Friday Five: Potpourri Edition

Woohoo! It's will smama doing the Friday Five this week! Here's what we've got:

As I zip around the webring it is quite clear that we are getting BUSY. "Tis the season" when clergy and laypeople alike walk the highwire from Fall programming to Christmas carrying their balancing pole with family/rest on the one side and turkey shelters/advent wreaths on the other.And so I offer this Friday Five with 5 quick hit questions... and a bonus:

1) Your work day is done and the brain is fried, what do you do?
Well, the very first thing I do is hop in the shower (washing the day off), or at least change clothes. I don't care if what I wore to work is actually more comfortable than what I change into-- I want to take the day off. Then I probably take about 20 minutes of quiet time with God before I putter downstairs to see what Mr. M has going for dinner. (Bless his wonderful heart.)

2) Your work week is done and the brain is fried (for some Friday, others Sunday afternoon), what do you do?
Sleep until at least 10 on Saturday, cuddling with the cats and Mr. M. Head out for breakfast/brunch. Maybe go for a run. Read a ton of mind candy books.

3) Like most of us, I often keep myself busy even while programs are on the tv. I stop to watch The Office and 30 Rock on Thursday nights. Do you have 'stop everything' tv programming or books or events or projects that are totally 'for you' moments?
We're (sort of) a TV-free house. We don't have cable, and we get absolutely zero reception on the standard channels. What we do have is all seven seasons of West Wing, and a good start on Scrubs. They're not "stop everything" TV, but they are well-loved.

4) When was the last time you laughed, really laughed? What was so funny?
Some wonderful college friends made me laugh pretty hard this morning on Facebook. The cats make me laugh a lot. Honestly? I'm a laugher. There's a lot that strikes me as funny. My mom's sense of humor is very similar to mine, so we laugh till we cry,which is completely unnerving to Mr. M.

5) What is a fairly common item that some people are willing to go cheap on, but you are not.
Pens. I'm a big ol' pen snob. I keep one fountain pen on my desk, and another in my purse, and I use those instead of cheapo disposables. I love nice inks.


More Dots

  • I ran across an appalling fictitious letter from Focus on the Family (I found it on someone's blog, can't remember whose now. Sorry about the lack of attribution.) I can't find a link on Focus's website, nor am I seeing articles about it in the vile MSM, so I'm just assuming it's real. At any rate, it's infuriating. It reminds me again how sad I am for most Muslims that so many associate them with extremists. I certainly hate the idea of being associated with this brand of Christianity.
  • Mr. M and I are having a "What's Next?" date on Friday. We don't expect to come out of it with answers, but it'll be a nice time to see if we're even asking the same questions.
  • I'm thinking about seminary. Not much more to share than that, but I'm thinking about it. No idea where or how. Loving that some schools have a joint MDiv/JD plan, but cannot imagine how I'd use it. Or, you know, pay for it. ;)
  • I'm still reading Gerald May's Dark Night of the Soul. It's on my reading list for class, tho I am going through the syllabus out of order. The book is wonderful, and goes on my long list of support that I'm feeling lately. Isn't it wonderful to remind outselves that people who have since been canonized really struggled? May talks about Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross, neither of whom were popular with their church. In Theresa's case, it's particularly interesting to read about her learning to trust herself.
  • Carla Bruni's latest album, Comme Si De Rien N'Etait, is really lovely.


Loving the Dots

Thank heavens lovely other bloggers set the precident of bullets to keep things going. I'm joining in:
  • I have felt incredibly encouraged lately-- by lovely RevGals (whom I'm thrilled to still be here with, thank you), by the church members that I'm slowly telling, by family members (who easily could have gone either way), even by some local clergy. I couldn't even begin to explain how grateful I am.
  • I will be even more grateful when I can go to my first Spiritual Director's class of the year (next week). I'm chomping at the bit to be back with those classmates.
  • Mr. M has been fabulous. Unfortunately, I think he's having a harder time with my resignation than I am. I'm mad sometimes, but mostly relieved. He's mad on my behalf, and doesn't have many people to talk to about it.
  • I'm trying out how to untangle myself. I'm still on the roster for serving the chalice, and I'm still leading weekly evening prayer. Ack! I feel comfortable saying no, I'm just not sure what I do and don't want to say no to yet! I want to be able to worship with this parish occasionally, but I also want some Sundays (both to get a little distance, and to explore other churches). I'm trying to figure out what feels right.
  • I'm a little worn out from all this discerning, and I'm having a hard time being faithful in prayer. I know I feel better when I do it (much like exercise), but starting has been hard.
  • I want nothing more than to gather all my favorite people together (IRL friends and blog friends) and just play for a week or so. I'm missing people like crazy.
  • I'll have lunch this week with a UCC seminary prof whom I really like. That might help in discernment, but will definitely be fun either way.

