Sunday, March 30, 2008

my heart strangely warmed

Today was a great day in the midst of a blur of slightly frantic days. I have been running back and forth between school and work, and God broke through the busyness and got my attention. I started my day tired and cranky, and had three worship services to sit through.

The three services ended up being such a blessing. The scripture for today was on Thomas, which I love. I took communion three times, which was nice. One of my confirmation students gave an excellent presentation on Justifying and Sanctifying grace (with a poem and singing). Each of the confirmands is going to give a presentation on some topic we covered over the next few months.

In the third service, after I took communion, I knelt at the altar to pray and felt a rush of gratitude. I felt that thirst for God that is too easily (and too often) drowned out by other thoughts and feelings. I prayed to be filled with God's Spirit.

We only had one student come to the middle school group, so we did some reflection on scripture and then spent time hanging out.

Our high school meeting tonight was also about the Thomas scripture, and I talked about how God knows our needs and our doubts. I tend to focus on discipleship and justice a lot, and I shy away from plans that deal with "getting saved," because a relationship with God is so much more complex and deep than a list of sins being erased. Tonight, though, I made space for personal time with God. We spent the last 15 minutes praying and reflecting on our relationships with God. Of course this would be the week that we had a visitor who is not really Christian, but I assured him that we did not have any expectations, and he could use the time as he pleased.

At the end we stood in a circle and prayed. When it was our visitor's turn, I was surprised to hear him thank God for showing him that not all Christians are the stereotypical people with a list of what is bad and what is good. My heart almost overflowed at that point! Since I started this work, it has been on my heart to create a safe place where youth can feel comfortable and accepted no matter who they are. As I looked around the group, it was clear that this was finally happening. God is so good.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Shredder on Eli Stone

Oh My Gosh. I love the show Eli Stone! It's like Alley McBeal with a spiritual edge. And Jonny Lee Miller. Oh and Victor Garber. And better singing and dancing! And... an wise Asian acupuncturist/spiritual guide with a fake Chinese accent... who is played by a Japanese-American guy.

Tonight I looked at, and was looking at the different actors' histories. I discovered that not only did James Saito (Dr. Chen) do cameos on a bunch of shows, but he was the Shredder. That's right. He was freakin' Oroko Saki in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This show just keeps getting better.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Presidents and Religion

Some brief thoughts on religion and the Presidential process. For a longer version, go here.

* Our country was founded on a limited kind of freedom. Our founding fathers were white, privileged deists who owned slaves. We've had to take things one step at a time and we're not done.

* Not only is it untrue that Obama is a Muslim, but it is offensive to me that this is such a problem. Saying that we shouldn't vote for a Muslim because they might be a terrorist is like saying we shouldn't vote for an Evangelical because they might be an abortion-clinic-bombing- gay-person-murdering- woman-oppressing- Conservative.

* Obama is a professing member of the UCC. In fact, the UCC members in my acquaintance are some of the most racially and socially inclusive people I know.

* Meanwhile, George W. Bush is a United Methodist who doesn't have much in common with the UMC social positions, but aligns himself instead with more conservative religious leaders.

* Hillary Clinton, who is considered too secular by a lot of people, was apparently pretty active at Foundry UMC, and takes part in a bi-partisan Bible study with other Senators.

* John McCain is a fairly secular candidate, who called the likes of Jerry Falwell "agents of intolerance" because he does things like blame the 9/11 Attacks on gays, feminists, and lesbians, but now he has to suck up to them to secure his party's support.

* As for Obama's pastor, I don't know the larger context of his "God Damn America" speech, and his words are definitely incendiary, but the frustration over racial inequality is real. Lets not forget that challenging our nation does not make us "unpatriotic." We are the land of free speech, after all.

PS. Why is it that Republicans have to suck up to people who blame homosexuals for the ills of society, and Democrats have to apologize for being associated with people who cross the line in the fight for racial and gender equality? I'm not sure either one of those things is fair.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

What the Duck?

I just woke up my parents because our duck was quacking excessively. Yes, that's right. At 1 am. My room is in the back corner of our house, so I'm the only one who hears it. Sometimes it actually wakes me up, but that's not why I woke up my parents up. I woke them up because they asked me to wake them up if the duck started quacking in the middle of the night.

We've been through (I think) 5 or 6 ducks so far; they all keep dying or getting eaten. So now we have one left. We had ducklings a few weeks ago but as it turns out we also have a fox around here. So we have just the momma duck left.

So I went downstairs tonight, thinking to myself, "they really did ask me to wake them up if the duck quacked, right?" And they did. So my dad went out with one of the dogs and my mom took a flashlight. Now they are back in bed and the duck is still quacking. It really is like Noah's ark around here.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New Camp Video!

