Saturday, July 30, 2011

::leavin'...without a jetplane

There is drama in every life.
It's unavoidable.
As a human living among other humans, it's an occupational hazard.

Amidst all the sub-genres of drama, I've decided that Church Drama is particularly stressful.

I left a church once.
It was painful; and although it was seven years ago, the byproducts of the transition are still sometimes painful.
Basically what happened was, my brother was fired (some would say "in a roundabout way") from his job as youth pastor.
I stuck around and continued to volunteer with the youth group, alongside my brother's replacement.
After a year, I was burned out and had found a community where I felt much safer, and where I was confident that I could grow and thrive.
If you'll pardon the saccharine analogy, I was a tree that had overgrown its yard.
It was (beyond) time to move forward.

Conflict/drama in my current church has tempted many to leave.
I cannot blame them, and I can never claim to be in a position to stand in judgment of anyone.

But I cannot help but wrestle with the question,

What are the "right" reasons to leave a church?

I can see the point about how, if we leave every time something happens that we don't like, then we're treating the Church like consumers, and the fellowship to which we belong may as well be something as crass as Wal*Mart. (Or, as Zach and I now call it, "Walmy's.")

I can also see the point that if the members and/or leadership of a church have behaved in a way that we find morally reprehensible - to the point where the simple act of entering the building makes us physically and psychologically sick - then leaving seems like the only option available.

I remember, all those years ago at my former church, pulling my car into the driveway while listening to Caedmon's Call's Love Alone, shedding tears, surrounded by the mysterious empathy I found in that fusion of word and melody.

And the hands I've seen raised to the sky
Not waving but drowning all this time
I’ll try to build the ark that they need
To float to You upon the crystal sea

Give me Your hand to hold
‘Cause I can’t stand to love alone
And love alone is not enough to hold us up
We’ve got to touch Your robe
So swing Your robe down low...

::emmy & calvy

So, last week I went to camp.

As always, it was awesome.

Spending a week alongside my dear friends Zach and Erin is always a distinctive delight, as is their son Calvin.
My niece Emma is Calvin's BFF, and of course I love to capture this with my Canon lens.

Once in awhile, I like to join the party.

This is one of my favorite pictures of myself, ever.
These two are incredibly delightful company.
Last night, Emma said to me, "Calvin! He's my best buddy in the whole world!"
All together now..."Aww!"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

::the LL

I love the moment when I open the car door and step onto the grounds of Camp Lake Louise.
The aromas dance into my nostrils and it feels as though the very granules of sand, blades of grass, and droplets of water spontaneously sprout strong, tender arms and rush to enfold me in a warm, lingering embrace.

I hear the voices and feel the countless memories of all four of my grandparents -- all passed away now -- who volunteered their time at Lake Louise alongside our family, and the onslaught transforms my countenance into a tapestry of delightful reminiscence.

I see the house on the hill at the entrance, where my family lived when my father managed the camp for seven summers, where I shared a room with my two brothers and spent hours lying on my bed, reading preteen literature and listening to pop music on cassette tapes.

The camp itself is akin to a member of our family; a powerful adhesive of our heritage in past, present, and future days spent on its sacred grounds.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

::happy murphiversary!

Oh, precious blog, how I have neglected thee...

Let's remedy this, shall we?

On Sunday, I went to one of the best parties ever!

It was a celebration of the 20th Anniversary of my friends Paul and Paula Murphy.
(I know, their matching names are cute, right?)

Paula is the brilliant Music Director and pianist at my church, her husband Paul owns Bluefish Music and is an incredible guitarist who occasionally accompanies me when I read my poetry at various events.
And their children, Dylan and Emma, ages 13 and 15, are incredibly bright stars in my galaxy; constant reminders of genuine love and gentle joy.

Their party was held "out in the country" and featured many musically-inclined guests, so there were mics and instruments available for performing.

Friends performed everything from Sam Cooke to Beatles, from Carole King to Tom Waits.
Many of the songs were performed by Dylan and Emma, who honored their parents beautifully with their musical aptitude.

I am not a musician or a (good) singer, but I decided to write something and read it aloud to honor the Murphy family. Here it is...

I could begin with a litany of fun facts, such as Paul's monkey-trainer aspirations, or Paula's grand affinity for All Things Harry Potter.
But what I'd truly like to express is this:
Paul and Paula are two souls who have fused together and shared with the world two extensions of their union, Emma Simone and Dylan Francis.
Theirs is a love that achieved storybook romance, and then transcended it with the creation of two young people who exude the rarest and most exquisite of kindnesses.
Regarded by their peers and and elders alike as compassionate, joyful souls, Dylan's and Emma's countenances are no surprise, when we remember that they are reflections of the beauty in their parents, and of the God who cemented the covenant between them.


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