I don’t care, Lord, I don’t care

November 30, 2007

Today I met with a pastor to talk about what it is that I’m doing out here in burbland as far as the Kingdom of God goes. It was a great talk, and he had many wise things to say about building friendships and connections in the place I live, and being knitted in to the body of Christ. He prayed over me before I left, which was awesome. As I often do at my church when someone prays for me, I had tears streaming down my cheeks by the end.

I think the Holy Spirit was so deeply at work in the pastor’s prayer that I felt compelled to continue to pray after our meeting was over. I went with my husband down to our church’s prayer room, and knelt on the floor. I cried and cried, just letting the Spirit wash over me.

One of the things that has been so hard for me in this season of the unexpected has been letting go of how I thought things would be. I wanted things to look a certain way, as I pursued this whole God-based career thing. But things did not end up looking as I wanted. As I knelt there before the cross, I prayed over this next season of intentional reaching out, my next season of non-traditional* ministry. I found myself in a place where I was crying out to God, just asking to serve and to give to His kingdom – in whatever way He wants. Even though I have prayed this prayer many times before, this time it was taking place at a more profound level, I think.

“Set me free” was playing on the sound system, and I sang along with that in my heart. Set me free, God. Set me free from my quiet but real need to feel validated and legitimized by outside metrics. Set me free from illusions of “success.” Set me free from fake, light relationships that bring no light to the world. Set me free from a fear of failing. Set me free to do your work, the work that you have for me, whatever it is. I don’t care, Lord. I don’t care. I’m ready to do your work, even if it isn’t what I thought you had for me. I’m ready to fail and look like an ass in order just to try and discern your will for me. (At least, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.)

Even though I dislike the super sincere blog post, I’m afraid that’s all I’ve got today. Nothing pithy, nothing funny, nothing terribly insightful. Just me, kind of emptied out by the days words and prayers, looking forward to the next season.

Rest assured, I’ll have something snappy and sassy to say soon, I’m sure.

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*or, incredibly traditional, depending on how you look at it!


Advent and the unexpected

November 28, 2007

Advent is my favorite season of the year. The scandal and beauty of Jesus’ birth never ceases to amaze me, and I think Christmas trees are pretty much the most awesome decorative item ever.*

One good thing about not being in a traditional ministry position this year is that I don’t have to participate in Advent/Christmas nonsense. By “nonsense” I mean things that in the church world can end up being distractions instead of aids to understanding the season. Examples of Christmas nonsense include: Decorating Committees bickering over whether to have red poinsettias or red AND white poinsettias this year; Christmas pageants that are showcases for child and/or adult talents, instead of opportunities to revel in the stable birth.

This year, I’m going to invite our little (VERY little) community to gather and celebrate that this weird, crazy, awesome thing really did happen. The Messiah, the long awaited one, really came here, to us. He was not born in a castle or even a decent home. He was born in the middle of life going on in an occupied territory, born to a woman passionate about the very thought of God’s justice and love, born in a place made for animals.

What a story. What a wild, unexpected, strange beginning for the Messiah. Should I be so surprised that my own life is so touched by the unexpected and the mysterious? Considering whom I follow and His life’s circumstances, maybe I should be a little less welcoming to the understandable, and a little more welcoming of the unexpected.

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*yes, yes, I know their pagan roots. IDK! I love them!


Fall colors – even in SoCal

November 25, 2007

The other day, my step-daughter, my husband and I went for a walk and collected some (non-native) leaves for decorating.

Martha they are not, but I still like them.

Here’s mine:

Fall leaves decoration

And here’s Bee’s:

img_3117.jpg

In spite of the vagaries of SoCal weather (more fires already!), creation down here can be beautiful.

My step-daughter, who had a fabulous time on the second half of the walk, was whining about having to walk uphill at the beginning. Her dad and I told her she could either keep going or we could go home. That was the first time she ever said, “You’re a mean mom!” to me. She apologized (after paternal prompting) and was holding my hand and chatting about why leaves turn red three minutes later. Even though I knew something like this would (will) happen, it was still hard to hear.


But, did you know I was Wesleyan?

