On my mind as I prepare to head over to church, in a spiraling and not particular order . . .
The pope and his interview. On my kitchen counter (because I am a disorganized person, which is apparently something the pope and I have in common) is a well-marked copy of Catholic Theologian Elizabeth Johnson's Truly Our Sister: A Theology of Mary in the Communion of Saints. I used it as the basis for a talk to a group of Presbyterian Women some months ago. I wish a similarly marked-up copy were on the pope's kitchen counter as well. I am interested in what the pope has to say, partly because Ignatian spirituality is something else we share, and partly because he says so much of value to the world, I am not one of those raving about this interview, however, because I am so disappointed in his comments about women. But he is a man who is in a constant mode of learning. Perhaps someday he will invite the many notable Catholic women writing theology to spend a week at the Vatican . . .
My son and his relationship with a Muslim woman. I have taken graduate courses in Islam and teach a bit about Islam to college students, but I, too, am a person in a constant mode of learning. I am own trying to formulate five or so sentences that convey my faith in a Trinitarian God and my practice of a religion that has at its center a relationship with Jesus Christ. But, you say in astonishment, you've been a Presbyterian elder for years, you have an M.Div., you are a pastor. How do these words not slide off your tongue? As I learned in my years teaching in a Jewish school, it is one thing to speak of faith in an atmosphere in which it is taken for granted; quite another in which it is questioned with a mix of curiosity and hostility . . .
I need to visit several people this afternoon. Two recovering from surgery. A few I have not seen in awhile as I have been quite preoccupied with the needs of an elderly couple. At least one with dementia.
I need to try to convince some folks to attend a workshop on hospitality with me, on a Saturday morning and an hour away. I don't feel much enthusiasm myself, as shifting the direction of a congregation is indeed like changing the course of a massive oil tanker mid-journey. I have experienced so many small failures in this dimension of ministry that I need far more energy than I have this morning to tackle it again. But I suppose that I will.
And I need to out the clothes in the dryer before I go. Always, always, there is the laundry . . .