Tuesday, May 31, 2005


In the post before this one, I say that I've never really been about boundaries.

Yes I have!

So, apologies to any who might have read that line.

I was about boundaries when I believed there was a distinction between those who were members of the country club and those, like me, who only visited there once and knew instaneously that I had somehow crossed a line between those who think they have and those who think they have not.

I knew the city limits of my town did more than define our taxable properties. In my mind, that boundary was to keep me contained, away from the adventures that I was convinced loomed around the next bend.

I grew up believing there were good girls and bad girls and I could almost recite the activities in sing song verse that would push the good ones over to the dark side.

The threshold to a household was a line I did not cross unless I was invited and then only if I'd declined the offer several times. Southerners and vampires have more than one thing in common it seems.

Categories defined my religious life, professional life, and often even my personal life. Faith, education, gender, race -- I've lived with lines all my life.


Friday, May 27, 2005

The Line

For the most part, I'm all about fluidity -- the ebb and flow of relationships, organizations, ideas/philosophies, etc. I've never really embraced boundaries.

But there is that line.

The one that separates just the right sentiment from putting one's foot in one's mouth. The one you cross when you add one more piece of jewelry and go from fashion statement to just plain tacky. The line that exists between a perfect meal and too stuffed to move.

The line is there and must be acknowledged. I will however keep my eye on it and push it ever so often.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Little Things

Last night after cleaning up from a scrumptious, smoky steak and chicken meal that was waiting for me when I came home (the result of simply saying "yes" when someone asks if they and their kids can spend some time at my apartment pool), I cleaned my abode and chatted with a neighbor who had dropped by. When we wound up on the patio watering plants, an actual coolness was in the air ("cool" being now defined in Houston-in-May-terms which means it wasn't 90+ degrees). So we sat a while . . . another friend dropped by when he heard our voices on his way to his place . . . and then another. We didn't linger half the night. I'm not sure we were even out there an hour. But the concluding hugs assured me that the time was good for all.

Maybe we don't sit on porches and watch the sun set on our crops as our parents did, but we have our own way of communing.

And I like it!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

He Said, She Said . . . We Said

THIS is the truth regarding scripture.

No, THIS is the truth.

And the debate continues.

For the last couple of years, I just let them "duke" it out, and, frankly didn't care. I thought I'd given up. I thought it didn't matter to me anymore.

Today, minds I respect with voices I can hear redeemed the role of scholar, priest, pastor for me. Today, I embraced community as the embodiment of what God wants the world to see of God's self and scripture as the guide that it is.

Pastors be aware . . . I'm listening now.

Ate Something, Pain Is Gone, But . . . Day 3

"Balance is that place on the pendulum we pass through on our way to the opposite extreme."

She said something like that. And it may have been the last thing in the theology-meets-sociology-meets-anthropology-meets-philosophy workshop I understood completely.

I've often said that I accept that I'm not brilliant but I am smart enough to surround myself with geniuses. In fact, I realize that I've made much of whatever reputation I have explaining the genius of others.

But I'd have to have my own interpreter to even begin to frame what I'm hearing here. I decided it's best if I just let whatever can soak in. I'm not even taking notes. I'm just trying to be . . . in the moment . . . and hear . . . and at whatever level I can . . . understand.

Whew! this thinking stuff is hard!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Day 2 and My Head Hurts

I find myself walking a tightrope. I applaud the depth of conversation that I'm hearing at this convention regarding the state of the church and what can be done to make it healthier. I also long for simplicity.

But if we are truly deconstructing and reconstructing, simplicity isn't an option.

Though I am inclined to start a t-shirt line. The first will say: The job of defending God has been filled. God got it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Maybe Just Maybe

In a workshop/dialogue/whatever-you-want-to-call-it today we discussed the peaks and pitfalls of becoming an "embracing church." The use of the term was quite conscious in that they didn't want to say "inclusive." Seems lots of churches who have been encouraged or challenged or just forced to be inclusive treat the experience like the 5-year-old sister you and your 10-year-old friend had to let play with you. There's a certain amount of joy lacking in the endeavor.

Well, five hours into it, my small group had somewhat of an ephiphany. We identified that the entire group had at some point been outside the U.S. And we wondered if the same might be true of the others in the room who would choose to come to a conference on such a topic. Is it possible, we wondered, that forcing one's self to cross a culture and share the essence of one's faith and not all the trappings in a culturally sensitive, context appropriate way might actually help one consider doing the same upon the return to native soil???

We also identified that our inclusiveness or openness or tolerance might easily be traced back to a personal crisis of faith. Again, it was true around our little circle at least.

