Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I read Barbara Kingsolver's new book this weekend.

I've loved her writing for years now--ever since "Pigs in Heaven" back in High School. I've also loved the variety in her novels.

This one was different. "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" is non-fiction, and collaborative, with her husband and daughter. And, it was about gardening and eating locally.

Now I'm contemplating how I can better become a "locavore." (I dig that it has a cool name.)

It's not a new idea--but as her voice is added, it seems more possible. The amount of oil resources we use to ship food around the world is staggering and depressing. And, lest we need to continue to wage immoral wars in countries with significant oil resources...I decided this Memorial Day weekend is as good a time as any to try more diligently to be a locavore.

I planted more things in the yard--corn and eggplants and melons and squash and lettuce, and started searching out more local options for eggs and meat and things. We ate our first zucchini of the season last night, and our first tomato is growing in girth (even if it's still strikingly green).

I admit that SoCal is not a bad place to choose to eat locally--the climate's pretty exciting. (And I won't have to give up bananas entirely.) Now I just have to figure out how to find out where the food in that delightfully cheap produce market on the corner comes from...

(At least parts of Mexico count as "local," right?)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

almost famous

It took a fire at my church, but I got my name in the paper again...

This fire, which was accidental and burned a room under our sanctuary, has given me reason to reflect on church buildings. The image of smoke pouring out of the sanctuary is painful. Something about "church" space makes it hard to see destroyed.

Thankfully, it's not destroyed. The sanctuary is being cleaned, and suffered only from the smoke. The downstairs is worse, but things are repairable or replaceable. Even the handmade ones.

But we all know that church isn't buildings. So why does it feel so wrong for church buildings to be damaged?

(Just last week in worship, we were reading from the end of Revelation, where we hear there will be no temple. In the end vision--the world becoming as God intends it--we don't even need churches. God is everywhere.)

I try to see that as true even now--God's presence everywhere. And I guess I'm hoping that this fire, somehow, will remind us that church is much more than its buildings. (Even if they are really incredible buildings.)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

the future of ordained ministry

Here's a highlight from today:
A friend told me that her 3-year-old daughter, after having been a part of her baby brother's baptism, has taken to "playing Rev. Molly."

Using am empty plastic bottle to "pour" water on her brother's head, offering shared cups of milk as communion, and praying the Lord's Prayer ReMix ("power and glory hallowed trespasses our father heaven"), she got the part right.

What fun and flattery! My ego soars. And, I'm confident in bold leaders, well into our future.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

garden impression

My crafty project for the week was making this concrete casting of a rhubarb leaf. (Not as tasty as pie, but it was fun to make...) I'm hoping it will hold water and be a sort of a birdbath. Plus, I'll always have a nice, big leaf in my garden.
I don't have any deep reflection on it.

I did, however, eat some tasty rainbow chard leaves out of the garden today. Matt first declared, "That isn't awful." Then, changed his opinion of sauteed chard to thinking it'd be fun to eat again.

I looked up the nutritional benefits of chard, and I think that if we eat a cup a day, we can definitely have ice cream, too.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


In other less-sticky news, I glimpsed sprouting action from the papaya seeds I've been incubating on our stovetop. (I'm glad to have found a constructive way of putting to use the inefficient pilot light on our groovy-but-not-so-energy-wise 1950s stove.) The cherimoyas have sprouted, too. I can almost see the tropical wonderland that will be our backyard...

And, I had coffee with a new friend tonight, who, not knowing it was my yard, was admiring the passion flowers on my fence this week.

I'm enjoying this gardening project.

holy residue

Tonight I discovered a little pastoral crisis I've never had before: congealed healing oil. The glass holders we keep oil in, for our monthly healing prayers at Wednesday Vespers, was one of the gooiest, most disgusting allegedly-holy things I've seen in a long time.

And, of course, I didn't realize this until just before worship.

After I was able to clear out the thickest top layer, revealing hope of something that might be suitable for anointing, it made me think of a Wendell Berry essay I treasure, about a bucket that sat on a nail on a post on a farm for years; in the layers that had collected on it were memories from years and generations past. From lives and lunches, adventures and work. Layers of residue that were the collected history heaped onto the pail.

So, I attempted to imagine such a vision of this oil--the prayers it has shared and the lives whose hopes it has borne.

But now I just want to know what the proper way to clean out holy oil is.

We didn't cover this in my worship class in school.

I just hope I can honor this sticky, viscous residue. Perhaps it's a good thing to clean out prayer oil periodically. Otherwise it gets burdened with thick reminders of the past. All I know is that I've never seen a layer of solid sticky stuff on top of oil before...and I pray for grace from all those who received it today.