Sunday, December 31, 2006

Same Bat Channel, New Bat Channel

Joyfully, several folks have let me know that they're planning to come to the Monday Bible 101 group. So, we're off and running and I'll be posting info here like, what we're covering at each session, how things with the group went, and questions that were intriguing or points of conversation were helpful or provocative. So, keep your eyes on this blog over the next several weeks to get a flavor of what's cookin' with the group.

Aaannnddd....I had a couple of immediate responses from folks who really, really, really wanted to come but couldn't make it on Mondays at noon, or daytimes at all, for that matter. So, as promised I'm adding a new day/time that was agreeable to those first few folks who asked.

Thursdays 7:30 - 9:00 pm is the alternative time for the Bible 101 group. So, same bat time, same bat channel...and, new bat time, new bat channel. The beauty of it is that these sessions are designed to be interchangeable, so if you can't come on Monday one week, come Thursday night instead, and vice versa. Cool, huh?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Reverend Mother Says: You Say You Want A Resolution?

We-ell, you know...we're all doin' what we can. So I decided to do something I can. You know with these New Year's Resolution things, the experts in human behavior all say that it's best to start with a manageable goal, a reasonable expectation. I prefer a holy hope - but that's just the cloth I'm cut from. How about you? Want to join me? I hope so.

I've decided to lead a five-session course on the Bible at my home and to set up this blog as a way to keep people posted (ha!) on what we're doing each week. So this is the place for information, questions, suggestions, feedback, and inspiration. The course will run on Mondays from 12:00 noon - 1:30 pm beginning on January 8th and we'll meet five times over a six week period (no meeting MLK holiday). Bring your own lunch. We'll end just before the introspective season of Lent begins, and decide where to go from there, if anywhere.

The topic for the course? The Bible. I know, I know...but you see, that's the point. The Bible has been a point of contention and comfort, and continues to generate interest and provoke anxiety. For the worst, the Bible has been used as a weapon to denigrate, shame, and subordinate peoples. For the best, the Bible has been accessed as inspiration, to generate hope and healthy relationships. So what gives? How can one book be so many contradictory things to so many people?

Come and See. The basic idea is that whether you're an absolute newcomer to the Bible or whether you're a veteran biblical scholar, you'll find something helpful here to take away with you. We'll get a basic overview of what the Bible is, how it came to be, the timeline behind the text, and explore the different modes of understanding what it means. We'll even do a quick review of different translations and help you figure out how to select a Bible that speaks to you...if you decide you'd like to get your own copy, or find a new copy for your collection.

We're also going to do something really practical, that anyone at any point in their journey of spiritual learning and exploration can do - something that can really be, dare I say, mystical: Lectio Divina.

Come and join us - virtually or in person. Reply to this blog or send me an email if you have questions. A detail of dates and topics will appear here soon.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Did you ever wonder...?

So, maybe you're wondering just how we're going to spend that hour-and-a-half on Mondays considering "THE BIBLE." If you are, here's the plan:

12:00 - Show up, Come in, Hang up your coat, Get out your lunch, Chat
12:15 - THE BIBLE: 101 - or The Bible for Dummies - or Bible Background Basics - call it what you like.
1:00 - Lectio Divina (a spiritual practice of "listening" to the Bible in community)
1:20ish - 1:30- Wrap up, Dash out, or Pour another cup of tea and bide your time until my kids come home or you need to go pick up yours, or get to that doctor's appointment, or whatever.

So, maybe you're wondering if you don't have a Bible which one of the myriad translations you should dash out and buy.
I wouldn't do that. I've got a few extra copies here if we need them and they're all different translations based out of different languages. See, the deal is that every 'translation' is really just as much a different interpretation - so they kinda make a point with the way the translation is spun....but that doesn't mean they aren't each valid in their own right. If this all sounds like gobbledy-gook then, well, that's why you're coming to this thing, right? Ok, so my advice is this: If you have a Bible, whether it's well-worn, highlighted and underlined, or whether it's got to be dug out of a box in the basement or pulled off a high shelf and the dust blown off - then fine...bring it along. However, if you don't have a Bible handy, then just wait. You'll be happier making a choice when you're more informed and in the meantime, we're all grownups - we can share.

So, maybe you're wondering if you're going to be the only male/single/over 60/under 30/GLBT/divorced/addicted/person of color/wiccan at this thing.
Maybe. So what? This isn't an affinity group just for PLUs (People Like Us). This is a community thing where anyone who has questions and wants to explore new understandings for themselves with a group of people who are open to questions and the questioners - whomever they may be - can come and find a place and time set apart just for this purpose. So ALL ARE WELCOME. Period.

