|Certainly not Friday, instead another angel who tried|
our Nativity Photo Booth at St. Paul's Walla2
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
I love the smells and sounds of the winter holiday season, however it all starts too soon and is too loud and too distracting. Childlike wonder and Grinch-like Advent fundamentalism all at once. Tension.
I love following the #adventword devotional from the Society of St. John the Evangelist, yet I find myself flinching at the endless photos of empty naves and acapella accoutrements. Who and what are we proclaiming with these? Church and faith are people words, are active words, alive and moving and God willing, breathing. Yet there they are. Lovely shots of windows and pews and thuribles, saying so much by what is not in the image. Tension.
I know there is anxiety regarding what images we can use. These phone shots of furnishings are free of charge and hassle, and I do it too. I know we are material people who find that the tactile memory of old books and worn kneelers keep us nourished on our journey with Christ. Yet they #proclaim a poor gospel. They are focused on ashes when we are called to strive for the stars.
|my tweet post...with a stole i made once for a friend. tension.|
Our practice is not about the stuff, and all about the stuff. What we do with the gifts we have been given, where we place our love and trust, how we use our resources: all of this matter matters. Our proclamation of good news includes the hard truth that our worship of stuff is a place of divine judgment. This worldwide Advent calendar should invite a bit of anxiety and tension. I am #encouraged that as the days process on there are only so many furniture images for us to share. Tension.
These advent word hashtags are a beautiful blessing. The #EpiscopalAdvent and the #Radvent and the #Adventword, these lead me to think and pray and to laugh throughout the day. Perhaps it is fitting afterall. This social media interplay of life and image are focusing on my Advent tensions about what is here and what I #wait for.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
This grey and pink darling donkey, I could not #abide it's place in my tiny dorm room. Yet being a donkey, he would have a place at my church office. I thought he would be hauled out from time to time when a donkey was appropriate. I thought the little children would like him. Yet within days this Eeyore pillow pal was being hauled around the church by the teenagers. They carried him around until even they couldn't abide his adolescent odor.
I was completely surprised and completely surprised that I was surprised. There is a piece of adolescence that is trying to hold on to childhood, and another piece that is attached to the joy of the ridiculous. A pillow pal mascot was a gift that could help them surrender to these forces and let it still be an act of love, #hope and comfort. Still, there was something counter-intuitive about the gift of that donkey.
A few weeks ago a friend and elder parishioner asked if my ministry would like his karaoke machine. Truth be told I have never been an enthusiast and I couldn't imagine our teenagers would be very interested. If they want to do such things there are Wii disks or the multitude of offerings on youtube (death metal karoke with the sing along bouncing ball!) However, I thought I might find a use for it and accepted the gift. It sat in my crowded office for a few weeks. We giggled at the song compilations on the disks: who puts Madonna and Mr. Rogers on the same collection! Yet there it sat, a bit in the way and gathering dust.
Eventually, one evening when the original plan fell through, I decided to invite some of my more technically inclined teens to figure the contraption out. Generous and cooperative they went to work, and it took longer than I expected. I also expected that they would get it working and walk away to the youth room video games or a group game of Zombies. However, that didn't happen at all. Much to my surprise I had to chase the darlings off of the machine long after 'youth group' had ended.
If we can offer space for authenticity even the strangest and random notions can open doorways for young people to find themselves. The #grace of pillow-pals and karaoke machines are not in any youth ministry bag of tricks. What made them a gift to the community was the community that was already there, ready and waiting to be more in union with one another in Christ. All of this is a mystery and I can never be sure ahead of time what will rise and what will fall flat. More than gimmicks however is the commitment to food, fellowship and welcome for all teens.
What we are all searching for is Someone to surrender to, something we can prefer to life itself. Well here is the wonderful surprise: God is the only one we can surrender to without losing ourselves. The irony is that we find ourselves, and now in a whole new field of meaning. This happens on a lesser level in every great love in our lifetime, but it is always a leap of faith ahead of time. We are never sure it will be true beforehand. It is surely counter-intuitive, but it is the promise that came into the world on this Christmas Day, “full of grace and of truth.” Jesus is the gift totally given, free for the taking, once and for all, to everybody and all of creation.
Richard Rohr: Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Monday, December 1, 2014
|Not a Rockies game.|
I was a baseball fan and so I was signed up to play tball. Already a fan, but also, not athletic.
I was most frequently placed in the outfield. A small girl in a big field of grass.
