Friday, February 29, 2008


What can I say? I love her.

And this month she is doing two things that I first was leery of and now I am thinking I am going to investigate.

The first one is this TV series - the Big Give. We talked about it last night at Book Group and were kind of skeptical. But today I watched the promo and thought - it is going to be really interesting. It is true - psychologically and spiritually and every which way - that giving gives life. And Oprah has demonstrated it over and over again in her life and now is going to show us with reality TV. I will report back if I think it is cheesy.

And then the other thing is this book class - on the book - A New Earth. Again I have been resistant. Some of which is because I did not like the Secret. But I am going for it. I will buy the book this week and I even encouraged the book club to read it. What the heck - if the rest of the WORLD is reading it - maybe we should be current.

Oprah is all about transformation - which is the current buzzword at the church - which I hate - but I love Oprah.

don't you?

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Oscars

I can't help myself. I watch it every year and every year it makes me happy.

This year I was by myself except for Chuck walking in and out of the room and commenting.

This is what I like about the oscars.

First, I like the clothes and to watch the women get all dressed up. Some of these women just looked so beautiful and classy. My favorites were Katherine Heigl, Hilary Swank and Helen Mirren. I always try to catch the commentary the next day and get other people's opinions. For example, I thought Nicole Kidman's jewelry was weird and learned it was "perfect" for keeping people from noticing her pregnancy?!? Audrey called me when Tilda Swinton won her oscar and told me that is why she doesn't wear black and today I learned she wasn't wearing make-up and looking "amazing," Hmmmm. Anyway, I always like this stuff for some reason.

Second, I like all the montages because they remind me of the all the movies I have seen. Last night I realized I had seen every best movie since On the Waterfront except Braveheart.

Third, I like the clips from this year'smovies because they remind me of the movies I saw this year - and I saw most of them. I am grateful to Reagan because of her I saw "Enchanted" and "Ratatouille." I am grateful to Brian because of him I saw "Once" which I never would have watched. And I am grateful to Chuck becauce of him we made sure we saw "La Vie En Rose"
All of them were really good movies. The only movie I did not get to see that I wanted to see was "Atonement" and I bet I never do. I still want to see the "The Diving Bell and the Butterfy."

Finally, I love the spontaneity of the oscars and watching people being recognized for their work and their passion. I loved the Coen Brothers and how quirky they are and how excellent their movie was. I loved that the writer of Juno won for screenwriting. I loved that the song from "Once" won. And I loved that Marion whatever her name is won for "La Vie En Rose." That performance was pheonomenal.

I have always loved movies. These days the storytelling is often so layered and complicated and rich. For me the oscars is guilty pleasure and an evening to recognize creativity and excellence.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Happy Chuck

The flue came and it still leaves me feeling flat and kind of bleached out.
But I have worked this week and I am getting ready for this Sunday. And slowly I am getting my strength back.

We had a big occasion here today. Chuck bought himself a new car. After 8 years of driving vans he has purchased a car - a 10 year old dark green with camel leather interior - CADILLAC. That seems to be the desire of many men of a certain age - to own a cadillac at least once in their life.
And Chuck - at the age of 72 - now has a cadillac. I could not understate how excited he is by this purchase and how happy I am for him that he has this.

He got it in the best possible way - bought it through the internet from an engineer who drove it 70 miles back and forth to work for the past 6 years. He has all the paperwork of everything that has ever been done to this beautiful car. The car is without any spots and is in beautiful condition.

I can only watch Chuck and be happy for him. I don't understand really because I was born without the "machine gene" and with very little desire for much that is material.
What I like in life is to see someone being happy ....and he is. One of the great gifts of my life is Chuck and I watch him living his life in many ways like a child - in that so many things do make him happy.
He is happy when he plays golf, he is happy when he is planning to play golf, he is happy when he is making friench fries and he is happy when he is feeding people his friench fries. When he is happy everyone knows it - he has a smile that can almost break your heart to see it.

Anyway, I guess we have experienced a blessed event today. This beautiful green Cadillac.
Everybody should be so happy as Chuck!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Illness part 2

I have the flu. Officially
After the threw up in the doctor's office she concurred. And said it takes 10 to 20 days and I am on day 4.
This is beyond my comprehension. She is supposed to give me antibiotics (which she did) and say "rest for two days"
Then I would write my sermon on Saturday and preach on Sunday. I can't believe it.
But I do.

