Posts Tagged ‘Courage


going forward while standing still

Last night baby kitty, Bella woke me up  after  only 1.5 hours of sleep by jumping up to nestle down upon my sleeping body. Normally I would manage this but last night and for the past several nights I have been flushed with concerns and anxieties. I am currently overwhelmed with life in general and mine in particular. I would like to know when the golden years begin. I’m thinking this whole golden years idea might have been one of those advertising gimmicks to sell retirement homes or insurance policies. There is nothing golden going on in my life at present. Definitely nickel-plated.

Big Dawg and I still have 2 houses: the big beautiful one we put up for sale 2 years ago when we answered the call to come follow Jesus with the congregation we were attending at the time, and the charming little cottage in which we now reside. There had been ample time for leadership persons to explain to us that the invitation couldn’t include the two of us, but nothing was said until 3 days after we moved and there we were, sort of like your best friend died without leaving you a handkerchief. Two years later, we still have 2 houses and the strain of floating them, along with all the other vicissitudes of 21st century life is killing us. The strain of having lost Adopted Daughter along with what we’d thought would be a church family, comes home to roost quite frequently. I won’t go on. It will sound like a soap opera.

Two and a half days ago I had what we used to call a nervous breakdown—uncontrollable crying, despair, hopelessness, deep depression. I pulled myself up to a level closer to normal with the help of homeopathic medication, but  I am truly tired, inside and out. The prairie style FLW house we rescued from ignominy and poured so much love and money into has slipped from $479K to $300K and still no real buyers. We are reluctantly preparing to seek renters. This is a band-aid and not a good one, but it might lessen the financial leak. The wound remains until such time as the church that invited us, and then uninvited us, publicly accepts and confesses its culpability to us. Although we have extended forgiveness to them, such a statement would be a very healing balm to our battered selves. In the meantime, we practice the rule of 70 x 7.

Tomorrow BD and I will head out to Minnesota to attend the annual conference of Mennonites and Roman Catholics, called Bridgefolk, to be held at St John’s Abbey in Collegeville. We are looking for something more, but don’t know what it is. I have moments of wishing we’d not signed up for this because I feel so out of the Circle of Light, but we will go and God will bless and life will go on…one day at a time.


forgiveness 70 x 7

Last Sunday, we all went back to our former church to support adopted daughter in her desire to address the congregation on the importance of maintaining loving relationships above disagreement. We brought her in a wheel chair with portable oxygen and still the effort was physically considerable for her. I don’t completely  know where this desire has its genesis in her own 48 years. I don’t completely know because AD is a very private person. She does not talk extensively about her feelings in connection with her life growing up in an extended family of wealthy immigrants. I have heard stories, and I know the recent past, but there is not a lot of connection along the emotional road from there to here. And curiously enough…I am a confidante.

So I don’t know all that went in to this effort to speak to the congregation and I don’t understand her request for forgiveness, but it seemed to resonate with some of the people there. The pastor responded by asking forgiveness in behalf of the congregation. I have no way of knowing how the congregation felt about that, but it was an important step for the pastor to take. It was a very dramatic and meaningful time. Ad is now quite exhausted by the effort and I am wandering along the path, not quite with it and not quite without. While 99% were glad to see and receive AD, not everyone was glad to see Big Dawg and me—probably most, but certainly not everyone.

We knew that would be the case going in, and were especially aware when sitting directly across from us was person X,  whose dark and grim demeanor was much the same as it had been a year ago, on Pentecost Sunday, 2009. That was the day the congregation exploded, giving us a clear and painful message that we were not to be included into membership. Not only was X’s demeanor the same, but  X was sitting in just about the same proximity to us as last year! It was eerie and unsettling, but we persevered. Just before AD was wheeled up to the front of the church to speak, person X got up and left the sanctuary. I found this action abruptly rude, careless, egoistic at best and a slap in the face of the Body of Christ at worst.

I did not think about this incident until late in the day when I could put aside my public persona and be at home. The incident began to haunt me as memories of the past year flooded my heart and mind, giving free rise to my autonomic nervous system’s response to remembered pain and agony. We had become scapegoats at that church for nine months. Although I’d come closer to God through that suffering, it was at times extremely painful, bringing up childhood experiences of rejection as well as a string of adult experiences. The forgiveness I’d come to in the past several months was being tested and I was teetering on the brink of despair and self-loathing for about  36 hours—teetering and nearly falling from acceptance of God’s love. I could only breathe YHWH and let the Spirit intercede (Romans 8). By Tuesday, I was climbing back up the ladder and leaving goats behind. Today I find this passage in Richard Rohr’s meditation  (February 24) and it helps me put persons like X, as well as goats, in perspective:

We have always needed to find a way to deal with human anxiety and evil by some means—and it was invariably some practice other than forgiveness or healing. We usually dealt with human anxiety and evil by sacrificial systems of some sort, and that has largely continued to this day. (Exclusion, torture, war, segregation, class division, prejudice, and racism would be its common forms.)