When the bottom drops out, you're not so picky about whose hand you grab for. Some might call that the beginning of grace. And grace is absolutely critical if we are ever going to truly embrace one another.


I saw a man today who looked like my stepbrother might have looked if he'd ever become anything more than "not much." He didn't, so he didn't have this guy's suit or watch or funky "I'm so stylish" glasses or blackberry.

The guy I saw may be just as miserable as my stepbrother who -- last I heard -- was living in a hotel-like apartment and realizing that factory work is . . . and this is a quote . . . "hard."

If so, he definitely has a better quality of misery.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Chill People?!

Today, I read a blog (and I'm not telling you which one because it might only serve to continue the debate and that's not my point) where a writer did a beautiful piece which the faith community then took apart piece by piece, analyzing and overanalyzing it to its carcass was clean. Reading through the comments was like the old Saturday Night Live piece on Point/Counterpoint. I kept waiting for an entry that began, "Jane, you ignorant slut!" (For those of you too young to know the reference, my apologies.)

Next, I was doing a bit of research and discovered a continuing debate on the work of another nameless (for the point of this rant I'm removing all distractions such as details!) practical saint. Seems his openness and genuine concern for others is questionable . . . at least by narrow-minded, so-called-renown voices of the church who make it their business to tell everyone what the parameters of belief are.

I cringe at the growing level of my cheese factor, but c'mon, people, "Can't we all just get along?"

Why is it so important for me to feel more important by telling you how wrong you are?

Having said that, I add myself to the Culture of Argument and acknowledge that I do not practice what I am currently preaching!

I'd delete this but humility suggests that I should offer myself up for my own rebuke.

So there . . .

I'm off to chill.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Relational Self-Awareness

They found me via a distance worker's recommendation.

They interviewed me using a cell phone in traffic and email.

They oriented me with conference calls.

I did the job using the Internet and email.

I read their emailed comments with no sense of who I was working with but definitely understanding what they wanted.

I hated it.

I quit.

Note to self for future reference: You need to work for and with real people . . . with faces and not just email addresses. Grace comes easier to you when it has two eyes and a smile.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah

Sometimes blah, blah, blah, blah
are the exact right words to say.

The specifics aren't important,
It's the ideas you want to convey.

So you simply put forth the verb
And a few blah, blahs

And suddenly you're the communicator
who has furthered the cause.

Sometimes I stop listening
Even when it's not my desire.

The blah blahs barrage me
Leaving me defeated and tired.

I sense I'm drowning in verbage
And struggling to pull free.

So I simply tune out the word spray
And let the blah, blah, blah, blah be.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Where Have All the Artists Gone?

Why, oh why, oh why, have I spent an inordinate amount of my career wishing for an artist I could afford to work with?

And why, oh why, oh why, do clients think that the one thing on which they can cut costs is an artist?

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Leave Your Message at the Tone

I hadn't seen his car in two days. I was worried. Here's the message I left:

"You can call me a nosy neighbor. Or you can call me a caring friend. Either way . . . please call me!"

He did.

His car is in the shop. And he knows he's loved.

Saturday Night Fever

Crawfish carcasses

Of black-flecked fire red
Calling for

Before Houston humidity
Bests the
Party animals.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Life Keeps Happening

I'm not sure how this many days snuck behind my back and passed with no word on the blog from me!

I was yea verily SHOCKED when I saw that the last tidbits chronicled here were from Monday.

But life happens . . . and it's been happening a great deal this week with few breaks.

Mind you, there's nothing truly tremendous to report. I haven't signed any contracts, taken up with any strangers, found ultimate enlightenment or anything of that sort.

I've just edited a few publications, written a few stories, designed a two-day learning experience, seen a play, seen a movie, had several good meals and even better conversations, rode in a convertible, borderd on a meltdown, recovered, blew a fuse in my apartment, cleaned and done laundry.

Truly nothing much . . .

And while this is brief and pretty inconsequential I had to get something on the screen or I would have felt somehow "less than" this week.

So there you have it!

Monday, May 02, 2005

What's Your Response?

Void of context -- such as church or the classroom where even though we're told there is no "right" answer, we suspect that there's at least a "you're well on your way" answer -- how would you complete either of the following statements?
  • I am currently devoting most of my energies to _____________.
  • I definitely believe I could give my life to _____________.
Passion is a wonderful thing. Purpose offers meaning. Passion wrapped around purpose is a mind-bending, world-changing phenomena that I've come to believe I rarely encounter. Just wondered where other folks are on this particular path. . .