So, maybe you're wondering if this could happen in the evening instead of the daytime.
Maybe. I'm open to suggestions. Actually, it doesn't have to be either-or, it can be both-and. It's just that since this is new, I didn't want to overdo it and set up two groups and then have only two people show up and think "this sucks." So, instead, I'm setting up one group for now - but I'm totally open to working with you on this. Just let me know.

So, maybe you're wondering why I didn't advertise child care for this.
Again, I'm open. I've got room in my house for a few little people but we'd need to come up with a plan for that and I didn't want to get something all set up and then find out that no one needed it. And, of course - it's your call as to how nearby you'd like to have your kids as you engage in some grown-up time. Will they really let you think if they know you're in the next room? Maybe they will - maybe they won't. Will you be able to concentrate on the subject at hand if they're not in the next room? Maybe you will, maybe you won't. Hey, I get it. I really do - my three kids have been dragged everywhere with me including seminary classes and dinner parties. Other times, I couldn't get far enough away. (Have you ever taken the phone into the bathroom and locked the door so you could attempt to have a conversation uninterrupted? I thought so. My daughter even thought to have a telephone conversation you had to be walking around at a pretty good clip!) So, do what you've gotta do but please let me know in advance so we can plan accordingly.

So, maybe you're wondering if you'll dig this "mystical" lectio divina thing that we'll be doing too, or if it will just seem weird.
You'll never know til you try, will you? If you've made it this far, then just showing up is the next step. Once here, I'll trust you to be a grown-up and give it the old college try. If you find that it's really not your thing after a couple of times, then bow out after the Bible 101 thingy - no harm, no foul. This is about finding something for you that helps you move along in your journey. Take responsibility for it. Own it. You won't hurt my feelings.

What else are you wondering?
Let me know. I'll try to answer all reasonable questions - and maybe even a silly one or two.

Email me.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Why Am I Doing This?

For several years now, I've felt a strong pull to serve my immediate neighbors who feel disenfranchised - from the church, from organized religion in general, or from having time and energy to deal with a faith community. I am a life-long Christian who was raised in and practices my faith in The Episcopal Church and have strong faith connections with many friends and parishioners. But I understand what it's like to lack that spiritual connection with friends. I've been down that road of disconnect. Today, I am blessed to be part of a fantastic faith community - St. David's Church in Washington, DC where I'm the Assistant Rector (Pastor). I also have many friends in my neighborhood and through various community organizations with whom I can share that journey of faith. And still, there are many friends and neighbors who have admitted to me that they have lost their connection and are open to finding a new one - they just don't quite know how or where.

Because my life has been enriched through Christian community, I want to be able to share what I have with friends and strangers alike: a place of welcome to all who question their faith and are looking for how God is working in their lives. In my own faith journey it was this type of questioning that led me to seek God more intentionally and to discover my calling.

I worked in churches in Southern California as parish administrator and youth pastor. After the birth of our twin sons my husband's job landed us here in Northern Virginia. We joined a local church (Church of the Good Shepherd) and once again found a lively community where we could grow and serve...and along came baby #3, our daughter.

My search continued and eventually I attended and grauduated from Virginia Theological Seminary (the awesome class of 2004) with a Masters in Divinity degree. I was ordained as a deacon in June that year at the Washington National Cathedral. On January 6th, 2005, the Feast of the Epiphany, I was ordained a Priest in the One, holy, catholic and apostolic church.

Since September 2002 I've served with the people of St. David's Church- as seminarian, deacon, and now priest. Although St. David's is located in Washington, D.C. we have individuals and families who make the drive from parts of Maryland and Virginia to practice their faith in a lively worshipping community. And my family is one of them. It was because of our kids enthusiasm over this church that we landed there. My husband, our three children, and I live in Fairfax, VA in the Mantua subdivision.

We've been blessed with a great church community and a great neighborhood community filled with friends who have supported us all the way. When blessings are this abundant, they overflow. I don't want that overflow wasted, so after much prayer and searching, this is where I am...on a blogspot reaching out to my neighbors.

That heart for the disenfranchised is not limited to the realm of church, though. See my links to some wonderful groups of people who have welcomed me to participate in the amazing things they are doing for homeless children, mentally ill adults, street dwellers and yes, exotic dancers! My mission call is grounded in the great commandment and follows the principle that the Most Reverend, William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1940's articulated : "The church is the only society that exists primarily for the benefit of those who are not its members."

Come and join me on this journey. Come with questions. Come and see. Come and grow.