If You’ll Allow Me a Silly, Niche Post

Please allow me to post something very niche.

I was taking a walk, and I did a really funny double take when I saw this graffiti on the wall (first picture) and for a split second thought it was the logo for the Presbyterian Women magazine (second picture).

Can you imagine some older Presbyterian women sneaking out at night in a college town to mark territory?

Today, This Very One

Yesterday, I learned that author and theologian Frederick Buechner died. In honor of him, I would like to share this post again.

Smuggling Grace

sunrise
A snowy landscape with the sun rising. Public domain image.

I’ve written about this before, but it’s on my mind again this this morning, so I thought I’d share it once more. I love a particular quote from Frederick Buechner.

This quote has been voiced during milestone events in my life and the lives of people I love. I first heard it when a loved one spoke it aloud to frame my ordination service (that was so meaningful). I have voiced it when I’ve officiated weddings. I wrote it at the beginning of someone’s commencement letter.

There’s something special about this because the quote has become communitied. Ordination services, and weddings, and commencements. . . A whole bunch of people in my wider community know this quote and hold it dear. Here it is:

In the entire history of the universe, let alone in your own history, there…

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Tippy Toes

Image Description: The musical notation and harmony for the first line of “Amazing Grace.” Public domain image.

During his time as a Presbyterian pastor, my chosen Dad, David, used to do this silly little thing unconsciously until we pointed it out to him. Every time the church sang the hymn “Amazing Grace,” and we hit the highest note —

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like *meeeeeee*”

he would lift himself up high on his toes as he reached for the note. It was a very dear visual. He would do this on every single verse, mostly unaware that he was doing it.

Yesterday, I led a church service, and we sang this hymn. In a very subtle way (nowhere as obvious as he used to do) I flexed that part of my foot and lifted myself ever so slightly higher just to feel connected to him.

Renee Roederer

Narratives as Containers

Tupperware stacked. Public domain image.

Sometimes, we build narratives and rehearse those narratives as containers to hold our emotions. The emotions might truly be about the situation at hand. But at times, however, and in some cases, even more, those narratives might become containers to hold the anxiety, pain, denial, or grief about older events in our lives. We might be aware of this; we might not. We might become aware of this over time.

The emotions are valid. So valid. Sometimes, these built-narratives help us externalize emotions so we can deal with what our bodies have been carrying internally. Sometimes, we truly need these narratives in order to survive. But sometimes, these narratives become maladaptive and get in our way too. They might tell us untruths about ourselves. They might become self-sabotaging. Within this container, we need to remove those emotions and put them with the older situations where they really belong.

And when we become aware of this, we can realize that we are empowered to become the author of many narratives. We certainly can’t control everything — hardly — but we can write much of what we want and what we need. We can craft narratives of possibility that we fill in in ways we desire. We are no longer limited or controlled by difficult narratives, but we are freed for creating them intentionally.

Renee Roederer

Yes

A tweet from Rev. Benjamin Cremer (@Brcremer) reads, “Christianity should sound like, ‘my beliefs continue to deepen my love for others,’ not ‘the depth of my love for others is contingent on how deeply they conform to my beliefs.'”