Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Five: Change

Change is hard. Shrek and Fiona (and Puss and Donkey) are under the influence of a spell, and time is running out to break it or make it permanent. Most changes happen a little less drastically, which is great except that it also means change is usually a big effort. For this Friday Five, please answer these five questions about change.

1) Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and seen yourself with surprise? Why?

The first time I saw myself in my nun's habit I knew that change had happened. I was giddy with the moment but the reality was harder to understand. I had a similar experience when I first saw myself in clerics.  Clothing does begin to change who you are, how you are perceived and how people respond to you.  And then when I noticed that most of my hair was white and while it wasn't much of a surprise, I knew I had changed even though I didn't feel changed.

2) Have you ever witnessed a change in routine at church that upset people? (Hahahahaha!!!! I know you have!)

Whoohoo!  Try moving the altar in an Episcopal Church!  Try using inclusive language.  And just last week, try talking about the LGBT gifts at a Same-Sex blessing in the parish--the first in a very conservative diocese!

3) Have you ever been surprised or inconvenienced by a change in a public setting (not church)?

Oh, Hell!  I have been a part of the inconvenience of change since the early 60's.  I was thrown out of history class in high school because I believed that Afro-Americans should go to the same school I did.  I was run out of the RCC because I believed that women should be ordained.  I was run out of my parish because I believe that Mexicans should go to church WITH us not just be provided space as a mission strategy.  I was run out of another parish because I believed that in calling a gay man as bishop of NH the Church was doing a new thing.  And I am still raising hell about LGBT folk being bullied or denied their rights as citizens.  Cummon!  I am a priest.  I am not surprised--I am just preaching the Gospel!!!

4) Has the passage of time changed your understanding of something you used to think you knew for sure?

EVERYDAY!  All I have to do is sit down to my computer!

5) Is there something you're trying to change, or want to change, in your life right now?

Is there anyway to stop the ageing process?  I am changing everyday.  It is part of life.  

Would anyone like to come and help me unpack?  My office doesn't need to be like the last one--it just has to have some order.  Would some one like to organize my kitchen?  I need the knives to the right of the stove and the hot pads to the left of it and one junk drawer for tools and odds and ends and you can put everything else where you want.  It doesn't need to be the same as I would.  Just some order would be nice.  Can you help me find my good shoes?  Winter is coming and I need something more than my sandals.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Five: Blogging

Blogging at Google's Blogger, I recently was boondoggled by the new designs of the site, which includes my blog. I felt like I had lost track of all the blogs I daily check so that I asked for help both at my blog and on Facebook! Still trying to learn the ways of these new ways of blogging, I am turning our minds to blogging for this Friday Five.

1. When did you start blogging? What/who prompted you?

I started blogging when I was sent by my ministerial group to help with Katrina in 2005.  But I really didn't start really blogging regularly until 2006 when I started Stone of Witness.  I was prompted by the irregularities in my diocese in the use of canons and the lack of truth coming from either the diocesan office or many of those who were talking on the diocesan list service.  My blog was intended to be a place of questioning the status of diocesan statements and to ask hard questions regarding the policies of the diocese that were be promulgated.  I am not sure that it accomplished what it was intended to do, but through it I found my voice theologically.
2. How often do you post? How often do you visit blogging friends and/or other blogs? 
For a while I blogged every day.  But that got fairly old.  Then I was good if I blogged weekly but had some times when I was fairly intermittent in my posting. I haven't written much lately because I have found writing difficult after the accident. 

 I visit several blogs most days.  Now I access most of them through fb but I do check on what some of the sistern are saying. 

3. Why do you keep on blogging?

I keep blogging because I think it helps 'primes the pump.'  As an extrovert, I am always wanting to test the ideas that come to mind on others.  I appreciate feed back, disagreement, or even the occasional "ho hum."  It helps me verbalize what touches me and it allows me to bring the Gospel to my life in ways that I might just breeze over rather than consider with more depth of thought.  It also keeps up my vocabulary.  My mother lost her ability to communicate as she got older because she did not have a chance to talk.  In retirement, my dearly beloved has heard most of what I have said over the 35 years we have been together.  She deserves a bit of a rest.  And it is good to have commentary from those who read from far away.

