OVER at RGBP, Sally is dedicating Friday Five to St Francis of Assisi. I must say this is quite fitting for me right now!!
1. Saint Francis experienced a life changing call, has anything in your journey so far challenged you to alter your lifestyle?
I had been resisting ordained ministry for a while, because I am a very progressive, liberal leaning Christian, and I didn't see a place for me in the "church" in spite of being in professional ministry for 13 years! I was working on a masters in english literature while still teaching bible at a presbyterian day school...and one of my 8 year old students asked me to preside at his grandfather's graveside service, because he saw me as his "pastor" (according to his mom). So, I did. And when I was peeking under the astroturf with 5 third grade boys, looking at the hole in the ground, and looking for the dirt pile hidden by more astroturf so they could each get a fistful to drop in the hole, while talking about beginnings and endings...I knew I was doing what I was meant to do, and knew that I was being called to full-time ordained ministry, however that worked out. It was a very special experience.
2. Francis experienced mocking and persecution, quite often in the comfortable west this is far from our experience. If you have experienced something like this how do you deal with it, if not how does it challenge you to pray for those whose experience is daily persecution?
I had a colleague (in a d. min. class) when she realized I was in a same-sex relationship ask me if I thought I was an abomination. That wasn't really persecution, but I did have to take a step back, breathe...and then engage in a loving but agree to disagree conversation about biblical interpretation. I pray for LGBTQ kids all of the time...for their safety, for acceptance and welcome, and for people to talk to when they need someone.....especially in places where they are subject to being called abominations and told they are going to hell or need to CHANGE because it just isn't what God wants for them....
3 .St Francis had female counterpart in St Clare, she was influenced by St Francis sermon and went on to found the Poor Clare's, like the Franciscans they depended on alms this was unheard of for women in that time, but she persisted and gained permission to found the order. How important are role models like St Clare to you? Do you have a particular female role model whose courage and dedication inspires you? If so share their story....
4. Francis loved nature and animals, how important is an expressed love of the created world to the Christian message today?
Uh. yeah. Stewards of the earth? Climate Change? I would say the most important issue in the church today is advocating for global action to stop/reverse global warming. See Bill McKibben's website, www.350.org Other wise, bad pun that it is, we, and our children, and our world, are toast.
5. On a lighter note; have you ever led a service of blessing for animals, or a pet service, was it a success, did you enjoy it, and would you do it again?
Everyday at my house is a blessing of the animals, since 11 live with us! Yes, we are nuts! However, yes, I have led several animal blessing services, and LOVE them. I think dogs should come to worship every week! However, there are many that disagree...so...oh well. As a p.s. my dear Venus had surgery yesterday to remove a mass from her liver. she made it through surgery (thank you God...and now we are waiting for biopsy results. I covet your prayers for her strength to return quickly and for her happy bark to soon be back home with us....