Little Hobbit’s Big Adventure Pt. 2

The first REAL day of Transformation was almost too much to process.  The day began cool and blessed with wonderful pastries, bagels, coffee, conversation and HUGS lots and lots of HUGS!!  We met together in the newly renovated chapel at Wesley Theological Seminary. THAT part was a little hard for me to take, my journey is leading me away from the United Methodist Church and as the Seminary President’s words of “us” (the participants) being the future and of value and their desire to “do things right this time” was so contrary to my experience the tears fell hard onto the floor on this new chapel! But I was determined to NOT let this wonderful time be spoiled by pain…there was too much to be absorbed to focus on that!

Then we opened with Reverend Vince Anderson and the Dirty Gospel Band with Amy Moffit supplying the opening, a wonderful way to begin! Then Kathy Escobar took the floor and told of her community. My head never stopped nodding up and down, tears of recognition and shared experiences filled my eyes from time to time…I really am NOT alone!!  The sense of being where I belonged washed over me and I realized just how hungry for this I had been for so very long.  Spiritual deprovation is an odd thing, it seems you don’t know just how needy you are until you meet face to face with God’s abundance!

After a break for lunch and more hugs, it was time for our first break out sessions.  I chose to go hear Jonathan Brink’s and if I had to be honest it was for two reasons.  First, because I was interested to hear what he had to say on Emergent Theology and secondly, because I figured it was where our friendly neighborhood pirate was most likely to choose.  I arrived a couple of minutes late and scooted in the side…sure enough, I saw a pirate flag flying in the back row! I went and took a sit next to him and promptly began to focus on the quite interesting theory of the atonement that Jonathan was presenting.  Jonathan’s work was presented well but we only got a nibble of the apple, so to speak, the time was insufficient to digest his years of thoughtful work…his book will be published on the subject this summer…more details when they become available. After the session, the Pirate and I had a nice visit about his I-pad…I must admit, I was quite envious at the trappings that a pirate’s salary affords, a much newer Macbook, an I-pad and a DAMN sweet ride! Following that, I had a wonderful time talking with Jesse and then extended an invitation to dinner to everyone including the Pirate, whose name is Chris by the way, not very piratey if you ask me!!

The second breakout session was the one I had looked most forward to! I must at this point admit my fan girl fascination with Hot Metal Bridge Church in Pittsburg, and to be in the presence of it’s co-pastor, (a UMC Elder in Full Connection) who has managed to do the impossible…pastor an emergent congregation in the UMC…I was in awe!! How in the world had he done this? Could it be done anywhere else? Is there still hope and life in the UMC? I was putting an awful lot of pressure on this poor soul to have the answers!!!! His session mostly focused on the functioning of their drama and worship team…which was facination…he in very lectionary based (which means he uses the recommended scripture so that you can experience the fullness of the Christian story in the process of a year) But each week they design worship on Wednesday and perform it on Sunday with very little rehearsal.  It was when he opened the floor for questions that I was able to ask the question that had burned in my heart for years…”HOW did you get the Bishop to let you DO this!!!” The answer…”We did it on our own time, without anyone’s approval, it wasn’t until we made the news that the Bishop allowed me to be appointed to it.” WOW I should have seen that coming…not working IN the system, but AROUND it. Not really sure it does anything to improve my relationship with my faith tradition…but it didn’t surprise me.

I will pick up there in the next blog…I PROMISE it will be done later today…I have let this perk in my brain too long, I need to share this tale with you while it is still fresh but has had enough time to have richness and body in the tale of my big adventure!!!

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Little Hobbit’s Grand Adventure Pt. 1

God does call us out of our comfort zone on a regular basis.  Such was the case with my recent trip to Washington DC and New York City. While I couldn’t have been more excited for the reason of the trip actually getting ready, getting to the airport, and getting on a plane was a HUGE challenge for me.  I was blessed to have a smooth trip, both flights and to arrive in Washington DC and to be met by my beloved brother I had never hugged, Pastor Nar.  The embrace of this warm, gentle man made my arrival feel like arriving home…except we didn’t actually know our way around! After the adventure of finding the car we began the adventure of finding the hotel…after a few wrong turns we unloaded our luggage and began the trip back to the airport to pick up “the Texans” as Nar called them.  We made the return trip easily enough, and there on the sidewalk stood our two easily identifiable brothers! Luggage was stashed in the trunk and our growing family made its way towards hotel and FOOD!!

We met up with more family at the hotel and began the caravan to our next location…someone (Nar) thought it would be a GOOD idea to have the Hobbit serve as navigator!! Our adventure took us on a rather indirect path to Wesley Theological Seminary…It took a paper map, three i-phones,and 1 blackberry to get us there.  But we did arrive, close to on time, and stopped when we recognized yet another brother who gave us instructions on where folks were.  We made our way to the Irish Pub and talked and laughed and loved and ate and drank and basically took the place over inside and out! Each time the door opened a new opportunity to love walked in the door! Now there where two people who I did feel quite sorry for! They were the couple on their first date who made the mistake of sitting a little too close to our ever-expanding mob…I don’t know how many times these poor people were asked “and who are you on Twitter?” But I can tell you this, if they had wanted to be included, they would have been!!

The trip back to the hotel was another adventure! The phones where dying, the paper instructions were not easy to follow in reverse order, so we were dependant on Phil’s navigational skills from his i-phone…which lead us into a dead-end parking lot!! I felt like one of those Scooby Doo Cartoons when they run in and out of a hall full of doors, meeting themselves and the ghost coming and going…Nar and I laughed til tears rolled down our cheeks…Phil, God bless him, not so much!! We did eventually find the hotel and I have NEVER slept in a more comfortable bed…or I was just THAT tired!!

Next….Part 2 an overwhelming WOW, a growing family, trying to herd cats and a pirate!