Sunday, December 28, 2008


I recently got a new book which I have fell in love with. It's called "Crazy Talk: A Not-So-Stuffy Dictionary of Theological Terms." I think its a great book to explain all those "stuffy" theological terms we throw around in seminary and soon find that we can never use in a sermon. I've also been thinking about doing a study with church members on "thinking theologically" as far as getting our members to understand the idea of consistency. The notion that if you say "XYZ" about God then that also means you are implying "ABC" about God and how we can offer consistent affirmations about God in our everyday conversations. We'll see how that goes :)

In "honor" of my upcoming ordination, I thought it appropriate to offer their definition of ordination.

"Ordination" (ohr-dih-NA-shuhn - noun)
A ceremony of God's church during which someone God has called is consecrated for God's ministry on behalf of God's world - and so, naturally, people who are ordained think that it is all about them.

Thank you all for reading this entry. Most folks don't give a rip about the particulars of bureaucratic processes and human resource concerns. To a large extent, that's what ordination amounts to, with the added veneer of church ritual and religio-speak, of course. We're not trying to be flip. It's just that all pastors-to-be are sinners just like you and we are.

Too often, ordination is set up in such a way that the pastor-to-be is placed high up on a spiritual pedestal. The resulting high hopes, coupled with the pastor's natural flaws, inevitably produce disenchantment, burnout, and worse. It's one thing for a church to have a bit of a celebration when one from their midst is being lifted up as public preacher of the gospel. It's another thing to (a) set someone up for failure or (b) believe your own publicity.

It'd be chaotic if just anybody could get up in a pulpit and let fly. So a little order for the preaching office is, well, in order. Ordination sets aside those people whome the church believes are divinely called and thoroughly prepared for ministry.

On the other hand, ordained pastors do well to remember that it's not about them. Ordination is about what God is doing through the preaching, teaching, and ministry of everyday sinners."


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Light Among Darkness

This letter is from a former minister of mine... their annual Christmas letter. I always like their's because they are rarely the typical... "look at all the cool stuff my (grand)children did this year." (Granted yes those are nice sometimes, but can get a little cliche)

At any rate - I thought this letter was worth sharing. I think it says a lot about our country - and especially about how a lot of Christians feel at this point. I hate stereotypes - granted yes I'm sure I have my role in perpetuating them, but I hate them. I try not to live into them, and I try not to assume them. Yes, I'm human, I have difficulty with that sometimes... but alas... here is the letter.

" - The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. - John 1:5 -

I was a wet-behind-the-ears kid that day, circa 1942, when I saw this huge black man, in bib overalls, talking with dad at the service station. They were friendly and laughing together, and I took it in. I didn't know it then, but later, looking back, the darkness had gotten a bit lighter.

It was 1947 when I first saw him on the high school track. He was a black flash with a beautiful stride. His name was Everett. We ran track together. We weren't close, but friendly. One day I gave him a lift home in my car. And when I saw where he lived I couldn't see through the tears, the darkness was getting still lighter.

They say college is where you grow up. I guess that's right. Against my dad's good counsel, I, along with others, picketed the trustees of our Christian university for not allowing blacks to enroll. I don't think it was a few idealistic students, but by 1953 a black face was seen on campus. And the darkness? Well, it wasn't as dark as it had been.

I didn't march with the black man in Selma, but I spoke on the streets of Brooklyn in support of his dream. Scared the hell out of me. Yet the darkness just wasn't as dark as before.

Back in 'ol downtown K.C. there were floods of black and white storie memories - a little black boy looking for a dad, almost any dad would do... a church full of curfew violators following a dark as dark can be assassination...a march to the police station to confront as good a police chief as K.C. ever panthers walking in the night...a church, and churches together, applying tourniquets and bandages...As the classic novel put it: it was the best of times and the worst of times. It was darkness and light in pitched battle. And it took a good bit of faith to see through those dark nights.

All through my married years she's been with me, supporting and pushing me, and moving beyond me in places I'd never go. For cryin'-out-loud they stuck this vulnerable-white-woman-teacher in a ghetto-black-school, where neither teachers nor students nore parents wanted her. She was a pariah in no-white-persons-land. Yet in the end - this vulnerable one, who could cry a river, forded the stream and became a favorite of students and parents and many of her black colleagues. And if that isn't a comet in the dark sky I don't know light.

And today? Well it may not have been your today, red and blue as it is. Fair enough. But for Susan [name changed for privacy] and me it was November 5th, 2008, the day after election day, sitting on the couch early a.m. hearing that a black man had become the 44th president-elect of the United States. We clinked our coffee cups, and virtually said together, "Well, I'll be damn!" Because if that wasn't a sun-blast-in-the-darkness we don't know what is.

It's not over, not by an infinity. We are no pollyannas. But two old skeptics, on the cusp of a new day, are affirming once more that "the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

P.S. To you "reds" out there - many of whom we are beloved family members - we mean no fault. But neither do we apologize. God bless us all. We're all Americans. And may we always be together."

I normally would add some sort of commentary or thought that I hope would be inspiring, or might add to what I've just posted. But in this case - there is no need. This letter is perfect.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Claiming the Holocaust Didn't Happen

A few weeks ago I received a forwarded email entitled, "It happened." I'm normally not one to respond to forwards, I don't normally pass them on unless I think they are extremely important, or have made me fall out of my chair laughing, but this one was different.

The forwarded email I received had a power point file on it that played several very disturbing photos of the Holocaust, along with a "news" story about how the United Kingdom had officially taken the Holocaust out of its national curriculum, and would no longer be teaching about the Holocaust in the United Kingdom. The reasoning - according to this powerpoint - was becasue the teachers did not want to offend the Muslim students and their families who believed (because of Muslim teachings) that the Holocaust did not happen.

I was shocked and appalled.

I had to respond.

First of all, I didn't believe that this could ever be true, so I did some research only to find that this was an ounce of the truth that had been blown way out of proportion. So my first complaint is that people need to quit sending on emails and forwards that aren't true. All it does is waste time and energy to forward dumb emails that are either completely false, or just so ridiculous they should be removed from all of cyberspace. But I digress.

After I did some research I did something I'm not one to normally do. I went back and looked at ALL the email addresses that had received this email, according to the FW: FW: FW: FW: FW: and I emailed the following email to every single person. If you know me at all, I'm not one to rock the boat, and I'm not fond of confrontation. Sometimes I don't mind - but if it's me putting my own rear end out there, ALL BY MYSELF - chances are I'll just observe until I develop the courage. So responding this quicly and strong, this was a big step for me...

Feel free to read MY response to the original email... then there's more :)

"I’m normally not one to respond to or to pass on forwards, but I can’t sit back and watch these kind of emails. I apologize if you have never met me, nor even know who I am, but I BEG you to think about the emails you are sending before you haphazardly send emails to your entire address book without thinking of the implications. I also plead that you will take time to think about the following thoughts, even if its only for that minute our first email talked about…

I am especially touched by the spreading of this “It happened” email because I personally have stood on the Holy Ground that is Auschwitz/Birkenau. I have personally touched the grass that grows an entirely different color green because it is growing from the ashes of cremated human beings that were buried there so many years ago. I have touched the hard metal of the rail roads that represented a way into Birkenau, but no way out. I have stood inside a gas chamber and felt the cold steel of the inside door of that chamber, which so many people wrestled with as they fought to open the door before they were put to death for no apparent reason. I have met and dined with "Righteous Gentiles" who were put into death camps for speaking out. I have traveled with a Holocaust survivor and listened to him tell me that he cannot remember his sister's face, only her long braid as she walked into the gas chamber.

I’ve included at the bottom of this email several links which clarify that THIS FORWARDED EMAIL IS FALSE and that there is no truth to an official removal of the Holocaust from the United Kingdom’s curriculum. However, I first have something to say about sending this kind of email in the first place.

I say these things as a licensed minister from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), a mainline denomination here in the US and Canada, which also has ties throughout many countries of the world. I have completed my education at an accredited seminary and will be ordained in the next few months.

The original email said, the “UK erased the Holocaust from the British school curriculum because it offended ‘the muslim population beliefs’ that the Hoocaust never took place.”

