Monstrous Regiment

I will declare my bias here and now – I adore Terry Pratchett, and have done for years. I’m afraid you will find little of objective critique here, just unabashed admiration. If you haven’t yet met him and the world of characters he has created, I highly recommend them to you. In my mind, they are the perfect read for a young clergy-woman’s precious leisure hours.

Pratchett’s most famous books concern the Discworld (so called because it is truly a disc, moving through space on the back of four elephants, standing in turn on the back of a giant turtle.) It is a world peopled by wizards, dwarves, trolls, witches, werewolves and vampires.

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So You Think You Can… Dance?

The Jesus ReviewI am not fond of reality television. In fact, that statement puts my sentiments quite mildly. In truth I am repulsed by the modern television programs that claim to be “reality”. Any program that exploits the young adult population that I serve brings up feelings of anger and frustration for me. For this reason I never expected to find a reality television show that I was able to watch with something more than perverse curiosity, or, more likely, anger and frustration. Two summers ago, while spending my vacation time with my family on the beach, my beloved sister proved me wrong when she insisted that I join her in watching Fox’s hit series, “So You Think You Can Dance”.

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Reviewing An Old Favorite

The Jesus ReviewOn the days when I feel “nobody understands” I remind myself of one of my favorite books about spiritual journeys, Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd. This book reminds me of what I loved about seminary – the imaginative and “out of the box” experiences of God. In the six years of my ordained ministry serving three different calls, I’ve had glimpses of those things.

My first call had a Caribbean liturgy and Blues liturgy as well as used expansive language for God, to some degree. In my second call, since Lent aligned with Black History month, I was able to write a midweek Lenten service lifting up the voices of African-American theologians and sing spirituals. In my current call, we have seven worship services on a weekend, as divergent as you can imagine seven worship services can be. There are parts of a service that might speak to my soul, but as a whole, in the words of Bono, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” I like the flow of Lutheran liturgy which in one sense makes me “traditional” but my college years were spent singing in a Black Gospel choir which had more “umpf” than say, oh your “traditional” Lutheran service. So, I really can’t check off which worship box might want to label me.

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The Official Summer Reading List

The Jesus Review

While summer may only offer the daydream of more reading time, many YCW prepare for a slightly slower season by gathering a stack of books to stuff in their beach tote or in their suitcase.  Some of these books seek to enhance our vocational calling while others offer a much-needed escape from the work we love.  Here is the official summer reading list for every YCW gathered from the bookshelves and reading lists of our members.  Please add your must-reads in the comments to complete this list.

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A Gardener’s Education

The Jesus Review

I’ve been on a bit of a Michael Pollan kick lately.  Enthused that his explorations of our food systems have helped make gardening hip (or, at least, have helped get Michelle and Barack to dig in), I keep going back for more.  Since first reading Omnivore’s Dilemma, I have delighted that his work has given me conversation partners and a common vocabulary for speaking of ethical eating and real food security.

Stretching back to the backyard garden of my childhood — with ample space for experimentation and bountiful seeds from a relative’s hardware store — gardens have been places of great, hopeful possibility.  Something about their demands on my patience, trust and wonder make gardening work worth doing on my days off; the delights of dinner picked from within feet of my door add delicious reward.  Compelled by the ideas of gardening as a moral and theological statement, my vision has grown generous enough to see beauty in my front yard attempt at growing vegetables, even when others see disaster.

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Theologically Lost

The Jesus Review

This month, the Jesus Review is pleased to bring you a conversation between two of our favorite TV junkies. Excuse me. They would like you to know that they only watch intelligent TV. This conversation wasn’t an exchange the tinkling of coffee mugs in a coffee shop or wine glasses after the most recent episode aired. Instead, it happened through an email banter which Elsa Peters and Sarah Kinney Gaventa with you here.

Elsa: Do you watch Lost? Let me rephrase that. Are you as addicted as I am? Do you spend your whole week waiting for Wednesday night to learn what might happen next? Each week, I eagerly await Wednesday.

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The Twilight Series

The Jesus Review

I confess that I’m almost always behind the curve on the cultural phenoms of our day—I got on board the Harry Potter train when book four came out. I don’t really like movie theaters and so often don’t see movies until they come out on DVD. I pay some attention, but not a ton, to what’s going on in the world of youth- and young adult-culture, and I tell myself that I need to know these things because the youth I work with live in that world more than they live in my world…but I still tend to be a little bit behind.  

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Slumdog Millionaire

The Jesus Review

When is life not a multiple choice question?  When does life challenge us to make one choice rather than selecting the ever-tempting ever-impossible All of the Above?  There is only one of choice — or at least, this is what Director Danny Boyle presents in the story of Jamal Malik in the award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire.  There are four choices: cheating, luck, genius or destiny.  Which will Malik choose in answering the final question on the popular game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire to award him 20 million rupees?  

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Small Epiphanies

The Jesus Review
We are people of the book.  This is no epiphany – great or small. 

Whether we offer chapter and verse to prove our point, sing the psalms or seek comfort in Jesus’ words, we are women that center our lives on text. On Epiphany, we celebrate the books that have offered us strength in the past year. Some of these books fed our ministry.  Some called us to justice and others just provided an escape into the world of words.

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Singing Glad Tidings of Joy

The Jesus Review

In the places that we serve, we are aware of the shift that Advent brings. Not only does it shift our awareness toward planning worship services, bazaars and bake sales, but also highlights our awareness of where God’s light needs to shine this season.

As we wait for God to tear open the heavens and come down, the Board of Fidelia’s Sisters offers you the gift of song. Amid economic woes and falling snow, we hope that these musical blessings might break into your world with a new experience of Christmas.

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