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  • 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. 
  • 6/22/2019 “Worship is at the center of the Christian faith and though its practices might vary, there are four essential components of worship that are still found in Christian churches throughout the world today: gathering, word, meal and sending.” ELCA- Seeds Monthly, On-line newsletter.

    Sure, there are many ways to worship, and every faith community has their own style, their own way of gathering, hearing the Word, sharing the meal, and being sent. In my Lutheran context, these four components give a certain flow to our Sunday morning gatherings. We find comfort in this tradition. Even though Roots of Life’s appearance (vibe) may seem progressive or contemporary to some, our worship style comes from the ancient tradition of liturgy. 
  • 5/25/2019 This weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer. I can proudly wear my white pumps and carry my straw purse, no one will claim that I am a fashion malefactor. This past week, I dug out my Chico’s white Traveler pants to wear to an outdoor event, but I was very aware of my shoe choice and I wore my black strappy sandals, lest my grandmother roll over in her grave. If you are not aware of the wearing of white rule, let me fill you in. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, it is perfectly acceptable and encouraged to wear white shoes, and carry a white purse. Woe to the gals who wear their whites during the fall and winter months, according to my mother; it is simply faux pas. This holiday weekend is not simply a marker for what to wear, or what not to wear. It is not only race weekend, the end of the school year, or the opening of the neighborhood swimming pools. It is a weekend that we honor those who have given their lives while serving in our Military. This weekend is also known as Decoration Day, the day many of us make the rounds to cemeteries. Each year, my in-laws dutifully drove from cemetery to cemetery delivering flowers and flags to family member who had died. It took them the whole day wandering Indiana delivering the goods, reminiscing the stories shared while giving honor to their lives.
    Twenty-five years ago, I was widowed with a baby and two children of school age. Each year, in May, my children and I make time to visit the cemetery and the gravestone of David, to sweep away the debris, clean the headstone and place new flowers in the urns. I have always loved cemeteries, especially in late May. Walking through the peace filled place where bodies lay, put to rest; it is truly sacred ground. A cemetery is filled with stories, genres of all kinds, monuments, unmarked graves, baby land, large crypts, benches, and the military section are part of the swath of ground that reminds us of our past as a community and as a family. 
  • 5/20/2019 My final exam for my first New Testament Class, in seminary, was to memorize Jesus’ longest sermon. Yes, Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 5 and part of six; look it up. It is long, it took Jesus the better part of three days to preach it. We get the cliff notes version of it. If there is any among you who haven’t read much of the Bible, this might be a good place to begin. Thankfully, it was on the first day of class that my professor, Rev. Dr. Kimberly Majeski, gave us the heads up. That very day, I downloaded the audio version of Matthew five and six. It is all I listened to while I was in the car, for three and a half months. It really was life altering.
    One of my favorite parts of my seminary experience was the day, I took my final exam in this class. Imagine thirty people, typing away, thinking the same thoughts, writing the same words that Jesus spoke on that mountainside overlooking the sea, to a crowd of misfits. It really was kind of a Pentecostal moment. The room was filled with electricity, maybe it was stress and perspiration, but I like to think of it as the Holy Spirit. It was good.
    “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. Matthew 5:13
  • 5/13/2019 Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, The Cost of Discipleship, a must read for any theologian, armchair or professional. This short manifesto explains how grace is free, yet it is not easy nor is it without cost. The difference between cheap grace and costly grace is important if you are interested in becoming a student, a disciple of Jesus. Everyone is invited; there are no qualifications for stepping your sandal, croc, high-heeled shoe, army boot, or sneakers behind the King of Kings. Your invitation has already arrived; in fact over 2000 years ago God invited and keeps on inviting.
    When we finally say “YES,” to the invitation, understand that no matter where you have come from, or where you are, or where you are going, God has always been with you and always will be with you, whether you invite God or not. God never stops being . . . with us. This is grace. However, the cost of this grace, which is free, will turn your heart into an engine of repentance, confession, and hunger to know more. This is good news. Really. Because once we realize that we are loved no matter what, we are compelled to do this hard work; it frees us to do so much good in the world. The offering of grace makes us better friends, co-workers, partners, community and humans.
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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

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