Friday, December 28, 2007
The drive into the mountains was absolutely glorious. Snow was falling and the scene was one of peace and beauty. I hate being cold in Texas because it seeps into your bones but being in New Mexico was just as I remembered growing up. And hasn't really bothered me at all, Ryss has had a little more trouble adjusting to the cold.
Down in the lobby of the resort last night they had a man (Tom Perry) playing both the violin and guitar (not at the same time). We spent hours watching him. She can't wait to see him again tonight. I haven't' been able to convince her to play the violin with him or even to bring her guitar down to the lobby. What a goof. We picked up some guitar lesson books for her in Amarillo and she is already playing "Ode to Joy" and "O Susanna".
It has been fun so far. The only bad thing to happen was I lost some money--somewhere. Not enough to matter but enough to sting a little. I consider it my offering to the Mountain gods....I'm just kidding.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
(Notice Luke closely watching her and Misti the cat trying to sneak in close. Lily is getting close to me, I think she isn't sure about all the noise.)
Ryss experimenting with her new violin.
My mom crocheted all of our Christmas ornaments. I love the fact that they are handmade and unbreakable, which is very important in my house.We are packing. Getting reading to leave for the mountains tomorrow. Yippee!!
Monday, December 24, 2007
Candlelight Service: I thought it was going to be a disaster. My musician and my liturgist did not show up for the Christmas Candlelight Service. I was freaking out. We had a ton, a ton, of guests. AND NO ONE TO PLAY THE MUSIC.
We did the entire service of Lessons and CAROLS a cappella. It was a wonderful service. During one hymn, my daughter, who was helping with the reading of the lessons made everyone do an extra verse of a hymn that she thought they could do better. It was all done with humor and laughter and, guess what, the second time was much better. Imagine a very short, 13 year-old girl, bossing and coaxing an entire congregation to put more heart in the singing of the hymns. John Wesley would be proud....I know that I am.
I wish that the shrinks could see how preachers react to real-life situations. We still haven't found out where the missing pianist (AKA Head Bane) or the liturgist are. We drove over, checking on them but the house was empty, car was gone, and all the presents were gone from under the tree. So we are hoping that they are with family.
Spent yesterday, after church, with my ex-husband's family. He wasn't there but they are so great to both Ryss and I. I wasn't looking forward to driving to Flower Mound which is over 100 miles from our house, but it was a good trip. One of the reasons was my new present from Ryss. She got me a Sirius Radio for the car. I listened to a comedy show all the way there and laughed all the way there. I thought that after that horrible drive to Houston I would hate being in the car again but it was nice and now I'm not dreading the actual drive to New Mexico.
My neice was kind of enought to give me a massage today. She is a Registered Massage Therapist. It is so nice having one in the family. Now all we need is an Auto Mechanic and a doctor and the family will be sitting pretty.
Tonight my baby curled up in my lap while I read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to her. One of our holiday traditions. She is real big on traditions. If we do it once (and she likes it), it offically and magically becomes a tradition. So I'm praying that all of you have put your presents under the tree, kissed all your munchkins (or spouses) and wake up to a truly magical morning.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
He will let me know the results sometime after the 1st of the year. It is all in God's hands now. I refuse to let it spoil the Christmas holidays with my daughter. I've done all I can. The only negative thought that I have is that I have been tested four times and even last month was assured that everything was normal with my testing. One of my friends has suggested that they may have mixed up the test results since it isn't done by our name but by a number. Ah well, I will survive even if he doesn't give me a good recommendation.
Friday, December 21, 2007
I played the RevGalPalBlog Trivia game this morning and scored a perfect 10 and I was #1 (at least until people not on dial-up start playing). I went to the doctor yesterday and I have lost a grand total of 22 pounds since my physical in October.
Good signs....probably not....but I WILL BE POSITIVE.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
I am dealing with it but I'm not happy. I was truly called by God to this life or I wouldn't be fighting this hard for it. And if this had happened ten years ago, I wouldn't stick around for the 2nd Act. I have faith that this is where God wants me but the bureaucracy is killing me.
I've been told that part of the problem is that I don't fit the profile that the Conference has for its clergy. Strike one against me...I'm not male. Strike two against me....I'm a single mother. Strike three against me.....I'm no longer in my twenties or thirties. It doesn't help that I'm Hispanic but don't speak Spanish. Basically, I'm not what the establishment is used to seeing. Lest you believe that I am being paranoid, this came from a member of the District Board of Ordained Ministry.
So I am being proactive this morning, I have started writing down different conference telephone numbers so I can have a plan of action if tomorrow doesn't go well. Plus, I'm going to contact a couple of local community colleges and schools about possible positions.
My Bible Study group was very supportive of my ministry last night. They affirmed my calling and the fruits of my ministry which was very comforting. It goes against my nature to confide in people but I really needed their prayers and support last night. I will have my 4th anniversary at this church in 11 days, longer than any other pastor in recent (or known) history. I am finding it hard to rejoice in that right now.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Why do we put ourselves through things like this?? When I graduated with my B.S. in History, I could have went straight into teaching without any student loan debt. Five years later, I'm up to my eyeballs in debt from seminary and, apparently, still I'm not finished jumping through all of the hoops that this conference puts before us.
I will drive to Houston (five hours away), meet with this guy for an hour at 4 p.m., and then try to turn around and make it back to my daughter before midnight. He wanted to meet next Wednesday (the day after Christmas). I told him I was leaving on my first vacation in 18 months that day and couldn't do it then.
Do any of you need a slightly used pastor in your conference? And they wonder why the numbers of clergy are dropping!
Here is mine: "Lord, help me to relax about insignificant details beginning tomorrow at 11:41.23 CST (17:41.23 GMT)."
If you want to know your specific personality type prayer, comment with your type and I will answer you in the comments.
What had me digging through my old files? Well, I received the books that I mentioned a few days ago. They are all about tailoring your prayer life and spirituality based on your type. I'm getting started on the reading at exactly 9:55.45 CST :)
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I, also, finished the bulletins for the next two weeks and for the Candlelight Service. The only thing left on my to-do list is changing the oil. I even bought an ice scraper for the mountains.
I read a wonderful recipe on www.writingasjoe.blogspot.com that I can't wait to try. Of course, it means another trip to the store. I had everything I needed except for the apple juice. It will be perfect for my diet.
