Friday, January 30, 2009

calling all angels

Hello from Prague where I'm looking for a Dissertation Doula. I've created a blog to track my progress. All kind accountability welcomed (or is it welcome - my brain is confusing me).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

a day of birthing hope

It's been a good day. There's nothing like watching the inauguration with 3rd Graders at Patronis Elementary School. Thank you Ms. Barker's class.

Yesterday was another Elba day. Birthing kits were counted, sorted, loved. I've posted pictures at the Birthing Hope blog.

We're in need of additional kits and kit items. Speaking of Birthing Hope . . . I have a Washington, DC internship this spring. I'm looking for affordable housing and I'm open to all possibilities. Your connections would be appeciated.

"What if the mightiest word is love. . .",

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dr. Smith I Need a New Preaching Class (and a computer that prints on more than 1/4 of the page)

I preached today in Elba, Alabama . . . "I remember you." It was great to be back with my church family. Oh Elba, how I have loved thee.

After the service, I went to lunch with a few church members. I asked them what they thought my "take home message" was. They remembered that I preached on Samuel. They remembered a few of my illustrations . .. but no one could name a, "so what". Oh no. Maybe I should end every sermon with a recap of at least one main point. Seriously, would that be helpful? If congregants walk away knowing they enjoyed the sermon, but having no idea what I said, is that good enough? I can't imagine that it is.

Here is an excerpt from today's sermon on 1 Samuel 3:

"I’ve read this passage of scripture dozens of times. Samuel’s encounter with God is a famous conversation. In all the times of reading I’ve never focused on the in between moments when Samuel goes back to sleep and Eli is clueless. I’ve always focused on Samuel’s eventual response to God – when he realized that God was talking to him and he answered with those famous words, “Here I am.” I’ve never thought about the process it took for Samuel to get to his response. There was Hannah and her inconsolable tears, a miraculous birth, a move to the temple. There were many nights when God said nothing as Samuel slept by the Ark making sure the lamps were burning . . . God is still speaking and is just as likely to be found in the commonplace talking to the apprentice and not the know it all. In this season of ordinary time, we are all on the edge of creation. Lent will be here soon enough. The Easter banner will be hung . . . "

My personal "so what" was the realization that there were many nights Samuel didn't hear a word from God. There were many nights he slept alone in the temple "keeping watch" over the lanterns and . . . God . . . said . . . nothing. Ordinary time.

Insert peaceful exhale here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

"Worst Ministry Moment"

Last year I had the privilege of co-officiating at the wedding of a good friend. There were four ministers. Every detail was thoughtfully planned. As I recall, my part of the service was to read scripture and say the benediction. Communion was part of the ceremony and one of the other ministers presided.

As she broke the bread, half the loaf fell to the floor, bounced, and rolled under the communion table. I had the best view in the church and as she knelt to retrieve the wayward bread she looked at me with horror. I gave her one of my best camp director faces that said, "It will be fine, just proceed dear." I was stunned and she was mortified. The bride and groom seemed unfazed. I remember thinking she should have called out, "Five second rule," but thought better of it.

Today I received a Facebook message from her telling me that the dropping of the bread incident was her worst ministry moment ever. Ouch. Her comment started me thinking about what my worst ministry moment might be. The worst ones can't be shared publicly . . . but of those that can be shared, here it is.

If you have one, I would love to "hear" it.


Last week I received a call from someone I've never met to perform her daughter and future son in law's wedding. She read about me on my friend Laurie's blog.
So, this upcoming Sunday I'm driving to Montgomery, AL to officiate at the wedding of two new friends. This is a paying gig and I'm thankful, but I'm also honored. I love weddings and having a ring side seat has never failed to be amazing.

Back in the day I remember discussing whether or not I would officiate weddings of people I didn't know. Today the answer is yes, and I'm looking forward to it. Have car, plane ticket, passport . . . will travel. Let me know if I can be of service. ;)