hermionesviolin: a build-a-bear, facing the viewer, with a white t-shirt and a rainbow stitched tattoo bicep tattoo (pride)
On May 2, I got tagged into a thread on Queer Exchange Boston ("A couple friends and I are looking to build intentionally radical, queer space for folks who identify as LGBTQ and Christian to come together in Boston. Are there folks that might be interested in thinking this through with/joining us?").

I went to the first one (Sun May 15) and then to the first planning meeting (beyond the core group of folks who'd been dreaming up the first one) on Thurs May 26 (house church was meeting every other week).

By virtue of being one of 2 people at this planning meeting besides the 3 core organizers ... I got voluntold into giving the reflection this Sunday evening?

Because I had 2 and a half days to pick a text and come up with something to say about it, I attempted to crowd-source, but one of the organizers said she'd really like for people to reflect about what's truest for them, which is totally fair, but somewhat challenging. I came up with an idea by the time I got home that night, though. The reflection I ended up writing wasn't the one I'd initially intended to write, but I liked it, and it got positive feedback in the room.

***

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 (NRSV)

Content notes: mention (no dwelling, no details) of suicidality, self-harm, eating disorders, getting kicked out by your family, sexual assault

Now, will you pray with me? May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of all our hearts, be acceptable to you oh God, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.

sermon )
hermionesviolin: (hipster me)
Best way to keep me quiet during a Bible Study? Do a lectio style where we go around and say what spoke to us personally and there's NO DISCUSSION. [Lambeth/African style] I had comments the 3rd round, but the first 2 I was like, "Yeah, I got nuthin." (It didn't help that my body was rebelling at the use of the H-word during Lent in The Message version and all the masculine pronouns in the Message and the NRSV and the pronunciation of YHWH in The Inclusive Bible.)

I stayed for the Congregational Meeting re: the Capital Campaign (which lasted less than an hour!) and left shortly thereafter as I needed to eat some real lunch and finish my sermon.

I got crepes to-go from Mr. Crepe, took the shuttle bus to Harvard Square, walked to HBS, and sat in the foyer of my building on my netbook and then went upstairs to my office to print out. (I had considered just going to HEUMC and working on the office assistant computer, but I think this was the better plan.)

During Coffee Hour, Rae asked, "Do you know what you're preaching on?" I said yes -- and said that if I had to wing it right now, I would be okay. When I actually pulled my draft up, I realized I'd had a somewhat overly optimistic recollection of how much I'd accomplished thus far -- but I was done about 2:30.

***

FCS today was: the Twelve Steps of AA: Step 6; and the 7 Deadly Sins: Greed+Gluttony.

The Meditation in the bulletin was:
From Geneen Roth's Women, Food and God:

It's never been true, not anywhere at any time, that the value of a soul, of a human spirit, is dependent on a number on a scale. We are unrepeatable beings of light and space and water who need these physical vehicles to get around. When we start defining ourselves by that which can be measured or weighed, something deep within us rebels.

...Compulsive eating is basically a refusal to be fully alive. No matter what we weigh, those of us who are compulsive eaters have anorexia of the soul. We refuse to take in what sustains us. We live lives of deprivation. And when we can't stand it any longer, we binge. The way we are able to accomplish all this is by the simple act of bolting -- of leaving ourselves -- hundreds of times a day.

...Imagine not being frightened by any feeling. Imagine knowing that nothing will destroy you. That you are beyond any feeling, any state. Bigger than. Vaster than. That there is no reason to use drugs because anything a drug could do would pale in comparison to knowing who you are.
***

"Joy Sadhana is a daily practice in the observation of joy."
-[livejournal.com profile] mylittleredgirl [more info]

"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up." --Anne Lamott

Read more... )
hermionesviolin: (Aslan)
Mark 8:31-38 )
This is not really a sermon on The Cross

Last week, Pr. Lisa mentioned the discomfort many progressive Christians have with the concept of “sin.” I apparently was acculturated differently, because I do not have a knee-jerk negative reaction to sin talk.

If you ask me, “What is ‘sin’?” I say, “Sin is that which separates us from God” -- and if I’m really thinking, I add that it also separates us from each other, and from ourselves.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

Our consistent missing the mark is a part of the human condition, and our strivings to ever draw closer to the Divine are our best selves at work in us.

While I don’t have a problem with discussion of sin, I have basically zero interest in the glorification of Jesus’ suffering and death. I have, in fact, an active resistance to it.

