Earlier this summer, inside my Consecrate Box (a ministry subscription service for women in ministry), I received a discount code for the book In the Neighborhood of Normal* by Cindy Maddox. I was instantly hooked by the summary:the protagonist is an 82-year-old woman, when does that even happen? Days later, I received my copy and utterly fell in love with the feisty widow and active church lady, Mish Atkinson. The book begins as Mish buys her first-ever smartphone, and as she navigates texting for the first time, hilarity ensues. Through a series of coincidences, naivety, and an open heart, Mish’s new phone leads her to a mission from “Jesus,” much to the chagrin of her (gay, married!) pastor, who wonders a bit at her sanity. But Mish is undeterred.
In the Girl Scouts, I’ve found a place where I don’t have to leave any part of myself at the door. In contrast to the church, which often adheres to a patriarchal structure, Girl Scouts provides a nurturing and inclusive atmosphere. I’ve never felt that I needed to be someone I’m not in this organization. It’s a safe haven, a place where all are celebrated for their unique qualities. As a young clergywoman, I strive to recreate the Girl Scout spirit within the church—a space that is welcome and hospitable to all, regardless of their background or identity. We just celebrated Halloween, the day when ghouls and ghosts come to life, but October 31 is also the birthday of Juliette Gordon Low.
Prayer of the Day
God, you cultivated a world that is full of your glory. When we are struggling with dark thoughts and heavy burdens, when we are tired and weary, when we are longing to see you, open our eyes to see your light shining in and through our lives. Guide us to be light-bearers for all those still struggling down paths obscured by despair. Amen.
God of the Shadows,
of the Hidden Places,
of the Bellies of Whales,
and the Recesses of Tombs,
From connecting with pastors over the years, I’ve discovered that there are a number of them out there who adore horror. While I haven’t been able to nail down a complete explanation for this phenomenon, I have found one recurring, resonant theme: belief.
Horror movies are obsessed with belief. It’s the concept we’re grappling with when we yell at the screen to tell the characters not to go into that dark basement or roll our eyes at the one character who insists on being a skeptic even though they’re in a horror movie: Why don’t these people believe that the danger is real? Why don’t these people believe in the supernatural? How can they doubt the existence of nightmares when they’re living in one?
O God, show us your steadfast love. In a changing world speak your word of eternal Love which does not change. Hear our cries, from the depths of our longing. Bring us mercy and compassion, tenderness and commitment, all that we need to carry us through. Be born in us this day. As we open to you in vulnerability, surround us and fill us with your love.
Prayer of the Day
Creator God, so often we look around us and see only the changes that need to be made. We look past what you are doing in the lives of the children who surround us. Open our eyes to the joy of the world they are creating alongside you. Amen. Read more
Prayer of the Day
Maker of All That Is, thank you. You are our Source of life and hope. Forgive us for all the ways we sin against you and the Earth. Restore our connection to you and all of Creation, that we might be a part of your great Restoration of the world. Reconnect us to our fellow creatures. Help us tread lightly on your holy ground. Cultivate your deep peace within us that we might trust you and live in The Way of Christ. Amen.
Eternal God, gift us the hope we need to keep awake and watch for your amazing works. Help us participate in the upending of the world as we know it so we will know the world of your loving grace. We pray all this and more in your most Holy Name. Amen.
Commentary on Isaiah 64:1-9 & Mark 13:24-37
In August of 2017, the United States experienced what some media outlets called “the Great American Eclipse.” It was a total solar eclipse that spanned fourteen different states, with a partial eclipse being visible from parts of Canada to parts of South America. I was traveling that day and remember pulling off the highway into a shopping mall to catch a glimpse of the event. It was a moment where much of the United States was united with creation, as everyone stopped to go outside and look up. Reflecting on where we are today, six years later, many of us have lost all hope of anything in creation bringing so many people together. Read more
It’s been a wild couple of months at my call; two staff members have taken new jobs, leaving me (as lead pastor) to fill their roles. I don’t know where to start, as I’ve never had to hire anyone before! Any tips or tricks to help make this process a little smoother?
Help Me Hire