Friday, December 30, 2005

Two Perspectives on the Domestic Arts

Actual conversation from my home:

Mr. C: (looking around) I thought you were going to clean up for Songbird's visit?

St. Casserole: (dumbfounded) I did!

(Note to self: is my understanding of cleaning up different from other sentient life forms? What did Mr. C expect by "cleaning up"? Will Songbird think our home is a big mess?)

In less than two hours, God willing, I'll be at the airport to fetch Songbird. Is this great or what?

Happy, really happy,

St. Casserole

RevGalBlogPal Friday Meme

RevGal Friday Five: Resolutions
1) Do you make New Year's Resolutions?
Rather than resolutions, I make mental lists of what I would like to accomplish in the new year. My lists are more about picking up than putting down.

2) If so, are they generally successful?
I think so. The year I prayed about increasing my contact with other pastors has enriched my ministry tremendously.

3) Do you write them down, or make a mental list?
Mental list.

4) Even if you don't make resolutions, is there something you want to focus on in the New Year?
I want some real life friends who are in their late twenties to late thirties. Age may be a state of mind but I think I am missing something not having the regular company of women in this age group. I want to know who they are and what they care about.

5) And do you have plans for New Year's Eve?
Mr. C and I will bring in the New Year with Songbird. Is that great or what? He's making plans which may include the movies. Hey! It's a Saturday night! Some of us have to get up to preach the next morning! We aren't talking wild parties here! Or, are we?

Let us know in the comments if you play! OK

We are Home

We are home after going to be fixed. We feel sleepy. We don't want to go there again although our Dr. was very nice and our vet tech, Jennifer, is great. She says, "Don't worry, you'll be ok" and "you are a beautiful kitten". You can tell she knows what's what.

Can't blog anymore. We feel like we've run through the dog track locker room. We would like to end with a Chris Rock quote from the "Dr. Doolittle" movies, "I've been violated!"

Fish here. Guess what? You know how we kittens break stuff all over the St. Casserole's home? Well, this morning, we are going to get fixed! That's what they told us. We get to ride in the car in Cat Carrier and get fixed!
We can't eat breakfast until later (bummer!) and we will have a new kind of cat litter for several days!
Whistle says that getting fixed sounds weird to him since we are perfect. What does he know? He jumps on kitchen counters.
Oh! Forgot to tell you! We are four months and two days old today! I bet we get prizes!
I'll tell you all about it when I get to blog again.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Today, I'm Ms. Cheerful. Let's consider the gains of 2005:

1. Another year of marriage to Mr. C aka LH. He is kindness in chaos, understanding in distress and fun every day.

2. Many books read and most enjoyed. New characters, places and worlds to visit all within the pages of paper. Audio books kept me company to and from Little Church.

3. Kittens and more kittens. Assumpta and Dibley in July, Whistle and Fish when I returned from evacuating. The Cat Psychiatrists recent diagnosis of Assumpta as "dim" gives her a place within the Coterie of My Cats because I've loved dims over the years. I'll check out their findings when I go to NC again. Perhaps Assumpta is a Mississippi evacuee in a University context and doesn't understand the paradigm.

Dibley took a bath in a garden tub recently and must have learned to swim as he deep water. Further, he explored the Great Dark while confined to a deep kitchen drawer for 12 hours sitting in a pan. I guess he jumped into the drawer, kept quiet while the drawer closed then spent the night there. Curiosity is Dibley D'Wayne "Curiousity" other middle name.

Whistle and Fish are interchangeable in appearance but show distinct personalities. I tried to mark one of 'ems head with a magic marker dot but this didn't work.

4. An influx of workers to help churches after the storm enlivened our home this year. Missionaries from Brazil along with intrepid South Carolinians came for days and over nights. Preachers from North Carolina as well as preachers from North Mississippi slept on our sofas, in the LD's room and we liked them all. I did get a tad testy hearing the South Carolinians say, "Thank God for Mississippi" which means we are the only state between them and national dissing.

5. I gained a new perspective on church re-development from the hurricane losses to buildings and congregations. The fields are white for harvest here and if you have any sense, you'll try to come pastor one of these damaged churches. Or, come be a new church development pastor because our Presbytery plans to start two churches.

6. My heart expanded seeing destruction and loss. This is a good thing. Eventually. I trust God to heal the broken portions around me and, God willing, allow me to participate in God's work here.