In true baseball the outfield requires lots of waiting, punctuated by bursts of running and death defying catches.
In tball the outfield meant you waited through each inning. I would eventually sit in the grass. Pluck dandelions.
Advent is a bit like playing the outfield.
Many years later I was in the front row of the upper deck of Coors Field. Perched high above homeplate on a windy summers night, we were offered two shows.
There was the one we paid for, the one on the field. The one with bats and bases and innings and plans and 'no crying'.
From our seats we could also see the Rocky Mountains to the west. And across the front range of the mountains rolled a marvelous lightening storm. Much to far away to cause a delay of a game, but close enough to offer the second show. The crowd was ooing and ahhing for both games.
However the men on the field couldn't see the second show. They had no idea that just beyond them was a creative light display. You could see the outfielders looking around confused. When the crowd oohs and ahhs and nothing just happened on the field, it would cause you to turn your head around too.
There are two shows right now. One of the sugar plum fairy type and one of the stand in the outfield and wait type. Advent is the second show and it is one of patience and remembering; one of staying awake and standing at rest.
It is strange how much work it can take to just stand still for a while. To pay attention to the game and to let the other shows remain beyond your field of vision. Or to find a way to experience both without denying the other. I choose muted sugar plum, always struggling to not be a 'but we are here to watch the ball game' fundamentalist. Which is hard. Folks who read newspapers at games irk me; folks who hang up their holiday stuff before St. Nicholas Tag make me shiver. But like lightening that makes me jump, I have to recall that it is far away. It is a choice, and I can think the lightening is beautiful and watch the game at the same time.
Advent. Come Lord Jesus.
Monday, November 24, 2014
|Somewhere in the English Lake Country near Keswick|
Monday, September 29, 2014
|Finn River Farm and Cidery on the Olympic Peninsula|
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Philadelphia is a city that is defined by a river. It goes without saying that Philadelphia is along way from eastern Washington and Northern Idaho, yet our diocese is also strongly defined by its rivers. The rivers that flow out of our home fill breadbaskets and fruit baskets far and wide.
One of the most obvious differences is that in the Episcopal diocese of Spokane, 125 years is super old. Here that isn't very old at all. Buildings of old stone evoke awe and wonder. The weather is also quite different, if also good for this place in July. I have been told that I am the only one of our team who thinks the weather is lovely (my hands look less like raisins!). Some of our crew are finding the humidity difficult, declaring that their skin is sticking to itself and hovering inside while a malfunctioning security alarm sounds. I have refrained from suggesting that this is nothing compared to DC or Mississippi.
On Wednesday we made our way from the Germantown neighborhood over to EYE and Villanova with a few minor glitches. To begin our day we woke up a bit late, but certainly not on a Pacific schedule. This was more of a challenge given our late late night arrival. For our first night we rested in triple Decker brand new bunks at the Episcopal Mission Center which is housed at St. Luke's in Germantown. I cannot offer enough praise for the fine welcome and amazing work they do at the Episcopal Mission Center. Based on the recommendations of a friend we headed out for the Little Jimmies that appeared on our smart phone. We walked quite a ways in the morning ing he s t before we found it. Part of the reason for the morning ing breakfast trek was to help acclimate our crew to the local weather. It was a long walk and we filled Little Jimmies with our fourteen bodies. We pushed the capacity so far th as t the shopkeeper called for reinforcements. Who then told us that there was a s another larger location much closer to our digs. Oops.
Refreshed by our meal we walked back with more energy, and headed out toward the train. The region had experienced huge storms the day we arrived (hence part of our delay). Widespread damage and power outages were confusing systems. And a power line had fallen over a train track. Leading to no trains. Which we learned after climbing the stairs with our luggage. Eventually we were able to arrange for three cabs to come and get us and take us to the EYE14 site. Now if only they had all known how to get to Villanova!
We did make it to our destination and we were right on time for the start of check in. Since then we have been going almost non stop (except for sleep). We are in a dorm with folks from the dioceses of Hawaii, Maryland, San Diego, California and Rio Grande to name a few. Participants are spending lots of time exchanging trinkets and playing frisbee between our sessions. Last night includes big games on a field and a Frozen song along in the on campus theatre. Then was evening worship and snacks. Today we celebrated a fantastic Eucharist, took a group photo and have now begin our workshops. There in an excellent article on The Episcopal Digital Network with more about what we are doing.
