27 May 2009

Reunited...

...sorta. Megs is being replaced by Marg. JM made the big move across the pond!  

Bristol, Bath, and maybe even London. Just another summer traveling to and with the BFFs.

Conquering the world 1/3 at a time,
BEAT

24 May 2009

My Mecca


Have I ever mentioned how much I love John Wesley? I am a Christian. But my particular flavor is Methodism. I am a Methodist.  And all the derogatory gloriousness that comes with that title. 
England is my Mecca. Not the whole country. Well, maybe. More specifically I would say Oxford, Bristol, London, and even Epworth. And if I am honest, Georgia. The state, not the country. John had some rough months in Georgia, but it transformed him. 

10 days. Where it all started for 10 days.


I was there for two weeks last year. I did not subject my friends to all the landmarks.  Megs and JM, you can thank me again later. 

10 days of lovely sights, sounds, and theology. The emphasis is worship and liturgy. These are my personal favorites. No lies. I could think, talk, and do liturgizing all day. The crafting of worship is such a special endeavour. 

Think of it as a pilgrimage.  A spiritual journey to reconnect to my roots. To walk where Wesley rode his horse. To stand where the class meetings met. To remember the challenges of seeking  justice and speaking truth. 

10 days. 

Maybe I will go on toward perfection. 

Maybe.
BEAT

22 May 2009

Photo Friday: Garden in the Urban Community





Catholic Worker Movement: 
Nashville Greenlands
May 2009

This gentlemen, who uses his small lot to have a year around garden, has been cited many times by the city for having too much growth. Too high. Too wild. 

Yet it is sustaining. He cans. He freezes. He uses the land-every inch-to provide. 

Call him crazy. Call him cool. Most of all, call him resourceful. 

Green upon green,
BEAT

20 May 2009

Tired

Tired. Long days. Heavy days full of the world's problems. The church's problems. Humanity's problems that few are willing to really talk about. Much less solve. Change. Make better. Become whole. 

Heavy. 

I direct you HERE. It is true! Beware UK! Beware. 

I miss my girls. And to be together in another country. 

Dreams do come true.
BEAT

19 May 2009

Music of the Moment



"I Run to You"
Lady Antebellum

Love the song. Hate the band name. They have other great songs. che-che-check them out.

Sing upon sing,
BEAT

ps: Living in Nashville requires me to post country music. It is in the blog by-laws.

17 May 2009

Friendship Is Not Like A Booty Call

I went to a great service this morning. Two hours seemed like twenty minutes. It was a place of welcome. A church that made space for the homeless. Not just space, but a home where every member is valued. Put to work. And given praise. 

Justice is for all. They even had a "ritual" of hospitality.

The sermon was about friendship. The dynamic pastor said, "Friendship is not like a booty call. It requires foreplay and after-play." Of course you laugh. Of course. But how true. He explained that friendship requires three essential components. He took something most fear, the IRS, and used those initials to outline the necessity of Intentionality, Response, and Sustain. This IRS is what allows us to be friends. Good friends. Great friends. Best friends. Which equals work. Hence the need for foreplay and after-play. 

I want to be that good of a preacher one day. Honest. True. Lively. Relational. Gospel.

Nothing like a booty call,
BEAT

16 May 2009

Photo Saturday?



Three years? Really?
BEAT

15 May 2009

Photo Friday: Church in the City








I am back in class. Maymester. Lovely. It is an extremely emotional course about the church in the urban community. How does the church respond to such injustices as: food deserts, violence, homelessness, and unfair working conditions? How does the church promote: living wages, education, and health care? That is what I've spent the last four days discussing. And I have five more days to go. I am emotionally drained. And almost physically. Twelve hour days can be tough.

Let's not forget, the hard questions must be asked. I still have prostitution, abuse, prison, and much more to discuss.

Above are some pictures reflecting the last few days. All over Nashville. Today, in particular, we did a neighborhood mapping exercise. I wish I had a barber shop to hang out at.

