Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's Complicated

I was in a meeting today where we discussed some difficult questions.

  • How do you motivate people who are poor in spirit to nurture those who are poor in food and clothing?
  • How do you continue to love those in your congregation who are fighting against routine- and tradition-upsetting outreach without failing to do the outreach? We are called to minister to all.
  • How do you communicate with people who are failing to listen and yet are complaining that you are not communicating?
  • How do you convince an inward looking church that is afraid of the possibility of its own "death" that the key to revitalization and transformation is to look beyond itself?

Here's the kicker. Christianity is not simple. It is not yes and no, black and white. It's difficult. Anytime a solution presented to us is easy, I'm suspicious.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Reframing hope

I was looking through blogs this evening, and found the phrase, "Reframing hope."

What does that say to you? What does it mean to reframe hope?

Sleepy, but I'lll give it some thought,a nd get back tomorrow.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Knitting as Metaphor

Hang with me -- I'm about to bring knitting into "it" again -- but this is knitting as metaphor.

I'm currently knitting a lace shawl. Lace is knit using stitches and spaces strategically placed according to a chart. My current shawl uses those spaces to create leaves and snowflakes (it's a "seasons" shawl with fall into winter).

I was knitting along, and noticed that I had made a mistake of many stitches, that stretched across a row for about seven inches, three rows back. It was very visible, and to fix it, I had to "unknit" each column of stitches, fix the mistake in that column and then knit the stitches back up. I had to repeat that process for about 60 columns. It took about an hour. Once I was finished, the mistake was gone, but the stitches still don't look "right." They are kind of loose, as if they have been unknit and stretched. Once I'm finished, I'll block the project -- washing it and pinning it out to dry into the correct shape. It's probable that the blocking will fix the wonky stitches.

Enough about knitting. What happens in life when I make a mistakes, when I look back at the fabric and see the stitches places backward, knowing they are incorrect? What does it mean when I ask for forgiveness for the mistake? Am I asking someone else to allow me to unknit and reknit, removing the error? Is that even possible in life? Does it mean I'm asking the other person to keep on knitting, ignoring the error? Do we do our best and hope that the grace of blocking will even it all out?

What is forgiveness?

Image: Another one from my Saturday morning walk.

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

It's not easy, being green

(Click on the image if you can't see the bug)

I took the dog for a walk this morning, up the road instead of down the road, out to the end of the road. ;-)

The light was great, the air was cool and my hands were itching for my camera, so I came back home and returned to capture some images. I was listening to my iPod -- worship moments.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Twenty Five Random Things

A few Random Thoughts About Me

  1. I think our dog is the sweetest dog I have ever had the pleasure to own.
  2. I am not a soccer mom, or a band mom. I am convinced of this.
  3. I like to bake bread.
  4. I hate to mow grass, and if the chore were up to me, I would pay someone else to do it.
  5. I don't like coffee, although I can drink it if I am very cold and have milk and sweetener on hand.
  6. I am rarely very cold.
  7. If I could travel any where, I think I would plan a trip around Scotland, Britain, Wales and Ireland, although I'm game to go almost anywhere.
  8. I love the beach in the evening.
  9. When I am hurt or embarrassed or angry, I cry. I hate to cry in public.
  10. When I am stressed or afraid or too tired to think, I yell. It's not pretty.
  11. I'm a knitter. I'm a cross-stitcher. I'm a beader. I'm a card-maker. I only do one at a time, for months at a time.
  12. I like to play with color, which is probably the reason for #11.
  13. I wish I could draw. I wish I could sing. I wish I could play an instrument. If talents were given out so that everyone had an even number of them, I can't think of any talent I have that I would trade in order to be able to draw or sing or play an instrument.
  14. I like hats, even though I rarely wear them. I feel awkward wearing a hat.
  15. I rarely wear shoes in my house. I love to shed them when I get home.
  16. Chocolate is one of my favorite things.
  17. Every time I look at my boys, I am amazed.
  18. I don't watch much network TV anymore because I like cable shows better.
  19. I love to go to the movies. I'll go with other people or by myself.
  20. I'll eat out by myself or to movies by myself. I'm always a little amazed that not everyone likes to do this.
  21. I hate volleyball. I learned to hate volleyball in Junior High.
  22. I have great eye-hand coordination for micro-movements with my hands and fingers. I have terrible eye-hand coordination for large tasks, like sports.
  23. I was in my thirties before I finally understood what "Keep your eye on the ball" means. Steve was throwing something upstairs to me, and he said, "Watch it come toward you, and you'll be able to catch it." OOOHH.
  24. I think God made kittens, puppies and babies cute so that we would love them while they ate our furniture, peed on the floor, and cried at 2:00 in the morning. God knows what he is doing.
  25. I love to read, but I no longer believe I have to finish a book if I start it and don't like it. Life is too short.