Ineeded there are several people in our world who have a sick and twisted idea that the Holocaust never happened, however THIS IS NOT A TEACHING OF THE MAJORITY OF MUSLIMS, NOR IS IT PART OF TRUE MUSLIM FAITH AND TEACHINGS.

JUST LIKE EVERY RELIGION, WHERE THEY HAVE THOSE WHO HOLD WRONG BELIEFS, THOSE WHOM WE CALL EXTREMISTS, ISLAM DOES TOO. This does not mean that every single Muslim you meet is an extremist, nor does it mean that every person who follows Islam believes the same things that extremists do. Islam is like Christianity – there is a broad spectrum of beliefs. Would Christians all want to be associated with the beliefs of the KKK? Would Christians want people to "learn" about Christianity based on the teachings of the KKK? I think not. I'm not saying that there aren't people who teach and profess such lies about the "myth" of the Holocaust, but this is not something that is a true teaching of the Muslim faith, or at least the Muslim faith I have studied and know.

Forwarding emails like this that blame things on one particular faith community only perpetuates hatred and misunderstanding. Sending emails without fully knowing whether or not they are true continues to perpeutate hate.

When the Holocaust started, Germany was a fertile ground full of protestant believers who “knew” the Bible front to back. These believers “knew” that the Jews killed Jesus, which they were taught, and they believed gave them right to kill the Jews. The Nazi’s also “knew” hundreds of other things they could blame on the Jews, and why they should be killed. All of which we now profess to be wrong. If we are still perpetuating hatred, and spreading rumors about religious beliefs and institutions, have we REALLY learned anything? Maybe it’s not about Jews or Christians now, but by perpetuating hatred towards and fear from those who are different, or those who we do not understand, or those who receive bad press because the extremists have the loudest voices, we are only continuing on with the same hatred that was present during the Holocaust. Sadley, that hatred has never died.

It is not what people do in the name of their religion that makes a religion. It is not what the extremists do that make Islam what it is. I could go on for days about true Islam and the true meaning of their religion, but I digress. If you are insterested I encourage you to check out and see for yourself that Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are in fact all very much related, all believe in the ONE SAME TRUE GOD regardless of the name we give our God, and all three faiths have peaceful foundations. We are directly connected through a common ancestor, Abraham, and continue to have a peaceful familial relationship in many places throughout the world.

“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” – Blaise Pascal

Please check out these links:

Holocaust Education Trust of UK

Boycott Watch

Israel News

Thank you for taking the time to read this email. Please feel free to respond with any questions or concerns.

"It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read." - Thomas Jefferson"

I even went so far as to give everyone on that email list my personal phone number and email so that they could respond if they wanted to. I had one person respond simply asking me to remove them from the list. It was very polite, and I was not offended.

TODAY however... I received a new email...

"Ms. Phillips:

This would be in response to your email in regard to Great Britain not wanting to offend their Muslim citizens in regard to the Holocaust and taking the truth out of their history books. Snopes, I fear, is as liberal in their interpretation of the truth as you seem to be. I do not know the quote--but there is one out there that suggests that if we choose to ignore the past and hope that it will go away--the horrors of it will be repeated.

How do you feel about the "stuff" going on in Illinois? Our country is on a steep--grave--slippery slope. Liberal denominations such as the one you serve are taking us down the same path that our government is. Come Lord Jesus--come quickly."

This gentleman then signed his name and then put in parentheses underneath his name (Psalm 91).

I'm not sure if I should respond to his email... What would I say? What would you say?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Advent Traditions

Each week in church we light a new candle to recognize the season of Advent. We light these candles, and remember the different themes that have traditionally been assigned to each week of Advent, hope, peace, joy and love. But has this act become something we do out of tradition and monotony more than out of intention? Are we chancing the Advent wreath becoming womething like Christmas lights and the Christmas tree? They look pretty, but WHY do we REALLY take time to put all these things up?
Don't get me wrong, I have a Christmas tree up, and a few "Nutcracker" decorations (after dancing in it for so long I can hardly not!), but why do we really put them up? They might remind us of the times we had Christmas trees when we were younger. Or I always remember the times that my whole family was present to put up the tree, and we always fought over who got to hang THE "baby's first Christmas" ornament up, even though it clear had a 1982 date on there. (I'm sure my sister and brother got one of those, but for some reason, mine was coveted!) And I'm sure if you have children, its simply out of the question to NOT put up a Christmas tree - but what are all of our Christmas traditions really representing?
Most Christmas traditions started out with great intentions, and were quite meaningful things at the time. But OVER time, we chance getting stuck in the monotony of a tradition and forgetting why we are REALLY doing it, rather only doing it because "that's what we've done before." All traditions - especially those at church - but all traditions risk this... Christmas is no different.
As we light Advent candles on Sunday mornings, or on Sunday evenings at home with our families, or anytime throughout Advent, I hope we all continue to take time to pause and remember why we are lighting Advent candles. As darkness (both real and metaphorical darkness) deepens, and as the long winter comes, each week we light one more candle to remember our hope for the coming light. And while each candle might mean something, hope, peace, joy, love, may we remember the simplicity of even lighting the candles. The action of lighting one more candle in the darkness bears the most meaning. In the face of growing darkness, the church and its community participates in practices which bring more light. May we think of our own faith communities as a circle, imaging ourselves as our Advent wreath, that we are the ones to bear the light of Christ. Each week may we bring more light into the darkness, bearing the light which we know will come to us on Christmas day.

Monday, December 01, 2008

40 Things You'd Love to Say at Work - BUT WON'T

1. I can see your point, but I still think you're full of shit.
2. I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce.
3. How about never? Is never good for you?
4. I see you've set aside this special time to publicly humiliate yourself.
5. I'm really easy to get along with once you people learn to see it my way.
6. Who lit the fuse on your tampon?
7. I'm out of my mind at the moment, but feel free to leave a message.
8. I don't work here - I'm a consultant.
9. It sounds like English, but I don't understand a damn word you're saying.
10. Ahhh. I see the screw-up fairy has visited us again.
11. I like you. You remind me of myself when I was young and stupid.
12. You are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers.
13. I have plenty of talent and vision - I just don't give a damn.
14. I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.
15. I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.
16. Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.
17. The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist.
18. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.
19. What am I? Flypaper for freaks?
20. I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant.
21. It's a thankless job, but I've got a lot of karma to burn
22. Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.
23. And your cry-baby whiny assed opinion would be?
24. Do I look like a f..king people person to you?
25. This isn't an office. It's Hell with fluorescent lighting.
26. I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left
27. Sarcasm is just one more service we offer.
28. If I throw a stick, will you leave?
29. Errors have been made. Others will be blamed.
30. Whatever kind of look you were going for, you missed.
31. Oh, I get it. Like humour. Only different.
32. A cubicle is just a padded cell without the door.
33. Can I trade this job for what's behind door number 1?
34. Too many freaks, not enough circuses.
35. Nice perfume, but must you marinate in it?
36. Chaos, panic and disorder - my work here is finally done.
37. How do I set a laser printer to kill?
38. I thought I wanted a career; turns out I just wanted a salary
39. I'll try being nicer if you try being smarter.
40. Wait a minute - I'm just trying to imagine you with a personality

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I'm assuming that by now – everyone is aware of who has won our presidential race, and I also assume that most everyone is aware of who I voted for. The race is over. But race is not over, and sadly for all of us, it never will be.

More than my personal satisfaction with the win by individual whom I supported because of that person's policies on how they would run our country, I am happy and thankful for a change in history. And I would have been similarly happy about a change in history if the other ticket would have won. I'm thankful that a black man has been selected as our president-elect. And I would have been equally happy if a woman had been voted the vice-president-elect.

I recently wrote on my "facebook status," that "Laura is thankful that Rosa sat, so that Martin could walk, that Martin walked so that Obama could run, and that Obama ran so our children can fly…Hope is sustenance!"

