There’s probably no question that I am a religious nerd. However, that does not excuse the fact that my husband has done Dorcas wrong.This situation is not unlike the occasion on which Mark (the husband under discussion) gave me an Enya CD and proceeded to launch a campaign of ridicule that involved playing the most popular tune from the CD over and over and over (and over) on the piano until we were all so sick of it that the… Read more

When I hear the word what springs to mind immediately is the hymn–you know it–Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim it . . . . It just makes you want to run down the aisle, doesn’t it? This sense that, if I can get it right something magical, amazing, wonderful and instantaneous will turn my life from what it is right now to something beyond my wildest dreams?That’s what I always learned, anyway. That in a moment (which you should… Read more

Was it a mere two weeks ago that I was using this forum to whine about a few things that had gone wrong in worship?Well, then, it seems only appropriate for me to report here that today, well, today was really, really good. By really, really good, here’s what I mean:The sound system workedThe hymns were the kind that make you want to close your eyes and singThere were a lot of visitorsThe choir sounded greatThe sanctuary appeared to be,… Read more

Many thanks to my friend and colleague Jim Somerville, who suggested that our recent conversation be turned into this blog entry. Whether or not YOU thank him after reading it is another matter altogether.I have recently begun reading a book my sister in law gave me called Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. I like it so far, which is to say that I don’t hate it and I don’t love it, but I am still open to the possibility of… Read more

One question I get asked all the time: “Just how do you do it?” Usually that question is followed by sympathetic (or empathetic, as the case may be) comments about pastoring and mothering and schedules and making dinner and soccer practice and any number of other stressful things.As you know if you’ve read my blog, one of the ways I maintain this tenuous state I like to refer to as sanity is with the help of my most wonderful, competent,… Read more

I am pretty darn sure the entire world is sick and tired of talking about my hair, but I feel compelled to report that it happened again today. Dear, lovely, wonderful . . . some of my very favorite . . . congregation members asked at the door after worship, “Are you growing your hair out?”It must have been my look of dismay/horror/irritation/exasperation that led them to pat me on the arm and exclaim, “Don’t worry, honey. You still look… Read more

Want some background music while you read? Click here.I am sorry to report that I didn’t say it. I felt I couldn’t say it, really. If I did, you see, my saying something like, “I hate war” might imply a certain political position, which is something pastors just are not supposed to do. Especially Baptist pastors. Unless, of course, we are kicking people off the church membership rolls for not voting the right way. (What kind of pastor kicks people… Read more

I think it only fair to address your inevitable doubts about the veracity of the following right up front. Friends, everything I am about to tell you is true, even though most of it sounds made up. Remember, I’m a preacher. What are the chances I’d be lying?The Butler family, into which I have had the vast good fortune of marrying, gathered in Williamsburg, Virginia for a few days after Christmas. The point of such an event, as you might… Read more

We’ve just come off a wonderful and sometimes a little difficult Advent season, with a new approach to music and more liturgical worship at Calvary. Some of those new things worked well; some did not (as evidenced by the long line to speak to me yesterday after the Woman’s Missionary Society meeting).The thing is, since we’re Baptists, a liturgical style of worship sometimes seems a little like dressing up in your mom’s high heels and traipsing around the living room–exhiliarating… Read more

I checked my archived emails. It was January 3, 2005 that I received an email containing the following text:Hello Rev. Butler I work in the office building across 8th Street from your church. My office moved here in June. I’ve obviously noticed the construction activity on your building. Being on the 8th floor, I get a fantastic view of the work being done on the spire. I also noticed all the Camp Fraser activity this summer. My curiosity got me… Read more

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