National Youth Gathering 2010: New Orleans LA

It started with fundraisers.. and more fundraisers.. those ended with a celebratory night at the movies seeing Toy Story 3 after our last talent show. Having raised all of the monies necessary to go to National Youth Gathering being held in New Orleans, all our kids could do was wait.

July 16th could not come quickly enough and so the kids met up at church on the 15th for a lock in.

5:00 am comes awefully early but they were on the road.

13 hours later they had arrived along with pretty much everyone else.

25,000 youth and adults together in the New Orleans Super Dome

It was an amazing week of mass events, community service, Bible Studies, Speakers, Skits, Concerts, and sight seeing.

The Jesus Painter
Gregory Manning

 Even the Skit Guys came out to play with our youth.

The Skit Guys

There is more to be sure, but for now… I’ll leave you with this face.  D-man came back exhausted and too wired to sleep. I can’t describe it other than to say he just “glowed.”

Photo Credits: Sonja Schneider and Melinda Miller.

Post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart, July 30,2010. All rights reserved.

Finding my Humor again:Liturgical Muppets Oh My!

I’m nine weeks out from my surgery and I’ve discovered that while I handled my female issues with some levity and humor, that humor did not carry over to my coverage of the Synodical Convention or the arguments about our National Youth Gathering. I need to change focus and fortunately for me, a friend provided a wonderful opportunity to laugh.

My friend posted on facebook that “I believe liturgical puppets are a sign of the apocalypse.” At first I thought he was talking about our more conservative brethren, (stuffing is stuffing you know) but apparently not. He was actually  referring to churches employing walking puppets as part of their liturgical dance procession.

The whole confusing dichotomy of liturgical dancing aside, I really thought that was funny. Think about it. You are sitting in church – and as part of the opening processional you have dancers, streamers, and walking puppets made up to look like either really large people or – if you are celebrating creation that day – maybe a 12 point buck or something.

I live in the south. We’re a little on the sunburned side when it comes to the backs of our necks, and my church is full of card-carrying NRA members who hunt.

I am fairly certain that if a 12 point buck (paper mache or otherwise) came dancing down our aisles, it would be shot without hesitation. No offense to those of you who employ such creativity in your church, but I really don’t think it would work down here.

And since you know I’m not always right, I cannot shake the image of a Jim Henson Liturgy.

Can you imagine?

You’d have Big Bird as the cantor

Miss Piggy Leading the choir

Oscar the Grouch delivering the sermon

and Cookie Monster serving communion.

No church service would be complete without those two cranky old men in the balcony so add them to.

What images does this new practice bring to your mind? Or Do you use liturgical puppets in your processional? I’d love to hear from you. What purpose do they serve?

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. All rights reserved. Please keep comments polite and on topic. I reserve the right to delete any comments off topic or just down right snarky.

How will you be remembered?

A great man of God died this year and my last living memory of him is the day he called me a whore. People closest to him tell me that he loved me a great deal, but I wouldn’t know. He had too much pride to apologize, and I had too much pride to let him see me cry. The sin of pride kept us from being reconciled. My heart hurts, not because of the conversations we did have, but because of the ones we didn’t.

My college room-mate died this summer. My last living memory of her was a fight we had 20 years ago this August. I don’t even remember what the fight was about, only that she passed without my ever being able to tell her how sorry I was and how much I loved her. I have to live with that.

I’ve listened to many pastors speak about balancing law and gospel because they don’t want the last living words someone hears about God to be words of condemnation. They want people to also know about his love and his grace. Relationships are no different. We never know what our last words to someone are going to be.

The last words I use when one of my family is walking out the door, or I’m on the phone are always “I love you.” because I just don’t know. Life doesn’t come with a guarantee for another chance.

If you knew that the very words you are speaking this moment were the last words someone ever heard you say, what words would you use?

In the Name of Love: U2 and Me

U2 Rocks, that’s all I can say. 

There is very little that frustrates and hurts my heart more than piety  sorry wrong word, I mean Piosity. In others of course, never myself. (She says very much tongue in cheek)  And yet, I’m called not to rebuke or lower myself to match it, I’m called to love — It’s really hard to remember that some days and so I am reminded that I too am a sinner saved by grace and I can allow myself to be met by God exactly where I am. Humbled. Alone. Hurting for myself and for those the pious wound. Prideful and being arrogant about my own (seeming) lack of piety which is a sin as well. Ah yes, pride. Will it ever be removed? will I ever stop feeling the need to correct those who look for perfection in a fallen world when truthfully that need really stems from my own heart and sinful pride? Because when I’m there? I believe I’m a better Christian than the pious. Will it ever end, this cycle of spiritual death and sword fighting?

Only when Jesus returns. Until then, I stumble, I repent, arise, and try again tomorrow.

1 Corinthians 13


 1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.

 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love

Thoughts and Conversations

The best of conversations begin when we remember we are speaking to human beings. That’s not always easy to do, and you my friends know that. I’ve been known to spin a time or two and I’ve stopped short of ripping out a person’s jugular too frequently for my own comfort. Stuffing my feelings doesn’t work either. Silence can be interpreted as approval. My Your Church Sucks post has been receiving a lot of hits. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I hope it at least gives us a chance to step back and think about what we say, why we say it and who we’re impacting when we say it.

Contrary to popular belief, broad strokes and generalizations do actually hurt people. We are communal and relational in nature. It’s how God created us. We relate to our groups. We are one with our groups. Trash my school, my company, my family, my church and you are trashing me.

I’m not looking to solve that here — we all have choices whether or not to respond, or how we respond. We have the choice whether or not to take offense and while I do at times take offense like it’s free candy, I can also choose to release it and move on.

This weekend I heard several great quotes that fit so snuggly that I think God is trying to tell me something.

  1. If you are not part of the problem then you are not part of the solution. (not talking social conscience here, I’m referring to interfering with other people’s lives and issues. Like don’t get in the middle of a cat fight, that sort of thing.)
  2. Is this really your business? Not everything on this planet is my business. I know, whoda thunk, hunh?
  3. Don’t wrestle with pigs, you’ll get dirty and they like it. via Micheal Hyatt. Very timely post.
  4. You can’t  teach a pig how to sing; it’ll just make them mad and frustrate you. from my friend Randy.

What sayings do you have that remind you to watch out when getting sucked into a mess we might not need to be in?

Fireworks in the Rain.

My youngest is at the National Youth Gathering in New Orleans. My oldest is still at home so he, my husband, and myself braved the 113 heat index and headed out to the ball park on Friday night. Storms started looming overhead while a northern cool front came in to meet the heat. Both fronts collided directly over the field leaving a bright gaping hole in the center of the sky. I was a little worried at first, afterall we do live in tornado alley.

There weren’t any tornados, just a glorious rain shower. It felt wonderful to be soaked by rain instead of by sweat. They called the game for a short while until the storm passed and we were able to return to our seats. The rain stayed away just long enough to finish the innings. And then almost as if on que the rain started at the same time the Friday Night Fireworks began.  Everyone in our section ran for cover expect for the three of us.

I have to say watching fireworks in the rain is about the most fun I’ve had all summer.

ID Ten T Error (IDIOT error)and yahoo friend finder

Hi there — if you landed here because you received a facebook friend invitation from me but don’t know who I am and googled me to find out. I’m so sorry — I used Yahoo Friend Finder this week — and I accidentally hit the accept button before I could filter out appropriate names. Friend finder grabbed my entire address book and has been sending friend requests willy nilly all week. 

Thank you for stopping by and I promise not to play with anymore internet toys before breakfast.