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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Friday, December 09, 2005

The "I oughta" blues

Please use your own mental instrumentation for this one: The "I oughta" blues-

Got plenty o' names here
In my battered address file
Got plenty o' names here
In my battered ole' a-dress file
Thought those cards would be mailed by now
... well, they might be in a while.

Got stuff lined up on amazon
the one that is dot com,
Got my stuff lined up on am-a-zon
that's the one that is dot com
Got my mailman runnin' circles
up through next week and beyond.

This here advent
it is slippin' on away
Yes, I mean that this ole ad-vent
it is slippin, slip slidin a-way
I oughta get down to biz-ness
To be prepared for Christmas day!

I oughta light a candle
on that nice ole advent wreath
I oughta sort through the mail stack
which to shread and which to keep
This case of the I oughta blues
is 'bout to make me start to weep.

There's paper and there's ribbon
oughta tape down, oughta tie
But the crafties goin' in 'em
oughta have some time to dry
These lowdown "I oughta" blues
'bout to break me down an' cry.

I oughta scale down now,
I oughta take it easy some.
Well, well I oughta slow down now
I oughta look at this as fun.
If I can't go losin' these I oughta's
Then that devil, he done won.

Don't get a case of 'The I Oughta Blues'. Take time, slow down, pay attention, Thank God!

Copyright © 2005 K.L.Joanna Depue and Deacon J on The Geranium

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

...He must increase, I must decrease.

These words of John the Baptist, found in John 3, seem other-worldly. After all, in this world, in this life, we go to great lengths to be noticed and to be credited with every little accomplishment.

Besides a radical form of humility, these words have an unmistakeable air of graciousness. The graciousness of someone who has had a degree of success and at the same time sees someone sharper, smarter, more talented, more magnetic coming up the ranks - and knows that it's time to step aside - graciously.

"Doing Church" can have its pitfalls. We can find our niche and become very good at a certain function: altar guild, bazaar coordinator, Christian Ed chair. We can become so accustomed to (almost dependent upon) the accolates, recognition, perks that are bestowed upon us for doing what we do so well that we may find ways - unconsciously - of undermining the efforts of others to make a contribution in our area of expertise. We lose our ability to 'share', to delegate, to see past our own nose.

John knew his role in the scheme of things. He was the opening act for the headliner, the comic that warms up the audience for the Tonight Show. Important, yes. Very important. The most important? No. He was the New Testament prophet, not the Messiah.

It can be tempting in ordained ministry to have a false sense of importance, to get lost in being a provider, in being seen, appreciated, beloved. We particularly need to bear John's message of repentence as well as his motto of living, never letting our needs or egos get in the way of the message of the exquisite Love of God.

All the baptised, every one of us: in spreading the Gospel may our faithfulness render us more and more transparent so that, as servants of the living God, we remind ourselves of our goal: He must increase, I must decrease. Thank you, blessed John

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Prayers to be used with home Advent Wreath

In case your church did not supply you with a booklet for private/family devotion in anticipation of and preparation for Christmas, please find the link below which will provide you with guidelines for this tradition. Watch, wait, learn!

Guidelines for Advent

Monday, December 05, 2005

A Celebration of BCC

I met Barbara Crafton in 1992. After having been on the bandwagon "in principle" with my ordination, it dawned on my former Rector that that meant I would eventually be working in the parish with him and he quietly disassociated himself from the process. So, there I was, mid training without a parish..... and that would NOT do.

My mentor, a wise woman and a priest put together a list of parishes and priests that she believed would not only accept my ministry - but celebrate and utilize it.

On the top of that list was one Barbara Crafton who - at the time - was working @ Trinity, Wall Street and about to migrate to the Seaman's Institute at the South Street Seaport. I didn't know this person, but she seemed casual on the phone when I made an appointment to meet with her.

A nervous wreck, I put on my very best duds and summoned my underdevelopped social and interview skills to enter the hallowed halls of the business that is Trinity, Wall Street to meet the said Mother Crafton. It was lunchtime and early summer. I was in 3 pieces and sweltering.

Halls, elevators and finally the correct room number. Take a breath, says I, and entered. To the right I saw a desk adorned with a formidable pair of crossed bare feet; noone else was in the room. The body belonging to the feet was buried behind a copy of the NY Times, fully opened and expansive. My anxiety eased somewhat. Even within this institution there were people who had and sense of humor and were real. Phew.

"Excuse me, I have an appointment with the Rev. Barbara Crafton. Where might I find her?"

A wry voice came from behind the newsprint " Oh, she's around here somewhere" said the benevolent voice. "I'll find her". The woman folded the paper, sort of.... , pulled herself up to her full stature (which made me feel quite a bit smaller), turned and went into one of the offices. I waited nervously. "Well, come on in! Welcome!" It was Barbara Crafton all along, but now she was shoe-shod.

The Bishop (at the time) thought that we would make an unconventional (and unpredictable) combination; therefore, he insisted I have a "regular" placement in a parish setting to get some structure, feedback and discipline. So, off I went to the Bronx, Sparkill, Hastings-on-Hudson, Mt. Vernon, youth ministries and White Plains; Barbara continued on her path to writing and boarding ships and speaking engagements and spiritual direction and St. Clements and then the Geranium Farm. We would periodically cross paths, at a convention or women's function, but that was about it..... until I was asked to pinch-hit as one of the Spiritual Directors with her on the Cursillo weekend in 2004. Months after that Barbara contacted me about beginning to write here on the Farm.


I am just one of the guz-million people that has been blessed by the life and ministry of Barbara C. Crafton. This is just one of the guz-million Barbara stories that exist.

Barbara has invited you to share in the celebration of her ordination to the priesthood by making a contribution to Episcopal Relief and Development - either make a contribution to "Gifts for Life" or an undesignated gift -- either in honor of Barbara. Please go to the Geranium Farm main page and follow the instructions there.

She has sowed seeds of wonder and growth within us; now we can enrich someone else's life in her honor. TRUE gift-giving.... Be part of the party! Make that contribution.... and then tell us your story!

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