Sevierly Baptist
A faith journey of a progressive Baptist in an Episcopal world..

Who are you, Anyway: Our chaotic, blessed stories…

I had the opportunity to attend a luncheon in support of the work at Jubilee Housing last Tuesday and to learn about their amazing work providing affordable housing and social support to people of all ages and stages in the District of Columbia.  A couple of very dear friends invited me; I had the chance to catch up with other friends while I was there, learning about an organization that walks the walk of its social justice beliefs. The program showcased the lives and stories of some of the residents at Jubilee properties; they told the story of how a safe, stable, affordable home (something very expensive to attain in…
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Who are you, anyway? The beginning of a thought…

Lately, my thoughts are consumed with the idea of identity.  Perhaps it is a mid-life crisis brought on by my recent birthday; perhaps it is simply that I sit at one of those crossroads in life where my choices would be best served by a good solid dose of self-knowledge.  Or, maybe it is the season -- this season of holy reflection that was the time when I decided to take yet another ecumenical change of dance steps and become a member of a Baptist community.  Whatever the reason for the feeling, the feeling is palpable and will not be denied -- it is time to seriously ponder the idea…
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What I’ve Learned so Far…Learning is Fundamental

I am sitting here at my desk on a frigid bright morning, missing a class on Genesis 22 because of car fires and accidents on the highway that takes me out to the seminary.  My brain and my soul are still full from last night's discussion of the Holiness Code and its role in the land promises of the Pentateuch.  And, if I haven't lost you already in the face of this biblical techno-speak, I would point out to you what might not be obvious -- I GRADUATED IN MAY.  WHY AM I TAKING TWO BIBLICAL STUDIES CLASSES? Because, my friends, over the past months, I have understood some important…
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Trees and Taize…

I'm into the third week of my program here at San Francisco Theological Seminary and I am thinking about many things...but most of all, trees and Taize.  Just indulge me, for a moment. As a traveler, I always do the best I can to experience the place I am visiting, so of course I have devoted any spare moment to exploration.  I spent hours in the beautiful Sonoma Valley and the Russian River Valley and last weekend I visited the Sonoma coast;  but what touches my imagination and my spirit most is, well, the trees. Redwoods, that is. The big trees.  I first visited Muir Woods 15 years ago and…
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Fog. Literal. Well, maybe….

It is Monday morning and as I walk to breakfast with my eyes firmly fixed on the dark-sky-slipping-toward-light ahead of me, I am thinking about fog.  I am, after all, in the Bay area and there is plenty of it.  I'm actively resisting pulling out my phone to try and capture what I see all around me, because I know it cannot be done.  What I see defies at least my current level of photographic talent -- the subtle puffs of white, still clinging to the hill tops and valleys as the sun, painting its tell-tale deep pink stripes across the still grey-black sky in its attempt to chase those…
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Onward…

Having spent most of my years as a communicator of some kind, words are important to me.  If you combine that life experience with a good ten years spent in a worship community in which the song that lead into prayer during worship went like this, Our thoughts our prayers And we are always praying Our thoughts our prayers Take charge of what you are saying Seek a higher consciousness A state of peacefulness And know that God is always there. And every thought becomes a prayer. and you have, well me -- someone who over and over again examines the use of words that many people assume have a…
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At the turning of the year…

Here we are.  New Year's Eve (or soon to be, when the sun sinks from the sky), the year 2014 -- a year that I will gratefully kiss on the cheek as it passes into the past.  If 2013 was the year of the unimaginable and unwanted, then 2014 will bear the label of the year of recovery and transition.  Only time (and the value of hindsight on next New Year's eve) will reveal to us the defining characteristics of the year ahead. This December 31st, though, I find myself as I often am...organizing, cleaning, cooking, and preparing...but more than anything, missing the many years when I was part of…
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The Days Between

Just before Christmas Day , I was lucky enough to enjoy the evening at President Washington's home, Mount Vernon, and to be there for the first (probably to become annual) Christmas Grand Illuminations.  It was a great deal of fun, overcrowded as most such events are in the Washington area, but the evening was just cold enough to feel of the season but not so cold as to be painful (particularly thanks to my newly acquired long underwear, purchased for our trip to Colorado).  The evening was festive, the fireworks spectacular. The most interesting portion of the program, however, was the welcome offered by George and Martha...well, not really George and…
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That toddlin’ town…

That is the song I always hear when I arrive in Chicago...the old one, not anything new and trendy.  But that seems fitting since my ties to this great city are long and deep and unrequited, ties that need to be revisited from time to time for reasons that are unclear to most who know me. What is it about Chicago?  Well, many years ago, years before I began to travel the world with frequency and ease, I packed a few belongings and a friend into a car and drove here to see the Tutankhamen exhibition at the vast Field Museum of Natural History.  I had never seen  a city…
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Five years later…

It has been five years.  Five years since I put on that worn out white robe and climbed those creaky, ancient stairs to the baptismal at the Calvary Baptist Church (only pausing long enough along the way to share with the pastor that I was deathly afraid of water).  Five years ago, for the second time in my life, I was baptized.  This time it wasn't a sprinkle of water, it was baptism by full immersion.  And it was well worth facing my desperate fear of water. I am, quite naturally, a person who remembers anniversaries, and so each year on this date I have stopped to consider my baptism.…
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