Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chicken Recipe

We had a bunch (6) of leg/thigh cuts of chicken to use, so I searched for various recipes that might be good and landed on this one.  I had seen it in a previous search and had the lead time (1 day) to make it work. So I decided I would try it (minus the bread salad). 

the prep time was super quick and easy the night before, a definite bonus in my book.  The day of would have been fine, but I didn't read the cook time all the way through, and I got a late start in cooking. (note, it takes at least an hour or so to roast).  We ate late, but it was well worth it. The chicken was finger licking good!  

It will definitely be repeated!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

I work a lot with survivors of sexual violence.  In college I went through a training called Sexual Violence Awareness Advocacy (SVAA) in order to work with Take Back the Night and the Clothesline Project. I was blessed to work with amazing men and women who taught me a lot about how abuse happens and how to be a compassionate listener for those who have survived such abuses.  And working with survivors really became a part of my call. Advocacy and stopping abuse became a key component for me and ultimately when I recognized my call, this was a part of it.  

In ministry, there have been times when I focus on the other parts of my call (race issues, LGBT advocacy, immigrant rights) and times when I focus on working with survivors.  There isn't a rhyme or reason for why I do what I do when I do it, only that those issues present themselves more prominently at different times with different people.  

I have been blessed to have the trust and confidence of survivors from very early stages of our relationships and have been privileged to walk with them as they heal from the violence (physical, sexual, spiritual, and psychological) that was inflicted on them.  As a part of this ministry, I often do the Safe Sanctuary training that the denomination requires for those who work with minors. In my opinion, we don't do it often enough and there are far too few children and youth workers who know the policy and how to work with children to protect them, both from abuses that have happened and abuses that could happen. So when I do a training for my church (we have about 20 folks trained now), I also open it up to the district and/or conference for anyone else that needs training.  

That's the long way of getting to this:

In talking with a survivor, she asked if I thought pedophiles could change and if they should be forgiven.  

I had to be honest, that's a tough one for me.  As a pastor, as a believer, as someone who is whole-heartedly devoted to God's message and offering of grace, yes, I believe someone can change and that they should be forgiven (though I definitely do NOT associate forgiveness with putting oneself in a dangerous/abusive situation again...).  And at the same time, forgiveness for abusers is one of the hardest areas for me.  I know of someone in my parish who was/is a pedophile (I don't know of recent abuses, only abuses that happened decades ago) and quite honestly, I struggle, especially on communion Sundays. I have to be very cautious because I am very easily prone to judgment and wonder if he has truly repented of what he did.  I know it is not mine to know or to judge, but it's tough for me.  Especially as someone who sees the life-long effects of abuse on the survivor, who sees how he/she as the victim never really gets to forget what happened and move on, one can only pray they heal from what has happened.  So when I see how lasting the pain is, I struggle to believe he/she should receive such pardon and grace so easily.  What I believe in my heart and think in my head are very much at odds on this issue. 

I know of others in my church who have committed adultery, who have spent all the family savings, who have killed, who have been violent, who have embezzled money, who are perpetual liars and oddly I don't struggle to see and offer them grace as I do with those who have sexually abused someone (male or female, please let's not forget, men/boys are abused too).  

Ultimately, because of my faith in Christ, I believe that grace and forgiveness win out--EVERY TIME.  I know that other Christians might not go that far, they would put certain standards or requirements in place first, but grace is one of those areas where I think God is far more abundant in God's generosity than most of us would like to think.  I think the power of God's love can prevail over even the hardest of hearts.  But there are definitely those individuals and those persons who give me pause and make me reevaluate that belief.  I pray for them, and for their victims, that the power of God's love would truly prevail to change the hearts of those who abuse and heal the lives of those who have been hurt by them.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thank you mom and dad

R and I have 13 weeks left until our little one is due and we are in week 3 of a parenting class.  The content of the class is good (though clearly dated with 80s hairstyles, clothes, and technology) and our teachers are two wonderful, experienced moms.  There are days the information seems a bit too basic (though I know from child development and child care that even the most basic can be extremely complicated on certain days).  There are other days it sparks good conversation, both during class and when we get home.

Tonight we got to talking about children misbehaving in order to get attention.  There were talks of children fighting or rebelling or whatever else kids do to seek attention.  I know my siblings and I were not perfect children and I remember an occasional fight or two, but nothing outrageous or constant.  And in not seeing our conflicts, I see less of our "perfection" and more that of my parents (no, mom and dad, I do not think you're perfect, but I do hold you in pretty high regard).  I can guarantee you we would not have been the children we were (and hence not the adults we are) if it were not for our parents who are indeed stellar parents. Not just good people, but great parents. Meaning they parented well.  

Tonight one of our teachers said, "there will be times when you just won't be able to get your child to do what you want, and you just have to accept it and move on."  I couldn't help but think, "not in our house." (meaning mine growing up...I do not remember ever winning a battle/argument/whatever against my parents; I remember them getting us to do what they wanted, even if it meant soy sauce soup in the morning or reheating fish 7 times before finally eating it and being excused from the table). And I was immediately compelled to call my parents and ask what the most trying times were with us kids.  

I haven't called. I may tonight or sometime tomorrow after they've had a chance to read this (though hopefully not comment on anything too awful).  I am also inclined to ask my siblings (Hi Dave!) what their recollections are.  Being the youngest, my recollection is often more short sighted than theirs (yes, I did just put that in writing!)

I am grateful for my parents and all that they did to raise us and to help us become who we are. And as I prepare for full-time parenthood (not just pregnancy), I can only hope and pray that would be half as good a parent as they were/are. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

When you're not using your gifts

I blame my lack of blogging on this.  I know that's not really fair since I was short on blogs long before that drama started, but to be quite honest, it has sucked me dry in the last 6 months.

I am good at administration. I think in systems and organization and things like that, so administration comes fairly naturally. But it does not feed my soul. It has needed to be done, so I've done it. There's been no two ways around that, but I am finding myself more and more drained for the work I do.  

If I had to say what does feed me in ministry, I would say:
Designing worship experiences that touch people deeply
Pushing people (in a good/constructive way) to grow in their faith and their beliefs

Those are the things I love. Those are the things I can drag my heels getting to (because I'm tired, or lazy, or had a hard day) and feel new energy after I've done them.  Ideally, that's where I'd spend the majority of my time and energy each day.

But it hasn't worked that way as of late. You could say it's about priorities and what I chose to do and that I could simply make different choices and then do what inspires me. And, on some level, you might be right. But I'd also have to argue that you aren't being very practical. If half your house is caving in, you shouldn't just walk away to the half that's not and pretend the other isn't happening. You could, sure. But you shouldn't. Not if you ever want to get back to that other half of the house.  So I've been in the crumbling, messy, disorganized part trying to get us back on our feet and functioning with the hope that once the big stuff becomes organized and clear, the rest will be quite a bit easier.

And I'm tired. It's rugged, demanding work. But it's only for a season, and some day, that season will be over and I will be in a new season, and maybe then I can focus on the things I truly love that give me life.  In the meantime, I'm trying to bring back pieces so that I can have more energy for the work that does drain me.

Pre-marital advice

Man 1:  I need advice for marriage.
Man 2: How often do you use foo-foo spray in the bathroom when she's over?
Man 1: All the time.
Man 2: Stop now. You better let her get used to it.
Man 1: No way man.
Man 2: Yep.