Hard and more hard questions,
BEAT

12 May 2009

Music of the Moment


"Kind of a Girl"
Tinted Windows

Why yes, that is the lead singer of Hanson. And why yes, that other guy with bleached hair happens to be from the Smashing Pumpkins. This is a collaboration made in heaven. Trust me. "Messing with My Head" is a must have for the summer. That is my prediction. 

Well, go buy it for $0.99 off iTunes.You know you want to.  Do it. We have to support those Hansons. Their gonna have like 10 babies each. Stimulus plan of sorts. 

Rock upon rock,
BEAT

ps: Hanson is one of my all time favorites. Not the stuff when they were kids. Their recent albums are pretty damn amazing. Plus, they really like Georgia girls. That always earns points. 

11 May 2009

Wedding Season


Really cool service with a candle lighting ceremony. Spectacular music. Yummy food. Lots of dancing. Divinity friends know how to cut a rug. And close down a party. Always the last standing. 

And did I mention the cake. Three layers. Three flavors. I went for the chocolate. It was a wise decision. Very wise. 

Joy upon joy,
BEAT


09 May 2009

Call, Release, Proclaim

These are the only pictures I snapped yesterday. I was having fun. Or waiting. The ceremony started thirty minutes late. Or Jacq and I were yelling at bad drivers. That took up a good chunk of time. Nashville has really bad drivers. Or I was laughing. Even watching as KC was beaming with glee. Glee that exuded from every pore. Or maybe I was celebrating. Way to go Chuckers

Next year I will graduate. I can't wait to exude the same glee. Someone recently referred to me as Rev. T. Graduation just provides the degree I need to really get where I want to be. That degree does not determine my calling. It helps me fulfill my calling. 

Everyone tells me I am rushing things. Rush. Rush. Rush. Slow down. That's what they tell me. I love VDS. I enjoy the classroom. I am getting tired of reading. Papers are growing old. Hopefully I never have to another exam. Please, God. Rush. Rush. Rush. Slow down. 

Everyone tells me I plan too far in advance. Think too far in advance. I love ministry. I love the work of welcoming, loving, and caring. I am getting tired of being called an intern. I want to be full time. Full time. Please, God. Rush, rush, rush. Slow down. 

I will graduate next year. I will be moving on. I've got a year. And I've got the rest of my life. Rush. Rush. Rush. Slow down. I live in that tension. Amen. 

Call, Release, Proclaim,
Rev. T.

08 May 2009

Photo Friday

Tacachia, Bolivia
March 2007

Reflecting upon reflecting,
BEAT

06 May 2009

Service of Celebration

I have friends that are not allowed to be ordained in their traditions because of gender and/or sexual orientation. My heart breaks over this issue. I have friends who are better preachers, teachers, and servants than me. Better. Hands down. But I am allowed to be ordained in my tradition. My friends cannot because they are gay. (And in other traditions, because they are females.) I stay in my tradition. I could try to explain about working within the organization for change. I could. But it is so hard to explain. 

Today I celebrated my friends' gifts. I celebrated their call to ministry. Listen to me. All of you. They are called to ministry. I celebrated their diversity. And by God, we are a diverse bunch with diverse calls that awaken diverse gifts. I celebrated. We celebrated. 

I listened as an inspired commissioning message was delivered. Now, my friends, I ask you to listen:
"As one of your communities we have been privileged to experience your many gifts over the last few years.  We know that these gifts – of kindness, of loving justice, of hospitality, of compassion, of love of study, of imagination for what can be…. are gifts from God.  The fact that our various institutional churches have unjust roadblocks to ordination does not negate or diminish these gifts.  God has animated your life with the Divine Spirit, and the truth is you do not need anybody’s blessing to be about God’s work in the world.  The broken places of our world actually don’t care too much about credentials. 

But – let us not be na├»ve -- we live in a world where credentials still matter.  There will  be some professional opportunities that are not available to you because of your gender or your sexual orientation.  One of the challenges for you around this will be finding ways to be faithful to your call and the expression of the gifts you have been given….while negotiating your way around some anger you may feel about the church’s blind spots...

And so my word of commissioning to you today is to be attentive to the anger, but do not let it paralyze you. 