I absolutely, full-stop, refuse to believe in a God who requires the brutal death of a Beloved Child in order to reconcile the world to Godself. That’s abusive and cruel and irreconcilable with the God of Love who is at the center of my faith.

So I tend to not engage with the Cross much.

And fortunately for me, today’s lectionary doesn’t require that I come up with a coherent theology of the Cross that I can live with.

Read more... )
hermionesviolin: (glam)
We see the world not as it is, but as we are.
-Steven R. Covey (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People)
Unison Prayer of Confession

God of the Mountain Top,

We confess that sometimes we don't climb.
We have the wrong shoes on, or we're afraid we'll get lose and look ridiculous, or because, really, we're needed here on the ground.

We confess that sometimes, after a long trek up, we turn right around and head back down.
We're tired. It's getting dark. And if you've seen the view from one peak, you've seen them all.

Forgive us.
We know that we can climb with bare feet. We know that when darkness falls, you will light the way. And our souls long to be still and gaze out with you.

Draw us up the mountain. Hold us up there awhile. And then put us back on the ground, where we are needed, renewed.
+

FCS Lenten House Church this year is on the 7 Deadly Sins. (Yes, one of my first thoughts was, "But we don't have 7 Wednesdays...")

And we're doing Adult Bible Study before Sunday worship (8:50am-9:45am) -- so apparently I'm *really* continuing my Lenten tradition of not getting enough sleep (usually it's just because there's 7am prayer service every weekday...).

+

Melissa (on the book/project ideas we have floating around): "This is what happens when you live with someone for a while and you have lots of bitter discussions about how stupid people are."

***

Pr. Lisa was teaching a a lay speaking class yesterday and, while mentioning this to me before service tonight, asked me if I'd thought about taking lay speaking training and then was like, "Oh, right, you're not a Methodist."
I said I've had plenty of conversations with UMC CWM folk about lay speaker training -- primarily a few years ago when I was writing sermons in my free time because I didn't like the sermons I was hearing in my churches and Tiffany said, "You might be repressing a Call -- I'm just sayin'."
I explained that I'd told Tiffany I am not Called to congregational ministry though I'm willing to believe I'm Called to some other kind of ministry.
Given that she's known me for ~2 years and in significant leadership for ~1 year, I was expecting Pr. Lisa to be like, "What is a polite way for me to agree with you that you are not cut out for congregational ministry?" but instead she commented that all the things that are bad for congregational ministry are things I could change if I wanted to -- and if I really felt Called then I would, because I'm really committed to being effective and successful. (I could argue about unchangeable parts of who I am that make me ill-suited for congregational ministry, but I took her point.)

Pr. Lisa and Cassandra had pre-planned for the Lenten worship planning meeting (using Season of Ash and Fire: Prayers and Liturgies for Lent and Easter by Blair Gilmer Meeks) so tonight's meeting was fairly straightforward.

One of the weeks is The Cross, and they had both thought of me as a preacher for that week -- Pr. Lisa was like, "You might have something constructive to say," and I was like, "I see what you did there" (deconstructive critique is really my primary and preferred m.o.). So that's in 2 weeks. *hands* (Mostly I am just like, "Ari will help me" -- because, as I commented while we were on the phone yesterday afternoon, she is way more brilliant than I am, at least when it comes to theology.)

+

When I came home from evening church, this happened:
Houseguest: "How's God?"
me: "..."
Housemate: "Noncorporeal and ubiquitous?"

***

"Joy Sadhana is a daily practice in the observation of joy."
-[livejournal.com profile] mylittleredgirl [more info]

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light. And they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. (Isaiah 9:2, Handel's Messiah)

Read more... )
hermionesviolin: (Aslan)
First Sunday after Christmas Day

Psalm 148
Isaiah 61:10-62:3
Galatians 4:4-7
Luke 2:22-40


[This is the text I preached off of. My delivery was more colloquial.]

of joys and covenants

Read more... )

***

Editing the NRSV was fairly straightforward (initially I de-gendered Simeon, but then that got too clunky, so I let the masculine pronouns recur partway through; and Anna remained female the whole time), but I really liked what I did with Psalm 148 (adapted from the NRSV, The Inclusive Bible, and Nan Merrill’s Psalms for Praying) and wanted to share )
hermionesviolin: (light in the darkness)
This caught my eye in the Revels program Saturday night:
Twelve Holy Days of Christmas
December 25 - January 6
Daily Communion Service,
The Act of Consecration of Man,
11 a.m. at our church.
Followed by refreshments and a study about Angels.
Midnight Communion Service
on Christmas Eve
Further details from the ad:
The Christian Community - Movement for Religious Renewal
Renewing religious life, bringing the spiritual potency of the Seven Sacraments and the richness of the Gospel into a new form inspiring independently thinking human beings.

