Saturday, January 03, 2009

Random New Year Happenings

Spent five days in NoCal. Really the first time we've explored our (still relatively)new state as a family.

Taught the kids to play "The Minister's Cat", "The Alpahbet Game" and "The License Plate Game" while driving from here to there and back again. I was getting tired of Twenty Questions.

Now furiously writing papers for my annual gathering with my lectionary study group.

Was hoping someone willing to chair our Evangelism and Nurture Committee for next year would magically appear while I was out of town. Didn't happen.

Loving the iPod that Santa brought me--never had one before.

I'll be out of touch again for a bit. See you on the flip side.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

That Had Never Occurred to Me Before

This morning my daughter asked me if Frankincense has anything to do with Frankenstein.

What do you think?????

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wright, Warren and . . .

From the Jeremiah Wright controversy to the Rick Warren uproar, I think we've learned that whoever Barak Obama chooses as a spiritual representative/advisor, some portion of the population will be outraged. If this makes him decide to avoid including religious leaders in public ceremonies and/or to attend church infrequently, people will say "See, he's not really a man of faith. He was just pretending in order to get elected." He's in a no win situation on this, I think.

However, the next time he wants an experienced, articulate pastor from Southern Californian to speak at a significant event he could pick, well--you know . . . :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

This Little Child

A friend of mine forwarded this to me from an experience this year at his church:

Dear Colleagues,

Some mother of a child in our preschool came up with the idea that the script for the Christmas program would be built up with cute answers and fantasies from the preschoolers themselves. One of the prompter questions was: Who is Jesus?

There was a little pantheist...."Jesus is everything"

and an aspiring Trinitarian..........."He is God and the Holy Spirit"

and a poet who caught a truth I think we could preach............"He is a little baby who is actually taller than us"

Grace and strength be yours as you witness to ....."a little baby, actually taller than us"

Friday, December 19, 2008

In which I hand out lumps of coal . . .

. . . to the congregation for which I am Committee on Ministry liaison which has picked the week before Christmas to have a big blow-up requiring my presence at their special Personnel Committee meeting two freakin' nights before Christmas.

I will not be bringing fresh baked cookies.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Sunday morning dilemma

The lump of coal situation described below is the result of something that happened Sunday morning. I brushed by a recently bereaved member with a cheery, "Good morning, how are you?" instead of engaging in a sustained pastoral moment about how she was bearing up.

Sunday was pageant Sunday. There were 8 billion crises and logistical tangles erupting. It was simply not a time for me to engage in a long conversation with anyone about anything.

Pageant Sunday is a special case, but even on normal Sundays the fifteen to twenty minutes right before worship are usually a period of time when pastors are distracted with details: is the liturgist here? Does the choir know their cue for the response? Both acolytes have the flu--what do we do??? Could I make an annoucement about xxxxx?

This is not the first time I've unintentionally offended someone by rushing past them in a hurry on Sunday before worship when they were hoping for a sustained pastoral care moment.

I know. I know. All those details should be attended to before Sunday so the pastor can be fully present to those arriving for church on Sunday. But in the real world, liturgists forget that it is their Sunday, choir directors forget to check their e-mail, acolytes get the flu and elders forget to call during office hours to tell you about the announcement they need to make.

Have you figured out a way to solve this dilemma?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I did something--or rather failed to do something--that flipped the switch of one of those always-ready-to-be-offended persons in every pastor's life.

Nothin' but coal in MY stocking this year . . .