Posts Tagged With: blogging

Friday Festival: Desires

February is the month of longing.

In a long winter, we long for sunshine.  In unusual political times, we long for clarity.  Valentine’s Day can leave us longing for love, companionship, or just a really fantastic cupcake.  If we raced straight from Advent to preparations for Lent, we long for quiet, and a moment to breathe.  If surgery has been on the schedule, we long to move without pain, and to feel energetic again.

Our wise bloggers write about different desires this week.

New mom Traci Smith is longing for us all to have some sense when we talk to pregnant women.  We’ve all learned not to pat pregnant women on the belly (we have, haven’t we?) but we haven’t learned what to say.  Smith says that people still say things like “Wow, you’re enormous!”  Or, perhaps, “Wow, I hope you don’t have the baby right here!” “Are you sure there’s only one baby in there?” “You’re gigantic!” “You look like you’re about to pop!”  Smith adds, “Unsolicited comments about the size of one’s belly are never welcome, but for some reason, people feel like pregnancy is an exception to this rule. Few people would walk up to an overweight person and say “Wow, you’re ENORMOUS!” Yet to pregnant women, it happens all the time. Baffling.”

Spoiler alert:  Smith advises that the proper comment, for all situations, even when something else pops into our minds, is: “How are you feeling?” or “You look beautiful/healthy/happy/wonderful/radiant” or “How is everything?”

Valentine’s Day can be blissful – or hard.  Tara Ulrich longs for a wider understanding of the day, and for us all to see our worth outside of traditional romantic pairs.  She reminds us, “today especially I need each of you to continually remind me that I am one of God’s beloved. I need to know that my life isn’t wrapped up in my singleness. I need to be reminded continually that I’m not past my prime. I also need to be reminded that there is even beauty in the uncertainty of it all. (So much easier said than done)…I’m single. Not sick, not a problem and not past my prime. So please don’t pity me on Valentine’s Day, because today of all days, I need your help to remember that my value doesn’t rest in a relationship status, in a box of chocolates or in a red rose. It rests in the fact that no matter what lies ahead of me, I am God’s beloved and His plans for me far exceed the feelings of a day.”

A longing for certainty leads us to interpret some scriptures as fixed, set as guidance for all times and places.  Professor Wil Gafney sets that aside and begins with the provocative title “Jesus Rewrites Scripture and So Can We.”  Looking at the scriptures from Matthew 5 where Jesus says things like, “You have heard it said…but I say…” Gafney reminds us that Rabbi Jesus is interpreting the scriptures as he teaches.

She adds: “Jesus is our example in all things. He is out teacher, our rabbi. We are to do what he did to the best of our ability. In this case, that means we are to wrestle with scripture, wrestle with the meaning, and when necessary, wrestle a blessing out of it, which means wrestling with those bruising passages that have been used to hurt us and so many others. That includes some of today’s lesson, verses of which have been used to keep folk in unsafe marriages, or ostracize other marriages, even in church.”

A longing for perfection leads Rachael Keefe to reflect on her lack of singing ability, and then to realize that the desire to sing is part of a deeper issue.  She shares with us that “It was the desire to be perfect that was my personal demon. If I’m honest, it still is on occasion. During my teen years, I was so enamored with the idea of perfection that I nearly traded my life for it. I was driven by the idea that if I were perfect, then I would not feel pain and I would be loved.”

In a stable job, we long for room to be creative.  As freelancers, we long for stability.  MaryAnn McKibben Dana explores the different joys of being, as she calls it, “a free-range pastor.”  For anyone pondering a change of vocation, she says, “I love my quirky unofficial parish. I’ve been called upon to pastor people in a whole range of settings: walking the kids home from school with a gaggle of parents, via Facebook message, and even while running—trying to explain the Reformation while running a hilly eleven-miler was a special challenge.”

What are you longing for in these February days?  Let us know, and share your hopes, in the comments section below.