The Christian Community 366 Washington Street, Brookline Village, MA 02445
www.thechristiancommunity.org [phone number redacted]
***

In other news, apparently Pr. Lisa will be away January 1 after all, so I'm planning to preach that Sunday. For starters I need to select a lectionary...
hermionesviolin: (small girl in big world [_extraflamey_])
This year, CWM is doing a (mostly off-lectionary) "Advent sermon series on rethinking texts that seem unjust...asking how there might be a re-thinking of the text in a way that provides a justice alternative to the solution that is offered." [read more here]

For the Sunday that Pastor Lisa would be away, I agreed to preach on the story of Hagar and Ishmael -- translation largely thanks to Phyllis Trible.
Genesis 12:1-3, 16:1-14, 21:9-21

Read more... )
Hear what the Spirit might be saying to the church.

In the Gospels we encounter Jesus saying to the other Jews of the day, "Do not say to each other, 'We are safe, for we are descendants of Abraham and Sarah.' That means nothing, for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham and Sarah." (Matthew 3:9, Luke 3:8)

Being descendants of Abraham and Sarah, inheritors of the promise, is a big deal. But in reading Genesis, I can't say that I'm too eager to claim Abraham and Sarah as my spiritual ancestors.

My friend Eda introduced me to the writings of Pauli Murray -- an African-American lawyer and activist, active from the 1940s, and in 1977, at the age of 66, the first African-American woman ordained in the Episcopal Church.

Read more... )
hermionesviolin: silhouette of a figure holding an umbrella while rain falls (rain)
It didn't rain during my commute in this morning (nor during lunch -- I took New Girl on a mini campus tour after we'd eaten), but it did rain intermittently (and at times heavily) on my commute after work, so opting to not ride my bicycle was a good idea.

Not such a good idea was neglecting to check in with Missy about whether her transit situation had improved such that she'd get home from work in time for us to have dinner as we'd initially planned a couple weeks ago.  (Also not such a good idea?  Neglecting to obtain her cell phone number.)

I sat (inside, where it was dry) and read for a full hour.  Inclusive Bible: Song of Songs, followed by Proverbs.  Not all that taken with Proverbs -- though I wanna do a poem/collage to 30:15b-31.  I still haven't decided what I'm doing for H!PS "Sophia Circle."  I kinda wanna do SoS 1:5-6, but I don't really know what to do with that.  (I also keep wanting to talk about the whole book, but I need to fous on a specific excerpt, and I'm not sure what I want to say about the whole book anyway -- I'm just like, "This is kind of awesome.")  Ideally, I'd read through all of Wisdom Lit to prep, but I'm not sure I'm up for reading ALL the Psalms (though I've got time, and it wouldn't take THAT long -- I mean, I did all of Proverbs in under an hour; and I could read all of Nan Merril's book -- yes, I am v. pro- unusual translations for this project).

I still don't really know what I'm doing for H!PS's "Luke and Us" zine, but I'm excited about Jessie's zine project.
hermionesviolin: (Aslan)
"Luke and Us" zine is a go. So I have to decide if there's any formatting I want to do for my preach. Yeah, possible Art Night project. Am open to suggestions.
hermionesviolin: 3 saguaro cacti silhouetted against an orange sunset, with the yellow sun setting behind one of them (summer)
The Dean gave us tomorrow off, so it felt v. much like a Friday (plus outdoor ice cream sundae buffet over lunchtime -- I could have stayed outside all day in the lovely weather we had today). There was watermelon and Frisbee after work and I had bonus Scott. I was late to Art Night on account of that, but I could stay until the end on account of not having work tomorrow. I doodled a bit, regretted not having printed out July lectionaries; Julia pointed out that Vanderbilt (I use TextWeek) puts it all on one page.
hermionesviolin: (tell me a story [lizzieb])
July 17, 24, or 31. (Sunday evening church.) I'll be looking at the lectionary to help decide.

Edit: Scott vetoes July 17th because he'll definitely be in Chicago that weekend :)
hermionesviolin: (prophecy girl)
John 20:1-18 )

Resurrection is a Process

“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb...” (John 20:1)

A couple Wednesdays before Easter, I learned that the West Somerville churches were having their Easter sunrise service at 6am. I balked, because sunrise on Easter Sunday was at 5:50am this year, and Easter sunrise service is supposed to begin in darkness, moving into light both liturgically and literally.

