Despite Our Fear And Anger

They say everybody needs a hobby. If you’ve been hanging around for a bit, you may have realized that I have sort of an odd one. I watch West Wing.

Some of my friends have suggested that it may be more of an addiction than a hobby. They might be right.

For years now, I’ve watched West Wing. A couple of episodes most nights. More when Guy’s Grocery Games is the only thing on Food Network for 12 hours in a row. Lest you miss the magnitude of what I’m saying, this has been going on for years.

I’m not sure how many. Enough to have worn out seven seasons worth of DVD’s. My kids got me Netflix so I could keep watching. I, who was definitely NOT the president of the AV club in high school, actually learned how to make it work, just so I could watch some more.

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A Prophet for Then and Now

I cut my preaching teeth in rural Tennessee, the historical home of the KKK. A summer internship after my first year in seminary. It was not an easy time. A young and enthusiastic boss, finding his own voice. Told not, for the first intern, to come back with a student of the female persuasion.

Then there was the whole thing about standing up in front of people who did not know me and doing my best to interpret the word of God. Not the word that seemed easy for that day. The word designated in a fancy calendar called the lectionary, which is a three year plan for reading through the entire bible. A lesson from the Hebrew scriptures. One from wisdom literature, usually the Psalms. A gospel lesson. And one from a New Testament letter.

Read three or four, if you were new-fangled back then, and brave. Focus on one or two in a sermon. Forget Karl Barth, and leave the news entirely out of it, if you’re hoping to survive. Or, pray hard and allow the Word to speak. A big job for a very new professional Christian.

And the vital presence of people of actual faith, opening their arms and their ears to a single mom and a really cute kid, trying to find their place amongst the people of God in an old southern Presbyterian church.

An old southern Presbyterian church in the late 1980’s that was somehow surviving a young pastor. The most liberal preacher they had ever known. Surviving an inter-racial family in the congregation. Surviving conversations they had never had before.

I learned a lot that summer. I am learning, still.

One of the biggest things I learned is that people of faith often confuse beliefs–theology, if you will–with things that feel safe because we’ve always done them that way. Hymns. Neighbors. Marriage. Politics. Neurologically, familiar equals safe.

It doesn’t always work in the Kingdom, here on Earth.

Are you opposed to racism? Get to know some people who don’t look just like you do.

Are you opposed to sexism? Look beyond gender to see new skills and enthusiasm.

Are you opposed to injustice? Feed the poor. House the homeless. Shelter the oppressed. Defend the children. Protect the civil rights of all.

There’s the word that’s hard.

All.

Because “all,” in America, means all.

I remember when Dr. King was killed. We lived in Chicago. Riots rocked the city. Children were afraid. And nobody in my world had answers.

And yet, America was changed.

It is time to hold that change dear. To honor the sacrifice of those who fought for a different future. To act as people who have been changed. To live as those who believe. Perhaps time, now, more than ever before.

The most important message in this moment comes from Dr. King:

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’

The answer is, now, as it was then, and long before then, the way to change the world.

It’s our turn.

More Teaching To Do

It was a ritual, of sorts. Shower before bed. Clean t-shirt. Jeans over the footboard. Sneakers pointing toward the door.

A phone, ringing in the dark. Sometimes,  a general surgeon. “The Saturday night knife and gun club is back in business.” More often, the nursing supervisor. A section for failure to progress. Or fetal distress. Moms 12 or 13 years old. Really.

Not one of them ready to be there.

Farther back.

First year in college. Mid ’70’s. A gym teacher. Extra credit for women students who had a GYN exam and brought a signature from the doc. (I suspect she had a story of her own.)

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Happy New Year!

Ok. True confession time. I’ve never been a huge fan of the whole New Year’s celebration thing. Loud parties are not so much my thing. Nor, football. (Well, a couple of college teams, maybe.) Resolutions strike me as being fairly close to regrets of things I haven’t done yet. If it weren’t for black-eyed peas and my delight that HGTV didn’t show 24 hours straight of the Rose Bowl parade this year, I’d probably be very nearly neutral on the whole deal.

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Christmas in a Southern Garden

The last of the leaves flutter like snow flakes to the ground.

Bright collard greens recall traditions born of need.

The evangelist, Charlie Brown, reminds us of Love in the midst of all the other things that are true.

And, in this moment, Peace reigns.

May the blessings of this season be yours,
Sue

 

’tis the season for meta-narratives!

Bill and I were out for lunch. A nice change from the ongoing Furniture Yahtzee game. Also, warm and dry, which was definitely not true outside.

As we left, we passed a sign a lot like the one above. I wanted to stop and take a photo but the traffic (on a six lane road) was terrible. It was very grey and still raining. So, I decided to make my own. I’ll need your help, though. The actual sign had garlands of gold tinsel all across the top. If you’d just imagine them into picture, that would be great.

Thanks!

Now, I suspect that many of you are wondering why this sign? Why now? And perhaps, WTF??? I hear you.

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Miracles of Modern Holidays!

Today, I am bowled over by the miracles of modern science. Or, specifically, modern publishing!

Let me start by admitting that I’m one of those odd folks who exists, nicely, without a microwave oven. I’m fine with slow-cooked food. Pots and pans. And an actual stove.

No judgment, here. Just what works for me.

Today, however, I am in awe. The UPS guy–the one who isn’t afraid of the dogs–brought the proof for the paperback version of  Grandmothers Are In Charge Of Hope in the bright, shiny, new 2nd edition. A couple of clicks on the website and a fast call to the CreateSpace help people later and the 1st edition is retired. The 2nd edition is available on Amazon, all updated and expanded.

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Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach