Monday, November 28, 2011
Saturday, November 26, 2011
I believe with all my heart that Scripture memorization, particularly of longer passages, is critical to apprenticeship to Jesus. He knew Scripture, of course, and that's reason enough, but mimicking him in this is not the point. The point of memorization is to "eat the book" -- to digest it, to make it part of oneself. The Bible is the clearest shared record of God's self-revelation and our shared history; knowing it changes who we are, how we know God, and the people we are together.
For my current class, I have chosen Romans 8:15-39, The Message version. It begins like this:
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Fellowship in the Gospel
Monday, November 07, 2011
Nov 19-20: Smiling Daughter's early birthday.
Nov 23-29: Thanksgiving in Little Rock
Nov 29: TN House closes (with God's grace); 2/3 of family goes home
Nov 29-Dec 3: Smiling Daughter in day care, Daddy in charge; Mama doing house-y things, like having heat installed.
Dec 3-5: Pack
Dec 6: Movers
Dec 7-11: Drive with Wonderful Husband, Smiling Daughter, Dog and Cat in Honda Accord to Little Rock.
Dec 12-23: Movers arrive, sometime. God willing.
Dec 24-27: Asheville!
We'll see how this actually goes, but that's the plan. Today. Of course, we've had plans before...
God snickers a little.
Saturday, October 08, 2011
Watched Francis Chan's goodbye sermon today for ideas about what to say in mine. Francis Chan is one of my go-to guys: wonderful preacher, serious man of God. What God remembers, that I never do, is that I don't get ideas from Chan. I get convicted. Every single time, because he is a serious man of God who is also a wonderful preacher, rather than the other way around.
Chan's sermon was really about wholeheartedly surrendering your life to God, trusting that the Bible is both true and the source of real life. He believes that, and lives it. So I didn't come away with a sermon idea -- I can't be Chan -- but I did remember how little I have been steeping and surrendering, and how little Wonderful Husband (WH) and I have engaged in all-out, knee-scraping prayer about this thing we're doing. While I have trusted in the strength of my marriage, his and my ability to sustain our family financially, and God's general care for us, I have not trusted that God has a purpose in this, a mission that WH and I have to fulfill.
As long as I do not trust that God has a purpose in this, a mission for our family, God will not entrust us with it. Until I am truly ready to join with my family in this -- not just in the practical pieces, but in God's purpose -- I am as faithless as any agnostic, any pagan, any of those whom Christ condemns.
Father, please forgive me for taking all of this into my own hands. Forgive me for spending more time online than on my knees. Forgive me for worrying so much about the form and details of my leaving and so little on your Kingdom plan. Forgive me for hanging my guts on the demon in your church instead of the angels of fire you have provided. You have that in hand. You have released me from leading to focus on following.
May I be a serious woman of God. Convict me over and over until I no longer depend upon my own strength and only on yours. May I trust my husband when he sees something greater, and help him trust that you will provide.
Don't give me words, Lord. Give me your heart.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Then Josi invited me to her family's house for dinner. Both Downing House (where I'm staying) and Josi's home are full of the warmth of love shared with strangers. Their college-age kids were affectionate and helpful, even with friends there with them. Her husband was welcoming, putting me immediately at my ease.
But more than that, every person in both houses knows Jesus and loves the Lord. God's grace and mystery are simply part of the atmosphere and the conversation. Hospitality is a given, because Christ gives us open and welcoming hearts.
When we move, and have more space to share, I want to share it with others. I want to God to create that kind of welcoming place in our hearts that cannot help but extend to our home. I want our child(ren) to grow up loving Him and us and feeling absolutely connected and welcome in their home. I want guests to come and stay, to be part of the family, and for me not to feel peevish for privacy. I want Jesus to so inhabit our thoughts and actions and practices and schedule that He pours out through us, and that we become a safe and inspiring place for others.
It's going to be a good week.
Friday, July 15, 2011
"SAM: I know. It's all wrong. By rights, we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo, the ones that really matter. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was because so much bad happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing. This shadow, even darkness, must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going because they were holding on to something.
FRODO: What are we holding on to, Sam? [Sam takes Frodo, helps him to his feet, looks into his eyes and speaks with quiet conviction.]