One of my favorite things about facebook is the river of life, the river of my life, that flows along on my 'wall'. The lives of school friends and 'grown kids' mix with colleagues and family. I find it to be a beautiful babbling brook of who I am and where I have been. However, this is much better than my fb wall. EYE so far has been a river of living life, of hugs and high fives in person with the folks who usually only pass by. To hug my goddaughter, to be lifted high by an old friend, to hear my name shouted..OMG Jane! It is a blessing of its own. This is a river of life...where shall we take it from here?
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Once on board you then get to choose from any open seat, also like church life, and a real benefit to flying with a fourteen person group of young people and chaperones to the Episcopal Youth Event. The plane was nearly full as we soared through the first leg toward Vegas on our way to Philadelphia. One of our eleven teens had never flown before. After gleeful loud expressions during takeoff she declared that she "loves flying"! Some slept, some read and most caught up or made new friends. Our youth crew includes folks from Cleelum, Walla Walla, Richland, Coeur d Alene and Spokane. One young woman, Berkeley, was with the last EYE group in 2011, and most of our crew have been active at Camp Cross and our diocesan youth programs like New Beginnings and TEC. Our adult chaperones are from Richland, Spokane and Walla Walla. Patrick attended a previous EYE as a teen, Jane has served with the Official Youth Presence at General Convention, while Theresa is new to church wide youth events. We are flying east the day before EYE begins because as many of us know it takes all day to get from here to there. We are spending our first night at the Episcopal Mission Center in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia. Or at least that is the plan, flight delays may put gum in our plans. Then on Wednesday morning we will use mass transit to journey out to Villanova University, where EYE 14 is being held.
More for y'all when we have new adventures to share.
Sunday, June 1, 2014
Poetry Excerpt From To Bless the Space Between Us.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
- Large Scrabble Tiles. Several Pinterest sites have plans for wooden planks. I used cardstock with paperclips. Thanks be to God for a low wind evening. I am guessing if you wanted to invest a bit of money (but not spend time with a saw bench) you could make the squares out of that foam paper stuff.
- Maybe Bibles, Prayerbooks...
- Maybe smart phones.
- Divide into no more than four teams of people.
- Tiles are spread out face down in one area at a far end of a lawn. If this is far enough away it could be a mad dash with some hilarity.
- Standard scrabble formation rules apply. However, I added a rule that they could use the names of biblical books even if they were proper names. So, Ruth yes, Mary, no.
- Words could be found using smart phones and justified using smartphones and standard dictionary sites.
- Speed Scrabble involves no playing board and making a formation of words with the letters you have. When your team has used all of their letters then someone says GO! and then all teams have to go get another letter(s). Each time a team has placed all their letters in a formation this repeats until all the tiles have been claimed. With two teams I had them claim two letters each time a team yelled Go!
- If all teams are stuck with extra letters during the course of the game they can agree to 'dead' and everyone goes to get another tile.
- Once all tiles have been claimed the first team to complete a formation of words 'wins' and gets 10 extra points. All teams then add up their scrabble points and discover the final winner.
- You could place the titles face up so there is more competition for certain letters.
- You could insist that there must be one religious word (God, Church, Mission).
- You could make rules for trading of letters instead of new letters when in the 'dead zone'.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
After several lovely days in Cambridge it was time to go north. The author of the Wicked books most certainly borrowed from the sights and names of the Lake Country. Ulswater and the Cumbric witch and so on.
If you like dogs, I recommend Keswick (do not say the w). If you are allergic, I might suggest an alternate plan. If you like walking and hiking, even in a downpour, then please take your trip. The funny thing is how few folks smile while making these adventures. Hundreds of pounds of rain gear and hiking poles and lovely scenes and no grins. Hmm. Plus matching jackets for couples seems to be a statement with the older crowd of tourists.
There is a gap in the hills with the most rain in England, over 11 feet a year. And it poured for that five minute spot. Otherwise the weather was a mix of rain, light, and clouds. There is no shortage of outdoor gear shops in Keswick, almost as many as wine tasting rooms in Walla Walla. I found two terrific cafes with real cask ale. One called the Square Orange was tight and bright with assortment of bites and sandwiches.
The second cafe is called Magnolia, with menus made to look like an lp. Even was pulled out of an old lp jacket. It was one of this places that is playing so much of your music, your hip music that you are convinced no one else listens to, well, you wonder if they scanned your phone. I was not alone with this observation, the Dutch man near me had a similar experience.
