Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Five: Love the One You're With

Kathryn writes...This Friday Five will post while I'm at the beach which for me is more than a vacation destination, it is a trip home. I have found it quite easy to wax nostalgic about the places I used to live (well, except for one) and have begun to wonder what it is I like about the place I'm living now? For instance I sure do love the beach, but this picture was taken about 30 minutes away from my house - not too shabby!
And so I ask you to please name five things you like about where you are living now... and as your bonus - 1 thing you don't like.

I have been living in the Toledo, Ohio area for 25 years next month. What do I love about it?

1. Although the metropolitan area population tops 300,000, there are many distinctive ethnic neighborhoods who invite the whole region to celebrate their food and culture.
2. We have an AMAZING art museum, symphony orchestra, and one of the best zoos in the nation.
3. You can be on Lake Erie or the Maumee River in 30 minutes or less, on a boat or at a waterside restaurant.
4. We're the home town of Corporal Klinger and the Mud Hens! Jamie Farr is here a lot, and hosts an outstanding LPGA golf tourney that has raised millions of dollars for local charities.
5. The Metropark system and other area parks are like emeralds encircling our fair city.

And the dislike: Many, many who have lived most or all of their lives here are really "down" on this city and region. They refuse to believe that anything good can come from Toledo. Hmmm...where have I heard that before?!?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Five: Decisions, Decisions

RevSongbird writes:
Since I've been in the midst of a discernment process, I've done a lot of reflecting on how we make decisions. But don't worry, I'm not going to ask you to reveal a dark story about a poor decision, or a self-flagellating story about an embarrassing one. Let's keep it simple and go with five word pairs. Tell us which word in the pair appeals to you most, and after you've done all five, give us the reason why for one of them.

Here they are:

1) Cake or Pie
2) Train or Airplane
3) Mac or PC
4) Univocal or Equivocal
5) Peter or Paul

Well, it's been awhile, but I think I remember how this works...
1. Cake
2. Train
3. PC
4. Equivocal
5. Peter

For me, the cake - pie choice is the hardest, because I really eat very little of either any more. I am going to lean toward cake today, because I am more likely to find dark, rich chocolate in a cake, than in a pie. However, my favorite desserts are fresh fruit and, if I want to be indulgent, creme brulee.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cross posted here from my stint as the Book Discussion host at RevGalBlogPals

Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of Our Daily Choices
by Julie Clawson

First off, a word of thanks to Songbird, who, when I noticed this book in her vast collection, said, "Here, it's yours. Would you be willing to lead a review of it at the RevGals blog in January?"

It seemed like a great idea in October, and today, while it's still early enough in the new year to consider some new ways of thinking and doing, I am very glad that I read this book. So, thank you, Songbird!

Everyday Justice is Julie Clawson's first book, but she also writes at her blog and at You may also recognize her name from the Emerging Women or Emerging Parents blogs. She has been a church planter, pastored parishes in Illinois, and now lives with her husband and children in Austin, TX.

Julie opens her text with the words "Warning! Read Before Proceeding. Don't panic." In this pre-introduction section, she gives the reader the opportunity to take a deep breath as we look a at the vastness of the challenge of living more justly. She notes on page 15, "To change the world, we must start somewhere." Julie's goal is to help her readers discover that a total life makeover isn't the only way to step into a more just way of living. "All of us can discern where God is leading us to alter our lives - to change one thing at a time, taking the time to really understand and get behind our actions." (p. 15)

In the introduction, Clawson grounds her text theologically in Jesus' memorable first public sermon as recorded in Luke 4:18-21, which is incidentally the Gospel text of which some among us may have preached yesterday. Jesus proclaimed and demonstrated a way of justice and a call to his followers to live justly.

She proceeds to define justice as "the practical outworking of loving God and others." (p. 21) She follows this with one of my favorite Dr. Cornel West quotes: "Justice is what love looks like in public." She also draws an important, thoughtful distinction between justice as punishment and justice as restoration. On page 23, she writes:
"Justice then becomes much more than simply a punishment for wrongdoing.
Instead of only punishing wrongdoers in the hope that they will live rightly,
biblical justice involves healing the brokenness that marred our relationships
with each other in the first place."

Noting that "every decision has a price tag" and "that price is often paid by the people whose lives are affected by our actions" (p. 25), Clawson then offers "a resource and a guide to acting justly" (p. 29) in regard to the purchase of coffee, chocolate, food, and clothing. She explores how one might live justly in their consumption of oil, disposal of waste, and management of money.
Through all of it, she offers information, insight, and specific suggestions for action without becoming preachy or sounding judgmental.

