Tag Archives: leadership

being a gracious loser

The results are in…and I was not elected to vestry this year.

As expected, I feel a mix of sadness & relief.

I am relieved because, as anyone who knows me can attest, I’m not a ” meetings” sort of person. I also do not ” politic” very well nor  am I gifted with the ability to blarney.  I am, however, very creative & a ” can-do” person . But, it was not God’s Will for me to serve on vestry this year & that is fine with me.

I am sad because I lost. Losing is not something I do well—as I come from a long line of athletic, competitive people.

Yet tonight I keep reminding myself that serving the Church is not at all about ME. I know that but at the same time it *REALLY* sucks for this ” can-do” personality to lose anything. I know it isn’t a competition & I shouldn’t feel at all like I just lost a bid for Student Government President.

I received a nice private note via Facebook from a parishioner who said she’d voted for me  because she felt honestly that i would be a good vestryperson. THAT meant a lot to me, especially coming from a parishioner whom I respect.

So yeah— I lost.  Maybe God is saying to me” You are not ready for vestry just yet.” Or maybe not.

We learned about the concept of ” karios” during my Cursillio weekend.  Karios=God’s Time.

Gloria en excelsis Deo!

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When God calls…

God has been loudly knocking on the window of my mind for about 6 months.  God is calling me to a ministry that I’ve vehemently denied answering  since I was confirmed into The Episcopal Church.

I am running for vestry. Unless  two other people runs with or against me I’ll sit on vestry for three years.  Since I already told my priest of my intentions , I cannot back out of this now. { even if I’d wanted to, which I do not}

I am apolitical & until now have *NEVER* seriously considered vestry.  But now is the time.  Although I do not wish to sound arrogant: I feel that someof my gifts will be useful on a parish { any parish} vestry.

I am— comparatively speaking– younger than the average vestryperson. Younger people tend to be more open to what the Spirit might be saying at any time. I have taught Sunday School & I work with youth currently & some of my biggest ” aha moments” have come from conversation with younger people.  Some of the children with whom I worked are much more spiritually-mature than some adults I know.

I care. I care  A LOT.

Although there is nothing wrong with ” pew sitters”{You know– people who attend church almost every Sunday but are otherwise not involved in parish life.} I’ve never been a pew sitter in my life.  The Church is my community, my OHANA. {Hawaiian for ” family”}I want to help her be the best example of Christ’s ” hands & feet” that she can be.

While I am not a ” numbers person” I feel strongly that doing God’s work & measuring how well we do ministry should NOT be calculated only by numbers on a spreadsheet.

My entire church-going life has been with small churches & it is here that I’ve felt God’s Hands at work within me the most.  Although I left the Presbyterian church, I’ve gleaned examples of what does & does not work in a small congregation.

The little church where I was baptized taught me much about doing much to BE Christ in the world regardless of limited human & monetary resources.  The Holy Spirit is working within my Small Parish now & I firmly believe that I am the sort of vestryperson needed to help her grow numerically & { much more importantly} spiritually.

Shalom.

” required” post-election thoughts…..

I am sad about the results of the Presidential election. But, no matter which of the candidates from the two major parties won, I’d still be sad. However, I am thankful that I was able to vote for someone whom I feel IS qualified to be President. Although he didn’t win{ as a matter of fact, he did not even make a dent in the general electorate}  I am grateful that I had the option to vote for someone who DID NOT have the {D} or {R} behind his or her name. :O)

No, I did not ” waste” my vote. In my opinion, the only wasted vote is the vote that is not cast.

I am sad that  US politics is so partisan.  During the course of this election season, I saw & heard such negativity from supporters of both Republicans & Democrats. never in my 36 years have I witnessed an election that brought out the worst in people. There was so much negativity that I felt weary of the whole election process by May of this year.

I did not watch either convention nor any of the debates.  I read the commentary from both CNN & Fox News & both major cable networks left out Gary Johnson. If Gov. Johnson had been invited to debate, I would have watched every debate. But Big Media gets their ratings  in part from partisanship– so it would defeat their purpose to encourage independent thinking & critical analysis of facts. This political season reminded me of a heated Super Bowl rivalry instead of a serious part of history.  It seemed that these hardcore Democrats & Republicans seemed to act like cheerleaders { either for Team Obama or Team Romney}

Although I live in an area of the country that is heavily Republican, I saw much of the same ugliness among the Democratic minority here in Northwest Florida. Most of my family are die-hard Democrats who were baffled that I could not support Obama. Many of my friends here are Republicans & of course they wanted me to vote for Mitt Romney. It was hard, but I maintained my Independence & rejected the candidates of the two-party political ” machine” in favor of someone who has strength & courage to step outside a mainstream political label.

I declared my Independence. I am free from partisanship. Alleluia.

 

Day 6 and 7: About Primates

No, I am not discussing monkeys & other furry bipeds here. The bishop in charge of a particular church within the Anglican Communion is called a primate . {Prime= first}

In today’s Episcopal News Service report from GC77, it said that the deputies passed a resolution allowing for future Presiding Bishops to also maintain his or her position of diocesan bishop during the nine-year term as Presiding Bishop.

