Musings from the PC(USA) General Assembly 223

June 16 to 23,  2018, I went as a part of a team of delegates and commissioners representing the Presbytery of St. Augustine to the 223rd PC(USA) General Assembly. Before and after each of us posted our musings, both profound and silly, about the event.  The full list of musings from all the team can be found here. Below are my posts from the event.

Preparations – Thursday, June 14, 2018

Until about a week ago, I thought of General Assembly in the abstract as a bureaucratic machine, an engine chugging along, mostly silent, but with the occasional warning whistle or mechanical groan, an engine which has the purpose of keeping the wheels of our denomination ever-moving towards the future.

I volunteered to participate as a cog in this machinery in part so I could grow my knowledge of this denomination, which has been so much a part of my adult life, and in part because I thought it would be a semi-vacation, an early-summer break in the everyday challenges of my life as pastor, software developer, and parent.

After I received my committee assignment and I was sent information about the overtures and issues with which I needed to become conversant, the seriousness of the week ahead began to sink in.  [Read more…]

A Storm, a Kind Heart, and a Thermostat

While some of the Family Promise kids played around us, others of them were working on homework and one was changing a diaper of another sibling, the tired and cooped-up adults looked at me with utter bewilderment when I gathered them together and asked them to stop setting the temperature on the thermostat down somewhere well below 68. [Read more…]

The Whisper of Good News

Scruffy and Curious

When my family found ‘Pixel’, an abandoned cat, in our backyard, I rushed to tell the news; I took her picture and posted it around town. I texted friends for ideas and advice. My daughter posted the cat’s picture on her Facebook page. One of our friends posted on Gainesville Pet Finder for us.

When we found out that Pixel needed surgery, I again rushed to tell the news with pictures, texts, and stories. Messenger texts flew back and forth. I got a phone call from a relative that I didn’t think even knew what the Internet was, let alone have an account on Facebook, asking how the surgery went.When we found out that Pixel had picked up an odd maladaptive behavior, we posted about it and the advice poured in. We were thankful to get ideas, to hear stories of other cats’ successes, and to share pictures. It was as if we found a whole new community online, rallying around a small cat’s misfortune and hope for redemption.

And then… good things started happening. [Read more…]

The Gator and the Lamb

A friend of mine, a new Gainesville resident, was enjoying her early spring evening, when she opened a door and nearly walked into a gator wandering in the parking lot outside.  She tells me the whole event was captured on video.

On the video you can see her jolt of surprise, see her slam the door shut, and then slowly ease it open so she can lean her head out to take another look. The gator opened his mouth wide and hissed at her. She slammed the door shut, carefully eased her arm and her phone out so she could take a picture to send to animal control, then slammed it shut again. [Read more…]

Clean Bill of Health

PixelLast week the vet declared that Pixel, the stray cat we’ve been helping, had a ‘clean bill of health.’

It was a wonderful day; the morning dance of coffee, showers, and cat breakfast went smoothly. I dropped her off at the vet before starting work and was able to hear the good news when I picked her up during lunch and brought her home.

We had a couple of tentative offers from friends to adopt her and were looking forward to seeing how long her flea-damaged coat would grow, given time.

All was well… but it wouldn’t last.

[Read more…]

Feeding Time and Other Rituals

This morning I found myself half-awake, bumping into my daughter on the way to the kitchen. I was going to search for a small bowl to use for the stray cat Pixel’s breakfast. Pixel was pressing up against sliding glass door, meowing for breakfast. The night before, my son had washed all the dishes except the ones we were using for the cat. I could see why: they were quite small and seemed so relatively unimportant.

As I hand-washed a cat bowl I realized that, quite clearly, we haven’t yet figured out how to fit Pixel into our morning routine.

After so many years and so many mornings of living together, our family has our morning routines exactly timed. Each of us knows when to wake up, when to shower, when to get coffee or breakfast, weaving past each other with a head nod or a yawn, but never two people in the same spot at the same time. Now, with the addition of the cat, our careful routine has been disrupted.

[Read more…]

Good News in Calico

Pixel after her surgery

Pixel after her surgery

I first decided to get a Facebook account when I heard a preacher railing against it as a ‘terrible evil’ at a youth conference several years back. To my surprise, once I signed into Facebook, the majority of the posts I saw were primarily about…. (you guessed it) cats, cats and more cats.

In addition to cats, the posts I saw were about sunrises, particularly beautiful azalaes in grown in someone’s back yard, silly pet bloopers, and other passing moments of quiet joys and smiles that usually go forgotten. These weren’t the only posts I saw, but they represented a surprisingly large proportion.

What I saw posted were everyday moments of grace and joy.

[Read more…]

Compassion in Miniature

Found Kitty

Found Kitty

Just under a week ago,  a tiny friendly calico cat was waiting for me outside our sliding glass dour when I attempted to wonder into my backyard to do some chores.  She was so skinny I could see her hip bones under her fur, and she walked with an odd wobble.  Chores were forgotten when she ran figure eights around my legs purring like crazy and tried to insist- with every loop – on pushing me back inside.

After lapping up a full bowl of water, she seemed slightly steadier on her feet. A friend and I purchased some pet food and a disposable litter box. so she could spend the night in our solarium. [Read more…]