For freakin' Facetime - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 35

For freakin' Facetime - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 35

This week I am grateful…

1

For a successful last first week of school.

Monday began my final push toward finishing my education (as far as I can possibly know). After getting settled back into my little sunroom quarters here in Winston-Salem over the weekend, classes got off without a hitch. I have the pleasure to sojourn:

History of Christianity, part 1

Women & Slaves in the New Testament

Christian Ethics

Islam & Islamophobia

Art of Ministry Capstone Thesis

Family Systems Theory

It looks like a lot laid out there in print, but if this past week is any indication as to how the rest of this semester will be, I should be in good shape. The classes, for the most part, seem to dance together in content and overall direction of thought. I am grateful for this chance to grapple deeply with how the ancient and the current shape and color reality today. I am grateful to glimpse God in it all, especially the wrestling part. 

For library faeries, a research lead, and the peace of wild things - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 34

For library faeries, a research lead, and the peace of wild things - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 34

This week I am grateful…

1

For the chance to see my spouse teach Sunday school.

Aaron had his first opportunity to teach a class at Wilshire Baptist this past Sunday. He covered Galatians in the span of an hour, which was great and inspiring (see below), but even better was the pure delight of seeing my man do something that he loves.

Aaron has trained and studied and practiced for this work of Christian education, spiritual development, and pastoral care. He has always, since one fateful day in high school, aimed his energies at challenging the church to engage its whole self—the mind certainly included—in the work of embodying Christ in the world.

I loved witnessing the Spirit of God stir us there in the room. I loved seeing Aaron move in that Light.

For newborn nephews, life’s unfolding, & our bed - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 33

For newborn nephews, life’s unfolding, & our bed - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 33

This week I am grateful...

1

To meet my newborn nephew. To see his face.

Oh my goodness. There have been so many feelings about this little one’s arrival. When I got to “meet” him over FaceTime, when I saw that precious face, every one of those feelings melted into awe. Then gratitude. Then absolute, head-over-heels Love.

I praise God for the miracle of life. I celebrate the safe delivery of another beautiful earthling. I am hopeful for his future and the ways our paths will cross. I see God and God’s powerful creativity already at work in my nephew.

To witness such a Presence is transformative, and I need transforming. The world needs transforming.

For Thug Kitchen, my mama, & The Wailin' Jennys - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 32

For Thug Kitchen, my mama, & The Wailin' Jennys - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 32

This week I am grateful…

1

For the Wilshire welcome.

Sunday morning was our first official day at our new church, Wilshire Baptist. I woke nervous in all my limbs, feeling the wake of memory after memory of other first days with other new folks in other new places.

The past can haunt, for sure, but a curious thing happened.

The plan was to join the church in both the early and the eleven o’clock services with a brunch Q & A session in between. Being as anxious as I was there was nothing to do except show up. Just be there. Submit and enter the process of the unfolding moment.

So I did.

After it was all said and done I realized that somewhere between the bookends of joining the church I had gotten baptized all over again, and my clothes weren’t even wet. Instead, my anxieties—the pain from past experiences—were lapped away by this congregation’s smiles, breakfast casseroles, hugs, handshakes, and how-do-you-dos. I was baptized by ecclesial embrace, a grace we Baptists should talk about more often, for I was made to be new and made to be home.

I am thankful for that.

For dirty miracles, a new friend, & my dog - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 31

For dirty miracles, a new friend, & my dog - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 31

This week I am grateful…

1

For news of people healing the land. That bioremediation is possible. For dirty miracles.

I did some significant reading this week in Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew’s Toolbox for Sustainable City Living, which was very exciting. As I read I was reminded about the wondrous possibilities we have in the pursuit of healing the earth. Cities are not the anti-Christ of creation. Instead, they can be seedbeds of ecological revolution. Indeed, the biblical book of Revelation ends with visions of a New City where the leaves of the trees will be for the healing of the nations. Sounds like edible landscaping to me.

Toolbox reminded me deep in my spirit that there is hope. Specifically, it reminded me that there are people working diligently and creatively around the world for our collective well-being. Even further, it reminded me that those people are doing the essential down and dirty work, not simply hobby farming or gardening for profit. Rather, there are folks reclaiming soils that have been violated beyond recognition—soils polluted by petroleum products or awash in toxic waste.

There is an entire section in Toolbox about bioremediation, cleaning and restoring land, water, and air that has been saturated with pollutants and toxic waste.

To be clear, scientific data and knowhow is essential to do this work. It would be needlessly dangerous to march in and start shoveling soil that glows in the dark without doing one’s research. However, this book reminded me that the necessary information is very available and accessible. The work of keeping (from the Hebrew word shomar, meaning to guard, protect, foster—as one would a child) creation is available to all humans, not only those who take up certain professions.

Cleaning and restoring creation in your neck of the woods could be a matter of planting sunflowers (phytoremediation) or growing mushrooms (mycoremediation).

Is that not miraculous?