How are you all doing?


Friday Five
Location, Location, Location

Singing Owl brings us this Friday Five:

My daughter, her husband, and their toddler, Trinity Ann, are moving from Minneapolis, Minnesota to our place. It's a long story, but the short version is that they will be loading a Ryder truck on Saturday, and on Sunday afternoon we will unload it into a storage unit in our town. They will move themselves, their two cats and their BIG dog into our place. Yes, there will be issues, but this Friday Five isn't really about that. (Prayers for jobs for them and patience for all of us are most welcome, however.) This post is about locations. My husband has lived at 64 addresses in his life so far (16 with me) and he suggested the topic since we have moving trucks on our minds.

Therefore, tell us about the five favorite places you have lived in your lifetime. What did you like? What kind of place was it? Anything special happen there?

I have a lot of choices to pick from. At last count, I've lived at at least 22 different addresses (not counting separate dorms in college). When you consider that I'm 28, and have lived in the same building for the last 6 years, that's saying something.

So, here are my top 5:

1) Bethesda, MD
I LOVED living near our nation's capital. The cost of living is high, but there is a ton of free fun stuff to do. I love the diversity, I love the public transportation (in fact, I like combining the two: listening to all the different languages spoken on the Metro). We moved there 2nd semester of my junior year of high school. I made wonderful friends, and for the very first time ever found people that I felt like I really fit in with. Oh, and did I mention how much I love all the different kinds of food?

2) Granville, OH
I went to Homecoming last weekend, and remembered how much I loved my college stomping grounds. It's a little funny to share this as part of the Friday Five, because I realized that part of the reason I love Granville so much is that my 4 years of college were the first time I'd ever lived somewhere for more than about 2 1/2 years. No kidding it feels like home! It's a charming town, the campus is beautiful, and the memories are (mostly-- the ones that don't make me cringe, anyway) wonderful.

3) Okinawa, Japan
I did not expect to enjoy Okinawa. We went for a year when I was in 8th grade, and ended up wishing we'd requested a 3-year tour. Because my mom chose an "unaccompanied" tour (1 year, and she took me at her expense), we lived out in town instead of on base. I had a lot of freedom, and really enjoyed exploring. I took the bus in town, explored tiny fun shops, and took walks down the winding streets. That year was really an adventure.

4) Oceanside, CA
We moved a lot, but we also returned to CA a lot. So, off and on, I spent more time growing up in California than anywhere else. There are a lot of things that I miss about it, things I didn't appreciate when I was there. (Yes, the food again, but not JUST the food.) It was another place where diversity and integration were the norm, rather than just a topic of dicussion (by a bunch of white people). I miss how normal it was for people to be active and outside. There were a lot of public areas-- parks and mountains and beaches. I lived in a city, but it was easy to get to open spaces.

5) Elizabethtown, PA
Here, I live in the country, and it's really difficult to be in open spaces-- because they all belong to someone else!
I'm including this mostly because it's where I met Mr. M, and because major life things have happened here. It's been horizon-broading; I've never lived in such a small town before. There are fun parts: the fair every summer, the farmers' market, the historical buildings.



Thanks for all the warm words. I feel peaceful and relieve by my decision to resign, but telling people about it is really hard.

Hard to tell the Episcopalians-- IRL friends and blog friends, alike. I've started to tell members of my parish, and that's a bit scary. One fantastic man was so supportive I wept. Others have offered stories of people they know who went on to flourish somewhere else. A discerning deacon told me about someone she knew who went from TEC to being an ordained Baptist! There's precedent, and I'm grateful for those who are sharing what they know of it. I'm hearing a good bit of disappointment-- not judgement, but disappointment.

