A Message From God in a Bar

So God told me to make rosaries.

At least, I’m pretty sure He did.  Granted, I was on my way out of a cheesy sports bar in Maggie Valley, NC when it happened.  But if I am to believe that God is always with me then I have to take it on faith that He was talking to me even amongst the battered wood paneling, dusty license plate collection, and ads catering to the local biker culture. 

And no, I had not had too much drink.  In fact, I had not had anything to drink at all that night as my husband and five-year-old son and I stopped by for dinner after a long day of white-water rafting.

There’s no question that a call to make rosaries, particularly one that comes to a Protestant chick in a sports bar, is a little “out there.”  It’s especially kooky when you understand that I’ve never made a rosary before in my life.

So I pondered this quirky message, wanting to make sure that it really was what God wants me to be doing.  Theologians would call this a time of discernment.

And the more I “discerned”, the less far-fetched this idea seemed.  Although I’m not Catholic, I’ve got rosaries all over my house.  I’ve been collecting them for almost 20 years now.  I’ve also got icons, prayer ropes, prayer boxes, retablos, crosses, Santos, and many other little doodads that people use to pray.  (I also have a Jesus action figure, but I don’t think that counts.)  So the rosary concept, in and of itself, was not all that earth-shattering.

And too, I thought, I’ve always been crafty.  I’ve always loved being able to create stuff, trying my hand at many things: quilting, needlework, cross stitch, weaving with a loom, basket weaving, etc.  I don’t want to brag, but I can hold my own in a room of crafters.  Mind you, rosary making would involve bead work, and I haven’t done a lot with beads.  My only beading experience comes from the two holidays when I held jewelry-making parties for my employees.  Would that and my talent for making bread baskets qualify me to become a rosary artisan?  Apparently so, if God has anything to do with it.

What’s also interesting is that I have formal theological training, too.  I received my Master of Theological Studies from Duke Divinity School in 1996, although I haven’t really done a lot with it.  I have always had a strong drive towards social justice issues and have made my career working on various issues, such as domestic violence, sexual assault, disability rights, etc.  I felt like that was the ministry to which God had called me, although recently I’ve been feeling the need for a change.  Hmmm . . .

But beyond indulging my prayer bead fetish, my crafty side, and my theological training I think there is something more to this.  Much more.  I think, perhaps, that  this call that came in the middle of a sports bar one hot July evening was a divine tap on the shoulder to get my attention and tell me that it was time, finally, to develop a prayer life, and possibly to help others do the same.  Which is funny because I’ve never been very good at prayer.  But that’s a subject for another day.

And so I begin this journey and this blog.  There is no telling where it will lead.  Only God knows that.

3 Responses to A Message From God in a Bar

    • Kristen,
      Your article in Upper Room was a delightful surprise. I am 65 year old retired UM pastor who has been using rosaries and prayer beads for close to fifteen years. It is so good to know that there is another UM who takes such things seriously. I especially like the addition of the “resurrection bead. I’ve been going through dry prayerless period and to get myself back in the habit I’ve praying my rosary and really felt a bead was needed at the start.Thank you.
      By the way we are fellow Georgians. I live in Cartersville