Monthly Archives: August 2010

Dancing Disco Diva’s Young and Old

A few weeks ago Embrace Richmond hosted the first annual “Disco Day” in partnership with the Fairfield Boys and Girls club.  It was so much fun, I wanted to share with you the pictures from the event.  The thing that really struck me was seeing the elderly (many in their 70’s) dancing alongside the young children.  I was also moved by the song “We are Family” in the context of this event.  My “Embrace Family” is made up of young, old, rich, poor, educated, not so educated, suburban, urban, black, white, and everything in between.  These pictures really demonstrate the beauty of our Embrace family.  I can’t remember an event that brought me more joy than this one.  If you are interested in joining the Embrace family please consider attending our upcoming Volunteer Orientation.  We will be hosting a Volunteer Orientation on October 5th from 11:00-1:00 at the Embrace Richmond office. Please contact Stephanie Rice at stephanie@embracerichmond.org for more information. To see more Disco Day pictures please visit the Embrace Richmond fan page on facebook.

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The Shadow of My Blog: Unintended Consequences

I love my blog.  I love that I have a place to wrestle with some of the hard parts of doing ministry. I have received countless comments, emails, and messages affirming me as a writer and a blogger.  However, this week, it was brought to my attention that there is a shadow side to blogging; the shadow of unintended consequences.

This realization came to me at three levels.  The first and most embarrassing level is the level of “unintended ping-backs.”   Earlier this month, I wrote a somewhat controversial post, “Ouch, that hurt!” in which I admitted that seeking unity of the body is hard and painful.  In that post I shared that I was not sure it was even a realistic or achievable goal.  I wrote this particular post after a rather heated conversation with someone who is a bit further to the right of the theological spectrum.  I wrote the post at a time when I was still angry, hurt, and disillusioned.  I wrote it as a lament; lamenting that my dreams of unity have not been achieved.  I wrote it as a confession; confessing that I am not strong enough, wise enough, or committed enough to live out this part of the vision.  I wrote it as a technologically challenged person, not realizing that when I created the link to the vision statement o f Embrace Richmond, I was also creating a “ping-back” which showed up in the “comments” on the “About Us” page of my non-profit.

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Filed under Book Related, Personal Reflection, Top Post's of All Time

2010 Convocation Speaker at BTSR

I will be speaking at the annual convocation service on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 10:10am in Virginia Hall on the campus of Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. I am honored to share with new and returning students, faculty and alumni how BTSR shaped my journey as a minister.

Additionally, I will be doing a book signing following convocation.  My book From the Sanctuary to the Streets captures how the challenges put forth through my theological training at BTSR guided me on my journey toward an application of Christian social teaching.  I look forward to seeing many of you at convocation.

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A Virtuous Girl

While I was walking through the boys and girls club in Fairfield Court last week, a young girl about 14 years old, showed me a piece of her artwork.  In the center is a cross with the words “proverbs” and “Chapter 31:10” drawn across it like banners.  At the bottom of the page were the words “Who can find a virtuous woman?  For her price is worth far more than rubies.”  While the words of proverbs 31:10 were the centerpiece of this drawing, there were many other scriptures in smaller print across the page along with angels, hearts with wings, and verses written on scrolls.  I asked her what inspired her to draw this particular picture and she said, “My sister’s tattoo. I looked up the verse and I really liked it.”    I guess God can use all things for good.

This evening I was thinking about that little girl, her obvious love of God’s word, and the innocent sweet spirit she possesses.  In a community in which many of the girls her age have already lost their sense of dignity, this girl is clinging to the hope of being a virtuous woman.

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From the Sanctuary to the Streets: Check out Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Amazon now has the “look inside” feature active on my book which will allow you to read the first two chapters.  If you have not purchased your copy of my book, From the Sanctuary to the Streets, and want to get a peek inside, check it out.

Barnes and Noble also just added the book to their site and is offering it at a lower cost than amazon for those of you who are looking for the best deal.

For those of you who have purchased the book, I would be very grateful if you would post your review on either or both of these sites.

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Ouch…that hurt!

I relate to Rachel Held Evans statement “The truth is, it’s easier for me to love my neighbors to the left than my neighbors to the right.”, which she confessed in her blog post titled “Big Tent, Small Town.” Rachel is part of a church plant called, The Mission, and she writes:

“Our hope is that as we continue to serve our neighbors The Mission will become a safe place for those who don’t always fit in at the church around the corner—doubters, dreamers, artists, misfits, gays and lesbians, divorcees, the lonely and the disenchanted. In addition, we want our little faith community to grow into a true picture of the Kingdom, which belongs to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, and the humble, and which is made up of people of all different ethnicities, political persuasions, and theological positions. From my perspective, serving and loving the people in the margins is the easy part, for I am a bit of a misfit myself. The hard part is serving and loving those who are critical of our efforts, those who say our tent is a little too big for the Bible Belt. It is inevitable that as we seek partner with other churches in our area, we will run into the very attitudes and approaches that left many of us wounded. I find myself getting all defensive when local Christians question my commitment to my faith.”

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Filed under Theology, Top Post's of All Time, Urban Ministry

Lessons Learned By Getting Lost

The air was surprisingly cool and crisp this morning as I set out from our property in rural central Virginia for what was supposed to be a 10 mile ride through the country.  It is a ride I have done many times before and I was starting to get a bit bored with it.  I decided to press on past my normal turn around point expecting to go just a little further.

I had not gone very far when two very fast, very fierce dogs began to chase me.  I paddled as fast as I could up the hill and managed to escape unharmed.  However, as I turned and looked behind me, my pursuers were poised in the middle of the road daring me to return.  I did not have the courage to undergo another attack so I kept riding with no idea how I would get back to our cabin.

I soon found a road I recognized.  I assumed it would get me back to familiar territory which it did.  However, I was coming from a different direction, took a wrong turn and ended up going an additional 5 miles before I finally found my way back to our property. In total, I biked 17 miles which is quite a long ride for an old woman like me.

While I really wish the snarling dogs would have been napping when I rode past, without my fear of being eaten for lunch, I never would have found this new path.  What I saw on these new roads was well worth the risk it took to get me there.  I ended up on a ridge overlooking rolling green fields, came upon a creek as I passed through the Buckingham Appomattox Forest, and discovered I am biking distance to Holiday Lake State Park.  Most importantly, I learned I can bike 17 miles and live.  This one unexpected venture will yield months of new biking expeditions. I also grew tremendously as a biker from the experience. I learned to take a map with me, a cell phone, and will be investing in pepper spray as a nice surprise for the next pack of dogs to challenge me.

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Filed under Leadership, missional church, Personal Reflection