Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Late Night II

My feelings on who should have gotten The Tonight Show when Johnny retired are well documented in this blog. Johnny wanted Dave. Dave earned it. But Jay got it.

That's a life lesson. Life's not always fair. And true enough, as much as many of us still have a hard time imagining anyone but Johnny in that chair, NBC owns the program, and can do with it what it chooses.

And the company has been making a lot of choices lately...and as it is with any choice we make in life, we have to live with the consequences of it.

What Late Night II has brought, however, is a revisiting of Late Night I.

Letterman has said more publicly about Jay in the past two weeks than he has in almost 20 years. Whatever comic amusement there may or may not be about this whole deal, I thought last night's extemporaneous rant came about as close as anything proving life's principle that unresolved conflict always resurfaces.

But it may be something other than that. In some strange way, I'm wondering if this whole mess with Conan has been cathartic for Dave. When Whoopi came on the other night, as she was taking her chair beside Dave, she could be heard saying, "Don't you feel vindicated?" He blew it off, but you have to wonder.

Here's last night's take. To keep the clip down to about 5 minutes, CBS edited out about 90 seconds that was really good stuff in which he recalled his taking leave from NBC....he recalled the head honchos coming to his office to tell him that he wasn't getting The Tonight Show, and Dave reacting by saying that it was clear there was no longer a place for him at NBC, and then looking elsewhere. When this spiel started, you could tell he was only going to say a couple of things...start his little comedy bit and move on...but his internal editor wouldn't kick in...and just when you think he's done, here come's some more.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Listen to Your Life, An Invitation

What does God want me to do with my life?

Isn't that the question that lives in each of us as some point?

Or, how about this one - Am I doing what God wants me to do? And if I'm not, why not?

We treat that question as if it's something we can't know the answer to absent some "Damascus Road blinding light" -or - "Moses and the burning bush experience."

Whenever I broach this question with lay people, invariably I hear that it's easy for me because I'm a member of the clergy, God made it abundantly clear what I was supposed to do.

Ahhh, Right.

Keep on believing that if you must, but ask any of us who have accepted ordination's yoke of obedience and see if it was always or is still crystal clear. Trust me, this a call that's not answered without a Divine wrestling match worthy of Jacob first.

Most of us come away with an answer and a bit of limp.

Being the spiritually impatient people we are, we tend to think that unless the signs in life blink in neon or are posted on a billboard, it's something we can never fully know.

The result of our impatience is the living our days hoping against hope that the life we're living is exactly what God wants for us - or, what God needs from us . Deep down, though, given our own power to choose - we'll always tend to live in ways that will require less risk of us and more security. And we'll "bless" that safe choice with God language as a cover for our fears and insecurities.

Starting this Sunday, and there following for four weeks, I invite you into a conversation with God and each other through a congregational emphasis based upon Parker Palmer's book, "Let Your Life Speak: Listening to the Voice of Vocation."

This will be the fodder for a series of sermons that I'll preach beginning this Sunday, January 24, in all services. Lora Jean will be facilitating our Wednesday night conversations in which we'll consider the gifts we've been given and how that matches the call we may yet answer. She will also be using Palmer's book as a guide for the women's midweek study beginning on January 27.

I invite you now to start listening to your life. What is it saying? What is God saying to you through it? The problem with listening well to the voice of God as spoken through our lives, is that we may not like what we hear. The temptation to ignore what we hear is real. So, too, is the tendency to immerse ourselves in guilt for not being what God desires of us. But guilt is an escape mechanism from doing and being what we really called to be.

I first crafted sermons around this book in the Summer of 2007. In revisiting the material I prepared then, I'm amazed at how much life has been lived since and what of God I've been called to embrace as new and different. I've learned something in the process. God's call is constant, sure, and it is always surprising. The result of that "fresh listening" will manifest itself in the sermons crafted over the next several weeks.

So, join me in a time to stop, to listen, and then be prepared to respond to the voice of vocation being uttered right in front of us, even within us, waiting to be embraced.