A friend of mine – yes I have friends who do not agree with me politically – "When a person of color runs for office and ethnicity is a non-issue, THEN that will be something worth celebrating! If 95% of "whites" voted for McCain just because he was white you'd call it racism, but since they were "black" you write poetry about it? A lot of conservative African-Americans sold out their values and beliefs to vote along racial lines, sounds like two steps back to me…"

At first I was quite taken aback by the comment, and somewhat offended. But after reflecting a bit, I have realized what has offended me. I'm tired of people in general assuming that I as individual have voted for this particular candidate because of superficial things, or because of a great marketing/propaganda campaign. Similarly, I'm tired of some people thinking that the majority of American people have voted in this president-elect because we are so stupid that we are only responding to catchy songs, captivating rhetoric and empty promises that look shiny and pretty on the outside.

But then I see another of my friend's "status" updates that says this…. "Name…Believes it unreal that this country will elect someone named HUSSEIN to the highest office in the land…"

And I am again reminded of what so many of voters ARE in fact responding to. That even if my friends are in support of McCain because of his policies and how he intended to run the country, their view of his middle name, which happens to be a very common name, have over-shadowed their intelligent choices made for other reasons. Similarly, it makes me sad that while many people had very valid reasons to not support McCain/Palin, the main reasons they ended up not supporting that ticket was because Sarah Palin winked too much.

I'm not sure I will ever be convinced that the 64% of Americans who actually voted (ISN'T IT SAD THAT ONLY 64% OF OUR COUNTRY CHOSE TO EXERCISE THEIR RIGHT TO VOTE?!) all voted based on policies and on intelligent reasons for supporting their candidates, but I have to say something about the history that has been made with this election.

Yes, we probably would call it racism if 95% of "white" Americans voted for McCain, (43% of white Americans, 74% of the collective voters voted for Obama while 55% of that 74% voted for McCain). And I'm afraid I can't say I would probably respond to the initial propaganda of that sort of thing. But in the end, I have hope, some may call it naïvete, but I disagree, I have HOPE that human beings will act in rational ways that treat one another as a human being, simply because we all are equally human beings. Racism surrounds the notion of superiority, that one race is superior or inferior to another. However, I would say that when individuals who are often part of the "inferior" race, vote along with their own race, simply because of race, it is because of a notion of solidarity, not superiority. And yes, it makes me sad that we have resorted to voting, based on solidarity. Solidarity is NOT how ANY of us should be voting. So I would share with my friends frustrations, that this potentially could be two steps back. If we are basing our vote on simply standing in solidarity with someone who is similar to us, rather than voting on policies which we think will benefit the majority of the citizens of our country, then we haven't moved forward at all.

However, the HOPE that I see from this election, and its results, is not provided by those who voted ONLY to stand in solidarity with a man who is from a minority in this country. The HOPE that I see from this election, surrounds the fact that there are (what appears to be) a majority of people who chose to see past race in order to vote Barack Obama into office. Even if it is not a majority, there are enough people in this country who have not made race an issue.

I see HOPE that even though prejudice and racism abounds in this country, even though there is reverse racism, and even though we are inventing all sorts of new prejudices to separate us as human beings, there was enough working together, and there was enough unity for at least one day in my life, that we have voted a minority into office. That somehow race was pushed aside ENOUGH – I'm confident not completely – BUT ENOUGH that it has not determined this race.

Unity does not ask us to push aside our differences completely. Rather unity calls us to identify our differences, work through them, accept them, and to focus on those things which bring us together.

And with that being said, I'll step off my soap box by ending this blog with a news article. Two friends of mine who I go to school with at the seminary shared a birthday yesterday, but they did not share their vote. And their relationship made news here in Lexington amidst the noise of the election and the candidates.

My sincere hope is that regardless of who you voted for, we can all support our president. I hated it when people said following the last election, "he's not my president." Yes he is. That doesn't mean you have to ALWAYS be impressed with him, or always AGREE with him, but in the end, respect him, because the majority of your peers and your fellow citizens have seen enough leadership in him, to call him to be our next leader. It is my sincere hope that this election can bring together our country, and remind us that we are indeed the UNITED States of America.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

You Can Vote However You Like

If anything, this election has done at least something well. If it means that there are more people involved in politics and understanding the issues, including 6th and 7th graders, then a good thing has happened.


Obama on the left
McCain on the right
We can talk politics all night
And you can vote however you like
You can vote however you like, yeah

Democratic left
Republican right
November 4th we decide
And you can vote however you like
You can vote however you like, yeah

(McCain supporters)
McCain is the man
Fought for us in Vietnam
You know if anyone can
Help our country he can
Taxes droppin low
Dont you know oils gonna flow
Drill it low
I'll show our economy will grow

I want Obama
Stick wit McCain you gone have some drama
Iran he will attack
We gotta vote Barack!


McCain's the best candidate
With Palin as his running mate
They'll fight for gun rights, pro life,
The conservative right
Our future is bright
Better economy in site
And all the world will feel our military might

(Obama supporters)
But McCain and Bush are real close right
They vote alike and keep it tight
Obama's new, he's younger too
The Middle Class-he will help you
He'll bring a change, he's got the brains
McCain and Bush are just the same
You are to blame, Iraq's a shame
Four more years would be insane

Lower your Taxes - you know Obama Won't
PROTECT THE LOWER CLASS - You know McCain won't!
Have enough experience - you know that they don't
STOP GLOBAL WARMING - you know that you won't

I want Obama
Stick with McCain and you're going to have some drama
We need it
He'll be it
We'll do it
Let's move it


I'm talking big pipe lines, and low gas prices
Below $2.00 that would be nice

But to do it right we gotta start today
Finding renewable ways that are here to stay

I want Obama
Stick wit McCain you gone have some drama
Iran he will attack
We gotta vote Barack!


Friday, October 10, 2008

Photos of the Nieces and Nephews

Just some photos some of the things that I have been a part of - or some that I have missed :( but my nieces and nephews as they grow up!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Pastor's Preaching Politics?

On Saturday September 27th...

"Some 30 pastors across the country will be preaching politics on Sunday in violation of the law."

On Monday September 29th...

"The IRS has promised to take action against ministers who made public political endorsements."

One person in the first news story says it is his job as a pastor to bring people together - not to divide them over party lines. While I agree with that - I can see how the other pastor thinks he IS bringing people together by telling people who they should vote for. (No worries however, no endorsements for candidates from the pulpit from me!)

I will say however, that I am offended by this "Alliance Defense Fund" that continues to perpetuate the "single issue" voting that has polarized this country. I have only briefly looked at their website, but the brevity has already offended me. We cannot continue to vote for candidates based on two issues, abortion and same-sex marriage - or for any other single issue for that matter. In that same breath, we can no longer continue to ignore the fact that our daily lives, which often include our faith and our religion will in fact coincide with our politics. We are risking a moral bankruptcy in which our country decides on our leaders and our policies based on two issues which are often misinformed and full of hype and propaganda, not actual information on which to make an educated decision. We are not moral people because of one decision we make. I am not a moral person because I make one decision based on pro-life or pro-choice. I AM a moral person because I try to make moral decisions on a daily and constant basis. Being “moral” and having “moral values” is like being a Christian. There’s not one decision that you make and then you are done. You don’t accept Christ and then you’re done – go back to living how you want. It’s a constant effort and a constant thing that you have to participate in – being complacent in life – especially as a Christian – is not an option. You aren’t a moral person just because you vote for one issue and then move on. And neither are these candidates – one issue that they support does not define them.

