Sunday, July 27, 2008

God Invites Us Both to the Table

One morning last week while I was in ABQ, I was reading the passages from the lectionary for that day. Relax - I'm not that holy and I don't do it every day but I felt a spiritual compulsion that day. I opened up and read the Romans 14 passage and I have to say it was the reason I felt compelled. I've posted it below. Please don't give me crap about using The Message. Sometimes I like it.

Because God is funny, that same day I met a man at the office named L. L is a very Texan, retired police officer who is also a church-goer. He's got Jesus-related mugs all over his desk. Somehow, we got on the topic of church, probably b/c I work at one, and he said he used to attend a Presbyterian church but they left the denomination or split or something and there was a lawsuit and they lost the property. He said there were two issues - one tolerable and one intolerable. The tolerable one was the ordination of women and the intolerable one was the ordination of LGBTQ people. Now the building houses a gay church and there are rainbow flags all over it, which in his estimation was not what God intended.

I really can't even begin to discuss how much of that is not in line with my theology, but the important thing to note here is that I chose not to discuss that with L. Granted, we were at work, which is odd, and I was also on my way out the door for dinner. However, I choose to believe that my restraint had more spiritual groundings, specifically in Romans 14. The phrase that sticks with me is "treat them gently." I really want to learn to do that. Not in a condescending or patronizing way, either - but with genuine gentleness. After all, God invited us both to the table.

Romans 14:1 - 5 (The Message)

1Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don't see things the way you do. And don't jump all over them every time they do or say something you don't agree with--even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.

2For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another, with a different background, might assume all Christians should be vegetarians and eat accordingly. 3But since both are guests at Christ's table, wouldn't it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn't eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. 4Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God's welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.

5Or, say, one person thinks that some days should be set aside as holy and another thinks that each day is pretty much like any other. There are good reasons either way. So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Five - Travel Necessities

Ah, the road trip. I have been on many of them in my life, back and forth from home in PHX to So. Cal, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Texas. I've criss-crossed the country and gone up and down coasts. As I get older I'm more and more about the flying but sometimes taking off in the car is just what the dr. ordered.

This week's RevGals Friday Five is a simple one - list the 5 things you can't be without no matter where you are.

1. Hair products

2. Computer

3. Options - I have to have books and trashy magazines for reading and way more clothes than I actually would wear, just so I at least have the choice.

4. I realize this is totally cheesy given that this is a clergy thing, but honestly, I can't go anywhere without a Bible.

5. iPod for books, movies and music

Thursday, July 24, 2008

An Introduction

Customer Service, I'd like you to meet Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Albuquerque, this is Customer Service. I'm sure the two of you will be good friends.

Oh. My. Gosh.

I've just come three days in the ABQ for work, and if I may say, there is a reason that it's only a place you pass through to get to your actual destination. Let's start with our Hotel.

The Hotel Albuquerque.

Nice place. Parts of it are beautiful, actually. There are two restaurants and a nightclub in the hotel. The restaurant service was hit-or-miss. Catherine, who served there in the evenings, was absolutely lovely. There was also a gentleman on breakfast service who was delightful. Otherwise, it seemed that all of the servers would rather be somewhere else.

For some reason, my key kept getting de-sensitized and I could never get back into my room and had to do up and down the elevator to get that resolved. It was not that big a deal on its own, but taken together with everything else, it was frustrating.

The worst thing was on Tuesday evening we went to hang out in the Q Bar after dinner. It's a lovely place, decorated well, comfortable, etc. However, I'd called their food and beverage manager and left a voicemail asking for a place to be reserved and never heard back. When we got there I asked the bartender about it. He said they had no reservation for us and the place was pretty full. I said I had called and never heard back and the response was that if I didn't hear back, I didn't have a reservation and there was no place where we could sit together. Sweet. So we found a back room with a pool table and proceeded to take it over. No problem...

In struts a cocktail waitress, demanding that we all proffer IDs, b/c it's New Mexico law. Fine. The head of our group, P, who is visibly over 35 and I (also visibly over 35) were the only ones who didn't have them on us. We told her that we wouldn't be drinking but she said she didn't care and that to be in the bar we had to have IDs. Here's the thing - I had had one of my aforementioned key snafus and could not get into my room to get my ID, which I told her. I also told her that the manager was going to bring my my key and that when he did I would go get it. Time passes. The boys play pool, we chat. The manager appears and I assume he has my key. He comes in to tell us that the server has told him that some of us were REFUSING to show ID and that it was state law and we absolutely had to. Since P had gone to get his, she could only be referring to me. She thought I was LYING and went and TATTLED on us to her manger. So I said to him, DUDE - YOU HAVE MY ROOM KEY. I CAN'T GET MY ID. He apologizes, says he's getting conflicting stores and that he'd bring back my key shortly. Whatever.

