Saturday, January 29, 2005

Thoughts about being a woman pastor

My life feels very full. I am married. I have two adult children. One of which is leaving on Monday for a seven week tour of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Tomorrow we will have a going away party for her. Spaghetti and wine. Her choice. Family and friends to wish her well and send her off.

I have five adult stepchildren of which three are married and between them we have seven grandchildren.

I have my seven year old son, Alex and his dog Mr. B.

I co-pastor a faith community that is going through change. And with that said my role will drastically change for a season. Funny, I was prayed for by a woman back in October that does not know me. She had a sense, a strong sense, that the Lord was giving me new marching orders. I didn't know then how true that would come to be. May I just say, I love it when the Lord speaks into my life, even if at the time it makes no sense, and then as I go on with life, I come to a place where I remember that moment. Then the lights go on and I feel a sense of peace because I know somehow this is the right road.

I sit on the board and work with a parachurch org, Off the Map, which is led by my friends, Dave Richards and Jim Henderson. I am going to San Diego on Monday to participate with OTM at the Youth Specialties/National Pastor's Conference. While there I get to spend a bit of time with the Emergent Women's Leadership Initiative. I have wanted to meet more of the women leading this, so hope I get the chance.

Women in leadership. Sometimes a hot topic. Depends on what circle you're in as to how hot. I have such mixed views on this topic. Not "if" women can be in leadership, no, my conflictedness comes more from where you find your voice. You see, I have many places where my voice is accepted and heard. In other arenas, (I am talking within the church at large) my voice is resented, ignored and sometimes looked on as having an "agenda"

The best of being an ordained woman, in a lead pastorate is I truly get to experience freedom in my gifting, talents and calling. It was not a very hard road to get here. Sadly, this is not the case for many women. You see, at age twenty-one I found myself in a church community that the co-pastor was a woman. This was my first adult experience in church. It was modeled for me right out of the gate that in the church, there was no male or female.

I had both men and women, speak into my life, encourage me on my path. I did not know at the time how controversial, in some arenas, this issue about women in leadership was.

Ten years later, I began attending a church in my current association, the Vineyard. And I will have to continue this story later because my blogging time is over for today...

Thursday, January 27, 2005


I like change, change is hard for me. Does that make sense to anyone? I know that change is a necessary element to life, growth, movement and that's why I like it. At the same time I find change hard. Fear of what's to come. Uncertainty about how change will affect my life and others. I read this quote on change..."The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order. "

I don't know who said it but it rings true for my life right now. Change is in motion for me. On the one side it is exciting, dreams seem possible, but on the other side there is the fear that the dreams won't work out. I know this doesn't make a lot of sense, but I needed to ramble and since my blog isn't very public, it seemed like the place to get some thoughts out.

I wonder if sometimes change is the driving force for faith because I pray God would give me a spiritual gift of faith for this next season.

Jesus, I will take your hand and follow you. Open my eyes to see where you are leading each step of the way. Open my ears to be in tune with your whispers of encouragement and instruction. Thank you for leading, guiding, being my Teacher and Counselor.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Home Today

i worked from home today. alex has been sick since saturday. he had a bad flu but seems to be on the upswing today. hopefully home tomorrow and then he can go back to school.

this weekend we began gen2rev. the live seminar was o.t. survey, putting the story together. it was taught by winn griffin. winn is a gifted teacher and i am happy he is sharing his gift with us.

one of the things that stood out this weekend was how much our view of god is shaped by what we believe about the story. so many of us were steeped in right doctrine, which has its place, but that is a very differnt lens than seeing god as the main character in the story. it is also powerful to see that we are a part of this story. we have our roots all the way back to the creation. i was very impacted to how looking at gen 1 and the exodus story go together and even more so how i incorporate my life today into the story. an example would be, by learning the story of why the law was given, i ask myself, what does my heart bow down to? what has god delivered me from? what enslaves me and will i take god's hand and follow him to freedom?

on another level, the story of god forming his identity in the hebrew people so they could be a light to the world. the story of babel, i ask myself, what do we build in our community that would cause people to worship something or someone besides god? it brings up so much to reflect on. that is a good thing. the learning group, the studying, the learning of the story triggers questions i might not otherwise ask...that's a good thing.

i am leaving on thursday for san diego. i am going to a seminar to learn how to write grants. i want to research and write grants for my community and for others. so off to san diego for 4 days. i will miss my family but am also looking forward to some time away.

oh, one more thought from the weekend. what object can i use to remind me in my everyday life when i run across it, that i serve one god? i have been reading the divine hours by phyllis tickle, which helps me orient my daily life around god, but i am thinking of something that is easier to have around. some in my learning group chose water. whenever they come across water, they would be reminded they belong to one god. i like that. i think i will use water.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Some thoughts about containers

I have been thinking, for the last 4 years now, a lot about containers. Containers for faith communities. You see, we gather on Sunday mornings. We have worship in song, worship stations, a "talk", prayer for one another, we take an offering, we have age appropriate classes. We lease a facility. We have a budget. We have a paid leader. The Sunday gathering is only one piece of our community. We have times of prayer, we have all-group community coordinators/leader meetings once a quarter. We have a leadership team that meets monthly. We have a few small groups. We are just beginning today a year long study of the Bible. It is structured as a learning group that will mostly interact online. Our guide for this part of our journey is Winn Griffin. Winn has a gift to communicate the story of Scripture in way that we can understand what the original hearers might have heard and then what do we hear today. The purpose, learning HisStory, the story we find ourselves in. We believe it is important to understand the story we live into and out of. We care deeply and passionately about serving the poor, the marginalized, the outcasts. We are barely scratching the surface of all that we believe we will be giving/doing in that area but we watch for the opportunities and respond to them as they come. I would say for me, I am most interested in trying to live out as faithfully as I know how the purpose of God for my life and the life of the community I serve.