Ok – now that I’m off THAT soap box – back to pastors and politics from the pulpit. I’m not going to lie – politics will always be part of my pulpit. If politics (according to the classic definition espoused by Aristotle) is dealing with the structure, organization and administration of society, then Christianity is most certainly political. If we are not espousing a Christian way to structure your daily life, the organization of humanity and the administration of a family of God, then we are not espousing a Christian message. In that sense – politics will ALWAYS be a part of my pulpit. However, I will refuse to support one candidate from the pulpit. While yes I believe that I am right and that I have a message people should hear – I’m not going to alienate someone from the Christian faith because we disagree. (Don’t read into my “I believe I’m right” – if I didn’t believe I was right and had a message to share I would be a pretty crappy minister – but it’s a matter of also remaining humble and respectful of others – and willing to admit that sometimes you might be wrong.) Regardless – I’m never going to alienate someone from the Christian faith and tell them that they are not a Christian because they didn’t vote for a particular candidate. As a minister I should be a pretty strong Christian, one would think – and I’m not disagreeing that I do in fact have a robust and resilient faith – but in that same breath I know what it’s like to be alienated. When I decided to go to seminary, one of my closest friends – literally friends since we were born – beforehand in fact – asked me how I could be going to seminary because I am so liberal. He asked me if liberal Christians are even allowed to exist. I literally felt like someone punched me in the gut. It was the worst feeling I had had in a while when thinking about going to seminary. I had lived through a near split in my home church and watched it beat itself up – but that didn’t deter me from going to seminary. And not that this friend’s comment made me rethink going to seminary – but it hurt. So especially knowing what that punch in the gut feels like, I would never be able to support only one candidate from the pulpit. I support a congregation who is active in the political life of this country, a vital congregation which lives out its faith beyond the walls of the church, and in ways that we are following Christ. However, if we have a difference of opinion on how that is done, then so be it. But I would never seek to alienate a church member and make them feel like I did.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I am a disturbed individual...

(I must preface this by saying I'm not speaking about any one person or any one group of people, or any one situation in my or anyone's life. If you choose to look past this statement, then so be it.)

I am a disturbed individual...

I'm disturbed by a lot of things...a lot of things in my life that are directly a part of my life, and a lot of things in my life that I actually have no control over.

I'm disturbed by the so many people who think they can't make a difference in this world, or that their existence in this world won't make any sort of difference in the world.

I'm disturbed by the apathy and the pessimism that has seemed to take over our country alone - that we have to accept the world as is - and convince ourselves that it is ok.

I'm disturbed by the inequity and inequality that seems to run rampant in our world.

I'm disturbed by the apathy which thrives on individualism and the idea that we should only do those things which benefit "me, me me."

I'm disturbed by the fact that people can't even have a discussion about the future of our country, about the policies which will govern our great nation, without it turning into an argument because we are all so hell-bent (on every side) that we are right.

I'm disturbed by how much gasoline and our consumption of it seems to run and determine our every moment of our very lives.

I'm disturbed by how much I personally partake in the "society" which I hope to change, while I also struggle to resist.

I'm disturbed by the absence of truth and honesty.

I'm disturbed by how little we seem to value education and wisdom.

I'm disturbed by how difficult it is to be yourself...myself...some days.

I'm disturbed by how little we value a good hard days work of honest work.

I'm disturbed by how easy it is to judge someone based on appearance - and how hard it can be to truly get to know anyone lately.

I'm disturbed by how easy it is to blame others and to not take credit for making a bad decision.

I'm disturbed by the lack of integrity and prudence in some people.

I'm disturbed by the apparent inability to eat locally and organically without spending a fortune to do so.

I'm disturbed by the lack of appreciation for history, the past, and patina...that progress seems to have to be about the bigger, newer and more expensive.

I'm disturbed at how hard it is to be vulnerable and how much you get beat up for doing so sometimes.

I'm disturbed at how it seems like its hard to enjoy life without being a obsessed with consumption.

I'm disturbed by a lot things that I can't help... by the fact that I can't seem to change them for the better...

I'm disturbed by violence.

I'm disturbed by how much passion can serve the good - but how dangerous it can be at the same time...

I'm disturbed by senseless loss of life.

I am disturbed by the saying "hate the sin, not the sinner."

I am disturbed by intolerance.

I'm disturbed by the fact that some people will read this and think it's terribly depressing, when it fact I mean for it to show concern and compassion for the ills of God's creation... that I am constantly thinking about how I am called to make all of God's creation, nature, people, society, animals, all of it... a better place, for the way God intended us to live...that I am concerned with it, anxious about it and worried about it... but that I also have hope, that I am optimistic and probably naive to a fault... but that I hope for the best and have faith that the best will eventually happen....

Monday, September 08, 2008

Great News!

I have offically been approved for ordination! This is contigent on the completion of my final semester of seminary (in 95 days) but I'm confident I will finish - so I'm not too worried :) Stay tuned for more info on the big celebration in Kansas City!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Evangelism and Sorority Recruitment

I've recently become an advisor for the local chapter of my sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. The UK Chapter had a week long of recruitment and welcomed 69 new girls into what I would say was one of the best decisions I made while I was in college. I wasn't a HUGE part of helping them with recruitment, but just by being on the advisory board I was kept informed, and sort of "went through" the recruitment process with them.

However, I also went through both sides of the recruitment process myself. Granted it was 4 and 8 years ago, the last time that I did that, but I sitll have vivid memories of the huge undertaking it is for sorority recruitment.

This morning I preached at Woodland, and me and my partner-in-crime -Marsha - we helped lead the church while our interim minister is taking some leave for some family emergencies. Apart from the little "pat on the back" that I want to give the two of us (I know that's a bit selfish) I honestly think we did a good job. It's really hard for a church to go through so much change, and so its important that we make sure our members are experiencing genuine worship lead by individuals who genuinely care about their well-being and each person's individual relationship with God. And not that we were putting on an act, but I think we demonstrated that, people saw that this morning and people are responding to such transitory leadership, and still feeling led and cared for (which is ideal!). At any rate - following worship, Marsha and I spoke together with an individual who had visited the church a few times, and was interested in learning more about Disciples and our congregation.

As we sat there and talked with this individual, I just couldn't help but think about sorority recruitment and how much it felt so similar. Marsha and I sat that and tried to answer this individual's questions, and the two of us attempted to answer the questions as genuinely as possible, from our point of view and from our experience with the church. We also tried to express the immense love and connection we have with this church and its members. And honestly, at times it felt as if we were reverting back into sorority recruitment. Sorority recruitment has such a terrible spin on it - as does fraternity recruitment - Greek Life in general for that matter, but I have to admit, when doing sorority recruitment, from the side as a current member recruiting new members, it is really just a matter of sharing your genuine story, and sharing your experience with that group of women. I know its become so much more, and so much less at the same time, but in the end, isn't that all it is? Expressing to another individual how much you have enjoyed your experience with that particular organization (church or sorority) and why you think they as an individual would enjoy it as well?

I just hate the pressure that goes along with it. I hate the pressure I have as a minister to "recruit" while at the same time not being "pushy" to push people into the church when they aren't/weren't ready. The pressure that we have to be genuine in order to share our genuine experiences with the church, while at the same time not coming across as superficial. I also hate that so many people have felt pushed out or alienated by the church. I want to shout it from the rooftops that church can be this amazing place - it CAN be a loving place where we all share in our struggles, our joys, our questions, our answers, our loves, our trials, all of it - we all share in it together and strive to live with one another and in relationship with God. Church CAN be a place where a community comes together that we might all figure out this thing called "faith" together, that we all might be humble and genuine, we all might be able to be who we are without ridicule, while still helping one another down the right path. It CAN be - but it hasn't been - and I'm having a hard time "marketing" when we have such a bad history...

But not today... today we shared our story.... our good experiences... and we shared God's presence... and we welcomed someone in...

Monday, August 18, 2008


Although I disagree with this person's phrasing that indicates only a man can change his life by trusting he is loved by God, or that a man can only marry a man..... BUT other than those minor things - this SERIOUSLY sums up my theology. Imagine what the world would be like if we truly trusted in God, that God loves us, that God is ALWAYS with us and that God will never leave us?

"Imagine how much a man's life would be changed if he trusted that he was loved by God? He could interact with the poor and not show partiality, he could love his wife easily and not expect her to redeem him, he would be slow to anger because redemption was no longer at stake, he could be wise and giving with his money because money no longer represented points, he could give up on formulaic religion, knowing that checking stuff off a spiritual to-do list was a worthless pursuit, he would have confidence and the ability to laugh at himself, and he could love people without expecting anything in return. It would be quite beautiful, really." - Donald Miller

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Find a penny...

Today I went and got a pedicure with a friend... and then we walked to lunch... and on my way back to my car I passed by a penny. It was heads up. I thought about picking it up, "find a penny, pick it up..." but we were well past the penny by the time I thought of it - and I thought to myself that I would leave that penny for someone else who might rely on luck anyway.

