Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I already finished my sermon for this coming Sunday (hooray!), but thought that this story would be a good illustration for anyone preaching on the Philippians passage. I always wonder what motivates people to do things like this? The internet and computer technology make these kinds of hoaxes less and less possible to get away with.
British pianist Joyce Hatto, hailed after her death as a neglected genius, owed her reputation to performances stolen from other artists, her husband has admitted, saying he was desperate to have her life end "on a high note." "It is self-evident that I have acted stupidly, dishonestly and unlawfully," William Barrington-Coupe wrote in a letter acknowledging the fraudulent recordings, which he said he produced without his wife's knowledge while she was dying of ovarian cancer.
"I was desperate to finish her life, which had been disappointing in so many ways, on a high note," Barrington-Coupe wrote. Hatto ceased to play in public in 1975, achieving only a modest reputation and collecting mixed reviews. But after she died last year at age 77, obituaries hailed her as a keyboard prodigy who left a brilliant legacy in more than 100 CDs produced by her husband on his Concert Artists label. "A singular artist of superlative technique and interpretation," said The Times. "One of the greatest pianists Britain has ever produced," wrote The Guardian. That reputation collapsed after Gramophone, a British music magazine, reported earlier this month that at least one Hatto CD recording, Franz Liszt's "Transcendental Etudes," was actually a release by pianist Laszlo Simon.
The deception was uncovered when a classical music fan's iTunes computer library identified the Hatto recording as Simon's. The fan contacted one of Gramophone's critics, who listened to both recordings and discovered they were identical, the magazine said. In a letter to Robert von Bahr, chief executive officer of Sweden's BIS Records, which released Simon's recording, Barrington-Coupe acknowledged the theft. "Of course I deeply regret it. The damage has been enormous, and frightful things have been resurrected and insinuated in the press," Barrington-Coupe wrote.
"The sad thing about all this is that my wife was a fine musician and probably the most finished pianist I had ever heard."
In the letter, Barrington-Coupe said his wife was suffering from advanced ovarian cancer by the time he was able to produce CDs, and her grunts of pain marred recording sessions. So, he said, he searched for pianists of a similar sound and style to patch over his wife's recordings. Over time, the letter said, he took bigger and bigger pieces of other recordings, and learned how to manipulate speed to disguise the source.
The deception unraveled when the Gramophone reader put the "Hatto" recording of "Transcendental Etudes" on his computer, and the iTunes software, which catalogues about 4 million albums based on the tracks' lengths, identified the recording as Simon's. Then a "Hatto" recording of Rachmaninoff piano concertos was identified as one by Yefim Bronfman on Sony, Gramophone said. After that, Andrew Rose of Pristine Audio found that a "Hatto" recording of music by Leopold Godowsky was actually one of Carlo Grante on Altarus, but slowed down by 15 percent. The Associated Press could not immediately reach Barrington-Coupe, whose telephone number is unlisted. However, Bahr, speaking in Stockholm, said Barrington-Coupe had acknowledged the deception, "because I was the only one that confronted him in a respectful way."
"We've had a letter correspondence because he has also stolen music from me," Bahr said, adding that Barrington-Coupe asked him not to release the entire letter, though he read portions to a reporter. Gramophone reported Barrington-Coupe's letter to BIS on Monday, saying on its Web site that it had confirmed the contents with him.
Irish pianist John O'Conor, whose recording of Beethoven's Sonata in E allegedly reappeared with Hatto's name in 1999, said he was flattered that anyone remembered his version. But he was puzzled by the late flowering of Hatto's reputation. "You had the media calling her the `greatest' this and `most prolific' that and people in the industry kept on saying: 'Who?' She hadn't been heard of for 30 years," O'Conor said.
BPI, the British recording trade organization, said it was investigating. "If the stories flying around these recordings proved to be true, this would be one of the most extraordinary cases of piracy the record industry had ever seen," BPI said in a statement. Bahr, however, said he had no intention of pursuing Barrington-Coupe.
"The guy is 76, he has a heart condition well, he says he has a heart condition and I can't see what, apart from revenge, it would give anyone," he said. Gramophone appealed for Barrington-Coupe to provide a full accounting of which recordings, if any, were actually by his wife. However, it quoted Barrington-Coupe as saying: "I'm tired, I'm not very well. I've closed the operation down, I've had the stock completely destroyed, and I'm not producing any more. Now I just want a little bit of peace."
