Saturday, April 21, 2007


Back in January the gardening catalogues came. And back in February I put in orders from them for several things, all of which arrived at the end of March. But because of the continual cold weather and then the nor'easter last weekend, they've been sitting on the back porch looking more and more forlorn. Today, with the rains gone and the sun out, it was finally warm enough to plant. We put in eight new hydrangea plants (red, pink, blue, and white) near the back fence. Here's hoping there's enough sunlight there for them to do well!

And then I mixed compost, 4-2-6 fertilizer, and soil together in a 4 ft. by 4 ft. area right in back of our house for our newest experiment. We've decided that this year, rather than planting all the different varieties of tomatoes that we have in the past, we'll only plant 2 or 3 kinds and use the rest of the space to try to grow potatoes. So, under the dirt you're seeing in the picture are red cloud, onaway, all blue, butte, cranberry red, and carola potato seedings. We chose them becuause not only are they supposed to taste great, but as they grow they're also known for their fragrance and beautiful blossoms. So later this summer we should be grilling potatoes in shades of pink, lavendar, blue, and white.

And of course, now that spring is really here, we've got some of our yearly plants around as well.

Festival Party

We spent last evening at Rutgers Presbyterian for a farewell celebration as Janie Spahr gets ready to retire. Since it had been a warm sunny day, most of us didn't have jackets with us and the rooftop barbeque was freezing, but we moved inside for the dessert, singing, memories, and pictures. Several folks from Hudson River churches-- including Mt. Kisco, Palisades, and White Plains-- were there along with a lot of people from Rutgers and other Presbyterian Welcome churches in New York City.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday Five: Dental Edition

As posted by reverendmother over at RevGalBlogPals:

Cheesehead and I are both laid up this week with various tooth maladies. This one's in honor of us:

1. Are you a regular patron of dentists' offices? Or, do you go a) faithfully, as long as you have insurance, or b) every few years or so, whether you need it or not, or c) dentist? what is this "dentist" thing you speak of?
A and C. I used to be a regular patron, growing up and for most of my adulthood. The church I currently serve doesn’t provide dental insurance as part of its medical coverage though, so in recent years I’ve had to stop going except for medical emergencies.

2. Whatever became of your wisdom teeth?
Two of them have been removed and two are still in my mouth.

3. Favorite thing to eat that's BAAAAAD for your teeth.
Popcorn. I actually asked my dentist about this and he assured me that popcorn is a very healthy snack for your teeth, but I don’t believe it. Parts of kernels get caught between my teeth and irritate my gums when I eat too much of it, so the dentist has got to be wrong. Still, I love popcorn.

4. Ever had oral surgery? Commiserate with me.
I had an impacted wisdom tooth removed right a week after the birth of my first child. Because I was nursing, they did it without novacaine. I’d thought labor had prepared me for any other form of pain, but….

5. "I'd rather have a root canal than _________________." tied to a rack, drawn and quartered, or crucified. Root canals remind me of ancient torture rituals.

Bonus: Does your dentist recommend Trident?
I have no idea—never asked, probably never will.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Away From Christendom

The conversations going on about underlying issues at Emerging Grace and The People Formerly Known as the Congregation is giving voice to so much of my concern with the existing Christendom forms of community and the possibilities of another way of intentional living together. Here’s just a small excerpt from “Emerging Grace”:

We are convinced that a church system which allows believers to fulfill their weekly spiritual obligation by listening to a sermon creates a consumerist audience who have not been encouraged to step into the responsibility of being a disciple and discipling others.

We are convicted that the millions of dollars spent on buildings for churches has not been wise stewardship of the resources that have been entrusted to church leaders.

We are convinced that becoming busy with programs within the church removes us from developing relationships with those who aren't involved in church. We no longer equate service in church programs with faithful commitment and service to God.

Incarnational living
We purpose to minister in the opportunities that our daily lives present, and we are intentional about involving ourselves in the lives of others in deeper ways than a Sunday service allows or requires.

Following the spirit
We are convicted that dependence on the Holy Spirit is required to move forward into becoming the people we were created to be. We are also convinced that the Holy Spirit is leading us away from the systems and structures that provide a comfortable complacency rather than the challenging mission we are called to.

How could one quarrel with any of it? It's right on target. It leaves me wondering: how do I find or join with others to build such a community in this part of Westchester? And, in my work as a pastor, how do the congregation I work with and I respond to such statements?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Second Life Church

I'm spending more and more time thinking about creating a Second Life church, since the ones that already exist on world seem to be either non-Christian (the church of Elvis, a church for vampires, etc.) or extremely conservative. My view is of a progressive, welcoming intentional community that would find a way to teach and embody the best of Jesus' radical hospitality, both on world and in everyday life.

The downsides? I've never planted a church before, I don't know how to build things or program in Second Life, and I don't have a team to work with me. I keep checking around to see if there's someone else out on the internet who might have similar interests but so far I haven't been able to find anyone. Still, I keep feeling the pull of the Spirit in this direction!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Where Are They Worshipping?

So I know the studies showing the percentage of the American population who are gay vary-- anywhere from 4% to Kinsey's better-known "1 in 10" study. I know that among my daughter's friends are several who are gay. And my younger son clearly knows many lgbt folks in their 20s from the gay clubs and bars in NYC. But where are the gay men and lesbians who are in their 40s and up? And where are any of these folks who live in the suburbs worshipping? Every once in a while someone gay or lesbian stumbles through our "welcoming" church doors, but most of the time they only come one or two Sundays and then they're gone-- this in a congregation that's touted as one of the most lgbt- friendly places to worship in Westchester!

I spent lots of time this weekend trying to figure out from websites what churches were both saying they are welcoming AND actually had some gay couples attending.
I began by going through the databases that are available online for "gay-friendly" churches in this part of the country. Among the churches listed, I know from first hand experience that so many don't have a single out gay person in their congregation, much less a gay community there. Then I began to do a search of websites using regional directories of various denominations-- Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, UCC, Unitarian. Again, most of the churches say they are welcoming and they may yearn to be so but the websites of Christian congregations in this part of the country seems to reflect a very different reality.