So, I sit here and am already getting tired from doing this hard work of writing.
I have arranged a preacher for Sunday (both services) and don't have to do anything else except rest.

I don't feel bad - but I am tired. Tired, tired, tired.
Talking on the phone tires me out. Thinking too much tires me out.
So I watch TV and wait impatiently for this to go away. Ten days? I don't believe it. I think I will be back at work on Monday

Keep my in your prayers.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Yesterday at church in the early service I started coughing. Chuck has been sick with something - the flu? a cold? - for 10 days now. He is mostly in bed - sleeping and reading. He occasionally gets out of bed and does something - but not himself.

So, I start coughing - from my chest. By the second service my shoulders hurt and I thought I am achy - have I caught this flu? So after lunch I went home and spent the afternoon on the couch and taking flu medication. I went to bed early and here I am today.

I pray and pray that God's healing spirit will come upon me. I don't have time to be down. I also know that I have been tired - "bone tired" for a while. And I believe that is why my immune system is down.

I was just reading a "letter from Carolyn Myss" who is a medical intuitive. She is doing a workshop on healing in May. It costs $1300! plus $700 for room and board!!!! I would love to go because everything she writes is so intriguing to me about the ability to discern the energy patterns which lead to illness or block healing. She has written about the archetypes that we all carry - one of them being the sabateur. I wonder how much I sabotage my own health. And my own well being.
So I begin today with prayer to my God who goes before me. And pray that I may hear the voice that leads to healing.

Anyway, I will go to work this morning and see Loretta my spiritual director today. I feel better today and trust that I am not going to be down and out for a week. But I will have be careful this week about how much I do.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Politics and David

Today is Chuck's birthday and David came over and they are sitting in the dining room talking while I am here writing this.

We met David the day that we moved in here. He was living across the street from us with some other people from Ghana. He immediately told us who he was and helped us to move items in and out of hte house. That was the beginning of a very interesting relationship that we have had with him.

He is a Christian and when he lived across the street would ask me to pray for him at certain difficult times. When we came, he told me that his prophet in Ghana had told him that a spiritual leader would be moving into his neighborhood. I never know what to make of stuff like that. He is from Ghana and is a widower with 4 children still living in Ghana. His mother who is 92 (?) years old takes care of his children. He later joined our church and with Chuck takes care of the church lawn.

Today is my day off and so I am home. I think David comes over here a lot more than I know.
He has been needing money for gas and Chuck frequently gives him food.....any leftovers at all go to David. Over the years we have watched him move to various apartments and from job to job to job. He is a good worker and responsbile - but he is "out of status" and has some sketchy work situations. I don't want to say more about that.

When he comes over here he always calls Chuck "My Master" and me "Reverend". Sometimes he calls Chuck he calls Chuck "Strong Man." Like this:
Me: "Hi David"
Him: "Good Morning Reverend. Is Strong Man here? Or is My Master Here?"
or sometimes he says: "Is Strong here?"
It is very different from any relationship we ever had in Bowling Green. :)

So, I am sitting in the family room and they are discussing politics and I am hearing alot of "Obama" which makes me curious. It turns out the David is VERY suspicious of Obama.
And he says he knows of no Africans who are for Obama. They think that he should take care of Kenya first(?) And he also said that he heard from a Muslim in Ghana that the Muslims are very supportive of Obama because they believe that he will not go to war with any Muslim country.

David also knows exactly how many delegates Hillary has and how many Obama has and how many superdelagates each one has. He told me that he is for Hillary. He said that if you want wisdom - you should go to a woman.

Now THAT is hard to argue with!

Anyway, it is certainly interesting to hear other people's point of view about all of this. We will be voting in March and it will definitely mean something.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Coming Home - Ash Wednesday homily

This is the homily from tonight

It is called the story of the lost son – the beginning of the chapter has the story of the lost coin and the lost sheep
And now the lost son (s)

It is familiar and true

A man had 2 sons – one son – the younger son. Rebellious, irresponsible, playboy, bored, impulsive, insensitive, independent
Just wanted to get away on his own.

