#amwriting, Books, Ministry, RevGalBlogPals

There’s a Woman in the Pulpit

RevGals book coverI’m excited to announce the publication in April of There’s a Woman in the Pulpit: Christian Clergywomen Share Their Hard Days, Holy Moments & the Healing Power of Humor (SkyLight Paths Publishing)

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

It was a joy to edit this collection of stories and prayers written by me and over 50 of my colleagues who are members of RevGalBlogPals. We represent 14 denominations, 5 countries, and more than a dozen seminaries. Our stories will bring both laughter and tears as well as a unique perspective on the number and kind of plates clergywomen keep spinning in amazing fashion.

“In ministry, we constantly balance the sacred and the ordinary, juggling the two as expertly as we manage a chalice and a [baby] bottle. Even as we do things as simple as light the candles, set the table, break the bread and pour the wine, we invite people into a holy moment…. The women [in this book] not only have a wellspring of deep wisdom, but they also have the ability to dish out their knowledge with side-aching humor…. I am thrilled that their great wisdom and intelligence will be bound into the pages that I can turn to, lend and appreciate for years to come.”

—from the Foreword by Rev. Carol Howard Merritt

Intended for laypeople, women hearing a call to ministry and clergy of all denominations, these stories and prayers will resonate with, challenge, encourage and amuse anyone who has a passion for their work and faith. A group reading guide will be available on the SkyLight Paths Publishing website – consider choosing it for your book group!

Advent, Isaiah, RevGalBlogPals, Rheumatoid Arthritis

No Retreat

I've finally landed on Mondays as my official day off, and today I had plans to spend it quietly participating in the RevGalBlogPals Virtual Advent Retreat.

But just like a pediatrician or a veterinarian, a pastor sometimes finds Monday morning holds the emergencies built up over the weekend, and after several hours on the phone, I decided to call it a work day.

The good news is that part one of the Retreat is aimed at this coming Sunday, thus possibly counting as work. 

The bad news is that it's not on the text I'm planning to preach. 

And I have a mother's task to perform this afternoon, one involving driving and waiting and driving some more.

So I have to work harder to make the space to pull back from life and work and look for God on this first weekday of Advent. 

Here's a snippet of the Isaiah passage in the first post for the retreat:

He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.

We're in Isaiah 11, and the words were written about the hoped-for Messiah to people who needed saving, from themselves as much as from the geopolitical enemies in their time and place.

Really, aren't we all like that?

I read something recently about how social rejection creates an inflammatory response (hat tip to Liz), and it gave me a lot to think about since I have an inflammatory auto-immune disease. Actually, I have two, both rheumatoid arthritis and eczema, but the medicine for the first one seems to have gotten the better of the second one, if not the first one. Either way, the tendency in this direction exists in me. And oddly when I went back to look at the link, after mulling it over for more than six weeks, I see it's SENSITIVITY to social rejection that causes the problem. 

For the sensitive such as your Songbird, a Messiah who would slay the wicked with the breath of his lips, literally, would be sah-weet! We want just that kind of a champion. We are the ones who look at life when things are going wrong and invariably find the fault in ourselves. 

I'm struggling today with new symptoms of RA, pain in places I have not had it before, and the feeling that my own tendency to care how other people feel (or don't) about me has made me sick in the first place. I don't like that conclusion. 

Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

That's the next thing about the Messiah. 

Some days I wish the rod and the belt could be used more actively. I try to be satisfied with the sash around his metaphoric waist, to believe God is faithful to us, even when things hurt. Especially when things hurt. 

Lion_wolf_lamb And I don't know the answer for the sensitive, and the over-sensitive, among us. Do we guard ourselves from hurt by closing ourselves off? That doesn't seem right. It doesn't seem right at all. 

I would hope that on the day Isaiah describes, on the holy mountain where wolves of various kinds live quietly with lambs and other sweet creatures, the wolves will be healed of their emotionally carnivorous wolfishness and the lambs of their delectably edible lambliness, and all will be beauty and joy. 

Meanwhile, I need to get ready to drive up and down the highway, hoping for a place to sit during the waiting portion of the program that doesn't hurt me.

Books, RevGalBlogPals

Books #15 and 16

I'm sadly behind on the pace, but I am still reading. In the past few weeks I've read Nanette Sawyer's Hospitality~the Sacred Art: Discovering the Hidden Spiritual Power of Invitation and Welcome (the author was our presenter at the RevGalBlogPals Big Event 3), and I've also dipped into a resource she shared with us, Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness, by Nan C. Merrill. Merrill has written absolutely gorgeous inclusive language versions of the Psalms. They make you feel like you're in an intimate relationship with God. I found Nanette's program, which included the use of Merrill's book, consciousness-altering. It's hard to say more about it–it's all a bit of a blur–but I am grateful to both authors for the ways in which they are touching my life right now.

Here's a picture taken on the top deck, in the evening, where we experienced the grace of Nanette's leadership and where I had the chance to be one of the readers when we passed Merrill's book, one to another.

It's all a blur

Photos, RevGalBlogPals, Rheumatoid Arthritis

Checking In

A Bird with BraidsI have not abandoned ship.

I had a great time on the cruise, but came home with a sore shoulder and arm (RA-related) that make typing unattractive.

I may be looking at a cortisone shot, which honestly I would rather avoid, because the last one hurt and made me faint, which seems ridiculously Victorian.

I got a little sun and some little braids with beads at the end.

I’m hoping to leave them in a little longer.

One attendee said I looked just like my cartoon girl, and that pleased me.

The sock I finished

I brought my knitting, and I finished the sock in this picture and actually made the heel turn on its mate before my shoulder started to hurt for unrelated reasons.

Sam was anxious in my absence and did not enjoy staying at the dog walker’s house.

LP had a good break and got in the habit of staying up far too late.

I attended the Association meeting yesterday, which was a half-day of work, but true re-entry comes tomorrow.

This blog post cannot contain the joy I felt at being with RevGal friends. I love them so much!

Sun and sea and sky healed and strengthened my spirit.

The program on hospitality opened me up to new possibilities.

I hope you had a good week, too. More soon.

For now, here’s the view from the deck where kathrynzj and I played Scrabble, but didn’t keep score.

Yes, I was that relaxed.

Nassau View

Books, RevGalBlogPals, Writing

Reading and Writing

I just finished reading Book #7, Barchester Towers, which I could.not.put.down., and even before I quite finished it, I got my hands on a copy of The Help, which I also can.not.put.down., with the result that I put my knitting down too soon and stayed up too late last night. It's my day off, and I wouldn't be surprised if I finished it before I go to sleep (hopefully not too late) tonight.

Barchester Towers, the second in Anthony Trollope's Barchester Chronicles, charmed me. It's full of characters who leap off the page, and situations that play out in very satisfactory fashion, though not before some very human, cringe-worthy moments occur. I just discovered that there was once a miniseries and added it to my Netflix queue! I have the next volume ready on my Kindle. 

Salvation-on-the-small-screen  Today I'm hosting a discussion at RevGalBlogPals of a book I reviewed here late last year, Salvation on the Small Screen? 24 Hours of Christian Television. 

And finally, I'm happy to say I finally got into the local paper again. The new regime there will not give me a date to write for and sometimes the seasonal pieces I send them don't get published–frustrating!! But the piece I wrote here about rearranging the living room, with some further work, was in the paper on Saturday. It's on the web, too.

What are you reading?