The Church

I’ve been thinking a lot about big “C” Church lately.   All of my favorite Methodists (okay, notall of them, but quite a few of them!) are in Tampa for General Conference (or GC12 as it is now commonly known on Twitter!) `I’ve been following the blogs and Facebook status updates of those who have gone to act as delegates, volunteers, witnesses and voices for this great thing we call The United Methodist Church.  For those out of the Metho-dork realm, GC12 is a convening of representatives from the majority of conferences of the UMC around the world.  It is during this time, held every four years, that the important decisions of policy, language and structure are decided for the world-wide UMC.   There are a few very important issues that are being discussed, debated and prayed over in this 10-day period.  Issues on the inclusion of the LGTBQ community, restructuring language in our Discipline to be more inclusive and divestment from companies that invest in war and oppression, to name a few.

As I read the posts of David, Mary and others, I long to be there.  I feel this strong urge to go and represent what the Church means to me.  To be a witness to the decisions made on my behalf.  To stand alongside those who have been hurt but are still hopeful for change.  Many of my friends went not as voting members, but simply (or should I say powerfully) as a voice.  A voice for those whose voices have been shut out, an advocate for inclusiveness, a witness to all that we hope for for the Church.  And I think it is incredibly brave.  There are many different voices and opinions at GC12.   And there is a lot happening in the votes this year that will redefine so much for the Church.  But what I am amazed at, is that despite so many differences, so many barriers, there is still a conversation happening.   Mary has been sharing so honestly about her conversations, even the difficult ones.  But her blog this morning made me tear up.  “It is because this place is so often so full of love that I can continue to be a United Methodist. THIS is the Connection! This is the place where we come together.”  And it gives me hope…

I have a friend from seminary, whom I still keep in loose contact with via Facebook.  A friend that, even during our seminary years, I didn’t always agree with.  I have seen posts on his page (as I am sure he has seen on mine) that have often made me wonder, “why are we still FB friends?  We have nothing in common!”   He has been actively following GC12 via Twitter and the official GC newsfeed, and then posting his views and comments on his page.  Many I have not agreed with.  But then….in the midst of a struggle happening in Tampa, a divisive issue coming to light, glaring pain and all, I read this on my friends page, “It doesn’t matter which side of the issue you are on, that type of behavior (speaking of bullying and blatant exclusiveness) is unacceptable.”  And later, “we can continue to hope for fellowship.”   And in that moment, I was so proud to be this man’s friend.  Despite our differences in theology, rhetoric, political stance, etc…..there is something deeper and stronger that connects us.  To be a part of the Church doesn’t mean we all agree all the time.  It means we love unconditionally, work for justice and peace…together.

I see this in my own church, here in Seattle.  We don’t always agree.  We aren’t always on the same page.  We come from different backgrounds, have varying passions and opinions.  But no matter our differences, there is something so common amongst us, that we cannot help but love one another.  There is something so bold, and yet so quiet, that ties us together that even when our words clash and our heads hurt from discussing and conferencing and meeting and listening…even with all that, we continue to stand unified in our love for Christ, for the Church and for one another.

In the words of Pastor Kathleen following every Sunday sermon,

“May it be so.  Amen.”

Advertisements

Feeling the need to brag a little

Do you ever have those moments where you look at where you are in life and say to yourself, “Yep, made the right decision about that one!”?  That has been my sentiment for the past few days.  Looking at my husband I can’t help but think, “Wow I married well!”

Let me brag a little bit about what an amazing husband I have.

Saturday was the Church of Mary Magdalene/Mary’s Place annual Easter Egg Hunt!  For the third year in a row we were blessed with great weather and lots of kids – some from Mary’s Place, others from the community.  All of the baskets and stuffed Easter eggs were donated by a wonderful MOPs group.  It couldn’t have been a more perfect day.  My husband had the rarest of all rare treats, a Saturday off.  And how did he chose to spend it?  Helping me hide 1500 eggs and pass out pastel Easter buckets to 20 kids (and about 20 kids-at-heart).   He helped the whole day, making sure every kid got their fill of candy, everyone felt included, and walking behind us all picking up trash and keeping our supplies together.

Then, over the course of the weekend, I developed the Death Plague From Hell.  Let me tell you about how I almost NEVER get sick.  Or about how I have only taken 2 sick days in my ENTIRE life.  Seriously, I don’t do sick.  Except for the last four days, I have had a bouncing fever, severe headaches, a cough that sounds like I’m hacking up a lung and extreme fatigue.  So what does my awesome hubby do?  He waits on me hand and foot.  He has made every meal, cleaned the house so I could at least be sick in a clean house, filed the taxes, worked in the yard, taken care of the dogs, run to the store for every little thing I’ve needed, reminded to take my temp and when to take some more ibuprofen, rubbed my back, listen to me whine about how much it sucks to be sick, and even brought me a treat – chocolate!  He has been so stellar this weekend – taking care of me and doing everything in his power to make me feel better.  Nothing like feeling like crap to make you realize what an awesome husband you have! 😉

That feeling of knowing that your favorite guy will always be there to support you in what you love to do, and will be there to take care of you when you can’t take care of yourself – that is what marriage is all about.  Yeah, I married well.

 

Signs that you are getting old…

Let me set the scene.  I’m sitting on the couch with my hubby, watching The Voice.  Its only 9 o’clock, but I’m already in my PJs.  Kris is on the other end of the couch, Googling hairband songs.   Some band comes on as the special music for The Voice, Gym Class Heros?  Raise your hand if you’ve heard of them…….*crickets*   Yeah, me either.

“Who in the world are these people?  I’ve never even heard of them.” ~me

“How am I supposed to know?” ~Kris

“And WHAT in the world is she wearing?  Seriously,. that can’t be comfortable!” ~me

A commercial comes on and I mute the TV, cause that’s how we do ’round here.  Kris starts playing clips from Hair: The Greatest Hits.

“How do I not have this album?” ~Kris

“WHAT ABOUT LOVE!?” ~both of us in unison.

Yeah, we may be old, but we are still awesome.