Dianne Glave: Ministry & Church

Archive for August, 2011

Decorative Crosses: Right or Wrong?

The cross was something literal, something tangible on which Jesus was nailed, crucified. I imagine it was rough and splintered. Perhaps some of those splinters pressed into his flesh as he dragged the cross up to the hill called Golgotha outside of Jerusalem in Israel. He died on that wooden cross.

That first cross on which Jesus died, has been reinterpreted based on culture, time, and place. It has become symbolic. Constantine, a 4th Century Roman emperor who first institutionalized Christianity through government, used the Chi Rho symbol, a variation on the cross on the shields of his soldiers. The cross combined with the shield might have been seen as a dual defense, spiritual and physical, against enemies. Even though the Chi Rho doesn’t look much like a cross it represents the crucifixion of Jesus and Christ’s importance among Christians concerning  forgiveness of sin. The lettering was of ancient Greek origin, a  blending of Christianity as a religion in Greco-Roman culture. Throughout history, people created other variations on the cross including the Anglican Canterbury  and Celtic crosses. In these and other variations, there was a syncretic overlay of cultural symbols with Christianity represented by  the wooden cross on which Jesus sacrificed his life for humanity.

Fast forward to the twentieth century. Christians around the world continue to use the symbol of the cross as a reminder of Christ: “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.“(I John 2:2, Bible, New International Version)

Personally, I have a number of crosses. Two crosses are on my wall in my living room. One is of Mexican design with a flower painted on the cross. I purchased the other cross in New Orleans. I also have two pieces of jewelry fashioned in the shape of the cross. When I was a teen, my mother gave me a gold cross to wear on a chain around my neck. The second cross is silver: I purchased it at the St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter in New Orleans. The cross is based on a design used inside this Catholic church.

So for me the cross is many things: it is organic and symbolic: it reminds of my relationship with God and represents my faith. The cross is the incarnate–God is alive in my life–integrated in many cultures from Mexico to Africa. As a Christian African American woman, the cross reflects a long relationship with Christianity–some difficult as it was imposed and some uplifting as it was embraced. Whatever the arc, cultures have absorb Christianity creating many strands that remain sacred in living breathing, along with symbolic ways. And finally, the cross reminds of many places and experiences.

Ultimately, I don’t see  crosses as decorative but as a reminder of Christ dying on the cross, affirming my relationship with Him.

What do you think?

Seven: Deadly Sins Depicted on Film

I had forgotten the visually stunning “Seven” (1995) until I watched it again on the American Movie Classics (AMC) channel. The film’s stars are Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Spacey.

The psychological thriller combines the genres of horror and film noir. The story-line focuses on a serial killer who murders based on the seven deadly sins of early Christian origin, which later evolved with Catholic theology and culture: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

Galatians 5:19-20a (King James Version, KJV) comes closest to the list of seven: “Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity,  idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger.” I often go back to the KJV for the poetry of it.

The Glow, the Shine: Local Pastor Licensing School

The Scripture Reading Comes From Exodus 34:29

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai carrying the two Tablets of The Testimony, he didn’t know that the skin of his face glowed because he had been speaking with God. (The Message)

Moses came down from Mount Sinai. He had the two tablets of the covenant in his hands. His face was shining because he had spoken with the Lord. But he didn’t realize it. (New International Version)

Our Beloved Leader and Facilitator!

I am moving to the end of Local Pastor Licensing School through the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist. At school, I learned much ranging from worship to administration.

Before arriving at Olmsted Manor Retreat Center in Ludlow, Pennsylvania, I looked at the syllabus. The thing that jumped out was we were in class for 12 1/2 hours per day for 11 days. The number 40 came to mind, which I often interpret as endurance during difficult times. Paraphrasing some scripture consider a few biblical examples:

  • It rained 40 days and nights when God cleansed the world with water, a global flood. (Genesis 7:12)
  • After the flood, Noah waited 40 days for the flood to subside. (Gen 8:6)
  • Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness. (Matthew 4:1-2)

Oh the 40 (days and nights) kept ringing in my head during school. Exhaustion crept up on me. I got cranky with my classmates who thankfully loved me despite of my human frailty.

It’s Day 9 and I think I’m feeling the glow, the shine. That’s not me: that’s the Holy Spirit.

Through the tough times, the 40 days, the 11 days, try to rest in the testing and growth.

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Photographs by Dianne Glave

Goodbyes at Emory Healthcare

People talk about the proverbial glass being half full or half empty all the time.

The metaphor might seem overused but it felt apropos looking at  the glasses on the table at the 2011 ceremonial closing, the graduation from Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) with Pastoral Services at Emory Healthcare. Of late, my time at the hospital has felt more half full than empty.

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Each resident shared about their bittersweet moments during the residency. And we shared bittersweet moments in we departed from another.

I was blessed by the staff, residents, and interns in the program. In particular, Maureen Shelton and Robin Brown-Haithco, the former my supervisor during my internship and the latter my residency, blessed me as they walked with me in my spiritual growth and development CPE. For that I am grateful.

Photos by Toni St Ile and Dianne Glave

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