 

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Rev. Mary Austin is the pastor of Westminster Church of Detroit, a diverse Presbyterian church.  Her greatest spiritual lessons come from being the parent of a teenager.  She blogs from time to time at Stained Glass in the City.

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Blog Stats and Mixed Blessings

stats-boomingIt’s happening again. I got the little notice on my blog: “Your stats are booming!” That can only mean one thing—Ash Wednesday is approaching.

In 2011 I posted the liturgy I had put together for Peace Mennonite Church that year. And now, every year about a month before Ash Wednesday, worship planners flock to my blog (you understand that “flock” is a relative term) and my stats “are booming” (also a relative term).

Inevitably, when I see that pastors across the country and around the world are reading my words, contemplating my prayers, possibly even planning to include some of what I have shared with their own congregations, I can’t help but feel like these dedicated servants of God should surely have something more pressing to do than be be looking up resources for ASH WEDNESDAY.

I want to grab every single God-servant by the shoulders and shake them (or, you know, something less violent and invasive of personal space). I want to say loudly and firmly (but not yell at them): Hey! You! Don’t you have something more important to do than plan a service that is a month away? Why don’t you write a sermon for this week?! Or visit a shut in? Or answer your email? Just stop making me feel inadequate and unprepared by being so ahead of the game. Because I haven’t even chosen the hymns for this Sunday yet. I mean, I know a couple, and I was going to pick the rest this afternoon but there was email, and then this crazy thing from the denomination that I had to check on, and follow-up from last night’s committee meeting, and then I realized it was time to get my daughter from board game club. So no. I don’t have hymns chosen for this coming Sundayfile000881450729. And you are planning for Ash Wednesday? Seriously?

I have so much guilt when my blog stats boom a month before Ash Wednesday. I imagine
hundreds of pastors around the world with all of their ducks neatly in a row. All of them with color-coded charts and worship orders ready to be printed and quiet time set aside to meditate on the Lenten scripture passages so they can bring a spiritual maturity and emotional calm to their anxious flocks. My blog stats prove that all the other pastors are calmly planning for a service several weeks away while I don’t even know what is going on this Sunday! Because I am a bad, unprepared, disorganized mess of a pastor.

Now, before everyone posts consoling, pastoral comments—I know this is not true. I know I am not a bad pastor. (Though disorganized is usually a fair critique of my pastoral style.) I know you are not all hyper-prepared and on the ball. (Though some of you would, in fact, be horrified by the extent of my procrastination skills.) I know the narrative I create in my head based on my booming blog stats is not accurate.

I also know that I will feel better on Fat Tuesday. Because I will most likely have my service planned and ready to go by then. And you know what? My blog stats will still be booming.

Can you believe it? Seriously. The night before Ash Wednesday, some pastors will just be getting around to looking at my blog and starting to plan their services. One of the most profoundly holy times of worship on the liturgical calendar, and some pastors just can’t be bothered to write a prayer or look up a scripture until the night before.

Of course, I know this narrative is also inaccurate. Not all of the pastors who go to my blog on Fat Tuesday are irresponsible and liturgically flippant. I’m sure some of them are just checking on one particular element, not planning the whole service. Or maybe they have been dealing with pastoral care crises or personal tragedy or calling their congressional representatives incessantly or finishing a novel or . . .

Maybe someone who loves me pays people to go to my blog so that my stats will boom. Because, despite the guilt, it is nice to have booming stats.


Rev. Joanna Harader serves as pastor of Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence, KS. She blogs at Spacious Faith.


RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

Categories: RevGalBlogPals, Wits-Ends-Days, WitsEndsDays | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Friday Festival ~A Week’s Reading Journeys

ashland-trailFriday the 13th?! What are we up to?  Here are seven posts for the next seven days!

While interfaith relationships have been an interest of mine since my middle school days, they have recently become a matter of some personal urgency. Jan in achurchforstarving artists suggests a book on Interfaith Leadership from Eboo Patel, and reflects on how we learn from one another to be who we are.

