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

Thursday, July 10, 2014

pastor selfies

Every now and then, you hold up your phone randomly and snap the perfect picture, right? Some of you are all photogenic and such, and I don't love you as much as I do the others. I am not photogenic. I have Chandler-syndrome when it comes to photos. (Props to the first person who understands that reference.)

Sigh, it's fine. I've learned to live with it.

But when you are going to be speaking at a thing, they always want a bio and a pic. Presumably in case you forget who you are; this way, someone can ID you as you wander around the conference in confusion.

The whole thing is just awkward. "Rev. Patti Miller is ... with experience in ... And frankly, she's just writing this so you will like her. But she doesn't want to overstate, thus deeply disappointing you and causing you all to discuss over the conference lunch how ridiculously misleading her bio was. Yes, she believes that could happen."

Fortunately, I had a bio on file, tweaked it a bit, shuddered, and sent it off with a lovely pic, one of those lucky, random shots, probably right after a hair appointment. 

They were happy, except ... the pic was too small to be reasonably used. Could I possibly send another, from my apparent portfolio of photos? "Sure, of course I can, no sweat, silly me, let me just grab another for you...." 

Sigh. Took half an hour longer than usual to do hair and makeup. Pulled out my phone, using the blind side of the camera, since that is better quality. And proceeded to take 7,832 photos of myself. 

At home ... at the office ... outside in the shade ... outside in the sun ... one angle ... another angle ... ugh. All various versions of awful. If you could make them into a flip book - remember those? - you would see the hope turn to frustration turn to rage turn to despair. 

Finally, with traffic going by, all shaking their heads at the self-involved pastor taking a selfie on the church steps (I believe this to be true), I managed to randomly snap one, pretty darn good photo. 

Emailed it. Saved it for future use. And then took this one, just to return joy to my day. 

This has been a moment of honesty in the life of a running pastor. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

go ahead, mock

Cue the mockery. 

I'm about halfway through this wretched statistics class. I'm entirely certain it could be much, MUCH worse, with a different prof. And I'm reasonably certain I have an adequate brain. 

That being said, I truly find this class DIFFICULT. 

And THAT being said, I'm acknowledging that so far, I'm getting fantastic grades. 

Thus the mockery. "Pfft, Patti, you poser, if it's so hard, why the great marks?"

I don't know. That's the thing - I just don't know. I'm not complaining. Just not comprehending. 

But apparently I'm comprehending enough for the prof's standards. As I said to my mom, who mocked my claims of "utter despair" - "Maybe utter despair was the standard...?"

So I'm relieved. (And bewildered.)

And THAT being said, in tonight's lecture, I felt my brain achingly, painfully, slowly, reluctantly acknowledging some kind of foggy understanding of what was being said. 

And it occurred to me on the side, that perhaps this is how it feels to be slowly brainwashed. 

Friday, June 13, 2014


I was in yet another meeting this morning.

It's been a long, long week, my friends.
A LONG week.

Someone cheerily forbade me from working tomorrow.
I laughed.
THAT'S gonna happen.

So anyway - I was in this meeting - discussing something world-changing, I'm sure.

And then I heard this statement:

"Well, they can't yet determine those statistics,
because the sample simply isn't large enough
to credibly extrapolate results to the general population."

And then I realized that statement came out of MY mouth.

Good grief.

It appears - possibly - that SOMETHING from my stats class is sinking into my head, despite it all.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

NO spikes

So... this has me furious. http://globalnews.ca/news/1385919/anti-homeless-spikes-efforts-to-deter-homeless-backfire/

First of all - they aren't "the homeless". Unless the rest of us are "the homed". They are PEOPLE who DON'T HAVE A HOME.

Imagine that, just for a second. 

Nowhere to retreat. No bed. No choice of food. No quiet or safe space. No place to ... stop.

And now... you can't sit down either. Or lie down. On public space that doesn't matter to anyone. Because someone put SPIKES there for the express purpose of denying you the comfort of sitting down on a concrete slab. You walked all day ... keep on walking. We don't need your kind here. You're not people... you're "the homeless".

Tell me, please, how this attitude is different, except in degree, to attitudes behind slavery, genocide and the like? "You aren't human enough to sit down in a public space."

And don't - DO NOT - tell me that it's their fault somehow. No one grows up dreaming of being without a place to live. Are there choices? Sure, sometimes. More obstacles in the way of making good choices than I've ever had to face? Almost always. Does "the system" work? Uh, no. At its best, it is short-term and dehumanizing. 

I don't rant often. And I can't solve it all. But I'll tell you this: there will be NO spikes installed around MY church. (Or my home, for that matter. If someone wants to sit on my front porch, they can.) One of my goals is to find an affordable bench or two to drill into the concrete around Crossfire, so there IS a place to rest.

And anyone will be welcome to it. They can also use the washroom. And have a bottle of water. 

Who's with me?


Monday, June 09, 2014

today, tomorrow, and the next day

Really, I'm just looking for a waytago or a high-five or whatever will get me through the next few days.

4 AM Drive Spike to work (43 minutes each way)
6 AM Make coffee and breakfast; send out regular Monday email to my favourite church; blog (that's what you're reading now); answer a couple of high priority emails, then firmly CLOSE emails.
8 AM Start (and hopefully finish by around 4 PM) assignment that is due Wednesday night
Evening: Class

9:45 AM to maybe 9 PM Various meetings in various places, pretty much straight through (and reading for Wednesday meetings, squished in between the Tuesday meetings)

9 AM to 4 PM One straight-through meeting
Evening: Class - hand in assignment (and now you know why I really need to finish that assignment today!)

Am fully stocked on coffee. House is relatively clean. So is my office, for what that's worth to you.

Nothing can possibly go wrong.

Right? ... Right???!!

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

in my space

Lately we did some rearranging of things at Crossfire (that's my church).

Out of that came this ever-so-peaceful meeting space. 

It's adjacent to my office, and honestly, I can't believe how much we use it. Sometimes a few times a day. A space to hold real conversation, comfortably; without being surrounded by the chaos that is often my actual office. 

Sometimes I wander in there by myself and whisper, "Thank you." 

And... it turns out... that when extra chairs are cleared out of that chaotic office of mine... and meetings are in a different room... along with some of the for-public-use resources... it turns out my office is a way less chaotic space too. 

Sometimes I just look around it and let out a sigh of relief. 


Monday, June 02, 2014

just breathe

exam tonight.

remembering ze frank's song that helps me through these days.

you're ok
you'll be fine
just breathe