7. I served another year as pastor of Little Church. I can't believe how fortunate I am to know them and to have one place to preach after years of roving around pulpits all over the Presbytery.

8. I watched old poots retire from Presbytery committees, churches and etc. Perhaps new energies will emerge to take our Presbytery in better directions. I'm praying for this.

9. I learned to sit through at least 5 movies this year. My family is pleased.

10. Our children flourished, proved to be adaptable, matured in good ways and gave us a great number of hilarious moments.

You all kept me company throughout 2005. Thanks!

St. Casserole

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Call me "Mrs. Maudlin" if you will, but I'm counting losses this morning. As the year ends, and the day after I returned our LD to NC, I'm aware of loss.
Here's the list of "Losses of 2005":

1. Destruction of LH's office by Hurricane Katrina. LH restored a historic building last year and filled it with employees who, like him, were happy to get away from downtown to better parking, natural light and a beautiful place to work. LH had less than a year in the new building before the storm took it all away. All except the steps which remain as "steps to nowhere" in our Coastal scene.

2. Having LD live in NC with LLS and LSiL for the school year. LD begged to be sent to boarding school for the 8th grade until the hurricane tore up her school, displaced her friends and put her in the competent hands of her aunts. She's in a fabulous school system this year. She has field trips, Spanish in the 8th grade, lots of resources available and bright, motivated teachers. But, we miss her here.

3. I lost the last shred of my trust in the federal government to protect the citizenry. If you think the U.S. Government will keep you safe in a disaster, forget it. Or, if you think the gov. will come to your aid quickly or appropriately, forget this, too. On a related note, anyone else noticing the upswing of medical drug recalls because the FDA makes decisions based on who pays what rather than what drugs work?

4. The "Christmas Day" mega-church worship discussion brought by some big churches scrapping Christmas Day worship to give their staff a break, adds another loss to this list. Before now, despite Jehovah's Witnesses and some others, we Christians shared the Lord's Day (Sunday) as a common time of regular worship. Now we don't. Lord's Day worship moves from being a discipline of the community to a performance time and if one serves 50,000 at Christmas Eve services, there is no obligation to gather for worship the next day. Sunday passed from a shared commitment to "just another day". Harumphh!

5. The loss of Rusty, the Greatest Ginger Cat Who Ever Lived, in July 2005. Thank you, God, for letting me know that wonderful creature You made and allowed me to love for years.

I can sing more tunes than just mauldlin songs, so stay tuned for the Gains of 2005.

St. Casserole

Monday, December 26, 2005

I'm reading a page turner! Phil Rickman's Midwinter of the Spirit about Rev. Merrily Watkins, the Anglican priest. You know how I like clergy women mysteries. I discovered this series on Amazon and I ordered three more in the series this afternoon.

Midwinter is hardly holiday fare but I can't put it down! Ms. Watkins serves as a parish priest as well as a "deliverance counselor" (goofy contempary name for an exorcist) a job she didn't want. Rickman knows about spiritual issues, writes great detail about the geography of the area and makes Watkins a likeable, reasonable character. She could be a RevGalBlogPal.

All this reminds me of another purchase I made with Christmas money. I felt flush with buckage so I decided to order new clerical blouses from Almy. First mistake. My old ones are holding up all right but the collars drive me nuts. I could have ordered new clericools. I DID order new ones but thinking of comfort I ordered 17" collars. Oh yeah, like a short gal needs a linebacker neck size. It made sense at the time but when they arrived I realized the collars are for a linebacker and not me. I ordered larger blouses thinking I could be a bit more comfortable with some extra room without remembering that my current blouses fit like tents. I'm returning giant shirts and collars to Almy A.S.A.P. (note to self: check size guides before ordering stuff.)

I have a very important visitor arriving this week. I thought I'd wear my clericals to meet her at the airport so she'd know me because we've never met.

I guess I'll put on that goofy polyester cheater collar.... I don't care for the polyester even if it is easy to launder, comfortable and fits under sweaters.

Back to reading. What clergy woman mysteries am I missing? I know the Michelle Black and Julia Spencer Fleming ones.

St. Casserole

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Entertainment for Preachers....

Dear RevGalBlogPals and others,

Here is the start of my list of the Worst Sermon Titles Ever (and then, the worst sermon ideas). Could you make up a few to add to this list? There may be a prize.