I suppose that we all have days on which doctrine and rules are at odds with mystery and openness. In Liberation Theology Lutheran, Kristin delivers a poem on her experience of a day designed by Pharisees.

You can find a series of posts on one word each – looks like there will be 365 of them – in Emma’s LLM Calling.  On Wednesday I’m looking at last Friday’s, for which the word is positive but the topic seems to be clarity – my star word, so of interest to me. Perhaps you’ll find some elucidation on your own word in these short poems.

In Letter Box, Michelle of Quantum Theology addresses the spiritual practice of letter writing through a reflection on the prolific correspondence of St. Ignatius.  As another adherent of Ignatian spirituality, I know that he wrote more letters than any other figure in the 16th century western world.  I wonder what our correspondence might say, five hundred years hence, about our lives of faith?

Mary Ann McKibben Dana writes in The Blue Room about ten things which captivated her this week.  I love these sorts of posts, as they offer fascinating insights into other people plus they motivate me to ask the same question about my own life

I’ve been giving some thought to physical spaces of late.  Healthy Spirituality’s Jeanie writes about creating sacred space in the first in a series about intentionally making room for prayer – whether physical or metaphorical.

And finally, in a post related to the many I’ve read recently about New Year’s gratitude practices, Connie wonders whether gratitude can be taught, and muses about the distinction between practice and experience.

Enjoy!

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Rev. Robin Craig is a PC(USA) pastor serving an ELCA congregation in Bay Village, Ohio. She is also a spiritual director, a contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit, and a blogger at http://www.maryrobincraig.com.

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RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

 

 

 

 

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Friday Festival: In the Wee Small Hours

13f6d-analog-clock-scoreboardStill Friday for some of us, already Saturday for others. Around the world, RevGalBlogPals write and read and blog and work at all hours — within our own timezones and ’round the clock collectively. Today’s Friday Festival is a collection of the sorts of thoughts that keep us up at night, distract us at dawn’s first light, or grip our hearts throughout the day:

  • “In the wake of yet more shootings of unarmed Black men by police officers, this time in Tulsa and Charlotte, I am begging you to open your eyes to what is happening all around us. The Body of Christ is bleeding and dying and we are carrying on as if we don’t need serious medical attention.” Keep reading Rachael Keefe’s A Letter from a Tired Pastor.
  • “We never really get over loss. It doesn’t matter what it is. We always remember what it was like when we had something that we no longer have. Yet the loss of one thing is opportunity for something else to enter in.” Read Deirdre Whitfield’s short reflection, Broken Open.
  • “How often in our churches do we use outdated technology and communication methods that only reach certain people? Maybe we are using the best technology but forgetting that not everyone has access to it or uses it in the same way.” Read Shannon Karafanda’s post, How are we communicating?
  • “The question which has been tugging at me – What if the idea of the autonomous individual is a myth? The ideal of the ‘self-made man’ pulling himself up by his bootstraps is at best joke and at worst a cruel impossibility held up to the poor as a shaming spectre.” Read Mags Blackie’s reflection, All of us or none of us.
  • “Sometimes feelings change and our own reactions to things we have done with joy in the past may change…and when that happens, it’s okay to think about it, pray about it and talk with friends about it as you figure out what happens next.” Read the full story in Pastor Jen’s post, A trip, a fall and a break.

What deep thoughts are you thinking? What wondrous words and curious questions are simmering within your spirit? Join these RevGalBlogPals bloggers in conversation by commenting on their posts. Add your own reflections and/or blogpost links here in the comments to share with others!