May it become a kind of righteous indignation

A slow-burning Pentecost fire in your belly that keeps all of us yearning for that day when our churches will look like God’s dream of an inclusive, beloved community. 

Anger is a power.  Use your powers for good."

You may not agree. You may not even agree that I should be ordained because of my gender. But I wept with my friends today. I wept because their call to ministry has been denied by so many. Their call is denied by the tradition that I hold near and dear to my heart. But I wept for joy, too. I wept as stoles were draped around their necks to honor their call. I wept because I promised to be an advocate. I wept in solidarity. I wept. We wept. I believe God wept. 

The church continues. It continues as the sign, symbol, and presence of God's reign on earth. I will be present, and I will work. Hard. I have been called to the vocation of ministry. And out of my own calling is a responsibility to acknowledge, support, and advocate for others to fulfill their callings. 

I wept today. I wept out of deep sadness. I wept from the experience of joy. 

It was a service of celebration. Celebrate with me. Amen.              BEAT

05 May 2009

Sidestep

Sexy. I'm just saying. And I heart this song for some odd reason. Plus, let's not forget who's son he is. Enjoy.

04 May 2009

Forward

I think I've posted this t-shirt before. I still want it. (hint, hint) If not the t-shirt, I would put the tote to good use. (hint, hint)

I frequently think about writing a book. Not because I am a great writer. I am not. But I have experienced some amazing things in my life. And why not share them with the world? This book would most likely be about my friends. We have many names: the nine, the girls, mondays@9, and the LCers (or for the purest, LGCers). We went to college together. All four years. You know all of this. I've shared parts of the story before. "Bible" study every Monday night at 9pm. Yadda, yadda, yadda

We are celebrating the three year mark of our graduation. And we have had some up and downs since May 20, 2006. Can I get an amen, ladies? We are definitely in an up period. Flourishing. Comfort. Buying houses. Steady jobs. Making life choices and feeling good about it. Moving back. Moving away. Getting other degrees. In process. 

If I had to write a book at this very moment...it would be a collection of our emails. More specifically, a collection of our grateful lists. I would have to get their permission of course. Girls? We send grateful lists every Monday. Yes, every Monday. Five things. It is so easy to forget about blessings, positives, joys, and love. So easy. How long have we been doing this? Over two years I think. That is a lot of emails, lists, and well, love. I don't want to ruin the book, but we are grateful for some crazy things. They make me laugh. I have been known to cry. These lists exhibit our evolution into adulthood. It is really amazing. Every week, a new list from nine people. 

So, really all I need to do is write the forward. I like to make things easy on myself. I have a few days off before classes start back. Maybe I will get a move on it. It is a good story. I want to share it. You know, because I have eight reasons to be grateful on a daily basis. Eight. And that's not even counting the mom, dad, and brother I call family. 

I will keep you updated. My fingers are wanting to type. The brain is a-moving. Something like: "It all started with one simple phrase, 'We need a bible study.' That was in the first week of college. It just happened to be girls only. That's what happens when you live in an all girls dorm..." A really good story. Ups. Downs. Yet we are always grateful. 

What are you grateful for? I encourage you to write it down. Even share it. It gives you reason to hope...and to love...and to know joy. Something we don't do often enough. Hope, love, and joy. Remember to give us credit for the inspiration. I prefer Mondays@9. Or you can do with The Nine. They are my inspiration. I will let them be yours, too. 

Being grateful while writing a forward,
BEAT

01 May 2009

Photo Friday: Which is my favorite?



Punky Brewster
at BEAT's oh-so-important Work Station
Nashville, TN
Circa 1985 Goodness

This is a tribute to the one and only LiLu.
(Skip down in the post. You will see.)

By the way, can you guess which figurine is my favorite?
Don't think because I am in Divinity School this is easy. I have priorities. Dressing as Jesus never won me a Halloween custom contest in college. Let's be honest. Nor did the Virgin Mary birth me. 

Punky Power,
BEAT

ps: One day I will share my real name. And then I will share where that names comes from. Let's just say the parents were willing to take the good and take the bad when they had me.