August 2008

Navigating the Fishbowl

We’ve bought the school clothes… but they have been untouched since the shopping trip, still tucked in the closet, tied securely in plastic bags from Target. School supplies, too—we’ve crossed everything off the list, but the pencils are unsharpened, the erasers still encased in their clear packaging.

I’ll deal with it later.

Later is Tuesday.

Could I be feeling some ambivalence about my eldest child going to kindergarten, about seeing her swallowed up by the large yellow school bus?

(Continue reading.)

August 2008

The View from Your Ministry

Thanks to everyone who contributed photos for "The View from Your Ministry"! A few of our favorites appear below the fold.

Also congratulations to Emily Chapman, who won the drawing for a Young Clergy Women tote bag and other goodies.

It is exciting to get a glimpse of the different contexts in which we do our work. Though the contest has ended, feel free to keep sending photos of "the view from your ministry" and we'll publish them in a future Christ and Creativity column.

(Continue reading.)

August 2008

Epiphany

Just out of seminary, I was a little apprehensive about stepping into my call as solo pastor. To be perfectly honest, I was terrified. My biggest fear centered on my ability (or lack thereof!) to preach every week. I tend to be a decent writer, and I did well with my preaching in seminary, but the writing process had always been a painful one for me. My tendencies toward perpetual procrastination and perfectionism would collide to form a mental block whenever I sat down at the computer. I felt an obligation to write THE sermon: biblically grounded, solid scholarship, humorous, interesting for all age groups, practical, and, of course, awe-inspiring. This was the Word of God after all--not to be taken lightly!

Three months into my ministry I was still fighting this weekly battle. Saturday nights were torture. Sunday mornings were anxious. Sunday afternoons were naptime. Perhaps it was no coincidence that everything changed on Epiphany.

(Continue reading.)

August 2008

(Extra)Ordinary Time

For lectionary-followers, this summer has been an unusually long slog through Ordinary Time. Maybe it's getting a little too ordinary for you by now. Help is on the way, though. For August 31, the 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time (year A), the lectionary presents us with several stories of people pulled from the ordinary. Laura Stephens-Reed presents us with the following call to worship, an excellent example of how a finely crafted call can be beautifully written, liturgically appropriate, and gently exegetical. Inspired by her good work, Erica Schemper adds a short prayer that might also be used on that Sunday.

With a few weeks left until August 31, we'd love to see a few additional worship ideas posted in the comments!

(Continue reading.)

August 2008

Grace at the Graveside

“Be still and know that I am God” the Psalmist instructs us.   

Be still.

Be still.

Be still.

With varying degrees of success, this has been my mantra as of late.  Ministry is quite the opposite of stillness; ministry requires moving—running ahead of deadlines, walking with the hurt, throwing out hope, catching blessings, dancing and leaping for joy.  Stillness won’t write the monthly newsletter, prepare a congregational prayer, lead retreats, authorize bus repairs, exegete a text, teach Bible study, answer e-mails, serve communion, visit the homebound, and then squeeze in time for a social life.   

(Continue reading.)

August 2008

A Home of Her Own

I blamed the puddle on the kitchen floor on my dog Sophie, who sat, wagging her tail and gleefully chewing on her bone as I ranted about her apparent issues with appropriate places to pee.  Then I felt the drip on my head.  A quick sniff of the liquid I’d just mopped up was further proof that the puddle of water was from my leaking roof.

Yip – pee.

Oh, the joys of homeownership.

(Continue reading.)

August 2008

I do not own a robe

Well, perhaps that is not entirely accurate.  I did purchase a clerical robe just before Christmas, a woman’s robe off the rack at Cokesbury that doesn’t fit and has blood red piping that prohibits me from wearing it in my church.  I only bought it because I needed to spend my professional allowance for the year and since I was a newly ordained pastor, I thought buying a robe seemed like the way to go.  Currently it is hanging in my closet in a makeshift garment bag that the salesman fashioned with a garbage sack.  I may let it hang there forever, an expensive and disintegrating token of affection towards the clerical garments I am told to wear.

(Continue reading.)

August 2008

The Frozen Chosen

Standing in the narthex of the church on the last summer day of July, Lexi shook hands with the few and the proud that had come to worship that morning. With each handshake, she heard the typical comments.

"Nice sermon."

"Thanks for worship today."

Lexi hated these comments. She wanted to know more. She wanted to know what made her sermon so "nice" or why someone would thank her for worship when it was supposed to be the work of the people. And yet, she couldn't allow herself to get lost in these thoughts. She was greeting her church family. She was grateful to be among them.

(Continue reading.)