(Extra)Ordinary Time

For lectionary-followers, this summer has been an unusually long slog through Ordinary Time. Maybe it’s getting a little too ordinary for you by now. Help is on the way, though. For August 31, the 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time (year A), the lectionary presents us with several stories of people pulled from the ordinary. Laura Stephens-Reed presents us with the following call to worship, an excellent example of how a finely crafted call can be beautifully written, liturgically appropriate, and gently exegetical. Inspired by her good work, Erica Schemper adds a short prayer that might also be used on that Sunday.

With a few weeks left until August 31, we’d love to see a few additional worship ideas posted in the comments!

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Grace at the Graveside

“Be still and know that I am God” the Psalmist instructs us.   

Be still.

Be still.

Be still.

With varying degrees of success, this has been my mantra as of late.  Ministry is quite the opposite of stillness; ministry requires moving—running ahead of deadlines, walking with the hurt, throwing out hope, catching blessings, dancing and leaping for joy.  Stillness won’t write the monthly newsletter, prepare a congregational prayer, lead retreats, authorize bus repairs, exegete a text, teach Bible study, answer e-mails, serve communion, visit the homebound, and then squeeze in time for a social life.   

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A Home of Her Own

I blamed the puddle on the kitchen floor on my dog Sophie, who sat,
wagging her tail and gleefully chewing on her bone as I ranted about
her apparent issues with appropriate places to pee.  Then I felt the
drip on my head.  A quick sniff of the liquid I’d just mopped
up was further proof that the puddle of water was from my leaking

– pee.

the joys of homeownership.

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I do not own a robe

Well, perhaps that is not entirely
accurate.  I did purchase a clerical robe just before Christmas,
a woman’s robe off the rack at Cokesbury that doesn’t fit and has
blood red piping that prohibits me from wearing it in my church. 
I only bought it because I needed to spend my professional allowance
for the year and since I was a newly ordained pastor, I thought buying
a robe seemed like the way to go.  Currently it is hanging in my
closet in a makeshift garment bag that the salesman fashioned with a
garbage sack.  I may let it hang there forever, an expensive and
disintegrating token of affection towards the clerical garments I am
told to wear.

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The Frozen Chosen

Standing in the narthex of the church on the last summer day of July, Lexi shook hands with the few and the proud that had come to worship that morning. With each handshake, she heard the typical comments.

“Nice sermon.”

“Thanks for worship today.”

Lexi hated these comments. She wanted to know more. She wanted to know what made her sermon so “nice” or why someone would thank her for worship when it was supposed to be the work of the people. And yet, she couldn’t allow herself to get lost in these thoughts. She was greeting her church family. She was grateful to be among them.

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Unexpected Gifts

From its conception, I have loved the idea of a “Holy Ghost Grab Bag”. There is something incredibly appealing to me about the idea that we have a place to highlight God’s unexpected presence in our lives. However, as I pondered the concept I always imagined that the story of the unexpected presence would be something shared by another individual. As the editor of the column it would be my job to read and be surprised. Thankfully, God is far wiser than I am.

This past June I had the pleasure of attending the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly meeting. It was a fantastic experience. From the moment I arrived in San Jose I felt
a sense of deep connection to the people around me. These unknown individuals and I not only share a common faith, we share something more a connection based on the way in which we experience and express that faith. It was wonderful.

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When a Single Rev Opts to Adopt

For some young clergy women, the call to motherhood may not come as they expect.  As children they may have dreamed of getting married and having kids, but as they grew older, circumstances did not line up with their original vision, and they never married.  However, the call of motherhood is strong and some of these women have chosen to be foster parents and/or adoptive parents.  Today, we bring you an interview with Joyce Borger, an editor at Faith Alive Christian Resources who made the choice to adopt as single mother.

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The View from Your Ministry

Announcing the first (and perhaps only) Christ and Creativity Photo Exhibition! Get those cameras (and camera phones) ready… whether you consider yourself a photographer or not, we want to hear from you.

Andrew Sullivan, a blogger for the Atlantic Monthly, has a feature called "The View from Your Window," in which people send him photographs of, well, the views from their windows. People have sent shots from all over the world, and they are an interesting mix of mundane and exotic—mundane to the person who beholds that view each day, exotic to the viewer who’s seeing that landscape for the first time.

And so, inspired by The View from Your Window, C&C is sponsoring "The View from Your Ministry"… with prizes!

Check below the fold more details and an example shot…

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Finding Church

“It’s just too hard. I don’t know what to do,” my stepmother confessed.

There was silence on our phone connection, which granted me enough time to put on my pastor hat, even if I was reluctant to adorn this accessory with my family members. It didn’t matter though. I was going to wear the hat anyhow. It went so damn well with my shoes, even if my stepmother couldn’t see this fashion miracle through telecommunication.

“Have you told people at the church?” I asked. Without giving her adequate time to answer I added, “Have you told the minister?”

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Book Review: Those Preaching Women: A Multicultural Collection


I don’t normally read sermon collections much, having experienced them as peculiar, self-indulgent, and disjointed. In my mind, sermons are oral events that God brings to life somewhere and somehow in the space between the preacher, Scripture, and the congregation. I had relegated written sermons to be like my incredibly beautiful and yet unequivocally unphotogenic friend–breathtaking in person, not so much in print.

Oddly enough, I found myself enjoying Those Preaching Women: A Multicultural Collection, edited by Ella Pearson Mitchell and Valerie Bridgeman Davis and published by Judson Press.

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