Bling?

dangly-earrings1Bling: a term in hiphop culture referring to flashy or elaborate jewelry and ornamented accessories that are carried, worn, or installed.

At a recent gathering of clergy–where I wore long, dangly earrings and a colleague wore his uniform as Chief Fire Department Chaplain–a female colleague  said she was glad we were wearing our “bling.”

She especially appreciated my earrings, because, she said, she was tired of women clergy being criticized for wearing big or dangly earrings. She felt supported by me.

When I was much younger, clergy–who were only male–wore black or grey. I still wear that, but also blue, red, and purple. I’d like to wear a teal clergy shirt, if I could find it.

Someday, I may be able to have my own clergy shirts made, or perhaps some other clothing that expresses my enjoyment of color and simple design.

Even clergy can be fashi0nable.

Take a Chance

estimated-time-of-arrivalYesterday, I send a text message to about 50 people–folks I love, most of them people in the church I serve and lead. The message was simple: God is ready when you are.

I received many responses. Some thanked me. Several thought maybe I was telling them that God was calling them home. One dear friend, who is having a very hard struggle in life, was angry. “Ready for what?” she fired back.

I had to tell her that I do not know.

Later, I realized that by sending the message, without any explanation or context, I was taking a chance on God. I felt inspired to send the message, but I had no idea how it would be received. I stuck my neck out, and trusted God.

I’m glad I did. I feel a new closeness with these friends. And with God.

Fixed on God

sunriseI woke up this morning with my mind fixed on God.

Oh, what a difference it makes.

The sun is brighter, the air crisper and cleaner, my smile broader, my eyes shinier, my step more lively, my mind more open and facile, my heart pumping just so, my hands and arms open and ready . . .

Keep your eye on the prize . . . I used to think that song referred only to the struggle for civil rights. Now, I realize that while it is about that and a whole bunch of other good and important things, it is first about God.

God is the biggest prize of all. And we’ve already won it.

No purchase necessary. No secret password.

Just say, “yes” and keep your mind, your eyes, your heart, your mind, your whole being fixed on God.

“Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy”

emmet-foxlouis-ckOn Sunday, I quoted Emmet Fox (right), who said, “The principal revelation of the Jesus Christ teaching is the omnipresence and availability of God.” Imagine my delight when this morning I was given the opportunity to listen to a comedian say much the same thing–without any reference to Jesus.

If you can, tune in to the interview by Conan O’Brien with comic Louis CK (left), in which he describes so much of postmodern life–how we have forgotten the wonder of living by staying focused on the petty and mundane.  Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoGYx35ypus

I have no idea if Louis CK is a person of any faith, but I can tell you that what he says is very spiritual (as well as very funny). My way of puttting it is this: keep your focus on God and don’t sweat the small stuff.

If you are looking for a way to observe Lent that will help you grow spiritually, try it for a day.

It will change you, it will change how you live, and it will change the world around you.

A Tidal Wave of Change

nigerian-flagrainbow-flagThe U.S. Department of State has issued its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. Here is  part of the lengthy report on Nigeria (flag left).

“Homosexuality is illegal under federal law; homosexual practices are punishable by prison sentences of up to 14 years. In the 12 northern states that have adopted Shari’a law, adults convicted of engaging in homosexual intercourse are subject to execution by stoning, although no such sentences were imposed during the year. Because of widespread taboos against homosexuality, very few persons were openly homosexual.

“On September 12, local newspapers Nation, Vanguard, PM News and the Sunday Sun published photos, names, and addresses of members of the House of Rainbow Metropolitan Community Church, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered-friendly church in Lagos. Following publication, persons started harassing the 12 members. One woman was attacked by 11 men, while others were threatened, stoned, and beaten. No investigation was initiated by year’s end.”

We must agitate for justice for LGBT people, not only for ourselves in the United States but also to create a tidal wave of change that will sweep across Nigeria and every other place where people die for the simple fact of their God-given sexuality.

(Note: The full report can be accessed through http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/af/119018.htm)

Let It Snow

emily-january-2009-richmond-0153God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change . . . .

That’s the way I feel about snow.

Yes, it is pretty when it first falls.  But, Currier & Ives made lovely prints and I can find photographs any time I miss the snow (can’t remember the last time that happened).

Okay, not to be totally grumpy. . . . . I can see the beauty outside my window right now (see picture to the left). 

Courage to change the things I can . . .

I’ll be planting flowers soon!

And the wisdom to know the difference . . .

Waiting for spring is so sweet (especially when it is coming soon, very soon!). Let it snow. I’ve got a warm house, plenty to keep me busy inside it, and my husband staying home, too.

I am blessed.