Little church began participating in the Presbyterian Coffee Project this spring. The success has been overwhelming -- we can barely keep any of the products in stock. This is a great project for a group within a congregation that wants to support sisters and brothers in Christ who are supporting their families on small farms in places like Mexico, Central America and Africa. This coffee is delicious, too. I am enjoying some as I type (along with a couple of breakfast Girl Scout cookies. Yummy Thin Mints!)
Presbyterian Coffee Project: Good Coffee for a Good Cause
The Presbyterian Coffee Project offers a special link between congregations and communities around the world. Churches can now reach out to neighbors overseas not only with the prayers and offerings we give, but with the goods and products we purchase. A warm cup of coffee (or tea) in our hands is perhaps the most tangible daily connection we have with farmers around the world. It represents warmth, hospitality, fellowship, hard work, and life's pleasures both fine and simple. Buying fair trade through the Presbyterian Coffee Project ensures that more of the money we spend on coffee reaches the hardworking farmers who actually grow it. Participating congregations testify that the Presbyterian Coffee Project is a great way to help people in need while enjoying fellowship and an excellent cup of coffee. Fair trade practices complement our mission with farmers in Latin America, Africa and Asia, as well as our commitment to stewardship of the natural environment. By using fair trade coffee in our congregations, offices and homes, Presbyterians help guarantee that farmers will earn the income they need to feed their families, educate their children and improve their communities. Fair trade is a simple solution that means the difference — quite literally — between surviving and not surviving for small-scale coffee farmers. Congregations get started simply by ordering fairly traded coffee. In your congregation, a women's group, youth group, mission committee or peace and justice committee might sponsor this project. As your congregation enjoys this high-quality coffee (as well as tea, cocoa, sugar and chocolate), take time to learn about its impact on the people who grow it. Read about coffee farmers, discuss issues of justice in the global marketplace and take action in the spirit of love. Long-term congregational commitment has sustained Presbyterian and ecumenical ministries of relief and development for over 50 years. With such commitment, we can also make a difference in this new way.
About the Coffee Project
The Presbyterian Coffee Project is part of part of Enough for Everyone, a joint effort of the Presbyterian Hunger Program, the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, Women's Ministries, Social Justice, Environmental Justice Office, Stewardship Education, Self-Development of People, and Presbyterian Women. Enough for Everyone is a partnership ministry of the General Assembly Council of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Little Church on the Desert seems to be approaching a mini-conflict. There is some disagreement about the appropriateness of applause in church. I know this has come up in many other churches, but I honestly don't know what leadership to provide on this issue. The applause seems to be limited to special musical offerings. Some folks are very upset when there is no applause; others are upset at any applause. Any ideas, smarties?
We won! I walked into my office this morning and found this taking up almost my entire desk:
It is a "gourmet" basket from Trader Joe's. It turned out to be the perfect illustration for my sermon, as I talked quite a bit about food this morning (one cannot live by bread alone, but I sure try sometimes...)
I also won a gift certificate for a hoity-toity children's clothing store. The gift certificate will probably cover one fancy sock for Lily's precious little tootsies.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Wow. The only girls ever asked to leave my college sorority were those who flunked out of school or had major issues with sexual immorality. This is a really sad story.
By SAM DILLON Published: February 25, 2007
GREENCASTLE, Ind. — When a psychology professor at DePauw University here surveyed students, they described one sorority as a group of “daddy’s little princesses” and another as “offbeat hippies.” The sisters of Delta Zeta were seen as “socially awkward.” Worried that a negative stereotype of the sorority was contributing to a decline in membership that had left its Greek-columned house here half empty, Delta Zeta’s national officers interviewed 35 DePauw members in November, quizzing them about their dedication to recruitment. They judged 23 of the women insufficiently committed and later told them to vacate the sorority house.