A few years ago, The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) boycotted Yum Brands - mainly Taco Bell, because of it's refusal to work with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) who harvested the majority of the tomatoes used in their restaurants. The workers demanded a raise to improve their working conditions and so that they and their families could live off a fair wage.

Now the CIW has been working with Burger King - and have successfully negotiated a "raise" for the tomatoes that are sold to Burger King restaurants.

"BKC has agreed to pay an additional net penny per pound for Florida tomatoes to increase wages for the Florida farm workers who harvest tomatoes. " (Click on the Link for the full news story).

Just surprising and a sombering thing to think about when we all complain about a terrible economy. But while I sit here and post a blog on the computer I own and the more than comfortable apartment I live in - I can't imagine negotiating my raise for one penny...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


(Both of these videos are a little long - but are worth watching!)

Is technology making things better?

Or worse?

I don't know that I necessarily have an answer to that - but I do know it's making things all the more complicated and difficult - and I do know this is one of the reasons I question even having a child/children at all. Apart from my interest in adopting - things like this honestly scare me to the point that I'm not sure I want to have children. Am I making this world a better place that when I have children - the world they live in will be better than mine? Or will their world be more difficult, more compounded and will their life be harder than mine?

Yes, technology makes it easier and easier for me to access information, keep in touch with friends and family around the world, take care of business and so on and so forth - but it also requires more knowledge, more study, more money and more time to learn how to live with it. It also prevents people from learning other basic skills. Simple things like learning to read are clearly falling through the cracks, because we also have to make sure all of the students know how to use a computer. I would be willing to bet very few of my kiddos in my youth group have read any of "the classics" - not to mention that there are hundreds I haven't read, but that I want to read. But when I do "read" them - will I read them online, will I listen to them in my car while I'm driving to work, or will I listen to them on my ipod while I'm running with my dog? How many kids know where their food comes from, or how to plant a garden? With the cost of food going up - are we just asking for a famine because no one knows how to plant and/or care for a family garden, but that is what we will all be turning to eventually? How many people know how to use a hammer - or do we all rely on 3M Command hooks to hang things on our wall? How many kids have ever worked an actual hard long day in their life? How many kids understand a "labor" job in the sense that the clock doesn't determine when you are finished working - rather that you are finished when the job is finished? How many of our kids even remember how to do long division? Or how many of us as adults even remember that? Who remembers how to play kick the can or pick up sticks? Or jacks - or solitaire? How many kids can say they've ever been on a LONG car ride WITHOUT a DVD player and had to rely on things like the alphabet game and the "sign" game?

Is technology making lives better - or worse?

Saturday, July 19, 2008


If I hit you on the arm - Do you get to decide if it hurts - or, do I?

If I call you a name - Do you get to decide if that was offensive, or do I?

If I speak to you in a certain way - Do you get to decide if it is offensive, or do I?

If I hit you on the other arm - Do you get to decide if your arm hurts - or, do I?

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Complex Person - the Self

Not long ago I had a conversation with a woman who had made her own blouse. Actually, she made many of her clothes.
I told her I thought that would be so difficult.
When the seamstress is poking and misses by sticking a pin in my skin and she sees me flinch, she might say, "I'm sorry."
I invariably would say, "That's alright."
If it happens more than once or twice, I still manage to be quite civil and forgiving.
I have trouble imagining me being the one poking, missing the mark and sticking a pin in my flesh and then saying to myself, "That's alright."
The conversation, the words, can only be imagined from one who is their own seamstress.
While I am aware of some folk who are much more forgiving of others than themselves, I do believe that most people are much harder on themselves than others.
Jesus' admonition to love others as ourselves is a double-edged sword. It does dommit us to extend the same compassion, the same forgiveness, the same love that we would have for ourselves and our family.
Jesus is also implying a basic truth: we must also love and be forgiving of ourselves as we would others.
We are complex beings. We are sometimes forgiving and sometimes not.
Edward Sanford Martin's poem, "My name is Legion" sums it up.
Within my earthly temple, there's a crowd;
There's one of us that's humble, one that's proud;
There's one that's broken-hearted for his sins;
There's one that unrepentant sits and grins;
There's one that loves his neighbor as himself
And one that cares for naught but fame and self.
From much corroding care I should be free
If I could once determine which is me.

In the meantime I have little fear of sticking straight pins in my body...but if I were to make me a shirt, I'm not sure how kind I would be to the one sticking me.
Larry Metzger - Ponca City Christian - First Christian Church (DOC)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Random thoughts

I understand the draw to serve in the military. I hold the utmost respect for those who choose to do so. Even if they have no other option and just end up in the military, I still have respect for those individuals.

What I don't have respect for are "regimes" and administrations that resort to violence and domination in order to assert their own belief system and agenda on others. What has worked for one group of people is not always necessarily going to work for others.

That's all I have to say today :)


After a hardy rainstorm filled all the potholes in the streets and alleys, a young mother watched her two little boys playing in the puddle through her kitchen window. The older of the two, a five year old lad, grabbed his sibling by the back of his head and shoved his face into the water hole. As the boy recovered and stood laughing and dripping, the mother runs to the yard in a panic. ' Why on earth did you do that to your little brother?!' she asks as she shook the older boy in anger. 'We were just playing 'church' mommy, ' he said. 'And I was just baptizing the name of the Father, the Son and in...the hole-he-goes.'


Saturday, May 31, 2008


I'm frustrated...

I'm wondering if I have thick enough skin to do my job?

I'm wondering if those who want to criticize me and critique me have thick enough skin to do the same?

Have a little compassion and understanding - why am I supposed to be perfect?

Why am I supposed to be something you never could be? (Or me for that matter?) Why do you expect me to be something you don't even expect yourself to be?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Making Plans

I know "they" always say...something to the effect of... "the minute you make plans, God is going to laugh at them" - Don't make plans... God has something planned for you...And if you don't make the same plans that God has planned for you, your life will change... to fit God's plans for you...


I'm kind of struggling lately with this whole "making plans" thing. I'm supposed to have a plan. As a young 20-something I'm supposed to have them. If I don't have a plan, then I appear irresponsible and without goals etc. So I make plans. RIGHT - then they change. So I make tenative plans - but then those change... so then I don't make plans, I just sort of think tenatively of what might happen if things happen to go in this or that direction in the future... and then things change again.

When Michael and I were still together, the tenative plan was to stay here, graduate December 2008, find a CPE position and then go from there depending on Michael and I's plans together. But then I ended things with Michael... change in plans.

I plan to stay in my same apartment, keep the dog, graduate in December 2008, work at Woodland while I have a CPE position (because ALL CPE positions are unpaid) and then go from there after May when I ACTUALLY graduate (walk across stage) and get ordained. Woodland is having some money issues and has considered not keeping the student position past when I'm supposed to be in school (i.e. December)....change in plans.

My landlord says she will let me out of my lease IF I find a position out of state come December, so potentially I CAN move back to KC and take a CPE position while I (dreadfully) move back in with my parents and live off them for a while... (Not that I don't love my parents, there's just something about moving BACK in with your parents when you are 26 and have a master's degree). Change in plans...

I've really convinced myself that I want to live here in KY for a while after I graduate and I've been struggling with this for a while. Let me preface this by saying, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO DISRESPECT FOR ANYONE WHO LIVES IN KC, GREW UP IN KC AND STAYED THERE. SERIOUSLY - NO DISRESPECT TO YOU AT ALL

I feel like if I come back to Kansas City and get a job there, then I've somehow failed in my life's calling. Again, I have no disrespect for my friends or family who went off to college, lived elsewhere for a while and then came back to KC to raise family and follow life etc... But I guess that forever I've just felt like that wasn't for me. I was supposed to be the one running off across to the other side of the world, saving the world one day at a time, living in remote countries, because that wouldn't bother me, it excites me. I was supposed to be the crazy aunt who had all these crazy stories to share with nieces and nephews at Christmas and Easter when I came home to visit from the jungle and mud-hut I was living in. I'm the one who was supposed to "BreakAway" from the norm and live "the different" life.... And so I struggle with the thought of coming back to Kansas City... like I'm failing at my life if I come home. So - since all these things have "popped up" in life and for me seem to keep pointing me home to KC... I've started thinking that maybe I'll graduate in December 2008... head home to KC and see what happens. Change of plans...

