Monday, October 30, 2006

2 new posts

Last night the lesson for our 10th graders was "the Perfect Church". They're given free reign and asked to dream big about what the perfect Catholic Church would look like. What would the Church be doing for children? Teenagers? Families? Elderly? People with disabilities? Sinners? Doubters? What would the music be like? What would the homilies be like? What would the building look like?
Without fail, every time I've used this lesson, the kids suggest such things as La-Z-Boy chairs in the sanctuary, famous rock bands for the Mass music, blabityblah. Then they get down to the nitty-gritty. They suggest providing rides and Mass buddies for the elderly. They talk about child care, they talk about food pantries, they talk about great speakers giving the homilies, messages that really connect with people's lives, more young people involved in the activities there. They dream up a beautiful community that thinks and cares for the least of its members. They envision worshipful, communal liturgies.
Then they get the WHAMMO!! The teachers say "Wow!! What great ideas!!! Now. Who is going to make this happen?" They show them that their dreams reflect their values- their ideas reveal ideas that they think are important. And if that's true, then their behavior should reflect those values. You want better music? What are you willing to do to make that happen? You want someone to help the elderly? How are you willing to help? You think the sanctuary needs improvement? How much will you donate toward those improvements? Will you sit on a committee to plan those changes?
There's a saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Maybe it should be the squeaky wheel gets put to work!

Random Thoughts.

I'm watching Oprah- she's showing footage of a two-legged dog who learned to walk on her two back legs. Wow.

I don't think I ever learned to play Yahtzee. I did however just learn to play mancala, which seems like the kind of game that you just play the same moves over and over. But maybe that's just me.

I think the most promising career for young people today is going to be Chiropractic. The kids who come to our middle school program directly from school have bags that weigh a ridiculous amount. And the fashion, it seems, is to wear your backpack way down on your back, so that the only part of it to contact your body is the straps and the bottom of the pack, which hits across the rear end. They will be bent in half by the time they're in college.

Also, whatever kind of doctor does carpal-tunnel treatment and repetitive use injuries for the hands, since all kids do all day is type with their thumbs.

My face is drying up and peeling off, suddenly, with the change of seasons. It happens a little more significantly every year older I get. Unfortunately, though, menopause remains tauntingly out of reach.

I can't decide about the liquor in grocery stores bill. I tend to vote against whatever a big corporation is going for, on G.P. But all I've seen from the opposition is scare tactic-type ads, and those just make me mad. I know neither of these are good reasons or basis for choosing how to vote, but there you go.

I am sure that I'm voting for the Levar Burton guy. I loved him on Reading Rainbow.

My Bible Study group just finished studying the book of Esther, from the Old Testament. What a great story! Lots of good stuff there, especially for women I think. And it's a short one.

Knowing, as I do, that I have the best marriage in the world, it was funny to hear that my friend Bob thinks that he does. Huh.

Monday, October 23, 2006

prudence vs. paranoia

Our former Deacon (now Priest) was in town yesterday and came to visit me in the lovely YM center building. He had been a huge hit on one of our sophomore retreats last year, and he's an absolutely great guy. Now he's at a relatively tiny parish in another state, as Parochial Vicar. He has found himself to be the Youth Minister for the parish. I asked him how it was different, in a different diocese, insofar as the "child safety" paranoia.
He said it was really different. He said things were much more relaxed, and essentially that people weren't as on-edge there as they are here. They're not lax, they follow the common-sense guidelines of keeping doors open, they CORI teachers (but not every Tom/Dick/Harry that might pass by them in the church hallway). Where he is, they are fingerprinted, digitally (no pun intended), which means no re-doing it every year because they stay on record permanently.
The way he described things, it doesn't sound like much is different, technically- except the "feel" of it. He described a place that was safe, but not completely paranoid- concerned, but not hysterically afraid all the time. It sounded wonderful.
I keep waiting for things to calm down here, to return to a place of normalcy, for reason and logic to come back into the world around me. But it just seems to get worse and worse- more fear, more paranoia, more "the lawyers say"...
I believe in prudence, but I also believe that paranoia does more damage than good.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Here's what I did today.

Ellen. The View. Project Runway finale (congrats Jeffrey!), Gilmore Girls (I don't know if it's to be Christopher or Luke, but I do know I hate Luke's new hat), Ugly Betty, That's So Raven (I know, I know. I love that girl though!), Good Eats. Tonight's plans?
New Adventures of Old Christine (one night I said "I love her!" and Scott said "you ARE her!") Two and a half men, How I met your Mother, OR we may scrap the dvr'd sitcoms and go for The Uninvited, a 1944 ghost story. MMMM I love those black and white movies!
Did I say this blog was going to be about Youth Ministry?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Strike one against the plastic bag!!

