Tuesday, October 30, 2007

the colors change and so do I

I love the seasons. When I lived in Hawaii, land of eternal summer, I grieved their absence rather profoundly. As I have written before, my life sort of follows the changing seasons. They set a rhythm for me, inside and out.

Looking back at a post I wrote last May, I have to pause and give praise to a God who is so faithful to me. At the time, I was still picking up the pieces of a very broken summer, fall, and winter. I was praying that this year would allow summer to come to my soul again, a time of warmth and healing and joy. Oh how God answered that plea! My summer was rich with all three of those things.
Entering fall now, I find myself back in rhythm with creation around me. I feel much of life shedding its leaves, many subtle deaths that, though sad, feel natural. I see a thousand little seeds fall to the ground like those that drop from pine cones, and I look forward to what I know will be beautiful when the time comes back around for things to bloom.

Indeed, there is much change going on in and around me. Relationships shift; some slip away for a season like the sun, others wrap around me like a favorite sweater. Brisk winds blow through the streets of my trailer park and rattle the branches of the way I see my world. School work piles up with the leaves on the sidewalks outside. I joyfully soak up the fall sunshine--so much less oppressive than the summer heat--all the while looking toward the impending cold with a bit of fear and hesitation. The air is crisp as I stand on the brink of all that winter will hold. It is beautiful.

Yes, I love the seasons. Especially fall. Thank God for the sun and the grey, the dying and the new life, the shifting and the growing that come with the seasons of my soul.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

collision: a proverb and me

{The Scene}
A phone conversation

{The Players}
-"my voice"
-my brain
-[my actions]
-(my internal corrective, a.k.a. the Spirit)
-King Solomon, the Proverb man

{Act I}


You have got to be kidding.
Have you lost it?


"I’m sorry, can you say that again?"

[despite effort, return to pondering my rebuttal]

This is

"uh huh….good."

not good.
Shoot, am I lying?

(come on, now , listen! listen!)

"Was it…?"

Crap, that's a loaded question.
[mentally struggle to unload question]

ugh, are you serious?
[start to squirm with irritation]
Is this logical, or am I just...

(seriously, Katie, you’ve got to listen!)

{Enter: Solomon and his darn Proverb}

He who answers before listening— that is his folly and his shame. (18:13)

{Act II}

"Yeah. Good."
This is craz…
[let it settle]

"Mm hmmm"
But I…
(give it time)


[breathe and let it go]


Oh man, I disagree.
But for now (Lord help me)
before I speak,
I’ll listen.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

small town Saturday: tater gleanin'

I followed in Ruth's footsteps last weekend, and in the footsteps of generations of Israel's poor. For one afternoon in the fields of Alamosa, I gleaned what was left from the harvest, food that would have gone to waste but will now be handed out at local food banks.

I've done a lot of mission trips. Most of them have been with pretty evangelical groups, meaning that the verbal sharing of the gospel was primarily, if not exclusively the goal. My church in GMF, however, continues to show me different ways of serving. Hence, their mission trip for the year involved simply walking the dusty (and windy!) furrows of potato fields, gathering food for those in need. It was an awesome time of being with other folks from the congregation, while learning a little about the life of a migrant farm worker and helping with such a simple yet necessary task. Also included in the trip was a tour of the local mushroom factory, which provided yet another glimpse into the world of a low wage agricultural worker. Truly eye-opening.

As God continues to open my heart to the need for the church to care for matters of social justice, I fell more and more blessed by opportunities to serve in related capacities. I want to know and live out the gospel, and I want to experience it even in the places where preaching the gospel means picking up sack after sack of left-over taters.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

small town Sunday: the messiness of being the body

Being the body of Christ is a complicated thing sometimes. We have choices to make, issues to navigate, denominations and factions to wade through. Granted, we can choose to bury our heads in the ground beneath our particular brand of pew, which has become the sad decision of far too many followers of Christ. In my own life, I believe that would be an irresponsible brand of discipleship.

Green Mountain Falls is not exempt from the complications of being the body. For the coming year, they have hired an intern. She comes to us from a seminary in Denver. She’s also a homosexual.

Now, the church in Green Mountain Falls is connected to a denomination that openly ordains practicing homosexuals, and I knew that. I had chosen to stay because I trust the Pastor and because I don’t want to run from a local body in the name of boycotting its mother denomination. I had chosen to stay even when I first saw the woman come to visit the congregation, because I believe that the church is a place where all should feel welcome to walk in.

But now what? Suddenly I face a situation that is no longer a matter of sharing the pew with someone whose lifestyle I disagree with, or of choosing not to judge a small town church by its big city denominational lines. Now it involves things like sitting under her teaching. While I was away in Montana, the church had a meeting, and I returned to a sanctuary sans many familiar faces. Their decision of discipleship called them away from Green Mountain Falls in the face of what they deem to be unacceptable compromise.

I may catch some flak for this, but I’m not leaving yet. Sure, I’m full of a lot of questions. I do not hesitate to say that I disagree completely with the ordination of homosexuals. Still, I also disagree with division and hatred and fear. Where is the line between these things and discernment? I don’t know. But I believe the matter deserves some wrestling with, and that being the body requires me to think deeply when considering walking away from the people who fill those pews.

As I wrestle in the months to come, I’ll still be here with the stories of a church that will not cease to be beautiful and endearing. The children’s sermons will still provide moments of hilarity, and the pews will be full of wonderful characters. There will be cake to go with the coffee, and the conversations will be memorable.

And me? I’ll be right there too, thinking and praying through all it might mean, this complicated thing called being the body of Christ.

Friday, October 05, 2007

ivy league hiking

Well, it was a bit last minute, but I managed to squeeze in one 14er before the snow falls and the season ends for those of us who are at least a little sane. After a rather rugged drive to the trailhead the night before, we spent a perfect fall day hiking to the summit of Mt. Harvard (14,420 ft). The Aspen trees were showing their colors, and the sky was that amazing, high-altitude blue. Of course, at about 13,000 feet you always start thinking, "Why doe people do this? We are insane." You know, it's that point when oxygen has fled the scene and every step over a boulder is laborious. But oh, the views and the joy of the summit! Here are some pics from the outing. Since I managed to misplace my camera that morning, credit goes to Joel for these shots.

On the drive to Buena Vista, we say the most incredible sunset as we crested Wilkerson Pass (my favorite part of the drive!) and crossed the high mountain plain.

A stream crossing on the way up. The mountain is the background is Mt. Yale. I was supposed to climb that earlier in the summer, but I was sick. Sigh.

The cairns were massive. It may sound weird, but I think cairns are really beautiful.

I wandered off a little at the summit, just to take it in for a few seconds (it was sort of a crowded summit day, unfortuntely). You can't tell from the pic, but I'm freezing my booty off.

Since the camera flashed, we all look photoshopped in. But I promise, this is not a backdrop at a photo studio.