I have lost another two pounds this week for a total of (drumroll, please) thirteen pounds. I bought new jeans which were a size smaller and had to punch a new hold in my belt. Unfortunately, my personal trainer had to stop training through the holidays due to her schedule. So I got up this morning and did the entire routine all by myself. I'm not anywhere near my goal but, the way I see it, it's a journey of small steps.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Unfortunately it is now fixed and I have almost finished inputting all of the report data, at least all that can be finished before the year actually ends.
I have several things that must be accomplished this week....a few more presents to buy....change the oil and check the anti-freeze in the SUV.....finish bulletins for the next two Sundays and for the Candlelight Service....bake something for a bake sale at school.........the list is never-ending, is it?
(And it didn't hurt that I went back to bed after Ryss got on the school bus and slept until 10:30. Of course, I will be behind for the rest of the day but I feel so much better.)
My friend called last night. He had read my blog and thought that I must have been exaggerating about my day, especially about the advent wreath catching on fire. I assured him that it was all the literal truth. Nothing, including the Advent fire, was for comic effect. He gave me a suggestion about what to preach next Sunday something along the lines of this generation must die before the people can enter into the Holy land.....I decided better not.
I am too excited to be upset any longer....leaving on vacation next week.....going to the mountains....visiting God in the high places......they have had three feet of new powder in the last seven days....
My one and only concern this morning is the End of Year Reports that are supposed to be on DOVE (computer system from "the evil one"). They aren't there. How can I have them done before I leave on vacation if they aren't there?
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Oh the things that we learn from our children.
(Nine more days until I leave on vacation)
One of the families paid for and had installed new carpet in the nursery. However that didn't sit well with one of the "Banes" or her daughter. Of course, the issue wasn't the lovely new carpet, rather it was misdirected, misplaced anger over the merger. The daughter was not speaking to anyone today. Which didn't sit well with another parishioner who challenged her about it and said if she wasn't there to worship she should leave so the rest could worship in peace. During the Passing of the Peace the daughter totally snubbed me and turned away. She, also, left the sanctuary prior to the Eucharist.
Have you ever stood in the pulpit, preaching the Word of God, and felt like you were being crucified in the minds of some sitting out in the sanctuary (which didn't feel like a sanctuary today)? Have you ever wondered why it only takes one or two to ruin the mood of a church worship experience? Have you ever come home from church with a splitting headache?
No wonder Jesus went off by himself to pray so often.....people are a pain in the %$*.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
1. Spend four straight hours cleaning, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, rearranging furniture.
2. Family arrives.
3. All the men and kids head outside and play football in the cold.
4. Track in mud and leaves back into clean house.
5. Sing Happy Birthday.
6. Cut the cake and cake crumbs end up everywhere.
7. At least one fight.
8. Almost everyone leaves....always some cousins decide to spend the night.
9. Quiet descends on a dirty house.
10. Oh well, I don't have to clean it again until we invite more company and start the cycle all over again.
Happy Birthday, baby.
Friday, December 14, 2007
After seminary, I designated Friday as my Sabbath and I have tried really hard to stick to it. Today, I planned on taking time for myself. First, I tried to sleep late....doorbell rang and woke me up. Then I tried to work out...phone rang and I had to go pick out new carpet for the nursery. And then, of course, go and move all the nursery furniture out so that the carpet installer's could install said carpet.
Usually the worst offender for violating my time off is the head of my SPRC. Today she is totally innocent. I wonder if it is harder for a small town pastor to be left alone then for a big city pastor. In this area, it is totally acceptable for a person to just show up on your doorstep without calling first, which happens with regularity.
As an introvert, I crave time alone. Time with just myself and my God in prayer, in reflection. I hate the idea of having to leave my home in order to be alone.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
We have grown up together (which is a sad commentary on where I was before she was born). God has truly blessed me and I truly believe that even when she is having a very grouchy morning like yesterday. I never expected to have children...the doctor's said that I wouldn't. So she was a surprise and filled me with sheer terror. I had never even changed a diaper before she was born.
I had, however, raised and trained dogs for most of my life. I never knew how much that influenced my raising of Ryss until one day when she was just learning to walk. I wanted her to follow me and I slapped my thigh and said, "Come" while making the kissy noise that calls dogs. Now before you crucify me, I don't think that is an altogether bad thing. Raising/training dogs and raising children call for some similar components....consistency, discipline, your time, and most of all love.
Her birthday party is Saturday and I took her to buy her birthday clothes on Monday (she is very, very picky about what she wears). So tonight it will be just the two of us (which it has been since she was 18 month's old), I am making Cornish hens for dinner. Plus, I got up at 5:30 to make her favorite breakfast--pancakes.
I still feel sheer terror sometimes and an overwhelming love all the time. Frustration occasionally, irritation more often and exhaustion on a regular basis but I am so very glad that the doctor's were wrong because this has been a wonderful thirteen years.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
We almost didn't have enough money in the bank to pay me this month, which was not tied to the attendance at all. We've actually had pretty good attendance so far this month. Of course, Christmas is a hard time for everyone and is especially bad this month and this year.
I am going to work out with my personal trainer this morning and then spending the afternoon making Christmas presents and working on my sermon. Hopefully, this will keep my mind off the meeting so that I don't get an upset stomach worrying.
Ryss missed her first day of school yesterday. Her birthday is this week and I took her to Dallas to go shopping. I don't even try to buy clothes for her anymore. I would never get the right size or the right color or the right anything. You gotta luv 'em.
Friday, December 7, 2007
MoreCows talked about counseling a young man who was being bullied at school. And I wonder if we couldn't develop some program to help with situations like that....I'm just thinking out loud about making a difference. I mean isn't that why most of us answered this peculiar calling?
My 92 year old parishioner made it through the surgery with flying colors. They did have to remove a portion of her colon but she didn't even need any pain meds last night. While I was ministering to that family another branch of the same family came into the emergency room. So I got to shuffle back and forth between the two groups. Both are recovering right now.
I was given the name of a UMC pastor in California who is just finishing up his D.Min. project over a similar topic as mine. He was so very helpful and talked to me for almost an hour. Gave me several ideas and, even better, several books that will help. So I ordered them as soon as we got off the phone and I can't wait until I get them. They help you tailor your prayer life (or that of your small groups) based on your Meyer-Briggs type. He told me, based on my type, that I would most closely identify with Ignatius of Loyola and Francis of Assisi. My gospel writer is Matthew. I definitely agreed with the Francis assessment (I have written several papers over Francis and his order). But not with the Matthew assessment----Mark is my favorite gospel writer. He did say that I would like James the brother of Jesus. And I do. "Faith without works is dead"....who doesn't love that?