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Rachel G. Hackenberg is a United Church of Christ (US) minister, soccer mom, blogger, and author. Her book Sacred Pause plays with words to refresh our relationship with The Word.
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RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.
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Wednesday Festival: Maybe You Too

If you’ve read the story of how RevGalBlogPals started, or if you’ve spent time in our Facebook group, you know the importance of community to remind us that we’re not alone: not alone in experiencing the Church at its most pristine and also at its messiest, not alone in being flirted with while wearing a clerical collar, not alone in post-preaching weariness on Sunday afternoons, not alone in preferring to preside at funerals more than weddings, not alone in saying “No one told me that ministry would include…”

Today’s Wednesday Festival continues that spirit of community by inviting you to recognize yourself & find solidarity in the blogged experiences of other Gals and Pals around our webring:

+ Maybe you too experience God when food is shared, especially if that food is chocolate. You’ll appreciate “When God Tastes Like Brownies” at Becky’s blog beckyramsey. (On a personal note: It’s possible that God is a homemade chocolate cake in my kitchen at this very moment and inviting me to sit awhile…with a fork and a glass of milk.)

+ Maybe you too start…and fail…and restart…and get bored…and try a new approach…and fade again in your efforts to organize your days in order to accomplish ALL THE THINGS with cohesive flair. Check out “Why I broke up with my bullet journal” at Lee’s notes and offer your commiseration.

+ Maybe you too feel the drag of compassion fatigue, and you’re struggling to focus your energies & tasks. Read “Keeping Hope in a World Gone Mad” at Rebecca’s To Do Justice.

+ Maybe you too strive after peace through stillness & quiet. Maybe you too strive after peace through activism & voice-raising. Both the hushed and the restless may appreciate “Still Moving” at Kathy’s Quietly Rolling Thunder.

+ Maybe you too have a bin (or three) of ribbons, or you have a place where hoarded wrapping paper goes to die. You’ll want to read “Ribbons” at bnzoot’s Southern Fried Californian.

Want to share your blogged experience with others who may have similar stories? Add your link to the comments. Know that you are not alone! And here’s more holy chocolate to keep you company…

Nanaimo bars. Make some.

Nanaimo bars. Make some.

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Rachel G. Hackenberg is a United Church of Christ minister, soccer mom, blogger, and author. Her book Sacred Pause plays with words to refresh our relationship with The Word.
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RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.
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Midsummer/Midwinter meet-n-greet

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Ollie asks me: you know what it says…how about you go do it?

I’m sitting on the patio at Starbucks, it’s 80+ degrees Fahrenheit and 80% humidity. I can’t figure out how to work without having my computer on my lap, but it’s SO HOT when I have it there…

Meanwhile, many of our friends in the Southern hemisphere are freezing, waiting for the sun to come back and the chance to wear something other than wool socks and coats.

And everywhere, we long for the kingdom of God to come rushing in, whether with chilly or humid wind, because the world is in desperate need of saving, our neighbors are dying and our leaders are not helping and and and….

And God asks what we will do?

Part of what we can do is use our voices to speak up, to proclaim good news and to reject bad news. Part of what we can do is use our little corner of the internet to lift up the voices of others. It’s only a small part of our call to participate in God’s great transforming mission, but it’s still a part.

Today, three new blog-ring members who are doing their part to bring words of good news and beauty into a world so often filled with opposing forces. Pop over and say hello, and let’s allow our hospitality to be a sign of God’s new thing bursting forth…and then let’s use our platforms as best we can. 🙂

 

Cardelia was a ring member long ago, and moved her blog without our noticing. 🙂 She is “a clergymama, with a clergymama! I have three lovely littles and an amazing clergyman husband. I love life in the church, even when I don’t! I knit, crochet, read, write and sew, though none of these as often as I’d like.”

Sue is an author and pastor in New Zealand, where it is the middle of winter…her blog is beautiful and will call out in us the same vulnerability she displays in her writing. Be sure to check it out.

Pat has been part of our RevGal community for so long that the membership committee was surprised to learn she wasn’t a blogging member! Now she’s blogging about being a “Grateful Child of God. Mother, partner, pastor. Lover of Jesus, music, singing, songwriting, film, the ocean, swimming in (almost) any body of water at (almost) any temperature. Favorite gospel: the one I happen to be preaching from. Decidedly left-leaning. Hopefully about engaging in the Big Conversations. Confident the Spirit is moving.”

