Friday, November 2, 2007

Free Will Astrology - my horoscope for the week

A drunk dominatrix sidled up to me at a party and said, "Reverend, please absolve me of my sins." I'm not officially a priest, but in the spirit of fun and games I replied, "Why, my dear? Have you seen the error of your ways?" She spread her arms wide as she bowed, hissing like a serpent through a toothy smile. "Not at all, Reverend," she said. "I just want to clear the docket so I can go out and commit a slew of fresh, new sins with crazy abandon." I sprinkled a few drops of her Heineken on her head and channeled William Blake: "You'll never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough. The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. If the fool would persist in her folly she would become wise." And now, Scorpio, I'm channeling the same blessing for you.

Monday, October 22, 2007

St. Mary Euphrasia

Greetings! It has been 6 weeks since my last blog, so for those of you who actually missed hearing from me I apologize. To my defense I have been quite busy with moving home and starting a new job. I am now a youth counselor at Maryhurst ( Maryhurst is a treatment facility for kids in the foster care system who have been abused and neglected. It is a place for “those in greatest need.” This may seem like a career change from my earlier church work (why did I get that M.Div), but I am actually learning more about who God is and who God calls us to be than I did at seminary.

I work in a dorm with 12 teenage girls. Life in the dorm is essentially managed chaos. Our goal is to provide structure, support and safety for these teenagers, so that they can learn how to express their emotions appropriately and make good choices. Our girls are fun and hilarious. They are also angry and wounded. When a girl is being unsafe, we sometimes have to physically put our hands on them. I have never had someone threaten to hit me before and actually mean it. I have never been in a physical struggle with a person when we were both using every ounce of strength we had. With all the training and all the support people can still get hurt. Once the point of crisis has passed there is an unbelievable time of softness and connection. The girl who was calling you every name in the book, bitting, hitting, or pulling your hair 2 hrs ago, now wants your care, support, and affection. It is so amazingly counter intuitive, but it is what these kids need. They need you to set limits. They need you to hold them accountable. They need you to forgive them. They need you to comfort them.

This weekend one of my girls fell and hurt her knee. We called the go-to and they said she didn’t need to go the hospital. She needed to stay off it and put ice on it, and we would get her in to see health services on Monday. At the time it seemed like a logical decision. As I reflected on the weekend however, I remembered a time when I got hurt. I was 13 and broke my ankle jumping on a trampoline. My Dad physically picked me up (an amazing show of strength on his part). He immediately carried me to the car and took me to the hospital. These kids deserve that overwhelming, ridiculously over the top show of love. They need to know that they are safe and cared for. We can’t always provide that immediate over the top show of protection and care, but we can ride out the storms with them. We can stay present as they hate us and love us and need us all at once.

I have no idea where God is directing my life. I really don’t know what it will look like in 5 or 10 years. But I know I am in the right place for today. I can’t see the whole picture but I know I am learning some very important lessons.

In honor of Maryhurst and the work that we do, here is a quotation from St. Mary Euphrasia
"Whatever may be your trials, you must never be disheartened, but raise your thoughts and eyes to God, placing your confidence in God . . . . Be strong in soul and generous, setting aside love of self, and if the opportunity occurs, do not hesitate to perform even heroic acts of virtue. If we only use the tips of our fingers or hardly wet ourselves with a sponge when we wash, can we expect to be really clean? To learn to swim we must not enter the water little by little, but throw ourselves into it . . . .

Friday, September 7, 2007

My momma told me so

In honor of moving back in with my parents (I am that cool) I decided to list a few of their favorite sayings.

My Dad not only has a song about getting a job. He also loves to remind us to "make your plan and work your plan." Which is a pretty good recipe for getting stuff done.

Some of my Mom's best advice is to dress up when you feel crappy because how you look effects how you feel about yourself. So if you are having a low self esteem day or a big meeting or test wear your favorite outfit. It really does make a difference.

They both also use to say "But the candle back!" It is a reference to the movie Young Frankenstein. It used in moments of chaos when the best course of action is to just stand still.

What are your favorite parental sayings?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Amidst babel, I repeat, speak the truth.

In the face of death, live humanely. In the middle of chaos, celebrate the Word. Amidst babel … speak the truth. Confront the noise and verbiage and falsehood of death with the truth and potency and efficacy of the Word of God. Know the Word, teach the Word, nurture the Word, preach the Word, defend the Word, incarnate the Word, do the Word, live the Word. And more than that, in the Word of God, expose death and all death’s works and wiles, rebuke lies, cast out demons, exorcise, cleanse the possessed, raise those who are dead in mind and conscience.
WILLIAM STRINGFELLOW, An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land


I said there was but one solitary thing about the past worth remembering and that was the fact that it is past - can't be restored.
Mark Twain - Letter to Mr. Burrough

People pretend that the Bible means the same to them at 50 that it did at all former milestones in their journey. I wonder how they can lie so. It comes of practice, no doubt. They would not say that of Dickens' or Scott's books. Nothing remains the same. When a man goes back to look at the house of his childhood, it has always shrunk: there is no instance of such a house being as big as the picture in memory and imagination call for. Shrunk how? Why, to its correct dimensions: the house hasn't altered; this is the first time it has been in focus.

Well, that's loss. To have house and Bible shrink so, under the disillusioning corrected angle, is loss--for a moment. But there are compensations. You tilt the tube skyward and bring planets and comets and corona flames a hundred and fifty thousand miles high into the field. Which I see you have done, and found Tolstoi. I haven't got him in focus yet, but I've got Browning...
- Letter to W. D. Howells, 8/22/1887

Change is the handmaiden Nature requires to do her miracles with.
- Roughing It

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Who am I?

"Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God."
-- Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

Madeline Albright

When asked how she became the first female Secretary of state, Madeline Albright said...

I learned how to interrupt men at an early age.