I tried to start a Bible Study over the James Spiegel book on Christian virtues. However, after the group reviewed the book, they decided that it was too hard for them to read. (See me.....biting my tongue....refusing to comment.....)
Well, I'm spending my afternoon decorating the Christmas float for the Ladies Club.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
The Conference Registrar sent me an email today confirming the receipt of my commissioning packet. It's good to know that it isn't lost in the mail somewhere. Most of my friends all drive four hours (each way) to personally deliver their packets. I'm much to cheap to spend that kind of gas and time.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Decorating the church.... all done (nothing got broken).
Christmas Pageant.... very funny.
Four churches eating together..... best of all (Plus, we had enough food for everyone.....didn't expect that many people to show for the pageant and really didn't expect almost all of them to stay for dinner. It was awesome.)
Physical state....exhausted with District meeting tomorrow. There should be a rule against district meetings during Advent. Aren't we all busy enough?!!
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Another aspect of the season is parades, every little town in the area has them. I skipped one today. That's my confession. Between the church and all the civic organizations and Ryss's different activities, I would be working on parade floats 24/7. I skipped, I confess I skipped, and I don't feel sorry that I skipped. However, I will be there next week-end working on a float for the Ladies Club. Ryss is going to play the Virgin Mary. She has the coloring for a realistic Mary, if not the temperament.
Tomorrow the church will have a special visitor. One of my parishioner's sister is married to a Sheik from Jordon and they are both coming to the worship service. My fingers are crossed that my people are on their very best behavior. One of my member's and I have a debate every time that Islam is mentioned. She says that it was a mixture of all the different religions in the Middle East and I remind her that Christianity has many aspects of other religions mixed in our belief system. My B.S. is in Medieval History and I understand syncretism. She says it is different for Christians because our religion is based on Jesus Christ. Care to wade into the debate...........
Friday, November 30, 2007
New couple came to help clean the church today. He put up all the outside lights. Amazing!!! We got everything cleaned and prepped for the "Hanging of the Greens" on Sunday. It wasn't the way that I like to spend my day off but it worked out okay.
The workers came and pulled up the Memorial Garden today. They did a great job and everyone should be happy with the result. I wish that the family that put it in had kept it up the way that they promised and I really, really wish that my little, old Trustee man had not hurt the family's feelings over the upkeep. The man that was called a "traitor" by my trustee has actually come back to the church. Small communities are amazing. They really are like great big families, fighting and forgiving.
Ryss is competing at the Regional UIL Band competition with her oboe. They are not expected back until 11 p.m. Way past my bedtime, not necessarily when I go to sleep but I hate having to sit up at the school in the dark waiting for the bus. Parents aren't allowed to go to this competition. Hmmmppphhhh (grouses the mom).
Just got off the phone with girl child.... she made the Regional Band, Second Chair. Okay, not so grumpy now. I remember when she first started playing it. It sounded like a duck call. I used to tease her that all the ducks were circling our place looking for water. That phase wasn't nearly as painful as when she first learned the violin. It sounded like she was torturing her cat. Of course, she was only five at the time.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
My mentor watched my video, not all the way through because he had already heard me preach it once. He watched it looking to see if I was natural, confident and comfortable in the pulpit. He gave me an A+. I have packed up my commissioning packet and I am taking it to the post office in the morning (it was already closed when we were done). I bet you are all glad not to have to hear about that any more.
I have two graduation ceremony's on December 15th. My sister's and my friend's... she is graduating with a B.S. in Education and he is getting his M.Div. They are at different schools, 100 miles apart, at the same time. Yuck! I really wanted to celebrate with both of them but it looks like I have to choose. I'm thinking that I will go to my sister's.
My sister and I didn't always get along growing up. One of the most dramatic changes in my life after I accepted Christ was that the relationship with my sister improved. It isn't perfect but it gets better as the years go by.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
1. Often in life, when we find ourselves in binds, we choose the path of least resistance, or maybe we refuse to choose. When we need to be most decisive, we go passive. I think that you have to be good by choice and that much evil is simply a refusal to choose. In fact, most evil in this world probably stems from indecision. This is a important point to make in a country that makes much of freedom of choice. For what is freedom of choice if you've lost the ability to choose? (Credo, p. 130)
2. A dog can't go anywhere if he's always stopping to scratch his fleas. (Credo, p.132)
3. God loves us as we are, but much too much to leave us there. (Ibid)
4. It is often said that the Church is a crutch. Of course it's a crutch. What makes you think you don't limp? (Credo, p 137)
I was reading "How To Be Good In a World Gone Bad" by James Spiegel last night. He is a Christian philosophy teacher at Taylor University in Indiana. It is a book about the virtues. I have found it extremely helpful in my personal journey. Anyway I read a chapter on faith that really hit home.
You all know that I have been scared about sending in my Commissioning packet. He says that my fear is a symptom of a lack of faith. Ouch, double ouch. My friend who was ordained a few years ago said, "Send it in!" My mentor said, "Send it in."
I have been following a chatline about the problems with the ordination process. A pastor is who is now retired recounted the struggles that she had with the ordination process and how it almost kept her from being ordained as an elder. I suppose that my problem is not and has never been unique. And it was my pride that was hurt so in many ways I am showing a lack of faith.
I plan on taking it to the post office this week and mailing it. I would go today but I woke up (very late) feeling like I'm fighting off a cold. I am taking lots of zinc and vitamin C but feel pretty cruddy. This is not the season to get sick.... way too busy.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Well, they came back yesterday and are already making plans to become involved in the church. Did I mention the best part? He plays the guitar, the drums and loves to sing.
Plus, next Sunday I'm baptizing my new great-niece and making plans for an adult baptism. Things are looking up in my part of the world.
I went to the mat's when it came to remodeling the sanctuary. Took several punches over the evangelism events of last month. So I'm willing to "fight the good fight", but this doesn't seem like something that is worth the fight. Maybe I'm not seeing the whole picture, maybe my theology isn't strong on this point, but this is a season of joy and celebration with enough stress to go around. So we will be singing Christmas carols at my church. What about you?
