Last night I had two dreams that I missed my plane…one reason might be I have developed a bit of anxiety about getting to the airport on the right day and the right time…we missed a flight to Thailand because I had the wrong date…I missed a flight to Charleston last month…
Tomorrow I am flying to Chicago for a women’s conference…
I am really looking forward to this trip for so many reasons…
Last week was International Women’s Day. In 2006, Rachelle organized a gridblog entitled, “Dismantling Patriarchy”, (I was in Thailand officiating a wedding at time) which I participated in. This year I didn’t participate because I have been too sick and too behind in my studies. If I am going to take time to write I have to write for school. I have been too sick to concentrate on my studies or much else…in fact I have spent more time in the last two weeks watching T.V. than I have in years…it doesn’t take much energy to watch T.V…
While reading through some of the posts, I found I really resonated with Julie Clawson’s post.
From her post:
There are many issues that I try to be open minded about. I respect differences of opinion in theology and politics and disdain single issue voting, but this is a deal breaking issue for me. If a church sees women as inferior and denies them their voice, I honestly could not join as a member of that community. I could not worship week after week alongside those that denied my full humanity. I don’t deny their faith or anything, but it’s not worth it to me to subject myself to such life-denying forces. Others with far more patience are attempting to bring hope to those situations, but (at least for now) I can’t be a part of that world.
I have to say I agree with her. It is a justice issue for me, I am respectful of difference, but I couldn’t attend a church week after week that denied my right to be who I am created to be.
Tonight I was reading through the journal I kept in 2003. I read through my entries on my trip to Mozambique, Africa and Church of the Savior in Washington D.C. Some of the entries from Africa brought tears to my eyes.
While at Church of the Savior we heard a number of amazing practitioners, one in particular jumped out at me tonight (I am re-reading some of my thoughts so I can shape my dissertation proposal), it was a talk given by a man named Bill Haley. Bill had just returned from a trip around the world visiting Christian communities that were or had been successful in bringing about personal, societal and global transformation. (Sidebar – I was struck by the fact that five years later we use similar language in our community about following Christ to serve others in three realms: personal, local and global). He talked about Wilberforce and the Clapham’s (social reformers within the Church of England.
Bill then talked about small communities of Christians committed to prayer, study and service as the most powerful tool in God’s hand for personal, societal and global transformation. Then went on to name some of the groups he studied and visited:
The Sisters of Charity
The Iona Community
Various monastic communities
Church of the Savior
The common denominators he found:
1. The Communities are Christ centered – Jesus is the reason they exist and they know him as a suffering God
2. There was some degree of life together
3. They had strong leadership – leaders that had a strong inner sense and a focus “what is not yet needs to be done” there are things God wants to do in the world
4. There was a great willingness within the community to live sacrificially
5. There was a profound reliance on prayer
6. There was an external goal – the entire community internalized an external goal, namely, they existed for other people, social justice was equated with loving God
7. There was shared discipline
8. There was a high expectation for membership (individualism was not part of their language or practice) they realized they could get more done with 10 committed people than 100 people who were not committed to the mission
9. They all had a commitment to commitment – you choose how you live
Here was Bill’s definition of Christian community:
An interdependent group of Christians whose lives are centered around Jesus and ordered by love, who share common goals and common commitments and who together intentionally seek to love God and love their neighbor.
Tonight Rich, Alex and I had dinner with my extended family. My mom, my cousins, my uncle Dan (85 years old) and old friends of the family. We watched the videos that Rich and I made of my mom…this spurred a lot of questions and story after story…we had rigatoni, green beans with pancetta and lots of wine!
My mom was having a great time rehearsing the stories of her childhood…and of her siblings, funny stores about my aunts that we grew up around…all four of them have died within the last 10 years.
We talked about death and dying, cremation or burial, scattering ashes — it was really fun…at one point someone said, this is like a scene out of Meet the Fockers! There was lots of laughter.
It was great to see my mom being the center of attention and everyone celebrating the moments of her life. She is totally cool with making the videos public (everyone at dinner wanted access to them)…we are going to videotape my uncle Dan as well. He loved documenting the stories we all grew up hearing but have not had anyone really document to this point.