The 23 members included every woman who was overweight. They also included the only black, Korean and Vietnamese members. The dozen students allowed to stay were slender and popular with fraternity men — conventionally pretty women the sorority hoped could attract new recruits. Six of the 12 were so infuriated they
quit. “Virtually everyone who didn’t fit a certain sorority member archetype was told to leave,” said Kate Holloway, a senior who withdrew from the chapter during its reorganization. “I sensed the disrespect with which this was to be carried out and got fed up,” Ms. Holloway added. “I didn’t have room in my life for these women to come in and tell my sisters of three years that they weren’t needed.” Ms. Holloway is not the only angry one. The reorganization has left a messy aftermath of recrimination and tears on this rural campus of 2,400 students, 50 miles southwest of Indianapolis. The mass eviction battered the self-esteem of many of the former sorority members, and some withdrew from classes in depression. There have been student protests, outraged letters from alumni and parents, and a faculty petition calling the sorority’s action unethical. DePauw’s president, Robert G. Bottoms, issued a two-page letter of reprimand to the sorority. In an interview in his office, Dr. Bottoms said he had been stunned by the sorority’s insensitivity. “I had no hint they were going to disrupt the chapter with a membership reduction of this proportion in the middle of the year,” he said. “It’s been very upsetting.” The president of Delta Zeta, which has its headquarters in Oxford, Ohio, and its other national officers declined to be interviewed. Responding by e-mail to questions, Cynthia Winslow Menges, the executive director, said the sorority had not evicted the 23 women, even though the national officers sent those women form letters that said: “The membership review team has recommended you for alumna status. Chapter members receiving alumnae status should plan to relocate from the chapter house no later than Jan. 29, 2007.” Ms. Menges asserted that the women themselves had, in effect, made their own decisions to leave by demonstrating a lack of commitment to meet recruitment goals. The sorority paid each woman who left $300 to cover the difference between sorority and campus housing. The sorority “is saddened that the isolated incident at DePauw has been mischaracterized,” Ms. Menges wrote. Asked for clarification, the sorority’s public relations representative e-mailed a statement saying its actions were aimed at the “enrichment of student life at DePauw.” This is not the first time that the DePauw chapter of Delta Zeta has stirred controversy. In 1982, it attracted national attention when a black student was not allowed to join, provoking accusations of racial discrimination. Earlier this month, an Alabama lawyer and several other DePauw alumni who graduated in 1970 described in a letter to The DePauw, the student newspaper, how Delta Zeta’s national leadership had tried unsuccessfully to block a young woman with a black father and a white mother from joining its DePauw chapter in 1967. Despite those incidents, the chapter appears to have been home to a diverse community over the years, partly because it has attracted brainy women, including many science and math majors, as well as talented disabled women, without focusing as exclusively as some sororities on potential recruits’ sex appeal, former sorority members said.
“I had a sister I could go to a bar with if I had boy problems,” said Erin Swisshelm, a junior biochemistry major who withdrew from the sorority in October. “I had a sister I could talk about religion with. I had a sister I could be nerdy about science with. That’s why I liked Delta Zeta, because I had all these amazing women around me.”
But over the years DePauw students had attached a negative stereotype to the chapter, as evidenced by the survey that Pam Propsom, a psychology professor, conducts each year in her class. That image had hurt recruitment, and the national officers had repeatedly warned the chapter that unless its membership increased, the chapter could close. At the start of the fall term the national office was especially determined to raise recruitment because 2009 is the 100th anniversary of the DePauw chapter’s founding. In September, Ms. Menges and Kathi Heatherly, a national vice president of the sorority, visited the chapter to announce a reorganization plan they said would include an interview with each woman about her commitment. The women were urged to look their best for the interviews. The tone left four women so unsettled that they withdrew from the chapter almost immediately. Robin Lamkin, a junior who is an editor at The DePauw and was one of the 23 women evicted from the house, said many of her sisters bought new outfits and modeled them for each other before the interviews. Many women declared their willingness to recruit diligently, Ms. Lamkin said. A few days after the interviews, national representatives took over the house to hold a recruiting event. They asked most members to stay upstairs in their rooms. To welcome freshmen downstairs, they assembled a meet-and-greet team that included several of the women eventually asked to stay in the sorority, along with some slender women invited from the sorority’s chapter at Indiana University, Ms. Holloway said. “They had these unassuming freshman girls downstairs with these plastic women from Indiana University, and 25 of my sisters hiding upstairs,” she said. “It was so fake, so completely dehumanized. I said, ‘This calls for a little joke.’ ” Ms. Holloway put on a wig and some John Lennon rose-colored glasses, burst through the front door during the recruitment event, and skipped around singing “Ooooh! Delta Zeta!” and other chants. The face of one of the national representatives, she recalled, “was
like I’d run over her puppy with my car.” The national representatives announced their decisions in the form letters, delivered on Dec. 2, which said that Delta Zeta intended to increase membership to 95 by the 2009 anniversary, and that it would recruit using a “core group of women.” Elizabeth Haneline, a senior a computer science major who was among those evicted, returned to the house from campus that afternoon and found some women in tears. Even the chapter’s very active president had been kicked out, Ms. Haneline said, while “other women who had done almost nothing for the chapter were asked to stay.” Ms. Swisshelm said she overheard one woman seek to reassure a friend: “I think you’re plenty pretty, no matter what nationals say,” the woman said. Six of the 12 women who were asked to stay left the sorority, including Joanna Kieschnick, a sophomore majoring in English literature. “They said, ‘You’re not good enough’ to so many people who have put their heart and soul into this chapter that I can’t stay,” she said. Ms. Haneline, who found articles about Delta Zeta in the DePauw library about past episodes of discrimination, said, “The Greek system hasn’t changed at all, but instead of racism, it’s image now.” In the months since, Cynthia Babington, DePauw’s dean of students, has fielded angry calls from parents, she said. Robert Hershberger, chairman of the modern languages department, circulated the faculty petition; 55 professors signed it. “We were especially troubled that the women they expelled were less about image and more about academic achievement and social service,” Dr. Hershberger said. During rush activities this month, 11 first-year students accepted invitations to join Delta Zeta, but only three have since sought membership.