The Road to Hell and Who You'll See There
Cute Stories About My Family Which I Will Use to Moralize
One Sports Analogy After Another Related to the Gospel
Jesus: A Stand Up Kind of Guy
Drip Dry: Why We Baptize As We Do
Gethsemane and the Committee Meetings
Confession of My Personal Sins
People Who Should Leave This Church
I Wrote this One On the Way to Church
Sin and Our Congregation: Who Did What
The Funniest Confessions I've Ever Heard

The LH suggested the last two. Can you help me out here? What can you add?

Blogging while Baking,

St. Casserole

Friday Morning the Day Before the Day Before

*We have frost on the ground! Everything looks a bit grey and sparkly!
Here in the Gulf, we expect temps to be a high of 67 in a few hours, too.
Not easy to know what clothing to choose for a day with frost and flip-flops.

*Thanks to all who took the Quiz. Precious Moments wins.

*I'm doing a wedding this morning at Little Church. I refuse most Christmas Day (and 72 hours in either direction) weddings because of past horrors. The worst Christmas Day wedding was almost 20 years ago. The groom gave me a check intended for his ex-wife's support and gave her the envelope with my honorarium. Neither of us was pleased. The next worst wedding included intoxicated family members and a giant interruption of MY time. Let's leave Christmas Day to the Baby. Get married on another date...

*Elderly people usually die after the holidays. Our local paper carries too many obits of older people and has since the hurricane. Many died after being evacuated away to their children's homes or nursing homes in more stable areas. This makes me so sad. Consider making it to your elder years then having your home destroyed. After that, the last months or years of your independence is taken from you. Rats, double rats.

*Shhhhhhh....found a packet of furry toy mice for Whistle and Fish at a Walmart in Alabama. Our local PetSmart doesn't carry the furry ones, only fabric. W and F are fans of the furry toy mice. I hope the boys don't mind the bright colors of the Alabamian Wall Martian mice. Their Christmas stocking will be filled with not-found-in-nature mice.

*At a dinner party last night, the men (not LH who has better taste) began singing "I'll Have A Blue Christmas" Elvis style. Spare me.

*If I don't get to the grocery store today, my family will riot. I need the fixins for the Christmas Breakfast Casserole. For those of you who don't eat grits, shame on you! Sausage (bulk), cheese and grits all together in a beautiful casserole dish is great eat'in.

Pray for all of us,

St. Casserole
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
You are 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing'. You take
Christmas very seriously. For you, it is a
religious festival, celebrating the birth of
the Saviour, and its current secularisation
really irritates you. You enjoy the period of
Advent leading up to Christmas, and attend any
local carol services you can find, as well as
the more contemplative Advent church services
each Sunday. You may be involved in Christmas
food collections or similar charity work. The
midnight service at your church, with candles
and carols, is one you look forward to all
year, and you also look forward to the family
get together on Christmas Day.

What Christmas Carol are you?
brought to you by

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Which gift would you rather not receive on Christmas Day?
perfume scented like "Fresh Step" Cat Litter
new petticoats for your alb
the Precious Moments Bible
the Jazzercise video for How to Gesture While Preaching
Free polls from

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

John Spencer, The West Wing

I'm sorry to hear about actor John Spencer's death. Spencer played Leo McGarry on The West Wing. He played a full character of a man who as the President's best friend ran a staff of bright younger people and maintained relationships (with proper borders) with all of them.

I love to watch The West Wing because it feeds a craving for good leadership in high places.
The President, on the show, Josiah Bartlett is a former history professor who knows and understands history.

This week, I crave good leadership in high places even more.

A President who undersands history, our history, would never agree to wire-taps of citizens.
A President who knows history would realize that stepping over Constitutional boundaries is criminal, negligent and dangerous.

With all the talk of family and values, I thought we shared the value of privacy, integrity and obeying the rules. This week, I'm not sure.

I'm sorry to lose John Spencer and his complex and very human manner of dealing with leadership through Leo McGarry.

I'm sorry the entire world knows of what our President has chosen to do for over a year to us.
If the torture reports are true, we've endangered our soldiers forever when they are captured, but I'm talking here about treating our people as though we do not live in a democracy.

Not with my consent.