Image: Sunset at the Football Field this evening.


Thursday, August 26, 2010


Insomnia combined with a long day -- I'm too tired to write coherently.

Here's a picture for you instead. Do you know how people say of your children, "He has your eyes....She has your nose."? My son definitely does not have my "AHHHHHH!!! A SNAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!" genes.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Role Playing

I hope I haven't posted this flower before; I like it, but I don't feel like checking for it in previous posts.

I read three kinds of blogs with moderate regularity -- blogs about faith, about technology and about knitting. I'm eclectic. I write for two"kinds" of blogs --this one with daily regularity and a knitting blog with great irregularity. I try not to let the two cross purposes, assuming that the few people who read them are not interested in the other topic.

That's a long introduction to say that I was reading The Yarn Harlot (See, if you aren't a knitter, you just won't get that.). She was ranting (her word, not mine) about society's view of the roles of men and women. I agree with her in so many ways....

We do both men and women a disservice with our assumptions about what each should be doing in family life.

  • Saying that men "babysit" their own children is insulting to men. It assumes that men don't provide genuine parenting to their children. I've heard one mother say, "I can leave one of my children with his father, but not both of them -- he wouldn't be able to handle it."
  • Asking a women if she feels guilty when she has to go out of town for work implies that a "real" mother wouldn't leave her children to go work in the world.
  • I was listening to the radio this morning -- it was a talk show, and the topic was how to help your children be more organized with school work. One woman shared an idea that she had used with her children, but her description of it assumed that it would only be the mother signing papers, reading school work, and helping the child. Why would we make that assumption?
  • Don't even get my husband started on his reaction to "Choosy mothers choose Jif." He hates it.

I could go on, but I'm done.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

CLM -- Abraham's Call

I was approved last year by my Charge Conference to pursue certification as a lay minister. I'm working my way through that process. Part of Module 1 of the training concerns God's Call. Several scripture references are given, and the participant is asked to respond to a couple of questions. I found this an interesting exercise, and I'll post some of my responses on the blog as we move along.

I've added my own question at the end:

Person and Passage: Abraham in Genesis 12:1-9

How did the person involved hear God’s call to them?

God’s call to Abram was heard at first in Haran, where he had gone with his father, wife and cousin, Lot. He “hears” it – “Now the Lord said to Abram…” Later, along the journey, and in the same passage, God appears to Abram at the Oak of Moreh. Moreh is a Hebrew term for teaching or instructing. Literally, God appears to Abram at the Oak that Instructs. Abram and his descendants are people of the Land, and it is natural that their connection to God often appears through nature. Perhaps that speaks to us as well – God finds us where we are.

What was the response of the person to God’s call? Did they freely answer the call? How did they feel about the call?

Abram did as God calls. He packs up his family and his possessions and leaves his father’s house, moving on to Canaan. Toward the end of this passage, he builds two altars to the Lord. Abram’s response is one of obedience and worship. In the Message, the last verse is translated as “Abram kept moving, steadily making his way south, to the Negev.”

What it says to me:

God comes to us where we are and reaches toward us in the midst of what we are doing. To hear him requires faith on our parts – faith in the belief that God will speak to us; will call to us. Abraham doesn’t perfectly answer his call – just reading through Genesis will confirm that, but he worships God and then he “kept moving, steadily making his way….” If we do that, then we will see the presence of God in our lives, moving steadily with us.

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Monday, August 23, 2010


Spam -- Spam is the use of electronic messaging systems (including most broadcast media, digital delivery systems) to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately.

As I was logging into Blogger to write my post for the day, I noticed a reminder that I should periodically check my Spam inbox for the blog. I have a Spam inbox? If it is Spam, why should I check it? How can I even find it? (Note -- I have since found it and checked it).