On Feb. 2, Rachel Pappas, a junior who is the chapter’s former secretary, printed 200 posters calling on students to gather that afternoon at the student union. About 50 students showed up and heard Ms. Pappas say the sorority’s national leaders had misrepresented the truth when they asserted they had evicted women for lack of commitment. “The injustice of the lies,” she said, “is contemptible.”
Friday, February 23, 2007
Muriel Feldshuh of the Books For Children Foundation says one of the best ways a parent can inspire a child to love reading is by reading themselves. "As soon as a parent is reading their own book or looking at a newspaper or looking at a magazine, the child sees that and wants to emulate the parent." She says sharing the reading experience with your child is also crucial. "Putting a child in your lap and showing them a book is a wonderful closeness that's shared with the parent," says Muriel. Taking frequent trips to the library or bookstore can teach child how accessible books are to them. "When your giving gifts to a child, give them a gift of a book. It's a lifetime of reading and a lifetime of gifts to the child," Muriel says. She also recommends spending at least 20 minutes a day with your child and a book.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Sisters & Brothers,
Blogger has a spell-check feature. It is the little button on the template that looks like a check mark with 'ABC' printed above. Please, please familiarize yourself with this tool. So many of you are writing such intelligent posts about the future of our church and other important topics. But you come across as major dweebs if your heart-felt diatribes are full of spelling errors.
Separate -- not seperate
Definitely -- not definately
Accommodate -- not acomadate
Sincerely (not sincerly) yours,
"Take care that you never spell a word wrong. Always before you write a word, consider how it is spelled, and, if you do not remember, turn to a dictionary. It produces great praise to a lady to spell well." ~Thomas Jefferson
Ever have a child who is sick enough to stay home from school, but not actually all that sick? My daughter stayed home today because she started taking antibiotics yesterday morning for yet another ear infection. But by this morning she felt a-okay. I had quite a bit of work to do at church, so she came along. And was a tiny tornado all over my office. We came home for lunch and then she took a three hour nap. She is feeling pretty darn well. I, on the other hand, am tired after another night of mini-insomnia (awake from 3:30-5, then slept in a little this morning) and then tornado wrangling all day. Does this child look sick to you?
This is a beautiful piece of film. Guatemala City is the largest city in Central America. Enjoy.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
It must mean something that this happened on Ash Wednesday.
Yesterday I received an email from a colleague whom I respect and admire a great deal. Linda asked me to call her today because she wanted to talk with me about "something". I didn't think much about it because my past conversations with Linda have always been so pleasant.
When I called, we talked for a while... she asked what was going on in my life; she shared some about hers. Fine, fine. Then she says, "I need to tell you something." She proceeds to tell me that a mutual colleague had a "concern" about me. Seth is a bit of a peacock and know-it-all. Evidently, he came to Linda about a specific and very superficial criticism of me. Really. It was along the lines of, "Seth thinks you should quit sweating so much." A cut-me-to-the-bone kind of rejection of a fairly essential part of who I am. Something that I can't really imagine changing. Something necessary and vital to my life and vocation. My mouth hung open as Linda talked. I quickly thanked her for her concerns and got off the phone.
I immediately called my GGF (good, good friend) and burst into tears. I was in shock that such unkindness would be passed along in the guise of concern. GGF said all the right things. She was properly outraged and soothed and patted my ego as well as she could via the cell phone. She made me promise not to internalize these negative thoughts. My husband came home and did the same as GGF, with the added support of wanting to kick Seth really, really hard.