St. Casserole

Before and After --

Before and After --

If you are traveling to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, you may wish to prepare yourself by seeing these Before and After photos from our local newspaper, The Sun Herald.
I know most of these places. Java Jean's, for example, is where our preacher group gathered for coffee each week. I served on the Board of Tullis Manor. I know most of the homeowners mentioned.
On and on.

I try, I really try, not to wail about Katrina but HOT FLAMING RATS I have to see it everytime I look out my windows or go out of my driveway. Everywhere I go I see the hurricane's results. Everywhere I listen to others the hurricane is discussed,"How'd you make out?", "Where you living now?". New name for FEMA trailers: Metal Manisons.


St. Casserole

Monday, December 19, 2005

WOT Sermon Topics

Here is the initial list of Waste of Time Sermon Topics. Preach on these as you feel led, but congregants won't believe you:

1. If you make Advent and Christmas a celebration of God's promises throughout history and the birth of Jesus rather than a gift-buying, house-decorating, party-giving, exhausting travel time or whatever you do to distract yourself from God's Gracious Acts in History, you will get more out of the season.

2. Human sexuality isn't bad, it's how we use our sexuality that gets us into trouble.

3. You don't choose God, God chooses you.

4. Being a Christian doesn't make you better than other people.

5. God loves you beyond your imagination's ability to understand.

6. You might have an easier time of it if you don't try to follow Christ. It's difficult to be a disciple.

7. All you are and all you have is God's gift to you.

8. What you do with your money impacts your spiritual life.

9. The Bible discusses greed more than it does sexuality.

10. Gluttony, of any kind, isn't good for you.

11. Preachers have feelings, aren't perfect and most of us work long hours.

That's enough for now. No one really really believes these topics to be true. By the way, if you preach on over-eating, over-spending, over-consuming as a damage to your relationship with God, no one will want to hear it.

Just suggesting....

St. Casserole

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Songbird's Friday Holiday Meme

1) Have you ever gotten a really good kiss under the mistletoe? Tell the truth. Spare no details. Was the mistletoe real, because kisses under the fake stuff do. not. count.
Yes, at a Union Seminary Christmas party, as I was leaving, I grabbed the best looking guy at the Seminary and kissed him under the mistletoe. Then, I left. Breathless.

2) Do you know anyone who makes real eggnog, not the stuff from the carton? And if so, do you actually like it?
A church member in Metairie made REAL eggnog for Mardi Gras and called it "Milk Punch."
It was the best ever.

3) What's your favorite Christmas party album/CD ever?
I don't have a favorite although I enjoy hearing about 4 minutes of JINGLE CATS at my LLS's home.

4) Does your office/workplace have a party? Do the people there ever behave the way people in movies behave at office parties, which is to say, badly?
Nope, no party for us!

5) If you have to bring something to a party, what is it likely to be? Do people like it?
Whatever I can throw together at the last minute which appear to be the result of hard work and is presented in a holiday dish.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Things to Celebrate!

* We have street lights again!

* Church groups from all over the U.S. are doing their best to give Coast families and children Christmas. The Lutheran-Episcopalian group gave holiday boxes for my church families this week. So generous! So kind!

* I've entertained both of my clergy groups, denominational and personal, this week. The LH cooked meals Tuesday and Thursday nights. Interesting conversation with great food hits the Holiday spot!

*I had lunch with one of my favorite pals and got to catch up with her.

*A church in Texas sent ME a holiday gift! Yipee!

*Only a few more days until LD returns home for Christmas break!

*Congress approved aid for Gulf Coast rebuilding! Sen. Lott sues his insurance company!

*Sect. of Defense, Donald Rumfield, gets defensive with Melissa Block of NPR!

*I contemplate making a Grace Texas Cake for the holidays!

What's up with you?

St. Casserole

Friday, December 16, 2005

Whistle and Fish: The Kitten Report

Here we are and we are happy. We eat lots of kitty chow. We have furry mice to bat around the house AND we have a stuffed toy hamster we love the best. We make many noises like breaking Christmas decorations and knocking stuff off our Human's desk.

Here are the rules of our house:
Don't get on the kitchen counter. You get sprayed with water if you do.
Don't paw or climb the Christmas tree. You get sprayed with water if you do.
Don't go in Mom's closet.

Our Humans can't tell us apart. We look alike because we are brothers. If I get in trouble, I say it is my brother who did it. He says the same!

Whistle stays sopping wet most of the time.

