There is a woman in my church who is always pulled together. She is sweet, kind, thoughtful funny AND…she is always perfectly dressed. I mean perfectly. She is just the picture of lovely. Her colors always complement her creamy complexion, they fit her beautifully, and they have just a bit of snazzy to them – enough to make me look at her with admiration. . .
which I then follow up with a look of resignation,
which is usually translated into a sigh when I pause to consider my own appearance at that moment. I have Continue reading
I should have seen it coming. The Bible says, “For everything, there is a season,” but somehow I missed that memo saying
“. . .and Missy, your Autumn approacheth.”
It’s true, I no long qualify for MOPS. I haven’t had a preschooler in, well, awhile. My calendar no longer schedules play dates, but rather, testing dates for the SAT, and ACT. And when looking over an invitation that arrived in today’s mail, my first—well actually my PRIMARY concern, is how late will this event keep me out? Continue reading
I love going to church. My favorite time is not the singing (although I do love the robust and rousing Fanny Crosby hymns, partially because they are straight out of my childhood and partially because I get to snicker at my husband. His very Lutheran musical tastes <read that: Bach, big organs, and more Bach> claim that the hymns I adore make him feel as if the congregation has just stepped onto a giant Merry-go-round. It delights me so that God brought us together. We can have a theological debate over the price of butter.) Nor is my favorite time the time of greeting when we wander about the congregation, seeking people with hands to be shaken and peace to be shared, and then once safely back in the pews, quietly put on disinfectant to avoid one of the Holy Plagues. Continue reading
Welcome, friends, to Church Speak Recovery Class. My name is Carol. [Hi, Carol.] And I’m a recovering addict of church speak. Yes, friends, for years, I suffered from an acute addiction to the compelling lure of church language. Its grip on me and my tongue was so tenacious that it could emerge at any time.
“Why, Laura, come in and have a muffin. Would you like a proper exegesis with that?”
While trying to live for the Lord, my uncontrolled use of the best practiced and most historically accurate of church terminology often puzzled people, in some cases, moving them further from the very God I wished them to know. I often saw the confusion spreading across their faces as I shared my thoughts of grace, mercy and ecclesiastical catechesis — and, yet, I was clueless as to what I had done to produce the wrinkled brow and baffled expression that regularly met my eager gaze.
Luckily, a mentor emerged to show me the error of my ways. “Carol,” he kindly said, “You do understand, don’t you, that the person you were speaking to believes Total Depravity is a headbanger group from the 90s?” Continue reading
This will probably get me in trouble, but … I think it’s possible that children shouldn’t be allowed in church, at least not until they’ve been trained. I don’t mean that typical genteel parental kind of training. I’m talking more like kid-to-kid warning and wisdom. Call it “How-to-Survive-the-Next-Hour-Without-Getting-Spanked-101.”
For example, I learned at a very young age that, when the elderly Edith Cooper began her weekly snore, Continue reading
I absolutely love my pastor. I come away from each and every sermon with something profound, something else of historical value, something else of literary merit (He was an English Major) and then, always something that rises up as potential for an article…or a book title…or an idea begging for exploration.
Every Sunday I end up scribbling one or five things worth hanging onto, things I may develop later when I’m so moved. Over the years he’s given me ideas for a children’s book series on odd characters of the Bible, a great quote about creeping legalism by Gordon Fee as “Hardening of the Categories,” and deeper insight into the mind of God. He even creates new words that frankly should be added to the Webster Dictionary; “Irkible” being my favorite. “Lord, remove from me any irkible spirit that lies within.”
So it was a nice break from all things theological to have him provide me with a simple moment of levity. Continue reading
It’s happening again. Another local church is talking about ditching the traditional pews in favor of something more plush and comfortable. I really feel uneasy about this. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere in Leviticus a warning about the ungodliness of a relaxed posterior and the slippery slope of comfortable worship. In fact, I’ve always believed that when Noah descended from the Ark, right after he kissed the ground and gave thanks, God handed him another set of plans for turning those spent boat planks into splintery, uncomfortable seats of holiness to be placed in all the sweltering hot outdoor summer revival meetings I attended as a child. The backs of my legs still bear the imprint of the wooden slats. Through the first eleven years of my life, I thought this is what was meant when the Bible says that God will put His mark on you. Continue reading