Friday, May 27, 2011

Another Friday Five

1. Do you experience any seasonal allergies? Are you allergic to anything else?
Yeah I usually experience some seasonal allergies but Im not allergic to anything that I know of.

2. What kinds of symptoms do you experience during your allergic reactions?Stuffed up,etc

3. How do you manage your allergies? (ie: medication, avoidance, alternative therapies, etc)
Usually some medication

4. What is the strangest allergy you've ever heard of? Someone who was allergic to milk

5. How do you feel about school and social policies that banning peanuts and other allergens? Hmmm....Im not sure about this. I can see both sides. Working at camp, I had a young camper who was allergic to tons of stuff so she always brought her own stuff. She didnt seem to feel left out to me. And I knew she was safe! For safety, I could see why schools are banning certain things!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Love of Words Friday Five

Description or attribute of yourself---"Smiley"! When I was in college, a couple of friends nicknamed me this. They said it was because I always had a smile on my face. My friend "Chewy" never let a day go by without calling me by my nickname. Unfortunately he committe suicide and is no longer here on this earth. I miss him and miss being called by that nickname but the truth is...it doesnt feel right having someone else call me that!

Activity you enjoy---Poetry! I know not everyone enjoys or understands poetry. But I love it! It has become such a form of prayer for me!

Word that is spelled or pronounced in an interesting way---Hmmmmm thats a hard one. I guess if I had to pick one, it would be kiwi. Ive always thought it was such an interesting fruit and looks interesting.

Passion of yours---Creative! I love being creative whether it be scrapbooking, writing, creating!

Word that brings you hope, peace, or comfort---Ok so I cant pick just one here. For me, it's grace and hope and peace. As a Lutheran, grace means a lot to me. Grace is how I live my life. "It is by grace through faith that you have been saved but it is not your own doing but a gift of God!" Peace! As we watch the events of the world around us, I hear the words of Jesus, "My peace I leave you!" Peace is what I yearn with! Hope allows me to hope for the good and better etc in life!

Word you like to repeat or sing---Hmmmm! Im drawing a blank here!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Jesus Dared.....

During one of the growth group sessions that I attended at synod assembly today was about being creative. I was so hope-filled after hearing Bishop Mark speak that I found myself moved to write. Bishop Mark talked about how many times we have line drawn in the sand or perhaps not even in sand but concrete but then he reminded us that Jesus dared to stand on both sides of that line. This is what the Holy Spirit inspired me to write!

Jesus Dared
By T

A line has been drawn
drawn in the sand

Yet for all the needy,
Jesus dared;
dared to stand on both sides of the line

For the goodwill of all the people,
Jesus dared;
dared to stand on both sides of the line

For the sake of community,
Jesus dared;
dared to stand on both sides of the line

For justice and peace,
Jesus dared;
dared to stand on both sides of the line

For the love of all,
Jesus dared;
dared to stand on both sides of the line

For hope and transformation,
Jesus dared;
dared to stand on both sides of the line

And in daring to the cross the line,
Jesus continues to remind us
that we are awe-filled people
who cling to the promise of the Resurrection
who might just perhaps
dare to cross that line too!

The Holy Spirit Breathed Life Back Into Me!!!

I looked around the round and what did I see? The room wasnt just full of grey-haired individuals but rather people of all different age groups. The room was filled with a vibrancy and vitality that I hadnt felt in awhile. Bishop Hanson was so grace-filled in his comments and answers to the questions posed to him tonight at a town hall meeting. I could say more but its late and I need some sleep. I still highly respect this man and as I listened I was enlivened to carry out Christ's mission. Some days life seems crazy, difficult etc especially after the CWA actions of 09 but tonight I am filled once again with hope for a future that will bring so much and bless so many. The Holy Spirit through Bishop Mark's words breathed life back into me again!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A More Expansive and Inclusive Church

