Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I was getting all the girls in bed (Starman is in Geneva, yes, Switzerland this week) when I found out that a parishioner I visited a couple of times in the hospital, whom I fully expected would go home just fine, had died. This is the second visit I have made to someone in the past four weeks who has died. And I just started doing visits five weeks ago. It hurts, although I barely knew her. It just hurts to know that those she cares about are grieving, and that someone I prayed with, someone I prayed for, is no longer here.

WisePastor just wrote "Part of the problem with being a "parson" (ME person) is that you work with your heart, and it gets broken over and over again" Ouch.

I am feeling rather raw tonight anyway, with Starman gone, and having to take care of three girls and a dog and two cats all by myself, and, well, just life - figuring out what it really means to take on this mantle of pastor, to be God's representative in the world (that seems too presumptuous anyway!). I need a big hug, but I will have to settle for three little ones - I guess that isn't that bad. My heart is broken, but that means it is also open, open I hope to hear what God has to say to me through all of this.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Slow Down

So every Wednesday I come out here to BigChurch in MediumCity and I see things I would like to do or change. But every week I remember that I am not WisePastor the senior pastor, and I have not been here very long, and I have not even been doing ministry for very long. And usually there is a very good reason things are the way they are. So I tell WisePastor what I think, and he agrees, but then he tells me that before he got here, things were even more not the way we both want them to be, and they are slowly going in the direction we want them to be - fortunately at least, he and I tend to agree on where we are headed. It is kind of like piloting a large cruise ship, change takes time. I am used to steering a canoe, not a cruise ship. A couple of J strokes, and you are back on course. Not with BigChurch. There are more layers here than I know, and making a turn involves moving that rudder slowly, and changing engine speed slowly.

God, help me to give up my paddle and learn to ride the waves, not crashing through them like a destroyer, but slowly piloting the ship on the way YOU want it to go.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mother Laura over at RGBP writes:
It's time for a Back-To-School Friday Five!
1. Is anyone going back to school, as a student or teacher, at your house? How's it going so far?
Four of the five of us over here are back to school. Starman started teaching August 25 - 69 students in a physics-for-masochists class at the unversity. Freckleface and Skye started 2nd and 4th grade respectively on August 26, and Brown Eyes has been slowly starting at her co-op preschool - she will be in class 4 days a week for 4 hours a day when it is all up and going on the 22nd.

Starman seems incredibly busy grading homework, posting solutions, answering email, but he is a very accessible professor. Skye has had at least three total meltdowns about all her homework. Freckleface has made a new best friend, as usual. And Brown Eyes just loves school!

2. Were you glad or sad when back-to-school time came as a kid?
I loved, and still love, school. I love new pencils and new notebooks. I loved seeing old and new friends and I love to learn! I got bored by the end of summer and was ready to have homework again, at least until high school.
3. Did your family of origin have any rituals to mark this time of year? How about now?
There was always the back to school shopping, and still is, although I limit it to one outfit and a pair of shoes for each girl (clothes are really expensive!). That was about it, and is about it. We take lots of pictures on the first day, with them lined up in front of the front door - it is cool to see how they grow!
4. Favorite memories of back-to-school outfits, lunchboxes, etc?
I had a Snoopy lunchbox I just loved. And I thought I looked really "mod" in 1972 starting kindergarten with my yellow tights, plaid miniskirt, and red jacket, made by my aunt. And my pixie haircut!
5. What was your best year of school?
Far and away my second year of seminary. The first year I was too busy worrying how to take notes and "do" classes when it wasn't an engineering school. By the second year, I was loving my classwork, enjoying my new friends, and loving my new baby, who was dropped off every day by her sitter in time for us to go to chapel together...what fun!

Thanks Mother Laura for a great Friday Five!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Clergy, or not?

So, am I clergy, or am I not clergy? I have been trying to figure out this question for some time now. Once I started seminary I kind of felt like I was headed down the path to becoming clergy. What did that mean? For me, a rather introverted engineer, it meant I was finally claiming the name Christian for myself in a very public way. It meant that I was willing to consider myself a representative of the United Methodist Church, although I disagreed (and still disagree) with some of the policies of that church. When I had to wear a clergy collar as a chaplain intern at a Presbyterian nursing home/continuing care facility, it felt right.

Then we moved to Big Midwest City from Biggest Midwest City, and I became more of a mom than a pastor for a while, especially after I graduated from seminary. Then I became a youth ministry coordinator, and the senior pastor treated me more like an associate pastor, having me assist with communions and baptisms, leading worship several times a year. It felt good and right.

Then, a new senior pastor who told me at our first meeting that I was a layperson. She was right. I went back to sitting in the pew every Sunday. That didn't feel right. So I rooted around and WisePastor asked me to take over the Saturday night service at BigChurch in Medium CIty and boom - I was clergy again, in voice but not in name. I was reminded once a month when I had to find an elder to do communion that I was not ordained.

Now, I am a licensed local pastor, so within the walls of this church, I am clergy - I can marry, bury, and perform the sacraments. But outside these walls, I am still a layperson. So when I went to get a badge for the hospital, they asked "are you ordained?" - the answer is no. Do you want the title Rev. on your badge? No, I am not the reverend MumPastor. Yet.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that the district office sends me mail to the church addressed to Rev. MumPastor.

So, am I clergy or lay? Does it really matter? I have the work of God to do, and I am thankful. Confused. But thankful.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

First Solo Communion Celebration and a sermon too

I preached and led worship as usual this Saturday night at BigChurch. The difference was, when it came time to lead the communion service, I was it. There was no elder there. As a licensed local pastor, I get to do it all myself now. Well, not really myself. Actually, the Spirit, the people and I work together. I have been waiting to do this for a long, long, long time. It didn't feel much different, really. But it felt good.

once I figure out how to do it, I will post my sermon from tonight.