Who’s on your tour?

Hey ladies, I’m wondering — Who is on your tour?

I’m sitting on a train heading back out to the ‘burbs from downtown Chicago where I just saw an amazing concert – Four Voices. Joan Baez, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and the Indigo Girls, Emily Saliers and Amy Ray, have joined artistic forces for this 11 city tour. As soon as I saw it advertised I knew I couldn’t miss it for anything. The women did not disappoint. 

Early in the show they noted that among the four of them they represented more than 170 years of music-making. They first met 25 years ago when Baez invited the Indigo Girls to participate in a fundraiser concert. Saliers and Ray agreed to participate and brought Carpenter into the event, too. Their friendship was born and has included mutual support and admiration ever since. 

The women on stage tonight represented two or three generations of American music, at least three different genres, and several discographies worth of life experiences. Some might try to describe them as competitors, but I don’t think they’d stand for it. At one point tonight, Baez said, “I love these women and I love the work we do together.”

As much as I loved the music, and I loved the music, I think I loved this witness even more – women supporting women across generations as they move through their careers and callings. Women across generations supporting each other, learning each other’s songs, singing together sometimes and at other times letting each one shine on her own. 

Which brings me to my question, a question that doesn’t have to be exclusively for women, but one that I think is particularly important for women in a culture that still leans heavily toward patriarchy — Who is on your tour? Who are the people on stage with you – sometimes singing along with one of your songs, sometimes sitting behind you in the dark, sometimes letting you add your voice to their art? Who is in your multi-generational support team? Who reached out a hand to help lead you along and to whom have you offered a hand as well? 

One of the women on my tour, the Rev. Carol McDonald, was with me tonight, and I couldn’t have been happier than I was sharing the evening with her. She invited me on her tour a while back and has been a friend and mentor ever since. She prayed me through difficult times and pointed me in new directions when the time was right and I didn’t even know it. She has introduced me to women of all ages who are smart and faithful and hard-working, many of whom I consider part of the tour, too. Best of all, I know she isn’t just doing this for me. There are so many of us who have been blessed to join this particular tour.

Do you have people you’re on tour with? Do you a group of friends and colleagues who help you navigate your career and calling? Pastors and preachers, musicians and artists, doctors and teachers, mothers and executives — we all can benefit from supportive colleagues and friends as we go about our work of changing the world. 

Training the Saints, a sermon on Luke 6:17-30

Luke 6:17-30

https://www.podbean.com/media/player/crhbt-644b9a

Download this sermon audio (right click and save)

All fall I have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of a new television series on Netflix called The Crown.  It’s a historical drama depicting the rise and reign of Queen Elizabeth II and it was finally released this Friday. Please don’t ask me how many episodes I’ve crown0007watched already; it’s an embarrassing number.

That said, there was a touching scene toward the end of the first episode that I’d like to
share.  Princess Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, is becoming more and more aware of his own mortality even as he is kept in the dark about the deterioration of his health. Consciously or not he understands that he needs to begin to prepare his daughter for the role she will one day play as sovereign.  One day during their Christmas holiday he invites her into his office to talk to her about his daily routine.  Pointing a stack of papers in the royal in box he explains, “Everything they want me to know, they stick on top. Everything they’d rather I didn’t know… they tuck away at the bottom. Which is why… the first thing I do when no one is looking, is this,” as he flips the stack upside down and lets it slam down on the desk.  A very practical moment of education for the future queen, I’m sure. Continue reading

The Faith in Fear – a sermon on Mark 16:1-8 for Easter

Mark 16:1-8

The way a story ends can make or break the impression we carry of it.  Think of some of the all-time great TV shows and how they ended.  Do you have any favorites?

M. A. S. H.? Cheers?3634467193_81e130807b

I very clearly remember the end of Family Ties as a good ending to one of my generation’s favorite childhood TV shows.

One of the things we tend to like about a good series finale is when it leaves us feeling like there aren’t too many loose ends.  There can be some wondering about what comes next, but all in all we like to know that even if our favorite characters don’t come out alright in the end, their lives and the story had a purpose.

Continue reading