Archive for December, 2013

Christmas Prayer

Eternal loving Mother God of light, love, and life, we stand in silent awe before you. In your form as a human infant is all holiness in all vulnerability, all power in all lowliness, all love in all evanescence, all eternity in all innocence. Entreat us, we pray, with plaintive cries, with placid gurgles, and with sweet, milkful smiles, to cradle the oppressed, the meek, the downtrodden, and the lonely in our hearts this day and always.

Merry Christmas to my friends, family, and readers. :)


Advent Birth


I only have one more semester to go!

It’s nuts to think about. What’s left is barely a semester anyway. All I really have left are a couple of weekend courses and one course I’m auditing for fun. I can’t wait to be able to bring my knitting to class!

It feels like I’ve been in school forever, and yet I can’t possibly imagine what it would be like to be working in the field I’ve been working up toward. ACPO seems like a distant dream, and yet I know it’ll rush up on me before I know it. I could say “I hope to God I’ll be ready,” but I really don’t think you can talk about it in those terms. It happens, and then you pick up the pieces.

I’m so grateful for everyone’s prayers and the strength lent to me in these four years.

I think it’s no coincidence that some of the most important work of my life occurred in Advent. Last year Advent 1 was the first meeting of my discernment group. This year, just beforehand, I got the good news from the examining chaplains, and on Advent 1 I handed in my position paper. Something new is being born, and I hope to God I will have help in bringing it forth into the world.

“He will come like child, he will come.”


On a Christian Virtue: Diligence

Some time ago for my leadership studio class we had to consider the Christian virtues. I wrote a short piece on “diligence.” Now I think it might be fun to do the same for the other virtues! Here is the first one: the rest will follow soon!


On Diligence



“Diligence” is a virtue that I see as essential to the Church in our time, and something that I struggle with. I can throw myself into something whole-heartedly and never feel like it’s enough, or I can start with great ideas and have them stagnate because I either lose interest or don’t have the energy or time to exercise diligence, which usually leads to guilt. Sometimes I know I need to slow down in order to recognize diligence, but I often worry that people think I’m lazy or incapable if I take time to do things slowly. Oddly enough, there’s another translation of spoudē, the Greek word for “diligence”, which is “haste”. “Haste” is something I believe I absorbed in some of my first years in school, where I would be chastised for taking too long to finish things. I internalized the idea that most people expected things to be done quickly, especially authority figures, and unfortunately that led to some anxiety when a task took me longer than it took others, especially things like math or logic-based thinking, which has always been a growing edge for me. I also became someone who got frustrated if I felt progress was being impeded and would sooner give up on a stalled project than exercise diligence to make sure it came out late, but well done. I like quick results – like many people in the world. It was a great relief then, to encounter the spirituality of mindfulness, and moving thoughtfully through tasks. I still struggle with it, though, but at least I know it’s a struggle. The “P” in my Myers-Briggs typology thanks me when I do this.

It’s not only important for my own peace of mind and development that I continue to strive for diligence in my daily life, work, and prayers. When I trace the term in Scripture, I see it as being deeply connected to one’s calling as a Christian, particularly in the Epistles. In the second letter of Peter, diligence is needed in order to bring about a string of other virtues that all work together and support one another – goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, and godliness. I draw strength from the Jesus of Mark, whose disciples are painted as a bit dense. Jesus never gives up, even when it becomes clear that they’re not going to understand his full teachings until it’s too late. In Romans, it’s the mark of a leader – crucial to the exhortation of others. This idea is particularly appealing to me. My greatest joy, gift, and task, is proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ Jesus. I love nothing more than to, when invited, share with someone the amazing reconciliation that Christians proclaim has happened in Jesus, and doing so in such a way as my joy is infectious, not simply inspiring new believers but encouraging long-time believers as well. I seem to have boundless stores of energy to devote to this particular part of my ministry, and in this case I do not lack in diligence. While I have plenty of other failings as a person of faith, I feel that my strength lies in living a life that is joyful for the great gift of God in Christ, and the great gift of God in love. Diligence in living and proclaiming this never seems to wane.

What can I do about the places where my life lacks diligence? I found a paper online that explores the concept of Christian diligence and offers some passages that supposedly tell one where to draw diligence. I was a bit cautious – proof-texting is something about which I’ve come to feel very skeptical – but I found an interesting kernel that bore more thought. The passage cited was in 2 Corinthians Chapter 7, where Paul mentions “godly grief.” The phrase is in reference to what appear to be feelings of guilt and anxiety over the sins of the community at Corinth, but is labeled “godly” because the community is hence called to repent. While this reading gives me some trepidation – I know for myself that guilt usually plunges me into futility – I do think its focus on repentance is helpful, and I am heartened that for Paul it is most important that the sinful person who had been pushed out of the community is restored. Clearly forgiveness is the main drive here, and repentance the main goal of this godly grief. Instead of languishing in shame – and some types of shame can be quite healthy, after all – mindfulness of oneself and moments where diligence is lacking can lead to repentance. Perhaps the simple drive to start fresh or approach things from a different perspective is enough. And of course, I hope in God. My diligence in faith grows stronger every day. I expect that will be enough to hold onto for the long haul.