And his father – allowed it. His taking half his inheritance was such a slap to his father – as if he was saying – you are dead to me
His father allowed it.
And gave him the money, the permission, the license to leave

And he did. And the story is pretty clear that he didn’t use the money well.
He wasted it. And then when “life happened” – a famine – he did not have enough to keep on going.
And he ended up slopping pigs and so hungry he would eat pig food
And then he came to his sense
Recognized the life he had walked from

And recognized that he had hurt his father.
Even prepared a speech to go home – I shall arise and go unto my father and say unto him father I have sinned against heaven and before thee and am no more worthy to be called thy son
And willing to just go and work -
And started home

Is that your story tonight?
Do you find yourself in the rebellious one
Do you have story of impulsively wanting what you want and wanting it now
Do you have a story of wastefulness – not recognizing the blessings until you are away from them
Do you ever look back at the way you treated people in your life and marvel at your insensitivity
Do you ever look at your relationship with God and realize that you had somehow – in your independence – gone far field from life in his sanctuary

And of course this is a story about two brothers.
The younger and the older
The one who is younger has sinned so obviously and now he is coming home again.
To a party hosted by his father, and to the disapproval of his brother.
Do you know the older brother? We look at him and say – he is the good son.
He works with his father in the field. Takes care of his family. .
And probably paid his bills on time, served as an elder in the church and was absolutely faithful to his wife.
It is the homecoming of the brother that reveals his secret sin – his resentful heart.
He looks very good on the outside – but on the inside he harbors bitterness toward his brother.
He is full of pride and self righteousness.
/He knows about law but not about grace.
And so the brother who looks lives with the father is as estranged as the one in the far countriy.
And he is lost as well.

What is your story tonight?
Is there a part of you that carries hidden resentments?
Do you have events in the past that continue to be areas of bitterness and blame?
Are you secretly competing and comparing with others and finding yourself always in the right?
Do you need to face and confess your pride and your self righteousness?

Two brothers – a familiar and true story about lostness
The one publicly lost – who went so far away he knew he was lost and made the journey home
The other privately lost - close by and unaware of the distance between himself and his father

You know the story. So familiar and so true.
And you know it is our story – my story and your story.

And of course we are here because of the Father.
Whose love is constant and sure and as free as the air we breathe.
Who gives us enough rope to hang ourselves and enough rope to bring us home again.
The father who waits patiently for his child to come to his senses and find grace
The father who waits for his child to open his heart and find peace.
He is waiting for us tonight - on the first night of Lent
To begin the journey back home.
Waiting for us to come home – to come to our senses – to change our hearts
To Return.

ash wednesday

I am just returning from our Ash Wednesday service.
This is the first day of Lent and I always like it when it is all over.
Not too many people came this year - maybe 35 - 40. We have a lot of sickness right now in the church - including Chuck who has been in bed for 4 days with a cold/flu. Tomorrow is his birthday and I am hoping that he will be able to get out and go to the movies or something.

Anyway, I wish that I could do the same thing every year - I am sure that some ministers do - but I seem unable to. We have a theme for the year at church - "God's story, Our Story, My Story" and so I wanted to have the service all be around one story. And the obvious story to me was the prodigal son. (sons!)
So, I ended up writting a short homily - that of course took a couple of hours. The shorter it is the more time it takes. But it was about the fact that we really do find ourselves in the story - the public rebellion of the younger son and the private resentment of the older son. And the fact that we the "Father" allows us to go our own way and waits for us to "come to our sense" or "change our hearts" and doesn't even need the apology in the story.

This year we gave journals to everyone and questions for people to ruminate on about the story.
Questions like: How do I identify with the younger son? How do I identify with the older son? What do I want to say to God? What does God want to say to me?
My plan is to have questions for people to journal about every week that are related to the story of the week. That in addition to a meditation and my sermon notes. and the powerpoint that I do. Sometimes I wonder if I take too much on. But I love it when it all goes together and it is in our "ruminating" that the Word goes deeper. Hard to explain but I know it is true.

Anyway, I sit here now on a Wednesday night and feel like it was a good beginning for the season. And trusting that God will work with me and with us.