On another subject: My daughter made it back from Oklahoma safely. Hugh sigh of relief. What was I thinking letting her travel to a different state on such a dangerous week-end? I must have been out of my mind!
The eye doctor's are still working on my prescription. They have it much better but I might have to switch doctor's because she is convinced that I need bi-focals and keeps saying that is why everything is fuzzy. I told her that I could read just fine with my old glasses and it is obviously the prescription. I hate it when they are stubborn. Plus, I hate that it is over on hour away.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Women comprise approximately 59% of the membership in the South Central Jurisdiction.
1. Laywomen in the South Central Jurisdiction comprise 48% of the jurisdictional delegates. Seven conferences have 50% or more women in their lay delegation. Two conferences have no laywomen as delegates to jurisdictional conference.
2. Clergywomen comprise 32% of the jurisdictional delegates. Nine conferences have more than 32% clergywomen as their delegates. Two conferences have no clergywomen as delegates to jurisdictional conferences.
I remember a year or so ago in Seminary when a young seminary student said, "I hate that we keep bringing up all this feminist stuff. I mean, we've all moved beyond the need for this any longer." He was very sincere, very naive but sincere. He felt the same way about race. Only a white male that grew up in a very affluent household could be that naive, and even then it was a little startling.
Shame on those two conferences that didn't see fit, to even try, to equally represent their conferences. I am curious if it will even be brought up at the conference. Will their lack of female representation even be mentioned?
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Darn I've almost talked myself out of it again. I am really, really nervous about my video sermon. I think I will have to take it to my mentor. He really liked it when I practiced it in front of him, so I don't see that changing. SHOOT. I am not usually this wishy-washy but after the fiasco of last year, I am feeling very tentative, nervous, scared...... not my usual self at all. I mean, I have spent the last four years preparing for this and if I don't make it this time, what will I do?
Amazing what rejection can do to a normally self-confident person.
Rolls, Wheat Bread, Macaroni & Cheese, and Jalepeno/bacon appetizers were my contribution to the family feast. All went amazingly well and then to top it off the Cowboy's won their game. It was great. Plus, I got home and watched my recorded Philadelphia Dog Show and the Australian Shepherd won Best in Show. Luke and I did a victory dance in the living room.
Football, food, family and dog shows.... how can you beat that?
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I will be at my sister's tomorrow for Thanksgiving. Last year we had it at my house but she got a new house a month ago and is dying for everyone to come there. I'm really glad. It means that I don't have to worry about getting mine "family" ready. And, I get to leave when I've had enough "family" time. When I accepted Christ into my heart, my family relationships dramatically improved, but they can be a little hard to take for extended periods of time. Luckily, I only live 30 minutes away so I can leave fairly easily.
I am absolutely not participating in "Black Friday" sales. I find all of that absolutely crazy. I can't understand actually getting up at 4 am, to stand in line, to spend my money. My sister-in-law lives for Friday and she does by a ton of stuff for a reasonable amount of money. I still can't see the appeal in getting pushed, shoved, and mauled to give a store money.
The church, kindly, gave me my paycheck early so that I could spend it buying stuff on Friday. Not happening..... but I wish all of you lot's of great bargains as you shop until you drop. I will sit in vigil for your safe return (if you tell me you will be out in that mess).
Monday, November 19, 2007
I was a little embarrassed because no one from my church actually showed up except for my daughter. The best part was the very, very young Baptist pastor from the church across the street. He looked at me and said, "Sister Dulce, have you been losing weight?" Yippee!!
I finally finished typing the recipes. It took forever. It will be my Christmas present to the Quilter's Club.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Commission packet... lying there looking all innocent and harmless. On my disciplinary questions last year, I wrote that we were all created in God's image. My triad jumped on the fact that I had not put the biblical source for that statement. I remember looking at them and thinking, "DUH, how about Genesis 1?".
Now I wonder, should I go ahead and send it to the Registrar or wait? What message does it send if I send it in a full month before it is due? Will they think that I am not taking it seriously? Or will they think that I have complex about dead-lines?
I am probably over-analyzing this, but I really want it out of my hair and off my mind. I don't want to worry about some accident in the house ruining the packet.
Am I being a totaly nut-case?
Did you know that there are thirteen (or maybe fifteen) national awareness promotions designated for the month of November! There might even be others.
Red Ribbon Month
Drunk & Drugged Driving (3D) Prevention Month
Lung Cancer Awareness Month
American Diabetes Month
National COPD Awareness Month
National Hospice Month
National Novel Writing Month
National Marrow Awareness Month
National Family Caregivers Month
National Inspirational Role Models Month
National Alzheimer's Disease Month
National American Indian Heritage Month
National Adoption Month
Aviation History Month
Prematurity Awareness Month
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I have been such a good girl the last few days and haven't had to move my "No Complaining" bracelet at all. However, that is changing right now. Typing those recipes for the "Banes of My Existence" quilting club is killing me. All the weird keystrokes for the numbers and different symbols has my carpal tunnel syndrome --screaming bloody murder.
Will I never learn? Don't volunteer, don't volunteer, don't volunteer.... which totally goes against my grain. I probably need to explore this aspect of my personality but not while typing all of these recipes.
I picked up my new contacts today. Extended wear. They feel so much better then the other ones did but I still think that the prescription for the left eye is wrong. In fact, I know it is. I have to go back in one week for a check-up and I will get her to fix the prescription. Good thing it is the left eye, I can't wink with the right one.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Met my personal trainer today... I only lost one pound this last week and that was with working out every single day. So I have lost a total of five pounds with the trainer and twelve pounds overall. She predicts that I will have lost twenty pounds by the time of my vacation if I keep working hard. If I manage that I might actually go skiing with Ryss and not just look on from the sidelines. I'm not sure though, because I have skied in Colorado and in Europe and I really don't like it that much. Now riding snowmobiles that is really cool.
Monday, November 12, 2007
It was pretty much all done but I got it all submitted on the DOVE system today and put the finishing touches on a couple of things.
I feel very free now. So I will be going into my psych evaluation with a good attitude, which is much better than it was last week. I am so psyched right now. All of that stuff that was hanging over my head is gone; Charge Conference=finished, Commissioning Stuff=finished, D.Min. papers=finished except for one paragraph and bibliography.
I am dancing around my office right now.
