Cleavers aren’t real

There is no perfect family, this I know.

There is no family where hurt does not happen, no family where mom and dad love everyone best, no family where disappointments don’t bite, no family where stumbles and embarrassments are handled with consummate grace.

And, there is nothing like family to teach us about our own snargles, foibles, shine and being.

When we are in the midst of tussles and hurt, it feels impossible, this thing called “family”.  We cannot imagine a time when ease will be.  We cannot imagine getting past the elephants of disappointment and betrayal that loom so large.

But time?  Time, she is great gift.  If we can hold on to the sacred and tricky threads that are blood and shared history, we can sometimes find our way back into hearts softened by humility and grace.

When we come home to each other, the real that is shared is precious.  We know the pain of distance, and we trust each other enough to learn the unique nuances of heart that beat between us.

We are kin, true.  And, with time we learn that we are different from each other and our stories vary widely and this is good.

On this day, I am praying thanks to God for the challenge and blessing that is family.

The ways we learn the stunning power of love and forgiveness from and with each other make me crazy grateful.


what is (?)

There are dramas aplenty for the living.

Republican candidates are posturing, the President is mingling, protesters are gathering and the polite veneer we put on being community in these days is being fissured but good.

We are what we read and believe, aren’t we?

Charts are flying through cyber space indicating that the economic well-being of many is in worse shape than it has been since before the Great Depression.  Corporations are flourishing while actual earning power is languishing for those who are working.  The number of those who cannot find work is dismally high.

Facts is facts, right?

Except that facts get spun, depending upon ideology.  Whether liberal or conservative, we latch onto the “facts” that support our perspective.  And if those facts get our hearts racing and our sense of umbrage pumping, they are precious indeed (evidently).

I’m aware of the power and privilege of preaching every Sunday.  I’m aware that every time I approach the fear-and-trembling task involved in weaving Holy teachings into the plot of daily living, I’m coming from a perspective molded by which facts I cotton to.

Facts don’t lie, right?

But whose facts?

I was in conversation recently with someone working in a drastically changing profession (so say we all, right?).  The benchmarks for what makes for professional integrity in her field are shifting.  She is doing her work grounded in what she holds to be basic tenets of competency.  Others have tossed off those tenets as expendable.  It is wracking her.

As Wesleyans, we are called to assess our preaching, our living, our giving and our being through the lenses of Scripture, tradition, reason and experience.

Nothing I have encountered through any of those four lenses prop up the gouging of the poor. Nothing.

Nothing I have encountered through any of those four lenses prop up the notion that God and God’s people are to dismiss and seek to silence the crying out of the oppressed.  Nothing.

Which tenets are expendable in the practice of Christianity?

The question is wracking us, but good.

It ought.








A year ago I was on my way to Scotland.

And, I am still there.

Land and ancestry are cellular things.  I have long felt a natural affinity to rocks, wind and water.  After traveling to Scotland it is clear to me why that is.  While I was there, the hum of recognition was real.  I was in the land of home.

My grandfather emigrated from the Isle of Lewis.  A dear friend brought home a photo of the Macaulay homestead on Lewis.  The photo showed a dome of hewn stone once occupied by others until the Macaulays decided it ought be theirs.  They didn’t negotiate for ownership:  they set fire to heather, put it over the smoke vent in the roof, and smoked out the competition.

So it goes.

I am serving the church of my forebears.  After arriving at Richfield UMC, I discovered that my great great grandparents had been committed members of that church.  In the chapel there is a memorial window marking the life of a thirteen year old girl who died after contracting pneumonia.  The young girl is my grandmother’s cousin.  How is it possible I had no idea of my Methodist heritage?  How is it possible that as an adult I fell in love with the piety and justice combo platter that is the United Methodist Church (I grew up a UCC preacher’s kid) and made my life in my ancestral denomination?  How is it I went to Richfield having no idea that being appointed there meant a home coming?

Home is a cellular thing.  It is a moveable temple.  It is known in the deep wisdom of our beings and when we find ourselves in that place, the song of our ancestors sings welcome.

So, a year ago I went home.  Today I am home.

So it goes.