Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pentecost 4B poem

Good News and Lamenting: A Poem for Pentecost 4B

There is so much to mourn, to regret
Lost hopes, dreams, lost friends
The dead.
The sufferings of day to day
With its unfulfilled dreams
And hopes

It is easy
To shake a fist
At a God
Seemingly unmoved

Yet, no pain, no suffering
Is the will of God
And in the midst
Mercy beckons
And soft words call,
“Talitha Cum”

Such are the miracles
Of day to day survival
When living is a choice
Bravely made.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Letting Go of Expectations

I did it. I started the book. I have an outline and a self-imposed deadline--one year. This is not precisely the book I though I would write, but I think it is the book I'm being called to write. No spoilers here...but any editors out there who can keep a good secret?

That said, I will keep writing shorter things (having realized that it's true that one MUST write things in order to write things and that starting with the goal of a book requires that one take practice strokes and work out other parts of the writing brain)--essays and such, blog posts, etcetera.

So, what I do ask is that any of you who stumble upon this, or even read my blog or Episcopal Cafe essays regularly, keep me in prayer. Please, such things are not solitary processes--at least not for this extrovert. So, prayer. Plus, I'm a priest, I should be asking people to pray all the time!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Another Episcopal Cafe Essay

I was once again published in Episcopal Cafe. The essay I wrote was partially motivated by an essay they had published that I had found disturbing. The essay was written by a young clergyman who wrote about his love for violent on-line games--his cavalier tone and the nature of the games which he described, games in which you shoot/kill other players in cyber space was fairly gruesome. I read his essay after a parishioner, not realizing that the essays are changed daily, mistakenly thought that his essay was mine (he was wildly relieved when he realized it wasn't). So, my essay in response...

I was also concerned that he mentioned playing such games in the office. Who has time? Now, I don't want to be judgmental, altho' I recognize that I am in this case. But, really, the very idea of guns being pointed at other people makes me skin crawl.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Crash Helmets

This is the passage I referenced in my sermon on Pentecost--crash helmets indeed (and here I go, trying to get more people to take pictures of our events!):

"Why do people in church seem like cheerful, brainless tourists on a packaged tour of the Absolute? … Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us to where we can never return.”

—Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters (New York: Harper & Row, 1982), pp. 40-41.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Meditation Tool

This "prayer lava lamp" may be just the ticket for a case of anxiety. The funkadelic music doesn't hurt either!

The Things That Keep Me Up At Night

The things that are keeping me awake:

trying to make sure that I don’t offend anyone or inadvertently hurt anyone‘s feelings; being extraneous; the people who don’t come to church when they’d been coming regularly, I start to think I did something that hurt them; feeling like I need to make church “fun” in order to get people to attend; making sure all the details in the bulletin are right, not leaving out any announcements or anyone’s name; wine at the Founder’s Day service, how to gracefully invite people to communion when many of the people in attendance can only partake of the bread; forgetting details; calling people who haven’t been at church in awhile, people being annoyed at being called and people being annoyed at not being called (you can rarely win with this one); not adequately communicating events; the church failing to grow; my presence not being the panacea needed to attract younger families and individuals; people's expectations; my expectations; the dog throwing up; too many blankets; and last, but not least, trying to be all things to all people. Oh, let me add to the list, my own awareness that none of this is really about me...

Hmm, pressure much? Well, perhaps I should merely think about entering Rollin's and Paraclete's parable competition (on the link look for the May 31st entry). What would the extended metaphor be for a loving and non-anxious God in the midst of late night anxiety?