I drove down to church feeling so sad. I then realized that I had the world's largest pimple on my forehead, so that the elder who was serving as liturgist would have to smear the Ash Wednesday ashes right on my yucky zit. I felt terrible. Ugly, unlovable and angry.
I got to church and saw that no one had changed the paraments from green to purple. The preschool is having their school pictures done this week, so *of course* the photographer had set all of his heavy camera equipment in front of the closet where the paraments are stored. I got ready for the service by myself and felt like I didn't even want to be at church, let alone lead worship. (Oh -- did I mention that my family could not come to church? My daughter has another ear infection. So before all this crap happened, I spent the morning at the pediatrician's office. )
Sometimes the Holy Spirit decides to intervene in really obvious ways. A friend who attends my husband's church drove 30+ miles out of her way to attend my service. The church was really full. My organist, whose husband had back surgery yesterday, still came and played and did a gorgeous job. My worship assistant was gracious and well-spoken. Someone asked for a copy of my sermon after the service was over. Some girl scouts in the church delivered a big bag of cookies to my office. No one made fun of my zit (to my face, at least). I came home to my cozy house and sleeping children. My husband was on the phone, discussing a memorial service he is conducting on Sunday. I heard kindness and compassion in his voice.
I don't know why Linda decided to participate in this triangulated situation with Seth. I am going to do everything in my power to ignore it. Because my power is pretty weak, I would covet your prayers. My Lenten journey for this year involves letting go and not forcing other people to act the way that I think is right and proper. This is not to say that my feelings are not extremely bruised and tender. But at least I have Girl Scout cookies.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
I wish that potty training were really this easy. Watch to the end for very cool product placement. I think it is so interesting how differently these kinds of subjects are treated in different cultures.
Monday, February 19, 2007
|You Are 70% Extrovert, 30% Introvert|
We heard Nancy Pelosi speak in the ballroom of the student union at Arizona State University this afternoon. The place was PACKED. I was impressed by her dedication to higher education and bipartisanship. She is an excellent and persuasive speaker. (BTW, she is also petite and beautiful). The best thing about the day was the lack of venom from the various congressional speakers in attendance -- Reps. Harry Mitchell (D-AZ), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Ed Pastor (D-AZ), and Barbara Lee (D-CA). I was also impressed that no one jumped up to protest these speakers. The crowd was warm and receptive. For some inexplicable reason, ASU's President, Michael Crow, didn't bother to show up (it was kind of funny when Nancy Pelosi went to introduce him from the audience and he wasn't there). Nice to attend a pro-America, pro-Democracy, pro-"Normalcy" event. The Representatives also talked about their support of the Dream Act (http://www.dreamact.info/), which should come up for a vote next month. Happy Presidents' Day!
Artist's sculptures stolen from garden There's a spot in artist John Waddell's sculpture garden where the form of an elderly man once beckoned to a cluster of seven bronzed nudes. But what the sculptor, whose work adorns several Valley locations, took eight years to complete was carted away in one recent night from his Sedona-area home.Waddell believes thieves wanted the artwork for the metal, reducing a creation worth up to $1 million to about $20,000 in copper."I'm afraid it's probably melted down already," the 86-year-old artist said Saturday from his home. "I doubt we'll recover them in figurative form, but I have hopes that we will." The theft is a departure from industrial looting, a growing trend where crooks strip copper or other scrap metal from buildings and sell it. Recycling companies on average pay 90 percent of the new copper price, or more than $3 a pound, for scrap, according to the Copper Development Association. Record-high metal prices in the U.S. are enticing thieves to snatch everything they can get their hands on, even if their hands alone won't do the job.Waddell said the thieves would have needed a tractor to pry the statues from their anchors and a flatbed truck to haul them away on Wednesday or Thursday night. As a group, the pieces weighed more than 2 tons.Valley residents may know Waddell's work better than his name. He created the dancing nudes outside the Herberger Theater in downtown Phoenix. The stolen pieces, a grouping named Generations, used to adorn the Sedona Cultural Park until it went bankrupt in 2005. So the artist reclaimed them for the ruddy earth and vegetation on the 25-acre ranch where he lives with his wife.Waddell discovered the sculptures were missing Friday morning when he brought out-of-town friends to see the garden, where he had just put in a few pathways and planned to open the outdoor gallery to the public.Waddell and a few friends moved the remaining 20 statues closer to the house on Saturday so they can keep watch. He is thinking about putting in a gate in place of the cattle guard near the main road."It's my life's devotion, my life's work," Waddell said. "So naturally I take it rather hard."
