Showing posts from February, 2011

money, stress and flowers

Edvard Munch, "Anxiety" Matthew 6:24-34 I am a world-class worrier.  I’m fairly certain that if there were some sort of worrying competition, I would at least place, I’m that good. In fact, I don’t just worry when things are going badly or there are frightening threats on the horizon, I worry when things seem to be going too well – because that is just a set up for disaster, it says so right in the worry manual, the handbook for perfect anxiety. For someone prone to worry, tonight’s text is not terribly good news. First, because it’s nice that God cares about the flowers and birds and all, but what about the 1000 Libyans who brutally lost their lives these past two weeks, crying out for freedom? What about Iraqi children and Haitian families and the neighbor who lost her house in a fire and the friend who cannot, no matter what it seems, find a job?  So for a world-class worrier, this text is cold comfort. It raises more questions than it answers. You can’t fool us, J

Creating Ritual - Practicing faith with children

Last week my Methodist minister friend Mandy and I took our children on our annual winter "pilgrimage" to a small retreat center in Northern Minnesota.  Each year the kids are older and the dynamics are different, but it is rich and surprising every time.  This year we had two six year olds, a four year old, a three year old and a nine month old. Two moms and five kids in a cabin in the woods with no TV or video games.  It is our living sacrifice, our spiritual service of worship. This is our third time, and we've perfected the packing: a huge tub of outdoor clothing and boots, sleds, a giant bin of legos, a small tent, a novel or small set of children's books, a couple of board games and a container of craft supplies - which sits in my storage room completely packed until the next year's trip rolls around.  We do not deviate from this assortment. It's tried and true. Oh, and a mix cd. Each year has its own mix cd. While we're together at "Cabin

What such life looks like

"Reconciliation" - Coventry Cathedral Matthew 5:38-48 What do we really think of Jesus’ words? If he walked in here today stood in front of us and said them to us outloud, how would we react? Would we think him weak? Idealistic? Impractical?  Would we consider him harsh, demanding, out of touch with real life? It’s hard to consider this as unrealistic as I might normally when just last week, through mostly nonviolent means, the people of Egypt overthrew a 30 year rule. Standing together, praying together, camping together, refusing to back down but not resorting to violence. It’s hard to call this totally impractical when this very passage inspired Ghandi’s non-violent resistance – who said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” When Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement that brought such an astounding change to our nation were so informed by these words, it gives them some credibility on the large

Confessions of a Humbled Multi-tasker or Lessons in Grace

I was just recalling this experience with a friend.   This post is from January 2010 - all you Minister Moms out there know the challenges... they soften and shape us. I was bit today in church. With teeth.  An angry 5 year old knew he had me over a barrel, unable to escort him out or chew him out. With too much self consciousness to have a real, full-throttle outburst, he chose instead to writhe, bite, crawl under pews, whimper, and finally to slide his chair past all the pews up to the communion table while I was officiating, and generously bring another chair along for his little sister. All in a whisper I bargained, cajoled, threatened (a lot), scolded, pleaded, and was bested. Daddy was away teaching, a guest preacher shared the word with us today, and I sat in the pews with my children. Which may have been manageable if that was all I did, but I also led communion, and was involved enough in the rest of the service that I couldn't leave for a kneeling in the hallway

Calvin and the Chimpmunks

In the past few months, I have had the privilege of working with the group of theologically savvy and incredibly creative folks behind the newish confirmation curriculum, re:form , writing and participating in the creation of the new segment, being released this Spring -  re:form Traditions . So all you Lutherans, Methodists and Reformed types, check it out - this is some really excellent material!

You are salt.

Matthew 5:13-16 We are still in the season of Epiphany, where we notice the light that has come into the world, the Light OF the World. Where we talk about Jesus’ ministry and mission and see that everything has changed, all is now illuminated. That is why it is strange to me, to hear the words of this passage.  Jesus’ words to his disciples immediately after the Beatitudes.  “You are the light of the world.” he says, We are? You must mean, we have the light of the world, don’t you? You must mean we bring or hold or see the light of the world… because, after all, Jesus, YOU are the light of the world. You said so yourself!   And so we hear it with dubious ears, with insecure and unsure and unlistening ears.  It’s safer, we conclude, to assume he is saying, “You should be the light of the world, and you had better be the salt of the earth, if you want to be of any use to me, that is.” That must be what he means.  We should do good works, you know, like random acts of kindness,