Thursday, November 01, 2007

First I moved. Now it's time for my online self to follow.

Today marks one year since I started this blog, chronicling my life and ministry as a church planter in Chicago. Seeing as I am no longer a resident of the Windy City and that Wind of Peace Church is no longer in existence, I have decided to bring this blog to its natural close.

However, I am not leaving the blogosphere, just moving over to a new blog. This one is entitled Find the I. So come check it out at findthei.blogspot.com.

I am not sure exactly what this new blog will include. Perhaps reflections about my new role as a chaplain. Or wonders of life with my Beloved. Maybe even non-wedding plans. Or it could just be the same old ramblings, musings, ponderings, and silliness as before. We'll see...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I love this guy

Some of you may know that I have been crushing on singer/songwriter/satirist Roy Zimmerman for months now. This guy is hilarious! And absolutely brilliant. Most of his songs have me crying with laughter.

This one however is different - so poignant I found my eyes brimming with tears of another kind.



Yes, he's angry. But I'm angry. And (to paraphrase a popular activist slogan) if you're not angry, then you're not paying attention. And to you I'll say, "Thanks for your support."

Monday, September 17, 2007

US Constitution turns 220!


Today is the birthday of the supreme law of our land, adopted by the Constitutional Convention on this day, September 17, 1787. What I want to know is, in the 220 years since this baby was signed, has the Constitution of the United States of America ever been as threatened as it is today? From Bush's superfluous (and criminal!) use of signing statements, eroding the balance of power within the government, to the USA PATRIOT Act, stripping us of our rights and liberties, this magnificent document is vulnerable, susceptible to the malevolent forces at work in our government. With this administration, I fear that we may not have another 220 days with our Constitution, let alone another 220 years. Is my fear unfounded? Will our Constitution survive the George W. Bush White House? I hope so. My wish is that I will be celebrating the birthday of our Constitution for years to come. Even if I am doing so as an ex-pat in another country...


Now, on a lighter, albeit related note, while I do not find any levity in the escalating loss of liberty here in the US (thanks to the USA PATRIOT Act and the like), I appreciate that Jack Handy can still make me chuckle in a way only Jack Handy can. Enjoy…

from Deepest Thoughts: So Deep They Squeak

"If somebody told me it wasn't “fashionable” to talk about freedom, I think I’d have to look him square in the eye and say, ‘Okay, you tell me what’s ‘fashionable.’” But he won’t. And you know why? Because you can’t ask someone what’s fashionable in a smart-alecky way like that. You have to be friendly and say, “By the way, what’s fashionable?” ~Jack Handy

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

So, um, yeah, blog

I know, I know. A blog needs to be nurtured, tended to daily from time to time. In my defense, I will say that my computer has decided that it wants to continually type the back slash key. Needless to say, this makes writing blogs difficult. (Right now, I am typing on Craig's computer while mine is being repaired.)

So, since my last post, I have:
- introduced my parents to my Beloved's parents
- hosted an goodbye Chicago / "engagement" shindig
- packed up way too much crap
- said adieu to the Windy City (and lovely Bowers House and the awesome ladies of WWOW)
- cried
- drove to upstate New York (stopping to visit friends in Cleveland)
- attended Eleanor and Thor's wedding
- met Craig's Peace Corps friends
- drove to Virginia (stopping to visit great aunts in New York and Pennsylvania)
- arrived at our new home
- wondered if new house was haunted
- fought with movers
- cried
- got a library card
- took a drug test for my new job
- started my new job
- unpacked a too little of my crap
- decided computer is possessed
- got a reimbursement from movers
- made a few new friends
- missed my Chicago friends tremendously
- loved on Craig
- found a great used bookstore
- got food poisoning
- got well
- built a bookcase
- unpacked a little more
- found a church (rather two churches) we like
- beat Craig at Pente
- cursed my demon computer
- found a box of cassette tapes from college, high school, and junior high
- actually listened to Milli Vanilli (or the two guys who really who sang for the lip-synching duo)
- laughed

That's about it. Not too much to write about.