We believe that curiousity is a virtue. Napping is another virture. Purring is a beautiful sound.

We are over 100 days old so we know these things.


Whistle and Fish

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I Copy QUOTIDIAN GRACE One More Time...

You Are Rudolph
Sweet and shy, you tend to be happiest when you're making someone else happy.
Why You're Naughty: You sometimes stick that nose where it doesn't belong
Why You're Nice: Christmas would be a sad affair without you!
Which of Santa's Reindeer Are You?
John B. Nixon, Sr. was murdered by lethal injection at Parchment Penitentiary in Mississippi yesterday on behalf of a justice system which is inconsistent.

Mr. Nixon is the seventh Mississippian to be murdered on behalf of the State since capital punishment resumed here in 1976.

Our prayers are with the families of Mr. Nixon's victims as well as his family.

We agree with the Vatican spokesman who said that capital punishment is wrong because it denies redemption and does not uphold the dignity of human life.

---St. Casserole Editorial Staff

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Mindy writes about gratitude this morning. I think I'll join her:

I'm grateful for:

*the preacher dinner party last night. It's over now and I can go back to the work pile on my desk. The LH cooked pork tenderloin, carrots and I made the salad. Preachers said of the meal, "I haven't had a good meal like this in weeks!"

*the wonderful Community Dark Roast Coffee in my Portmerion mug this morning. I'd correct the Port...spelling but I'd spill my java.

*a overcast Winter sky with dark clouds moving quickly.

*two ginger kittens on my lap purring away their rough night with the dog.

*having the money to expand our evangelism program at the church thanks to the donations of Presbyterians around the country to our Presbytery

*Clinique Lipstick in "Rasberry Glace" the suggested color for all clergy gals

*Christmas patterned china in the dishwasher

*Having LH in the house along with LS and missing LD

*Watching the faces of the preachers last night as they chose donated books to replace their storm damaged libraries

*being able to pay bills

What's your list?


St. Casserole

Bits and Odd Pieces of Mindy's Kingdom

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Stanley Tookie Williams, Crips Gang Co-Founder, Is Executed - New York Times
Stanley Tookie Williams, Crips Gang Co-Founder, Is Executed - New York Times

I know his victims suffered. I know his victim's families suffer still.

I don't know all of the details of his life, only God knows the entire story.

However, let me be clear here: I don't see who was served by having the State of California murder Mr. Williams by lethal injection.

I doubt the ability of any state with any prosecuting attorney to choose with justice who should be murdered by the state authority.

I detest being part of a nation which participates in capital punishment.

Because I am an American, Mr. Williams' blood is on my hands.

I weep with his victims and their families.
I weep for Mr. Williams being victimized by the State.
No one is served except those whose sense of justice is blood lust.
History shows that blood lust helps no one.

St. Casserole

Five Facts

Following Leslee's tagging of ALL of us through RevGalBlogPals, here are my five random facts about myself:

1. I loved reading Philip Pullman's HIS DARK MATERIALS.
2. An early mentor was an Episcopal priest in Virginia with CP who died soon after I was ordained.
3. I loved typing on my Grandfather's ancient Underwood typewriter when I was a little kid.
4. I thought it was my prayers that brought my little sister into being because I prayed with my Mom for a baby.
5. I have the gift of doggrel but seldom use it.

Your turn! You are IT!


St. Casserole

Fresh-Cut Flowers

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Hurricane Katrina blew over the Mississippi Gulf Coast over 100 days ago.
Often, I cannot believe the destruction the storm caused even if I am staring at the mess.
It's difficult to put my mind around how much misery wind, rain and rising Gulf waters causes in a hurricane.

The Mississippi National Guard will withdraw from the Coast soon. I'm grateful for the time they've spent helping secure this area.

Not everyone has decent housing yet. Hard to believe that people are living in tents this long after the hurricane. FEMA trailers are everywhere in our neighborhood and around the Coast although I see parking lots full of yet-to-be placed trailers and wish the distribution would speed up.

Most retail businesses have HIRING NOW signs. Not enough people to staff stores and businesses because people left, people have to wait until they have a home to work and the debris hauling business is good money.

Area restaurants and hotels are packed. It's easier to eat at home rather than navigate through the long lines at eateries. If you are coming to this area, have your housing plans firm before you come because the hotels are full. There is no room at the Inn this Christmas.

