Hostess/Martha or Content/Mary?

Yesterday was a day-long (well, five hour) women’s retreat at the church that I grew up attending.  It’s a fine church, filled with many fine women.  With a friend, we comprised the entire 20-45 demographic, but it was still fun.  I have this thing every time I attend that church though–I call it attending church-lite.  I feel like there is no meat there sometimes.  For example: I knew I had to watch what I wore, the makeup I had on, and how I had my hair because my mother would be there–and those are the things that are important at these events.  Still, it was a nice time, and it was great to see old friends.

Back to the point: one of the breakout sessions yesterday was on how to be a hostess.  “Extending Hospitality: Welcoming Guests and Easy Entertaining”.  All about how to be a great hostess, to make sure that everyone’s needs are met and taken care of and that all are happy.  Even came with a recipe book emailed after class so you could have a bunch of hors d’eouvres  to choose from.

Today’s lesson at kids church: Continue reading

Discipleship, Part 2

Tonight was the second half of our discussion on chapter one in our book Sacred Roads, Relational Discipleship.  Understand, please, that the word TANGENT was used to describe our ragamuffin group of women.  We stray from topic to talk about things such as the priesthood and the way they love wine, Amway hawking in the 1980s, and the Latina family structure.  So it’s all a great ball of fun.

We had five women, two who were not part of the five we had last week.  It’s kind of funny, seeing as how all save one (including me) are DRASTIC Type A people (and I am giving the benefit of the doubt to T, the new girl, as I don’t know her well enough to say yep, she’s one of us).  And we all seemed to struggle with the same concepts.  Confession and submission.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that submission is the point of relational discipleship.  But the examples that are given in the book brought the subject up.  To be honest, submission is a word that didn’t occur to me in the slightest when I was reading, but it must have come up for others.  The first Old Testament story that is given was for Moses and Joshua, how Joshua served as Moses’s second until such a time as he was appointed the leader–40 years after first starting to serve with Moses.  I thought it was odd that the questions for this section were difficult for people to answer–we had to describe a training experience, good or bad, and what the value in a spiritual relationship like that would be.  I came up with answers easily, I admit–but then again, training is what I do.  (Well, what I would do were I employed for a living at this current time.)  It was odd to me that people couldn’t think of examples.  Continue reading

Me? A worrywart? Nah.

I never have been actually.  A worrywart that is.  Other members of my family, well, let’s just say that they have made it an exact science.  It truly is an art form.  But the practice of worrying over something is not one that I tend to do.  I know that things will be taken care of in their own way, things that have already happened can’t change and therefore it’s a waste of time, and things I can’t influence are a waste of energy if I worry.  So I don’t.

I found a passage today in my ‘library’ book that talked about worrying, and it had a checklist of things on there, I think it was ten or so, that could tell you if you have a tendency to worry.  The only one I answered yes to was the final statement–you have a grandparent that worries incessantly.  But me? Not so much.

I saw this sentence and it was one of two that really struck me: a fog bank that is a hundred feet deep and over seven city blocks  is composed of less than a singular glass of water.  Something that in a moment can seem gigantic, inconvenient, endless, not able to penetrate or get through, and that brings a city to a standstill is, in fact, small enough to hold the container in your hand.  It’s not insurmountable.  It’s not impossible.  It is able to be done.

The second sentence that stuck with me was from Psalm 139: 23-24.  It’s one I have heard many times, especially given that the theme of the kid’s production we just did was “Searching”.  But this translation was a bit different: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  I think that the reason this stuck with me was the phrasing of “See if there is any offensive way in me”.  I don’t know about you, but I know there is in me, and it is something that I strive to overcome.

So I will continue to try not to be a worrywart.  To not take sometime that to me seems like it’s insurmountable, like having a job, and turn it into my own personal fog bank.  For I know that I can make it through if I keep my mind on the right path and if I truly trust in God to lead me through the dark.

Discipleship

I started a(nother) new bible study this week. One that was supposed to start back in February but due to snow we never got together.  The topic is Discipleship, and we are using a book called Sacred Roads.  During our discussion tonight I started to wonder if I even really knew the definition of discipleship.  It’s a word that is thrown around all the time–one of the ‘churchy’ words that you are given to use as a Christian–but what does it really mean?  Wikipedia has no entry for it–it brings up Disciple.  Which, yes, is probably part of it, but I was looking for more of a dictionary type of explanation.

On the Wikipedia page, it doesn’t list a definition it just goes into seven sub-article divisions:

  • “Love one another”
  • “Be transformed”
  • The Great Commission
  • Discipleship for The Twelve Disciples
  • Family and wealth
  • Other Biblical uses
  • Discipleship Movement

I guess these can be a guideline to the meaning of discipleship, but it still doesn’t answer my question.

What do YOU think of when you hear the word discipleship?

Dispersement

My life group (small group, bible study, whatever you want to call it), as previously mentioned on this blog, has grown by leaps and bounds this past year.  So much so that we have had to branch off into two different groups to remain effective–a “small” group cannot have two dozen people, you know?  Tonight was the first night of that break.

It was odd being in a group that small, but it was nice.  We had six regulars, one new girl (who lives around the corner from me and I teach with her husband, so I gave her a ride–plus she’s our leader’s former roommate), and two that couldn’t come.  So even being “dispersed” we are still at a pretty good size.  (The word “split” or “divided” didn’t work for us, sounded too negative.  Don’t remember how they came to use “disperse” but it cracks me up.)

I’m looking forward to this new study.  The group was divided based on the book we voted on for the next session, and since I didn’t give a vote (I liked both books so I didn’t care) I was put into the ‘newer’ group.  It’s nice for me as it is all of about six seconds down the street from me, but it was still a small pang of longing to be with the other girls.  The book we are studying is regarding prayer.  Ironically enough, it is also the subject of the new sermon series at church.  I think it’s absolutely divine intervention that has me in this group as opposed to the other group which is focusing on another discipline.  Prayer is something I very strongly believe in.  Someday I might even write out the story of why I believe it actually works and that there is a God that listens to us when we pray.  But it is a discipline that I feel I need a lot of work in.

I pray.  I do, I pray.  I tend to pray in a conversational style rather than in a formalized structured method, and instead of setting aside a few moments at the start of each day or at the end of the day to pray I tend to have conversations with God in my head throughout my waking hours.  Some of the greatest conversations that I have with him take place while I’m swimming.  Since I am in the water for so long, the meditative movement is a perfect time for me to have a chat with God.

Yes, I tend to pray without speaking.  Yes, I have conversations in my head.  No, I do not think I need psychological consultation for such a thing (although for other matters, well, that’s probably another story).  I think that God hears my prayers and that he answers them, but I feel that there is room for improvement and for consistency in my prayer life.

So I am really looking forward to this study!