Saturday, April 28, 2007

SOMETHING FROM NOTHING

For Earth Day, we gathered for a short service, and then went outside to create with & in Nature. The instructions were simple; involve and listen to kids, have fun & don't use living things (actually you can use people, some of whom are actually living.) When I got to my group (butterflies), they were molting. They were waiting for me to give them instructions! Something I have found about UUs (liberals in general) is that they love to TALK about freedom, but when given a bit, they (we) balk and get all resentful... "But we didn't hear the instructions.." There are no Instructions! CARRY ON! Finally, people got creative and made lovely little assemblages from fallen debris, as well as sculptures of people in and around nature (I think it was the Interdependent Web theme). I loved it! We had really looked at things differently and taken a baby sized risk. Of course a few folks sat down and talked with other adults or milled around, ignoring the instructions they never got. We came back together to the sounds of drumming and chanted The Earth is our Mother...
Some people (and even governments)are good at making something out of nothing in a nefarious way. They are like the women at jail who create Christmas decorations out of scraps of lint and toilet paper. They twist and magnify some perceived slight or insult in order to be hurtful and mean. It's a dark creativity. Those people need to get out of their self-imposed prisons and go outside and hang out with kids and be truly free. The world would be so much nicer. Carry on!

Sunday, April 15, 2007


STORIES

It was a rainy, cold Saturday. Somehow that seems so much worse in April. I rode down to a winery in Richmond with a couple who are planning a June wedding there. We had lunch and talked about many things: their plans, their families, their challenges. Somewhere along the line we got to place where we were talking about Liquor Barn. I said, "Let me tell you a story about Liquor Barn! Yesterday, I went there to pick up balloons for my daughter's 14th birthday party. I was excited because they actually have BROWN and AQUA balloons-- her colors! Wrestling the helium filled ballons into the car, I must have dropped my wallet on the ground. I realized when I got home that I didn't have it, but it was too close to party time to go back, and a call revealed that no wallet had been called in. Meanwhile, my husband, out getting videos for the party, went to the Blockbuster next to Liquor Barn, and inquired, just on the chance... Lo and behold! A man had left a card there with his contact information saying he'd found a wallet. When called, he brought the wallet back to the Blockbuster!" (By the way, that's not the first time that's happened to me--it happened once before, in an airport, in California, with my entire purse). Some people are really good.

The bride and groom then told a story. They'd been in Oregon, at a restaurant, on the third day of vacation, and he received a call telling him that his Papaw had died. He began to sob inconsolably. He really loved his grandfather, and he was so far away from Kentucky. When they arose to pay the bill, the cashier told them that the couple at the next table had left a $20 bill and said, "I don't know why that man was crying so, but we just want them to have this in hopes it might help in some way." I loved these stories. We all have them.

They turned a gloomy day into a treasure! We should tell those kind of stories more often.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


EASTER REFLECTIONS


In an article entitled "Easter for Those Who Don't Believe," former NJ Attorney General & Rutgers profesor John Farmer writes:


"For those of us who come up short, however, and for those who may not consider themselves Christian at all, there is much to learn from and celebrate in the Easter story, and it has little to do with idle speculation about what actually happened to Jesus of Nazareth.
It has to do with what the Easter story signifies: the transformative power of love in the universe. ...Perhaps humankind is not yet ready, in an evolutionary sense, to be capable of what Wills calls "self-emptying love." Perhaps we never will be.
Nothing could be clearer, however, than that the development of the capacity for this kind of love may be the only salvation for the world. The stakes in each confrontation are so much higher, and a very few people can poten tially kill millions. In Darwinian terms, the next adaptation essen tial to our survival will not be physical, but moral. "


That's pretty close to what I came up with this year for our congregation of mixed believers, non-believers, and fence sitters. Easter is incredibly challenging for UU Ministers! Many opt out with some stuff about flowers and Spring and all of that--as Garrison Keillor said on Saturday , "trying not to mention you-know-who."


We talked about superstition and about human courage & determination. I told a story of ancient times when people belived they could make the sun rise by pleasing the Sun gods/goddesses; I mentioned the Hebrew story of Esther and how her own courage helped her save her people from Hamans cruel plot of extermination; and then I told the Intergenerational group that Christianity took two paths after Jesus death & alleged resurrection--one became the religion ABOUT Jesus & the other (our spiritual ancestors) the religion OF Jesus. Yes, I mentioned "You-know-who," and a few members of the congreagtion wrote to thank me!!


I suggested that given the current state of the world, we'd all need to make some sacrifices and take some risks in order to have even a whisper of a chance to save our world. For me, a lapsed Anglican who was never traumatized by Christianity, the old stories still have power and meaning.


As a New Jersey native still loyal to "home," I am delighted that this very well-written article came from my old stomping grounds!

Friday, March 09, 2007





FAILURE
So.. your kid is an Honor Student? My daughter can FLY! Check it out.


This was a great week for M-- she doesn't know it now, but she actually failed at something YEE HAW!


She can no longer receive a trophy/award for getting all As throughout Middle School. What's worse, she can't wear JEANS to school (they have a dress code) because she will not get a Platinum Card.


She cried! But I say, You Go Girl! After all, look how many times the Wright Brothers crashed before they could fly. (I don't know how many, but lots). I'm convinced failure is the way to go.


So, I failed to continue this Blog after my Sabbatical ended. (Not like anyone but me read it anyhoo!) Now, I shall try once again.


I have heard it said that Ministry is Failure. I know mine is. Sometimes I feel as if all of the efforts I expend, the words I carefully choose, the hours and days of thinking about nothing but the church, all fall upon ears that are, well, not deaf, but too busy, distracted, too sure of other things. And I get to feeling like a Big Failure. But if I were not willing to experience the ongoing failure of ministry, there would not be those incredible moments of success.. like just this week when a woman wrote to me that something she read in my column (It was a quote from 12 step programs... "Don't give up just before the Miracle occurs") kept her going through the year or more of waiting for her adopted daughter from China. That made ME feel like flying. It's all I need to keep me going for a long time. We ministers are easy to please!