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Talitha’s Take (Page 11)

A weblog by Rev. Talitha G Phillips, Associate Pastor and Coordinator for Children, Youth, and Family Life

Honoring the Saints

Many cultures place a lot of emphasis on honoring your elders. Some do so to an oppressive degree, effectively squashing the dignity of the younger generations. When I was in Uganda I was shocked to see children kneeling before their elders, even before young teachers. When they knelt before me I would promptly commit a cultural faux pas, kneeling down to their…

Edible Garden

UPCOMING: Saturday, Oct. 22nd: Work Day for the Youth Group. We will build raised beds for the new garden and hopefully will even start planting new vegetables!

The garden has been readied in a very short time. On Sunday, Oct. 9th the youth group weeded, dug, hoed, raked, and leveled the ground for our new edible, organic garden. A roughly 10’x30′ plot was ready in just about an hour. What energy they had!
The senior high youth group members came back from their mission trip in Portland, Oregon, fired up about food justice. Instead of just donating cans of food to local needs, they wanted to work hands-on to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to people in need.

Surveying the mess

Feeding one another

…What is YOUR food?
…What is your native cuisine?
…If I invite you over for lunch… what would you like to eat?

On World Communion Sunday (10/2) we celebrated communion with different kinds of bread from all over the world. When we do this, we are remembering the mystical words of the Apostle Paul: “Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf” (I Cor 10:17)… remembering that the act of sharing communion with one another binds us with Christians across the world who participate in the same meal.
One way to express this, tangibly, is by using communion wafers. Those are the same everywhere you go (and if they taste like cardboard, at least it’s the same cardboard). The opposite way of expressing it is what we did — using EVERY kind of bread available, and declaring (in spite of your senses telling you otherwise) that these breads, which are many and diverse, are actually one and the same. The logic here can confound you… or it can be a wonderful mystery.

Enter my world

Just back from vacation… I (Talitha) spent a week with great people on a lake in Massachusetts. There I learned a fantastic new game. The youngest of our company, not yet two years old, went around asking people: “Do you wanna be a pirate?” To this query you would either answer “no” or “Arrrr, matey!” with a pirate hook finger – causing her to giggle with glee.
That was it. That’s the whole game. And it was complicated enough for her, serving to transform an otherwise boring day at the lake into an exciting search for fellow pirates.

This little girl, with her game, was in the business of invitation.

Grafting the family tree

Last Friday I went to a friend’s wedding. Instead of the bride taking the groom’s name (too patriarchal) or hyphenating both their names (too long and ridiculous) they took their favorite  letters from each name and put them together. Haxton + Medema = Haxtema. In doing so they each said goodbye to their own last name and, in a way, their family lineage… but greeted their new life with a new identity. Some MPC folks have chosen this route as well. It does of course risk sending future genealogists into a whirl… but there are cultures who do not use family names and manage to keep track of their family lineage anyway.

Assisting others with their oxygen masks

Caregiving – taking care of one another – is an important part of family life.  We are all born defenseless and in need of care, and many of us will end our lives in a similar “second childhood” dependent on others to care for us. And with very few exceptions, most of us will spend some of our lives as caregivers. Expectant…

What do you love?

iPhones?  facebook? tech-free life? or toys that beep?

knitting? gardening? skateboarding? or trapeze-ing?

fine lace? ripped jeans? sweater vests? or tube tops?

twittering? texting? sending postcards? or visiting?

I’m imagining a large-scale poll, administered by Gallup or the like, that tracks dozens of statements  in the form  “I love____” across ages 1-100.  “I love facebook” would probably spike at the 25-30 range, “I love David Letterman” a decade or two older, “I love xbox” around 15 or so, “I love canasta” certainly in the later generations of the graph. My point being: different generations like different things.

Who is in your family?

In Uganda nearly six years ago, I took a little boy to the hospital. He was a resident of the orphanage where I volunteered, and he had to go to the hospital fairly regularly for checkups; he’d lived with HIV since birth. He loved going to the hospital because he got to ride in a truck, and miss school, and eat special treats like a biscuit or banana… or even candy, if his chaperon was feeling generous. A few days later we were watching a sports event at his school, and he entertained himself by rattling off all the nicknames he could call me. L’s and R’s interchange in Luganda to give him many options: “Talitha, or Terither, or Tally, or Terry, or T, or mummy… can I call you mummy?”

Protecting one another

This cryptic symbol showed up on the wall at our youth group retreat. No, it wasn’t graffiti… Susan had written it up. She challenged the youth to find a way to explain what it might mean. It’s a good puzzle.

Take a moment to guess…..