November 24, 2007

Ah, the day after Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a cool reminder that the under-prepared, devout and slightly clueless Pilgrims were smiled on not only by God but also by good people who took pity on them. Of course, there were a lot of Pilgrims who didn’t make it to the feast, but we don’t talk about that much. In any case, Thanksgiving is a good holiday. I like it. But, I’m not one who needs turkey and family to have it be fabulous. I’ve had awesome Thanksgivings in wierd places with odd foods – a bus trip in Africa one year and salmon in D.C. another year stand out in my memory. This one was nice: just my husband, me and my BFF having burgers and pumpkin chiffon pie. Yum. (Oh, and a stop at the H’s house for leftovers and gabbing.)

But best of all – it’s nice to have four whole days off with very little to do – time to relax, read and goof off.

In the spirit of goofing off, I took two quizzes on the innernets.

The first quiz I took was designed to tell you what sort of theological worldview you possess. (The second was to answer “what theologian are you?” I am Anselm, evidently!)

Apparently, I am a Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan. I know that I went to seminary and all, but I’m not sure what that means, exactly.

The quiz explained it this way:

“You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God’s grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavily by John Wesley and the Methodists.”

I’m totally in agreement, until we get to the last bit about John and the Methodists. If I’m heavily influenced by them, they must have been talking to me in my sleep. I’m afraid I haven’t read more than 10 pages of Wesley’s stuff; and I can’t say I’ve even dropped in on a Methodist church, ever. (Which, considering how many churches I’ve been to, is a little wierd.)

Here’s how they broke down my profile. I love how it is in percent of agreement. If only theology really were so quantifiable.

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan – 79%; Emergent/Postmodern – 68%; Neo-orthodox – 57%; Fundamentalist – 46%; Charismatic/Pentecostal – 46%; Classical Liberal – 43%; Reformed Evangelical – 39%; Modern Liberal – 29%; Roman Catholic – 29%.

I love that someone took the time to put this quiz together. I often feel like I have inherited my theology from many streams. I have beliefs that put me squarely in the Fundy camp, some that are only OK if I am with Charismatics, and a few that are more acceptable in the Liberal world. I guess that is why I am trying to find my way in some “in between” world right now – still woven into the church as it is, but in the emergent church form. I still feel like such a failure that I didn’t keep “un-church” going, and that even now, as I consider organizing something during Advent, I’m plagued with self-doubt. Why hasn’t the pastor that I consider my mentor answered a recent email? It must be because I suck, right?

But, I do recognize that there is an aspect of this kind of self-doubt and fear that is wallowing in the “depravation” pool.

I mean really. Don’t I know that I’m a Wesleyan, for goodness sake, and that God’s grace enables me?

Maybe I should go take that quiz again.


Words

November 22, 2007

By pilfering some seminary notes, a few “meaty” blog entries, and doing some original writing, I’m up to 17,011 words now. Still behind, but coming along. . .
My step-daughter is in the room with me while I’m writing. The rule is that if Megan is “working on her book” (people are very indulgent around here), you can be in the room, but you can’t talk to her. No, not even if your Barbie Laptop (I kid you not, peoples) game is confusing.

That is what Daddy is for.


15,423 Words

November 19, 2007

Miguel asked me how many words I’ve written so far on my psuedo-NaNoWriMo project.  The past week has been the worst, as I’ve barely written a thousand words all week.  I decided I would take a few days off when I was visiting my in-laws, and then I just never got back on the path.  Sigh.  I should be somewhere around 27,000.

Hopefully more will come today and in the weeks that remain.   Even though I am pathetically behind, it is still amazing (for me!) to see that I have 33 pages of words all in one document. I am sure Annie Dillard writes 33 pages in two days, but I am not Annie Dillard, so that is OK.


Dear Very Nice Mac Verizon Expert in Tijuana

November 18, 2007

THANK YOU!!

Yes, you, Mr. Tijuana Verizon help line guy. You stayed on the phone with me for almost 45 minutes, helping me set up my DSL and router. You were sweet and helpful, and now I am back in the land of the innernets living!

You cannot imagine how happy this makes me, Mr. T Verizon. I was getting very lonely for the rest of the blogosphere.

Hi everybody! I IS BACK! Back with more stories about sucker free countdown, wheat thins and Jesus.