Articles written by Carrie Benton

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  • New color printer, copier coming soon

    Carrie Benton, Seeley Lake Librarian|May 9, 2024

    The Blackfoot Communications Board of Trustees is awarding the Seeley Lake Branch Library $1,000 toward the purchase of a new color copier/printer. The machine will also have faxing capabilities. Thank you to everyone who shared with me about this desired resource for our community. Please note there will likely be an increase in printing fees (currently 10 cents a page) to account for the higher cost of colored ink. The public will be kept informed as to when it is ready for use and any...

  • Prayer for community healing and wholeness

    Carrie Benton, Pastor, Seeley Lake|May 9, 2024

    Thursday, May 9 at 7 p.m. the whole community is invited to gather for prayer at the Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church at 3292 Highway 83. Together we will join hearts and minds in a spirit of prayer for our community, our churches, our nation and the world. Together we will pray for healing and wholeness in every facet of life. In biblical Greek, the word that is translated as “healing and wholeness” can also be translated as “salvation.” The noun is soteria, the verb is sozo. For me, studyin...

  • Seeley Lake Library April news

    Carrie Benton, Librarian|Apr 4, 2024

    Spring is in full swing. We’ve got plenty of books on gardening and venturing outdoors. New titles in both fiction and nonfiction are arriving this month. Now is the perfect time — with road construction season also in full swing — to check out a new book to have on hand as you wait at the stoplight around Salmon Lake. A local patron has donated various materials on brain injuries and brain health. Due to their own injury and subsequent experience of people not understanding, the patron did t...

  • Naming the pain in preparation of Holy Week

    Pastor Carrie Benton|Mar 21, 2024

    Church, Know Thyself Acts 17:27-28a (NLT) “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him — though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist.” If we want to know more fully who God is, we need to dig deeper into understanding ourselves. As the French Reformation-era theologian John Calvin put it: “Without knowledge of self, there is no knowledge of God. Our wisdom, insofar as it ought to be deemed true and solid wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts:...

  • Library news

    Carrie Benton, Seeley Lake Public Library Librarian|Feb 22, 2024

    This month’s Book Club pick is Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West. Swing by the library for a copy. The book club meets in the library the first Thursday of each month at 11:00 a.m. Next gathering is March 7. Your local Seeley Lake Public Library has added these new titles to the Montana Collection. For our quilters: Border to Border: Quilts and Quiltmakers of Montana. The quilts chronicle Montana's history over the last 150 years, tel...

  • January library news

    Carrie Benton, Seeley Lake Librarian|Jan 11, 2024

    As this new year begins so does a new Reading Challenge. The 2024 Missoula Reads reading logs are in, folks! Swing by your local library to pick up your copy. If you can’t wait, check out the new categories online on the Missoula Public Library main website (programs & events, ongoing programs, Missoula Reads). I was so impressed by the number of people who completed last year’s challenge! Way to go everyone. Prizes for completed 2023 logs should be arriving very soon. If you haven’t recei...

  • December Seeley Lake Library news

    Carrie Benton, Seeley Lake Librarian|Dec 7, 2023

    With colder temperatures upon us, perhaps it’s time to swing by your local library and find a cozy book to enlighten the mind or warm the heart. Your local Seeley Lake Public Library has many brand new popular titles in both non-fiction and fiction for adults. Here is a current sampling of what is available (all quotes from the books’ jacket covers). This month’s nonfiction highlight is Fat Talk: Parenting in the Age of Diet Culture by Virginia Sole-Smith. The author “exposes the daily onslaug...

  • Party at the library to welcome another 35 years of reading

    Carrie Benton, Seeley Lake Librarian|Nov 2, 2023

    We’re throwing a party for the community! Come on Thursday, Nov. 9 to the Seeley Lake Public Library (located in the high school on 456 Airport Road), at 5:30 p.m. We are celebrating for a couple of reasons. First, my Seeley Reads Podcast co-host and I, Ms. Hailey Haines, want to celebrate the many local Reading Challenge 2023 participants and podcast listeners. This group of folks have been working through a list of 50 book/topic categories, and we want to recognize them and give people the o...

