Monthly Archives: January 2004

A gift

God’s grace is an incredible gift.  Now this is a fact I have been aware of for a long time but today he just showered it on me in an incredible way.  Something old, hanging on to me, that I needed to get rid of.  Something that it is good to be free of!

 

It made me put on some U2 and listen to their song Grace”

 

Grace, she takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name

Grace, it’s a name for a girl
It’s also a thought that changed the world
And when she walks on the street
You can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness in everything

Grace, she’s got the walk
Not on a ramp or on chalk
She’s got the time to talk
She travels outside Of karma, karma
She travels outside Of karma
When she goes to work
You can hear the strings
Grace finds beauty in everything

Grace, she carries a world on her hips
No champagne flute for her lips
No twirls or skips between her fingertips
She carries a pearl in perfect condition

What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stains
Because grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things

Grace finds beauty in everything

Grace finds goodness in everything

 

What left a mark no longer stains” 

It can’t get any better than that!

 

 

 

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Working it all out – stressful business

Today was another school day – up at Vincent Massey checking on kids teeth again.  Today only 28 little and bigger mouths to check – not like two weeks ago when we hit an alltime record of 57. 

But after checking out teeth came the more difficult part of my job – helping to deal with some conflict that has been building between staff. 

They say that Scandinavian people do not deal well with conflict – that part of me that is Swedish sure doesn’t.  I hate it.  It is stressful and generally makes me feel depressed even if I have no part in the conflict. 

So that is what I was doing for the last two hours of my day.  Actually, I have been working on this particular problem since the middle of December.  Collected some data, talked to some of those involved and wrote up a small report.  I’m glad I did that background work.  It gave us a starting point in our discussion and since I tried to focus on how we were falling short of meeting certain objectives rather than on the personality clashes, we had a non-threatening document to look at.  It helped us to have some positive common goals to strive to reach.  Rather than focus on the failures of part of the team to meet expectations, we were able to consider ways to solve the problem and meet our goals. 

Now all I have to do is sit down with the administrator and work out a way to put some changes into effect.  Then we have to try and get the two people with the hardest heads to work together. 

Well, can’t say we don’t have high ideals! 

You know, getting women to work together in peace is tough.  I hope I can say that since I am a woman.  Men seem to look at conflicts such as this more objectively and fight and get over it or get out, I think.  The women I have to deal with – employees and other women I supervise – seem to harbor such grudges and stew over them longer.

Me – well I just store it up till I’m home.  Then watch out kids and hubby!  You may be the first moving targets I see and you are going to get fired on.

Of course now I can blog about it and get rid of all that stress.

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Wash those hands

Leo scared them enough to make the front page again.  This time he is talking about the flu pandemic of which he says “it’s not a matter of if, but when, the pandemic will occur”.

If you read the Prince Albert herald you can read it all on the front page.  Most of you are not so priviledged – so sad.

Anyway to those of you out there suffering now from the flu – what you have is not the big one.  But next year get that flu shot.  And please wash your hands!!!

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Women, leadership and trust

There seems to be a lot of talk about women in positions of leadership in the church emerging or not.  And on how men and women can or cannot be mentors to each other.

 

As to leadership – we don’t check our brains at the door of the church you know.  We come with all the skills and talents we put to use out in the big old world business savvy,  ability to create, abilities to work with people, abilities to nurture and lead others, even abilities to use technical skills, etc, etc.  We can do pretty much anything we wish to do and often can do it better than a man.  Just as men can do pretty much anything they wish to do and often can do it better than a woman. 

 

The only roles where we cannot cross over are specific biological ones related to gender and reproduction.  Pretty much every thing else can be done by a person of either sex. The job may be done differently but still be well done. 

 

In spite of a lot more restrictive traditional roles of women in the world of New Testament and Old Testament culture, women played a variety of roles from prophetess to mother.  And Jesus didn’t let the men around him put women down not a single example that I can think of.  On the other hand the Pharisees and leaders were always being put in their rightful places. 

 

If God created us to have all these abilities and skills, does it not make sense that he would expect us to use them?  I believe God calls women to do things for him as loudly as he calls men.  An obedient woman should follow God’s call in spite of obstacles the world puts in her way. 

 

There are women where it is very obvious God has called them into ministry and blessed them with special gifts in this area.  But there are not many women in ministry relatively speaking and if there is no one available to teach me does this mean that I should not be led into a deeper relationship with God by discussing my faith one on one with a male pastor or friend? 

