Thursday, May 18, 2006


So my dear husband, Matt, came home from his year in Iraq last Saturday night.

Now, we're figuring out how to live together again. On Monday night, he cooked dinner, which mainly consisted of trying to cobble the strange things I've accumulated in the freezer into a meal. What he thought was vegetable soup was black-eyed peas, but I figure that they must be good luck at reunions if they're good luck on New Year's...

Freezers change a bunch in a year.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

rebirthing the divine feminine...

In my Women and the Bible class at State, we finished our semester with some articles by women who have written about feminine images of the divine--one who has rejected established religion as hopelessly patriarchal, and one who wants to challenge us to be a truly monotheistic religion. (This, she says, would require our letting-go of exclusively male-human images of God...)

So, since then, I've been thinking about some of the feminine aspects of God in Christianity. And, tonight, reading a communion liturgy at Vespers, it struck me how so much of our liturgical language is feminine. We say that God/Christ "gave birth to the church," "delivered us from captivity," and allowed us to be "born again" by water and the spirit. So much birthing! You would think it would be more common for God to be pictured with womb.

How have we gotten away with all this very feminine, birth language, AND YET still imagine God as an old white man with a white beard when we draw cartoons or paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?

Just a question...

Monday, May 08, 2006

war is lousy

This weekend I got the happy news that my dear husband, Matt, is back in the States; I spoke to him on his brief layover in Maine on Sunday around noon.

That is, just seconds after I got news that a young man in my church was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

And, in his mother's sorrow, I feel the weight of everything I've been too afraid to imagine over this past year.

My joy is tempered by my continuing awareness that we're in a so-called "war on terror," and that we're still asking young people to go on our behalf to fight, half a world away.

My continuing dissatisfaction with war, and with this war in particular, finds fuel in the reality of how easy it can seem to feel like this war doesn't need to affect us.

After all, I'd just been glad to celebrate the safe return of someone I love.

But now I'm ready, again to say: enough of this war.

loving god and neighbor

Somedays, it's hard to love neighbors. Especially when they don't do the things I think they should.

Last week, a man stopped by the church, asking for help. He'd broken his ankle, and wanted a bicycle so he could get around, with his dog. This seemed like a pretty lame attempt at fixing what seemed to me to be much bigger problems. The more I talked to him, the more true this seemed.

So, I tried to just focus on being love: offering hospitality and concern. (I didn't get him the bicycle.) I was delighted by how church folks pitched in and offered care--he wasn't an easy person to embrace.

But, as often seems to be the case, it didn't end well: we hit the limit of what we could offer and it didn't meet what he believed he needed, and things were less than loving for a moment. And he left.

I often feel this: tension because I'm not willing to give what another person in need believes they need.

So it was a great joy today to have a man stop by whose family the church was able to help almost 4 years ago. He just wanted us to know that our help really was helpful to them, that he's worked his way up in a company into management, and now wants to share help with the church or someone else who might be in need.

We didn't really have much to offer: a week's lodging in a cheap hotel for the family, as I recall.

Then, as last week, it felt like I only have this little, small piece to offer to people with giant, gaping need. And, in bad moments, like it's not even worth bothering, 'cause what I have certainly won't fill their vast holes.

But, then, I get a reminder that there is possibility in these small things, and that, by the grace of God, somehow they can be a part of expanding in wondrous ways.