4. What do you like to write about?

I like to reflect on what is happening in the world in the light of the Gospel.  Sometimes it is just small stuff.  But I occasionally find that my theology regarding certain issues is changing or has changed during my life-time and I want to consider something new.  Often it is in the crafting of a statement that the issues opens up for me and allows me grapple with something that I have not before.  The blog is the closest thing to the 'seminary' pub that was so helpful to challenge what we were learning back during my school days.  God is always calling me to challenge the status quo of faith and it is often on my blog that I can wrestle with those ideas.
5. Have your blogging habits changed--or are they changing?

I do not find fb as good for the kind of consideration that I do on the blog.  So in someways my blogging has not changed.  But social media sites are multiplying faster than I can keep up.  I am feeling a bit like a dinosaur but don't seem to have the energy to do anything else.
Bonus: Recommend a blog or two.

All time favorites:   Elizabeth Kaeton is a friend and a mentor.  Susan Russell keeps me on my toes with regards to LGBTQ issues.  June Butler makes me laugh.  And many more.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Five: Asking for Help

Friday Five: I Ask for Help

This time last Friday I was on my way to the airport to pick up your usual host for first Friday Five. We had a mighty to-do list for the Labor Day weekend, and her accomplishments were so far beyond impressive as to be heroic. A dumpster is now full of water-damaged junk from my basement.

This was not a job I could have accomplished by myself. I had to ask for help.

I hate to ask for help. I love to give it. You may identify with these feelings.

So, for this Friday Five, please list four ways you have been helped when you didn't want to ask for it and one way you had a chance to help that meant a lot to you.

If you know how to link to your post, God bless you, and if you don't, I promise to visit you anyway. And if you have a minute, leave a thank you to kathrynzj, the heroine mentioned above, who is retiring from Friday Five.

This could not be more appropriate for me today.  Songbird, sorry for your emergency. Praying that things are right for you. But you came very close to home as I opened my  mail this morning.  I am now sitting watching my friends carry boxes to my new home.

Two and a half weeks ago J and I were in a serious car accident.  Both of us were banged up.  I have a separated shoulder and cracked ribs; J.  has just had neck vertebrae fusion and can only carry very light loads.  And we were scheduled to move this weekend.

I have never seen a bunch of people gang together in a parish as we have seen from St. Martin's.

1.  We have had at least 20 people who have packed up our 3 bedrooms of house.

2  It is over 100 degrees today and at 3 guys with trucks are schleping the boxes and 4 gals with vans or SUV's are loading up our clothes, furniture etc.

3. Two families have brought us meals (gluten-free) that were so tasty after spending days packing.

4.  A young woman from our upstate NY connections has moved in with us to help us for a year.  She was out of work and couldn't find a job so we invited her here.  She has pitched in and is shouldering great responsibility as we move:  helping us chart the repairs that need to be made to the new house, going to the hardware store to get things that are needed, etc.

5.  I am pleased that we have extended this invitation to T. as she joins our community for a year. She is willing to help us with household chores while we pay for room and board.  It is easier to find work here in TX than it is in the rust belt so that she can save for college tuition.  She has already made some connections with members of our parish in order to discuss just what kind of nursing she wants to pursue and how the best way to pay for it.

Bonus:  Years ago I learned how to ask for help.  And I have learned that by doing so, I find that it keeps me humble (a hard thing for a Texan) and it keeps me aware of the needs of others.  The reciprocity of helping is the glue that makes for a generous community.  That is what has happened in this parish I belong to.  We give and take because we know we can depend on one another without either asking too much or feeling put upon.  I give lots of my time to this parish that is unpaid.  They give back to me their concern, their prayers their help and their love.  I can't ask for any more.  When I am mended, I will make casseroles, or pack homes, or plan someone's funeral simply because I know that so much was done for me.  It isn't "tit for tat."  It is just love and it feels so good.  It is this kind of caring that dispels the fear of growing old without a family to 'take care of me.'  It reminds me that God is generous and the generosity that God shows me is something that I can return.

Thanks, Martha for today's Five.  Hope things have gone well.