Christmas lights are decorating FEMA trailers, tree stumps and torn up houses. People want Christmas to look like Christmas even when the world looks like a Bomb Zone. The LH bought a Christmas Tree, decorated it and cooked a beautiful meal last night.

People are tired. The Katrina Cough is ubiquitous. People look storm shocked but are getting better. The air is bad. The water is questionable. I don't believe reports of the Beach being safe from chemical/sewage waste.

Our roof isn't repaired but we hope for help soon. Many people haven't gotten repairs yet so the Blue Roof is common. Tarps cover roofs, plywood covers broken windows and it doesn't look as if much is going on. There are too many repairs for the number of contractors/workers available so waiting is the norm.

Churches have been our best resource. Work teams from all over the States come to strip out sheetrock, replace roofs, clean debris, hold hands with survivors and make us feel like human beings. A church in Jackson is rebuilding the home of friend's who have nothing but disability and problems. God bless that church! Hope in the face of disaster is God's work.

I have moments of feeling normal and happy. I feel like myself for a portion of each day now. I don't cry everyday. I don't feel overwhelmed with the suffering around me all day long now. I'm grateful for this. It's a painful discipline to keep going day after day while filled with grief so that I may be available to others.

Advent is different this year. I'm preaching on Luke I:47-55 in about 4 hours.
"My soul magnifies the Lord" and I remember what it is to have a rejoicing spirit.

Grace and Peace,

St. Casserole

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Songbird's Snow Day Friday Five meme

What is snow?

Confused but wanting to play the meme,

Whistle and Fish, resident ginger kittens, review Disney's THE LION WITCH AND THE WARDROBE:

Whistle: First, the Mom doesn't die. This is good. Disney is big on dead moms and we don't like that.
Fish: Second, Disney did a pretty good job making a movie from one of our favorite books. Some stuff is invented, but we liked seeing what the Wardrobe looked like.
W: The main thing about this movie is that the hero is a cat.
F: Yeah, a big lion is the Christ figure. We like this image. The bad guys were wolves and dog things. Yuk. If you want to make a scary movie, a really scary movie, make the villains dogs.
W: I didn't like all the fur coats in that wardrobe. I hope they were fake fur. Fur belongs on animals, not people.
F: Thank you, Mr. PETA!
W: Well, it's gross to wear animal fur unless God gave it to you.
F: Moving on, the movie is long and if you get bored you can chase popcorn kernels under the seats. Just keep away from big human feet, if you do. The theater was packed.
W: I don't know what the evangelicals will do with LIKING a Disney movie. I thought evangelicals didn't approve of Disney.
F: Ever wonder why our Mom gets mad about the media using the word "evangelical" to mean conservative believers? She believes in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ but I don't think she's a fundie or creepy.
W: This is a movie review. Keep to the topic.
F: Just wondering.... Anyway, we love CS Lewis and think his "God in the Dock" is a great apologetic even if the references are dated.
W: Yeah, we like Lewis.
F: We have a cousin named "Lewis."
W: Keep to topic...
F: To sum up, we liked the movie. Cats are good; dogs are bad. Wolves give me nightmares.
We like the fawns and those beavers. The animation stuff is wonderful.
W: I think God is a big lion. Really big.
F: Probably.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Apparently, I am a Christmas Tree

Results...: "lkjk
What a marvelous person! You are the splendid
Christmas tree! You are a spirited person who
almost always in a great mood. Your smiles and
laughter are some things that people usually
look forward to in you. You are someone who is
full of energy and ready for a good time. Most
likely you are a social butterfly. All of these
characteristics make you a beautiful person
inside and out. People just really enjoy to be
around you. Merry Christmas =)

What Christmas Figure Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla"

Hat Tip to Quotidian Grace

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

More that I don't Understand

Help me understand this.

We have a pastor in our Presbytery who has made it known that if the vote doesn't go as he wishes at our next General Assembly, he will leave the denomination. I doubt this is just puffing on his part. He's a serious guy.

I can't imagine why he holds positions of authority in our Presbytery now. Why should he be participating as a leader if he doesn't have the loyalty to maintain a relationship with us? It's like dating someone rather than being married. I thought he made his commitment when he took his ordination vows. Are his decisions on our behalf made through the lens of a temporary relationship with us? Isn't this like when a pastor decides to leave a congregation and sloughs off what he doesn't care to do anymore because he's a lame duck?