Lindsey Collom The Arizona Republic Feb. 18, 2007
There's a spot in artist John Waddell's sculpture garden where the form of an elderly man once beckoned to a cluster of seven bronzed nudes. But what the sculptor, whose work adorns several Valley locations, took eight years to complete was carted away in one recent night from his Sedona-area home.Waddell believes thieves wanted the artwork for the metal, reducing a creation worth up to $1 million to about $20,000 in copper."I'm afraid it's probably melted down already," the 86-year-old artist said Saturday from his home. "I doubt we'll recover them in figurative form, but I have hopes that we will."
The theft is a departure from industrial looting, a growing trend where crooks strip copper or other scrap metal from buildings and sell it. Recycling companies on average pay 90 percent of the new copper price, or more than $3 a pound, for scrap, according to the Copper Development Association. Record-high metal prices in the U.S. are enticing thieves to snatch everything they can get their hands on, even if their hands alone won't do the job.Waddell said the thieves would have needed a tractor to pry the statues from their anchors and a flatbed truck to haul them away on Wednesday or Thursday night. As a group, the pieces weighed more than 2 tons.Valley residents may know Waddell's work better than his name. He created the dancing nudes outside the Herberger Theater in downtown Phoenix. The stolen pieces, a grouping named Generations, used to adorn the Sedona Cultural Park until it went bankrupt in 2005. So the artist reclaimed them for the ruddy earth and vegetation on the 25-acre ranch where he lives with his wife.Waddell discovered the sculptures were missing Friday morning when he brought out-of-town friends to see the garden, where he had just put in a few pathways and planned to open the outdoor gallery to the public.Waddell and a few friends moved the remaining 20 statues closer to the house on Saturday so they can keep watch. He is thinking about putting in a gate in place of the cattle guard near the main road."It's my life's devotion, my life's work," Waddell said. "So naturally I take it rather hard."
Sunday, February 18, 2007
My folks bought Thomas a DVD for his birthday called "All About Fast Trains". It is a 'documentary' about trains. Specifically a documentary about Engineers Gus and Sam and their amazing model train set. The most stirring part is watching tiny tin soldiers "march" next to the tiny railroad tracks, to a kazoo version of "Stars and Stripes Forever" (aka "Be Kind to your Web-Footed Friends"). It is like watching someone's home movies. Of course, Thomas loves it with a passion and wants to watch it at every waking moment. Thanks a lot, Nana.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
I've mostly stayed out of this New Wineskins movement within the PC(USA). Personally, I see Christ at work in our current denomination and feel VERY excited about some upcoming changes in my own ministry. But this past week, since the announcement that the New Wineskins may become a non-geographic Presbytery of the Evangelical Presbyterian denomination, I've been reading some blogs written by those who are pastoring church who may move to the EPs. I'm trying to imagine why they feel things are going to be so much different and so much better in a new place.
"Darling you gotta let me know. Should I stay or should I go? If you say that you are mine, I'll be here til the end of time. So you've got to let know, should I stay or should I go?"
Friday, February 16, 2007
About eight years ago, I officiated at a funeral for the first time. It was a graveside service for a newborn infant. I felt so nervous, walking across the cemetery grass early on a Saturday morning. So nervous, in fact, that I got a little sick. The driver of the hearse from the funeral home saw me get sick and brought me some water. I felt better and was able to conduct the service without incident. I then spent some time with the family and turned to find my car, relieved to be finished. The driver ran after me and asked if he could have my phone number. What would make him this this was a good idea?
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Being a pastor can be an emotionally exhausting job. Today I was called on to mediate an argument between two professional, adult women (don't ask!) This is why I need friends who understand what I'm going through. This is why I need friends who will talk through the issues and joys I have within the church. This is why I need friends who will feed me ice cream and talk about completely non-church related stuff.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Thomas has a sweetheart. There is an adorable little girl in his preschool class named Nadia. A few weeks ago, Thomas informed me that she was "beautiful". This morning he said that he wanted to give all the "Cars" Valentine cards we'd worked on to Nadia because she was his valentine. As we left the preschool this afternoon, they hugged. And so it begins. I can't handle this -- he is 4! How will I cope when he is 14? Or 24? Ack.
I need to apply for a bunch of grant money from the Lilly Foundation...
I'm taking a break from sermon prep and Sunday school prep and special Session meeting prep to write a little bit.
