Alaska, Christmas, Church, home, Sunday, Texas, Uncategorized

When “Merry Christmas” Takes the Christ out of Christmas

I can say Merry Christmas today. I have finally come to that place after many years of healing outside of the church.
But not everyone has reached that place. The thing is, the church has royally f’d over some people and it takes a long time to heal from torture and captivity. Which is what the church has been doing for some time. Holding captives. Claiming authority Christ never gave them to shame victims into silence. His children have been forced to carry the burden of sins never committed, to be outcasts and forbidden the entire grace of God and a holy seat at His table. Lives have been broken in the church and families have been sacrificed at the collection plate. Let that sink into your heart this season for a minute. Not everyone has warm fuzzy feelings about church and for too long, the church has claimed Christ as their own, withholding true Christ from too many.
How ’bout in the spirit of Christ, let’s offer some salve to open wounds this season. Let’s walk and talk and shop in grace. Let’s meet her at the well and take the offered water. Let’s accept that the example of Christ like life was in fact, a non-believer. Let’s embrace, rather than insult and injure. You know, put some Christ into. Kindness, patience, understanding, all that love stuff, and with Christ’s loving healing heart, say, Happy Holidays, Happy Kwanza, or return whatever greeting of Christ like love they offer you.
If someone we meet can’t say Merry Christmas, if it hurts or angers them, it’s because somewhere along the way, someone used Christ’s name to batter them, to oppress them, or to violate them in some way. Whatever the reason, that’s between them and God. Our only instruction is to love. WE can be as Christ this season. So Christian up and return that, “Happy Holidays!” That’s the Christ of Christmas.
By the way,
Alussistuaqegcikici, ya’ll!

home, McGregor, saying goodbye, teaching, Texas, Uncategorized

To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before (and all their students, too)

There’s a team of Fifth grade teachers in McGregor. At the start of the school year, they were strangers. Today, I said goodbye to friends.
Friends who have opened their hearts in prayer, who have shared their table, who have confided in me, and allowed me to confide in them. These friends have celebrated with me, worried with me, and lifted my spirits.
A year ago when we left Big D for little Oglesby, Jamie asked, “So why did you move HERE?” There were all kinds of answers. From ‘a teaching job’ to ‘doing what’s best for our children’ and even a bit of ‘for the starry nights.’
If Jaimie asked me the same question today, my answer would be quite different.
I came for Jamie, for Mandy, and Debbie and Moriah. I came for Jill and Heather and Nikki. I came to McGregor for Jenna, and Yatziri and Pattrick and Gerardo and Dixie and 90 other fifth graders. While we leave McGregor with less in our pockets and definitely less stuff altogether, I am infinitely richer and my heart overflowing.
See Ya’ll later, Bulldogs. Black and Gold forever.

*this is posted in a wee bit late. Life in Alaska has a way of moving slower but at a quick pace.

Alaska, Church, home, Sunday, Texas, Uncategorized

If You Missed a Sunday

Ya’ll, I need a Sunday.
Our little UU church in Waco, like so many churches today, offers archived sermons on-line, for “if you missed a Sunday.”
Well, ya’ll I miss “a Sunday.”
Since moving to Alaska, We MISS many of our Sundays. Sundays while we lived in Texas were never ever a day a rest. In fact, as youth leaders, Sunday was our most whirlwind day of the week. But those Sundays helped prepare us for this Alaskan adventure. Sundays at our Methodist church, among the youth group, we learned that all things are possible and to be unafraid. From our UU church, we learned that it is okay to be afraid, and that sometimes, it isn’t possible, but we persist anyway.  We carry them both in our hearts.
We carry the brave love of the FUMC who is filled to the absolute brim with unrelenting radical Christ like love for every soul in Oglesby. I don’t even know that Oglesby itself realizes what a jewel from heaven they have right there on College Street. These are doors Christ holds open to all and nothing but unconditional love flows from them.
We burn with the light of the chalice from WUU. Here, humanity is recognized, both our own and those we humans often see as ‘others’. In this place, Sunday means a place to find peace, salve for wounds from the journey, and renewal and connection with those understand, or seek to understand, what it is to live in a way where, in service are we truly in prayer.  Oh, what Holy water!
So okay, we miss our Sundays. But it is because of the Sundays we didn’t miss that we are able to find moments of Sunday here.