discover a kindred spirit!

1. Nada Te Turbe from Taize Not only are the words taken from one of my favorite spiritual writers, Teresa of Avila, the repetative music is a wonderful mantra.

2. Ubi Caritas Et Amore

3. Pia Jesu A. L. Webber

4. Anything from the Brahm's requiem, Mozart Requiem or Faure Requiem

5. Rutter Gloria

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Five: On Your Feet!

Too often the Friday Fives I offer up seem extremely introspective, so here's something that could be fun. I notice as I finish my sixth decade that my taste in footwear is much different than when I was younger, as comfort wins out over fashion. So look at your feet and think about what you put on them!

1. What is your favorite footwear at this time in your life?

I prefer whatever is comfortable. I have found a style of Munro’s call unstructured that are wonderful. They are black and hold a decent shine and look decent under vestments. This morning I am wearing new shoes—Birkenstock oxfords. They look horribly manish, but they feel like my Birks with sox. We are having our first snow today—seemed like a good choice.

2. What was the craziest shoe, boot, or sandal you ever wore?

I had to wear bright red pumps for a wedding when I was in college. YUCK!

3. What kind of shoes did you wear in your childhood?

When I was small we all wore oxfords. Little children needed support for their little feet. As a teen, black suede penny loafers were the rage with white bobbysoxs.

4. How do you feel most comfortable? Barefoot, flip-flops, boots, or what?

If I could get away with it, I would be barefoot, then Birkenstocks, then sneakers, then boots. I do not wear heels of any kind and haven’t for at least 30 years.

5. What kind of socks do you like, if any?

I love nutty socks, the wilder the better, but I can’t get away with too much. I love Thorlo’s. They are warm and comfy.

Bonus: Anything you want to share about feet or footwear.

In the winter I wear boots a lot. Our parking lot ends up being a quagmire and so I need something that I can kick off when I get inside. Since I wear a size 11, and I live in a town with not a single good shoe store, I have to buy on line. ^(&^%% Boots are so hard to buy on line. Got any suggestions?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Five: Special Days

Sophia at Revgals has provided a very provocative Friday Five:

I am pre-posting this because Friday I will be at my new Independent Catholic church's yearly Synod, being welcomed and conditionally re-consecrated to episcopal ministry for this jurisdiction. I leave in a few hours and am spending the morning packing and making last preparations for my preaching, presiding, and teaching during the week. Exciting stuff but also nervous making with less time to prepare than I would prefer and lots of new people to meet--especially because, in accord with the pioneering status of ordained Catholic women, 95% or more will be men and I am not sure how receptive some may be to the Christian feminist theological/liturgical perspective!

This has me thinking of the special rites of passage in our lives which we participate for ourselves or in which we support and bless others: baptism, confirmation, marriage, ordination, graduation, funerals, etc. Such important days, so exciting and joyous, but also sometimes anxiety provoking or deeply painful....So, this week, please share five memories of such sacred moments with God and her holy people from your life and the lives of those you love.

1. There are so many ‘thin places’ in my life where God has touched me through my life. I was 25 when I was baptized. I was one of the first ones in the RC church in the 60’s who was baptized and confirmed at the same service at the Easter Vigil in a poor little parish where I was working. I had spent the three days before at a convent in retreat praying the hours with the community and then went to be baptized. It was a powerful experience.

2. Ordinations were blow away experiences—both of them. The priestly orders were crushingly evocative of birthing: the weight of the pressure of all the hands on my shoulders and head to the point that I thought I was going to be forced to my hands and knees, then the prayer of consecration and the lifting of the hands, fresh air, the hands that helped me to my feet. I knew I was a new person, one consecrated to do what it was that God wanted me to do.

3. In 1977 when J. was ordained—one of the first regularly ordained women in the Episcopal Church, I attended her history-making ordination. I was Jan. 6th in a driving snowstorm in the Cathedral in St. Louis. I was still a RC and went with a number of Sisters to the event. I saw the rite make her a priest. I listened to the preacher (who would later be the dean of my seminary) open the scripture and knock down every argument against the ordination of women. I felt as though someone had opened my brain, my heart and my whole meaning to entertain the priesthood for myself. It wouldn’t be until 1983 before I was ordained, but that night God came in the doors of that cathedral and touched me and said, “I want you.”

4. After the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson, the gay bishop in the Episcopal Church the fall out was fierce. The neo-conservative dean in my district accused me of being gay (I had been a vowed celibate for 3o years at that point) and I could no longer say no with integrity. I was in a new parish and the homophobia was rife. It was not handled well by either me or my bishop and I lost my parish. Then the bishop refused to allow me to work in the diocese because I defended a colleague whom I had known for years. I couldn’t even substitute in the diocese. So I began to substitute for the Lutherans. One little congregation, after several weeks of me serving there asked me if I would stand for election as their pastor. I asked them to talk to their bishop and their bishop talked to MY bishop and I was elected. That was three years ago. The installation was a wondrous affair. It still reminds me that God will have what God wants. At Lutheran clergy conference a few weeks ago, we renewed our ordination vows and then the bishops present prayed with each of us individually. With tears running down my face I asked the bishop to give thanks to God with me for making me a better Episcopalian. She was a bit puzzled by that but I know more why I am an Episcopalian and what that entails. I am so grateful to my Lutheran congregation and my Lutheran colleagues for helping me become a better priest, a better pastor, a better person. The walls between my Episcopal bishop have begun to come down too. God is good—all the time.

5. This week I have travelled with a friend half-way across the country to do an intervention for a mutual friend who has become addicted to prescription drugs. For the past 3 days she has tried to squirm out of going to rehab. She, like many addicts, had a laundry list of excuses. We finally said that none of them were acceptable. With that, she went to the refrigerator and the pantry and brought back crackers and grape juice. I didn’t really know what she was doing—the feelings were so tense. Then she went to her bedroom and brought back her prayer book and set in front of me. Without another word, I opened the Book of Common Prayer and began the Eucharistic service. We all cried: C. because she was beaten down and knew that she needed God to go through rehab, B. because she has struggled with conflicting images of who God is in her life and me. It was the first time I had celebrated according to the Book of Common Prayer in 3 years. God has been wonderfully present in those liturgical celebrations in my life.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

One Day at a Time...

Tonight I helped a friend to get into drug rehab. She was not too happy with me when I left her in her room at the rehab center. I had to draw on all the resources, pastoral, psychological, spiritual and some just plain ole Texas orneriness to make it happen. I feel like I have been in a wrestling match. Physically I am pooped, corporally I feel battered and spiritually I feel spent. But in the heart of my heart, I know I have done a good thing.

I feel like Jesus in the wilderness. I have driven halfway across the country to make this intervention happen. I could not have done it without the deepest sense of prayer and support and help from a treasured colleague. But I feel that I have met evil in this disease—not in the person who has it. I deeply love this person and long for her return from the disease that has taken her personality, her faith, her wit and her self-respect and made her fearful, unable to grapple with th day to day living that most of us take for granted.

I don’t talk about evil much. I don’t believe in a devil. I cannot personalize or even anthropomorphize evil. But I certainly know that evil exists. Evil is that which takes away our ability to be free in God—free to know how much we are loved, free to be about being all that we can be. Tonight I know I have grappled with that evil. I will not know if I have won that battle—it will be my friend who will have to grapple with it now. But I have won Round 1 and that is good enough for this moment. Now I have to hand my friend over to God so that she has the strength to embrace the strength that God has for her. One day at a time…