Now about that bibliography- my D.Min. project is over small groups and spiritual growth in a small church. I have a lot of Spiritual formation and growth books but my library is sadly deficient in small group dynamics, leadership of small groups, etc. Do any of you have book recommendations? This is due on November 20th. And then I will be finished for 2007 except for all the normal churchy stuff that we all will be doing.
I am getting very excited about my vacation. Please pray that nothing interferes with this. It seems kind of selfish but I am tired and really want a break.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Ryss and I watched movies all day yesterday. Never left the house. It was great. I stayed away from the computer so I wouldn't be tempted to work and I wasn't. Ryss spent a couple of hours trying to make flying cheaper than driving to New Mexico. She really wanted to fly but was unable to come up with a better rate. She had worked it out except for that bummer part of me having to work on Christmas Eve. Sometimes it's a bummer being a PK.
Psych eval tomorrow. Yippee!! I will let you know how it goes. Hopefully, they will decide that I'm not too crazy to be a pastor, which is a little subjective, isn't it???????????
Friday, November 9, 2007
1.to care for your body
New exercise program and I have lost four pounds over the last week. I even bought a new indoor bike for variety in the exercise program.
2. to care for your spirit
I am planning a vacation to New Mexico to visit my Dad. I haven't told anyone yet except in my quest to find someone to preach for me. I might even take my daughter skiing, which is totally not my thing but she loves the snow. I grew up next to Taos in New Mexico and only the crazy tourists went skiing.
3. to care for your mind
I have a checklist and have almost checked off everything that has to be submitted for my commissioning. When that is done, my mind will be free, free I say. Plus, I have totally tuned into watching "That 70's Show". My personality profile said that was the best way for me to relieve stress.
4. to bring a sparkle to your eye
Contacts. My peeps told me Sunday at church that contacts make me look 10 years younger. Which is a backwards compliment if I ever heard one. It reminds me of one of my now deceased parishioners who said, "You preach good...for a woman".
5. to place a spring in your step, Enjoy the time to indulge and dream....
I don't know if it is a dream but I really pray that my commissioning goes through with no hitches. It has been a tough year on me.
and then for a bonus which one on the list are you determined to put into action?
I am determined to get into shape. Really, the personal trainer is working my butt off, literally working it off.
I think that I was feeling a little anxious after graduating from seminary. I thought, "What ever will I do with all this extra time?" Duhhh.... needless to say, there has been no extra time.
Joining stuff has never worked very well for me. First, I joined the Army, not just once either, I re-enlisted. And now the Ladies Club. At least in the Army I got to rappel off of cool stuff, like old castles, got to go up with the US Army parachute team and did lots of other cool stuff.
There has been no cool stuff to do in the Ladies Club. Sigh!
Thursday, November 8, 2007
I'm not as worried. My sister went vegetarian and her cholesterol levels dropped dramatically. I probably won't go quite that far but I will cut out all red meat. I've been eating much better anyway with the whole dieting thing.
Four pounds in one week. I was very happy.
Emotionally I'm a little bummed out. When I came here four years ago, I really had high hopes about turning this little church around. I knew that the conference would only prop them up financially for five years. Well, time is almost up and they can't make it on their own. They could manage the salary of a part-time pastor but that is only delaying the inevitable.
The conference had been trying for years to get this merger accomplished and it never got this far before now. It could all blow up and still not actually happen but the writing is on the wall.
I wonder if you are being a good leader when it really feels like failure?
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Do any of you wear contacts? Are they usually clearer than glasses?
Well, I'm off to the "personal trainer". I have lost weight this week. Yippee!!
Monday, November 5, 2007
Now those of you who are logical might say, "don't they know how many need to have the evaluation and make an according number of appointments to see the Head Doctor?" I would say, no, no -- that would make to much sense. It is much better for us to be in competition with each other, harassing our references (because they won't make the appointment until your references are into the psych office) and even paying to have the references Next Day Aired to the good doctor.
Well, you know me--they received my references (Next Day Aired) last Tuesday. I immediately called....no answer. Left messages.....not returned. Now keep in mind I have spoken with or left a message with the appointment lady every two days. Finally, got through today. Was told, we have no slot for you. It wasn't pretty. Temper tantrum does not really begin to describe what I did after hanging up with the lady. My dogs are still lurking around the corner. Luke has never seen such a thing and is still a little bit scared.
After calming down, I called the District Chair of Ordained Ministry. She is wonderful and she knew how on top of this process I have been (because I have kept her informed every step of the way). Well, not exactly sure what she did but the lady called me back and I now have an appointment with the good doctor next Monday at the northern location.
All of us going through this process feel that we are held hostage at this particular step of the program, all appointments must be with this one doctor and through just this particular lady. And we must compete for a limited number of slots if we live in the Northern half of the conference.
I have never really believed that complaining was the right way to handle a situation like this. I mean, how does it look? I, also, thought that the doctor might write up a bad report if you did something like this (and who knows he might). But I can't find it in me to be sorry about it this time. And I must say that the hissy fit has left me feeling drained and cleansed in a strangely peculiar way.
You have all heard the term, Nepotism. Well, that describes our conference and the relationship with this "Center". There are hundreds of qualified clinical psychologists in my area. Why just one?
Oh look, Luke has come back into the office and is laying at my feet. He must sense that I am better now and that scary, scary lady has went away. I know that most of you probably live in a conference that doesn't make you turn into a bloody competitor for appointments with someone that every single candidate must see. And so, you are probably sitting there shaking your heads or maybe you are remembering your process. Something has to be done and in three years (God have mercy), this is going to be my cause.
Friday, November 2, 2007
I finished writing most of my papers for my D.Min. semester. I will have to do two more before the next seminar in July, one before the end of November and the other before the end of June. I am preaching my commission sermon on Sunday (and video taping it). I went and practiced with my mentor and had him critique the sermon and the delivery. He said I did a great job (Yippee). All of my paperwork is pretty much complete and ready for submission. In fact, next week I will have it all wrapped up. It is not due until December 19th. Anal, OCD, you make the call!
I believe that I put most of the pressure on myself and it caught up with me yesterday. I have a confession. I never got out of my pajamas yesterday. However, I did do my assigned physical work-out (on a stationary bicycle in my pajamas). I have been a good girl in that department. I thought that it would help the cramps but they came on with a vengeance yesterday. I am better today. This was something that I had no experience with until the last couple of years. All of my check-ups are normal, so a guess it is part of getting older but I must admit that it sucks.
