Important Disclaimer

Since I currently have several employers/supervisors/churches/etc., please know that none of the words on my blog represent them or their beliefs. This blog is my own creation.

It also does not represent my children's perspective, nor my mother's; they think I am funny, but misguided.
(Quick update: only my mother thinks I'm funny now.)

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Update on the New Call

Well, like everybody else I'm caught up in dealing with this pandemic. And like everybody else, I'm balancing hope and despair, some days leaning more one way than another.

I started the new call at United Presbyterian in Long Island on February 23 and 3 weeks later we were shutting down buildings and moving to zoom. If you'd like to watch those worship services, here's a link to the page where I'm posting them: Worship Etc at United Presbyterian

The facebook page where we are most active is www.facebook.com/UPCML

Of course we were smack in the middle of creating new webpages and facebook pages and all that when the pandemic hit. So here's the old webpage until we finish cracking that nut: https://levitfpc.org/

As we are making our way through a church consolidation, which is very different than a church merger, it is a point of contention any time one of the historic churches is highlighted more than the other. Bear with us...we are moving as quickly as possible to move into our new identity together. We've got more bumps in the road than we care for with that, but it's coming along.

In the meantime, here's a little pandemic art :)


Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Undertow

It has been more challenging to write and post over the last few years for a lot of reasons that are below the surface. I'm working to shift that, and hope to post more soon. Perhaps you have found yourself in life's riptides and undertows--difficult to see from the surface and just as difficult to pull yourself out and return to shore. Every move is counterintuitive, it requires patience and attention, and, not to alarm you or anything, but don't panic or you'll drown...
 
The surface waters of a human being rarely reflect what is happening beneath. Sometimes it's all we can do to keep from drowning. For those who have been along for the ride so far, my gratitude for the companionship and lessons taught.
 
I'm not much of a swimmer, to be honest. But life doesn't really give a lot of options but to learn.
 
un·der·tow
/ˈəndərˌtō/
noun
 
a current of water below the surface and moving in a different direction from any surface current.

an implicit quality, emotion, or influence underlying the superficial aspects of something and leaving a particular impression.
 
 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

i thirst (good friday sermon 2019)

While going through some recordings on my phone I realized I kept the audio of the 7 Last Words service I participated in last April on Good Friday. It was an ecumenical service and 7 of us pastors offered reflection on Jesus' last words as he died on the cross. For better or worse, they assigned me "i thirst" and I went on a bit about our promiscuous god and suggested Jesus is Gomer on the cross. I will try to transcribe it later. Not sure I'll be invited back to preach :)

Link to the audio


With Dance and Tambourines...

Content Note: sexual violence and war violence

October 20, 2019
Sermon by Rev. Katie Mulligan
preached at Union Presbyterian Church, Carneys Point, NJ

Scripture Readings: 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 2 Samuel 6:1-5, Psalm 150, Mark 11:8-10

Link to the audio of the sermon

Link to Code Blue of Salem County, which needs volunteers!

A long time ago, Israel didn’t have kings. In those days, scripture says, Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes…That is the closing verse to the book of Judges, a time when the people mediated amongst themselves and pulled in a God-appointed judge to arbitrate when arguments were intractable. But by the time we get to 2 Samuel, Israel had become used to kings to rule over them. This morning’s scripture celebrates the kingship of David and his victory in bringing the ark of the covenant home, the ark which contained the tablets with the 10 commandments, the ark they had carried through 40 years in the wilderness and on into the promised land, the ark that had been with them ever since, and which David brought home in victory. They danced as they carried the trophy home, celebrating David’s kingship and rulership over all of Israel and Judah…a people that at one time had had no kings, a people that had trusted one another to live in peace and work things out, were now well and truly used to a central earthly authority to tell them how to live. And I wondered why that might be…so I went back to the book of Judges, before a time of kings.

"In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes." We fetishize this verse, pull it out of context. We wax nostalgic about the days when "we" didn't have kings... and the people "lived peaceably" with judges who quietly arbitrated amongst the people whenever there was a little tiff over you put chocolate in my peanut butter. But we forget that Judges

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Love of God Community Panel

I recently participated in a community panel based on an art exhibit at Artworks in Trenton, NJ. I think there will be more posting elsewhere about the event, so I'll link that when it comes out. But for now I'll link the facebook livestreaming of the event and encourage you to take a listen. The question presented to me was "Who is God?" in 15 minutes or less :) The entire recording is close to 3 hours, and the discussion panel during the second half has a lot of good conversation and further exposition of our thoughts. My remarks begin around 35 minutes in or so.