SAM: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it's worth fighting for."
Sam tells the Great Story, what we who are followers of Christ would call the "kingdom story." He gives Frodo hope. He points the way forward. He invites Frodo to understand his part in the story of the triumph of goodness over evil and life over death.
Evangelism is telling the story of God's ultimate victory over the darkness, in our world and in our own soul. Evangelism is inviting people to take their part in that big story.
Rick Richardson. Reimagining Evangelism: Inviting Friends on a Spiritual Journey (pp. 24-26). Kindle Edition.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
I know what I'm being led to do in my next incarnation, so I have been trying descriptors on. Writer. Researcher. Fulltime student. Spiritual coach.
I did take a step toward filling in the blanks: I registered a number of domain names, and wrote a note to the guy who bought my old one asking to buy it back.
Here's what I'm trying on; all are .org or .net: inthedust, dustoftherabbi, speedofthespirit, xncoach, xncoaching. And, simply elaneorourke.
That last one may be the only filled-in blank I have for awhile.
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that." (James 4:13-15)
A fruitfly in the 23rd hour of life has a longer attention span than I do.
Writing 10 mins later, having read and responded to email and hopped links on the web.
Part of the problem is discipline, or lack thereof. Nothing new about that. What is new is the expansive changes occurring around me, and the deep changes within me these must incur. Examples: I'm trying on "writer" in place of "pastor". "Tennessee" instead of "Bay Area". "Student" rather than "wage-earner". When we move, I will no longer have anywhere I have to be at any particular time.
There is so much to do to prepare, and so little that can be done. Looking at houses is concrete and future-directed; writing sermons feels like pouring energy into the past. I can't even think about never serving Eucharist again. Moving. Prepping the house for rental. Tying up loose ends in church. Getting in every last teaching opportunity I have. Not saying goodbye.
Just hope I'm laying down my life rather than getting all misty. Though mist would explain more.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
|A 23-inch cilice.|
See also the crazy monk in DaVinci Code.
That's done. I wear the cilice today because I have once again come face to face with my own lack of discipline.Over the last year, I have been required to write a number of plans for daily living: a rule of life for the Renovare Institute, a mentoring plan for my DMin program, an exercise plan for my middle-aged body. I've also been advised by DW, my second greatest advisor (next to Wonderful Husband), to write daily. While there is overlap in each of these written promises, none is being accomplished full- or half-heartedly. One of them even suggests I blog regularly; hence the public self-recrimination.
Bad blogger! Okay, not quite done.
Now I've volunteered to take on a daily task of preparing devotionals. Don't know if I'll be accepted for the task, but if I do, I'll need your prayers. And perhaps your cat o'nine tails.
Friday, May 20, 2011
Six others of our church here.
Acquaintances of a decade or more all around.
A beautiful lagoon outside the hotel window.
Part of me is waving and greeting, talking plans and challenges and hopes, giving comfort, shooting the breeze. Some I'm really grateful to see. These are people I love whom I barely know, but have some connection through the Holy Spirit. Some are simply familiar faces from a dozen of annual encounters.
You ever seen one of those movies where the lead character walks through events unseen? He's returned to the past, or he's a ghost, and people walk right through him or around him: he is in that world but not of it. That's the even bigger part of me: disinterested and uninterested in much of it. Or soaking in as much as I can of small bits of it, as it moves around me and through me. I'm the immaterial one, because I'm leaving.
Jesus isn't here with me, and I'm not sure whose fault that is. He's here, of course, especially in my "in but not of"-ness, but I'm not sensing him in the material part.
Maybe my spirit is just preparing to leave the lagoon and the ocean and the acquaintances and my people. So the Lord and I are just going to keep moving about while my spirit gazes off into the distance.
Sunday, May 08, 2011
My last preaching weekend is at the end of October. I have no idea yet what will happen Nov. 1st. I just know I won't be going into the office.
More on this later; just reflecting on the strangeness of it all.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
As thousands of bodies wash onto the shores of Japan, let us pray. Resolve to help.
Perhaps we can even let go of petty concerns, just for today.
Friday, March 11, 2011
We are always at your mercy; we pray to always be in it.