I cannot understand why this was passed nor the logic associated with wanting to adopt this practice. But since this resolution will never affect MY life n the Church, I do not have much to say on this topic.

General Convention worshipped together yesterday with a Mass led & celebrated by our current Presiding Bishop, ++Katharine Jefferts-Schori. I heard from a deputy from my diocese that the Mass was wonderful. ++ Katharine’s homily appeared online on the official GC77 website & I read it yesterday afternoon.

Also, the Episcopal Camps & Conference Centers presented ++Katharine & her husband, Richard a ” Hero of CAmping” award . One of the reasons why I adore ++ Katharine is the fact of her committment to a healthy lifestyle full o exercise . I read somewhere that she runs an insane amount of miles EVERY DAY! Wow! Although I am not much of a camping enthusiast, I do love spending days in the Creation that is the outdoors.

In other official convention business, our own Vince C was re-elected to the Church Pension Fund.

My Twitter feed pretty much is *all* about GC77 lately & I’m LOVING being part of this triennial conversation ” from the pews”.

Shalom, y’all.

Living In Tension:Part 1

I see on Facebook that some of the deputies { both lay & clerical} are already traveling to Indianapolis for General Convention.

Part of me wishes I could represent my Diocese this year as a lay deputy but most of me is very glad tat I will not be held responsible here for anything that occurs at this General Convention. In 2011 I served as a lay delegate to th Convention here when we voted for the deputation that will represent the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast this summer. Althugh I am not 100 percent satisfied with *all* of the deputes voted in 2011, I trust te enough to know that they will discern how to vote on the upcoming resolutions.

Inasmuch as living in this sort of sociopolitical tension that surrounds the upcoming General Convention, let me go on record as saying I am proud to be an Episcopalian. I love this Church & will continue to be ” Uapologeticlly Episcopalian” regardless of what transpires during General Convention 2012.

It is quite possible that I will not agee with how the bishops & deputies vote , but I am not going anywhere. The Episcopal Church IS my spiritual home & I CAN ” live in tension” that seems to be the requirement of we postmodern Christ-followers. It is true that he Church is not the Church of our ancestors & I consider myself progressive. But if it is God’s will that we slow down to rethnk some initiatives put forth this year so be it.

It bothers me how some Christians { of all denominations} figuratively run awy from a church just because they don’t agree with some of the decisions made by denominational governing bodies. Christ calls us to work TOGETHER to further His kingdom on Earth….and he didn’t say that we had to agree 100 percent of the time on all Church matters. As a matr of fact,I am pretty sure that the fist apostles bickered amongst themeselves.

Above all, I am praying for UNITY. While living in tension is hard, schism & its after-effects has historically proven as counterproductive.

Amen.

Convention ’12 will happen without me.

Today I completed my 2011 Report to the Annual Meeting, which is Sunday at Small Parish. It has been a good year for our Christian Education program… we’ve expanded & recruited more volunteers.

As I was writing the report, I was reminded that I cannot go to this upcoming years Diocesan Convention. Thee past two years, I was fortunate o serve as a lay delegate to our Convention. This coming year, I am ” passing the torch” to someone else.

It’s not that I don’t want to attend Convention this year, but Best Dude & I will be out-of-town that weekend–I already promised Best Dude that I want to travel with him that weekend to{ finally} meet his family. this is exciting, but at the same time I * will* miss seeing my friends from all over the Diocese at Convention But, Best Dude who also happens to be Senior Warden at Small Parish} & I have these plans & I am putting the person I love the most first for this upcoming February weekend.

One lesson that God has taught me this year is the need or self-care or people in active ministry be it a lay ministry such as mine or one of Holy Orders} One cannot be a good servant of God if one does not practice self-care. Its been a rather rough few weeks in our lives & I am looking forward to some ” sabbath time” In February with best Dude.

Honoring All Who Served….

Today is the Birthday { 236 years} of the United States Marine Corps! Semper Fi, y’all. :O)

Tomorrow is Veterans Day.

I live in a VERY military-infused part of our great nation, but my appreciation for those who serve our nation in her armed forces started when I was a wee lass. I come from a long line of military veterans. Both my grandfathers served in World War 1 while an uncle, my ” Best Dude” & my father served in Vietnam.

Since moving to Northwest Florida & being blessed with military families as parishioners, I’ve learned so much more about what these brave men & women do to keep this country safe.  I’ve known families whose active-duty loved one had two or three tours in the Middle East while stationed at the nearby Air Force base. I’ve babysat for families where one parent ” holds the home front” while their active-duty spouse is away & this made me even more grateful for what the veterans of wars past gave up for our nation.

Dad never did & still won’t talk much about his time in the Army.  All I know is that he served for approximately 18 months until he was injured in the line of duty in the jungles of Vietnam. Since Dad doesn’t discuss much of his military history & the nearest military base was Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, my brother & I did not grow up with much experience with military life & culture.