Does our society send us unsolicited bulk messages that interfere with our spiritual life? Do we listen to them? Are we able to tell the difference between Godly messages and bulk spam? Do we need to check our Spam inboxes and delete those messages that make us feel unforgiven, unloved or unworthy?

What can we use as Spam filters? Anything on this list that might help?
  • scripture readings
  • spiritual friends
  • prayer
  • worship
  • service
Clear out your Spam box.


Sunday, August 22, 2010


A Facebook friend tagged me today with a list of 25 Random Things. It was one of those MEME's you do, listing, in this case, 25 Random Things about yourself.

On her list was the phrase "I believe God." It stopped me, and I wondered if she had left about the "in" -- as in "I believe in God."

We often say we believe in God. We believe he exists, that his son came to the world to save us, that he was resurrected and ascended into heaven. We believe in God. We believe he is all powerful and present.

But do we believe God? Do we believe God when he tell us we are forgiven? Loved? Do we believe him when he promises us eternal life in his presence? Do we believe God when he tells us that to serve others is to serve him?

Does our belief change our lives?

Do we believe God? Or do we just believe in God?


Saturday, August 21, 2010


Check out this article at the United Methodist Reporter blog.

On Monday, August 16 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that a religious organization that primarily holds Internet and radio worship services did not meet the U.S. Internal Revenue Service's definition of a church.
Think about how you define church. Do you think an Internet community, that only (or primarily, I suppose) worships over the airwaves / cyberwaves meets your definition?

The article asks if a brick and mortar building is required for an organization to function as a church.

I would so "no." No where in the definition of church is the requirement for a physical structure. I do wonder, though, if an Internet community is a church. The important factor missing is your presence with me. I know that communities can form on the Internet, but what about when you need a hug? How will I reach you? What about when someone is walking down the street, hungry? How will we feed him? There is an importance to be placed on physical togetherness.


Friday, August 20, 2010


We attended a Emmaus picnic Gathering this evening. Food and music and fellowship. I enjoyed it. Once we found a place in the shade, it was cool enough to not annoy me. It would be hard to sweat and sing, "I'll Fly Away" with enjoyment.

So, how about a Friday Five from RevGalBlogPals:

  1. What is the weather like where you live? HOT. In the summer, it is HOT. Muggy. There are very few nice, pleasant days. There has been much rain this year, too. We talked this evening about a church in Grayson that has suffered flooding, and is now facing financial problems because of it. I'm sure it is not the only one.
  2. Share one thing you love about this time of year. Vacation. No snow. Fresh fruits and vegies. Ok, that's three.
  3. Share one thing you do NOT love about this time of year. The heat. The humidity. Heavy thunderstorms while I'm out driving. Three again, to balance everything out.
  4. How will you spend the remaining days leading up to Autumn? Looking forward to autumn. ;-) Eating fresh corn and wearing sandals while both of them last. Vacation is over, and the guys are back to school, so there is not much summer left.
  5. Share a good summer memory. My favorite thing to do outside on vacation is to sit on the beach after dinner, when the weather is cool and breezy, the ocean is waving, and the frozen slushy next to me is sweating instead of me.


Thursday, August 19, 2010


Go take a look at this article in Circuit Rider by Katie Dawson -- Blogging for Pastors. Interesting article.

Take a look on the second page of the list of a Few Good UM Blogs. Nice list. Notice anything?

How about that? How cool is that? And just how unexpected was it to receive an email from a pastor I know, telling me about it? I don't belong on that list, but I'm flabbergasted to be there.



Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I was listening to two versions of the song Hallelujah this morning -- one my Jason Castro and the other by Lincoln Brewster. They are basically the same tune with some of the same words, but others changed. I think Brewster may have re-written it, although Castro's version is not the original, either.

Anyway, I was thinking about the songs, and decided to play around with the tune and words, myself. This is the result -- it's about Moses and Ezekiel and a little about me.