WOW!!! What can I say? The PCUSA (Presbyterian Church of the USA) now too has voted to openly allow LGTB individuals to be ordained in their church. They are now added to the growing number of mainline Protestant churches who are now allowing for LGBT individuals to be ordained in their churches! The largest---the Methodist church---is still arguing over this issue! My first response to hearing this news was "Praise be to God!" As an ELCA Lutheran, I have seen how the ELCA has struggled tremendously over this issue. However I believe that in the long-run we will be blessed by this decision. I have many friends who left seminary because they felt turned away and not welcomed. I was saddened by that because most of them have wonderful gifts for ministry and churches were missing out because they couldnt call these individuals. As I read the article posted on the NY Times, what I read was many of the feelings that were expressed and felt after the 2009 decision at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly. (You can find the article here:The PCUSA Now Has Joined the ELCA and Other Protestant Churches on this Big Decision!)And yes, there are still remnents of that decision; people who still disagree and/or will never agree with what happened. And I understand where these invididuals are coming from. In fact, some of them are people I highly respect and value their opinion. However I can't help but wonder what God or Jesus would say in the midst of all of this. As a woman called to pick up her basin and towel, I am called to pick up my basin and towel and serve all God's people; no matter who that person is! For me, that is a essential to my call in this church! I know the PCUSA will go through some of the struggles we have been through over the last two years but in the end, I cant help but think that this will make us stronger. As I watch these events, I can't help but realize that we are being called more and more every day to be a more expansive and inclusive church! What a gift that will be to us and the world! Praise be to God!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Living Lutheran: Trying to Figure Out How To Respond in the Midst of Varying Opinions?

I frequently like to read www.livinglutheran.org! It is a great website that declares our Lutheran heritage and has many different views on world events etc. Recently my friend Renee was featured in a video on their page about "Resurrection Faith." What an amazing witness to God's grace, love, and mercy!

Today I happened to be checking out this page when I came across an article about Bin Laden's death from a personal blog that was featured on this website. The author talked about how people weren't celebrating Bin Laden's death but rather our defeat over him. (You can find the article here:http://www.livinglutheran.com/blog/2011/05/celebrating-our-enemys-defeat.html)Now that makes sense to me. However I still am having a hard time wrapping my head around all of this. As a woman called to pick up her basin and towel, I know that God has called me to wash the feet of all God's people. Now I'm not saying that Bin Laden's feet should be washed because Im not even convinced that he should have been allowed to live on this earth. But what I do know is that God often reached out to the lost, the least, and the lonely among us. How would he choose to react? What I am also saying is that I don't believe that hate or even joy or celebration is the way for us to react. It seems to me that hate only feeds off of hate and creates more hate! What does that do for us in today's world? Is that what the Resurrected Jesus looks like?

I understand that people need to celebrate their enemie's death and I will let them do that. I don't hold that against them at all! I just can't choose to do that myself! I understand that we all have varying opinions on this subject but for me it is not about the death of this evil one or the victory over this evil one but rather for me its about choosing love over hate, forgiveness over holding a grudge, peace over violence, etc!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Simple Friday Five

A nice change of a pace after my last three posts!

Here's a Word Association Friday Five, with a bonus twist for those feeling creative. First, for each of these five words -- all of which remind me of my *most* excellent vacation -- share the first word that comes to mind when you read it.

1) Airport-Boston
2) Baseball--Twinkies
3) Art-Picaso
4) Chocolate-Snickers
5) Grill-Summer

Bonus: Tell us a story that comes to mind based on one of the word pairs.

The one story that comes to mind when I think of Airports is from January 2010. I was on a trip to Gettysburg PA when the news of Wartburg Seminarian Ben Larson's death in the Haiti earthquake broke. Ben's wife Renee and I worked at camp together and she introduced me to Ben and Ben's cousin Jon. We spent the last part of the two weeks grieving with Renee, Jon, the Wartburg Seminary community, etc. While at the airport in Boston (closest airport to Gettysburg) waiting for my flight home, I was listening to my IPOD when Aaron Shust's Song "My Savior, My God" came on! As I listened to the words "We dont always understand what God has willed, what God has planned," I found myself thinking about what had just happened. You can find the link to the whole story here: Check it out here!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Sorting Out Love and Hate

Alright, Im beginning to think I shouldn't read the discussion groups on social media sites or the Web because they totally get my mind spinning and thinking about how I should respond etc. Earlier this week, I found myself trying to wrap my mind and brain around the death of Osama Bin Laden...and must admit that in some ways, Im still trying to sort through it. I read an interesting article earlier today titled "Preaching and Osama." It was a great article that talked about how this Sunday, preachers are going to have to help their parishioners sort out the difference between love and hate. An interesting perspective! You can find the article at this link http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~loader/Osama.htm

