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  • 12/7/2019 Prepare ye the way of the Lord! Make way! Four weeks before Christmas Eve the church puts her nose down and urges her people to be intentional in planning, and preparations. She rails, “It is not Christmas time yet!” Christmas season happens after baby Jesus is born! Instead, we wait for the Lord, and we remember stories of, John the Baptizer, Elizabeth and Mary, Zechariah and the shepherds. We intentionally light one candle a week on the Advent wreath, until we finally light all five on Christmas Eve. Advent is about waiting and leaning into the themes of Hope, Joy, Peace and Love.
  • 11/26/2019 It may become a surprise to you, that I began my seminary education at Anderson School of Theology in Anderson, Indiana, a Church of God institution. Admittedly, I did not know what I was getting myself into; then again no one knows how seminary education will change, challenge and stir them, until they are knee deep in exegetical analysis of all things God related. I had been immersed in a Lutheran church for near fifteen years, before I accepted my calling into professional pastoral life. The saying, ‘God does not call the equipped, God equips the called’, is certainly my testament in real time.
    It did not take me long to realize that I had landed in a school that did not mesh well with my Lutheran upbringing. Church of God is of the holiness tradition, and I have an invisible capital letter “L” inscribed on my forehead. If you want more info on the differences ask your pastor, or Google, or message me. What Anderson School of Theology (SOT) taught me was how to read and how to live into scripture. For this I will be ever grateful. 
    My most favorite day of learning, in my first semester in SOT, was Tuesday, or “Tears-day,” specifically in, Rev. Dr. Kimberly Majeski’s class, an overview of the New Testament. I called it, “Tears-day” because it was here where the Gospel brought me to tears most days.
  • 11/16/2019 Shared life in faith is one reason being a church person is a good thing. Where else can you go to have important conversations, wrestle with questions of theology, question and wonder about who God is, whether or not there is a heaven or hell, and have the same people bring you soup when you are sick? 
    Often times when I meet someone new, I get around to asking them, not if they are Christian, or a person of faith, or whether or not they attend church; I ask, “Are you a church person?” Most people I meet would throw themselves into the category of Christian, spiritual but not religious. This group has become so popular there is even an acronym for them, SNR. It has, in some ways become a badge of honor to be known as an SNR. Others will say, “I belong to ________ but I don’t believe everything they teach.” Or another popular statement, “We go there because our kids like it.” Another qualifier, “We go…but we slip in after all that music…the preaching is good.” Someone actually said to me, “I send money once a year so that I can have my funeral there when I die.” Kinda like life insurance?
  • 11/2/2019 One of the things that I love about the Lutheran tradition, one that we share with our Catholic sisters and brothers, is festival days of the church. Last Sunday, we commemorated and celebrated Reformation Day. This was the five hundred and second anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther nailing his 95 thesis (questions and items that needed to be challenged/changed in the Catholic faith) to the door of Wittenburg Castle Church. There are lots of reasons why I love this day of Reformation celebration. First, there is the historical significance, the call to change, to question, to think differently about the why we do things we do in the church. Another reason, is I get to wear my beautiful red silk chasuble, think tablecloth; everyone dresses in red, a symbol of the Holy Spirit with us today just as she was in the beginning.
  • 10/5/2019 Editor’s Note: Teri Ditslear’s colleague Pastor Patrick Propst, Faith Community Church wrote a poignant letter to the Noblesville Diversity Coalition this week, after hearing the sentencing for the death of Anthony Hill. Teri asked him if he would consider being a guest columnist for Joy in the Journey.
    I've been following the Botham Jean case and the verdict that was decided October 2 for the female, police office who mistakenly walked into Botham’s apartment thinking it was her own, mistook him for a robber while sitting on his couch eating ice cream, and shot him to death. 
  • 8/31/2019 For some, it is the last hurrah of summer; the gateway to the fall season, drinking pumpkin lattes, and apple cider will be Miss Manner approved. The day the old timers will remember it to be the acceptable time for school to go back in session. Labor Day weekend is for family get together, picnics and also a pretty good time for a pastor to take a Sabbath day. According to my Wiki search,
    “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
    Generally speaking, I have always liked my work. Starting out as a carhop and waitress, I learned about hospitality, and how the customer is always right leads to better tips and pleasant conversations. Later, I became a dental assistant and office manager for a dentist here in town. I learned empathy, and honed my intuitive gifts. Later, as a sales rep., I learned and relearned the importance of continuing education and organizational skills. All of my early work experiences taught me much and allowed me to prepare to be a pastor. 
  • 8/24/2019 There are many ways to pray, too many to number really. Most of us think of the traditional prayer pose of bowed head, and clasped hands. Many times, when I lie in bed awake with thoughts, my eyes fly open in the dark and I speak to God requesting that I hear her sing me to sleep with peace and mercy. Prayer offers us day and night time opportunities to come to God with words while seeking — through the language of petition and supplication. Prayer comes in waves of asking and listening, perceiving and moving. It is not in the request or petition, but in the searching and wrestling that we hope to gain clarity. 
  • 8/16/2019 From the living room my father beckoned me. “Teri, you are on the news” Now, this was certainly a surprise to me, I had not done anything noteworthy for at least three weeks. What he was referring to was the Fox News channel was reporting that the ELCA (my denomination) was a bunch of law breaking, liberal leaning, scripture twisting revolutionaries, bound to helping to aid the “invaders.” This newscast could not have come at a worse time, right before worship. Ugh!
    My denomination, last week, held their triennial Churchwide Assembly, in Milwaukee. This is where we elect our bishop and other leaders, vote on resolutions, and talk about the vision and mission of our Church. There was a lot accomplished at this Assembly, including the celebration of the anniversary of fifty years ordaining women pastors.
  • 8/3/2019 People are surprised when they come to Roots of Life for the first time. If you are looking for a new church, the simple act of walking over the threshold can be a high anxiety producing event. Why do I know this? Because it happens to me too. When I’m on vacation, or when visiting family out of town, I like to visit the local church, but it is still stressful, albeit of my own making. 
    They say that when you first encounter someone new, you make about 20 assumptions about the person, within the first few seconds; from their economic status to their education, culture and political viewpoints, even their sense of humor. Driving to church this morning I followed someone who I thought could be my friend. She was driving a clean white newer model minivan, had a “Fueled for School” window cling, a –Pete- window cling, and a Butler Bulldog, license frame. If you are her, ring me up and let’s have coffee! On the other hand, yesterday when I was driving I followed. . . well never mind.
  • 7/6/2019 “I come to the garden alone, While the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,The Son of God discloses. And He walks with me, And He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own - and the joy we share as we tarry there
    None other has ever known”

    It was my mother’s favorite hymn, and the crowd favorite of my people at Magnolia Springs, Assisted Living in Carmel. I wax nostalgic, each time I hear the melody. It brings tears to the eyes of my favorite golden year friends and it reminds me of my favorite church joke. Do you know God’s first name? It is Andy! Andy walks with me. Andy talks with me, Andy tells me I am his own. Get it?
    Maybe it is in my blood, maybe I learned from my father and my grandparents to love the earth, to grow vegetables, and to plant flowers, to weep at the cutting down of trees. It gives me great pleasure to be in the dirt, cultivating life out of the ground. 
    This year, my husband was kind enough to build me a raised garden. We have the perfect sunny location. Earlier in the season the library was giving away free seeds. From them, I planted peas, beets, lettuce and radishes. I bought tomatoes, peppers, cabbage and some herbs from my favorite Farm Market. It seems like all are flourishing. 
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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

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