 

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Meet-n-Greet: new friends for everyone!

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my dinner table, full of RevGal friends from around the world, the last night of BE9

Last week I was at the Big Event with 48 of my closest friends…most of whom I met through this amazing blog network. Some are people I met for the first time when I went on BE3, though it felt like I knew them because we’d been reading each others’ blogs for years. (that’s why we’re RevGalBLOGPals…because originally, we were 99% bloggers, though not all Revs and not all Gals!) Some are people I met for the first time when I met them at the Jacksonville airport, but we’d seen each other in the RevGals Facebook Group. After a week sailing (and, if I’m honest, my body still thinks I’m sailing!) the high seas learning about church culture and building friendships you have to see to believe, I am full of joy and hope along with chocolate melting cake.

Which means that when I came home to see these new applicants to our blog ring, I was super excited not to have to wait to introduce them to you! I hope we all become fast friends and see each other in person as well as around the interwebz.

So hop over and offer a warm RGBP welcome to:

Scoop, at Be Thou My Vision, who is “Leslie Scoopmire: Seminarian. Mom. Episcopalian. Teacher. Okie. Christian. Progressive. Reader. Musician. Graduate of the Episcopal School for Ministry of the Diocese of Missouri.”

Kelly Brill who is “tremendously lucky and blessed: to be the Senior Minister of the Avon Lake United Church of Christ, a congregation of lively, caring, faithful and fun people…”a church for people who like to think for themselves”… to be the wife of Doug, the mother of Michael and Anne, the stepmother of Lyndsay, Nick and Brad. A few of my favorite things: coffee, NPR, Scrabble, good conversations over good food, reading, movies, theater, spending time outside in the warm weather, traveling to new places, and anyone or anything that makes me laugh…”

and a strawberry pointe who is “a wife, a mom, a sister, daughter, friend, singer and writer. I work full time and write when I can, parent as gracefully as possible and find endless meaning in my relationships with my family and close friends. Someday I’ll let all of the characters in my head out and write a wonderful novel, for now I write when inspiration knocks. My current publishing credits include: Episcopal Relief & Development Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan Grand Haven Tribune.”

Do you know a blogger who should be part of this amazing community? Have them email us to join! Are you thinking of starting a blog? It’s a great way to get to know people virtually…and who knows, the people who read may one day become your best friends!

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A Meet-n-Greet for the best month of the year

It’s October!

I love October.

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autumn apples, just waiting to be enjoyed (photo by me)

In addition to being my birthday (that’s right, I observe my birthday for the entire month, because I love it so much), it’s also clearly the best weather we are likely to have in my area. Cool mornings, low humidity, sunny afternoons, breezy, colors changing, gorgeous sunsets…there’s no other month like it. I’m ignoring the fact that soon it will be -50F with seven feet of snow on the ground. For now, it’s October!

And this month we have a new member as gorgeous as the month. Please hop through the leaf piles and visit Arianne at Ash and StarlightArianne is a PCUSA pastor in Indiana, half of a clergy couple, a mom to both a daughter and an exuberant goldendoodle, and a seeker after connection and wholeness. Her blog is full of beauty in the midst of brokenness–like life.

Like October!

Welcome, Arianne!

If you know a blogger who would be a good addition to our community, please have them email us! If you ARE a blogger who has been blogging regularly for 3 or more months in a row, please email us to join! And if you aren’t a blogger but you like to read amazing words on a variety of topics, please visit any blog in our sidebar’s blogroll for a hit of inspiration. –> 🙂

And, of course, if this community is meaningful to you, helpful in your work or personal spiritual life, or supportive in some way, we encourage you to also support the community and our work: resourcing and supporting women in ordained ministry. You can donate today, set up a recurring donation, or email with how you feel called to volunteer to continue to make this ministry happen, both online and in person. Thanks!

 

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RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.
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Categories: Meet n' Greet | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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