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.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

My Entire Life I Searched For Thee

"Angle" by Elias Punch
Sunday, December 27, 2015
Sermon by Katie Mulligan
preached at Ewing Presbyterian Church

Scripture Reading: 
I remember, when I was pregnant with my first child, that it was the strangest, most bewildering year of my life. I knew I was pregnant from the earliest moment—I just felt different. I was sleepy all of the time, parts of my body ached in strange ways, I was an emotional mess. I was not surprised to be pregnant—I was surprised by the way pregnancy took over my entire body. I was ill-prepared for the way a child enters your life before they are even born.

Along about the 4th month, I went to visit my obstetrician for a routine check up. The nurse asked me if I was experiencing any pains or unusual sensations, and since I was pregnant, I was experiencing all kinds of pains and unusual sensations. I had been vomiting for 4 months straight, my stomach was popping out, muscles and ligaments were moving and shifting and changing to accommodate this new life. Oh everything felt strange! And so the nurse handed me a gown and asked me to undress so the doctor could examine me.

A few minutes later the doctor knocked on the door. Startled, she yelled, “Why are you undressed?” I burst into tears, embarrassed that the doctor seemed to think I just randomly threw off my clothes. The doctor explained she didn’t need to examine me that day—the aches and pains and movements of my body were just normal parts of pregnancy. She explained to me that pregnancy was a normal, everyday function of the body.

Except that for me, THIS pregnancy was NOT a normal everyday function of MY body. THIS pregnancy was an extraordinary event, worthy of wonder and amazement and attention. There was

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Hide and Seek

A short sermon, preached this morning on Malachi 3:1-4.

In loving memory of Katy Remde, Gideon Addington, Maggie Kim, and a girl named Amy. If you have given up hope, the day will surely come when the Lord will draw near. Hold on another minute sister. Stay a while longer, brother.

Once upon a time, a therapist friend told me she had a client who was profoundly depressed. They had worked together many years, and every week the woman would come to see her. Every week the therapist had the same question for her: “Is there anything you are grateful for today? Anything at all?” And every week the woman said, “No. My life is terrible.” Truly, the woman’s life was very hard, bleak like a New Jersey winter. Gray and sad, with slushy snow and freezing rain that ices over and just causes trouble. For this woman, spring never came.

Then one day, the woman came to therapy, and before my friend could speak she said, “I have it! I found something to be grateful for!” Surprised, my friend leaned in and asked, “What is it? Tell me!” The woman smiled broadly and said, “Oxygen. I am grateful for oxygen.”

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Morning Meditations on #BodiesMatter


This post is part of the #BodiesMatter Link Up at
I'm struggling this morning to write this post—as I often do when writing to a prompt.

#BodiesMatter

Whose bodies matter?
Every-Body matters?
Any-Body matters?
Some-Body matters?

It’s clear from the evidence all about me that SOME bodies matter more than others in our twisted, broken, racist, sexist, classist, transphobic, heterosexist society—oh yes, layers and layers of hierarchy and pain.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Cysts of the Soul

I injured my knee last weekend. In the process, I stumbled into a metaphor for emotional triggers. So grab an ice pack, put up your leg, and join me in a little mental exercise. I promise no stairs.

I'm happy to report that I am recovering, and it is likely not serious. But for a couple of days I was really scared that I had torn a ligament or cartilage. I thought back to what it cost me to break a pinky finger last year, and I started to freak out about the time and money and effort that might be needed for surgery and physical therapy. I was, for a couple of days, trying to figure out how I was going to

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Raft of the Fire Ants

Fire Ant Raft, by Maggie
Sunday, October 11, 2015
Sermon by Katie Mulligan
preached at Ewing Presbyterian Church, Ewing, NJ

Scripture Readings:

For our children's sermon today, we read Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein. When you see injustice, when you see pain, may you be an Interrupting Chicken and intervene with yes, even God, like Abraham, like the persistent widow. We are a people of disruption, thanks be to God!

I come to you this morning as a youth pastor. A tired youth pastor, I have to say. Last weekend was our Love of God retreat—it was the 8th such retreat in New Jersey since 2012. Some of our Ewing students helped lead the retreat, and you should be proud of them—very proud.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Mad Love

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss
Louvre Museum, Paris
Sunday, August 30, 2015
Sermon by Katie Mulligan
With gratitude to Rev. Lisa Day for the invitation and the congregation for their generosity of spirit and warm welcome. 

Video of the sermon
can be found here on youtube

Audio of the sermon
can be found here at http://bibleinayearfpch.org

I preached from notes this morning, and the transcript below is exactly that: a rendering of what was spoken, as close as I can get by listening and typing. This is not my usual way--I am by habit and preference a manuscript preacher. As this is the first time I've been videotaped (to my knowledge) since seminary, I spent some time evaluating this sermon (both in terms of form and content) on the blog here. If you have comments, please leave them on the evaluation post where I've already begun engaging critically with this.

Critically Engaging

Jon Jordan,
tucked away under the Manchurian Way by Cambridge Street

Yesterday I preached a sermon I titled "Mad Love". I was a guest preacher in a congregation that did not know me at all, filling in for a seminary colleague who was gracious enough to ask.

The sermon was based on a reading from Song of Songs, and as part of my point in the sermon was that Song of Songs can provide a disruptive force to our usual decency and order, I decided not to write a manuscript. I preached from notes--a practice some people affectionately call "extemporaneous preaching."

I dislike extemporaneous preaching intensely, preferring to preach from a manuscript. Preaching from notes often leads me to preach in stories, circling around my points, repeating myself, and occasionally straying from my course. I prefer the tightness of a manuscript, in which extraneous language, inappropriate commentary, and repetition have been excised.

Yesterday was also the first time I have been videotaped while preaching (to my knowledge) since seminary. It was a rare opportunity for me to review and critique myself. Even audio recordings do not provide the same chance to really look at oneself. It is...disconcerting. 

Since I did not manuscript my sermon, I had to transcribe it after the fact. I have now spent several hours slowly watching myself preach while typing out the words I spoke. It was both delightful and