"All words are symbols that represent unspeakable realities. Which is also why words are magical." (Donald Miller tweet)

Monday, April 11, 2016

pastor ponderings

As part of my own faith, I have a (not perfect) habit of reading Scripture each day. Sometimes I read a very short amount, allowing time for that one little bit to sink in. Sometimes I read lots at a time. Right now, I'm in the "lots at a time" phase, which means reading several selected segments from different parts of the Bible. 

Which led to this juxtaposition today, demonstrating the social contract or expectation between a king and his people in ancient Israel.

First - what would help him stay on track. I don't remember ever noticing this before. Essentially, he was supposed to hand-copy Scripture, in the presence of religious leaders (probably to make sure he copied accurately), and then read some of it every day. It would keep him from becoming ... um ... a tyrannical idiot. It would keep his head and heart in the right space, with humility as key.

“When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. He must always keep that copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the LORD his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees. This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way.”
Deuteronomy 17:18-20 NLT

Second - the people prayed for him - that what mattered to God - people, especially vulnerable people - would matter to him.

“Give your love of justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the king’s son. Help him judge your people in the right way; let the poor always be treated fairly.

Help him to defend the poor, to rescue the children of the needy, and to crush their oppressors.

He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them. He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to him.”
Psalms 72:1-2, 4, 12-14 NLT

Probably can't apply this completely to national leaders today, as our political system is not tied to a national faith system. (Although I do pray for my nation's leaders.)

But, it's not a bad approach for expectations between pastors and their congregations, i.e. leaders leading with humility and a heart for the most vulnerable (instead of always demanding respect and power from the people they lead) ... and people praying for their leaders, supporting them as they attempt to lead with a heart for God, and for the most vulnerable (instead of demanding that their wants be considered above anyone else's).

Interesting thought. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

puppy play

A long time ago, I learned about five "love languages". Ways people communicate love.

They are: gifts ... quality time ... physical touch ... words of affirmation ... acts of service. 

Andie's a quality-time kind of puppy. She looooves to play. Not so much by herself. With somebody.

The first night she was here, exploring, she accidentally nosed the XBox touch-sensitive power button, which made a startling little beep. 

Now - she's figured it out. And if she feels we have gamed or watched Netflix long enough, she casually wanders over, brushes her nose against that power button, shutting it off, and then looks at us expectantly. 

"Wanna play?"

It's hilarious.

We call this guy Rudy Roadkill. 

And it's a good thing we have an open stretch in our apartment. 

For the chasing of balls.

She brings the ball back and dares us to try to get it from her. If we can't get past the sharp puppy teeth, she noses it away from her just a little bit - "Come on. Try."

"Look, I rolled it away. Just tryyyyyy...."

And then she buries it deeply in her bed,, with lots of snuffles and snorts, head nearly disappearing. 


Monday, March 14, 2016

that time when

Remember that time I had the chance to speak at a conference out west ... and separately, someone wanted to interview me ... and separately, someone else wanted me to write an article ... and it all happened around the same time that we moved to a new city and a new church, and then got a new puppy?

Yeah. That time.

It's been quite a time.

It's why I've been a little bug-eyed.
And also why I've been barely blogging.
Or running.

At any rate, the article I wrote for these guys was generously shared by them as a blog post for someone else, and if you want to read THAT, it's right here.

And if you do read it and think, "Heeeeyyyyy ... I'm sure I've heard her say some of that before, somewhere," you're not crazy. Some of my most long-standing thoughts started out as rambling rants in this space or over coffee with someone.

I'm nothing if not consistent.

And if instead, you think, "You know ... I'm good. I know her. I can probably guess what she said. And instead of sitting inside reading a blog post she wrote for someone else, I'm heading outside to find a beautiful dark roast coffee to enjoy with a chocolate croissant," then you're my kind of people. Because GUESS WHAT??!!!! It feels spring-y in ma nouvelle ville!

I know, I KNOW, it might well snow again before the sunshine finally wins. But yesterday? Yesterday was lovely. And today seems awfully nice too.

Yay :)

Friday, March 04, 2016

a day off

We sleep in until 6:34 AM, when Andie suddenly bounces awake at the foot of the bed, and scampers up to say good morning, nose to nose.

We both burst out laughing.