Now my senior minister has recently announced that he is leaving Woodland CC June 22. This most certainly does not mean I'm immediately going to step up into his position by any means, but it most certainly means a change of plans. Regardless of any money issues, I envision that my position will be kept for the simple fact of consistency. Apart from the importance of a youth program and a student associate position, my presence can (and I hope will) help the church with such a change. My senior pastor is leaving on good terms and is headed for a great opportunity - so the church, although it will be mourning his loss, is also still headed in a promising direction. Regardless though, I imagine my role at the church expanding. I imagine it expanding as we search for an interim, or as I become more part-time than the student position I currently hold. Some people have also asked me if I would consider taking the senior pastorate job if things "turned out that way." No idea, and there's so much ahead of the church and so many decisions to be made that I won't even speculate. Don't get me wrong, I love Woodland - but I need to focus on "definites" right now and not think about possibilities. Because the definites are few and the possibilities are endless...But regardless... just as I'm "coming to terms" with the idea of heading home to KC - there's a change of plans and it appears as if I am needed here for at least a while longer.

I'm struggling. I understand, plans need to be fluid. We never know what curveball life is going to throw at us, so I understand that in my "plans" I need to be ready for anything. But I also feel that when I make the slightest plans in my life (like what I'm doing next week) that another curveball is thrown at me. Come on, can't I even plan for next week!?!

I want a damn treasure map. Something that points in me in the right direction, in a definte and with out question manner. Believe me, I know I'm supposed to be "giving it to God" and letting God "show me my plan" but seriously - how many people in society are willing to let their life be THAT up in the air? I mean, I think I do a pretty dang good job not knowing what my life will be like in one year, I'm just asking for an idea of it in six months. There's a lot of people who would have a heart attack and die if they didn't know what their life would look like six months ahead.... And I guess that in all reality, I'm not even asking for a definite plan - just quit with the conflicting ideas, the conflicting "signs" that point me in 14 different directions. And seriously... I still need help with the whole moving back to KC thing.... because its still not sitting right...


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

6 months

its been 6 months

and i still feel something

sometimes i'm sad

sometimes i miss what i thought we had

sometimes i'm angry

sometimes i'm mad

sometimes i'm enraged

but mostly i'm hurt

because i was lied to

but not just a little lie

because when someone says "i love you"

you should be able to trust that

but i still have trouble trusting

and you took that away from me

and you don't even know

and you don't even care

you've moved on

granted i have too

but not near as easily as you

you've moved on so quickly

which is clear proof you were never mine

you never gave of yourself

you never intended on being honest

you never were honest

and i'm so mad that i gave you that time

that i gave you all of me

that i got wrapped up in this all-consuming love for you

and i received nothing

but a roommate




but the truth is

you never deserved me

and you never will

so although i'm still mad

and although i still miss some things

i'll never want you back

because you're not worth it

you don't deserve me

and you never will

no matter how many months pass

Monday, March 31, 2008


Laugh - lighten up :)

A little boy goes to his dad and asks, 'What is Politics?'

Dad says, 'Well son, let me try to explain it this way: I am the head of the family, so call me The President.
Your mother is the administrator of the money, so we call her the Government.
We are here to take care of your needs, so we will call you the People.
The nanny, we will consider her the Working Class.
And your baby brother, we will call him the Future.
Now think about that and see if it makes sense.'

So the little boy goes off to bed thinking about what Dad has said.
Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him.
He finds that the baby has severely soiled his diaper.
So the little boy goes to his parent's room and finds his mother asleep. Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the nanny's room. Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the nanny.
He gives up and goes back to bed.
The next morning, the little boy say's to his father, 'Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now.'
The father says, 'Good, son, tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about.'
The little boy replies, 'The President is screwing the Working Class while the Government is sound asleep. The People are being ignored and the Future is in deep shit .'

Friday, March 28, 2008


–noun, plural -lies. 1. a deviation from the common rule, type, arrangement, or form. 2. someone or something anomalous: With his quiet nature, he was an anomaly in his exuberant family. 3. an odd, peculiar, or strange condition, situation, quality, etc. 4. an incongruity or inconsistency.
My life is full of anomalies. I AM an anomaly. I am a liberal Christian - which I'm told is an anomaly these days. I consider myself not very high maintenance, but I LOVE to get my nails done. I am a pacifist as much as I can be - but I value and respect intensely a soldier who serves her or his country. I will soon have a graduate degree - but I most certainly have my moments in which my lack of common sense painfully shows through. I am addicted to my computer and the internet, and my cell phone, but I try not to live into consumerism. I like to dress up and wear formal clothes, while I also have fun not showering for three days and camping in the middle of no where and swimming in the river or the lake. I love beer, and I love me a cosmo. I am a minister, but I'm also frustrated with the church and may choose to not go some Sundays (when I'm not being paid to be there) :). I want to honor the earth, and "fight" to protect it, but I drive my car on a daily basis and think nothing to continue paying $3.00/gallon. I'm a sorority girl, but I loathe shaving my legs and wearing makeup all the time.

I could go on for days... but I wonder. I wonder if this is a blessing, or a curse? Is this something I should embrace, or something I should work on? I'm not necessarily looking for an answer... just wondering...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Your Opinion...

I've been presented with this situation in a class for school, and I'm interested in other's opinions...
"The town in which you are a pastor has a population of approximately 80,000. Some new businesses in town have attracted new residents. A group of these new residents have approached you. They are Muslim and there is no mosque or existing Muslim community in the city. They wish to begin to gather for prayer on Fridays and have requested the use of your sanctuary. Given your interpretation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and your argument concerning the nature and purpose of the church, would it be appropriate to open the space set apart for Christian worship in your church building for weekly Muslim worship? Make sure to demonstrate your theological method as you argue for a position."

Leave comments, send me emails... either way... let me hear your opinion :)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Don't let me

I'm growing my hair long again.... no one let me convince myself to cut it... :)

(I'm also working on the flatter stomach that I had when I took this picture - but one thing at a time - and remember I'm in graduate school - I spend my life reading books and typing!) :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Being Proven Right

Soooo... I've been on a few dates lately... and I try to be open minded and hope for the best. But I'm also honest, realistic and lets face it, a bit cynical.

I prepare myself - thinking the worst of people - yet its still a huge disappointment when I'm proven right. I expect the worst and hope for the best, but somehow I'm still surprised with the worst is what is proven right.

But here's the thing. On Good Friday - I can only imagine this was a bit of how the disciples felt. Or how I would have felt, had I been there.

If I had been a disciple, raised in the Jewish faith, raised knowing my family, and my ancestors had been hoping and waiting for a Messiah their entire lives, and then waiting for that Messiah my entire life, I can only imagine the certain amount of cynicism that must have still lurked. There's a certain amount of "magic" that we hope is present in these stories of when Jesus called his disciples, that they believed without fail, and without falter. But there's also a certain amount of truth that we should face, that the disciples probably still had a certain amount of cynicism.

They expected the worst, and hoped for the best. Expected that this guy, from Bethlehem, might be just another false prophet, claiming to be the Messiah, but hoped that Jesus was right, that he really was of, and from God. Hoping that all the works Jesus performed, that the life Jesus led mean he really was the Messiah, the coming hope for the nation of Israel.

Which makes Good Friday all the more depressing and hopeless. To be proven right...that the worst you expected was right, and that the best you hoped for seemed to be in vain. To hope for the Messiah, and then it seems to be proven right, that the man hanging up on the cross was no more "powerful" than the thieves he is hanging there with. To not know what is coming in just a few days, and to be proven right, that the worst you expected is what happened I can only imagine why the disciples scattered and denied knowing Jesus. We read those stories and preach on them as if we wouldn't do the same thing - but lets be honest. Your worst fears have just come to life, and you've watched your fears hang on a cross, yet you still act as the most faithful person in the crowd?

