Tag Archive | books

What’s your story?

This is a big weekend for stories.

This afternoon, the biggest advertisers – or at least the ones with a sizable enough marketing budget – will try to tell us a story. Or maybe I should say, they’ll try to sell us a story.

The story they’ll try to sell us is a story about who we should be, or the kind of life we should have … and how their product, be it yogurt or cars or beer or the latest gadget for the home, will help you give your story a happy ending.

Stories are important. They are vital to the way in which we understand ourselves as human beings, and understand the world in which we live. The stories we tell ourselves, the stories that resonate most deeply with us, help shape the way we look at the world.

It’s a commentary on our society that too many of our stories have been reduced to either a 30-second ad spot or 140-character social media post. In an age when the Internet makes sharing stories so much easier than ever before, I feel that perhaps we have not yet quite harnessed the power of the technology for the good of our culture.

Today, I encourage you to pay attention to the stories that others are telling you (or selling you). Listen to the difference between the stories you hear in worship, the stories you read on social media, the stories you see on television.

Choose to surround yourself with stories that matter.

Choose carefully the storytellers to whom you give you attention.

Choose courageously the stories that you will tell to others.

Stories matter.

That’s what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again. (from Saving Mr. Banks)

Special Sanctuary

This post is short, but don’t let that fool you. My affection is sincere!

I’ve just started reading Jan Richardson’s new book In the Sanctuary of Women. It’s FAB-ulous. It’s my new daily morning reading.

I’ve already informed my mother that she’s getting it for Mother’s Day. Ladies, look out: I’m itching for an excuse to give this one to friends!


When I first saw this video, I was certain that this had to be posted by a pastor who was putting off writing their sermon. Turns out that I was wrong … but it still reminds me of all the imaginative and useful (?) things I can find to do instead of the one thing I am supposed to be doing!

Stone Soup

Today’s sermon was soup.

No, I didn’t say today’s sermon was about soup. Today’s sermon was soup. Today, worship and cooking become one.

I get to try unusual and risky things like this, in large part, due to both the assistance and the attitude of the congregation I serve.

They don’t always like everything … but they’re always willing to let me try. (Some might call that giving me enough rope to hang myself … but it never feels like that with these wonderful folks.)

In today’s worship, I’m using the story of Stone Soup to explore the ways we are connected and the way we live out a common call together. To be honest, with all of the cooking and praying and singing that is going on … this sermon isn’t going to be the most in-depth sermon I’ve ever preached.

But that’s okay. I think the image of our common call (of the congregation) as the soup-pot, into which we all offer our own individual and unique gifts, is a strong image that we can build on as we continue to discern God’s call in the life of this congregation.

So, in honor of God’s continual call in our lives,  and in solidarity with not only Golconda FPC but also with all those congregations trying to listen and follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit, I invite you to make some Stone Soup.

Below is a recipe to get you started.



Stone Soup (from Family Fun.com)

  • 1 stone, big enough that it won’t get lost in the soup (quartz is a good choice because it won’t break down in cooking)
  • 1 tbsp. butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped fine
  • 1 large carrot, cut into coins
  • 3 medium red-skinned potatoes (unpeeled, and cut into halves)
  • 1/2 sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed
  • 6 cups chicken broth (or a combination of broth and water)
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced large
  • 1 medium yellow squash, diced large
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups cooked tubettini or ditalini, or other soup pasta (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Croutons
  1. Wash the stone thoroughly and drop it in a pot of water to boil (for extra cleaning) while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. In another large pot, melt the butter or heat the oil, then sauté the onion on medium-high for 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the celery, carrot, potatoes and red pepper, sautéing for 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, then add in the broth. Using a spoon, fish the stone out of the other pot, add it to the soup and bring to a boil. Add the zucchini, squash, corn and pasta, cooking another 8 minutes or until the zucchini is the desired softness. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Before serving, sprinkle on the cheese and croutons, then ladle–minus the stone–into individual bowls. Serves 6 to 8.

Movie Madness

When it comes to books, movies, or even television, I love a good story. I love to open myself up to the author or filmmaker as they tell me a story. To be completely honest, it doesn’t even have to be a great story or be particularly well-told. I simply love stories.

I feel strongly that the least amount of respect that a story and a storyteller deserve is to give them the courtesy of allowing the storyteller to present the story in whatever way they have seen fit to present it. All of that is to say: I don’t read the last chapter of a book before the rest and I do not like to watch a movie if I have missed the beginning of it.

As my friend, I would appreciate it if you would not force me to politely watch half an hour of the middle of a movie that I have not seen yet, just because you’ve run across it while you’re flipping through channels and you believe it’s a shame that I’ve never seen it.

I know myself well enough to know that I won’t enjoy watching this out-of-sequence segment (especially with your commentary that is intended to fill me in on the parts that I haven’t seen so that I will understand the parts that I’m watching). And when I do watch the whole movie, my experience will have been diminished by my inability to get lost in the story as it is told because of my previous exposure to parts of the story that I do not yet fully understand in their own context.

I do not doubt that I will enjoy the movie. I trust your opinion that it is a shame that I have not yet seen it. And if you, who have already seen it, would like to watch it again, I will be most happy to excuse myself to go into the next room and read a book (from the beginning).


Friday Five: Books

From the RevGalBlogPals:
So tell us what you’re reading, what you would and would not recommend–five books or authors! And if you don’t want to do that freestyle, here are some questions:

1. What books have you recently read? Tell us your opinion of them.
2. What books are awaiting your available time to be read?
3. Have any books been recently recommended?
4. What genre of books are your favorite, along with some titles and/or authors you like best?
5. What have you read lately that you have a strong urge to recommend? (or to condemn?)

And here are my answers:

1. Lately read:   The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan; Whoa! This is the best book I’ve read in a long time and I highly recommend it.

2. Awaiting my attention (in the service of my upcoming study on food ethics):  Hope Beneath Our Feet: Restoring Our Place in the Natural World by Martin Keogh

3. Recommended by Kristin:  Food & Faith: Justice, Joy and Daily Bread by Michael Schut

4. Favorite genre: spy thrillers or murder mysteries. I know, I know. Perhaps not what you’d expect from a pastor. But I love trying to figure out mysteries. My current favorites are Daniel Silva’s spy series featuring the character of Gabriel Allon. Most recent in the series is: The Secret Servant.

5. Would recommend: No surprise here! I always recommend the liturgical mysteries by Mark Schweizer. They’re irreverent and laugh-til-you-pee funny.


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