Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy New Year!

More writing from my dad and me below. I'm so excited it's also posted at Emerging Women.

Today, Sunday the 29th of November, we begin another liturgical year. I once met a don (professor) at Oxford University who scheduled his life according to the church’s calendar: its seasons, its saints’ days, and its liturgical hours. He refused to use or even to acknowledge the more arithmetic 12-month, numbered-day, 24-hour-subdivided Julian calendar that most of us follow. Making an appointment with him was difficult, to say the least.
We don’t need to go to the extreme of that Oxford don, but perhaps we might pay a bit more attention to our distinctive, somewhat countercultural church calendar. There could be some pleasantly surprising gifts awaiting us, such as the peace and perspective offered by the Advent Season – the season of the advent or coming of God. It is a season that places our lives in a cosmic context or, greater still, a framework as large as God herself. We won’t find that in our holiday shopping at WalMart, Macy’s, or even Neiman Marcus. It can’t be bought; it can’t be built. It comes only as a love-motivated and grace-saturated blessing.
Let us pray:
Come among us Mothering God, Mothering Christ, Mothering Spirit. As you gave birth to us as the Alpha, the fertile source and beginning of all, so also embrace us at last as the Omega, the welcoming goal and end of all. Come among us Birthing God, Feeding Christ, Nurturing Spirit.
Kim’s response:
My dad wrote this Advent Devotional for the congregation that he and my mother belong to – a mainline denominational church. The thing that struck me was the reference to “God herself”. I have such a gut reaction to that. First, it’s a reaction of – “ahhh, finally”. But then I wonder how much trouble he’ll get in for referring to the mothering nature of God. Finally I wonder why my solution to this quandary has been to keep my God language gender neutral. That definitely feels like a cop out as well, especially in light of the Advent season, a season of expectant waiting and preparation, a season that any mother can relate to as she reflects on the birth of her own child. I am so grateful that my dad has given me the gift of remembering God herself and the wonderful ways in which she has birthed, fed and nurtured me.
Tom Wilkens served for three years as a pastor in Wisconsin and for thirty-one years as a professor of theology at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin. He and his daughter, Kim, have recently co-authored the book, Un-American Activities: Countercultural Themes in Christianity (

Friday, November 20, 2009

hello, world

I wanted to be creative today - to write and work on an image for our Advent worship series (the weary world rejoices - please send any ideas on). Instead, I spent my day in hardware hell. First, shelling out bucks to the Sears guy to repair my dryer. He was a really nice guy, too bad his contribution to my day was to add doing mountains of laundry to my list (and I was so enjoying wearing the same pair of jeans all week;)

The rest of the day I did my own tech support on 3 computer systems. One laptop, that has been on my list to refurb for school, needed a new harddrive and then all the drivers loaded to get video, sound and go online. That was my only success today. The wireless adapter on my laptop stopped working and I haven't found any way to recover it. Although I did learn that it is not an uncommon problem with HP Pavilion laptops (beware). I'm also trying to set up a desktop with dual monitor support for use at church and don't you know the graphics card I bought requires an increased power supply. Couldn't the tech guy at Staples have told me that or maybe even some clearly written instructions? No, apparently not. Ugh - I've been bit-slapped!

I don't know when the school is going to see this laptop because right now, it's my connection to the world.

Friday, November 06, 2009

equal justice

What is the great equalizer of humanity? I think I got a glimpse of it in the airport yesterday. I was scoping out the outlet possibilities while I waited for my flight. You'll always find the geeks and business men at the outlets. I sat down next to a business man, who was clearly sending out vibes to not sit there - but there weren't many other options to grab an outlet and frankly I felt I had every right to be there as him - right? He was on his cell phone - typical. But before I knew it, I was drawn into a conversation that shattered my preconceptions.

This white, middle-aged business man just recently learned that his wife had some sort of stroke that day at lunch. His wife is in intensive care, incoherent, facing possible surgery and further complications. As he talks to a doctor, I can feel all his walls crumbling down. He is desperate to find out what is going on and what he needs to do. He is hanging on by a thread, but maintains his composure and uses that business brain he's been training all these years to cover all options, possibilities and outcomes. I was completely drawn into his suffering. As his walls came down, my prejudices about white, middle-aged business men evaporated. We were both just humans then.

When I got on the plane, I started reading a manuscript, Why God? that my friend Bob McAdams asked me to read. Right on the first page, he writes that "when any of us stands facing a reality that is unbearable, we cry out against whatever fate or providence or divine plan or human purpose brought this pain to us ... the intensity of our sorrow opens our hearts to the sorrow of others."

I think that pure love and joy also have this equalizing property, but when speaking of justice issues, we are speaking of suffering. It's in the suffering that we can actually identify with those living in such different circumstances than ourselves. We all know what suffering feels like. We all feel some gut instinct to help our fellow man out of their suffering. We may not know what to say or do, but the instinct is there. It is this instinct that we need to follow into the uncomfortable world of those suffering injustice. It is this instinct that levels the playing field of humanity when we sit next to each other and start to listen.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Book signings this weekend in Texas

Fri night - Hill Country Bookstore in Georgetown.
Sat morning - Texas Lutheran University Bookstore in Seguin.
Hope to see some of my old Texas friends and make some new Texas friends this weekend!