  • 'Cold Millions' digs into northwest labor history

    Carrie Benton, Seeley Lake Librarian|Sep 21, 2023

    Beautifully written, The Cold Millions by Jess Walter invites readers to take a deep dive into early 20th century America. The setting is Spokane, Washington and the extreme tension between the captains of industry and the cheap labor they relied on for their wealth. There are even brief scenes in Missoula and mention of Butte. The book opens in the year 1909. Spokane had just outlawed public speaking. As the tensions surged, unions geared up for protests and police were ready to knock them all...

  • More than words

    Rev. Carrie Benton, Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church|Sep 7, 2023

    Languages and words have always fascinated me. The way one word in one language is not easily translatable in another language. The way words are not merely words. The way we communicate with more than our speech or our writings. In high school and college the Spanish language held my attention. In seminary it was Greek and Hebrew. Creole when traveling to Haiti; Norwegian when traveling to Norway. I have come to understand that language is more so much more than words. This was made even more clear to me recently when listening to the Irish...

  • Miss Marple is back - a review

    Carrie Benton, Seeley Lake Public Library|May 4, 2023

    If you love Agatha Christie and classic murder mystery stories, I highly recommend “Marple: Twelve New Stories.” In this recent collection of new stories by twelve different writers, the character of Miss Jane Marple is brought back to life. When I lived in Pittsburgh, PA, I loved perusing the shelves of books in the Carnegie Library. One of my favorite shelves was where I first discovered Agatha Christie. I have read most of her books, all that were available in Carnegie’s collection, including... Full story

  • The Gifts of Lament

    Carrie Benton, Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church|Mar 23, 2023

    "All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes. My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away." (Psalm 38:9-11) These are heavy, emotion-laden words from one of the many Psalms of Lament found in our Hebrew scriptures. The Psalms of Lament are an invaluable element of scripture. The poetry there helps to name the deep pain people experience – all w... Full story

  • Seeley Lake Library News

    Carrie Benton, Seeley Lake Community Librarian|Sep 8, 2022

    SEELEY LAKE – It has been a great summer and there are a lot of interesting things happening at the Seeley Lake Library this month and next. A hearty “thank you” to all who participated in this year’s Summer Reading Program! Over 30 kids registered and 30 completed Reading Logs were returned. A handful of kids completed two or even three reading logs for additional chances to win the grand prizes. This year’s winners were: • Brittney Kelley, age 10 ($40 Gift Card for Stageline Pizza) • Al...

  • Lawyers in Libraries comes to Seeley Lake May 25

    Carrie Benton, Seeley Lake Community Librarian|May 19, 2022

    SEELEY LAKE - Ed Higgins, from the Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) is coming to the Seeley Lake Public Library on Wednesday, May 25 from 3 - 5 p.m. for the annual Lawyers in Libraries celebration. Why Lawyers in Libraries? Because libraries are the heart of the community and justice is at the heart of our democracy. This year's national theme: Toward a More Perfect Union – The Constitution in Times of Change. The American Bar Association explained the theme: "The Constitution is a d...

  • Finding rest and hope in the darkness

    Rev. Carrie Benton, Pastor, Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church|Dec 30, 2021

    At this time of year, when daylight is in short supply, I am reminded of the restorative blessing of darkness. My chickens first alerted me to the necessity of the dark. As daylight fades in the fall, so does their egg production. The sunlight signals their bodies to produce. Darkness gives them much needed rest for their little bodies. For most of my life darkness has always meant something bad or scary. Unknown. Mysterious. Frightening. I slept with a nightlight growing up to keep "monsters"...

  • Jesus is Lord

    Rev. Carrie Benton, Pastor, Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church|Sep 30, 2021

    9 “Therefore, let all Israel know beyond question that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 When the crowd heard this, they were deeply troubled. They said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” (Acts 2:36-37) While the global pandemic of COVID-19 has revealed the brokenness of so much of our society, one very ugly bit has emerged in my world: blatant Christian nationalism. I saw it in stars-and-stripes banners claiming Jesus as Lord, held by angry violent people storming the Capital...