Historically, we moved from human sacrifice, to animal sacrifice, to various modes of seeming self-sacrifice. But even in self-sacrifice, it was not usually the ego self that we sacrificed, but most often the material self as its vicarious substitute. The physical body became our usual scapegoat instead of the real problem which was the ego—a rather clever game of smoke and mirrors. Meanwhile the ego has remained “scot free” and off the hook for most of Christian history, even at the highest levels of church.

Whether you agree with Rohr’s analysis wholly, in part, or not at all is not my concern. What is important to me today is that …the rivers did not overwhelm me and I was not burned.


and the winner is…

Hello everybody,

The Bennie Award-72 I am pleased to announce that the Blog Comment Award has been won by non other than…Mr. Ordinary Mostly… for bravely going where no man or woman has gone before. He has written a candid and insightful, comment to my post, “Please leave a comment” (September 25, 2009). What a guy!! OM gets the Brave and Handsome Bennie Award for… yes… you guessed it: bravery in leaving a comment!!

So, anyone else out there want to try for the Baby Kitty Bella Award or the Grumpy Old Frank Award? (Neither baby talk nor grumpiness need be a prerequisite for winning.)  Yours truly, Called by Name


after the ball is over…

I’m back from the Mennonite Conference in Columbus, Ohio. It was a seminal experience for me and my companions, adopted daughter and darling daughter. Someone said that all told, 9,000 people were there. Without my dear friend, ordinary (mostly) to tour-guide us along, I would have slunk into chemo-brained confusion and panicked. Although we stayed only 2 days, there were many experiences of lasting note. I am told that the presence of the Pink Menno group (much smaller 4 years ago at the Charlotte convention) grew even larger as the week progressed.  My dear friend tells me that many conservative congregations and conferences, now taking notice, will eventually become the minority rather than the majority. I can only hope.  Jesus would rejoice at that point, since his message was one of inclusion without red-tape.

Pink Menno Campaign – Turning Columbus Pink!

People wearing pink gathered around outside the worship meetings, peacefully singing their hearts out—people made in God’s image, LGBT’s and  supporters, all lifting their hearts in song: Here we are…do you see us…do you hear us? We are God’s beloved children, just like you…all of us, Children of God wanting a seat at the table…together.  Emoticon_Rose_2K

Pink Menno Sponsored hymnsing!

The T-shirt: “one church, one hope, one spirit…Inclusive and Mennonite…Ask me how!!”  In my last entry I said I would just say, “Grit” if asked, but nobody asked me.  However a  friend of mine, a former Mennonite pastor turned Catholic, did ask me a few days ago why I’m still a Mennonite. Couldn’t think of a real snappy answer, since grit didn’t really apply, so I said: “It’s where I started, don’t know where else to go, and besides, I agree with all the articles of faith except #19 and it’s just a matter of time before that one changes…”  Ah, time…. that’s the thing. Some folks think they have a bunch of it and waste, what for some of us, is short and precious.

Now here I can segue into the topic of decision making by consensus, a sacred cow in this denomination. In groups of 20 or less, a worthy effort, but more than 20 it becomes a boulder to be pushed slowly uphill for anywhere from 1 to 30 years or even more, depending on the fear factor involved. I’m coming to think that consensus decision making can be vehicle for avoidance. ..for those whose well-being depends on resolution, consensus can become a tyranny. Would Jesus do that?

Yaweh, you have created me. You have called me by name and I am yours….


inclusive and mennonite

Yesterday I crossed the bridge and rested in the meadow holding flowers in my hand. Today I am tying up loose ends in preparation for my trip tomorrow to the MC USA conference in Columbus, Ohio. I’ve never been to one of these affairs and would not be going at all were it not for the MennoNeighbors—those courageous folk working for membership inclusion for all within the Mennonite Church. Having emerged from a seriously oppressive church situation where we became ‘poster children’ for same-gender-covenanted-couples-seeking-church-membership—one that has left everyone in a serious state of division and pain—I am obliged to go and support those in the front lines who still have enough vitality and fortitude to press on.

I’ll be there with my pink bracelet and my pink menno T-shirt: “one church, one hope, one spirit…Inclusive and Mennonite…Ask me how!!” Not sure what to say if anyone actually asks me that question, since I clearly did not succeed. Maybe I’ll just say, “Grit!”

One day the church will get there, just as they finally did with civil rights, divorce and remarriage and ordination of women. What is troubling for so many of us is that as a peace and social justice church, the welcoming inclusion of  LGBT persons is  just that: social justice. Jesus cast no one out, how can we? This issue will haunt the church repeatedly until it sees the light and opens its arms. In the meantime, I will continue to insist on truth-telling, love and integrity in all of my sojourns. This won’t make me very popular with some folk, but I’m not running for office…just living my life as honorably as I can.

…unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven


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June 2020

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