- I'm not using this quote in my sermon this week, but I figured someone else might like this... Walter Wink on the transfiguration:
"Transfiguration is living by vision: standing foursquare in the midst of a broken, tortured, oppressed, starving, dehumanizing reality, yet seeing the invisible, calling to it to come, behaving as if it is on the way, sustained by elements of it that have come already, within and among us. In those moments when people are healed, transformed, freed from addictions, obsessions, destructiveness, self worship or when groups or communities or even, rarely, whole nations glimpse the light of transcendent in their midst, the the New Creation has come upon us. The world for one brief moment is transfigured. The beyond shines in our midst -- on the way to the cross."Isn't that spectacular? Try reading it aloud and I think you will like it even more.
- I've been feeling so sad about this New Wineskins stuff and I'm feeling really scared for my sisters who are MoWS. As much as I complain about the lack of equality for women in the PC(USA), I am truly disturbed and worried for those who move to the Evangelical Presbyterian denomination via the New Wineskins. Be careful, sisters. I am praying for you.
- A sweet, sweet boy in my congregation is meeting with a cardiologist today to have some tests run on his heart. A heart doctor on Valentine's Day.
- We had new carpet installed in our upstairs this morning. I haven't seen it yet, but Brett says it looks great. Thank God for contractors who show up on time (7:15AM!) and complete the work quickly. We have had good luck with this kind of stuff of late.
- I am feeling a little better -- thanks for the good wishes about my lost voice. I've just about found it again.
Please say a prayer for those who are hurting this day. Holidays about love are not easy for those who don't feel loved or loving.
Monday, February 12, 2007
...AND that I don't have the phone number for this couple. I am sickened that this even exists. I am all for free speech, but this is beyond ignorant and insulting.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
- a battery-powered Thomas the Tank Engine
- a Superman piggy bank
- a harmonica
- a bunch of new books
- flashcards from his Nana the teacher
- a Go Diego Go jeep
- new pajamas
- a Cars tow truck
- more Thomas the Tank Engine toys
I think he will make it... sheesh. I know his Nana has some other things for him that haven't arrived yet. Next year we need to cut down on the gifts somehow.
I updated my Blogger template and I think it ate some of my archives. Why is Blogger so weird?
Saturday, February 10, 2007
My son and I went to the bakery this morning to pick up his cake. He was thrilled with the construction truck theme of this cake and exclaimed quite enthusiastically when the woman from the bakery opened the box to show him the finished product. He cheered and clapped and told her, "You did a nice job!" As we walked away from the bakery into the grocery part of the store, the bakery woman announced over the P.A. system: "It is Thomas's 4th Birthday! When you see him in the store, please wish him a Happy Birthday." People doing their Saturday shopping were more than happy to comply. Many folks wished him a Happy Birthday and Thomas invited dozens of strangers to his party; "See you later at my birthday!" At one point he even blew some kisses to his adoring public.
After we left the grocery store, we drove to Grandma and Grandpa's house for the party. While we were in the car, Thomas wanted me to tell him the story of "when I was a baby Thomas". We talked about his first mother, of how he grew in her tummy and of how she gave birth to him in Guatemala. We talked about his foster parents, Tia Zulma and Tio Edwin and how they brought him home from the hospital and took care of him. We talked about Mommy and Daddy flying on the airplane all the way to Guatemala. We remembered the day of his adoption. We named all the people who love him: his first parents, his foster parents, his adoptive parents, his sister, God, Jesus, the cats (his addition to the list), his grandparents, his teachers... we kept thinking of more and more people who love him. What a great thing to think about.
The cake was delicious.
To be continued... once I upload all the photos from the Big Party.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Wanna know one of the best things about the dearth of young clergywomen in my denomination? Since there are relatively few of us, I am friends with many of my sisters in Christ who are MoWS (I made that acronym up, I think -- Ministers of Word and Sacrament). Today I've had:
- Two phone calls from fellow MoWS -- I love both of you and value your friendship so much
- One email from my dearest MoWS -- you know someone is a good friend when their messages!!!! contain!!!! this many!!!!! exclamation points!!!!!!
Happy Friday everyone.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
The church where I serve as interim pastor has been very involved in Honduras Outreach and has taken a number of mission trips through this organization. Please pray for a gentleman named Lucas Padilla, who was critically injured in this accident. He has preached in my church's pulpit within the last couple of years.
3 Americans killed in Honduras crash
Wed Feb 7, 12:18 AM ET
Three Americans on a charity mission to Honduras were killed Tuesday and 17 other people were injured in a traffic accident in the Central American country, authorities said.
