Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Inter-Holiday Fluff

I stole this material from dh. From his post-it:

IDEA! for dytopic novel

President TRIG 2038-2042
President TRAK 2042-2046
President TRIPP 2046-2052
President TROIG...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Post Christmas Post

Ahhhhh, Boxing Day is my favorite holiday. It's 2 PM, I'm in pajamas, and that's not going to change until tomorrow.

All kinds of emotional bits and bobs are popping out in the afterparty of that minister post; here's some fluff to keep you kids amused while I get it all sorted.

Cool Shizzah My 4 Year Old Got For The Holidays:

Magic Wand that the house gnomes (Rinky, Dinky and Sly) procured from mermaids for King Charlie

Lace-Up Shoe, Plan Toys

Metal Kaleidescope, Schylling Toys

Natural Skittles Set from Camden Rose

Strength for Superheroes, compliments of the local grocery store

Battery-Free LED Flashlight Eyes Robot

Superman's Space Rocket/Playhouse and Flashlight Eyes Robot Sidekick

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I am SO not a minister anymore

... since so many of you have been asking. I was officially disfellowshipped from the UUMA (Unitarian Universalists Ministers Association) a couple months ago. In typical UUA style, I received a letter that explained I had already been disfellowshipped, since I had not responded to any of their inquiries. (Did I actually receive any such inquiries? No.)

The letter was signed by the same person who, when I once explained that I was not available to commute coast to coast on a regular basis because I had a nursing baby, responded with a horrified, "How long are you planning to do that?" My explanation that I wasn't willing to separate our child from either parent for long stretches of time--regardless of nursing status--seemed to fall on mystified ears.

I framed the letter and hung it next to my certificate of fellowship and my seminary graduation diploma. They all represent important and cherished chapters of my history.

The reasons why I am no longer in ministry are long and complex. It's hard to do them justice in a blog post. Nonetheless, here's the Reader's Digest version:

1. Unitarian Universalists: by and large wonderful people, they are also terrible employers. Our half-assed, ultimately-benefits-no-one version of congregational polity makes for a lot of lost paychecks, inconsistent benefits, and blown contracts. The seminary classmates who don't have horror stories for me of this ilk... are the ones I haven't caught up with lately. Not that my own brief experiences were good. "What do you mean you want dental?"

2. I have found that the quality of energy and care needed for good ministry draws from the exact same pool as the energy and care needed for parenting a small child. I'd much rather put mine into my four-year-old than a group of adults (with a penchant for acting like four-year-olds).

3. I went into ministry in part to live my spiritual journey in an open and intentional way. In recent years I've found that living my own journey out loud is contradictory to the expectations placed upon ministers, which, despite a lot of liberal hype, are really fairly traditional. I got a little tired of deleting the most liberal (and authentic) pieces of my sermons. "Hmmm, better not talk about THAT if I want to be asked back..."

4. Board meetings. Both literally, and as the epitome of the rule-based, justice focused, institutional culture. As my journey has led me deeper into unschooling, consensuality, and relational ethics, I find myself an increasingly poor fit to institutional leadership. I resist the authority conferred upon leaders based not on their personal qualities, but their title. The role of Minister is not a mantle that sits comfortably on my shoulders--that ironic old black robe is anathema to me.

5. When I entered seminary, I wanted to write. I loved to write. I was tremendously excited about the idea of writing a piece nearly every week, having an audience for it, and actually getting paid. Guess what? I'm a freelance writer now. I'm getting paid to write--and sometimes to write what I actually think. While I'm at home with my family.

I still love UUs (and to a lesser extent, UUism). I hope to retain and build church relationships--just not as a minister. I'm eternally grateful that I went to seminary and got as far as I did. And I'm eternally grateful that I quit. Life. It's funny.

Monday, December 15, 2008


A quick shout out to my girl Ania for her latest piece of flash fiction, published this month at Elimae. It's cool, it's kinky, it's what's happening now.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Holidays Ahoy hoy

Well, that was fun. I just edited a novel. More of that, please.

In sustainability news, we're getting our Christmas tree today. When you drive over the line into Lunenburg county on the highway, you pass an enormous sign that reads, "Lunenburg County: Christmas Tree Capital Of the World". (Which brings up the obvious question: Can a county really be a capital? Of anything?)

It's true, however, that Christmas trees are a fundamental arm of the local economy, and that it's actually possible here to have a huge, splendiforous, real tree with no environmental guilt whatsoever. Particular thanks due to Kevin Veinotte for his organic, sustainably harvested woodlot.

Usually our biggest problem is finding a tree that's small enough. Most folks around here get as big a tree as they can possibly fit through through the front door. Eight feet tall is a "medium". In the past I've bought the smallest tree on lot (for five dollars), then chopped it in half at home to suit our modest collection of ornaments. This year we're bundling cinnamon sticks in ribbon and baking cookies to decorate and hang, so we can go a bit bigger. We broke down and got a locally made, heavy-duty tree holder.

And so it goes, as Nova Scotia continues to seep its way into my American mind and Western heart. In close, I leave you with a picture of the sleigh cookie my four-year-old made yesterday. (I helped a bit with the frosting placement, but besides that--design and everything--it was all him. He's already more artistic than me.)