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Showing posts from August, 2004

Luke 14:25-33 from Wesley White

I was intrigued by Wesley White's take on Luke 14:25-33 on his Kairos Comotion website this week:

Kairos CoMotion Lectionary Dialogue:

"Luke 14:25-33

This section is not much different than what is reported about cultic behavior in general - a narrowing of perception to see only the chosen one. There is no cost too large to pay to be a disciple. Folks are put in the position of suing for peace from a larger, controlling ruler.

I know that discipleship is a huge issue in the history of the church and still today when folks call for solidarity in faith or patriotism or whatever.

I do wonder, however, as the Republican Convention convenes (not that it is any different in kind, perhaps only in degree, of any other cultic behavior) and congregations continue, whether or not it would make a difference for us to be disciples together rather than disciples of one mediator or another . . .

What is the choice that appears to be present in the passage for you?"

A different perspect…

"Finding Rest in God"

I was preparing next Sunday's bulletin and checking out hymns to use when this little prayer/affirmation caught my eye. I think it's beautiful and moving. So here it is:

"In comparison with this big world, the human heart is only a small thing. Though the world is so large, it is utterly unable to satisfy this tiny heart. The ever-growing soul and its capacity can be satisfied only in the infinite God. As water is restless until it reaches its level, so the soul has not peace unitl it rests in God."
--"Finding Rest in God," Sundar Singh, India, 20th Century, The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 423

Dubya - two of them

On Thursday night my mother, cousin, and I went to see Michael W. Smith and MercyMe in concert at the NYS Fair. Frankly, I'm not a huge listener in the Christian Music category, but Michael W. Smith had been one I liked and knew more of growing up. I certainly have always thought he was a talented singer with a really unique voice in a world of very similar sounding artists. At any rate, the concert was an adventure...
Smith talked about his post-9/11 sessions talking to the other Dubya, George himself, and George asking him to write a song about it. Eventually, Smith wrote this song called "There She Stands", all about the American Flag. Some lyrics:
"Just when you think it might be over
Just when you think the fight is gone
Someone will risk his life to raise her
There she stands ...
When evil calls it’s self a martyr
When all your hopes come crashing down
Someone will pull her from the rubble
There she stands"
Then, Smith proceeded to say, "I'm not he…

def poetry

Do you ever watch def poetry on HBO?
Some really good stuff, really talented people. Moving. As a preacher, and a theatre lover, I'm pretty comfortable with performing and being upfront. But this def poetry - it's musical, it's thoughtful, and I feel like I could never do something like that.
That's all.

from Rev. Richard Fairchild - Musical Chairs

Stumbled across this fun sermon-starter from Rev. Richard Fairchild, based on this week's gospel lesson from Luke 14:1, 7-14.

Sermon and Liturgy for Ordinary 22 - Proper 17 - Year C.

Here's what caught my eye:
"I want you all to do something unexpected - and perhaps a bit uncomfortable for you. I want you to change seats - to move around to a place where you rarely, if ever sit.
So get up - and move - those on my right - please move to my left. And those at the back - move to the front. Let us do it - come - and see what it feels like...."


Thinking about trying it with my congregation. Though, this could spark a revolt....!

castles in the clouds

My mother and I took a mini-vacation today to Alexandria Bay, where we enjoyed the gorgeous weather on a two hour boat tour of some of the more famous of the 1000 (actually, according to the tour guide, 1700ish) islands in the St. Lawrence Seaway between U.S. and Canada. We spent part of our time on Heart Island at Boldt Castle. The castle was built in the early 1900s by millionaire George C. Boldt as a monument of love for his wife, Louise. The castle is huge - and has been much restored since I last visited in high-school - it has 365 windows, one for every day of the year, 4 floors, pool, servants quarters, 30+ fireplaces, bathrooms galore, bowling alley, a 'playhouse' for the children where the family of 4 lived during construction, which had its own bowling alley, a hennery, a huge boat house, and a replica of the L'arche de Triomphe.. When his wife died suddenly, George ordered construction to cease, and the building lay in ruins until purchased by the 1000 Islands B…

from sojo.net: Take Action - God is Not a Republican. Or a Democrat.

Take Action: God is Not a Republican. Or a Democrat.:

"God is Not a Republican. Or a Democrat. Sign our petition and send a message to America that God is not a Republican. or a Democrat. and that the Religious Right does not speak for you. Remind America that Jesus taught us to be peacemakers, advocates for the poor, and defenders of justice. With your help, Sojourners will place this petition in The New York Times."

Consider this interesting petition from sojo.net - sojo is obviously a progressive arena for faith discussions, but i like this campaign - it speaks to all of us and helps us put this election into some thoughtful, Christian perspective, actually, for once, looking at what Jesus teaches us to do, calls us to do, and holding that up to the issues we hear tossed around today. Check it out.


from CNN.com: Wheat-allergic girl denied Communion

check out this article from CNN.com

Friday, August 20, 2004 Posted: 8:07 AM EDT (1207 GMT)

BRIELLE, New Jersey (AP) -- An 8-year-old girl who suffers from a rare digestive disorder and cannot eat wheat has had her first Holy Communion declared invalid because the wafer contained no wheat, violating Roman Catholic doctrine.
Now, Haley Waldman's mother is pushing the Diocese of Trenton and the Vatican to make an exception, saying the girl's condition should not exclude her from the sacrament, which commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ before his crucifixion. The mother believes a rice Communion wafer would suffice.
"It's just not a viable option. How does it corrupt the tradition of the Last Supper? It's just rice versus wheat," said Elizabeth Pelly-Waldman.


