We Are In This Together

Syria. Chemical Warfare. Innocent children and adults killed. Political instability. Denial. Blame. Egypt. Churches burnt. Religious oppression. Political instability. Worshippers killed. Anguish. Russia. Economic disaster. Growing coldness to the US. Persecuting gays and lesbians. Exodus. Sadness. North Korea. Gaining nuclear weaponry. Inexperienced leader. Needs to keep nation in crisis to hold power. Systematic, brutal suppression of disagreement. Powder-keg near an open flame. Fear. United States Barely “united” any more. Dems and Reps can’t/won’t sit at a table together. Public discourse informed by nastiness without civility. Growing divide between desperately poor and obscenely rich. Sounds like first century or third world … Continue reading We Are In This Together

Drop to My Knees, Steam, Wipe, Pray

The youth group had a lock-in last night. After helping with the food and snack needs, and making sure the adult chaperones were compliant with all policies and procedures for keeping children and youth safe, I offered my blessing and went off to dinner with friends and then good sleep. This morning, I came back early to help with clean up and ensure the worship-readiness of the church for Sunday. Before starting to work, I noticed one of the youth sitting alone and looking up at me with pleading eyes. I knew she had just been through a rough time, … Continue reading Drop to My Knees, Steam, Wipe, Pray

Half An Apple Ministry: Assistance with School Supplies

Announcing the Launch of Half an Apple Ministry We have learned that 564 children in the Krum ISD, a very small community where our church is located, qualify for the free lunch program. Do you know what the income qualifications are for that program?  If you would like to know, click here. In case you didn’t look, a family of four qualifying for the free lunch program sees a household income of less than $30,000/year. A family qualifying for free or reduced lunches also probably has difficulty providing school supplies. It costs nearly $100/child to purchase all the supplies the teachers request, … Continue reading Half An Apple Ministry: Assistance with School Supplies

Straw Blankets, Ministry With The Poor

It is cold here right now in North Texas.  Wind is blowing wildly, temperatures continue to drop and we are on target for record lows tonight.  Areas just slightly to the west and north are under a frost watch.  I suspect my own garden may get a bit of frostbite because it is on the north side, high up, with a large pasture behind it, so there is nothing to block the wind and cold. I went out and piled straw around all the warm weather plants.  Am hopeful they won’t be damaged.  However, many gardeners and farmers may wake tomorrow … Continue reading Straw Blankets, Ministry With The Poor

On Adolescence and Underwear

It is very easy for someone who works exclusively in a church environment to become culturally isolated from the “real world,” so I make it a point to read extensively outside my field. I want to learn what others are thinking and how they experience life. So, I perused a recent article in The Atlantic written by a middle-school teacher extremely concerned about the ways the girls in her classroom dressed for school. She writes, “I hate having to defend my right not to see a girl’s underwear. . . I hate having to worry that being able to see … Continue reading On Adolescence and Underwear

Lawrence Wright, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief

With both horror and fascination, I just finished reading the Lawrence Wright exposé called Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief. This exquisitely researched book takes us into the bowels of Scientology, a religious group that has apparently systematically lied, cheated, abused its followers, sought to destroy its detractors, devastated families, amassed giant amounts of money which impoverished many and landed in the pockets of very few, and pandered to celebrities whose egos got stroked by the maniacs who run the show. Scientology doctrines do not actually address the major religious concept of a holy God or the idea that … Continue reading Lawrence Wright, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief

Cold and Comfort, Disquiet at the Disparity

It’s one of those days where I realize just how fortunate I am.  The wind is pretty wild here in Krum and the temperature dropped well into the freezing range overnight.  It’s projected to be bitterly cold here tonight. I personally welcome the cold weather.  I sleep better, and also appreciate the necessity of extended cold for the sake of yard and garden. I am also not poor.  I live in a reasonably well-insulated house with a good heating system, have warm enough clothes, a car with a good heater, and plenty of blankets. No reason not to enjoy this. … Continue reading Cold and Comfort, Disquiet at the Disparity

The Shipwreck of Faith

Last week, we began a study on “The Theology of Sexuality” in order to better equip our youth with a more solid understanding of the nature of their physical selves in relation to their spiritual selves. Today, I saw this article in the Huffington Post Religion section, asking, “What would we our younger selves about faith?”  Most respondents, both those quoted in the article and those who are writing in the comments section, essentially said, “don’t believe any of it.” I experience two things when I see something like this. First, a lack of surprise.  The way faith and religious … Continue reading The Shipwreck of Faith

Short Cuts, Herbicides, Church Growth Techniques and a Swath of Death

Flower Bed and Weeds As I continue my work of finding multiple parallels between church and garden, I find myself frequently returning to the issue of short cuts. The current picture:  my long-suffering husband has built for me a massive number of flower and vegetable beds at the parsonage where we live as he is aware that my soul stays cleaner and healthier when my hands stay dirty and soil-stained. The two of us have a general division of duties for yard and garden:  he does the vast majority of the big heavy work—building the beds, hauling in the dirt, … Continue reading Short Cuts, Herbicides, Church Growth Techniques and a Swath of Death

Hollow Be My Name

Fatigue wrapped its ugly arms around me earlier today–the worst I’ve experienced since starting my Sabbatical. Think it came from a weekend spent in the Cotswolds where I had a wonderful time reconnecting with a beloved nephew and his family and saw glorious countryside–and parts of New College Oxford where scenes from Harry Potter are filmed.  But . . . I completely lost the rhythm of walking/reading/writing that had characterized my days recently and that had led to such a sense of physical and spiritual well-being. My best recourse when I reach this point is to move.  This body is … Continue reading Hollow Be My Name