Friday, October 03, 2008

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five - St. Francis of Assisi

This one made me think. Which is good, I've been a bit light in the deep thinking department lately, due to be tired all the time. This week's Friday Five is inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, a man who gave up wealth and privilege in order to live humbly in obedience to Christ and to help the poor. His personal lore also has made him the friend of all animals. Protestants usually run into him as a statue for your garden, and in those parishes that do blessing services for animals. It's a pity that the average pew sitter doesn't know more about saints like him, since his life story is inspiring and actually quite educational (standing up against the powers-that-be for what you know is right). I think we as Protestants need to reclaim more of our heritage when it comes to saints, not for veneration, but for inspiration. Anyway, on with the Friday Five!

1. Saint Francis experienced a life changing call, has anything in your journey so far challenged you to alter your lifestyle?
Our call to North Dakota has been a definite change to our lifestyle! I went from working 60 to 80 hours a week, to a part time position that allows me to be a stay at home mom (which has been a HUGE adjustment). My hubby went from student to his first call, which is going real well. We've gone from a well-populated area with shopping nearby, to a sparsely populated area that requires a lot of travel to be able to buy necessities, much less entertainment. The folks here are teaching us some wonderful lessons about what community can really mean. Life can be really truly hard for folks out here, they all know they can be a moment away from bad news, from every thing changing. There's a sort of spiritual honesty that comes with that here that I am learning from and appreciating. We're redefining what we do for fun, and how we connect with others. Pastoral identity and your role in the community is definitely different from what I experienced before. We've been here a year now, and I can definitely say that this move has been life-changing for us!

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 have experienced minimal mocking and persecution, it usually is from someone with an axe to grind about Christians or religion in general. I try to be as gracious and calm as possible. I find that if I am genuine and compassionate, and focus on why they are so negative, they either lose interest, or open up. Of course, any negative words I receive are nothing compared to the true persecution Christians receive in other places in this world, who face prejudice, refusal of rights and resources, imprisonment, torture, and death. I do keep these folks in my prayers, but of course I cannot even imagine what they go through.

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....
Wow. Role models inspire, give hope, and remind us that we can make a difference. I am grateful for those I have read about, and those I have seen in action. From days gone by: Dorothy Day, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Mother Theresa, and many more. Role models living: Kathleen Norris, the women pastors who have lovingly and honestly mentored me and shown by their example what it means to love God and love the people as you serve, the church basement women throughout my life who have taught me what faithful hardworking service looks like (with lots of humor thrown in), Grandma Alice who lived as she believed...well, we were supposed to just talk about one, so I suppose I should stop there!

4. Francis loved nature and animals, how important is an expressed love of the created world to the Christian message today?
I think very important. Creation and the stewardship of it has always been a part of our faith, and it is even more poignant today. Even though people don't all agree about things like global warming, we can all agree that we as human beings have a hugely destructive footprint on this world, and that we have to do something about it. Even folks who have been seriously in denial are starting to recognize that things have to change. We as Christians have something important and beautiful to say in this conversation that speaks to these concerns.

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?
I have never done one, but have always wanted to! I have heard humorous stories of sheep pooping all over the narthex, animals getting loose and running free during the service, and a bird getting free, flying up to the rafters, and pooping on the pastor during the sermon. Nonetheless, I hope to do one some day! I'm guessing an outdoor service is the way to go.


Sally said...

What a great post, your move truly was life changing and it sounds like you have been blessed by it. Thank you for playing Friday 5 today.

Choralgirl said...

Ooo, yeah, Kathleen Norris. Have you read her new one yet?

P.S. said...

I haven't gotten my hands on Kathleen Norris' new book yet, but I can't wait! Thanks for checking out my blog.