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Showing posts from June, 2004

Food for Though from The Other Side

Finally getting around to reading my July/August issue of The Other Side magazine.

On page 8 under "Short Takes":
"Americans spend $250 per month on fast food and $5 on helping poor people." Ouch! I'm afraid I must locate myself in that statement. I'd like to think I spend less than the first number and more than the second number on average, but I know that my first number (food for me) is still more, much more, than my second number (food for others.)

On page 9, in "Yeast of the Pharisees," Shane Claiborne writes about Luke 18, where the prayers of the tax collector and the Pharisee are recounted. Shane writes, "...if our commitments are not born out of relationship, if they are not liberating for both oppressed and oppressor, and if they are not marked by raw, passionate love, then we do little more than flaunt our own purity by showing everyone else how dirty they are."
That hits directly on a longtime struggle of mine - for whom a…

John Cobb's Response to Prisoner Abuse in Iraq

Check out John Cobb's Response to Prisoner Abuse in Iraq
John Cobb, a favorite theologian of mine, writes an excellent article on the Center for Process Studie's website
A quote: "But the deeper moral issue is that of basic national policy. If we want to pursue American economic and political empire, the price will be the creation of a global system in which American atrocities will multiply exponentially. Indeed, in many places we will find that we, like Saddam, can only prevent popular terrorism by using state terrorism." - This makes me think of a communion liturgy sometimes used by one of my professors at Drew, Rev. Dr. Traci West. She would speak of how "on the night [Jesus] was given up" and crucified as an act of "state-sponsored terrorism."
Who defines terrorism? The terrorists or the terrorized?
Cobb also addresses the issue of culpability, and suggests fault must be found much higher up than with individual soldiers...

Marva Dawn - Unfettered Hope - A Call to Faithful Living in an Affluent Society

I've been reading: Unfettered Hope - A Call to Faithful Living in an Affluent Society by Marva Dawn.
At first I was a little skeptical about the book - all this talk about 'focal concerns' and 'fettering' or 'unfettering' our hopes, and my disagreements with her views on technology in some aspects. But I have to admit, thought I'm not done with the book yet, Dawn's theories are really growing on me.
Here's an excerpt, which starts with a quote from Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water:
"'It is a criterion of love. In moments of decision, we are to try to make what seems to be the most loving, the most creative decision. We are not to play safe, to draw back out of fear. Love may well lead us into danger. It may lead us to die for our friend. In a day when we are taught to look for easy solutions, it is not always easy to hold on to that most difficult one of all, love.'
What are our foremost loves by which everything else is…

Luke 9:51-62 - Reflections

I finished my sermon already for Sunday. But I can't get this week's gospel lesson out of my head. I feel like sometimes my sermons alternate - one week emphasizing the "we have to get to work NOW!" part of the Good News, and the next week epmahsizing "God loves you, God's grace is boundless." This week is a "we have to get to work" week. I guess, really, that is the double message of the gospel - we've got some much we could so easily be doing to show God's kingdom all around us. We fail to do even some most basic things to love our neighbors. We MUST get to work. And yet, and yet...Christ welcomes the disciples who never understand what he's getting at no matter how many times he shows them. God loves us no matter how many times we screw up. Christ redeems us no matter how unworthy. Grace and Responsibility (incidentally, the title of a John Cobb book that I love,) I guess that's about right.
Anyway, I don't normally edi…

Luke 9:51-62 - Wesley White

Came across this post in my sermon prep from Wesley White of KairosComotion.
He writes:
"Reversal upon reversal. Hospitality turned on its head. How do we welcome a commitment to G*O*D that doesn't go astray for this reason or that?

"Presumably the messengers smoothing the way for Jesus told some little not-quite-trues. Folks were ready to welcome Jesus until they saw that he wasn't stopping by their wood on a snowy or any other night - just passing through when he should be gracing them with bread or healing or a story.

"So the messengers blame the villagers before the villagers could blame the messenger. And Jesus catches their cover up and says, 'Nope, we are not getting rid of the evidence.'

"And others preemptively welcome themselves in, only to be turned away. And others are welcomed before they are ready to climb aboard. And others set conditions upon being welcomed into the family...