Now when P had been asked for his ID his response was, "You're kidding." When she said, "No," his response was "That is so f%@&ed. " Which it is. No one is going to bust that bar for him not having ID, I don't care how strict the regulations are. Think for yourself, lady. So, during all of the tattling mess, the music on the PA had gone off. My boss was all, "Dude, wtf? Where's the music." So he goes out and asks her if the music is off on purpose. Her response was, "We close at 10, so we're winding down." The nightclub closes at 10. Alrighty. His response, "But it's 9:30." She proceeds to go into a tirade about her not making the rules and how she doesn't appreciate being cursed at and she now doesn't feel comfortable coming into our room.

Here's the thing - You're a cocktail waitress, not a preschool teacher. From what I understand, drinking is a big deal in New Mexico, and we really weren't being jerks. She's got to have experienced worse. She may need to consider another line of work.


We went to Subway for lunch yesterday. The boss got a bottled Coke (not realizing that they had fountain drinks) and asked for a cup of ice, after we'd paid. The dude at the counter tells him that he's got to charge him another $1.59 for the cup of ice b/c when they sell drinks they're really charging for the cups. He had just paid for 4 people's lunch and the guy can't step outside the box and give him a frigging cup of ice? Ridiculous.

Airport Shuttle

Last night I booked a shuttle to take me to the airport at 7:30. I came down to the front desk about 7:40 having received no notification of a shuttle. I checked with the front desk, no record of me booking a shuttle. The lady at the desk calls the company. Turns out the guy pulled up outside without notifying anyone, waited 5 minutes and left. Awesome. So they called a cab and I only had to pay the shuttle price for the cab. Who the HELL does that? If your whole job is to take people to the airport, wouldn't it be part of the program to LET THEM KNOW YOU'RE THERE?

I've not been to ABQ for almost 20 years, and most of the times I'd been before that it had been to pass through. Because of my department's working relationship with our office in ABQ, we may be having a second date, and I have to say, ABQ, you had better shape up, go to charm school and learn to treat your guests with respect.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I can't even believe this actually happened

This audio is courtesy of Shine at Yahoo and was posted by my friend V. Seriously. Seriously. I can't even believe it. There are no words. You must listen to all of this because it just gets better.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Friday Five on Saturday - What's in a Name?

1. So how did you come up with your blogging name? And/or the name of your blog?

I don't use an alias for myself, so my blogging name basically came from my birth certificate. The name of my blog was explained in my very first post. I'd heard Avery Badenhop speak on his flying work and he said "God loves it when I fly." I decided to name this Flying Lessons because I'm learning how to become the best version of myself with God's help.

2. Are there any code names or secret identities in your blog? Any stories there?

I just use first initials for people whom I'm quoting and I use other people's code names that they have for themselves. I use a code name for the company I work for - the Khaki Khonglomerate, or KK. The only story there is that I don't want to get fired. It's pretty easy to figure out, though.

3. What are some blog titles that you just love? For their cleverness, drama, or sheer, crazy fun?

I loved Peripatetic Polar Bear, but she has closed up shop. I'm ashamed I didn't think of Shoephoria first. Apocalypstick is a great name as well.

4. What three blogs are you devoted to? Other than the RevGalBlogPals blog of course!

1. McWatterblogged
2. La Vie en Route
3. Random Laundry

dooce is sort of the "R S T N L E" of this question.

5. Who introduced you to the world of blogging and why?

My pastor, Bruce Reyes-Chow. He didn't so much introduce me, I guess, as he made it seem less narcissistic than I previously thought. I'm not sure how I was introduced - just one day it was there.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Wednesday at the Office

  1. Chocolate fondue spread with fruit, pretzels and home-made marshmallows
  2. A cakegasmic multi-layered chocolate confection that defies all convention and description – proof of God’s existence.
  3. PKD's peacock boots
  4. P completely embarrassing T during a discussion on the extent to which we wear our brands - I'm KK all the way down to my dainties and apparently T felt like he didn't want to know that
  5. A disturbing IM conversation between me and J re: finding men with hairy backs on craigslist
  6. A rumor that they are taking away our 50% discount – that would be LESS THAN AWESOME
  7. A particularly good hair day for me
  8. Another cookie bet with R because she WON’T PUT AWAY HER DAMNED FILES. She has until end of day tomorrow.
  9. I’m considering applying for a Recruiting Coordinator position in GID. I spoke with K about it and with someone who was in the position and I think I may go for it.
  10. A great phone conversation b/t SVP and his wife b/c SVP has invited people to the house that they’ve recently moved into and only told her around 6:00 PM.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

