Friday, September 29, 2006


I spent an hour yesterday picking up trash along the side of the road--on the stretch of road with the sign "this area cleaned by the Green Sanctuary committee of the UUCGT." The committee chair and I had a great conversation, while we worked, then returned to his cabin, drank a beer and listened to Bela Fleck. I love my job!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

permission granted

One of the good parts of my job is when people come in and say, "I'd like to do [insert name of cool, world-helping project here]" and I respond, "yes!"

It is, after all, the name of the blog :-)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

prime minister

My title is officially "Senior Minister" but I also like to go by "Senior Pastor" Today I heard a new one: one of the children called me the "Prime Minister" You know, I've got enough ego already, I don't need that kind of temptation.

Although, I did play Admiral Kirk in a reading from "Wrath of Khan" last Sunday...

Friday, September 15, 2006

crate training

We have a new dog, Lilly, a lab/chow/shepard mix. She and Becky are getting along great--it is really good to see the smiles on their faces, as they romp in the yard. We keep Lilly in a crate overnight, and sometimes during the day. I once thought of this as cruel, but a veterinary tech explained that the dog is actually more comfortable there: left in a house alone, they feel responsible to guard the whole place, and they feel inadequate to the task. They (may) relieve their anxiety by acting out. Inside the crate, they know they can keep it secure, so they are happier there.

I think people respond in a similar way. Sometimes, freedom (and its accompanying responsibility) can feel like too much. So we build barriers, both physical and mental/emotional, to make us feel more comfortable. We may even offer similar "crates" to our friends and offspring.

How to honor the needs of the crate-trained, without stunting those who want (and can handle) more freedom?

Friday, September 08, 2006

new Reformation

Mike Hogue, Assistant Professor of Theology at Meadville Lombard Theological School, issued a call for a new Reformation, which begins:
"Liberal religion is in crisis! It always has been and always will be, for crisis is part of the essence of liberalism as a place between extremism and complacency. But our current crisis-nature is nonetheless distinct.

Rather than standing against the hypermodern hubris of our North American individualism, liberal religion is entrenched within this same ethos. Rather than mediating the religious and political extremes in our world, we are paralyzed by our own internal divisions and do not have a theologically purposive vision with which to move beyond them. Instead of witnessing to the constructive increase of justice, love, and wisdom through interfaith community, our public footprint is much too small and we seem to be a register of the world’s religious and moral conflicts rather than a constructive example..."

Hogue calls for a public theology which is "historically faithful and culturally relevant," and urges us to face our "loss of theological literacy." He says our congregations must be service- rather than maintenance-oriented, and concludes, "the promise of this public theology is to provide a language and to embolden ways of life that honor the most humane and life-giving dimensions of different religions while not forfeiting the prophetic task of rejecting what is inhumane and life-degrading."

I agree, and yet I want more specifics: what does such a Reformation actually *look* like, in our congregations and in our lives?

Monday, September 04, 2006

wanna be in a book?

You--well, your name, and maybe likeness--could be in a book! The First Amendment Project will have its second annual auction on eBay, beginning September 7th. You could have your name in a book by Carl Hiaasen, or in a comic by Chris Ware, or in Lorrie Moore or Edward P. Jones' work. And it's for a great cause.

I stole this from Neil Gaiman's journal..

Friday, September 01, 2006

out of town mail

The Traverse City post office has two mail slots: one for Traverse City and one for "Out of Town." I love that. I grew up in a small town with that same distinction. I like its simple, elegant efficiency, and I like its "homey" feel. When I first moved to a big(ger) city, I spent a good fifteen minutes searching for the "Out of Town" mail slot. I am glad to have them back in my life.

Today is my first official day of working for UUCGT, and it is therefore also my first official day with my new morning routine. Part of that routine is a spiritual practice of writing letters. I look forward to sending letters to my family, friends and colleagues via the "TC" or "OOT" mailboxes.