That all changed when I moved to Northwest Florida in December of 1998.  Yours truly, a little Yankee gal with no clue about military culture, suddenly found herself surrounded by active-duty & retired service people.  At first, it was really hard for me to accept that my civilian status will never earn membership into their subculture .  I had to learn their ” language” & at first it was a * steep learning curve* for me.  Now, almost 13 years later, my appreciation for what our country’s military families endure for the sake of our freedom has increased a hundredfold.

Sometimes I fear that the Vietnam War veterans, the war in which both Best Dude & Dad served, are sometimes pushed aside when we remember & celebrate our veterans of other wars. I understand that Vietnam was not a popular war with Many Americans who remember it  & I totally understand the idea of unpopular foreign wars.  But I also understand that when our veterans returned stateside from that conflict, they were NOT { in many instances} regarded as the heroes they were & still are.

For example: I think that the ” Honor Flight” program, where WW2 veterans get to take a free trip to the War Memorial in Washington, DC is awesome. What I would LOVE is to see done for our Vietnam veterans is something similar to this Honor Flight program.

I’ve been to the Vietnam Wall during my last trip to Washington, DC & I felt what my priest would call a ‘thin place’ there.  My parents & I visited the Wall together when we were in northern Virginia for a wedding weekend, & being there looking at all those names of Americans lost in that war with my Dad is something I will never forget.

It is because of my experience of visiting The Wall with my Dad that I strongly feel that * every*  veteran of this war who so desires to visit should have a way to do so.

This evening I want to salute ALL veterans of all foreign wars.

May God bless you & keep you.

 

Moses stuttered. I can’t drive a car.

It’s that time of year again….soon I must present my spiritual autobiography to my EfM seminar group. Thankfully I still have two more weeks to polish this years’ version of my spiritual autobiography, but its gonna be very different from the past two years’ autobiographies.

I’ve grown a lot since last summer & a lot of growth occurred because Best Dude is also the senior warden at our small parish. I am for sure not the most patient person ever born, so this year has been a year of me attaining some decorum. :O)

That being said, I am still rather unwilling to follow my vocation. I’m probably making up excuses, but I am just not quite sure why God wants me to do what God seems to be asking me to do. My main concerns are my physical limitations. While there is NOTHING wrong ith my intellect, I am mildly autistic & also have a spine supported permanently by two titanium rodes *and* a neurological problem that alters my eyesight so much that I possess almost no depth perception. I’ve overcome many of these challenges , but right now God hasn’t opened a metaphorical ” door” for me to fully overcome my physical conditions that keep me from safely operating an automobile. Part of my spiritual growth that I’ve prayerfully worked on over these past five years is coming to peaceful terms with the fact that I will never operate any sort of motorized vehicle.

It has been in the past two years that God has opened up opportunities for me to serve the Church in a wider way in spite of my challenges. After all, Moses stuttered & he led God’s people out of slavery in Egypt.

Shameless book plug

Lisa Bloom rocks!

I am shamelessly using this blog to plug a book that currently has me enthralled. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I value intelligence, so when Ms Lisa Bloom, feminist & legal eagle extraordinaire, released her first book I got my pre-ordered copy. So far I’ve read the introduction to her book and the first part. In the Introduction Ms Bloom gives props to her parents for raising her to THINK for herself.

The first “main” section of the book outlines the problem of how Americans{ especially girls & women} have fallen for several socially-constructed traps that are unhealthy both for individuals and society as a whole.

She talks about how the mainstream media { of which she is a part} caters to society’s insatiable hunger for celebrity ” news” & how news execs chase ratings by sacrificing hard news. Apparently hard news doesn’t sell and this fact baffles me. After all , I did not study journalism just to follow the latest Brangelina ” baby bump watch” or capitalize on the Pretty Missing White Girl Abduction du jour. She pointed out an interesting yet sad fact….almost never do we hear coverage of stories of missing children of color or even boys. It seems like society only values the safe return of Pretty Missing White Girls. This is sad….ANY missing child deserves to be found. Ms Bloom also points out that children go missing all over the world..but do we hear about these kids? We do not.

She also discusses how much money , time & heartache American women waste yearly on ” beauty ” products. I’ve always been a minimalist regarding face makeup & I hate pedicures passionately. Paying a stranger to touch my feet? EW. No thanks. However, one little luxury that I do enjoy periodically is getting my hair colored by a professional…but my appointments for that service are quarterly. I’ve learned the hard way that drugstore hair coloring products * are* inferior to beautician-grade products.

Great book so far.

Prayer List

I am posting a list of prayer concerns, as this has been an active & rather sad news cycle. Wow…I spend a total day away from my computer & return home to a laundry list of bad news through which to sift. :O(

~The earthquake & tsunami that started in Japan & made its way across the ocean.
~ Aid workers who ar in that region. May God keep them safe.
~Rep. Gabrielle Giffords: may she continue to recover.
~ The prayer needs of my parishioners.
~ Prayers for the lawmakers in states where bargaining rights for teachers & other public workers are in jeopardy.
~ The poor in all nations, but especially here in the United States.

I am sure I’ve left some concerns off of my list for now, but God knows whats in our hearts even when we can’t pray the words.

Kyrie Elesion.