I am dancing with the one who brought me. This old saying makes sense to me as I was educated by Presbyterians, nurtured through the Presbyterian Church and my ethnic background is Presbyterian.

I gave up on the Church as a perfect place years ago. I believe in what I understand to be God's vision of and for the church but since all human institutions are inherently sinful, I don't expect the church to be perfect. Rather, I understand my participation in the Body of Christ, the Church, as God's discipline for me. Not punishment, but discipline to seek, praise, worship, work and pray within the confines of the Church.

It gets on my nerves that we Presbyterians are so cantankerous. Wish I'd paid attention to the droll fights of the past in my Seminary textbooks. I'm not cantankerous so being a part of a denomination which fights over everything disturbs me. And, we are a wicked witness to the World with our ambushes, disagreements, territorial battles and general crabbiness with one another.

As a girl, I was part of Big City Church's Confirmation Class. The Rev. Mr. Soft Hands taught us.
This was long ago before confirmands were asked, "How do you feel about Jesus?" We were told about Jesus. I suppose Mr. Soft Hands should have looked us straight in the eye and announced,

"Young people, Presbyterians fight over most things. Our history from John Calvin who
had to flee Geneva more than once to save his life, began a chapter in acrimony which
Christians have seldom seen. We didn't invent church conflict but we've refined it. Be
prepared to watch your church schism, shake and scatter over all sorts of issues. Thank
goodness none of you young women wish to be pastors. It would be too rough for your
delicate feminine constitutions. Now, let's all turn to page 16 of our book...."

I love the Presbyterian Church because I first learned of Jesus from the Presbyies.
I like our form of government which should work to ease some of the conflict by being orderly but somehow every class of elders and often the preachers, don't know our Book of Order. I like our worship, which while not unique to us, is dignified and allows me to worship mind and spirit.
I like our ethos (despite the historical historonics) which values education, justice, and engagement with the larger world.

So, help me understand why this guy is still in charge of stuff when he plans to bolt if the vote doesn't turn out as he wishes?


St. Casserole

Three Things I Don't Understand

What does "huzzah" mean? Who says this? How is it pronounced? Is it an exclamation/expletive?

What does "OOAK" in eBay listings mean?

Why was my pie a goopy mess?

I baked a Country Cream Pie from "Diana Rattray, Your Guide to Southern U.S. Cooking" on the 'net, followed the directions and I have a tasty goopy mess. I know how to cook so I don't know if it was the pie dish I used (French pottery), the substitution of whipping cream for half and half, the addition of 1/2 c. lowfat milk and 1/2 eggnog (didn't buy enough whipping cream) or the fact that the durn pie sounded like a chess pie with fancier ingredients and really really needed eggs.

3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons of flour
3 cups half and half
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla

Mix sugar and flour well, get rid of lumps. Add liquids, pour into unbaked pieshell. Cook for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. Let the pie rest to room temperature.
Serve with spoon.
I added cinnamon and fresh ground nutmeg since the flavoring didn't sound snappy enough for my taste.
Some things are a mystery to me....
St. Casserole

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Advent 2005

As a child, I didn't know about Advent. The Big City Church didn't do liturgical season, we are Presbyies afterall.

Seminary introduced the Seasons to me and I became a captive to the idea of a holy calendar.

As a young woman, I felt I had Advent Edge because I knew how Elizabeth (Mrs. Zachariah) felt about childlessness and infertility. Waiting for a Hope delayed by one's body was in sync with the waiting for the coming of the Messiah. Not that I thought having a child was messianic but that the waiting for the healing of the world resonated with my own feelings of hope v. despair at being childless.

This year, however, I am seeing Advent with new eyes. I suppose that life down here post-hurricane is the closest I'll ever come (God willing) to living in a war zone. Basic services damaged, access roads demolished, debris, homelessness, immediate upheaval of a catastropic nature: all these things make me think I have some understanding of a war damaged area. The differences are large, though, in that we have military personnel everywhere but they aren't trying to hurt us. And, although the deaths here are too many, we weren't shot or bombed.

Granted, the analogy doesn't work completely but I am living where the future is impaired.
How does New Orleans get re-built? I understand that portions of the Great City are without power, water or any sign of re-building after three months. The earth in some areas is polluted beyond anything we've had to cope with before now. My New Orleans church members says she can't find even a drug store open without driving miles. The streets are quiet there, too.