Read more... )
hermionesviolin: (Aslan)
I would like to tell you a story.

This story begins with a well. Read more... )
hermionesviolin: image of snow covered hill and trees with text "the snow with its whiteness" (snow)
It was snowing when I left the house this morning -- lightly but noticeably. I wasn't outside at all between 9 and 5 (lunchtime seminar talk in our building), so I don't know when it stopped. Definitely not much in the way of accumulation.

***

I had dinner with Pr. Lisa this evening.
She said she appreciates my candor, my intellectual integrity, and my heart -- and said no one could give the prayer I did over our food ["Dear God, thank you for this food, may it bless us and nourish us; we ask your blessing on all those responsible for bringing this food to our table, on all those who have no food and those for whom food is a difficult issue, on all those who have nowhere to eat or no one to eat with; we thank you for this time together, may we be blessed by our time together as well as by the food which we are about to consume."] and not have a soul, a heart for ministry.

***

My Pride vs. Annual Conference dilemma has been solved by a wedding invitation, apparently ;)

***

And I agreed to preach at H!PS next month. \o?
hermionesviolin: (be brave now)
I was getting ready for bed when I got a ::Flock:: Midweek Touch-Base: How are your intentions? email from Magpie Girl:
I love your plan to spend some time in the empty office, and to take lunch away from your desk. Care-giving careers can be so demanding. We really have to be brave and insistent to protect our self-care boundaries. BE A LIONESS! Protect what you need!
"Care-giving career"! Hee! <3

I meant to mention in my previous entry that I didn't carve out 30-minute blocks for sermon-writing today or yesterday, but I did still get a good chunk written today. I wasn't feeling in the right mood for the tone of this particular sermon, and I was reminding myself to just WRITE. I wasn't very good at following that reminder, but I know it's a really good one (that was part of the idea behind carving out lunchbreak time in FUH's empty office, after all), so I'm going to keep telling it to myself.

***

In other news, I chatted with Katie for like an hour after work yesterday, and after I got home I spent about two hours writing an email processing the stuff in that conversation re: my recent ~burnout and was planning to adjust it into an LJ post after I was done, but I worked through all of my emotion in the writing of the email and am good with just moving forward with the insights I gained from that, rather than synthesizing it all into bullet-points for posterity here. (inorite? who am i?)
hermionesviolin: text "a land flowing with milk and honey" (abundance)
[Preached at Rest and Bread on Wednesday, December 8, 2010. Thanks to la bff for helping me select a Scripture passage.]

[Inspired by The Advent Conspiracy, Keith and I picked 4 alternative themes for Advent this year -- relationship, incarnation, sharing, and activation. Today is Incarnation.]
All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money,
come, buy food and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk,
without money, without price!
Why spend your money for what is not bread,
your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed me, and you will eat well,
you will delight in rich fare;
bend your ear and come to me,
listen, that you may have life
I will make an everlasting Covenant with you--
in fulfillment of the blessings promised to David.
-Isaiah 55:1-3, The Inclusive Bible
"You who have no money, come, buy food and eat."

What a message that is for this season, when so many are struggling with economic scarcity.

The kindom of God, for which we wait expectantly this Advent season and all days, is a place where sustenance and abundance are available for all.

This passage also speaks to the goodness of nourishing our bodies.

Read more... )
hermionesviolin: (Aslan)
[Preached at Rest and Bread on Wed. Nov. 17, 2010. Thanks to Scott for last-minute editing.]
Matthew 23:37-24:14

37“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38See, your house is left to you, desolate. 39For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of our God.’”

24 1As Jesus came out of the temple and was going away, the disciples came to point out the buildings of the temple. 2Then Jesus asked them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.” 3When Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came privately, saying, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

4Jesus answered them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. 5For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah!’ and they will lead many astray. 6And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: 8all this is but the beginning of the birthpangs. 9“Then they will hand you over to be tortured and will put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of my name. 10Then many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. 11And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. 13But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come.
One metaphor for Advent is that of pregnancy -- we, like Mary, wait in joyful (and perhaps more than a little fearful) anticipation for the Promised One -- Emmanuel, God With Us.

In today's reading, however, we are reminded that Christ is already mothering us. Jesus weeps over the city of Jerusalem, crying out, "How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!" How familiar that must sound to parents of willful children...

Read more... )

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hermionesviolin: an image of Alyson Hannigan (who plays Willow Rosenberg) with animated text "you think you know / what you are / what's to come / you haven't even / BEGUN" (Default)Elizabeth (the delinquent, ecumenical)

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