In addition, here are links to the different pieces I cited in my talk. There was too much to fit it all in, but these were some of the influences that led me to my answer.

Facebook Livestream

Exodus 3:13-14

1 John 4:12

"Where Are the Good Cops?" by Michael Harriot at The Root

Octavia Butler: Parable of the Sower

Bayo Akomolafe website
Bayo Akomolafe youtube: "The Times Are Urgent, Let Us Slow Down"

Tony Vigorito: "Yes I Said Yes I Will Yes: How I Became A Poacher in the Great State of Texas

And the end of my 15 minutes, which I had actually scripted out:

Cursillo being a Catholic men’s retreat started in Majorca 1944. It crossed over to Spain and then on to the U.S. All weekends until 1961 were held in Spanish. Since then, it has crossed denominations, spread throughout the U.S. and the world, into thousands of communities and iterations, some more faithful than others. Love of God, or L.O.G., in its current iteration was started (as best I know) by a group of students in Novato, CA (who got it from some other group of students in the state of Nevada, but I don’t know where or who). 

And from there it came to my hometown of Goleta, CA where I was a senior in high school. And from there it spread to Carpinteria, CA and Bellevue, WA and Los Gatos, CA and on to South Bend, IN where my old youth pastor now resides. And from Indiana it spread to New Jersey where I came to reside. And from there it is continuing on in a highly modified and deep contextual format in a local church nearby…continuing on without me as I left a few years ago. 

And also from there it has continued on in Jeffrey’s work, culminating in this moment with this art exhibit and this panel. And from Jeffrey and myself and all others who participated in this exhibit, the Love of God in an unauthorized, unofficial, nearly unrecognizable format, will continue on out from here. You here will take what you take from this and offer it to others, intentionally or unintentionally, and despite my best efforts and intentions, God will be who God will be, no matter who God has been to this point and in this moment. For God is Change. And God is unknowable. And this is absolutely unbearable and deeply comforting at the same time. 

And so my official answer to this question of Who Is God? my official answer with this official collar, my years of schooling and 47 years of living, is that I do not know, cannot know, will never know, for God is in between all that is knowable and we are granted only brief glimpses out of the corners of our eyes before God slithers away into the mystery of the void again and again and again. And so, when you find yourself in the void, and you assuredly will, you can know that indeed, God is there in the in between. I find slight comfort in that.











Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Humor & Scripture

Yesterday, I posted a cartoon on the church's facebook group. You can view it here:

Adam's Rib Comic

Basically, a kid asks his dad if God really made woman out of Adam's rib. Cartoon dad explains that in fact woman WAS made from a bone and that's why...look, it's hard to explain a joke, just go look at the comic and come back.

The upshot is that because woman is made of bone she is strong and to be feared, and this kid hasn't been brushing his teeth...

One of the members where I serve as pastor didn't think it was funny and he posted a strong reaction about the cartoon being posted in our church group. I'm responding here because I think this is a great conversation starter on a number of levels. If you're thinking to yourself, "What's the big deal, it was funny." or "It wasn't funny, but I don't care enough to read a blogpost." then please feel free to stop here lol.

If it matters to you or you're interested in how I think about things, read on. Feel free to message me or email me or come to church to talk to me (and now you know my real motive for posting). That said, here's a few thoughts:

Friday, April 19, 2019

Take Me With You

Maundy Thursday Sermon
by Katie Mulligan
April 18, 2019

Scripture Readings: John 13: 1-17, 31-35


A long time ago now, I came to the church quite by accident. I came to the church because there was food and laughter and joy and love. I came to the church because nothing was right in my own life. I came to the church because the door was open and someone said “come on in.”

In the church I found people who were kind and caring and concerned for my well-being. They weren’t perfect people, and they didn’t love perfectly. And I wasn’t a perfect person and I didn’t love them back perfectly.

But a long time ago now, I came to the church. And I found an open door. And through that door I found people who had promised to live by a certain code. I found people who acknowledged that there was something bigger than themselves or their church building or even the planet. They called that something God, and they had made a promise to love and care for that life force and the Creation we were gifted to be part of. And they had made a promise to love other people as if they were their own.