I would like to spend part of the Christmas school break visiting my dad in New Mexico. He is having heart problems (more than one heart attack). Yesterday, was his birthday and he sounded pretty down. I haven't been to see him in several years. I haven't had a vacation in over a year and a half, so I'm due but leaving during Christmas might be hard. Maybe if we left after church and came back before church the following week. I need to start planning now and try to find someone to preach because I think that a Sunday away might be even better.
Sunday is my three month anniversary of blogging. Happy Anniversary to MoreCows for making one year. I am looking forward to the 3-month anniversary because now I will be able to join RevGalBlogPals. Funny thing for an introvert to look forward to, joining a group. Isn't it?
Thursday, November 1, 2007
70% of the people responding said, "Yes", 22 % said "No", and 8% "Undecided". Where does Jesus advocate that the ends justify the means?
Please tell me that was an anomaly! Surely, that isn't the way that people truly feel?
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Working on my own I have only lost ten pounds over the last three months. Will keep you updated on how well it works.
Monday, October 29, 2007
They have every single piece of paperwork filed under a different file, which to me, seems like a complete waste of files. And they are named very unusually, it is frustrating.
I can only imagine what people who have limited computer skills are feeling, especially local pastors who may or may not even have church computers and definitely won't have any office help.
What is especially frustrating is that we have to fill the charge conference paperwork out on-line, then print it out and submit it manually also. So it isn't saving trees or time.
Maybe Ozzy had it right back in the 80's --- just bite the heads off of those DOVE's.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I woke up last night thinking that someone was suffocating me, you would have thought that I would have just opened my mouth to breath. I blaming it on the cat. Ryss spent the night somewhere else and so the cats and the dogs slept with me. I might have to go from a full-size bed to a King-size if this keeps up.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
And then had to go to a family thing (two family member's birthday party; one turned 1 and the other turned 62). It was cute but I was too tired to really enjoy being with my family.
My references for commissioning finally received their official forms. I was getting worried and called the testing center. The woman in charge said that they were mailed out last Saturday. Hmmmm.... they were postmarked Thursday. Wasn't there something in the Bible about being trusted in/with the small things?!?
My Commissioning Bible Study is over First Corinthians. Any insights would be appreciated.
Friday, October 26, 2007
This is the first Friday that I have been free to devote the entire day (well most of it) to the Festival. I have had a blast and I am exhausted. Tomorrow, I ride on the float. Yes, the float is finished and looks very cool. The Free water is stationed at strategic places around the fair grounds. And won't even need to be iced until later in the day because it will be cold tonight. And even though I was perturbed at that certain group in my church, I called and asked if I could set up there canopy and tables at the fair grounds. And they happily agreed. Nuff, said.
Click on this link http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/ If 150 people click on the site every day the sponsors will donate a free mammogram. It doesn't take but a couple of seconds and costs you nothing.
It is Domestic Violence Prevention Month. This is a ministry that every church should be involved in. Have you preached about Domestic Violence this month? Have you talked to your children about this topic? Knowledge is power.
It is Book Lovers Month. Hurray for that. Gotta luv the books. I am currently reading "The Intellectual Devotional". It says it will "Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education and Converse Confidently about our Nation's Past". I am on Day 6, only one year to go before I am completely REVIVED. :)
It is, also, the month when you can send money to UNICEF. For more information visit www.unicefusa.org/trickortreat You can dress up for a good cause and help provide clean water, vaccines, nutrition and education to "all the little children of the world".
So see, it is an important month in a lot of different ways. I am thinking about declaring it my favorite month but I don't want all the other months to have their feeling's hurt. It is a huge dilemma.
My decorations are pretty lame this year.
1. How did you celebrate this time of year when you were a child?
We always dressed up but it was always a huge costume that allowed all of the coats to be wore underneath the costume.
2. Do you and/or your family “celebrate” Halloween? Why or why not? And if you do, has it changed from what you used to do?
We did but the child is too old to actually Trick-or-Treat so this year she is doing the UNICEF Trick or Treating. I thought it was a neat idea. My cousin goes all out, so tomorrow we are having a huge birthday part that is Halloween themed.
2. Candy apples: Do you prefer red cinnamon or caramel covered? Or something else?
3. Pumpkins: Do you make Jack O’ Lanterns? Any ideas of what else to do with them?
We have to paint them here. We tried to carve them but the heat and humidity cause them to melt into a pile of goo.
After the holidays, we feed them to the horse that lives next to us. They love pumpkins (and sweet potatoes)
4. Do you decorate your home for fall or Halloween? If so, what do you do? Bonus points for pictures.
See lame picture above. That is the extent of our decorations this year, so far. It has been so hectic plus, I'm a bit of a coward. We used to go all out. The yard, the outside of the house, the inside of the house. My storage box for my Halloween decorations used to be bigger than the Christmas box. When I was appointed here, the powers that controlled the church let it be known that Halloween was satanic. I didn't agree but it was politically expedient to cut back on the decorations.
5. Do you like pretending to be something different? Does a costume bring our an alternate personality?
Nope.....My alternate personality comes out at different times of the year. Although......I have a blonde wig.
Bonus: Share your favorite recipe for an autumn food, particularly apple or pumpkin ones.
We tried to make Barbara Kingsolver's Pumpkin Soup. It was okay. Eating it in the pumpkin was cool but we really liked the soup before it ever went into the pumpkin.
My favorite thing to eat this time of year is Pumpkin pie.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Much accomplished today. Between parade floats, D.Min. papers, sermons, charge conference, and commissioning stuff, I haven't had a chance to breath. Throw in a dash of Jr. High football and life is busy.
I am finding it hard to turn it all off at night. I keep working on commissioning stuff late into the night. It is hard finding balance right now.
Bye for now....must run to the school and pick up daughter.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Received email tonight that was sent to all persons going through the process, that there was an error. I sent my first email about the issue over one week ago. Apparently it only counts if an Elder reports said error.
It reminds me of boot camp. The trainee's aren't really treated as human beings. And I understand why the military does it, but it is a little difficult to take when it is the church. I wonder if it is a form of bureaucratic hazing??
Between dealing with that all day and the charge conference computer program.... it was frustrating. However, Bible Study was wonderful. We finished the water re-labeling program for Saturday and completed a lot of the sign preparation for the float.