Holy and ever-living God,
In your humility, you suffer;
In your holiness, you suffer;
In your grace, you suffer.
You suffer with us, as we grieve our fickle human nature;
that in one day we rejoice at your triumphant entry,
only to betray you and deny you just days later.
In our suffering,
we lift it up to you.
We give all our suffering over to you,
even our inability to get past suffering.
Yet we hand over our suffering to you,
frustrated and angry.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Why are you so far from our cries?
Why are you so far from our distress?
We cry in the daytime, but you do not answer;
we cry in the night, but we do not find rest.
We are so thirsty for your healing water;
we crave your presence among us;
we know we are told you will never leave us;
that you have never abandoned us;
but as we look at the suffering of the world, we wonder.

We think of war, that runs rampant, and often without cause.
We lament over suffering of families, broken, abused, and neglected.
We grieve for our inabilities to do more in the ruins of humanity.
We suffer in our inability to understand, as we experience loss.
We mourn as hope seems to be overtaken by shadows of darkness.
We distress at our own iniquities and our own inabilities.

As we stand here today, and look at you on the cross,
we cry out in desertion.
My God, my God, why have you left us here to suffer?
Why have you abandoned us, when we put so much hope in your presence?

We pray for your gentle reminder
that you are indeed with us.
We beg for your reminder
that you suffer with us.
We plead with you, that you help us to know
you will never leave us.
We pray for your presence,
knowing that you are indeed with us;
even unto death, you are with us;
even beyond death, you will never leave us.

We pray these things,
as we wait anxiously for your Good News,
in the name of the one who suffers with us,

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Just War Theory

I recently received my Disciples Peace Fellowship newsletter and found an interesting article. In light of the 5 year anniversary of the war in Iraq, we are reminded of the Just War Theory, which received so much face while "we" were all deciding whether or not to enter into this war. But I'm in agreement with this article, in that many people don't understand Just War Theory, and many people don't understand that NOT supporting a war does not mean I do not support individuals who choose to serve their country in that particular capacity.

"If the church is serious about either the Just War Theory or pacifism, it must recognize that there are times when war must be condemned as unjust and wrong. If there are times when war is unjust and wrong the, likewise, there are times when the church must be willing to call for esistance and then stand in solidarity with the resisters."

More than anything this article reminds me of the churches role as a radical. Jesus was a radical. Jesus did not come and simply talk about doing things outside of "the law" - but he broke the laws in order to do the work of God. Granted - I'm not condoning those who break civil laws in the name of God - because there is definitely something about Jesus that made it ok for Jesus to go against the teachings of the day. That being that Jesus was/is God - so its not as if its possible that Jesus go the message mixed up, or let his personal ideas get in the way of God's voice. So those people we hear about that kill others in the name of God need to prove themselves as the Messiah before I'll believe its ok to kill others in the name of God.

"Fear of loneliness more than fear of punishment can inhibit people from doing what they believe to be right."

And I think that many people would probably agree - that the fear of being alone in their opinion, or in their belief surpasses any fear that they will be punished or admonished. It's one thing to be punished or admonished while others stand with you in solidarity. It's a completely other thing to stand there alone - especially when others who share that opinion stand there in silence because of their fear. How many of us stand alone in our opinions - when in reality we only feel alone because we are uncertain? How many of us think we stand alone in our opposition to war, when really we all just stand quietly for fear of being admonished ALONE? It's a tough thing to say that "you" are against the war in Iraq. Instantly people think you don't support the troops. Granted, I don't support what the troops are doing, but I admire someone who chooses to serve. They may choose to SERVE differently than I have - but don't we at least have some sort of connection because we both have chosen to serve in some capacity? I stand in opposition to this war because I don't believe there was enough evidence for us to go into Iraq in search of weapons of mass destruction. If the United Nations did not think there was enough reason to go into Iraq, I think it is arrogant of us to say that we are more capable of making such a decision. It's similar to saying that you are Pro-Choice - that does not mean I am pro-abortion - it simply means I don't believe the government has a right to determine what a woman is allowed to do to her body. I don't hope for abortion - EVER - and I most certainly think it is ABSURD for women to use abortion as a form of birth control - but because I say one thing, does not necessarily mean I say something else. Because I say I do not support the administration which keeps our troops in Iraq, does not mean I am against troops who have chosen to serve their country.

More than anything though - the church needs to speak up. Christianity began as a religion in opposition to the "norm," in opposition to the state - and like I said - Jesus was a radical. It's about time - we started acting like we really were following his teachings.

"It is not a monologue of resistance that is needed in an unjust war but a discourse that gives rise to action which stands opposed to wars that are unjust. The church has an obligation to make it clear to its members who are in the military as well as to the state that Christians who refuse to fight in wars that the church has condemned as unjust are not just acting on their own but they are acting as faithful members of the church."

Saturday, March 15, 2008

a good thought...

maybe if i write something beautiful enough

maybe if i write something honest enough

i can make someone love me

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

who am I?

I try to be who I am, and I hope that I am this... I know I'm not always the person I want to be, but in the end I try...I hope that I am centered, selfassured, charismatic, and engaging, but not full of my self. I hope I silently command respect in both business and personal life but that I am not arrogant. I want to be able to own the room but remain grounded enough to not take myself too seriously. I hope I'm not cynical, and that I'm not pejorative or patronizing. Regardless of my limited, but desired success, I don't want to impress you with my professional persona, but hope you are much more interested in my real person. I try to be capable of accepting my own flaws as well as those of others, without thinking they need to change. I hope I can intelligently converse on a wide variety of topics yet let others know that I still sing in the shower, have a favorite cartoon and cry over sappy chick flicks. I want to interact with people from all walks of life and at the same time handle myself appropriately in a variety of social situations. I try to have a big heart and care about the world around me. I like to think I have a quick wit and can be playfully sarcastic. I have a spiritual foundation and compatible values, which I hope I live out in my daily life. I hope to be completely financially secure in the near future, (following grad school and student loans) but also recognize that my bank account means nothing if I am not living honestly and with integrity. I enjoy finer things and simple pleasures equally and at the same time. I know that random acts of kindness speak louder than money, textbook knowledge or words upon words of intention. I try to takes care of myself. I try to be stylish but not overly cosmopolitan, nor grounded in money that is required to be so. I hope I am emotionally mature, that I appreciate the intellect of others and that I can engage it without fear. I hope I express myself freely and that I do it without fear of embarrassment. I have and continue to learn from my past experiences and try not to treat them as 'baggage.' I understand who I am as a person and am content with the world I have created around me, yet I am not content with the world, nor am I complacent about changing the world to what it was meant to be. I try to be confident in what I want and need life. I know that love isn't a product of ideal circumstances, rather it's a decision that requires mutual sacrifice....and this goes for love of all types. I'm eclectic, and dialectic. I contradict myself sometimes. I love to have my nails done, but don't mind getting dirt under them. I love watching sports, but suck at playing them. I hope I am, and hope for, a lot of things. More than anything, I hope I am the person that I want to be....

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Thursday, February 28, 2008


i will no longer be paralyzed by my experience

i will be stronger because of it

i will learn from it

it will no longer paralyze me

to prevent me from doing what i really want to do

to prevent me from living life

to prevent me from experiencing the good

i refuse to be paralyzed

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Live Interview

I have a live interview on Friday morning with a local radio talk show to advertise "the hunger experience" which has been planned, organized and will be implemented by LTS students... Nothing too major, just calling in to the radio and will be talking with them for a few minutes by phone... I'm supposed to call the station at 8:40am (EST) on Friday morning, the 29th. If you live in the Lexington area, you can tune into 590AM, or if you do not live in Lexington you can log onto and click on the "Listen Live" button in order to listen over the internet!


it is sad that the only reason i realize how long my day has truly been, and that i'm working on a 17 hour day, is because i went to change my facebook status...

i went to change my facebook status right before i left the house this morning... and then again a few minutes ago before i went to bed... and it reminded me that i had originally changed my facebook status 17 hours ago...


Saturday, February 23, 2008


you are a large scar in my life

and i cannot make you go away

no matter what i do

i'm constantly reminded of that scar

i try to ignore it

i try to cover it up

i try to make it go away

i try to "deal" with it

i try to ignore it

but its always there

its always reminding me

a scar is different

a scar means there was pain

and there may still be pain

but more than anything

the scar just won't go away

no matter how badly i want it to

no matter how badly i want it to disappear

it mocks me

the scar pops in front of me

at moments when i least expect it

and moments when i most certainly don't need a reminder

of that scar

of that pain

of the fact that you changed me life forever

and of the fact that i didn't seem to impact yours at all

and that you don't care

and that i apparently didn't cause you any pain

but the opposite was most certianly true

there was pain

there was a wound

there was a burn

there was an injury

but a scar means healing


just a tender spot

where pain is still present

but a scar means there is healing...

but i hope to god i can make the scar go away

because i hate it

Thursday, February 21, 2008

More Updates

Not that its necessarily bad or good - I can't decide - but I don't like how the seminary is being portrayed... stupid media...

CBS Story

And oh yeah... this "purse snatching" was more than that.... he didn't want just the purse and walk away from that...

Not sure I agree with our Presiden't "theory" as to why people are coming in the seminary....

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Seminary News

Our night housekeeping employee at the seminary was attacked on campus last night. The seminary administration is responding the best they can - but prayers are always appreciated as we encounter this situation...

Link to CBS Story

Link to NBC Story

What the news report DOESN'T say is that this happened at the same exact time of year, one year ago, to the SAME woman. Last year she was not held at knifepoint, but someone entered the "locked" seminary building, confronted her, and she was also able to get away last year. That was on top of the fact that two students who lived on campus last year were also assaulted in the parking lot. The sad part is that a task force was put together in response to the attacks LAST year - but that task force just met TODAY for the first time - almost a year later. It's weird to think that an attack happened again just the night before that group was supposed to meet. More than anything, prayers are definitely needed!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008


you deprived me of it

for so long

and not only were you not giving any attention to me

you were taking all that i was offering

so i was doubly deprived

because i wasn't even giving enough attention to myself

i wasn't giving enough attention to who i am

to remembering who i want to be

to acting on the type of person i want to be

to shaping my life the way i hope it should be

and now its affecting everything

trying to figuring out who i am after this large part of what i thought was my life is gone

trying to figure out why you still have ANY influence on my life even though i've pushed you out

trying to figure out why you still affect my life when i so desperately hope you wouldn't

and to compound this

to compound my search to again find me, my way, and whats important to me

i'm craving something that you deprived me of

i'm craving something that you kept from me

and my addiction to something that you neglected to give me is driving me

is driving my actions now

and driving who i am now

is driving how i've acted

and so

because of this

you still continue to affect my life

you still have influence over me

and i hate that

Thursday, February 07, 2008

not enough words

i hate to admit it, but

i miss my best friend

i miss someone i can tell absolutely anything to

i miss someone who will be there for me no matter what

i miss someone who is there with me through thick and thin

i miss someone who i can be myself with - completely and authentically

i miss someone who i can be completely honest with

without worrying about how it will affect our relationship

without worrying about how it will impact your life

without worrying

i miss having a friend who i can trust with my life


i miss my best friend

i hate that i thought you were my best friend

i hate that you took that for granted

i hate that i still feel all these things and you've moved on

i hate that i'm still so affected by this and you don't even know

i hate that you never seemed to care that we even ended

i hate that i can't decide if you should know the truth about how i feel

i hate this

i'm still so mad

i'm still so hurt

and you don't even know

and you most certainly don't care

i hate that i'm still hurting

i hate that i still care

why is this taking so long?

i hate that i feel like i wasted my life thinking it was going to be spent with you

i hate feeling so discarded

i hate that you're still influencing my life

i hate that you still seem to have control on my life

and i don't know how to get it back

i hate that no matter how much i write

no matter how many words i put down

i still can't seem to get over what happened

i still can't seem to move on

i still can't heal

will there ever be enough words?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


When I’m sitting here writing these updates I feel like all I can ever say is “same ol’, same ol’” but I know that’s not the truth… sometimes it just feels like it! I finished classes up on December 15th and then had a few days before I headed home to KC for Christmas. As some of you may know I broke things off with my long-term boyfriend, which in the end was a blessing since I got to go home for Christmas! The holidays were a bit hard after a fresh, intense, break-up, and the first Christmas without my grandfather, so it was very very nice to be with my family. I headed back to KY on the 28th, so I could preach on the 30th, and then made a very quick, impromptu trip back to KC so I could meet my new niece Madeline Rose Phillips! I recently finished a very short term, January Term, where I studied Conflict in the Congregation, Mediation and Ministry. It was a very important class and I’m glad I got the chance to take it, but it was sad to think that last year my “class” for January was touring in the footsteps of Paul around Greece and Turkey! We began our Spring Semester just this week and I’m scared witless, as this semester I’ll be writing my thesis and personal theology. Although it is our senior capstone class in which we write this, I actually still have one more semester, and plan to be finished this December! As my dad says, there is light at the end of the tunnel… but honestly, sometimes I feel like it’s the headlight of a train in that tunnel, coming my way! The “real world” is creeping closer and closer!! Somehow I’m confident I will reach the end, as I know I have family and friends who are there to support me all the way to the end of this particular journey!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

i don't know much

i don't know much

but i do know this

i'm lucky to have a friend like you

i'm lucky to have a friend who will listen to all of my irrationalities

i'm lucky to have a friend who loves me for me

i'm lucky to have a friend who is there for me even if you know i'm a little wrong

i just hope i'm not taking too much from you

i only hope i'm there for you as much as you are for me

i hope i'm as good a friend to you as you are to me

i hope a lot of things

but more than anything

i hope i'm good to you

because you are wonderful to me

and for that

i am thankful

Monday, February 04, 2008

Yes We Can

Don't think about who it is that is saying these words - because regardless of who you hope or want to win this election - you can't negate the hopeful thoughts of the individual. Without such hopeful thoughts how are we to accomplish anything, or to make a difference in a broken world?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

you won

you won

you won the date

you won the conversation

you won

you won my heart

you won my love

you won

you won my life

you won... me

you won

you won the fight

you still had my heart

you won the next fight

you still had my heart

you won the last fight

you still had my heart

you won

you won your freedom

you won your independence

you won the game

and you kept a piece of me

and i HATE that you have it

i hate that i let you win it

i hate that i gave it to you

but be happy

because you won

you won the game you were playing

too bad i didn't know it was a game

but you won anyway

so that's all that matters right?

hope you're happy

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

All for this...

I sort of want to get married.... just because I want to do this :)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Pet Wake Up Call

I can only imagine Sally like this when she's hungry in the morning... THIS is why I leave food/water in my room!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Baby Madeline Update

So I'm not filling this blog with lots of Baby Madeline stuff - although I would love to - if you want to watch her progress and see the "goings on" of my brother's family - they have a blog set up. I think their intention is to keep it as a way to update everyone on all the events in their life - but I'm pretty confident right now the blog is going to be consumed by Madeline! Their latest post has a video - its pretty cute!!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Eyes Open!

Madeline Rose Phillips

This is why I decided in a matter of hours to get on a plane and head to Kansas City!! I wasn't able to see Charlie or Kate when they were in the hospital - and had to meet both of them days and months after they were born, so to meet Madeline THE DAY she was born was absolutely amazing!!

my compass

you were the magnet in my compass

you didn't provide the direction yourself

but you helped the many aspects of my own compass

you helped me with the direction

and now i'm just spinning in circles

because you took that magnet away

you took away an aid to helping me with direction

and it just happens to be a pretty important one

and you took it from me

why did i give it to you?

why did i trust you enough?

why did i think you could handle it?

why did i think you were worthy to have that much influence on my life?

why did i give you that much control?

you aren't worthy of that

you aren't capable of that

you aren't that reliable

you aren't that dependable

why did i think you were?

why did i give you that magnet?

because now i'm spinning in circles

looking for direction

wanting you to be part of it again

not because of you

but because it was comfortable

because it wasn't intimidating

because it wasn't daunting

but it wasn't YOU that provided those things

you NEVER provided me with that much

you never provided me with direction

you never provided me with guidance

you were just there

it was really me

that provided that for both of us

so now its up to me again

its up to me

because i am reliable

because i am dependable

because i am capable

its up to me

i will provide my own direction

its up to me