Monday, July 30, 2012

Alone together

That was the title of the first lecture of this week at Chautauqua. The theme for this week is about living in a digital world and all the implications of that. MSherry Turkel is a therapist, writer, researcher on the Internet and she spoke about the effects of the Internet on us. Really fascinating

.we make our technologies and then our technologies make and shape us. I heard stories of a class that decided the only way to stop texting during class was to literally collect the phones. Because the pull of the desire tomcheck our texts (find out who "wants" me)'and to respond was too strong if the phone was in my hand.

There are people who
1, would rather text than talk. ( you know who you are)
2. Don't feel secure in their feelings un
Ess they are shared
3. Want to conrol that to which they give attention and therefore text through meetings, funerals, meals etc. Never fully present

Wemare alone together...connected and yet hiding
We sacrifice conversation for mere connection and get used to being shortchanged.

Her bottom line completed resonated with everything I have learned through the Wellstreams program
1, we need to be able to be alone with ourselves and in touch with reflect because that is where creativity comes from
"if we don't teach our children to be alone, they will know only how to be lonely"

Solitude is a good thing

2,we need to be able to have know and be known, to listen and speak
There is amdifference between connection and conversation

And so, here I am at Chautauqua, a place where I receive both...times of solitude and wonderful conversation. We sit on the front porch and talk about the lectures, the worship, our families, life, church, everything. It is rich and beautiful and I am blessed beyond all deserving

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In response to Violence

This is my letter this month for our church's newsletter.

All violence is the result of people tricking themselves into believing that their pain derives from other people and that consequently those people deserve to be punished. ~Marshall Rosenberg

Dear Friends
Like you I have been horrified by the violence and deaths that occurred in a movie theatre in Colorado last week. The news media continue to follow up with stories on the background on the shooter and the heroism of the victims .There are myriad “explanations” for an incident that remains shrouded in mystery.
We are Christians and so we struggle with the questions that come up with acts of violence and the reality of evil in our world. I remember on September 16, 2011 preaching a sermon which I titled “Jesus Response to Evil.”
And my “answers” remain the same. We cannot deny that there are forces that work against life in this world - and we have to be vigilant in working for life. We cannot forget the ways in which humans can choose death and division - whether we are talking about the holocaust, the specter of racism, or a glorification of violence.
We must show a different way of living in this world - a way of peace and understanding. Our Non Violent communication workshop this winter was an eye opener for me and I will continue to offer ways for us to grow in our own personal understandings about compassionate living.
We have to trust that God is at work still in the midst of the mayhem. Our free will means that we have the ability to destroy and we cannot blame God for that. But God’s ways are miraculous and even in the darkest times we will continue to see the light at work bringing healing, hope and new life.
Let us all continue in prayer for all the victims of this event - include the shooter and his family. How tragic it all is.
I hope to see you in church this summer as we celebrate the living God of hope and new life.

Yours in Christ

ps for bloggers-I am not a gun person, I don't own and never will own a gun. I have never shot a gun and I will never understand why anyone needs an assault rifle!

Monday, July 23, 2012


Saturday was Seth Stout's ordination and it was quite a day.

Seth had asked me to preach it and I found myself very anxious about it. Preaching an ordination means that preaching in front of my peers and regional ministers and it brings up all my insecurities

But besides the all about me stuff - ordinations are really important. This is a time in which a person is being consecrate - set apart - for Christian ministry. It is holy.

And so, last week I felt pressure and at the same time a sense that God would "come through" and give me what I need. The process is always interesting and somewhat daunting but in the end it is exhilarating. And that is what happened.

I had one sleepless night in which out of desperation I found myself re reading "The Naked Now" by Richard Rohr and then everything fell into place. I actually wrote the sermon in about three hours and spent a little bit of time after that tweaking it. But when it came down to it, I said what I felt God gave me to say.

And the ordination itself - the service was touching, joyful and amazing. Seth is gay and this - for most of us - was our first ordination of an openly gay man. There was such a sense of appreciation by Seth's church and our church. One of the most wonderful parts of it was when Seth himself sang - "It's a brand new world" and the congregation spontaneously clapped and sang along. I hope it is a brand new world.

And the rest of the story, of course, is that after this he wants to find a church to serve. And it will be a daunting search I am sure. Until he does, he will work for us part time and so we are the beneficiaries of the exclusion of gays and lesbians by many churches.

But my hope and prayer is that this glorious day represents a new day - that is just beginning.
May it be so.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4

At the outer banks....what could be nicer?

