Thursday, August 18, 2011


Well, this word of the day thing didn't last very long...! So, as I contemplate failure over the next several days, I will yet again take a respite from this blog. Maybe I should retire it altogether? 50 in 50 has a purpose. But the purpose of this one is...? Maybe that is at the heart of failure. Lack of purpose. Thoughts?

Is anyone out there?

Monday, August 8, 2011


Today's word is laughter because I have found that has become one of my favorite defining attributes. I don't know if other people see me as someone who laughs often, but I think I do, and I'm glad I do.

Last night I went to Kennywood with friends, and realized that instead of screaming on rides, I tend to break into nonstop laughter. Maybe it's nerves, or maybe it's something else. Maybe I have been taught by wonderful people in my life that laughing at yourself and the situations around you is often the best way to cope. Maybe that lesson and the joy in my life make laughter my most natural response. And it's important for me to remember that while laughter may come from joy, joy often comes from laughter.

I know I am lucky to have so many reasons to laugh, and luckier still that I have faith, relationships, and a lifetime of experiences that keep me laughing, even if just at myself.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Today's word is freedom. I am doing a 30-day prayer thing right now and freedom was today's theme. Like so many words, freedom means different things to different people. Those of us with wealth may see freedom as the luxury to choose what to do with our time, where to go, or whom to be with. Those under oppressive regimes, incarcerated, or suffering from disease would see freedom as a dire, constant need and struggle. Freedom is typically something I take for granted, and may even see as an annoyance-- too many options, too many choices to make. What a ridiculous thought! Today I will be thankful for the freedoms in my life, and think of ways I can use the opportunities I am given to fight for the freedoms of others. Freedom of movement, freedom of choice, freedom of spirit, economic freedom, domestic freedom, and so much more...

...may we all someday be free...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A little less talk, a lot more action

Not only similar to a great karaoke song, but a good mantra, inspired by yesterday's post.

It is funny how life works. Shortly after typing and posting yesterday's comments about my desire for action (action that will make me feel productive, action that makes a difference and inspires others to act), I got an email that may lead me to the opportunity to take part in all that I have been looking for. It may also require a significant sacrifice.

So what to do?

Make today's word action of course, and while the only step right now can be thought (as the opportunity is still in the works, and nowhere near definite right now) I can be preparing myself for action. Taking the little steps that could lead to a bigger one. And be thankful that my thoughts have been gearing me up for moments such as these.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Musings of An Almost-Maybe-Someday-Pastor

Introspection may be the word of my life. I think I am going to start picking a word of the day for the rest of this month and attempting to blog about each. Since I just thought of this idea, I will cheat and start today with this word of my life.

So. Introspection.

I wish I were the kind of person who was defined by action, but I don't think I always am. Yesterday I was given the title "SpazDancer" and that sort of obviously implies action, but I am talking less of the act-like-a-crazy-person-in-public-just-because-I-think-it's-fun kind of action and more of the get-people-together-and-do-things-that-make-a-difference kind of action. I think I can be good at getting people together. I tend to build connections with multiple crowds and can gather people based on activities. In high school a friend called me the "coordinator of fun" (which incidentally does not sound that fun...maybe the word coordinator takes the edge off) and in AmeriCorps I was known as the one to get everyone to play games. I'm a team-builder, an encourager, and a communicator. Yet, most of my getting people together involves social activities, reflection, and not necessarily social action. I think I can tip these scales. I just need to take action. And yet I think first. I want a plan.

So I muse.

I ponder.

I dream of making a difference and have yet to feel that I have actually done so.

As a candidate in the PC(USA), I am moving toward (or at least frozen in a point very close to) being ordained. I think my time in Seminary has drawn me closer to a lifestyle committed to calling myself and others to action. I'm not there yet and I don't always know what is holding me back. Yet, truthfully, while I believe I have gifts that lend themselves to ministry and would be honored to be called to a position, I don't mind if I end up non-ordained as long as I am doing what I believe God wants me to do. So what that is exactly? I have yet to find the answer.

So I continue to think.

And I wonder if I am somehow a pastor in my life in other ways. What does it mean to pastor as a lifestyle and can I acheive that without the job title? What ways do I need to make changes and who can join me in my ponderings? How can I begin taking action quicker and pair my introspection with meaningful movement?

I don't want to give answers to these questions just yet as part of the beauty of questions is the ability to let them be. They don't always call for an answer. They just poke their heads out and say, hey, here I am...look at me. So I look. And I think. And I seek. And hopefully soon, I will act.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Preamble to Adventure, or Adventure in Everything

Today I am thinking about adventure as I sit in my quiet office. Did I ever think I would be happy in this place at this time? What gives me the right to feel like I should be exactly where I want to be? So many people aren't able to. So I am aware of the need to be thankful, and continue to seek joy in the many things I can and can't control.

