Saturday, June 23, 2007

Tag - I'm it! Eight Random Facts Meme

I got tagged by Gallycat! How did that happen? I didn't even feel a ripple in the force! Well, here goes...

First, the rules. Then, the meme.

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

3.At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. I can write in cursive in mirror image. I learned how to do this when I learned that my 8th grade English teacher wrote her test keys that way so she could keep the answer key out and students couldn't read it!

2. I have major hitch-hiker's thumb on my right hand - so much so that I can bend it back to a 90-degree angle without using any help (like pressure from other fingers).

3. It wasn't until 6th grade that I met another kid with the name Jennifer - eventually the most popular girl's name in the country.

4. I don't drink coffee - at all - I think it smells bad, too. Yuck!

5. We picked out our daughter's name, Augusta (old family name that hadn't been used in four generations), before we got married in 1988. She was born in August eleven years later!

6. When I was in high school I was in the color guard - twirled flag and rifle. We were pretty bitchin' - won first place in the Marching Band Grand Nationals Competition (1981 Tate High School)

7. I used to sky dive when I was in college - was even the secretary of the sport parachute club.

8. I know how to tell a he-crab from a she-crab and also know how to make a crab relax so much it will curl in its little claws and go to sleep.

OK - your turn friends: Lia, Amy, Caroline, to think of four more!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sunday Morning Sports

I've just finished and submitted an article to Episcopal Cafe on this subject and will put the link here once it's posted there.

But in the meantime...for any and all of you lurkers out there - I want your comments, please!

We just finally had to make the call that we knew was inevitable: we had to say no to a Sunday morning sports event. Now, keep in mind, this is for an all-star soccer team following a terrific regular season and play-off tournament.

I don't know about you but I'm just 'done' with the whole notion that kids' sports rule our lives to the extent that they supersede family dinner time, family down-time, and church.

I even thought about this from a multi-religious standpoint and wondered how then you deal with Saturday for Jews, etc. But I think - and someone please correct me if I'm wrong - that for Muslims, Friday is the big day, for Jews the Shabbat at home on Friday night is the main thing...but for Christians - Sunday morning is huge to our identity. We are the church, and Sunday morning is ours. So, I'm just tired of these sporting takeovers of Sunday mornings.

Of course that leaves the whole issue of sabbath time for any and all of us out of the discussion.

But, I hear that in Britain sports events happen through the schools in the afternoons- think Hogwarts quiddich matches - and are in rotation with study halls and tutorials such that when kids go home at the end of the day 'round supper time, they are 'done' with school for the day, homework and all - and their weekends are mostly free. This just seems so much more reasonable and balanced to me.

What is our problem? Why have we allowed our kids' sports and activities to dominate and even dictate our family discretionary time?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Church Marketing?

Out there - or should I say 'in there' - in the world of the church, there is a tendency to think of marketing as...well...yucky. When you start to talk to church people about things like 'brand identity' or 'advertising' or 'managing perception', we tend to cock our heads a little, squint our eyes and wrinkle our noses. Why is that?

Maybe because we tend to equate 'marketing' with selling somebody something they don't really need - or giving someone the 'hard sell'.

It seems to me that what marketing is really about is effectively communicating, reaching out to let people know about something that they may or may not realize they need, and helping them to connect to it.

Like the Gospel, for instance. Doesn't everyone need and want a little Good News (which is the literal translation of 'gospel') ?

Where here's a little bit of good news about some reaching out that the Episcopal Church is doing:

Episcopal Cafe got recognition today by the Episcopal Life Online news service. Read their great article here.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Trinity Sunday and It Feels Like Church

This morning I went back to visit with my new friends at The Falls Church Episcopal - a temporary community for me as I soujourn until my next ministry post begins. There were several visitors there today. Some were from local churches that had donated or loaned items for worship: a lectern, chalices, Bibles, Hymnals, Prayer Books, paschal candle, an Episcopal flag. Some were there because...well, just because they wanted to be supportive or see what was going on. Two guests were from as far away as Boston and Atlanta and one man, who is a member of a neighboring Episcopal church lived across the street!

Today was Trinity Sunday - a day that is always a challenge for preachers as we try to explain the unexplainable. The interim priest , Michael Pipkin, did a bang-up job though as he focused his sermon on how the Trinity is a way of understanding God - not intellectually, but experientially and relationally. I won't do it justice here so I won't try. Just suffice it to say that the sermon was apropo given the goings-on there today:

The donated and loaned items were blessed - prayed over by the congregation using words of thanks and gratitude. There continues to be a spirit of tremendous hospitality, warmth, and thanksgiving for this remnant church.

They had an indoor picnic (rained all day) after the service - yummy bar-b-que - which was shared with the visitors and members of the Falls Church Presbyterian, their hosts.

It's very Jesus-like, don't you think: where guest becomes host?

It feels to me like how church should feel.

My favorite moment: the man who stood up to read the first lesson (from Isaiah) was holding his bottle-toting toddler in his arms as he read the scripture.

My other favorite part: they aren't just keeping to themselves. They have reached out and established connections with so many other churches in the area and also had a table set up at their local Memorial Day Community celebration - with a picture in the local paper of elder-member Jesse Thackrey (scroll down the linked page to see the photo). BTW - Jesse has been a member of The Falls Church since 1941!

To read more about my sojourn with this group take a look at Episcopal Cafe - The Daily Episcopalian - where I tell about worshipping with them last Sunday on Pentecost.