Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Head lice

I've heard it said that God has a purpose for all things. Really? So what's up with head lice? You may wonder why this is on my mind. Well, technically it isn't on my mind as much as it is on our hair (and scalp too).

Actually, we've been on the front lines of battling head lice in our family. Youngest daughter came home with them a month ago (right after the first really cold weather when all their coats, hats and scarves come out and get hung up in the communal coat closet at the elementary school she attends). We tried the OTC shampoos which doused her in chemicals and didn't do anything to the lice. We went for the good old olive oil treatment and daily combing for 21 days. It worked and we checked everyone else and washed everything we could in hot, hot water (and into a hot, hot dryer), froze what we couldn't wash in hot and vacuumed everything.

Good to go, right? Nope. Eldest daughter came down with a full blown case yesterday. Of course, as soon as I play the "good parent" and report it to the middle school she attends, they report back to the elementary school the youngest attends ... and the 18 year old "health tech" swears our youngest daughter has nits in her hair! More olive oil, more combing ... only to find our youngest just has a wicked case of dandruff and the tech didn't know what she was looking at. Oy! I'm convinced our oldest caught this from another classmate at her school since her sister was free and clear (of course, they are now both on the 21 day oil and comb regiment). I can't wait to see my water bill this month with all the washing of linens! Ugh. The only really foolproof way to make sure you don't get them is to shave your head and neither of my daughters are going to go for the Vin Diesel look anytime soon.

So what in the world was God thinking when he created head lice? I honestly don't have a clue. Perhaps it was to remind us that we are part of the whole food web in a less dramatic (and less deadly) way than getting eaten by a great white shark or a grizzly bear. Maybe it's a humility thing. Maybe not. Things don't always make sense.

But as frustrating as head lice are, I am thankful that our girls are healthy overall. Even more so, I'm thankful they are here. Not everyone is that fortunate. There was a terrible case of domestic violence in the community near our congregation this weekend. A man killed his estranged wife, his three children, and himself on Thanksgiving in Damascus MD. The wife was a coworker of one of the folks who worships with us on Sundays. It was senseless and heartbreaking. I'm convinced that God does not cause this nor does God want us to live in fear and violence. God does allow us the free will to make decisions, at times with tragic results. I believe God grieves when such violence happens. It still doesn't completely make sense.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Five - Think about these things edition

It's the RevGalBlogPals Friday Five for Thanksgiving! Songbird posts the following:

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
(Philippians 4:8, NRSV)

Friends, it's nearly Thanksgiving in the U.S. and it's the time of year when we are pressed to name things for which we are thankful. I want to offer a twist on the usual lists and use Paul's letter to the church at Philippi as a model. Name five things that are true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent or worthy of praise. These could be people, organizations, acts, ideas, works of art, pieces of music--whatever comes to mind for you.

  1. One person and organization dear to my heart is Dr. Catherine Hamlin and the Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia. The women they help are resurrected from lives of being social outcasts because of birth injuries.
  2. Heartly House in Frederick our local shelter for domestic abuse victims. They also run the rape crisis hotline and work to end child abuse.
  3. My friend Anne Weatherholt+, who's like a big sister to me and has mentored me through an ordination process that more often resembled "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" than anything having to do with Church. :-D
  4. The good folks up at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg who welcomed the Episcopal sojourner among them (even if we didn't always see eye to eye on everything).
  5. Last, but not least, my family - beloved husband, our daughters and my parents. All of them believed in me and are very much responsible for "keepin' me real."

Monday, November 12, 2007


There are just times in ministry when all you can do is stand there with a dumb look on your face and say "Wow!" That was about a week ago for me and it's taken me this long to wipe the dumb look off my face and type. ;-)

I had a call from one of our members, Marta, who left me a voice mail about a donation to the Wounded Soldiers Project. If you've been reading this blog awhile, you know about this project. We've adopted the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad and are sending out sweatpants, t-shirts, socks, and other items to our wounded vets to make their hospital stays and rehab more comfortable. And a bit shout out goes to Scott Corbitt from the USAF in Baghdad who sent an e-mail to his wife, who is the daughter of one of our members ... and that's how it all started.

Anyway, back to Marta. She works at Fort Detrick and she put up some notices about the Wounded Soldiers Project. Well ... it worked ... and then some! Fort Detrick adopted this project for their "Make a Difference Day" and donated over 850 pieces of clothing.


People ask me if I really believe the stories in the Bible. Of course I do - and then some. When you see something like this take off, how can you not believe this is a modern version of the feeding of the 5,000? God has taken the efforts of a small group and multiplied them beyond our own imaginations to send relief to the wounded veterans in Iraq. Amazing. We've now shipped over 150 lbs. of clothing - and Marta still has a whole garage full of clothing we need to pack and ship.

Wow! God is good.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Gott hilfe mir...

I woke up this morning to an e-mail from the Episcopal News Service announcing that Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh has moved forward in their diocesan convention to approve constitutional changes which would basically remove the whole diocese from the Episcopal Church.

Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori sent +Bob a letter urging him to seek reconciliation and not lead the diocese out of the Episcopal Church. Bishop Duncan refused and sent a curt three sentence response saying:
Here I stand. I can do no other. I will neither compromise the Faith once delivered to the saints, nor will I abandon the sheep who elected me to protect them.
Pax et bonum in Christ Jesus our Lord,
+Bob Pittsburgh
When I was ordained, I had to take a vow to "conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church." +Bob had to take that very same vow when he was made deacon, priest and bishop (see pages 513, 526, and 538 of the Book of Common Prayer). Three times he took this vow and now he feels his interpretation of "the Faith" trumps his prior vows made before God and the community.

I know that Bishop Duncan and I would not see eye to eye on many issues; however, it does not help the Church to take polarized, intransigent positions which serve to break communion rather than foster it. I am not a better Christian when those who disagree with me on something walk away - I am poorer for it. Likewise, Bishop Duncan and those who support leaving the Episcopal Church will be poorer for the severing of relationship.

Bishop Duncan's first two sentences are a direct quote from Martin Luther's closing testimony at the Diet of Worms where he is supposed to have said, "Hier stehe ich und kann nicht anders!" (there is some dispute as to whether he uttered this line or not ... but that's another post). Yet, Luther concluded with one final sentence: Gott helfe mir, Amen! ... God help me, Amen!

I, for one, am waiting for Bishop Bob to complete the quote.