This blog is my guilty pleasure. It allows me to share my thoughts in hope that someone else will find some value or learn something along the way. I post when something really special sticks in my consciousness and it seems worth sharing.
I have been waiting for God to inspire me with meaningful words on this September 11th. As an American, I do what most of us do when we pause to remember September 11, 2001. I think about where I was when I heard, how I felt, how fear settled over me, and then hope and optimism came in the unexpected kindness we extended to each other in our wounded country. Those words come easily.
The ones that are harder to summon have to do with the passing of Rev. Dr. Marti Zimmerman on September 11, 2011. It seems trite and overdone to mention how much all of us miss her energy, presence, faithful spirit, and sense of adventure. It is much more than just those qualities.
One of her daughters posted a video today of Marti’s life. She mentioned missing her mom and wishing she could have conversations with her, but still hears her mom’s voice telling her things and giving an opinion. The woman had quite a few opinions and some of us had a lot to learn. She would always tell us that God has a sense of humor. That was a new idea to me.
She would remind us that children and youth are God’s gift for the future and that we need to give them a voice. The local church she pastored in Colorado took the business of children and youth very seriously. This is not always the case in many churches because children take time and energy and don’t usually contribute much financially. Her patience ran thin with people who were too tired or busy to go to church, even her children.
Consumerism and affluenza became the targets of her teachings and Christian education. Expensive technology, storage units where people pay to store stuff, and the lack of affordable housing in the affluent area near the church became targets of her preaching.
Marti would mention how her children would get annoyed at her constant visiting and endless conversations when they were ready to go home and leave the whole church thing for an afternoon. With some sympathy, she would acknowledge that being a PK2 child (Marti and her husband were a pastoral team) had some added challenges.
Marti became a very educated and accomplished senior pastor, earning a Doctorate of Ministry from a prestigious university in Denver. She was invited to speak throughout the country and became also became widely known among the women leadership of the connectional church. Impressive credentials, but she didn’t let it get in the way of being real. One night at a large gathering in the home of some of the church’s members someone asked her the traditional and polite what do you do question. I waited for the big long educated and wise answer that some Dr. pastors deliver with an attitude. It never came. She smiled, looked around the kitchen, laughed a little, grabbed an appetizer and said “I’m a preacher.” This seemed to me to be an understatement. I thought to myself, really? Anyone can call themselves a preacher. She knew who she was and whose she was.
When we would do financial seminars based on her work, she would lead off by saying “We’re all sinners here.” Not the intro I was going for as a facilitator. Truthfully, it took time for me to wrap my financial advisor mind around that one. I now know that she was right. We all can do better.
This Sunday I will be meeting with someone at my church in Texas to begin using the First You Dream workbook based on Marti’s sermons. Marti has left many legacies to those of us, including this work. Her teachings are with us. For me, they never leave. My friend Emily and I talk about them and I have a stack on my shelf, just waiting for God to send some more people our way. I had to re-enter all of Marti’s sermons when we created the book since her computer had seriously crashed. I’m pretty familiar with what they say.
September 11th. A day of remembering for many different reasons.
I’m leaving you with Marti’s praying hands and her uplifted ones as she preached. They are created in a cartoon format. As long as something would send the right message and teach others about Jesus and God’s love, she was up for just about anything.