Saturday, February 26, 2005

Odd Week in Backwater

It was an odd week in the Backwater.
Our colds improved but the hacking and blowing kept the LH and me from sleeping well. We are on the mend, thank the Lord.

On the friendship front, the news wasn’t as good. A seminary classmate was diagnosed with cancer again after a 10 year respite. She’ll begin a six part chemotherapy course in a few weeks. My neighbor pastor went to see one of her elderly parishoners at home and found crime scene tape around the woman’s home. The woman was murdered by drifters. Watching my neighbor pastor cope with her own pain while searching for ways to comfort and interpret the violence to her flock made me grateful for the maturity I see in her. She’s a wonderful pastor right now. She’s got the gifts for the work she is called to do. Watching her grow is lovely to me. She’s quite my junior in age and experience so if I sound "sisterly" about her, I am.

Another preacher pal is on a downward spiral (or so I think) of busyness piling on more tasks than she can handle while searching for more. I can hardly bare to listen to her. It is NOT our job to bring in the Kingdom. It is NOT our task to save the world. I’m telling you this because she doesn’t listen. It’s like watching a train wreck. Note to self: pray, think, do. Don’t invent busyness. Move when the Spirit says move. Stay still otherwise.

I finished Sherlock Holmes’ Casebook this week and began Great Expectations. Arthur Conan Doyle is fun to read. Picking up Dickens after many years is a pleasure, too. Great Expectations is a much better book than I remembered. I read it at 12 then later in High School. Re-reading it reminds me of Dickens’ power of description and insights into human behavior.

Read the Christian Century and Presbyterian Outlook as I do each week. Southern Living came so I pondered it while watching Ballykissangel from the BBC. Thank you, Netflix. I can watch the BBC stuff even though BBC America doesn’t reach this far South. Ballykissangel is better than Father Ted but neither are as engaging as The Vicar of Dibley. I think I’ve seen all of the Vicar series. We’ve got more seasons of Ballykissangel to see. Father Ted was funny for the first few shows then got on my nerves. Not respectful enough of the work of a priest for my tastes although the cast of characters had some funny spots.

If you see this month’s GQ look for the male model wearing a yellow wide stretch head band and a large red flower pinned to his lapel. We hooted at him. Don’t know why we get GQ as sartorial elegance passed this family by. I suppose the subscription was under ten dollars when I ordered magazines for the LD’s school fund-raiser.

I did about four loads of laundry each day. Cooked meals, ate out three times, got a new collar to clothe Andy in his nakedness, watched West Wing and straightened the house repeatedly.

I worked on my sermon on John 4:5-42 looking at the text with as fresh eyes as I could muster. I preach the lectionary most weeks. Well, all the time. At first, dealing with texts assigned disciplined me to pay attention to portions of the Bible I might have ignored and got me off the habit of preaching my favorite texts. I’ve learned more Bible preaching the lectionary and reading the daily readings over the past 6-8 years. However, I have preached through the cycle at least twice now and this year, I feel less excited about the return of some texts. Like the Woman at the Well. Great text but I am recalling how I deal with it the last time and the time before that. Lord, make your Word fresh to me. It’s February, not the best month. Amen.

It’s the humdrum of the weather (rainy and gray, then bright blue and chillier this week), February itself and the toll of illness in the lives of my people and friends as well as my own sniffing and kleenex blowing. I’ve bought kleenex twice this month. Blown through the nine-box pack I bought at Sam’s Club.
Today is the 26th. Two more days and then we will have March. What's going on with you all?


Friday Mom said...

If I ever go through with this ordination thing and end up pastoring a church again, I want you close by. Your kind of "sisterly" support would make a huge difference.

PPB said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
PPB said...

I can't wait for March. ACtually I really can't wait for March 10!!! I'd like to talk to you off line about that Christian Century this month. An article in there raised my blood pressure considerably. I know the author, and would love an objective opinion.

I can't believe what your friend went through. Yikes. Sounds like you're both lucky to have each other.

Aola said...

"It is NOT our job to bring in the Kingdom. It is NOT our task to save the world."

I love this. Thanks for saying it to us and keep saying it to your friend. She'll figure it out some day when she runs out of her own strength.

Anonymous said...

I am sure the younger ministers appreciate your gentle mentoring. If not now, they will later.

I think younger professionals believe that being busy means that you accomplishing something. It is like margarine, which may appear like butter, but is not.

Busy-ness is the antithesis of Grace. Buddhist writers talk about "mindfullness", which is being fully present, not thinking about problems of the past or what may happen in the future---it is living, thinking and doing in the present. Isn't that the state of Grace?

So, keep pushing the butter to the younger reverend margarines.

St. Meatandpotatoes

Katie (WannaBeMom) said...

St Casserole-- I've been lurking around and it's time to de-lurk myself. Lovely blog.

Today in church they announced a meeting on Monday night. The theme: Caring and Not Caring. Seems related to your ideas about the Kingdom of God. It's all about balance, baby!

On books, something I am totally passionate about: try Hard Times after Great Expectations. The parallels to today's world-- wow. I've decided it all comes back to Dickens in the end.

As for Father Ted vs Vicar vs Ballykissangel... hard choice. I lived in Ireland for awhile, so while Fr Ted is definitely irreverent, it slays me every time. Bally is good for drama. But I think the Vicar wins every time. I adore Dawn French.

Again, lovely blog.