The two men and a woman, who were not immediately identified, died when the military truck they were riding in flipped over in eastern Olancho province near the border with Nicaragua, said Honduran police spokesman Jose Andino.
Police did not provide nationalities of the injured or any other details of the crash.
The dead were part of a group of 28 people who traveled to Honduras with the Georgia-based Honduras Outreach, Inc. for a weeklong mission, Jerry Eickhoff, president of the board of directors of the charity group, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In the report on the newspaper's Web site, Eickhoff said the charity has been sending volunteers to Honduras for 18 years to help poor villages by bringing running water and electricity, and paving roads.
The mission was sponsored by several Georgia churches
Tabernacle Baptist Church in Cartersville, Ga., released a statement on its Web site identifying two of the victims as Perry Goad, 45, and Richard D. Mason Jr., 58, both of Cartersville.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
- A sheet of stickers from the Disney movie "Cars"
- A bouncy ball (not to be played with in the house)
- A small Tonka firetruck
- A sticky, stretchy lizard
- One of those paper-and-streamer toys that you blow into and the paper unfurls with a noisy 'honk!'
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
My friend Songbird commented on my post about the unequal nature of women in ministry in the PC(USA). She said: "I think you would find the percentages are not uniform across the country. Talk to people who are serving in the South, for instance, and you will hear a different story...". That got me to thinking, maybe things are not as bad as they seem here is the (relatively) progressive desert southwest. With a little help from my Presbytery's most recent directory, here's what I came up with. (I am only talking about pastors serving churches, not specialized ministries like chaplaincy. I know there are more women in those ministry areas).
- We have 73 ministers actively serving in our Presbytery. 16 are women, 57 are men. 21.9% women, 78.1% men. Right about average for the PC(USA).
- Only 49 ministers are serving installed, full-time calls. Of those, 7 are women, 42 are men. 14.3% women, 85.7% men. Falling below average.
- 25 men are serving as solo pastors. 2 women are serving as solo pastors. Men are serving 92.6% of the solo pastor calls in this Presbytery. Hmmmm.
- 6 men are serving as associate pastors, 5 women are serving as associate pastors (not too bad in this category).
- 11 men are serving as Head of Staff pastors. ZERO women are serving as HOS pastors. 100% of the HOS positions in this Presbytery are being held by men.
I was feeling depressed about the state of women in ministry. I revise what I wrote yesterday. Now I feel depressed about the state of women in ministry AND outraged at the lack of women's leadership in my current Presbytery.
Yeah, we've come pretty far. I am grateful for my sisters in Christ who have worked hard and prayed hard to move us this far. But there is no way I am willing to say, "This is good enough."
Oh, and one more telling statistic. Of those 16 women serving church calls in this Presbytery, guess how many are under age 45? One. ME. We've got a way to go, gals.
Monday, February 05, 2007
- According to the PC(USA) Office of Theology and Worship, the ratio of male to female semininarians is one to one.
- According to the PC(USA) Research Services, 24% of pastors serving churches in 2005 were female. In 1980, 29% of of pastors serving churches were female.
- In 2005 there were 56 women in Head-of-Staff positions in congregations of 500+ membership -- which means that less than 5% of these large churches have women ministers.
Why are we losing ground? What's it going to take for women to become pastors? Why have we been going to seminary in the same numbers as men for decades, yet we can't seem to break through the 'glass sanctuary'?
Last year was the 50th anniversary of women ordained to the office of Minister of Word and Sacrament. How far have we really come?
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Just a few Sunday thoughts:
- My son turns 4 next week. Four is the age when kids begin attending Sunday school at the Little Church on the Desert. He attended his first official Sunday school class this morning and the teachers reported that he did great. Praise God!
- My adult Sunday school class began Lesson One of our 'Thoughtful Christian' study on Islam. We had the introductory lesson two weeks ago; last week we had the Congregational meeting, so no adult Sunday school. Please pray for my class. 95% of the folks in the group want to learn about Islam; the other 5% want me to sanction their beliefs that all Muslims are violent. I am pushing everyone to imagine and live out the most Christian response to these concerns (myself included!) Pray and pray!
- I thought about my first Sunday school teacher this morning -- Mrs. Joy O'Connell -- may she rest in peace. I feel surrounded by these saints of the church and am so grateful for the early witness these individuals made in my life.
- Two new babies were born into Little Church's family this week. Two red roses in a vase on the Table. Days like today are good ones to serve the church through this particular vocation.