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Showing posts from March, 2016

What Kind of Bunny?

Last Friday (3/18), I took my kids to see Zootopia.

It was a little intense for them, but on the whole they liked it. It was the three-year-old's first movie. If I had known that it was quite that dark, I probably wouldn't have taken her, but she sat in my lap the whole time and thought it was pretty neat. 
The theme of the movie, much touted elsewhere, is good enough for the very heavy-handed Disney presentation. The animals in Zootopia have all learned to get along. The movie deals with stereotyping and what happens to individuals when we stereotype groups. Granted, foxes, elephants, sheep, and bunnies have far less biologically in common than do all people, so should we need an animal film to show us how to get along?  Nevertheless, as I watched the movie, I was increasingly agitated. There was obviously a lot of biological and anatomical research that went into this movie. While there were some animals that appeared slightly unusually shaped for their species (see: Clawha…

Crosspost: Gaslighting

This was originally written for and posted on RevGalBlogPals.org and posted on 3/21/16. At the time of posting, it generated considerable conversation and commentary. I recommend that you go over there for interesting thoughts beyond this writing.

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Gaslighting is a strong word.
It’s a strong word with psychological triggers for many people, including me.
Gaslighting involves the perpetrator trying to convince the target (the one being gaslighted) that what they perceive is not actual reality. By convincing the target to doubt herself, the gaslighter gains power through distortion, lies, and misinformation. Soon the target may come depend on the gaslighter for “truth”, since the target no longer trusts his senses, perceptions, or even basic reasoning ability.
Donald Trump has been accused of gaslighting the entire United States of America. By doubling-down when caught in a lie, Trump makes his accusers doubt themsel…

Question about Prayer

Question: I'm stuck thinking about prayer because the logic doesn't seem to work. If God does not inflict illnesses or accidents, why do we pray for Him to keep us safe or to heal a loved one. Yet we pray for healing or recovery or safe travels all the time at church. If we are not saying “don't pick me with a life-altering disaster” or “skip us with cancer,” is it proper to pray “keep us safe”? Because it seems like I'm asking, “Don't let/make bad things happen to me” . . . and God doesn't cause bad things to happen to us which is where I started.
Or is the only correct supplication, “Be with us when the inevitable terrors of life and death come”? What am I missing? Thank you.

Dear Child of God- 
This question about prayer is excellent, thoughtful, and something to which I can greatly relate. We end up in a very tough spot when we try to make our faith or faith actions logical. There is a certain amount of reason that is absolutely necessary and (I believe) enc…

Ash Wednesday Loop

I once preached an Easter sermon titled "Ready or Not, Resurrection"... maybe I need to read it again for myself.

For this year, I am decidedly "not".

I am not ready for Easter. Not just in the sense of no sermon yet or no bulletins prepared or having conversations with people about music or atmosphere and being undecided, I mean I am flat-out not ready.

I am not ready to hear the cries of "Crucify him" and to see images from the news in my mind of mobs of people pushing black and brown-skinned individuals with whom they disagree.

I am not ready to hear "Give us Barabbas" and to picture a crowd that preferred a murderer to the embodied Word of God.

I am not ready to feel the roughed surface of the congregation's large wooden cross and have it draw to mind the mixed up winter we've had and its total on bodies and psyches.

I'm not ready to talk to people about assisting in worship, while admitting to myself (and maybe to them) that my …

Why Poland?

Beginning in mid-May, I will be going on sabbatical for 11 weeks. Entering my eighth year of service to the same congregation permits me 12 weeks of sabbatical leave that can be used for a variety of purposes. Sabbatical is not vacation, but does use one's yearly allotment for continuing education. (I already went on one week of Con. Ed. this year, so that's why 11 this summer.)

During my sabbatical, I will be going to Poland (by myself), going to the East Coast (with my kids), celebrating my tenth wedding anniversary (with my husband), and thinking about some future writing projects and possible additional education. Thinking about not being at the church I serve for 11 weeks is strange. It also causes me to realize how much of my self identity is attached to what I do, not my title necessarily, but literally what I do and the people for whom I do. That's probably material for another post.

The question I get most frequently about sabbatical is: Why Poland?

I'm going o…

Selfie Snobs

The other day I saw this meme on Facebook and it was liked by several people I respect. The poster (who I doubt was the original poster) was not someone I knew, but a pseudonym (I assume and hope) that asserted that this person enjoys being the grouch in a congregation. That's too bad. Something about this particular picture/meme set my teeth on edge. It's not because I love selfies or even that I take very many. This has the tinge of annoyance that implies that people who do something differently than you are wrong, even if what they are doing is not inherently wrong.  For much of human history, the people who were preserved in art had money. You had to have plenty of money to have your image carved in stone. You had to have the connections to commission a likeness and the implied power to keep the artist working. Even if a particular artist was creating an image that involved, say, a biblical persona, he (or she) might model the scene with a likeness of a local leader or wea…