As I think about my own life, I need and want to move more seriously in the direction of restoration. This text has offered me so much help in thinking through the daily choices I make and the price that others and I pay for those choices.

Questions for discussion:
1. How is Everyday Justice alike or different than other books you have read on the topic of living justly?

2. If you have read the book, is there one area of concern over which you feel particularly led to '"tweak" your actions and choices?

3. How do you imagine Everyday Justice would be received in a parish setting, especially your context? Do you plan to use it in some way?

4. Finally, what did you like best or least about Clawson's text?

I look forward to your insights, and will be around throughout the day to read your comments and share conversation with you.

Looking ahead, Songbird will be discussing Salvation on the Small Screen by Nadia Bolz-Weber on February 22nd.

May you live in God's amazing grace+

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Five - Do Nothing Edition

Over at RevGalBlogPals, Sally writes...

I am reading a wonderful little book for Advent it's title: "Do nothing Christmas is Coming!"

So this weeks Friday Five is simple.

List five things you won't be doing to prepare for Christmas.

1. I will not be buying presents for as many people this year; we have decided mutually to reduce gift buying and instead give goats and chickens, and a micro-loan or two.

2. I will not be responsible for all of the Advent and Christmas services in our congregation this year; we are blessed with a full staff again! This is a big issue since we have 4 services on Christmas Eve at 5, 7, 9, and 11 PM.

3. I will not be hosting anyone at our house on Christmas Day. Dear friends have invited us to their home for the afternoon!

4. I will not be driving further than 10 miles to celebrate Christmas Day. We will drive to my parents' home for Christmas celebrating on Saturday, December 26th.

5. I will not be sending Christmas cards, but will send an Epiphany letter to family and friends in early January.

Bonus: I really enjoy Marty Haugen's hymns of the season; for Advent, my favorite would be Awake, Awake, and Greet the New Morn. Unfortunately, I cannot find a video of it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I borrowed this Thanksgiving-themed Random Dozen Meme from "Lidna" at 2nd Cup of Coffee. If you want to participate just go to Linda's site to link up.

1. Are you sticking to traditional Thanksgiving foods this year, or are you being culinarily adventurous? We’re going to my Mom and Dad’s for thanksgiving & it will be traditional. We are bringing the wine, salad and pumpkin pies. Mom always has enough food for an army - & there is always room at the table for friends as well as family. Because my brother and his family are not going to be able to be there on Thursday, we will do it all over again on a somewhat smaller scale with them at lunch on Friday.

2. Tell me something concrete that you're thankful for. (Something you can literally touch, see, etc., not a concept like "hope.") I'm thankful for our boys and how thoughtful and engaged they are with us.

3. You knew the flip side was coming: Share about something intangible that you're thankful for. For faith, hope, and love - all gifts of our gracious God.

4. Share one vivid Thanksgiving memory. It doesn't have to be deep or meaningful, just something that remains etched in your memory. That would be the Thanksgiving when Matt - just a year old - would not fall asleep. Craig and I knew the answer - to take him for a ride in the car. It was snowing lightly, but the roads were not in bad shape. My mom was very opposed to our intention - it was pretty ugly for an hour or so. But peace was made, and family boundaries more clearly defined - a good thing!

5. What is one thing that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt is going to happen this Thanksgiving because it always does, year after year?
We will eat, drink, and play cards!

6. Do your pets get any left-overs?
This year Maverick the younger managed to get his mouch into one of the four pumpkin pies! But other than that, no, they probably won't.

7. Does your family pray before the big meal? If so, do you join hands while seated, stand, repeat a formal prayer or offer a spontaneous prayer? Who does the praying?
Yes, we are seated, we join hands and one of the two of us who are ordained ministers offers a spontaneous prayer.

8. Will you be watching football in the afternoon? If not, what will you be doing?
It will be on, but I really won't be watching it.

9. There are two distinct camps of people on this issue: How do you feel about oysters in the dressing/stuffing? NO WAY!

10. Do you consider yourself informed about the first Thanksgiving? Yes I do – just got a refresher from some blog recently… hmmm… who was it? Oh yeah – Mark Roberts.

11. Which variety of pie will you be enjoying? It's got to be pumpkin!

12. Do you feel for the turkey??
Yes, I do - if I have any hand in preparing meat or poultry, my mind usually goes at least once to twice to thoughts of when this flesh moved and breathed.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!