Your life had changed, from Nile to sand
You cared for sheep and walked the land
Until God sang through holy fire and drew ya
You fought his will, explained your faults,
Convinced his song was all for naught
Until your staff sent forth an Hallelujah

Hallelujah Hallelujah
Hallelujah Hallelujah

You dreamed of God and found the word
To tell his song when it wasn’t heard
The chords of desolation strummed right through ya.
He led you to a place of death
Of hopelessness and dust, no breath
Until you spoke the words of Hallelujah

Hallelujah Hallelujah
Hallelujah Hallelujah

The night is long when God steps in
When the waiting’s done and the trust begins
He calls you to a plan that overwhelms ya
You won’t say yes, you can’t say no
When morning comes and doubts must go
Your life itself becomes an Hallelujah

Hallelujah Hallelujah
Hallelujah Hallelujah

Hallelujah Hallelujah
Hallelujah Hallelujah

Hallelujah Hallelujah
Hallelujah Hallelujah

Image: The sky early one morning a couple of weeks ago on the way to a funeral.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Logos -- Jeremiah 1

Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."

Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy."

But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a boy'; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you, Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD."

Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the LORD said to me, "Now I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant."
Jeremiah 1:4-10
This is one of the lectionary readings for the week. What do you think of this passage? I find many words of comfort.
  • The idea that God has known me since before I was born is comforting. It reminds me, of course, of Psalm 139. Someone who knows me that well, and loves me anyway? Grace.
  • Even when we feel inadequate, God reassures us that we should not. Do not be afraid. Go where I send you, and I will be with you.
  • God will equip us -- give us words to say and a mission to accomplish.

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Monday, August 16, 2010


Exodus 3 and 4

Living in the quiet desert after an eventful life,
Hidden, quiet, taking care of his father-in-law’s sheep,
Went to the Mountain of God.

A bush stood nearby, blazing.
The fire wasn’t what attracted the Potential,
It was the presence of God in the fire.
So he turned back, and looked, amazed.

Seeing his attention, God called to him.
“Moses, you are on Holy Ground.”
He stood in front the God of his fathers
And hid his face.
Hiding from his God,
Hiding from the future.

God said, “I’ve seen them.
I will reach down to my children
And help them,
And I will do it through you.
You will hear my call, and you will deliver them,
Bringing them freedom,
Speaking for me to the Pharaoh.”

“Not me, God,
Send someone else.
I am not the one you are seeking;
I am speechless in the face of this message.
I don’t even know who to say that you are.”

God said, “I am who I am.
Tell them,
I will be who I will be.
I have been the God of their fathers.
I am their God.
Pharaoh will listen to you,
And I will show them,
That I am.”

“Why would they trust me?
I am not the one you want.”

“Take this staff,
Obey my word,
You are mine,
And you will set them free.”

“I do not have the words, Oh, God.
Send someone else.”

“I am sending you.
I will be with you,
Aaron will be with you,
You will go, and you will obey.
I am, and you are mine.
So, go.”

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Something Good

Yesterday, I was walking into WalMart, having a conversation with God. I was talking to him about our friends, who were taking their daughter to college for the first time. I then told him about our son, who was driving to Kings Island with one of his friends. I said, in my mind, to God, "It's really hard to let them go."

I heard in my mind, very clearly, "Yes, I know it is."

Jack's sermon today was about letting go -- letting go of those things that separate us from God. He said, "We have to be ready to let go with faith that something good will happen."

As parents, we spend our time when they are children, raising them to be adults, teaching them the skills they need in their lives. It's ironic that when the time comes to start letting them go, it's hard to do, even though that has been the goal all along.

Having the faith, as we let them go, that something good will happen.


Saturday, August 14, 2010



Friday, August 13, 2010

Beyond Fear

Last night was one of those nights when I couldn't get to sleep. Nights like that don't happen very often, as long as I avoid caffeine, and when they do, I just go with it, and stay up watching TV. At about 2:30, I went upstairs and slipped out the back door to watch the meteor shower.

I opened the sliding door and went out, and suddenly became aware of all of the creepy crawly creatures that could be napping or lurking on our back patio. Snakes, insects, mice, detestable, scary stinging biting creatures. Living in the dark, waiting for me to step on them. Escaped felons hiding in the bushes, ready to jump when I took my place on our swing. Who knows what animal from the woods might come out and eat my feet.

I braved my way out, and settled on the swing. Jupiter danced in the sky. Meteors flew. Not many of them (we had a lot of light pollution in our neighborhood ), but I did see them.

Amazing what wonderful things can happen you move through and beyond fear.