What's been happening with you?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

um, let me rephrase that

So I really don't think that church people suck. Church institutions? Sometimes. And church systems? Yes. But church people? No. Church people are people. They can be mean and self-serving and inconsiderate. But for the most part, church people, like all people, are kind, compassionate, caring, honest, and sincere. This week, my church folk friends have loved on me, encouraged me, told me that I am not a failure, and shared in happiness over my future.

I was dreading coming to General Assembly this year, and this dread was a new feeling since I usually love this time of reconnecting with colleagues and friends. But this year, aside from the fact that I am overwhelmed and stressed beyond measure abut the upcoming move (15 days!), I was feeling like a quitter, like I have failed the church by leaving Wind of Peace Church and following my love away from Chicago. I was expecting judgment, perhaps the same judgment I was placing upon myself, from my friends. But it never came. Instead, I have been greeted by big congratulatory hugs and squeals of delight as friends celebrate my upcoming union, and I have also been bombarded with eager questions about what my future with Craig holds for us.

And last night, as the the new church planters and pastors walked onto the assembly stage, my eyes welled with tears as I was not among these colleagues. I feel such grief in releasing the ministry of Wind of Peace. But what comfort I took in the arms and words of of the friend, who embraced me and whispered, "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11).

No, church people don't suck. Church people are people. And I feel blessed to have so many good and kind people in my life.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Church People Suck

I have been out of touch in the blogosphere lately, attending the General Assembly of my denomination, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I haven't had regular internet access (wifi ain't free at our hotel), and honestly, I have been too busy catching up with friends and colleagues from all over the country. I enjoy General Assembly. I love the fellowship. And the worship is usually inspiring. And the workshops very often challenge me and empower me to go about making a difference in the world. And for the most part, I enjoy the business sessions, where we as a church hold ourselves accountable and discern our public witness in the world.

But today, I am angry. We have a business item before the assembly, calling for our Church to finally take a public stand on the war in Iraq. It's about four years too late. It's thousands of lives too late. And honestly, in my opinion, it's a pretty weak statement. But you know what the assembly did? They voted to send it back to committee to water it down even more!!! Because we have some disagreement. And you know, as much as I love our polity, sometimes, our desire for "unity" hinders our prophetic witness. We want to create a benign document with which everyone agrees, and we end up creating a statement that is meaningless mush and makes nobody happy. We are so concerned with protecting our precious church unity, that we fail to be a credible voice calling for peace and justice in our world.

I have said it before and I'll say it again: the church needs to get out of this self-preservation mode and once again become a movement working for peace and healing in our world. Otherwise, we should just stop calling ourselves "Disciples of Christ". If we are truly to be followers of the one we call the Prince of Peace, then we need to actually start following. Otherwise, we won't be disciples, just church people. And church people suck.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Legislate Against Hate

Within the next 24 hours, the US Senate is scheduled to vote on an important hate crimes prevention act (S. 1105, Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act of 2007 - LLEHCPA). This legislation, already passed by the House of Representatives will, for the first time, allow for the federal prosecution of certain hate crimes based on sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability. And the LLEHCPA will also provide local police and sheriff's departments with vital federal resources to address hate crimes on a larger, more inclusive scale.

Hate is not a family value. Hate is not a moral value. Hate is not a faith value (at least not my faith). And moreover, hate is not a democratic value, and thus should not be tolerated in our democratic society.

Now contrary to what folks are saying, this legislation does NOT criminalize speech, nor does it limit religious freedom. People can still think their unfortunate bigotted thoughts and even express them. Narrow-minded preachers can still spout their bad theology of exclusion and intolerance (though I hope and pray they will come to see how destructive such thoughts are, not only on society, but on their very souls). However, hate-filled people will not be allowed to attack another human being, to commit a crime against another human being just because of who they are - their gender, their race, their sexual orientation, their religious identity. And this legislation protects people from being the victim of violence perpetrated by those who hate. I believe that every human being is endowed with dignity and worth. And crimes motivated by hate cannot and should not be tolerated in our world.

Two months ago, I was at a rally in Denver, Colorado when LLEHCPA passed in the U.S. House of Represenatives. On that day, my boss, the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, delivered this speech:



We have passed the House. Now I urge you, readers, to please contact your senators and tell them to enact the hate crimes bill today!