It is great the way the Bible study group is coming together a true covenant group. It is good to see that everything isn't as bad as it felt last night.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Of course, they waited until the last minute to start kicking up a fuss. We have already spend money on the decorations, announced it to everyone, advertised, etc. We have labeled 20 cases of free water to pass out.
Now the kicker is this...they have never helped with the float before. This will be my fourth year. They only thing they do is show up and climb on. Well, I got news for them--we are doing a float even if it is just a little red wagon pulled by yours truly.
And before you ask, I have already moved my wrist band for complaining. But I thought that the top of my head might explode.
What do you do when people don't want to DO anything? And not only that, they don't want ANYONE ELSE TO DO ANYTHING. They think that people should just show up at our doors every Sunday because it is sitting there. I totally agree with the statement that "being a pastor is like being pecked to death by ducks".
My littlest baby turns One today. For those of you who don't have pets maybe it seems crazy but they are a joy to millions of us and I can't express the joy that mine bring to me. So sing Happy Birthday to Lucien Trinity a.k.a. Lucifer or Luke today.
However, spending an entire day researching at the Library makes the rest of my weekly duties seem like I'm playing catch-up the rest of the week. But I am not feeling guilty because I know that I won't have a day off until next week sometime.
We are honoring the mighty Sweet Potato this week-end and our little, little community will swell to over 3,000 as visitors pour in. Now keep in mind that we only have 800 telephone numbers with our prefix. It means a big jump. We might even have a traffic jam or two.
Monday, October 22, 2007
I am, also, going and sitting in the cold and rain because I have been anointed the picture taker for the team--yearbook photos are needed. Of course, I would be there anyway so it is good to have an official function.
It was not, however, a good sign when we pulled up to the school and there are cops everywhere. They were only letting the Cross Country team enter the school grounds. Apparently, the school was broken into over the week-end. Ryss exclaimed, "Cool, Mom, look forensics!!" They were fingerprinting doors.
I am still in a very, very good mood this morning (and, I am not a morning person). It is amazing what preaching a sermon with the aid of the Holy Spirit can do for a persons attitude. I believe that the Holy Spirit is with me when I prepare many of my sermons but yesterday was powerful. I could hear people talking amongst themselves as they left the sanctuary about the sermon and the preaching..... and it was all GOOD.
Well, I am off to sit in the rain and the cold, cold wind (I'm a lightweight when it comes to tolerating cold).
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
We stopped for BBQ at the end of the trail. So now, my stomach is full and I am feeling lazy and contented. Her BFF is spending the night and they are using my laptop playing some kind of "Zoo Tycoon" game.
Do any of my watch the television show "Numbers"? It showed a perverted use of the Stations of the Cross last night. It really bothered me. I usually have no problem separating fiction and real life but I love the Stations of the Cross. And I absolutely hated seeing them used this way. Maybe I'm getting old.
Good news on my "No-Complaining" project. I have very well today. Of course, I stayed home most of the day so maybe it doesn't count. I have noticed that I very aware of what is coming out of my mouth and I'm even changing the band when I think a complaint. I have already switched my wrist band for this complaint so I'm sharing it with you.
I work very hard to have the bulletin finished by Wednesday so that I can give it to all necessary parties that night at Bible Study. Well, my lay leader has not been coming to Bible Study (she is very over-extended). It is getting later and later when she wants the scripture for Sunday Services. It's a problem because she has to practice it before Sunday. I tried to replace her this year at the Nominations Committee meeting, but I had other issues with the Trustee Chair and didn't pay it enough attention. My bad.
Friday, October 19, 2007
First, Liberty UMC followed by LITTLE HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH and bringing up the rear Harmony UMC. I'm sure that if my mind wasn't totally on the fritz I would have a comment about that. It may come later. Feel free to give your insights.
Some of the roads along the way; Ant Road, Alligator Road, Bluebell Road (made me want ice cream), Groundhog Road, Jaguar Road. My county has just numbers. It was fun being somewhere with names for their roads.
At my destination, the town was in the middle of a parade for their Annual Harvest Festival (honoring a root). I noticed something very strange. A good portion of the parents were walking their kids back to the car, but the child was on the road side (in traffic). I still put myself between Ryss and traffic. I found it very odd. Some of those kids were little bitty.
The massive amount of traffic made my No-Complaining project very tough but I only had to switch the braclet a couple of times (each way).
Ryss went with my home church to a concert last night--Casting Crowns. She spent all of her baby-sitting money on T-Shirts, got home and they were all the wrong size. Tough lesson about checking what the salesperson hands you.
I put a roast in the crockpot and the ingredients for bread in the Bread Machine. So now I'm going to mow the church yard. It is a beautiful day. I would love to just walk and see the sights, like Jo(e) does http://writingasjoe.blogspot.com/ However, duty calls.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Have not received any feedback on my sermon.... show some mercy, say something.
Are You Left-Brained or Right-Brained?
Although one side of the brain is generally dominant over the other, we should strive to utilize both halves. A balanced brain makes a balanced person - combining sequential thinking with a holistic approach, or linear thinking with intuition, enables us to fully comprehend issues and solve problems. Left-brainers can dramatically improve their problem solving abilities by learning to "follow their gut," while right-brainers can improve the execution of their creative efforts.
Realizing your dominant half is the first step in becoming balance-brained.
Your percentage score for the left brain is 65%.Your percentage score for the right brain is 35%.
You are more left-brained than right-brained. Your left brain controls the right side of your body. In addition to being known as left-brained, you are also known as a critical thinker who uses logic and sense to collect information. You are able to retain this information through the use of numbers, words, and symbols. You usually only see parts of the "whole" picture, but this is what guides you step-by-step in a logical manner to your conclusion. Concise words, numerical and written formulas and technological systems are often forms of expression for you. Some occupations usually held by a left-brained person include a lab scientist, banker, judge, lawyer, mathematician, librarian, and skating judge.
Your left brain/right brain percentage was calculated by combining the individual scores of each half's sub-categories. They are as follows:
Each of these 12 categories has its own distinctive influence in shaping how you think, learn, and perceive the world around you.
If nothing else, it will be an interesting experiment.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I spent a couple of hours reading A.J. Jacobs new book "The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible". I was laughing so hysterically that Lucien started howling, I think he thought I was being attacked. I think that any pastor who is interested in reaching secular, unchurched people should read this book. It really gives a different perspective on religion. Plus, his account of being locked in the bathroom was hilarious. I ran to check if I could escape from mine and decided that I am obviously more mechanical than Jacobs because I would have taken the hinges off the door (Yes, the pin is ON the inside).