 

I know the dangers.  But if there were no female physicians and I was ill or in need of medical advice would I not go to a male physician?  I know there are strict standards of ethics and would expect him to abide by those.  I also know that a male physician is aware of the risks and takes precautions to protect himself.  Intimate one on one sessions would be taking a risk and could result in disaster.

 

In my profession, when I go to meetings, I often will find myself sharing information with a male colleague after all, women are still in the minority in dentistry too.  I don’t know that I would put myself in a position where I would go off into a bar with a male colleague in a one on one situation unless I knew the guy well.  If I knew him well and went anywhere with him it would be because I trusted him.  I also would have to trust myself.  My choice to be joined to and love one man is serious and I know that I will not violate that promise made to my husband.  I trust myself to keep this promise.  My husband trusts me too.  This mutual trust gives us a lot of freedom to be with people of the opposite gender without feeling that by entering into deep discussions or a one on one situation we are somehow violating our exclusive relationship with each other.

 

I would hope that pastors and others involved in ministry (male and female) could have this type of relationship too.  A freedom to be with other people because they know they can be trusted to keep promises of fidelity to a spouse, to themselves and to God. 


Thats a bit of a long rant – but off my chest!

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Parenting

Parenting is such a complicated job.  Just when you seem to be going along well, up comes some huge snag and all the answers you thought you had just don’t seem to be relevant any more. 

All I really hope to do is give my kids a solid basis on which to make good decisions.  But it seems that I come across as grumpy half the time and who wants to follow a model that is grumpy?

It is so much easier to be a dentist than a parent.  I do what I know how to do – what I’ve been trained to do.  I can do it well and I can find out how to do things if I am uncertain or if there are new methods.  I have textbooks, continuing education courses and lots of information.  So I can confidently do what I do to the best of my ability and feel good about it.

I have no idea if I am doing the right things as a parent.  I barge in and do what I think is right and seem to make mistakes left, right and center.  And I have no idea if I am actually making mistakes even. 

Anyone have the latest manual?

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Passing on a quote from Steve

I really enjoyed reading a quote from an article about Barbara Brown Taylor which Steve has posted over at Ponder This.  I especially like this :

Her authenticity is especially evident as she explores the ambiguities of life. Taylor is uncannily comfortable with the many philosophical tensions which are part of the Christian faith: grace and good works, the already and the not yet of the Kingdom, the unity and diversity of the Trinity, the enigma of `unanswered’ prayer, and a host of others. Rather than succumbing to the pressure most preachers feel to explain these conundrums, Taylor does the most disarming and effective thing possible. She explores them, then simply says, “I don’t know”. In leaving these mysteries with the listener, she encourages contemplation and prayer and faith, and avoids the presumption of speaking where God is silent.

It is from this heart of worship that Taylor does her most effective work. Her goal is not to tell the listeners what to do, but to lead them into an experience of God. As Taylor writes in The Preaching Life, “where [a good] sermon finally leads both preacher and congregation is into the presence of God, a place that cannot be explained but only experienced. When a sermon like this is over, it is not over. Everyone involved in it goes away with images, thoughts, and emotions that change and grow as the process of discovery goes on and on and on.”

Steve has underlined his favorite parts from the article.  My favorite – the fact that she will say “I don’t know” and in so doing encourages contemplation and prayer. 

Maybe it is a in a woman’s nature to be content with not knowing, with accepting mysteries. 

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My volunteer duty

I spent this afternoon at the soccer centre.  It was my volunteeer duty to be the first aid person for the city wide tournament that was going on. As far as volunteer activities, this is one of the easiest I think.  You have to have first aid training to do it.  Actually the coach of one of the teams was one of the physicians in town so I figured we had most of the emergencies covered pretty well for that game.  And of course nothing happened of any consequence. 

Doing the first aid stint is our substitute for working a bingo.  A lot of things bother us about the dependence of sports on the existance of gambling in one form or another.  So we try to do whatever we can to avoid the inevitable bingo obligations that come with almost any sports activities for kids.  We can pay out our obligation so we usually do. Lots of parents can’t afford to pay off the extra fees.  But it just bothers me that gambling is such a pervasive thing in our society.  And I hate the way that kids are almost taught to be dependant on it too if they want to be in sports.  If it isn’t the parents having to work bingos, it is the kids having to sell some kind of lottery tickets or 50/50 tickets themselves. 

Buying lottery tickets has come to be such an accepted “normal ” thing to do.  When I decline the chance to buy my share of a ticket at work when everyone is pitching in, I am the one who feels a bit guilty.  As if I am refusing to be one of the group.  It just seems to me that if I succumb I will just be starting down the slippery slope of accepting this as normal.  And it is such a false hope, gambling is.

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