"If you were to use the villagers and the three alo…

Hammer and Nail - Indigo Girls

Just borrowed Indigo Girl'sNomads Indians Saints from my brother, who has had this on the brain due to his recent three-row garden-planting extravaganza -
lyrics from the first track, "Hammer and Nail":

Clearing webs from the hovel
a blistered hand on the handle of a shovel
I've been digging too deep, I always do.
I see my face on the surface
I look a lot like narcissus
A dark abyss of an emptiness
Standing on the edge of a drowning blue.
I look behind my ears for the green
Even my sweat smells clean
Glare off the white hurts my eyes
Gotta get out of bed get a hammer and a nail
Learn how to use my hands, not just my head
I think myself into jail
Now I know a refuge never grows
From a chin in a hand in a thoughtful pose
Gotta tend the earth if you want a rose.
I had a lot of good intentions
Sit around for fifty years and then collect a pension,
Started seeing the road to hell and just where it starts.
But my life is more than a vision
The sweetest part is acting aft…

FaithfulAmerica.org

FaithfulAmerica.org

Check out this link, and consider signing on. The ad shows a handful of religious leaders from different faith groups in the US apologizing for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. You can endorse the ad by signing on.
United Methodist Bishop Melvin Talbert, who is extremely active in ecumenical relationships on behalf of the UMC, is speaking in support of this initiative, (though not officially on behalf of the UMC, lest people get all excited...)
On a side note, did you know George W. is United Methodist? He won't meet with United Methodist leaders, but I noticed that he did 'meet' via videoconferencing with the Southern Baptist Convention this month. Go figure.
Anyway, people of faith have struggled with how to respond to the war. I was just talking this afternoon with a youth from my church about questions about war/military service, etc., and she expressed to me how confusing it can be for her to even keep the facts straight, much less figure out how sh…

EcoTeam

EcoTeam

I found this link while surfing the web recently. What a fabulous idea - basically the program works like this: you get 4 or 5 households to together become an EcoTeam. You meet alternately at each other's homes, you commit to making certain relatively simple changes, and by the end, you are living in a more sustainable way, a more earth friendly way. I read the table of contents and the actions that they require you to take, and they are really very doable - not drastic - but have real results.
I like it because making lifestyle changes can seem very overwhelming. My brother and I have been trying very hard on our own to make changes - we've both been vegetarians for a long time, and he's recently become vegan. (I'm trying, but a lot less successfully than he is!) But beyond that, we've realized that our purchasing habits still make a lot of impact. I now love Wegman's, because of their nature's kitchen section where everything is organic and frie…

Favorite Hymns

This past year at my church we conducted a worship survey and came up, in part, with a list of favorite hymns. Here are our top 10:
1. #378 Amazing Grace
2. #377 It Is Well With My Soul
3. #504 Old Rugged Cross
4. #314 In the Garden
5. #593 Here I am Lord
6. #572 Pass It On
7. #77 How Great Thou Art
8. #431 Let There Be Peace
9. #143 On Eagle’s Wings
10. #344 Lord, You have Come to the Lakeshore

(numbers are from the United Methodist Hymnal)

I was looking over these yesterday in preparation for my summer preaching, where I will be focusing on one of these hymn choices each Sunday and preaching on their theology and significance (while trying to fit in the lectionary as well, hence the what is for me quite-in-advance planning). So I've been thinking about this mix of 10 hymns and musing on what this eclectic selection of songs means about our theology, assuming this list isn't too unusual for congregations.
1. I'm not surprised that Amazing Grace makes the number one…

Trinity Sunday Musings

So Explain It To Me (Prov.8:1-4,22-31;Ps.8;Rom.5:1-5;John 16:12-15)

I found this article, by Mary W. Anderson, through a textweek link while preparing for my sermon this Sunday. A good paragraph:

"At the age of three I had a memorable experience of the three-in-one, I was watching my grandmother sleep during her afternoon nap. As I contemplated her existence, I thought wisely, "That's Grandmamma, Mamma and Odelle." She smiled in her sleep as I called her by the names used for her by her grandchildren, her daughter and her husband, Three names, three relationships -- and yet the same person. Amazing!"

I'm struggling with the variety of events at church this Sunday: Trinity Sunday, Peace with Justice Sunday, 4 superb scripture selections, Communion, Confirmation. I don't know where to start. That the doctrine of the Trinity is hard enough for me to grasp much less convey to my congregation is just icing on the crazy cake this week. But I appreciate this m…