Here's our new promotional video for Camp! Take a look and share it with others!


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lost Madness

While we are waiting to fill out our brackets for March Madness, I had stumbled upon a Lost Madness competition on Washington Post's web page. They paired up 64 characters from Lost, and are already on the second round, but you can still vote.

One of the pairings I voted on was Ben Linus vs. Alex Rousseau. Like 95% of people thought Ben would win, and I suppose he probably would, but think about this: Alex is the biological daughter of the butt-kicking, booby trap rigging crazy Danielle, and has been raised by Ben who is possibly the most skilled manipulator in fiction. She's not there yet, but I suggest that Alex has the potential to be unstoppable ruler of the island eventually. That would be awesome.


Saturday, March 08, 2008

How old is "Old"?

As far as my camp friends go, I am on the older end of the spectrum... something they remind me of often. I hung out with my friend Megan today. We generally consider ourselves to be the same age, but every once and awhile I will say something to my friends who are younger than 21 or 22 and get total blank stares because they are too young to know what I'm talking about (don't know what My So-Called Life is???) Just because I can remember the 80s....

Age came up a lot in our conversations today. I was personally really excited to be hanging out with someone who is old enough to drink AND doesn't have kids. That's a demographic I wish I saw more of. We talked a bit about how weird it is that all of the sudden we have to start making decisions that we don't feel old enough to make. Finding jobs? Serious relationships? Paying bills? Taxes and health insurance? We agreed that it makes a small age difference seem big, because all of the sudden life changes drastically.

"My age" used to mean exactly my age, my grade in school. Now it kind of depends on the situation and who I'm talking to. At church "my age" means anyone in their twenties. With people in their twenties, it probably means somewhere in the mid twenties. And, I suspect, when talking to kids and teenagers, "my age" means people who are like kind of old but not really old. Like, I got my driver's license when gas was 99 cents a gallon and we still used pay phones at school.

I've heard that 50 is the new 30. I guess that makes 30 the new... 25? And 25 the new... 20? At the same time, I recently heard someone on NPR say that 30 is the new 50. So many people are accomplished at young ages now that there's more pressure for people in their 20's to be together and impressive. At 23, Mark Zuckerberg is a billionaire. He's younger than me! Panic, etc.

But no one can express the angst of my generation like Jessica Simpson: "Well, 23 is old! Its almost 25 and 25 is almost mid-twenties!"



So today I finally got a haircut. I love getting my hair cut. I was blissfully happy getting my hair washed, and having my hair cut, blow-dried and straightened was so relaxing that I almost fell asleep in the chair.

The only thing is that it seems really short and she thinned A LOT out. I'm wondering what it is going to look like once it is curly again. There's nothing like looking at yourself in the mirror for an hour (not to mention taking a picture of myself at 1 am) to make me forget that I usually don't care all that much how I look.

Anyway I love having less hair to deal with.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

True Life: I'm Dating Jesus

I recently started a quarterlife profile, and posted my sermon on single life there. Some people asked if they could read it so I posted it online.

Also, I really like the show quarterlife.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Track? Which Track?

It is starting to sink in that I don't have a plan for after December.

I love plans. I actually have lots of thoughts about what to do, but its kind of just a soup of things I want to do, with nothing concrete materializing. People are constantly asking me what I'm going to do after I've finished working at my job, and I don't mind, but I don't have much of an answer to give at this point.

And then I've been getting my paperwork together for my annual meeting with dCOM (District Committee on Ministry). My candidacy mentor told me today that the meetings are just so that they can make sure I'm on track (meaning, I am discerning my call and making my way through the candidacy process for ordination). Ultimately I'm supposed to be figuring out whether I want to be on the Deacon track or the Elder track, what kind of ministry I am called to, what kind of degree I want, etc. And I have plenty of time to do so.

But I've been developing a negative reaction to the word "track." I'm supposed to be figuring out what track I'm on and right now I don't really want to be on a track. I have been on a track my whole life. Part of me wants to be a bum for awhile, to shun responsibility and have fun.

The last few nights I've been really restless and unable to sleep. I keep thinking about all of the things that I have to do and all of the things that I want to do. I'm getting antsy the way I do when I haven't traveled in a few months (isn't that ridiculous?). I'm starting to stress the way I do when I know that I'm not going to have much time for friends for a few weeks. Right now I am obsessed with the desire to re-arrange my furniture but my room is too messy and my furniture is too big for me to move it myself.

I know things will work out, and its not that I'm discontented with my life right now. This is the problem with being a person who loves plans but is sick of living according to a plan.