Hard to tell the friends who aren't church-y, hard to express why this is a big deal, and what's going on exactly.

And, since I'm in limbo, I feel a little awkward here in my beloved RevGal circle. I really loved my church. You know what? I still love it. I'm still leading evening prayer on Monday nights (yes, there's a future post coming about how in the heck to unentangle myself). In this liminal space, am I still a part of church-y things?

The external, interpersonal is tough right now, but the internal, intrapersonal/spiritual is wonderful. I have a wonderful sense of being carried, and of waiting with expectation. (Would it help to say that I've entered a personal time of Advent?) There's mystery and wonder in this time, but it's hard to share. I feel so strongly that this isn't the beginning of a new book, just a new chapter. Do you mind sitting with me even when I can't show you what God has next?


Act One Ends, and Intermission Begins

This past weekend I mailed my letter of resignation of postulancy to the bishop. I wrote the draft almost a month ago, gave it to my rector, and then sat on it for a little while. I've been wondering if I was in the right place for... well over a year at least. For a long time it didn't occur to me that I might be called to ordained ministry, just not in the Episcopal church.

Before I joined my current parish, I didn't believe women could be pastors. In fact, I was really uncertain about Pastor Charlotte, the curate at the time. I've always been a denominational mutt (grandparents are Catholic, attended an evangelical elementary school, pseudo-family was Church of Christ--not to be confused with UCC), but none of that included a place for women. My mom told me when I was a teenager that she saw me becoming a pastor, and I was horrified-- women shouldn't do that! And then on my birthday, during Advent 5 years ago, I started talking to my rector about a restlessness I felt, a dissatisfaction.

As I said in my letter:

I love the Episcopal Church. I love the reliable, ever-presentness of the liturgy in these churches. I became centered by letting Communion be my center—weekly on Sundays, but also at the times when it was needed the most: weddings, funerals, baptisms, hospital visits. I was reminded each time I served the chalice that, whether or not everyone was easy to get along with, everyone at the rail was a part of the body of Christ. I was touched with a new sense of eternity when I first took Communion at a funeral, and realized that I was in community not just with those present, but those who have gone before. I’ve prepared sermons that taught me more about the nature of God than they taught anyone in the congregation. I’ve found a gentle, steady joy in leading worship, and in being led.

I love the universality of the Prayer Book, but I’ve missed shared personal prayer. I respect the roles of clergy, but I long for a more empowered laity. I accepted the Episcopal emphasis on obedience, but personally found that in trying to be obedient and compliant, I lost the freedom to be myself. I understand that no church will be a “perfect fit,” and in fact our imperfection is what reminds us that we need one another. However, I believe that some of those differences created a barrier to communication. Whereas in the past I’ve believed that frustration could be overcome through my own effort, I now see that it is a sign pointing to another path, and another denomination.

I feel unbelievablely blessed by the last 5 years. I've learned so much. I've been able to be part of some wonderful relationships and communities. It truly doesn't feel like wasted time. Some of this process has been incredibly painful, but it got me to where I am.

I'd been dreading resignation. Do you know the poem, "Hound of Heaven?" That's what it felt like-- I kept trying to believe that I could make things work. I heard, crystal-clear, "It's time to go." I almost never hear instructions that clear. I read something Diane posted, sound advice: Talk to everyone, because you never know what the Holy Spirit has in mind. I started talking to people. Guess what? You don't get stoned or mocked (not automatically, anyway), if you feel called to ministry but change dominations.

I am shocked by how supportive and loving people (surprising people-- people who have never felt supportive before!) have been. I expected this transition to be very, very hard, and instead it's been a big relief. Sometimes, God asks us to do hard things. Other times, trusting is the hardest part, and once we trust grace blooms in abundance.

I don't know what happens next. The second year of Spiritual Direction for Spiritual Guides is starting, and it's a wonderful community for discernment. I'll worship with Mr. M at Quaker meeting. (I know I'm not a Quaker, but again, a great place for discernment.) In the analogy of relationships, I'm being careful not to jump into a rebound church. I want some time to grow and reflect.

Thanks for listening.


Because I Don't Have to Worry About Looking Ungentlemanly

Listen, lady: Drilling to resolve an energy crisis is like making crystal meth to solve the nation's drug problems!