Only sad moment, when we first arrived, an old friend of the family I haven’t seen in a couple of years said to me (referring to Alex) “is that your grandson?” to which I replied, “nooooo, that’s Alex our youngest” 🙂
Yesterday I posted on domestic violence. My mom, and all 5 of us kids are the victims of domestic violence. I am 51 years old and the second to the last of 5 kids. We were abused in the 60’s and 70’s — before Dr. Phil and Oprah, when counseling was taboo…
The following is just one of several comments that have been left on my blog in the last two days by my brothers who protect the system. It might give you a little more clarity as to why I can’t have a relationship with my three older siblings. It is referring to the fact that Rich and I videotaped my mom telling her family history (not our history) but her story, her parents, immigration from Italy etc. Apparently my siblings are not happy that my mother and I have reconciled our relationship and she actually enjoys hanging out with us. Here is the latest comment…I am actually not afraid for people to know who I am and that I have reconciled with my mother. One reason I am making this comment public is because my brothers have both retaliated against me for telling the truth. I would expect they are scheming a way to retaliate once again so for the record I will expose any threats or manipulations and attempts to control me or my relationships. By the way, my mom was happy to tell her story and very happy to have them up on YouTube (they are set to private) she calls me and lets me know how happy she is that people are viewing them. She did say my brother David called her and screamed at her for doing the videos with me. Welcome to my life…
1. david madrid | email@example.com | IP: 22.214.171.124
Hey Rose you had the odasity to put My mother on YOU TUBE!! How insulting!! Hey you big forgiver how about forgiving your father !! Yea right!! You better delete this or peolpe will find out the real YOU. You hipacrite!! Why don’t you just stay away from my Mother you are EVIL. You only think of yourself you self centered evil woman JEZIBEL
Feb 29, 10:02 AM — [ Edit | Delete | View Post ] — Bulk action: Approve Spam Delete Defer until later
Here is a good site on recognizing if you currently or have been a victim of domestic violence. The characteristics on the wheels have a continuum. Some people learn to control by manipulation, intimidation and the lot. Tragically it begins early in life and without real healing it continues through a lifetime…
Wow, life is so full! I am trying to keep up with it all. Charleston was good, I made it late. Good meetings, met some great people and spent time with our regional leadership. Back home, trying to catch up with VCC, Turning Point and my course work. I am very, very behind…I am taking three days next week to go away and catch up…Alex is on mid-winter break so Rich and I and Alex are going to Leavenworth.
Alex, my ten year old (who btw just made the little league majors!) plays the chipmunks CD over and over…especially – You had a bad day…I am sitting at SeaTac and that song has gone through my head…actually I’ve had a couple of bad days. Last week Alex and Rich both had a bad flu. I was feeling pretty good and happy it I didn’t get it. Monday evening in the middle of dinner, it hit…bad…stomach flu…I was up all night, hoping it was only a 24 hour bug since I had to leave at 7:00 a.m. today for South Carolina for the Vineyard National Leadership retreat. I was in bed all day yesterday, barely coherent. Was feeling a bit better this morning, weak and tired. I got to the airport a little late, somehow in my delirium I didn’t calculate the time correctly. I ran to security, line was so long…got to the gate literally the minute they shut the door. They wouldn’t let me on. Once they shut the door that’s it, done, you lose…
So, I am sitting in the airport, next flight is at noon which will get me into Charleston around 9:30 p.m. ugh…I will miss the “meet and greet” time tonight but will be there for the meetings in the morning.
If you think about it, please say a couple of prayers, I am not feeling so well and don’t want to relapse…I doubt I am contagious, just feel weak and have a bit of a headache…thanks
Last week at VCC we did a reflection – looking back at 2007 and asked these questions:
- Who were the significant people in your life?
What books or Bible study instructed your mind and heart?
- How were you a gift to a person or a community?
- What was your greatest joy this year? Your greatest sorrow?
- In what areas did you grow? Were these areas related to your joy or your pain?
- Did you root your life more firmly in Scripture and in prayer? Did God seem near or far off?
Is there anything you feel God is saying to you as you look back on the year?
This morning we will reflect on looking ahead at 2008 with these questions:
- Who are the people with whom you would like to deepen your relationships in the year to come? Do you have relationships that need to be healed? Are there places in your own heart that need healing?
- Is there an aspect of your character you would like to develop, or one of the fruit of the Spirit you would like God to grow in you? (“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” Gal.5:22)
- Are there any other goals, in the area of mental, physical, spiritual, or emotional growth that you’d like to name before God, asking his help?
Most of the time we encourage living in the present, this real day to day, ordinary life and see all aspects as holy. Spiritual formation is happening whether I am watching Fox News, CNN or eat dinner with my family. All of life is forming me. There are a few times during the year that it is good to reflect on the past and ask what do I hope for in the future. As followers of Christ we live in three time zones, the past, the present and the future. The Kingdom has come, is here and our prayer, “Kingdom Come”
I was thinking of writing a reflection on 2007 when I received an email this morning titled “One Year Later” a comment on my “Meeting With Mark Driscoll” post.
I clicked on the link and was taken here
I read through the posts and the comments and felt sick. I will leave it at that.
Highlights from 2007
2007 is a bit of a blur to me. Between family, friends, church, Turning Point and grad school, I need to look at my calendar to remember.
Unfortunately I began the year with a bit of a health scare. I had a cycle of migraine headaches that ended up lasting from late December to almost the end of January. Upon having my eyes examined as one of the numerous tests and doctors I saw they discovered something that could be either nerve damage or some kind of growth in my brain. I ended up having brain scans and all kinds of tests. It ended up being nerve damage to the nerves that connect from behind my eyes to the optic nerve. It is not a serious condition and can be corrected with eye glasses. I fought migraines almost the entire year. In September Rich (he makes coffee for us every morning, started using decaf, didn’t tell me until 3 days into it) and I stopped using all caffeine and I have not had a migraine since!
