Friday, September 27, 2013

Running and Writing

Running and writing are kinfolk.

Sometimes a sermon comes like a freight train.  Other times it's like drinking out of a bathtub with a straw.  Can I get a witness, preacher pals?  Running is the same.

Last week my long run was painful.  My back hurt, my feet hurt, side stitches attacked and by mile 7 I wanted to lay down and eat cupcakes. Don't worry:  I finished the run, but it wasn't pretty...which is probably why I haven't gone on my long run yet this week.

I guess I'm afraid of another miserable run.  And this week is a big deal because it's 10 MILES.  That's two digits folks.  I've never run 10 miles.

I have a big writing assignment due next week.  I've spent the morning questioning, praying, and freight-train-AND-drinking-out-of-a-bathtub-with-a-straw writing.  Some of it is drivel.  Some of it may be helpful.  I've never had an assignment like this before.

Running and writing are disciplines.  Sometimes writing doesn't feel good and you have to tie your leg to a chair to get the first draft. Sometimes running doesn't feel good and you have to lace up your shoes and get out the door anyway.

But oh my goodness...the other times.

Sometimes writing does feel good and it helps you understand yourself or God or the world better.  Sometimes your writing even helps others.  Sometimes running does feel good and you feel like Giselle in Enchanted.  You dance and sing and run and rejoice. You echo Olympian Eric Liddell's words:  "When I run I feel God's pleasure."

Running and writing are kinfolk.  And whether it's a 42 draft sermon or 2 draft sermon OR a 12 side stitch run or Eye of the Tiger run, I'm grateful for both disciplines.

See you later.  The pavement is calling!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Prom 2013

Because the lovely ladies of Fidelis Class dined at my home on Sunday evening, I was privy to their conversations about the upcoming Senior Center Prom.  I knew about the prom since one of our deacons coordinated the door prizes, but this was an opportunity to ask questions about dates, dancing partners, and dresses.  FUN.  

I arrived at the prom a little after 11:00 this morning with the intention of staying thirty minutes.  Two-and-a-half hours later I finally moseyed out of the gym.  I couldn't leave!  So. much. fun.  There were suits, sequins, hats, and dance moves as far as the eye could see.

Oldies were spun until the DJ transitioned to standard wedding fare. PS:  You haven't lived until you've rocked the Cupid Shuffle with senior citizens. 

"What did he (Cupid Shuffle singer) say to do, Katie?"  

In singsong:  "Clap, clap, clap, clap your hands!"  So she did.  GLORY!  

Scottsville Baptist was there in full force.  Our folks were dressed to the nines and cut several rugs.  We talked and laughed and danced in our seats.  We motioned Y-M-C-A while enjoying Henry's famous mac and cheese.  What a great day.  Some days--like this one--the call to ministry is full of joy.  I'm grateful.

And finally:  What prom is complete without a professional photo?

Prom 2013:  Scottsville Baptist!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Halfway there.

This morning the deacons and I are headed to a lovely church in the mountains on retreat.  Shout out to the Methodists for loaning us your building!  You have immersed us with kindness.  Polity joke FOR THE WIN.

I'll be here all week day.

Today we will read, reflect, listen, pray, consider, brainstorm, and dream for the future.  I'm eager for us to build on our strengths and grow together.

Growing means leaving the comfort zone.  Yike.  That is difficult.  It's difficult for you and it's difficult for me.  I've been thinking about my personal comfort zone, and wondered if staying there is helping Scottsville Baptist?  Probably not!  So, with the help of a coach I'm trying to sprint out of mine. goes.  Surprise to me and you:  Katie is signed up for a half marathon in November.  As of tomorrow I'm halfway finished with my training.  I'm halfway there.

It's true:  I am slow as molasses.  But HEY (say in Si's voice):  I like molasses so we good.  And I finally have something in common with Eminem:  Eight MileS.  It's a big deal.  It's a slow deal, but a big one.  I am not what the kids call an athlete.

On Friday I banged my knee on the porch door.  Way to go, Grace McKown.  I can only hope my knee will bruise like my arm when it got caught in the metro door (shout out WMATA).  THE bruise (of my life) was a brilliant display of spring colors.  Ride the metro with me now. I'm very aware of "Stand back.  The doors are now closing."  Those words are real.

I digress.

Despite the fun of a multicolor bruise on my knee, I am praying this won't mess up my training.  Apparently I really care.  I'm invested. These 10 weeks have really stretched me, lit-rally and figuratively.

I almost didn't sign up for the half because I was scared.  Scared I couldn't do it.  Scared I would fail.  Scared of what others would think if I did fail.  But luckily my coach (shout out Ken Kessler) encouraged me to flee my comfort zone.  Nearly every Sunday I beg folks to do the why wasn't I willing?  Today I will do the same at the deacons' retreat.  I need to be willing.


So here I am:  Halfway to the half.  I'm still scared.  I'm still worried. But I also feel LIKE A BOSS.  And, however cliche it sounds--I've realized being out of my comfort zone is great.  It's new.  It's exciting. It makes me feel really good.  Of course it's not without bruises, but it's making me better.

I might come in last place in November.  I might have to walk a mile or two.  I might curse the day my coach was born (I kid, Kessler).  But I will be there.  I will try.  I will do my best.

So church:  Even if we're nervous about leaving what's comfortable and familiar, let's step out on faith.  It might be fun.  It might be great.  It might be scary.  It might be exciting.  Of course it won't be without bruises, but in the end--it'll make us better.

See you soon.

Monday, September 2, 2013

I'll have a party today.

Who does Jesus say to invite to parties?  During the children's sermon we read Luke 14:12-14 find out:

Then he turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.”

We talked about inviting the unpopular kids, the kids who sit alone at lunch and those who aren't invited anywhere.  When I was wrapping up our time together a little girl raised her hand.  She quietly and sincerely said "Billy and Suzy aren't invited to birthday parties.  I'll have a party today and invite them."

And then I melted into a puddle.  I'm out.

I love children.  She heard Jesus' words and was ready to act.  This afternoon.  TODAY.  

Thanks be to God for the challenging words of children.