Thursday, August 12, 2010


I was reading a post at Reflectionary. A mother is grateful that her son survived the roll over of a car. She wonders about miracles.
I still cannot understand how he happened to survive, how all three of the boys involved managed to live through it. As a good theological liberal, I can't give God the credit without wondering why that same God would not intervene on behalf of other young people, or old people, for that matter. I only know I'm thankful. I only know I'm breathing deeply again.
I have the same tight rope to walk in my faith. I cringe when someone says, "God saved me from a car accident because he has a purpose for my life," because I'm sure God has a purpose for all of our lives. Why would he elevate one person's life over another? Does making a statement like that infer that God has no purpose for the one he did not save?

A pastor of mine, many years ago, taught me that when I didn't understand a theological issue, to place it "on the shelf." Set it aside, and move on, rather than letting it be a stumbling block. Eventually, perhaps not until the other side of heaven, an answer will be provided.

So, I'll stand in gratitude. Miracles, by nature, defy explanation.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Last week I saw the movie Inception. You don't need to worry about spoilers from me -- I can't imagine trying to explain the movie in a blog post. For the purposes of this post, all you need to know is that the world of dreams figures prominently in the story.

I read a blog post today that was written after the author saw the movie Inception. He wonders about dreams. In the Bible, God makes himself known to several people through dreams. In our time, though, do we really ever consider that God is speaking to us through our dreams?

Frankly, I've never really even considered it. I think dreams are my mind's way of taking a break, playing around with thoughts, dancing through who knows what in my mind. Clearing out the closets and shaking the dust from the rugs.

I do believe that God works his way through my mind, through my musings, and makes himself known. Why haven't I considered that there are some dreams that are woven with God's thoughts?

Dreams. Pay attention.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Living Inside Hope

I found a reference to the following quote today on RevGalBlogPals:
The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof." ~Barbara Kingsolver
What does it mean to live inside your hope?

What is our hope? Our hope is in Christ. Our hope -- our certainty -- is in Christ. How often to I stand aside, admiring my hope from a distance?

What would it mean in my life if I lived inside my hope, under its very roof?


Monday, August 09, 2010

Standing in line

Standing in line.

How often do you stand in line? Have you, like me, stood in line and felt invisible? I was at a restaurant last week, waiting at the hostess stand, surrounded by signs that said, "We will be pleased to seat you," while no one noticed I was standing there.

Our cable was out last night, so I called the cable company. I went through a ton of automated phone questions, "Press one for blah, two for bleh, and three...." I entered my phone number three times, was told it was an invalid phone number twice. I've only had the same phone number since 1988 -- I assure you, it is not invalid! I finally made it to a human, and was told that I had been mistakenly transferred to Nashville. Please hold.

I had to start the process all over again. When it got to the phone number question, I handed the phone to Steve -- "Enter our phone number! I just can't do it again." Finally, I made some progress. "All available operators are busy. Please hold. Your estimated wait time is 14 minutes."

I hung up.

Waiting in lines, we can feel invisible.

Our office devotional today was about feeling far from God. Joyce quoted a line from a song. I can't remember it right now, but in the song was the phrase, "God was right there all the time, patiently waiting in line."

Sometimes, I imagine he feels invisible when he's waiting in my line.


Sunday, August 08, 2010



Saturday, August 07, 2010

White Pass Railroad

More about Alaska. Eventually, I write enough posts to complete the series.

On our Fourth Day, we rode the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad to Canada -- just barely to Canada.

When the Gold Rush came to the Yukon, miners would leave Skagway and have to make their way to the Yukon up the mountains. It was dangerous and terrible, but it was thought to be impossible to build a railroad. But it was built.

It climbs from sea level in Scagway up 3000 feet in 20 miles, with grades of 3.9% and 16 degree turns. It includes 2 tunnels and many bridges. The railroad itself is narrow gauge, demanded by the terrain.

It now operates as a tourist attraction. We road from Scagway to the boarder of Canada and back again -- a small portion of its 110 miles. It hangs on the cliffs and goes from the town, which was hot that day, up to the snow covered peaks of the Coastal Mountains.


Friday, August 06, 2010


Go over to the United Methodist Reporter Blog and read this article -- Bonhoeffer's Legacy. Be sure and click on the link at the very end, which leads to a recording of Eric Metaxas' (who wrote a book about Bonhoeffer) answer to a question about "how Bonhoeffer could theologically justify his decision to join the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler."