How do we handle all emotional upset of life here on the Coast. Families crammed into trailers next to their housing slab. Ruby tells me that the FEMA installer told her to NOT turn on the heater in her trailer as it would blow up. She says she asked him why and he told her they couldn't fix the problem. It's cold here, now, and she will have to buy an electric heater or stay inside her damaged-but-standing home to keep warm.

Older people here are losing their friends who move away at the request of adult children or who decide that "they can't go through another hurricane" and are moving out-of-state.

There aren't enough workers to repair homes, rebuild homes or whatever one needs to have windows replace, roofs patched, etc. etc. The work teams coming often have skilled labor along with the happy hearts of non-skilled young people, but even these groups aren't enough.

*Physical discomfort.
*Emotional discomfort.
*Time to think creatively about the future of ministry on the Coast. It doesn't make sense to return to business as usual since there isn't any "uusal" left.
*Spiritual unease because there are many who see the hurricane, even if they are educated better than this, as God's big whack with the cosmic 2 x 4.


I've got an edge on Advent 2005 and I'm not stopping until I figure out what God means for me and my people. I will not let go until I see the blessing.

I see blessing in many places and am grateful for the love and generosity of people who come to help, send money and pray for us. I mean, I will not let go until I "get" this situation.

The valleys have been brought up and the mountains leveled. I hear Handel's "Messiah" in my heart and am filled with curiousity about what it means to be God's people here in this place, in this time with my community.

Grace and Peace to you,
St. Casserole

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Sun Herald | 12/05/2005 | CLOSE QUARTERS

The Sun Herald | 12/05/2005 | CLOSE QUARTERS

I worry about people coping with close quarters as this article discusses.

Monday Morning

Songbird asks about our Christmas decorating in her Friday meme. I didn't read the meme at her site but saw that all my pals read and responded in theirs.

I haven't decorated anything except my kitchen door. I found a bright wreath at a garage sale on Saturday and hung it as soon as I got home from the sales.

I intend to decorate but I've been busy. We said goodbye to our visiting work crew after worship yesterday. They were lovely folks and I'm sorry to see them go but when I have guests, it's difficult for me to do much house stuff.

I visited after worship with a family who are blue-roofed from the hurricane and who have gotten interior water damage since the storm because the FEMA roofers didn't quite protect the roof. You'd think that you could find a roofer to replace a roof twelve weeks after the storm but NO. Too many roofs, not enough roofers to repair damaged houses. Now, they'll have to move into a FEMA trailer when before, they had simple roof damage.

It's gray, cloudy and a bit chilly here this morning. Looks like December. Yesterday we were steaming with a 78 high. No wonder people are sick.

I'll drink more coffee, read my devotional, pray, then return here with something positive to say.

Happy Monday Morning, Y'all,

Friday, December 02, 2005

Annual Report

Yesterday, the blog turned 1.

Thank you to all who've read the drizzle/dribble/detritus through the year.

You've comforted me with comments, gotten me through two hurricanes, made me fluffier with recipes for good eats and become my pals.

I've watched you congeal into a community through the Revgalblogpals. Your creativity amazes me. The warmth of friendship with one another consoles me. I feel hope reading you.

Thank you to my inspirations for this blog: the emergent church blogs, Rev.Mike's House of Homiletics in Charlotte, NC, Maggi Dawn over the Ocean and more.

*Most searched post: the one on Betty Feezor. Thanks, Bob, for writing to me.

*The Book Drive for Coast Pastors Whose Theological Libraries were damaged by Katrina is such a loving act that I could weep and have. Because of a post here, a loving RevGalBlogPal responded with over 600 lbs. of books for my colleagues. I'd mention her name but I recall that she was doing this quietly. I'll tell her identity if she allows it. God bless her!

*I discovered that Mr. C is a great blogger. He should have his own blog not that he isn't welcome to post here.

*The discussion over which OPI color we like best is an enduring topic. Pedicures rule!

*Grace's Hurricane Cake made it's way around the Country and around my hips via the blog.

*I mourned Rusty and welcomed four kittens.

Now, as I submit my Annual Report, I request that those of you who read but do not comment begin commenting. Especially you, dear Ms. Bowed Twice Grew up in the Great Hometown Tennis Playing New Office LLS Pal, ok?

Respectfully Submitted,

St. Casserole