AIDS Walk Sponsoring

Hi Folks -

Just wanted to let you know that there's still time to sponsor me in this year's AIDS Walk. This Sunday, I'll be joining thousands of folks as we step out to fight AIDS around the world. I'm double-dipping, team-wise, and am walking for my work team and the Presbyterians. It's a huge event and I'm so excited to be walking this year - it's my first time! I've always had church gigs that prevented it or have been traveling. This year, we relocated our community gathering to be the AIDS Walk. Last year there were maybe 10 people at church, so we decided to go ahead and move everyone over. If you'd like to sponsor me, click here, and it will take you to my page. Remember - my company matches all donations of $25 or more, so your money can do double the good. Thanks!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Rancher's Reserve isn't the only meat at the market

Sunday evening as I exit Safeway at 7th & Cabrillo I am accosted by 3 guys, one of whom is wearing a helmet and standing next to a flourescent green crotch rocket.

Dude 1: (to me) Hey, do you like this bike?

Me: Not particularly

Dude 1: What kind of bike would impress you?

Me: To be honest, my parents ride motorcycles, so it really doesn't do a thing for me

Dude 1: What would impress you, then?

Dude 3 (in the helmet): How about leaving her alone?

Me: Good call

(Dude 2 never spoke)


Boys are dumb.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Who say's we'll be sober?

Me: You're welcome to crash at my place that Thursday, as long as you don't mind the couch.

L: Staying at your place Thursday evening sounds great. I haven't slept on a couch sober in awhile, so that will be kind of nice.

Strong Person Fatigue

My quest to become human continues. This week when I returned from my trip to see my family I was greeted with a very tangible reminder of my forgetfulness and stupidity. Apparently my car was jealous of my shoe shopping sprees and got itself a brand new bright yellow boot. It's completely my own fault. I got some parking tickets (5) and forgot about them. I was actually planning to fight a couple of them, but I just never got to it. I took care of it - it was expensive, but I took care of it. This is what I do. I take care of things. But this week, I was tired of taking care of things.

For the most part I love that I am independent, strong and capable, but sometimes it gets to be too much and I want someone else to do that for me and I just want to be a blob on the couch. Here's the thing, though, and this is my own fault: I'm not so good at the letting people take care of me thing. The combination of me being the person people come to for advice and help and me being a complete control freak makes it somewhat difficult. I totally get that I have great friends who love and support me. The good thing is that I have been able to ask for help a bit this time, and hopefully I'll continue to get better at it.

Walked Right Into It

Me: Seriously - they got a lot of cash. Do you need to get married to have a money dance?

Boss: No. You just need a pole.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

My Reputation Preceeds Me

Chloe: Auntie Tiffy, why don't you like to share?

Me: Huh?

Chloe: My daddy says you're not married because you don't like to share.

Me: .....

How does one respond to the perfect encapsulation of the truth?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Tale of Two Movies

Today we saw two movies. Chloe has been to a couple of kids movies now and Lisa, Mom and I really wanted to see Wall-E so we basically took Chloe as an excuse. I loved it and thought it was hilarious. It was a bit long for her and a little over her head as it was very non-verbal, but she still liked it and dubbed it "hilarious." Then this evening Todd and I saw Wanted. I give it a "meh." It had some pacing issues, we decided. Spent WAY too much time demonstrating how James McAvoy's life sucked and then rushed the third act. The effects and music were good, though.

What I'd like to talk about here are my two experiences at the theater - very different. This morning we went to a 10 am showing of an animated kids movie. You go to those things expecting a certain amount of chaos and distraction. No problem. However, I do NOT have the same expectation going to see an action film at 8 pm.

Todd and I were sitting in the front row of the stadium section so we could put our feet on the railings. The theater wasn't very full and there was an empty seat on his left and a couple sitting in the next two seats. They were chatting rather loudly through the previews and as the movie started, but I erroneously assumed that they would stop once the movie started. No no. They continued to talk in normal tones about things completely unrelated to the movie. At one point the dude was singing along with the music. YOU ARE NOT AT HOME IN YOUR LIVING ROOM, PEOPLE. I DID NOT PAY $9.75 TO LISTEN TO YOU TALK. A couple of times Todd glanced their direction and he sort of looked at me and rolled his eyes. Finally, when the movie got quiet and they continued their banter I could take it no more, and sat up, looked directly at them and said, "OH MY GOD - SHUT UP!!!" That seemed to do the trick as not a peep was heard from them for the rest of the movie. Todd said that he might have been more polite, but was happy enough with the results to let it go. He was weighing the man's size vs. his obvious dim-wittedness and was considering yelling at him and then confusing him with a paradoxical statement so he could make an escape.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Observations from the last few days