Placing your righteousness on God's altar along with your sins -- what do you think?


Thursday, August 05, 2010


I just read an article about the recent Boy Scouts Jamboree in Virginia (link here). Bishop Tom Bickerton presented the Nothing but Nets Campaign to the Boy Scouts gathered in Virginia, challenging them to raise more money than had been gathered at a recent youth event -- $10,000. The Boy Scouts beat it.

I witnessed Bishop Bickerton make this kind of challenge at a Youth Event in 2007. He talked about the difference the kids could make in the world, and then dropped a $10 on the stage. The crowd came forth, in the most moving offering I have ever seen, throwing money on the stage. Thousands of dollars were raised.

Passion. It is something Bishop Bickerton has for this project, and he is able to transmit that passion to those around him when he talks about Nothing but Nets.

Do we have passion? Are we able to make our passion for Christ contagious?

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Last Friday's question from RevGalBlogPals was this - name five things you like about where you live now. That's not really a question, is it?


  1. I like the size of the city where I live. It's not too small, compared to many other towns in the state, and it's not too big. The "village" I visited on Teusday was not on my GPS. That's too small!
  2. It's a college town. That adds something to a place to live.
  3. It's about a day's drive from almost everywhere -- the beach, Washington, DC, Chicago, Atlanta...the list goes on.
  4. We have four seasons, and none of them are completely extreme.
  5. It's a beautiful place to live. I remember being in Rocky Mountain National Park. The tour guide told us the mountains were beautiful in the fall when all the Aspen turned gold. One color?! Come to my state, and see FALL.


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Seneca Rocks

I stopped today at Seneca Rocks and walked over to the Discovery Center. I mainly did it to get a good view of the mountain.

While I was there, I walked through the Discovery Center itself. Right in the middle is a map of the are -- in raised relief. Since 8th grade, I have known that the highest peak in West Virginia is Spruce Knob, and I have visited the area before, stopped at Seneca Rocks, Dolly Sods, Canaan Valley, etc. And I've driven on the roads in the area.

Today was the first time, though, that I have understood the relationships between all of these places, their placement among the mountains, and how the roads traverse the area. Here I was, standing within site of the beautiful rock formation outside, and I'm fascinated by the table-sized relief map of the area. Cool!

Spruce Mountain isn't just a knob, it's a large mountain that stands between Seneca Rocks and Elkins. Dolly Sods is the next mountain over. To get to Elkins on 33, you drive up a ridge, passing between them. Or something like that.

Anyway... It's amazing the difference seeing it in 3-dimensions made on my understanding of the geography of the area.

It reminded me of yesterday's post -- how we can't see the big picture, but God can.


Monday, August 02, 2010


I'm a knitter. Right now, I'm working on a project that uses a knitting chart. Each square holds a symbol for a particular kind of stitch. The resulting knitting is a lace project -- holes aligned to form a picture, where the spaces are as important as the stitches themselves.

To use a knitting chart, one reads it from right to left, unless you are working on the back of the knitting (which is every other row) in which case the chart is read from left to right. In addition to direction changes, every other row the meaning of the symbols change. Until you get in a rhythm, chart reading can be challenging.

As I knit, I just had to trust the chart. In fact, at one point, when I had spent a lot of time trying to determine if what I was doing was correct, I said Steve, "Trust the chart. Just trust the chart." It wasn't until I had knit many rows that I was able to see the big picture.

Following God can be like that. We don't always (or often) know the role of each stitch in the big picture, and sometimes it doesn't always seem to make sense.

Trust God. Follow the chart. Enjoy the emerging pattern, once you can see it.


Sunday, August 01, 2010

Radical Unity

One of the lectionary readings today was Colossians 3:1-11. There are many great messages in that passage; focus for the moment on this one from verse 11:
In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!
I think I often get lost in the poetry of this passage. Consider for a moment the radical nature of that sentence for those who were hearing it.

For the Jews, who had been taught that they were a chosen people, it must have been heart-stopping to hear the words. I imagine the Greeks couldn't imagine that it might be true. Jack spoke today about the barbarian-like Scythians, a culture from which slaves arose. Imagine how radical it seemed to them.

Can you think of a modern-day equivalent? God is saying that it no longer exists. Radical.