I write this as I lay in bed beside a sleeping Addie at 4 pm. I have been reading and snoozing and this really feels like vacation

Here are some highlights of this time

Mornings on a deck with coffee and my journal looking at the sound, watching the gulls and being here. Eventually everyone starts to wake up. Chuck or Erik fixes breakfast. We play games.

Days at the beach. It is hot but there is a breeze. Comfortable as Chuck and I sit under an umbrella and read and I watch everything....sea, sand, people, waves, grandchildren,

Memories of my life throughout the day. Remembering thebeCh with my grandmother, with my mother, watching my father fishing, being a teenager here with my brothers and sisters. It truly feels
Ike the circle of life as I am blessed to have been a granddaughternhere and now am a grandmother.

Feeling connected to family as we live together for a week and just enjoy each other. My niece Jill is here with her friends and it is a blessing to see her. NI visit my parents graves and remember them as I drive past their last home on Ginguit Dr.

Books...on tape, paperbacks, on my I pad. The blessing of reading and allowing myself to spend time with characters and sometimes escape from "real life" and sometimes through their stories reflect on the meaning of life.

A very quiet 4th of July this year at
Arade and
Rob ably no fireworks

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A memorable trip!

I write this from the Comfort Inn in Richmond Virginia after a good night's sleep. After the most taxing, frustrating amazing drive we have ever had to the Outer Banks.

We have been there so many times that we no longer consult a map when we plan the trip. We usually stop in Richmond at Chucks sisters home and complete the trip the next day. That was the plan. Our only choice is whether to go south ere 33 to Charleston or east on ere 70. We went south.

Friday night there was a big storm in Columbus and for many people the electricity was out (like Marnie and Kacey) but not for us so we blithely began our trip at 8 am. About an hour in I told chuck I wanted to stop at mcdonalds to get coffee and we kept finding that the restaurants were closed electricity because of the storm.

Then, about 10 miles from west Virginia we were literally stopped in our tracks by a sign that said road closed- both to the east where we were going and to the south. Probably trees on the road. No detour sign, so we got out maps and went north following the rover until finally we got to Parkersburg. We estimated this cost us about 50 miles. There was a long line of people at one gas station in a small town we
Assed, but we were confident because we had a full tank of gas and we were heading south.

As we kept going to Parkersburg, charleston, beckley still no coffee for me because no electricity anywhere. But I kept thinking that we are going south and soon there will be some. Chuck is getting more and more nervous as our gas tank is emptying.
Once we were at a quarter tank we started trying to go off the highway and we wou
D see the tell tcale signs of nonworking traffic lights and have to turn back to the highway. Driving, me hopeful, chuck increasingly anxious. It was when the yellow light came on that I began to worry. More trips off the highway to no avail. Finally at exit 139 off rye 64 we saw a sign for Citgo gas and knew this was it. Either we would get gas there or stay there and wIt. What we had seen along the way was people just stopped at gas stations waiting. That would be us.

Amazingly, they did have gas because they had a generator. And a little store selling food and a bathroom. We waited about 45 minutes and felt enormous relief to have gotten the gas tank filled. Enormous relief. They only took cash, but I brought plenty and so, blessed. There were people working and organizing all of us travelers too. Itmwas amazing. I heard stories of other people who waited in p,aces where people were less organized and fighting. This was great.

So we continued on our way. Marnie and Erik and the girls were also going to Richmond. They left 2 hours after us and we were able to warn them not to go the way we went. They were now running out of gas so we told them about exit 139, tueymwere in line and then I mentioned that they only took cash and they had one dollar with them. They left from their house with no electricity and expected to use an ATM which was not working..
At this point we were 40 miles down the road and so we turned around and came back to where they were waiting in
Ine- the line was even longer for them and we delivered the cash. She did give me a bag of cheese doodles, so it was a fair trade. :). Anyway, enormous relief that they were going to be able to continue.

So we we ton our way and after about a hundred more miles found another gas station and by this tome was actually able to charge gas.

Meanwhile in Richmond we got word from chucks sister that THEY were without electricity and so through text and phone calls to Audrey in Lynchburg (also without electricity!)we were able to get a motel here.

Then we got word through his sister that another storm was coming to Richmond just as we were 9 pm. So the final leg of the trip was me driving in lightening and rain and trying to find this comfort inn. Truly an exhausting day and yet.....
Grateful for those wonderful people who enabled us to get the gas
Grateful for my daughters who worked together
Grateful for a great book on tape that enabled chuck and I to be distracted for hours
Grateful, grateful, grateful

It could have been so much worse and after all, we are going on vacation