  • Only a true friend would sort and count DAMP currency taken off the bride and groom following their money dance. I am that friend.
  • Catholic communion wafers are a bit like Holy Tiddlywinks.
  • The Sherman is a great place to have a party.
  • I am truly destined to be a lounge singer. Someday.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop is a great way to deal with caterers.
  • I must truly love Chloe because when we were playing Dora Candyland tonight I actually felt terrible when I was ahead and really wanted her to win. I am normally extremely competitive and I have to win EVERYTHING. The idea of me causing her to lose something was more than I can bear. She expresses full-body joy so beautifully that I want to watch her do it all the time.
  • Chloe giving me a huge hug and telling me how much she loves me and missed me is pretty much my heroin.
  • Watching fireworks on a widescreen plasma TV indoors is better than fighting crowds and sitting outside in 100 degree heat to watch them.
  • Ian has a very curious shoe obsession and I can't wait to see how that unfolds. He's lucky to have a liberal auntie in San Francisco.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Music Meme

Here's the deal - put your iPod on shuffle and write out the first line of the first 25 songs. No cheating! Let the commentators figure out what the songs are. Bolded ones have been figured out.

1. I'm trying to tell you something about my life
2. I went to church last Sunday so I could sing and pray
3. You're my bad habit, trying not to love you like I do
4. I can hear the rain come down, I can listen with my heart
5. When you're down and troubled and you need a helping hand
6. All this feels strange and untrue and I won't waste a minute without you
7. Show a little inspiration, show a little spark
8. You might think I'm crazy but I'm serious
9. Something in the way you love me just won't let me be
10. She said something about going home
11. Hope you're feeling better now, hope you got my letter how
12. Heard you're talking about leaving
13. Go ahead as you waste your days with thinking
14. Sweet sugar drips from his sweet lips
15. So now there's somebody new
16. Cry as much as I want to
17. It's very clear, our love is here to stay
18. Please don't talk my mind is out for a walk
19. Stop me if you think you've heard this one before
20. This here's a jam for all the fellas
21. I heard there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the Lord
22. Strangely out of place
23. Do you know who I am? I'm alive, you understand.
24. Some girls like candy
25. Drove downtown 9:30 on a Tuesday night

We're Gonna Need More Chairs

New moderator seeks to unite Presbyterians

Matthai Kuruvila, Chronicle Religion Writer

A 39-year-old San Franciscan has risen to the highest elected post in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

The founding pastor and leader of a young Potrero Hill church, the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow uses technology in an innovative way to connect and build his congregation. Many hope he will bring new dimensions to a denomination wrestling with dwindling numbers.

Part of Reyes-Chow's challenge will be trying to integrate the needs of younger Presbyterians into the traditional leadership of the church. He believes that younger generations are less divided by ideological conflict than in the past, more adept at accepting differences of views within one community - such as over homosexuality.

"There's a whole generation that's trying to find their voice within the denomination," said Reyes-Chow, who became the 218th General Assembly moderator of the Presbyterian Church. "The line between what is liberal and what is conservative is far blurrier for most folks than what the institution would like it to be."

The election gives Reyes-Chow a more powerful pulpit. As moderator, he becomes the face of the church, an ambassador within a sometimes divided church body as well as a bridge to the outer world.

But becoming moderator does not give Reyes-Chow power to decide things unilaterally. The pastor holds one vote on the 45-member General Assembly Council.

Mission Bay Community Church has an active online life, and Reyes-Chow is at the center of that. The congregation has a Facebook group. And they use Twitter, a social networking tool that allows members to keep track of each other throughout the day.

The church's online presence gives it a possibly outsize reputation on the Web.

Reyes-Chow said his congregation has 150 to 200 actively involved members, and about 100 show up on any particular Sunday. But on, Mission Bay Community Church is San Francisco's best-rated church - a fact Reyes-Chow touts.

A graduate of San Francisco State and San Francisco Theological Seminary, Reyes-Chow sees his ministry as naturally existing online. While other pastors might do house visits, Reyes-Chow said he might have 200 online interactions with congregants per week.

Compared with a pastor who operates purely through personal contact, "I'm able to interact with people more consistently and at a greater level," Reyes-Chow said.

At last week's General Assembly in San Jose, where Reyes-Chow was elected, the discussion of church actions was being streamed live. Bloggers kept up a real-time commentary to parallel what they were seeing.

"We've never seen anything like it," said the Rev. Jerry L. Van Marter, news director for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Past moderators have brought their own distinctive leadership to the position, advocating for peace, missionary work or, in the case of the most recent moderator, prayer. Reyes-Chow is seen as having particular facility with technology and new ways of engaging with parishioners, especially younger adults.

"He is the most wired moderator we've had - by far," said Van Marter, who said many are expecting that kind of high-tech connection to more broadly reach into the life of the denomination.

E-mail Matthai Kuruvila at

This article appeared on page B - 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle