Monday, July 24, 2006

Was ordained Sunday the 16th. Preached Thursday and Sunday the 23rd. Really need a nap. Finally came off the high on Saturday and have wanted to sleep for the past two days.

But I leave tomorrow for children's camp, my least favorite part of ministry. Don't tell them. It's just so draining and I'm going in empty...

On a lighter note (for you), I managed to burn my finger on the iron while ironing a shirt to get my picture taken for the church directory which of course turned out hideous due to the laws of nature and church photos. My first official photo as a singleton: also a bonus to the week. The burn did blister, but it doesn't hurt too bad. So I guess that's a plus.

And I mowed my yard again for the second time but only after I got into a fight with the lawnmower. I discovered it just wanted to be cleaned and so I sprayed it with a hose and that seemed to make it happy and want to work again. Another plus. Course by that time (three attempts later) it was midday and hotter than hell. My face got all splotchy like it used to when I used to try and run. Horrible idea. It took my face an hour and a cold shower before it finally turned its usual shade of pale nothingness.

Speaking of the heat, I also managed to overheat my car. It turns out that you're supposed to pour anti-freeze/coolant into the car every year, but of course no one told me that so when I arrived home friday evening, my thermometer was pointing above the H and when I got out of the car I could hear things boiling under the hood. The next day (after the fight with the lawnmower), KC put a whole bottle of anti-freeze in the radiator and then another gallon of water before it filled up. I guess it was really dry. He was shocked. I was grateful.

What a week. Did I mention that the reverend needs a nap?

Maybe I'll get one in next week.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

“That’s what old people do,” was my Swedish friend’s response when I asked if she or any of our other friends in France wanted to go to church with me. I had been living in southern France for a month or so and had finally found a church that I liked. But I was always going alone. Only two of the five Americans in my program were “raised” in the church, one was Catholic, one was Greek Orthodox, but neither of them attended church now, so I decided to ask some of the other people in my program if they’d be interested. “Young people don’t go to church,” she told me, and everyone around her agreed, nodding their heads. “In Europe, only old people do that.”

Needless to say, that hadn’t been my experience in America. Even in my sorority in college there were some girls who would stop studying or talking to their boyfriends on the phone to come down to the common room to sit on the floor in their sweats and delta zeta tee-shirts to listen quietly or sometimes full of questions to a 10 minute bible study. They may not have gone to church, but there was at least a vague interest in spirituality. They sought something outside of academic excellence, affirmation from men, and popularity by how much you can drink. They sensed there was more.

And there is even more interest when it comes to serving others. “Your church did that?” was the response my roommate gave last year when I told her how we raised $10,000 and a whole 4th floor full of clothes and furniture for hurricane evacuees. She is a social worker who doesn’t go to church but considers herself “spiritual.” She was shocked that we would take an interest in social justice. “The man who helped de-segregate Austin schools went to your church?” Yep. Yep.

What a variety of responses you’ll find when you begin to talk about church with the world around you.

“I thought women couldn’t be ministers” said one un-churched co-worker at Buzzard Billy’s in Waco where we waited tables together. You see how Christianity has been portrayed in the media and what the pervasive understanding of church is in the South? “You’re going to preach on Sunday though huh?” Yep, I replied, and then his real question, much more confusing than the fact that I was a female preacher came forth. “Are you still gonna have a beer with me after work?”

According to these understandings of the church, people who go to church are old men and who are disconnected from the world around them and who don’t drink.

Is that what church means to you?

“Are we going to church tonight?” two year old Allison Vanderslice said to her dad on the swing-set as she swung back and forth. “Actually we are the church Allison,” her father said rather comically reciting his theology to her, knowing she wasn’t listening. “The church isn’t a building; it’s a people being church for one another together.” “To the moon,” Alison yelled, and I laughed and pushed her higher on the swing.

My uncle sat down next to me one day when I was 11 years old. I had just started babysitting and had opened my first back account with my accumulated wealth of $21.50. “You know, you’re a Christian now and part of the church” (he had been at my baptism two years earlier), and the Bible teaches us to give back to God what he gives to us. Do you tithe?” he asked me. “No,” I said, rather ashamed that no one had taught me about this earlier. “Tithing is giving 10% of what you make back to the church to use for God’s work,” he told me, and then left me to mull over this while he went to have another piece of grandma’s rhubarb pie. From babysitting to Buzzard Billy’s to First Baptist, I’ve been tithing 10% of my income to the church ever since.

We never talked much about what church meant when I was growing up in the youth group. We talked a lot about memorizing Bible verses and sex and Jesus washing us white as snow, but never explicitly about church. There were three things that I could always count on from the church youth group though: a trip to camp in the summer like Centrifuge or Student Life, a mission trip during the year, and the ski trip in the winter. Those three things were like clockwork, a part of my schedule, something that I looked forward to doing, set aside money to ensure I would get to go, always got my parents to register me in time for. And although we didn’t ever talk about what it meant to be church, I was subconsciously taught that church was three things: learning about God, serving others and having fun together.

What have you learned that the church is? Or is supposed to be? Is it a building? Is it “old people”? Is it spirituality? Is it volunteering on behalf of others? Is it having fun?

What is church?

Theology teaches us that Church is being God’s people. Our call to worship was taken from Stanley Grenz’s book Theology for the Community of God. The Bible never describes church as a building or an organization or an event, but rather people in community: lives connected and woven together with the common thread of Christ.

Christians are followers of Christ, but the church is Christians invested in the lives of each other, trying to do God’s work in the world.

And that’s the hard part. Not only the loving people part. Most of us know how hard that can be at times: forgiving those who hurt us, loving people who are different, we know that’s hard. The hard part for me goes beyond that. The hard part is learning how to exist as the church. Learning how to BE the church. Learning how to make my identity (as a follower of Christ committed to community) infiltrate my very being, affecting the way I live my life. That’s the hard part, isn’t it: a change in worldview?

It was hard putting one dollar of the ten I had made babysitting a screaming child the night before into the offering plate, but satisfactory too, knowing that I was giving back to God and back to a people committed to do God’s work. It was hard hammering a nail on top of a hot, black roof when I’d have rather been at the swimming pool playing Marco Polo with my sisters and friends, but satisfactory too knowing that I was helping someone have a home who couldn’t otherwise afford one.

Because gradually God is changing my attitude about life and molding me as a Christian to re-adjust the way I view community, the way I view the church, recreating the way I think, changing my worldview.

I want to be church to you. Please be church for me and each other as well.

That takes courage though. It takes courage to sign your child up for children’s camp when they’ve never been away from home and there’s a good possibility you’ll miss them more than they’ll miss you. It takes courage to ask how the church is doing financially and to commit to do your part to help us continue. It takes courage to hear the staggering statistics about poverty and commit one night a month to distribute food to the hungry. Fred Craddock said last month at the Friends of Truett Luncheon at the CBF convention that he’d just as soon not know. “I’d just as soon not know how many children don’t have healthcare in America,” he said. “I’d just as soon not know how many women are in abusive relationships or how many people have died in Uganda, because it means if I’m a friend of God, I have to respond to these things.”

I’d just as soon not know either, truth be told. I don’t want to know that only 1% of our water is actually okay to drink and that we’re polluting it faster than we can waste it. But I do. I don’t want to know how many Austinites can’t provide for their families because churches and governments aren’t helping them get back on their feet. But I do: 23% of Texas children live in poverty. I don’t want to know the illiteracy rate in America, but I do. 90 million adults in America are illiterate – that’s one in two. I don’t want to know how many people have died in Iraq, but I do: over 40,000. The statistics are depressing! Why know when you could sit on your back porch in the shade and drink an RC Cola? I don’t want to know how far behind we are in the church budget because people aren’t tithing. But I do. I don’t want to know how many FBC members never actually come to church, let alone get involved. But I do.

And I need to.

I need to know. I need to ask. I need to get involved. Because I am the church and so are you.

Be strong and very courageous the LORD told Joshua three times in the first nine verses of chapter 1 of Joshua. Be strong and very courageous.

Do not wait to be called on to make a difference in the world.

“This is your church,” I always tell the Awakening young adults Sunday school. “Get involved.”
“This is your world,” I tell the college students, “Change it.”

The church is not old people. It is all people, committed to be church for each other.

Listen to your heart, sense your calling, take your passion for injustice and do something about it. Sign up for Habitat or Mobile Loaves and Fishes. Start an action team, join an action team.

Listen to your spirit, sense the pull, take your passion for education and do something about it. Volunteer to teach a Sunday school class, sign up for SALT, spend time with FBC’s youth, volunteer to tutor students.

Listen to your head, sense your sympathies, take your passion for children and sign up to mentor at Oak Springs, work in the nursery, brainstorm with the team for next year’s VBS.

Do not wait to be called on to make a difference in the world. Be aware. Be involved. Be church. Be strong and very courageous.

Did you know that we had to turn away children for VBS and Creative Arts Camp because we didn’t have the workers or supplies or have any idea that many children would want in? Did you know that half of the kids we did have at VBS were visitors and are continuing to come to the church?
Did you know that we are starting to recycle paper in the church office, but that we still are using Styrofoam cups on Wednesday nights?
Did you know that a potentially three hundred year old oak tree has been donated to our church and will arrive to thrive in our green area sometime next year?
Did you know that we are way behind in our budget and that staff is being told that important programs may be cut because we don’t have the money to do them?
Did you know that the flowers in the bouquet on Sunday mornings are put into vases and delivered to members of our congregation who are unable to come to church?
Did you know that our church building welcomes multiple groups during the week who use our rooms including Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Gathering of the Men, Teen CBS, Mosaic, the Brazilian congregation and Mozart Fest? All programs outside of FBC who use our building because we have made ourselves available to them.
Did you know that we did the play JB because one member of the congregation stepped forward and said “I want to do this”?
Did you know that Awakening Sunday School started because two or three single people said “we want a bible study with people our own age”?
Did you know that an Environmental Action Team has just started because one Sunday school class recognized our responsibility as Christians to the earth and took steps to become more educated on environmental issues?
Did you know that Beresheth utilizes over 15 different musicians who otherwise are not using their musical gifts in worship?
Do you even know what Beresheth is?
Did you know that the girl who sang the solo “Stars” last week is also our Clarion editor?
Did you know that next year we will celebrate the 20th year anniversary of a church we helped start in Juarez?

These things are so exciting and so scary in a variety of ways! But all these things relate to who you are because you are the church. This is you. Beresheth is you, Sunday school is you, Habitat is you, Youth trips are you, Children’s programs are you, budget meetings are you, the Clarion editor is you, this building is you.

You are the church. Find your passion, get involved, be active, love each other, hate each other, forgive each other and love each other again. Find a way to serve so that your soul is satisfied. Educate yourself on what is happening in our church so that the eye doesn’t say to the hand, “I don’t even recognize you. You’re a part of this church?”

You are the church. You are young, you are old, you are business people, you are artists, you are female, you are male, you are so different and yet called to be committed to one another, to be church to one another.

It is yours. The church is yours. Get involved, take initiative, tithe, volunteer, trust others, be trusted by others, be church to one another.

I learned this song about church before I knew what the church was.

Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak but he is strong.

You are Christ’s daughters and sons. Love each other as Christ has first loved you. You may feel weak, but be strong and very courageous for you are the church.


Friday, July 21, 2006

Laying on of the Hands

Three sisters: Doctor, Minister, Teacher
Rev. Ann Pittman and Rev. Dr. Roger Paynter

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

“What a beautiful service,” everyone said to me and I felt it in my most core being. The beauty of God radiated through song, liturgy, the spoken word and the laying on of hands. Cantomos’ music was serene, Seth’s hymn contemplative, and Joy’s song passionate. Add to that Samuel’s expertise on the piano and Lynnette’s soft, telling voice, and musically we were at our finest.

I had said to Genie Norris before the service, “I hope I don’t cry when I give my word of witness,” “Crying’s okay,” she told me with a smile and a hug. And cry I did. From the moment Holly Eades opened her mouth in prayer to God for God’s daughter and God’s people, I cried. I had no idea how overwhelming the experience of ordination would be.

Remembering people who have shaped my life, opened doors for ministry, pushed and prompted, encouraging me to use my gifts for God’s glory: it was an emotional trip down the proverbial memory lane.

I tried to listen as hard as I could. I kept my eyes on Julie as she told our story and gave the charge. I practiced the good listening skills they teach you in leadership classes. I made eye contact, I repeated what people said in my mind, I nodded my head.

And I’m not sure I caught it all. From some, I remember exactly what they said, from others, how they laid their hands on me, from others, how they spoke, and still from others, their facial expressions. But it was clear as the ocean on a cloudless day, I was loved. Love, love, love was all around.

I am still remembering, and writing what I remember down. Who said what, who slipped a gift in my palm, who hugged me hard. I only wish every young adult, as they recognize their calling in life, could be blessed, pushed out of the nest to discover they can fly on God’s grace; I wish everyone could have that affirmation of calling, that affirmation of love.

So thank you First Baptist. Roger’s last words for me as we left his office to go to worship were, “This is an honor and blessing for First Baptist as well.” Thank you FBC for all you’ve given me, thank you Wyatt Park, thank you CSM, thank you UBC, thank you Mosaic. Thank you for loving me and for allowing me to love you too.

Monday, July 17, 2006

"Word of Witness," in yesterday's Ordination Service. Or as I like to call it, my story...

I have been aware of this moment and yet unaware for a long time. I began this journey from birth, though the church recognized me as taking that first step at age nine. I became a Christian at that age driven by an intense, yet childlike love for God and a fear of being separated from my Supreme parent. Church was my haven. At a time when teenagers loathed their parents, hated middle-school and certainly were annoyed by younger sisters, church became my refuge where I could be myself, learn about God and serve. And I was continually encouraged to serve and given multiple opportunities for teaching, singing and participation in leadership.

I was that kid in high school who was always asking “why?” Why do I have to learn trigonometry? And not just because I didn’t want to take the class. I got an A. I just didn’t understand what the Pythagorean Theorem had to do with my existential status. And now someone’s going to jump on me because the Pythagorean Theorem is Algebra. Whatever. The point is, I didn’t understand. And I asked questions about God too all through high school at Wyatt Park Baptist, college at William Jewell, seminary at Truett, at University Baptist in Waco, at Mosaic and now at FBC.

I’m still asking why. And I still don’t understand. I don’t understand how the Spirit moves. I don’t understand God’s interaction with the world. I don’t understand why God chooses to maintain patience and perseverance with unfaithful children. Only with my current profession, there’s no equation to ensure I get an A. I mean, I can’t even explain to you how I got here to this point today.

I could tell you about making the choice to study English and Religion at William Jewell College instead of theatre at Milliken University. I could tell you about choosing graduate school based on a scholarship, a city based on its level of “coolness” a church based on how relevant it is to current culture. But these decisions are points on a map. And I can’t even always explain how I came to make those decisions.

But somewhere in that process, I sensed a calling. I became aware of my gifts and I felt, feel compelled to use them.

I believe that all people are commissioned by God to be followers of Christ in whatever capacity: as teachers, actors, politicians, doctors, car mechanics, parents, spouses, siblings whoever we are, we are commissioned to be ourselves.

I have been afraid of churches for a long time. I witnessed a horrible church-split. I’ve been hurt by ministers, hurt by Christians, hurt by the church. Churches are buildings housing communities who make terrible decisions in the name of Christ. But they are also people loved by God, who often radiate the beauty of Christ more clearly than a sunset in their compassion, service and love.

When I first preached for this church a year and a half ago, I was an outsider coming into your community to share what I had witnessed about God to you. In that sermon, I sang a song by Patty Griffin, “I must have walked ten million miles, I must have walked ten million miles…” and in a lot of ways that song has become a sort of theme-song for my life. If you’d have asked me 10 years ago if I thought I would be ordained someday, I’d have said no, If you’d have asked me five years ago I even believed in ordination, I’d have said no.

But ten million miles later, I received a grant and met this church who asked me to examine myself: what and who brought me to where I am today. I came to a community who affirmed me and encouraged me to use my gifts to the glory of God. And 10 months later, I want to say thank you to all the people along the way: to Gerald Small and Jimmy Albright, to Peter Inzerillo and Milton Horne and Brad Chance, to Roger Olson and Kyle Lake and David Crowder and Dorisanne Cooper, to grandma and grandpa, to my mom and dad and Amy and Emily, and to Don Vanderslice and Roger Paynter and the unrelenting, gracious ministers and staff at FBC and also to you, church at First Baptist Austin. Thank you for making church a haven for me again. Thank you for being church for me. For reminding me that I am called to use my gifts to serve God. For commissioning me to do so. I pray we continue on this journey together and if we ever part, I pray that I will remember what it is you have ordained me to do, and to work for God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength wherever the next 10 million miles take me.

Friday, July 14, 2006

I can't believe this is happening.

I feel like I'm getting married.

Except I don't have a dress, and my hair hasn't been cut, let alone colored and I've not written my vows.

Except I'm not. Getting married, I mean.

But it is incomplete. At least it feels like that. Sort of. There are so many blessings. My grandparents are here, miraculously. Both my sisters and my parents at the same time. Lynnette, Josie, Lance, Julie, all at once. Chris, Michelle, Joy and Peter.

But not Kyle. Not Jeremy. Not David or anyone from UBC now. They're moving into their new building the morning I get ordained. They've changed their interior design and so have I, I guess, but that doesn't mean that old grocery store doesn't still sit inside us, in our memory, informing who we are today.

And so I cried. I cried because my skin got sucked down into the lock of the door when the car reached over 20 mph. I cried because my "word of witness" isn't written yet for Sunday. Because I only have "winter" dress clothes t0 wear to the reception and everyone else got new clothes. Because my hair hasn't been cut since December. Because I don't like working in the children's department. Because I don't have any idea how to talk to mass quantities of children about Jesus. Because I'm tired of going on church trips. Because I leave again in a week. Because I hate high school reunions. Because I am so stressed that I started early. Because I got my damn skin pinched in the damn door lock. Because I feel totally unprepared for my wedding day.

But she will be the bride of Christ. And she will be redeemed nonetheless. With or without a summer dress. With or without spit-ends in her hair. With or without her witness written. With our without you.

That I will be good with or without you, she sang last night.

With or without you, she sang.

And she believes it.

But she cries anyway.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I was high. Full of adrenaline from the Ordination Council. My eyes burned and my head ached, but my body was awake, energized and I needed to channel it.

I was nervous to say the least. And I kicked into task mode: finding nametags, making signs until Suzii grabbed me: "Peace be with you," she said staring into my eyes. "Thank you," I said, appreciative and tried to walk away. But she held me firmly, both hands on my arms. "Peace be on you," she repeated until I stopped saying thanks and started listening.

That moved me from being task-oriented to being vulnerable. A wave of emotion rushed over me, all the nerves I had oppressed broke free, and I thought for a moment I would cry.

But I entered the room all smiles and hospitality, and thankful, hoping the tears would not show their face today.

Roger asked me to start by telling the story of how I arrived at this point. I answered questions about call and ordination, and then Bob asked me who had affirmed my ministry. I wanted to say Kyle, but couldn't get the words out. I wanted to tell how he opened the door for me to preach and how the community of UBC embraced, encouraged and loved me. For four years. 4 years. But I couldn't talk. I was trying so hard to keep my chest from heaving and the tears from falling. I looked at Roger and said, "Please help me." He explained the story and said I'd been working hard on my grief. Then I was able to move on to Don and then Roger, all people who had affirmed my ministry.

I answered questions about criticism, favorite Bible story, least favorite story, where I wanted to be in 10 years, how I will get there, self-care, what I liked best and least about FBC, what in ministry is hard for me...

Then the ministers allowed me to ask any question I wanted. I chose, "Is it worth it?"

The sent me out in the hall while they had discussion and "voted." I was out there a long time waiting, thinking, wondering.

When they finally fetched me, I entered as they were passing around my certificate to sign. Roger affirmed that they had indeed voted unanimously to ordain me. He had tears in his eyes. Others added to his comments with their own feelings about my call. Some even said I needed to be more involved in the arts community.

And it was over. I left high. Exhausted with a crying headache, but high. Awake. Alert. And aware of the decision I had made and that had been validated. I am called to the ministry. I confessed it. It was affirmed. And now it is happening. There is no turning back. I am Jeremiah and the fire burning inside, whether I like it or not, will not die. And so I will be ordained. In less than a week.

Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa and Emily fly in Thursday. Amy flies in Friday. Josie and Julie arrive Saturday. Lance arrives Sunday. I don't know about the others.

It will be beautiful, it will be hard. But it will be my calling. Affirmed. Commissioned. And there will be no turning back...
This picture is fabulous. I wouldn't lead you astray.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Pittman Family
and the
First Baptist Church of Austin
Invite you to the Ordination Ceremony of
Ann Catherine Pittman
July 16, 2006
11 a.m.
First Baptist Church
901 Trinity
Austin, TX 78701

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A friend emailed this to me. Just so that I take all the blame for posting this, he shall remain anonymous...

The devil is in the details.

Dear Friend,

Thanks very much for reminding me that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states that homosexuality is an abomination. I would like some further advice, however, regarding some other laws and how to best follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. How should I deal with this?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as suggested in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev 25:44 states that I may buy slaves from the nations that are around us. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans but not Canadians. Can you clarify?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus (Ex 35:2) clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, and if so, how should I do that?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

Leviticus 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or are correctable defects in vision excluded from the aforementioned proscription.?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Leviticus 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Leviticus 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm on which he violates Leviticus 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field. His wife likewise violates Leviticus by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (a cotton/polyester blend). Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Leviticus 24:10-16). Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws (Leviticus 20:14)?

Thanks very much for your help, and thanks again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

I totally mowed the lawn yesterday.

And mother said I'm "not good with yardwork."

And the yard really looks quite excellent. Of course, my neighbor Clarence came over and weed-eated it which greatly improved it's overall appearance. And of course, I had to call and ask for directions about how to start the damn lawnmower, but truth be told, I did mow the yard all by myself. And the only casuality was my left foot. It has four huge ant bites, but that's to be expected in Texas and in an untreated yard. Plus now I know to wear tennis shoes.

Please add on to my lawn mowing expertise, weeding my garden today. I watered my tomatoe plants and pulled grass out from around my cacti and cursed weeds from amongst my flowers.

Then I borrowed Clarence's rake and took care of some leaf problems along the side of the house.

Clarence and I had a good chat. Bandit his dog was out working with him too. I need a dog. Not now though, I've got enough to handle.

It's amazing. I think I mowed the yard once growing up. I hated it. Amy loved it. Mom always martyred herself to do it. And sometimes dad mowed too when mom had some other laborious chore to execute. So I never really had to. Someone else always took care of it. Even at Northridge Drive where we were expected to mow the yard, I didn't cause I'm allergic to grass and it just didn't seem like fun. I'd rather buy an extra month's supply of toilet paper or trash bags than take my turn to mow the yard.

But now that I'm a proud home-owner, things are different. I like to mow the yard. I don't plan on paying anyone to do it for me. I like to make my garden look nice. Who knew? Who knew that this nose-in-a-book-i'd-rather-play-make-believe-than-play-sports-or-mow-the-yard girl would ever be where she is today?

I understand something now about a sense of ownership, of taking pride in what you've accomplished, of how desparate one must feel when the government or war or banks threaten to take that away from you.

Home ownership. I love it.

All but the antbites.