I did it! One small step for (a) woman, one giant leap for conservation. Today I remembered to bring a bag with me to the grocery store, and bagged up my own groceries in it instead of using paper OR plastic! The nice woman at the ring-it-up-yourself lanes said some people do that, bring their own bags, and didn't look at me like a freak or anything. I felt very proud to be carrying my purchases (all in one bag) out to the car in my free-from-a-conference Harcourt Religion Publishers bag!!!
Now if I can remember to put it back in the car to use next time I go to the grocery store!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Boldness in Ministry

Several years ago, I went to a workshop at a national Youth Ministry conference. The speaker was great- she hit many nails on their heads in that workshop. One thing she said was ther she had become unafraid to be bold in her ministry, that is, in standing up for herself and her ministry- in speaking the truth and having confidence in herself, her skills, her calling.
All these years, I've been called a rebel and a trouble-maker. I've been... outspoken. But, I think, I've been really holding back. I've been afraid to stand up, all the way up, when I know I'm right. I was worried that I'd lose my job, that I'd ruin my chances at being hired again at another parish, that I'd stand myself up out of my vocation.
But, I'm tired of playing it safe. I am tired of holding back. I don't plan to go nuts, I am not embarking on a professional suicide mission, but I know this; I have been put into this life, this role, this job, for a reason. I am confident in my abilities and skills, and trust my calling. I'm going to pray first, then speak, and be bold.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I hate Halloween

The other day, some of the kids in my office said "what are you going to be for Halloween?" I said, "I hate Halloween." They said "WHAT??"
I really do hate Halloween. I've never been a huge fan, even from childhood, but over the years the minuses have outweighed the pluses by far.
When I was young, we didn't Trick-or-Treat, except maybe a stop at the neighbors' house - they were fundamentalist Baptists and could be trusted not to put anything unsavory in our bags. We went, always, to the elementary school Halloween party and played the games there, including the one where you'd fish over a wall and some prize would come back attached to your hook, and the one where you'd stick your hand through a hole and feel eyeballs (aka grapes). There was always a costume contest. I always worked hard to come up with a good costume, and gathered the props, etc... my brother would wait until the last minute, have no ideas, and then Mom would come up with something MUCH more creative than I had, and he would win the contest. Harumph. One year, I was Mary (of little lamb fame) and my brother was an octopus. My Mom stuffed four pairs of nylons with something, and strung them around his waist as octopus legs. Brilliant!
I told the kids that probably the reason I hate Halloween is that I lived in Salem for a while, and every year around this time, people would flock there to celebrate Halloween. These poor people looked so sad to me, all dressed in black and gloomy looking and they seemed to be searching for something. It was like the underside of religion, the anti-version of a church full of bright-eyed people dressed in white searching for something. But in Salem there was nothing to find but tourist traps and plastic souveniers. So sad!
And the traffic was ridiculous!!!
So, when Halloween comes around, I buy a bag of candy and go hide somewhere. It's not a big deal, I have some negative memories around Halloween time too, but I don't spiral into a depression or anything, I just ride it out. Next stop, Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

3 new posts

I have completely wasted this day. It is 3:52pm and I am still in my pajamas. Since it's a long weekend, I don't have to go in until the 6:00 Mass, so I have been (as my dad always said) "donking around" all day. I did take some nice photos, including this one which I think makes a nifty computer wallpaper:

but outside of that foray into the gorgeous weather out there, I have watched the movie Superstar (aka the Mary Catherine Gallager story. SO funny.) and now I'm watching an episode of Project Runway. I know! No nutritional value here at all. I was supposed to go grocery shopping with this extra time, I was supposed to go get cat food before the stores closed, I have a work project to work on... but instead I'm inside, in my pajamas, watching junk tv.
(How does that guy have tattoos all over this throat?? That must have KILLED!!)
But I am consoling (aka justifying) myself with the fact that now it's too late to get all that stuff done, so I may as well sit tight for the next episode of PR. (it's a marathon!!)
And, look, I've done 3 new blog entries! That's something, isn't it?

Oh No it IS NOT!

Yes, yes it is! It's a plastic shopping bag entwined in my poor, fruitless pumpkin plant. Now that's adding insult to injury!!

Friday, October 06, 2006


Today I was listening to NPR, a show that was reviewing the week's news, and someone called in to say how we should all be noting and learning from the Amish's amazing behavior in light of the tragedy there. He noted that they are not on CNN raging and crying and calling for justice, they're not on websites asking for disaster relief... they are simply grieving, forgiving, and coping as a community. He said these were qualities that all Christians were taught, but rarely use.
I immediately thought of the families of those who died in the tragic Station Night Club fire. They constantly appear on television and call for "justice" and when the owners of the club weren't put in jail for life, they wailed that they wanted the owners to be punished, that they didn't think they had been punished enough for their mistake, and that until they spend their lives in jail, they won't feel like they've gotten justice for the deaths of their family members and friends.
Just recently when the owners were given their sentences, there was a lot of outrage, but I just felt sad. These men are not killers, and the fire was a horrible, tragic, accident. I don't see how going away to prison would help any of the victims' family members feel better, or mourn less. Does any sane person say, in their grief and loss, "well at least someone went to prison"? I don't see how making someone else suffer- justice. Where did we lose touch with what justice means? Who has taught us that it means equal pain?
When I'm home during the day I see ads for local lawyers that horrify me. They show people saying "My life was ruined because of someone's mistake. Now they're getting what they deserve". I think that's about the saddest thing I've ever heard.
I've been truly blessed in my life to not have been touched by close, personal tragedy, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. But my prayer is that when it does happen, on whichever end, (whether it's something that happens to me, or some mistake I make-)that true justice will be found in forgiveness and charity, not revenge or spite.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


As I write this, the season premiere of LOST is mere minutes away!!! Now that we know what the numbers mean, how will they play into the action? What are they going to do with our hostages?? Is Desmond dead?? Ecko?? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEANNNNN????
I can't WAIT!