The hostel in Keswick is quite nice and clean and helpful. It is in old mill by the river, so you get to hear it babbling by at night. Except for the loud drunk Englishman declaring how he would be climbing like a god the next day, it was ideal.
I am still struck by the volume of coffee shops. Every which way you look. I was expecting fancy tea shops, Starbucks style. Best i can tell such things are more popular in Portland, Oregon.
I have eaten rarebit and pies and now leuntil crisps and now animal shaped fruit jels that are quite good. One tastes a bit like cherry cola. Not the flavor I was expecting for a cow face shape.
Sunday, May 4, 2014
Holy moly. This isn't high tourist season? It is quite busy and teeming with folks around every corner. When did I become less than keen on crowds??
On Saturday we ventured down to the Eye. The large ferris wheelt hat was construced for the Olympics, yet has becomea part of the skyline. Anyways, some of you may know that I enjoy heights and ferris wheels. England is compelling-ly gracious regarding those in wheelchairs, so we were wisked to the front of the 'Que'. The wheel only stops when operating for the ramp into the little egg cells. It might not have been as big of a hit before digital photography.It is made for that adventure.
You might notice the amazing sunny and clear photos. This is a consistent pattern for me lately. I am thinking about letting myself out for blessings towards sunny weather..so far this year I have found sunny and temperate in San Francisco, Seattle and now London. I actually managed to achieve a spot of sunburn on Saturday.
We had planned to go to St. Paul's however it was closed for a service commemorating the anniversary of the CoE ordination of women to the priesthood. Hmm. Another time.
We headed up to the Camden Market, which as quite the crowd of vendors and folks out for the sunny day. We might of gotten a bit lost for a moment on the way back, but made it back to the station. Which was good because at the very same moment an owl flew by with my letter for admittance to Hogwarts. A few years late, but I shall not complain. Truth be told the half-cart is not near platform 9 at all, it might be adjacent to the toilets instead. It is free for you to take your own photo, they have an assortment of house scarves (most choose Gryfndor) and a fella whose job it is to hold and wave the scarf. Actually quite worth the wait in line (frequently much longer than my wait).
Sunday morning began with a lovely church service in a thousand year old congregation (St. Bene't's, which is short for Benedict), which makes the 150 of Walla Walla seem like a drop in the bucket. It greatly resembles the Cathedral nave in Albuquerque. The service was both full and friendly.
Then I spent parts of the day wandering through the shopping district. In some ways the grocer was the most intriguing part, I could have studied the packages and choices for much longer than I did.
The evening was completed by Evensong at Pembroke College and then dinner. At long tables in a great hall, with a head table. And dress robes on students and staff. And talking portraits (just kidding). A lovely dinner with nice students and a fine setting.
Somewhere in the imagination of my heart I was expecting more of an 'otherness'. It is of course unlike anything in my experience, yet it is still not as intensely different as I expected. A daily journey of discovery. Discovery of places and ways, but also of an alternate use of language to share information. I see the words, I can read them, but it may take a ssecond to realize what the instruction intends. I also find myself using many localisms, it must be in the water. Crisps and loo and blokes. Or perhaps it is all that Masterpiece and novel reading that has such phrases falling out of my lips.
Saturday, May 3, 2014
It is a little bit funny:
To be able to read the signs, but find yourself unsure of what they intend.
To see a familliar landscape yet never have I been here before. The suburban similarities are almost sad.
To meet up with an old friend and find life very much the same.
To feel my brain using muscles it has not in a while (thanks Preston for inviting me to read big words).
To speak the language and understand the language but still wish for subtitles. BBC tv has subtitles...why don't yall?
To not be willing to pay for the outrageous international data rates and therefore be a bit more lost than usual.
To get kissed by a chatty english bloke in a pub on my first day. On the cheek.
To get to know, ever briefly, a nice family whose son was singing with the boy's choir for the last day because he dared to mature (and his voice cracked).
I love that the power òutlets have on and off switches. So smart.
I love all the transit options. And I do love the nine million nutsy bicyclists, even the ones that try to run me over.
I love all the walking paths.
I don't like the fine lawns with protocols that only elite so-n-so's may walk on. Really? Makes me want to roll around in it. Must be some crazy 'merican.
Ps..I know I owe myself and others a post on whole hearted formation...but the first one is love. Big love. Why must i start with such a big one?? I told myself I would work on it while traveling. However for a day of travel I planned 3 days worth of books, papers and audiobooks. Then I also slept on the plane. :0