Spirit of the law, letter of the law. Wonder which Jesus would rather us follow? The lectionary just this week talks about Jesus teaching how even on the Sabbath the strictly religious would take an …

Camp Aldersgate...

At Camp Aldersgate this week directing a senior high camp, so sorry for the lack of posting. I love it at this camp, and have been coming since I was in elementary school. God's creation - I think creation is one of the easiest ways for us to connect with God. In junior high, here, I was in a musical based on Sandi Patti and the Friendship Company - the words to one of the songs, though simple/naive in theology, still come to me: "What made God take so much care to make creation glow? [God] could have made it black and white and we'd have never known..." Praise God for the beauty of this earth.

back from Red Bird

got back from Red Bird tonight -
aside from group dynamics and the specific details of our trip from St. Paul's, which were, as on most trips like this, I expect, a mixed bag, I found the experience of working there very meaningful, cause for a lot of self-reflection. I'm always feeling frustrated with myself because, as cliche as it sounds, it's so easy to talk the faith talk and not walk the faith walk, the one that Jesus so clearly calls us to. Pastoral ministry is surprisingly not hands-on sometimes, or at least, not hands-on in terms of interaction with least and last, with oppressed and underprivileged. Much of ministry, most of ministry, is spent with middle-class folks much like myself. God knows all of us middle-class folks are in need of ministry, but I feel like it's so easy to shut out God's precious ones...
But being in Red Bird was eye-opening in my own self-examination. I'm amazed at my own classism that reveals itself - I think, working on this …

Eco-Justice Notes - 8/6/04 - Time for That Stuff

Check out this week's eco-justice notes from Peter Sawtell:

Eco-Justice Notes - 8/6/04 - Time for That Stuff

I think Peter's perspective on this issue can, as he suggests, apply to many issues in ministry. Do we have a lot of work to do? Yes. Does being overwhelmed get us out of responsibility for doing it? Nope!

Meanwhile, I'll be out of touch with computers and hopefully in touch with God this week at the Red Bird Mission in Kentucky. I've never been before, and am really looking foward to it.

UMAction - Bigger is Better?

I just popped over to UMAction's website to see what they were up to. (I won't link to them.) I have to admit I had never heard of UMAction until I started serving on the General Board of Church and Society, a particular favorite target of theirs. Mark Tooley, who covers UMAction, comes to all the GBCS meetings, and at one of the first ones I was at we were debating the INFACT boycott directed at Phillip Morris. After the meeting, I read Tooley's account on the IRD website, and was shocked - the account of what had happened was totally skewed - whole sections of the conversation were left out to make it seem as though the Board had made a totally irrational decision that would end up hurting poor mothers instead of limiting tobacco advertising to children. It was ridiculous. Anyway, I digress, but that was my eye-opener to the methods of UMAction.
Today, on their site, I was reading responses and reactions to the politics of General Conference 2004. What make me made is th…

Horatio G. Spafford - "It is Well with My Soul"

This summer at St. Paul's I'm preaching on the favorite hymns of the congregation, and tying them into the lectionary. This week is "It is Well with My Soul." (view sermon) I thought I remembered that the hymn author didn't have a happy ending to his life, despite the inspiring and touching story of how the hymn was written, but I had to search long and hard before I found the ending to his story:

from the Christian Network: "In his late life Spafford experienced a mental disturbance which prompted him to go to Jerusalem under the strange delusion that he was the second Messiah. He died there in 1888 at the age of sixty."

It's a sad ending to his life, but I wish people wouldn't tend to exclude it from the story and try to make him into some saint who never faltered in the face of sorrow in his life. Sometimes the real story is more moving . . .

another trial for the UMC...

United Methodist clergywoman to face trial:
Aug. 2, 2004

By Linda Bloom
United Methodist News Service

A United Methodist clergywoman in Philadelphia faces a church trial as the result of an investigating committee decision.

The Rev. Irene Elizabeth (Beth) Stroud, 34, associate pastor of First United Methodist Church of Germantown since 1999, talked about being a lesbian in an April 27, 2003, sermon to her congregation. She also said she and her partner "have lived in a covenant relationship for two and a half years."

Church law forbids "self-avowed, practicing homosexuals" from being ordained or appointed as clergy to churches.

An investigating committee from the denomination's Eastern Pennsylvania Annual (regional) Conference met July 23 to review evidence on a complaint brought against Stroud. "The committee on investigation voted that reasonable grounds exist for a church trial as provided in the United…

reading right now - marva dawn and victor hugo

quotes from a couple books i'm reading right now.
ashamed to say i still haven't finished marva dawn's unfettered hope - i'd kind of abandoned it for a month or so. but i pulled it out yesterday. a quote she shares, a quote from she highlights from Augustine: "Hope has two beautiful daughters, anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to work to make things other than they are." (pg. 119)

then, from Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (I'm SLOWLY wading through the unabridged version - about 600 pages in right now...) Here are a couple quotes - "where there is an infinite outside of us, is there not an infinite within us? . . . There is a 'me' in the infinite above, as there is a 'me' in the infinite below. The 'me' below is the soul; the 'me' above is God." (pg 517)
and on the next page, (518) "there are, we know, illustrious and powerful atheists. These men, in fact, led back again toward truth …