  • Dropping our guard

    Rev. Carrie Benton, Pastor, Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church|Jul 1, 2021

    “5 Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. 6 Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. 7 Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:5-7, CEB) Over the years I have noticed how entangled anxiety and defensiveness are. Some of the most highly defensive people I have encountered are also the m...

  • Little deaths: A Holy Week contemplation

    Rev. Carrie Benton, Pastor, Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church|Apr 1, 2021

    This is Holy Week for Christ-followers. The time when we intentionally contemplate the events and attitudes which lead up to the crucifixion. It is a challenging week, focusing on all the moments where Jesus offers life and freedom, and those in power--the political and religious elite--try to find ways to silence him, kill him. At first glance, the crucifixion seems to show how those in power always win--they seemingly succeed in silencing the voices longing for healing, for wholeness, for rest...

  • When it gets dark, share light

    Rev. Carrie Benton, Pastor, Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church|Dec 17, 2020

    "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn't extinguish the light." John 1:5 Common English Bible I grew up in a violent, alcoholic home. I remember dreading the holidays. More drinking. More fighting. My hand-made ornaments lying broken in the street as the tree was thrown out of the house. The literal darkening of the days was compounded by this other darkness. I think this was one of the reasons I needed the Advent season--the focus was on light. As an adult looking back, I...

  • Interpretation matters

    Rev. Carrie Benton, Pastor, Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church|Oct 8, 2020

    God does not make sin nor does God cause sin to happen. God created the world and is still creating the whole universe good. God blesses it all, breathing life into the whole creation, so that life, abundant life, would grow exponentially-so that blessing would extend beyond anything we could ever imagine. This is still God's way-God's modus operandi: To bless, to give life, that all of creation may experience blessing and thrive. To bring healing, wholeness and restoration. To bring truth,...

  • Called to freedom

    Rev. Carrie Benton, Pastor, Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church|Jul 16, 2020

    Galatians 5:13: “You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love. All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour each other, be careful that you don’t get eaten up by each other!” Freedom is a tricky concept in western democratic societies. Most of us think we know what it means. Or at least, we certainly react when we believe our personal freedoms are being t...

  • Willing to be surprised

    Rev. Carrie Benton, Pastor, Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church|Mar 26, 2020

    Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye. (Matthew 7:3-5 NRSV) I heard recently that many Americans have lost their capacity to be surprised. The person surmised three primary cultural shifts have given...

  • Present incarnation

    Rev. Carrie Benton, Pastor, Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church|Jan 2, 2020

    We're going to look back a little bit in order to look forward. Christmas is all about celebrating the Incarnation. For followers of Christ, this is really an everyday kind of thing. So often, the whole "God-with-us" reality of the Incarnation gets lost amidst our tendency to focus on gifts, parties and the like. Incarnation means "being made flesh" from the Latin root. This activity in the past has on-going meaning and action in the present and on into the future. That's what the birth of...

  • Holy curiosity

    Rev. Carrie Benton, Pastor, Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church|Oct 10, 2019

    When the snow starts falling, a reverent quiet seems to settle on my spirit, inviting me to hold my heart open to possibility. Being quickly propelled into this blustery season, it seems a good time to let my faith wonder. Come along, if you like. Here in my house in the forest, I like to collect myself in front of the wood stove with a hot beverage - licorice tea this time - close my eyes and imagine what's in store for the season. What sorts of daily Divine occurrences will emerge, drawing me...

  • Exploring diversity at Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church

    Rev. Carrie Benton, Pastor, Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church|Oct 3, 2019

    For many people, the church, generally speaking, has been a difficult place - a place of woundedness, a place of hostility or rigid authoritarianism, an unfriendly place where not all have been welcome. Church people know this is true - but we don’t always know what to do about it. The Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church is earnestly trying to wrestle with these realities. We have designated the whole month of October as “Diversity Month.” Each Sunday during worship we will be exploring a particular aspect of human diversity. While there are a...

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