Then today I open up a discussion group conversation talking about Rob Bell's new book, "Love Wins." I know many people don't like what Bell is writing and are calling him a heretic and a universalist. That is so silly to me! There are parts of the book that really make me wonder if he was a Lutheran in a former life! He does talk a lot about God's grace and mercy. I am reminded of a question he poses in the book, "Which is stronger and more powerful: the hardness of the human heart or God's unrelenting, infinite, expansive love (Love Wins, Rob Bell)?" Bell suggests that God's love wins! And I hope he is right! As a woman called to pick up her basin and towel, I believe that I am called to pick up my basin and towel and wash the feet of ALL God's people. Who am I to judge? I am just as sinful as the next person!
I know that this concept is difficult for some of us to grasp but I'm convinced that Jesus gave us the example. Who did Jesus reach out to? The least, the lost, the lowly, the marginalized of society! So how can we show that love to others? How can we reach beyond ourselves and beyond our church walls?

It seems to me that the ELCA has done a wonderful job even in the midst of hard times to continue to spread that love. Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR---a partnership of the ELCA and Missouri Synod) is often the first response team on the site during a natural disaster. The ELCA has over 250 missionaries serving in over 50countries. And the list could go on and on. But the reality is that the ELCA has struggled over the last several years because people are upset over the decisions made at the ELCA Churchwide assembly. How can we help each other to respect each others opinions and continue to help spread God's love not just in our own churches but outside our church walls to the world? What do we teach our children and our homes if we only keep our resources for ourselves?

In the end, I am convinced that if we share God's love to all and move beyond these decisions, we will be truly blessed! Who am I to judge? And who am I to say who can and cannot lead? Jesus himself used some interesting and unexpected characters to spread his message of the gospel! I am reminded of a question my colleague asked the other day, "Where have you seen the Risen and Living Jesus?" (And be forwarned that if I like your responses, I may share them with my colleague)

Oh yeah and yesterday was my 400th post!!!!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Bonhoeffer, MLK Jr. and Me

I'm still really having a hard time wrapping my head around the news of Osama Bin Laden's death. I understand that people need to rejoice; rejoice for those that lost their lives on Sept 11, 2001. I understand that many of us are feeling relief for this evil man who caused the death of these people and cannot hurt them anymore. Yet Im still having a hard time wrapping my head around how I should feel. This morning I sat with some ladies in my Tues morning devos. I spoke my mind and told them how I was feeling; that I just couldn't bring myself to celebrate over the death/murder of someone even this evil one. I was immediately met by responses that told me that they rejoiced. I don't shame them or blame them for that at all. I myself just cannot bring myself to celebrate the death of ANYONE! How should I feel? How should I react? I am reminded of Lutheran Theologian Dietrich Boenhoeffer who in the last part of his life wondered if God was calling him to murder and instead ended up in a concentration camp. Recently a quote has been all over fb and it seems to capture how I am feeling in these days. I've recently been informed that only the last half of the quote was truly MLK Jr. and that the first half came from somewhere else. I hesistate to post a quote that I am unsure of the source but it is truly capturing how I feel. ""I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." I am clinging to these words as I try to discern and wrap my head around the events of the last several days and how I should feel, etc, etc!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

When Enemies Fall.....

Tonight I was sitting watching one of my favorite Sunday night shows "Brothers and Sisters" when a national news report came in to interrupt the show. The news report was to announce that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. I understand that many people have lost their lives and that Bin Laden probably didnt deserve to live on this earth. However I cannot help but think about what Jesus said in our gospel reading from John this morning. "My peace I give to you." Tonight my fb feed is full of statuses about this news. But I cannot bring myself to celebrate death of any kind! Im uncomfortable celebrating anyone's death; no matter who that person is! In the midst of moments like this, I find myself continuing to pray even more for shalom for God's people! In the book of Proverbs, we hear these words, "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles (Proverbs 24:17)." I know this is not easy for us to do but again I am reminded of those words we heard from Jesus, "My peace I give to you." I could go on and on with other verses that will make us reflect on what happened tonight. Look up Romans 12:16-21 or Matthew 5:43-44!But in the midst of this historical event, I cant help but think about what Jesus says to us when our enemies fall. What example did Jesus set for us?

A friend had this quote on her fb status tonight and it seems so fitting. It was the words I was searching for as I listened and heard the news of Bin Laden's death. "There are no good guys when it comes to hate. Our hope is not in death, our hope is in reconciliation through the life that is the light of the world!"

"Peace be with you, my friends!"