Spike makes bacon and tomato sandwiches for breakfast, served with steaming hot, dark roast coffee. Brief moment of panic when the smoke alarm goes off.

Note to self:
Bacon makes the smoke alarm go off.

I retreat to my at-home workspace, because day off or not, I have a boatload of work to do. My brain, overloaded for the last while, finally starts functioning creatively again. It's been awhile. Andie plays for awhile and then falls asleep beside me. 

I can hear Spike cleaning the apartment, washing things, straightening things, putting things away, all as quietly as possible. And then he picks up his guitar to learn some songs. He'll play through his headphones for the next several hours and wonder where the time went. 

I've said it before,
and I'll say it again:
he's never more himself
than when he has a guitar on. 

Andie stands up, stretches, turns around and flops down again with a deep sigh of contentment. I keep writing. 

It's a good day.

I'm grateful. 

Happy Outrage-Free Friday to you!

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

spoken words in print

Soooooo, awhile ago, I got an email asking me if I would be willing to do an interview. 

I said, "Ummmmmm ... Maybe ... Yeah, ok."

I said some stuff, conversationally. They wrote it down. And published it here. 

And although I do have tiny moments of panic when I don't get to plan my words ahead, or edit them afterwards, props to Karen Stiller who knows how to tap into what matters to me. I'm not sure if it's acceptable to quote oneself, but if it is ... 

"My concern [for the Canadian Church] is that we will make decisions and do what we do from a base of fear.... I hope that the Church in Canada will learn to have conversations with the world we are in, and look at how we can reach people because they are people that Jesus loves."


By the way, if you're a music-loving Montrealer, the Montreal Gospel Choir http://www.montrealgospelchoir.com/ is coming to my church this Sunday morning. 

9:30 and 11:15 AM. You're entirely welcome to come.

"Evangel", at Atwater Metro on the Green line, across from Cabot Square, at St-Catherine Ouest and Lambert-Closse. Park at the Forum and bring the parking ticket in to us - we got you covered. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

hats and boots

Friday nights, our church has "The Gathering Place" - music, discussion groups, a chance to connect on a smaller scale than Sunday mornings. 

I do security. :)

People think it's weird.

Which makes me laugh. 

This week, I decided to sport one of our branded hats, just to see if anyone noticed. 

They did. One person thought I looked like a Christmas elf. 

Another said, "Oh, Pastor Patti, it's YOU! I thought it was a young lady opening the door!"

Nope, it's me...heeeyyyyy, wait a minute....!

It appears I may have started something. 

I was also wearing the best winter boots I've ever owned. Because, hello, I'm security; I might have to handle a "situation". Don't want to get cold feet. 

(See what I did there? "Cold feet"?)

The boots got a reaction too.

"That CAN'T be Pastor Patti! She wears high heels, not boots and a hat!"


We're still learning each other, this church and me. And having a few chuckles in the process. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

at Atwater & St. Catherine

On my way to work yesterday morning, just a block short of my office.

I walk to work now.
Have I mentioned that?
Love it.

Anyway, got to the corner of St. Catherine and Atwater, and heard, "Excuse me ... are you crossing in this direction?"

I turned and saw an older gentleman, with a cane and some bags.

"I can," I said.

"I just need some help across the street," he said. "I can't see very well."

I took his bags, and he took my hand, and we started off together.

"You must be an angel," he said.

"Nope," I said, "but I am a pastor, actually."

"Really??!!" he said. "That's WONDERFUL. I love to see women taking leadership in the Christian church!"

He started telling me the words of his favourite hymn, happily quoting every verse. "You should get a copy of the song," he said. "Just call me. I'm Bert. But everyone calls me Uncle Bert."

He named a church and asked if I was from there.

"No," I said. "I'm just across Cabot Square there, at Evangel."

His eyes got wide. "At Evangel? What's your name?"

"Patti," I said.

"I was talking to a friend last week who goes to Evangel. They told me there's a new female pastor there."

"That's me," I said.

"They said her name was Pastor Patti," he said.

"Yup -- I'm Pastor Patti," I said.

He laughed, blessed me right there on the street, and laughed again as he walked away, shaking his head.

"Wait until I tell my friend that Pastor Patti helped me across the street!!"

And I smiled
all the way
to the office.