I am also full of questions. Can I still be passionately alive while in this quiet existence? I know that some have found a way to do so. The introspective life could be filled with activity and life in its own way. My restlessness pulls me toward seeking something new...but what? I know I am working towards a different daily path- one that lights my fire and has an impact on the lives of others. But will that make me content or will the restlessness continue? If I were able to spend each day outdoors, surrounded by the beauty that fills me heart, would that bring contentment? Or would I wrestle with self-absorption and a need to help others? Can I find something to meet both these desires or am I to instead attempt to discover if part of finding the adventure is in the longing itself...figuring out how to live each moment as prayer, as life to the fullest - whether that's typing words on a screen in a quiet building, wiping a kid's nose, or hiking in sub-zero winds?

The questions remain. They come in and out of my brain, teasing me with their constant return. And I'm not sure I want answers so much as an opportunity to live out the questions. Something is bubbling...and though I'm okay being in the dark about the final result, I am antsy to turn up the heat.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thoughts on Ammendment 10A

In the wake of the change in the PCUSA’s ordination standards, I am sure this note is just going to be one of thousands addressing personal opinions on the matter. I was a bit hesitant to add to the sea of thought, knowing that the conversation could easily turn hurtful, angry, or divisive. But as someone who sees this issue as one of social justice, and as someone directly impacted by the change in seeking a call myself, I feel the need to clarify my stance and to participate in the conversation. I also wanted to address two issues that I believe are commonly tied to this conversation. The first relates to one comment I saw on Facebook referring to those who supported the change in standards as “opponents of chastity and purity.”

While I wholeheartedly supported the change in the ordination standards, I would never consider myself an “opponent” of chastity and purity. I think this has far too often become incorrectly associated with the debate about homosexuality in the church. While the former ordination standards required “fidelity in marriage or chastity in singleness,” which clearly also speak to promiscuity in heterosexual relationships, it was always seen as a “gay issue” because of our unwillingness to allow for single-sex marriage. A homosexual lifestyle gets unfairly and consistently associated with promiscuity while chastity and fidelity concerns are often quickly forgiven, or not even addressed, for heterosexuals. It is not a lack of morality that I support but consistency in its application. Shouldn’t we call for fidelity and chastity in the context of all committed, monogamous relationships?

The second issue usually revolves around fear. Many who oppose the change state fear in where it will lead. My initial response is that people fear change. And of course, we all do. But those who express this fear often define it more specifically as either a fear of a loss of morality (as addressed above) or a fear of division. The fear of division is a valid concern and I am praying for unity, continued dialogue, and reconciliation in the midst of this change. Yet while unity should be a goal of the church, caring for the poor and the oppressed should be as well. Taking a stand on divisive issues unfortunately results in division. People saw the early church as a division; a break from the law. Women’s rights caused division. Civil rights caused division. All these divisions still exist. Yet if the stands had not been taken, oppression and hatred would have a stronger hold. The church is called to speak out for the marginalized. I agree that God never intended division. But I also believe that God never intended oppression. Often, the fights that result in division begin by a specific group seeking greater unity and inclusiveness. It seems that the problem arises when some people, often those who benefit from the oppression, do not want that inclusiveness. Yet Jesus came to offer the Kingdom of God to all. All people are created in the image of God. Wishing to leave the church when the door to inclusivity is swung a bit wider makes me think of leaving a country club when “those people” (whomever they may be) are invited in. I do not believe we should not have standards for ordination in the church. But I also do not believe that the change in the standards weakens the call or will lead to an increase in immorality. I believe the change calls for something higher. Ordination standards that call for the “joyful submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life” do not exactly open the way to an easy road. In fact, they cause me to remember that to truly serve the church, I will need to examine myself every single moment, in every single way. I will be called to examine my relationships, my speech, my purchases, etc. That is much more difficult, and yet I find it much more exciting to be part of a church that calls for such a task. So I do pray for unity. I also pray for continued change and growth. For openness to speak difficult words, and to accept that God, and love, is likely much bigger than we could ever image.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Who are you that loves me this much
and what is this great love
do you long to be near me
to hear about my day
do you want to protect me
and make plans full of hope
do I surprise you
bring you joy with my smile
will you pull me close
even when I push you away
I want to believe it’s all true
I want to feel it in my heart
because I long to give what I’ve been given
but the physical world fight hard
how can I be so close to one so far above
how can I give to one who created all
by loving those near you, I hear you whisper
by caring for those I love
yet there has to be something to this love
between you and me
it burns inside
it feels close
and it beckons
help me explore it
teach me
to nurture
and draw near
and listen
and love
the great Love
the greatest
my love

the love of all