I have many friends that have a different container. Their primary gathering is not on Sunday, it may be on Saturday, or Tuesday evening, etc, they don't have a facility, and their container in many ways, looks very different then ours. But I know them and their heart is to live out faithfully the purpose of God for their lives and the community they serve.

BTW it didn't snow

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Mr. B goes to the office

I took Mr. B to the office with me today. We decided to have the dog adapt to our life. He did great. He likes being with people. Mostly he sat up on my sofa and looked out the window, barked a few times at something outside. He ran around some and explored but then would come back and hang out with me. He's a good dog on day 3.

We are supposed to get 2-5" of snow tonight. I like the snow. There is such a peaceful atmosphere during and right after a good snowfall. If there is that much, school will be closed and we will work from home.

My 24 year old daughter is going to Thailand on February 2nd. She has been planning this trip for a year. She is going with a friend and they were going to backpack through Thailand for 7 weeks. Since the tsunami she wondered if they should postpone but have decided to go. They are looking for ways that if they went to the areas hit they could be of help. They are checking out a couple of places. They are also going to northern Thailand, the east coast and maybe Vietnam. Should be an interesting trip.

She went on the same kind of trip back in March of 03--with the same friend, they had planned for a year and they left the day we bombed Iraq. Lots of folks gave her advice and tried to talk her out of going. They went for 7 weeks and had a great time. It was very educational. She stayed in hostels in Eastern Europe that were still housing Bosnian refugees. She learned a lot about other cultures, most interestingly how Americans are viewed in each and why.

Speaking of other cultures. Our faith community is involved with a low income apartment complex. The residents are mainly immigrants. The majority of whom have only been here 2 - 5 years. There are people from Somalia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Vietnam, India, and other parts of the world. We have found different opportunities to serve these folks. We partner with a non-profit agency that brings family support in so many ways. Some of us are tutoring children in their after school program. Others are going to spend time with adults "talk time" as a support to their ELL classes. They are going to meet in small groups for conversation. We participated with a Festival of Lights party in December. Our community was able to buy over 100 gifts for the children at the party. The theme was "wish upon a star" as the children came in they were given a star to write their name and age on. Then a wish. They turned the star in at the gift station and were given a gender/age appropriate gift. You know what some of us found so interesting? Most of the wishes went like this, "I want to be a doctor" I want to be a player for the NBA" "I want to be a teacher" "I want to help people"

I thought about the immigrants that came here from my own family, from Italy, Spain and Mexico. When you hear the stories of immigrants coming for a better life, they wanted to have a business, give their children education, they worked hard. These children are first generation immigrants and they take their education very serious. I asked one young girl that has been here for 2 years if she missed her home. She said no! I never want to go back. Everyone is poor and there isn't any food. She wants to be a doctor. It is eye opening for me.

More on this later...

Monday, January 10, 2005

January 10, 2005

It did snow over the weekend. Sunday morning we woke up to snow! It was also Alex's 7th birthday. He got a dog from his aunt and uncle. Mr. B is a Westie and a great gift for a little boy who wants a brother or a sister with the likelihood of such being 0. He loves his puppy. I'm happy for him.

Today our faith community begins a learning group. gen2rev, learning the story of our faith for ordinary folks. There is about 25 of us entering into a 1 year learning group lead by Winn Griffin. What a gift this is to our community. to paraphrase someone...Part of our life together is learning from and living out of (as Todd H has said) “our sacred text” to help us grow in our love for God and people. We desire to view the world and culture through the story of the Scriptures. We must become thinkers and theologians if we are serious about following Jesus and being missional in today’s culture.

This is important for us. As I meditate on the 10 commandments and study the story I realize how important one's view of God is to live out faith in our world. Some of the conversation and interviews I have seen from people of Christian faith regarding the devastation in SE Asia makes me so sad.

Time to take Mr. B out....

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Trying to blog again

Back in August I started a feeble attempt to blog. Thought I would restart tonight. Right now it is cold and raining in Seattle and there is some talk of snow tonight. As I am typing in the office my almost 7 year old, Alex is singing himself to sleep. He's singing Feliz Navidad...I want to wish you a merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart...I love his heart.

I am also studying for the beginning of some teachings with our faith community on the Ten Commandments. As I read and meditate on the first commandment I think of the horrific images and stories from Southeast Asia. I read about how people of faith try to wrestle with the "why" of this. By people of faith I mean some of the faiths represented in the people that are experiencing the suffering first hand. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus to mention the majority faiths represented. It is amazing to me how we "need" an answer. The most comforting words I have read are from an article written by Tom Wright. "On the contrary, it tells a story about Jesus's own sense of abandonment, and thereby encourages us to embrace the same sense of helpless involvement in the sorrow of the world, as the means by which the world is to be healed. Those who work for justice, reconciliation and peace will know that sense, and perhaps, occasionally, that healing." When there isn't a logical explanation or when so many theologies try to explain I find the words above comforting--encouraging us to embrace the same sense of helpless involvement in the sorrow of the world, as the means by which the world is to be healed. I want to work for justice, reconciliation and peace, Jesus please grant me the grace to live that out in my everyday life....

Peace to all