I love his quote on page 166 about the biblical mandate of leaving gleanings. "It's a beautiful and compassionate rule. Plus, the commandment rewards people for doing a half-assed job, which I think is a nice notion." I would never have interpreted it like that and besides it was all about his trying to grow cucumbers, which I can totally relate to since my bell peppers have only yielded one.
Another interesting things is watching his prayer life evolve. I'm only 1/2 way through so I don't know how it will turn out, but it is awesome so far. I just finished with Lee Strobel's book "Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry and Mary" last night. It would be interesting to know if Lee has read A.J.'s book and what he thought about it.
Now I am have finished my Commissioning Sermon. I am going to preach over the Prodigal Son. I thought that you guys might want to read and maybe even make suggestions. So here goes.
Have you ever wanted to ask God the question – what if I mess up, what if I’m not perfect? There is a popular song that asks – “what if I stumble what if I fall, what if I lose my step and make fools of us all, will the love continue when the walk becomes a crawl, what if I stumble and what if I fall?” (DC Talk) The story of the prodigal son helps us answer that question. Love of the creator for the created is shown throughout the entire Bible but it is here in this story we can so clearly see ourselves and the love of God.
In ancient times just as now, conventional wisdom says don’t give your children their inheritance until you die. But this father doesn’t follow convention and gives the son his inheritance. Nowhere does it say that the son was a bad, immoral or evil young man. He may have left his dad’s place with the very best of intentions. Planning on going to Alexandria or Rome (Dallas, New York, LA) or wherever and make his mark. No one usually plans on failing but as so often happens we make a mistake and it leads us down a path we never intended.
We fall in with the wrong crowd, make foolish investments of our time and money – whatever it is we just mess up. And I think that’s what happened with this boy. He didn’t plan ahead, didn’t budget his money, and definitely didn’t spend it wisely. And ended up feeding the pigs. Which in Jewish storytelling meant you had sunk as far as you could possibly go. And not only was he feeding the pigs, he had fallen so low he wanted to steal their food. Can we relate to falling that far?
Well, let’s consider. A few years ago, thousands of young, upstanding men got a slip of paper from the government telling them where to report for induction into the military. They had just been drafted to fight the war in Vietnam. Most didn’t want to go but went anyway. They left their dreams and families and went to war. But when some of them came home, they couldn’t pick back up those dreams and go back to those families because of the affect that the war had on their psyche. They came home to boo’s and hisses, being spit on in the airports and many came home after watching their friends die horrible deaths and many more came home addicted to drugs.
And some failed to integrate back into society; ending up on the street, begging for food, begging for money, sleeping in cardboard boxes. They had reached the very bottom, they could fall no lower. And this is the point of no return, this is when they can choose to stay at the bottom or not. Kind of like the philosophy of the 12-step programs, they had to decide to stay down or get up. And many of them chose to get up and when they stretched out their hands to their Father, he reached out and embraced them through the arms of a drug counselor who cared, a volunteer at a soup kitchen, an aid worker at a homeless shelter or a church. The Father welcomed them back into the loving arms of the family.
Like the prodigal son, they were restored to life. Refined by fire they were stronger than before because they had chosen to return of their own free will. Now what about the ones that never left – like the older brother? He was really upset with his father wasn’t he? This wasn’t fair. Where is the justice in this story, but this isn’t a story about justice but a story about grace. The grace of a God for a wayward people, Our God.
I think of the older brother as a church member who has grown up in the church but hasn’t ever really had it touch his spirit. Not bad or evil but begrudging. Why give something to the poor, they aren’t going to increase our membership, why send our money to help those foreigners we need it here more. Why kill the fatted calf for the ones who weren’t perfect and made a mistake? I think that if we are honest we can really all relate to the older brother. He is kind of like Martha and resents being the only one working. He misunderstood, and often so do we, that God’s love is limitless. God doesn’t run out of love, we aren’t in competition for a finite amount of grace and love. There is enough for all of us.
In a few years, it could be the younger brother standing there passing judgment on some body else that has made a mistake. You really hope not, you hope that he would have been so changed by his experience that he would always be like that moment when he first stepped into his father’s embrace. But those feelings seem to wear off pretty quick sometimes. We tend to forget our mistakes pretty easily sometimes don’t we? And like the Pharisees and scribes in the beginning of Luke 15 our common response is criticism and self-righteousness. The Pharisees and scribes – the wise, learned, and righteously religious of Jesus’ day would certainly have seen themselves in good company when they grumbled and said, “this fellow Jesus welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Now that is an accusation worth listening to – why would anyone in good standing want to hang around with “tax collectors and sinners?” These people were the biblical version of our own smelly, drug and alcohol addicted street people, and our corporate thieves who fatten themselves while their employees lose all hope of retirement. Not exactly the best company to cultivate and common wisdom strongly suggests that such company will draw us down to their level. Jesus, of all people, should have known that he would be far better off shunning those unacceptable people and spending his time with those who clearly sought higher things. But fortunately for us, God doesn’t think or reason the way that we do.
So let’s take all of this a step further and imagine that the Father in the story is God, the church is the older brother, or Pharisees or scribes and we are the younger son. Remember this verse out of John – “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son”. A sacrifice was made, blood was spilled during this reconciliation between the father and the wayward child. The sacrifice of the fatted calf illustrates the blood that was shed that day on Calvary – for you and for me. Blood that was shed to reconcile us with God. Listen to what Paul said in today’s New Testament lesson.
2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (NIV)
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Sometimes, we need to remember grace and forgiveness. Through the sacrifice that Christ made for us we were reconciled with our God and creator just as the prodigal son was reconciled with his father. We are not called to judge our brother because we are our brother. We are called to reach out to the fallen and help them get back up on their feet and reinforce their strength with our own so that they can reach out to God.
We can be any one of the characters in this parable, the prodigal son, the father, the elder brother, the Pharisees and scribes or even the man who gave the prodigal a job during a time of economic downturn – to use modern language. During our times of famine we are called to reach out to those who have stumbled or even fallen. This isn’t a story of judgment but a story of forgiveness, a story of reconciliation and a story that God has enough love to go around. So no matter who we are in the story and I believe that we are all the characters at one time or another in our lives, we can know that God has enough love for all of us and grace and forgiveness if we stumble or fall and make fools out of ourselves.