We’re on a mission

The organization we’re with has a purpose statement for the area we’re assigned to. We have an overall mission statement but in our singularly focused area of ministry, we also have a statement defining our purpose. It says, in part: “The primary purpose of an Adult Rehabilitation Center is the spiritual regeneration and rehabilitation of men who have undergone a process of disaffiliation from those significant ties, which enable individuals...

No thanks, I can do it myself

I have a love-hate relationship with our local Target’s self-serve lines. They lure me with the no waiting temptation and then they frustrate me when they don’t register I’ve bagged something and the voice comes on and says: Please wait for assistance Everything stops. Sometimes the clerk is near and sometimes she’s busy with another customer. The frustration mounts that this stupid thing can’t register that I moved a bag...

Because the small things matter

There was a moment the world seemed to feel bigger and smaller at the same time. Bigger, in that we seemed to be on our own, our great big country with its big ideas and advancements enjoying the American dream. Smaller, in that we didn’t have immediate access to the rest of the world. Technology changed that. Reporters appear on screen live from Russia offering commentary on our recent election. Sporting events are telecast...

Learning to Love ‘These People’

“Mama, are you going to give that man some money?” We stopped for after school Icee’s at the corner convenience store. The homeless man stood at the corner in his rumpled, dirty clothes and his blank stare. “No. We don’t give money to those people.” I continued the education that had been given me as a child. These people were different. They’re on drugs or drunks. They’re not like us....

The goal is to connect

The granddaughter had a new game. The goal is to connect different configurations of colored squares to make a complete line. Strategy isn’t always useful when you don’t know the next hand you’ll be dealt. You have to work with what you’re given. And I’m hooked on it. It’s not complicated and gives you opportunity to learn from your impatience or over-thinking. If only real life connection were this simple....

Let’s add the Candle of Mess to our Advent this year

Our pianist has only been with us a few months. She’s an outsider to our community and our church traditions. A church woman herself, she answered the ad we placed for a pianist needed: Sundays, 8:45 – 10:15 a.m. She walked through the doors our first Sunday of Advent, greeted me as I said, “it’s Advent, you never know what’s going to happen so hold on.” I’m not sure if...

Why I, WE, need Thanksgiving

Because when it’s not on my to-do list or calendar I forget It can’t be the best thing to admit I forget to be thankful. I say thank-you. Mama raised us to have polite manners, after all. But I forget to BE thankful. To carry specific thoughts of the litany of reasons to give thanks to God. If we didn’t have a whole day with it spelled out on the...

How do we thank God no matter what?

Is this the year we sit around our Thanksgiving tables in fear and loathing, wondering where did it go amok? Do we rattle off our list of thanks with all the enthusiasm of reciting the multiplication tables? I’ve lived through elections since the late 70’s when I became eligible to cast my ballot. Saturday Night Live heavily influenced my choice for Carter as I’m sure it’s influenced many a generation...

Who are these Saints and why do they have a day?

Our church isn’t liturgical. I don’t think I knew that word until I was an adult. I thought the ‘church calendar’ was Christmas and Easter, including Good Friday, of course. To me, Saints were either in the bible or more recent dead people who’d been in church their whole lives. Living saints? A few old folks may have been described in that way. Sinners? Oh yes, we were all sinners-...