Thought For the Day

I decided to dive into the vault and pull out some old stuff I wrote for school! I promise I will try and come up with some new new material very shortly.

This piece was written for my “integration and formation class.” We were introduced to the BBC’s intriguing podcast Thought for the Day, and told to write our own. I didn’t get a chance to record mine, but here’s the text.



“Let anyone with ears to hear, listen!” This doesn’t seem to fit our world as it used to – perhaps now it would be more common to hear, “Let anyone with fingers, click!” It is all too easy to be caught in a cycle of learning new things online, and as I click through site after site I sometimes find myself intrigued beyond measure by the Internet’s many answers to Dear Abby in the form of endless blogs dedicated to reader-submitted questions, or indeed by one of the truly perplexing oddities of the Internet,, which chronicles the bizarre questions asked daily of our newest sage, Google. Some are just weird or silly: “Is it okay to drink boiling tap water?” or “Recipe calls for vanilla pudding mix I don’t have it Can I just leave it out?” Some, though, are unsettling, even distressing: “It’s been three years and I still don’t love my adopted son,” and “What are some ways to stop yourself being gay.” What was once solely the domain of trusted friends, relatives, the library, or (God forbid) professionals has now become largely the domain of the information superhighway, with all of its breathtaking scenery, all of its potholes, and all of its roadkill. The sheer wealth of choices and variety in information may seem like an unqualified blessing, but of course it isn’t, for our choices cannot be sorted into worthwhile and useless or even harmful information.

How we react to the presence of these many voices in our cultural fabric is up to us. Celebrations or pearl-clutching will not change the fact that people who want to learn are more and more often going to the Internet before they go to anyone else. If people are consulting less with physical living human documents like friends and relations – particularly elders – and consulting more with the manufactured information presented online, what does this mean for the Church? We largely still meet in what kids these days call “meatspace,” and many of us are repelled by the notion of switching entirely to worship and communion online. Furthermore, how are we to navigate in a world that is post-Christendom, where we are forced to compete with many other meaning-makers, and on a global level unprecedented in human history? Those of us who affirm the majesty of God should not hope to claim that God cannot or chooses not to ever move through systems outside the Church. Perhaps, then, we can greet this with some sense of relief…and purpose. If Jesus had truly been striving for univocality, he would never have told parables, never have engaged with the rulers of the day, and would have had no disciples. We people of faith now have the same platform as everyone else, unable to go unquestioned ever again – and what a gift. Now that we are forced into the increasing capitalism of our world, we can plunder the Egyptians by refining our product, just like everyone else. In refining, we must offer something that both meets a need and is different enough from everything else to avoid redundancy. We already have the core of a brilliant product, which meets a universal need: a need that is not only the answer to but the reason for every other need we have, and a need before need itself. Let us borrow but not absorb, cultivate but not colonize, and let us shout, “Let anyone with ears to hear, listen.”

The Journey in Slow Motion

I’m going to ACPO.

It’s completely insane to comprehend. I opened the letter with my husband on the phone. I’m not entirely sure he knew why I had to do it that way, but I did. Up until this point (because there is always more around the corner) it was the most important letter I think I’d ever opened in my life.

Of course once I realized what it said I completely broke down. And I can’t even say why. I think, for me, I’ve been so emotional over each affirmation because it seems to confirm not only God’s presence, but God’s pleasure, because with each movement forward I feel more certain of my vocation (and with myself). It’s so difficult to know these things, and I spend so much time afraid of my own ambitions. I spend ages learning (and telling myself) that this is not the kind of work somebody earns the right to do. It’s about being called, and answering. And yet I still struggle with the sense that I will never be worthy of any mission God sets before me, even after visions and affirmation from others and countless papers exploring who I am and where my call is coming from.

It may sound cliche, but all I really want to do is dedicate my life to serving God. I would give everything that I have, even my life, to know with utter certainty that I am doing what God has ordained for me. Of course I will never know in this life, and I think that’s the point, because otherwise there would be no such thing as faith or her sister doubt.

I think both are essential to truly discerning God’s will.



Despite all of the good-natured moaning from friends and loved ones on my behalf (“When are you going to knoooowww?“), I am certain of one thing: that everything has happened at exactly the right time. The 2nd of December (I think) marks the anniversary of my first meeting with my discernment group. It was also the day that I sent in my ministry position paper to be reviewed by the panel that will discuss it with me on December 9th.

And what better time to begin to determine God’s will than the season of Advent?

Whatever happens to me, I will always treasure this season as the one where I began this incredible journey, and I will try every year to remember and celebrate my calling, as Mary once did. And if I do become what I believe I am called to become, I will be ordained by a woman: our Bishop-elect is Melissa Skelton from the Diocese of Olympia. I can’t wait to meet her.

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour.”