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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, January 27, 2006

Is He or Isn't He????

Ms. Debbie L.Sharp sent this article along to me. Just to pique your interest here is the initial line of the article:

VITERBO, Italy - An Italian judge heard arguments Friday on whether a small-town parish priest should stand trial for asserting that Jesus Christ existed.

Now this is an entirely different issue than the "God is dead" controversy alive and well 35 years ago. Read it and post your comments below!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Paul-ing

Today was the feast of the conversion of Paul (the apostle). No, I didn't capitalize. Paul always seems to be running harder, writing harder, convincing harder... like the younger sibling in a family who works twice as hard believing they only get half the attention.

Oh, he gets our attention, alright. Sometimes exquisitely profound, understanding the conflicts of the human condition, other times wearing on the last nerve of later day women - on both counts, he gets our attention.

Even if we find it difficult, with our contemporary sensibilities, to embrace him completely for the apostle he claims to be, Paul must have been/was/is a force to be reckoned with. An avid persecutor of early Christians, he has a radical, painful, complete conversion from persecutor to persecuted; from self-absorbed vengeance to Christ-centered service.

And God knows he tried - hard and long - to spread the Good News of Christ everywhere he could, facing imprisonment, being tempest-tossed and berated. Like the Energizer Bunny, he just kept going.... and going...... and going...... God in Christ gave him a second chance to get it right - and he took it. There's hope for all of us through the endless mercy of God.

It is highly unlikely that our "ah-ha" moment will be on the road to Damascus; we can thank God his was!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Pondering retirement

These last few weeks I've pondered something that has not crossed my mind before.... not earlier, anyway. Retirement.

PHEW! Such a big word, laden with a lot of emotion, resignation, relief.... yes, relief.

Being in NYC can be very exciting.... I lived briefly (during my post-convent youth) on the lower East Side - until the landlord found out and I was forced to relocate, landing in Staten Island. I recall that as being exciting. One did not need a car, someplace to eat or meet was open most hours - could even walk to work. That was fun.

Going to NYC for a concert, a play, a recital, a church function (if you deduct the hassle or cost of parking the car) is also a marvel.... so much to see, take in, listen to, interact with.... for a sensate like me, it is a banquet (as Auntie Mame was fond of saying).

Working in NYC and living in the suburbs presents challenges- attentiveness on the road at all times (mornings are a strain for me, as you may recall), the indeterminate ETA (due to weather conditions, accidents and road closures), the traffic congestion . For those of you who live outside of NYC, I live (door to door) twenty five miles from my home to the parking garage of the UN.... and my morning commute takes between one and two hours and the trip home 45 minutes to about 1 1/2 hours. Add that to the 8-8 1/2 hr work day.... This addition does not take into account any appointments, meetings or (perish the thought) social engagements after work.

Retirement. Some people face it with gusto and relish; others are panic-stricken and depressed. For me... somewhere in the middle. Time to do things (consider paragraph above) I had neither the time nor the energy to do earlier. Time to listen a bit longer; maybe take up reading! Time to volunteer at my parish. A lot of possibilities.

It has financial implications which are not as rosey. Two words come to mind easily: Fixed Income. I've been on a fixed income for years, but this will give restraint a whole new meaning.

Some time this year I'll be retiring from the job that has put the bacon (or the soup) on the table. I won't, however, be retiring from the diaconate or the church. They will be with me as long as I plug along.... maybe even more fortified as I advance in years and wisdom. Emmy Lou and I can finally do the Pet Therapy training and add that to the pastoral bag of tricks. I'll still be on the Farm as long as Barbara sees fit. Am now working on some new music which should be posted before summer, I hope.

In my view, there is no retirement from one's baptismal vows. I may have taught Sunday School years ago, or been an acolyte or headed the parish bazaar or search commitee: that was then. While I may not have the stamina or strength to do that now, there are still ministries that need the touch that only I -or you - can bring: there will always be someone to pray for, someone to help, someone to hear, someone to heal, someone to offer a smile to and the Good News of the love of God to deliver.

In the meantime, I put an application for part-time work in at Lowe's (a big home improvement chain) and will check in with Home Depot (same kind of store). My goodness, if it pans out, in my imagination I can see the headline: "Deacon Does Depot!" Go in Peace! DJ

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Have you heard of this website?

Ms. Debbie S. Loeb has sent this address out to me - and I certainly had not heard of it before. is a website for Bearing Fruit Communications, which uses different media to tell stories that highlight the Christian Spirit and open the teachings of the Bible.

Give a look!

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