Bakke Graduate University
I continued grad school. I always seem to be behind but I love it! One highlight was teaching a session for the incoming doctoral students in January and June. This is a dream for someday… to teach part time in seminary as an on the ground practitioner. I continue to be amazed at how Bakke’s unique seminary, connecting practitioners with academics is the kind of seminary Brian McLaren wrote about in his book “New Kind of Christian”. I remember reading that section several years ago (before seminary was even an option for me) and thinking, that’s a seminary I would love to attend.
February – March
I spent two weeks in India for a course for Bakke Graduate University. You can read highlights here. I loved India, the people, the colors, the smells…
Our community journeyed through the Lenten season together using Henri Nouwen’s “Show me the Way” reflection. We met every Wednesday evening for soup, bread and sharing our journey.
I attended the Feast of Saint Patrick. What an amazing group of people. The Roman Catholic part of me envies having a beautiful building, St E’s, the intentional living in both the Convent and the Brown House. I hope I spend time in the future with these fellow travelers.
Along with Off The Map we hosted the Missional Matrix event. Scot and Kris McKnight were with us as well as Todd Hunter. We have known Todd for several years and it is always good to be with him. I have read Jesus Creed for a long time and so meeting Scot and Kris was an honor. We had a blast.
April – May
April – Easter! I love Easter. I love the Lenten season leading up to Holy Week, Palm Sunday and then BAM! Easter – Love Wins!
In May we had our annual women’s retreat. This is one of the highlights of my year. Women in our faith community go on retreat held in a beautiful setting overlooking Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains on Whidbey Island. This is one of the most bonding times we have together as women in community. We laugh together, cry together, pray together, sing together, cook together, eat together…it is a rich time of relationship with God and one another.
The majority of summer was spent working, leading VCC, leading TP and course work for school. We spent a 5 days with my sister and her husband at their house on Orcas Island. We live in one of the most beautiful regions in the world.
I began meeting with a Peer Direction group as another practice to try to keep myself growing and grounded in God during this very intense season of life. Five of us meet monthly. I love this group! We are four generations of women (I am in the middle). It’s amazing because almost monthly I think, “I am too busy for another meeting” and then we meet and I realize, “I am too busy to not have this meeting”. The depth of listening to God for one another and the direction that comes is one of the best gifts I received in 2007.
September – October
By the time Alex went back to school the first week of September I realized I was exhausted. The first week of school was in and I decided I needed to practice rest even if it was for only 24 hours. I decided that on Friday’s I was not going to be responsible for anything and only do things I wanted to do. I would putter around the house, and cook a beautiful fall dinner, usually roast chicken with root vegetables. I didn’t do it intentionally but it ended up turning into modified Shabbat meal. We would usually invite friends over and it ended up being a wonderful time. No agenda, no church business, just good friends, good food and good wine.
In September I agreed to be the Area Pastoral Care Leader in our area of churches. This is an honor because I don’t think there has ever been a stand alone woman in the Association of Vineyard Churches USA to ever break out beyond local church leadership. Diana Butler Bass said to me, “so you’re a bishop”…
By mid-October Friday nights were taken up beginning with a trip to Texas. I went with a small group of women to meet with the National Director, Bert Waggoner and his wife Evelyn to discuss how to empower women in the Vineyard on every level of leadership. I met some wonderful women that I know will be life long friends.
Arriving home from Texas the following weekend we had our second annual Turning Point Dinner and Auction. You can read about it here.
November – December
I began November attending the Off The Map Live Event. As I stated in an earlier blog, I think it was the best event to date. Brian McLaren spoke in our church that Sunday a.m. our recording computer crashed so unfortunately it was not recorded.
Rich and I went on a 5 day cruise to Mexico with the NW Regional Leadership of Vineyard. We had a great time! We had never been on a cruise and frankly never that interested. It was a great gift. Lots of rest and good, good times, oh and a bit of work actually got accomplished!
Ray Bakke was with us the first Sunday of Advent. You can listen to his message here. I am a very, very fortunate woman. My life is never boring. Sometimes I wonder how this has all happened. In the past two years so much has converged at once, wonderful wonderful life dreams and deep personal pain. The paradox of holding joy and sorrow never escapes me for long.
Advent and Christmas were wonderful. I think every year I readjust my expectations of Christmas. Even though I love Christmas, the past few years Christmas was not the same. I can’t explain it. This year I used Maggi Dawn’s “Beginnings and Endings” as well as some other Advent reflections and I realized – I love Advent, and leading up to Christmas it made Christmas somehow more meaningful, less about the hustle and bustle of shopping and the rest of the busyness of the season.
Though it’s all a bit of a blur – I am thankful, for my family, for my friends, and for the awesome community called VCC. The opportunities and the challenges of life, the joy and the sorrow, the mistakes and the successes…I consider them all gifts from God.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
Happy New Year