Thursday, April 30, 2015

Reading the Text

I can only read Scripture as I read it.
With inner eyes and thoughts.
I bring a great deal of myself to the Text.

And God welcomes me.
Who I am and what I think.
For God has shaped me:

Over the years.
Through family and friends.
Teachers and torments.

So I pay attention to how I read the Text.
What is it that captures my eye?
Stirs my imagination and compels my spirit?

Fascinating, it is, for me.
What lights my fire or
Chaps my hide.

I'm inclined to believe, I hear the Spirit
Saying to me,
"Well done, and now read on!"

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

One World of Faith

As I see it, and perhaps too simplistically,
Christians can either remain convinced that
Only they qualify for heaven, and
All the rest for hell.

Or, "there's a wideness in God's mercy," and
All the world is invited, included and welcomed.
With all their religions, creeds and ways.
All their failures and foibles, sins and sorrows.

The first leads to only one conclusion:
Build the walls of hostility higher, wider and longer.

The second leads to some uncertainty, I suppose.
But peace as well.
Maybe the very peace that
Surpasses all understanding.

Welcoming the mystery of God's grace, that which
Strange world, then, without walls.
Sisters and brothers are well all.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Let the Nations Know - Psalm 96

Faith meanderings, Psalm 96.10-13 ...

Let the nations know, the world is on a firm foundation ... "it shall never be moved!"

And when God arrives to judge the earth, earth will rejoice.

And if earth should rejoice upon God's visit, then we might pay a little more attention to the causes of such joy - in the heavens, upon the earth ... for the sea and all the life that fills it ... for the field and all that it grows ... the forests and all its trees ...

Some serious environmental theology going on here ...

Without getting too dramatic, mountain-top-removal is not bringing a whole lot of joy to God's good earth ... or to the folks who live by those shattered mountains.

Nor is clear-cutting ... or fracking ... or limestone mining in the Upper Peninsula ...

How about the laying waste of the Amazon Basin ... or the desolation of the Niger Delta ... not to mention the horrors of industrial warfare, unexploded ordinance that will pollute the earth and maim the children who "toy" with the junk left behind by the greed of the nations ...

I doubt if the field and forest and the butterflies are too pleased with Monsanto's manipulation of all things living ...

Anyway, that's enough for the moment ...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Why I'm a Liberal!

Not sure when I became a liberal.
Though some of it's in my DNA, I think.

At different points in time.
It's the only position that made sense to me.

When it comes to my faith.
My Christian Faith.

By the way, the Devil hates liberalism.
Liberalism's compassion and kindness.

In all that I know about Jesus,
He's a liberal.

No wonder the rulers went after him.
No wonder they strung him up.

"See, this is what we think of your liberal ideas."
"We'll have none of it."

Yes, I'm a liberal.
My heart bleeds for folks.

My heart yearns for the Kingdom of God.
"Thy will be done on earth."

I know and believe.
There's no need for hungry children.

There's no need for war.
There's no need to be so afraid.

In matters of faith, I'm a Christian.
And that's why I'm a liberal.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Sunrise Within

May today's sunrise be within your brave heart.
May the ecstasy of bird song be your very own voice.
May the riotous color of a spring garden be the energy of your mind.

May all the things of this earth which bring joy, delight and peace.
Remind you of all that God created in your world within.
And gives to you today, anew.

To lighten your world.
To sing it alive.
To color it bright.

~ inspired by "The Lost" by Jones Very ( 1813 - 1880).

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Unhinged Christians

This morning's lectionary included Acts 4.13-31 ...
about "uneducated and ordinary men" speaking with "boldness."

And then the rulers, leaders, etc..
Who decide that shutting them up is a good idea.

But no way were the disciples going to cease and desist.
Then and there, they knew who
Their enemies were.

I read this lection with uneasiness.
Thinking of Cruz and the Iowa Homeschoolers.
Knowing full-well who "our enemies are."

As I read the passage, the word "boldness"
Left me flat.
And sad.

How in the hands of some,
A reading like this is dynamite.
License to lift up a little more bigotry.

I thought of those Iowa Christians.
Cheering and roaring.
With Boldness.

Glorying in their "oppressed" status.
Despising their enemies who wish to quiet them.
All the more determined to rid the world of LGBTQ persons.

A passage like this is dangerous.
It encourages the unhinged.
Who never seem to have a question about Boldness.

And heaven knows religious history is full of the:
Bold and the

Friday, April 10, 2015

Psalm 96 on Judgment

Psalm 96 Thoughts

To hear some folks tell it,
When Jesus comes again,
There will be hell to pay!

When Jesus comes again
To judge the earth.
Blood and guts, for sure.

Not mine, of course, but yours.

But Psalm 96 has another picture.
The peaceable kingdom.
The kindness of God.

For the LORD comes to judge.
Yup, that's the word.
With righteousness and truth, it says.

The righteousness of utter faithfulness.
Faithfulness to creation and all its creatures.
Great and small.

The truth that always manages
To set things free.
And restore lost beauties.

And the heavens are glad and the earth shall rejoice.
The fields exult, and all within them.
And the trees will sing for joy.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Women's Association Luncheon - FCCLA

Women’s Association Luncheon, April 9, 2015

Friend’s poetry book … 

John 15.12 …

From the fb page:

The purpose of this Association shall be to emphasize the spiritual development of a liberal Church, advance the cultural and social opportunities of the Association, and provide an avenue of Christian service for the women of the Church

How I love the phrase,
Liberal Church …
Can a church truly be anything but liberal?

Liberal in the things of God:
Grace, mercy and peace.
Faith, hope and love.

Liberal toward the world and its needs:
Liberal with energy and action.

Doing the great things of God.
God’s will and purpose.
To make all things new.

If not liberal, then what?
Overly cautious?

I don’t think Jesus was any of those things.
Do you?

I think Jesus was incredibly liberal.
And that got him into some trouble.
Wouldn’t you say?

So it is.
A liberal church

Full of grace.
So full of grace, it overflows.

A liberal church.
A labor of love.
The new commandment.

And so it is by the grace of God.

Let us pray:

Eternal God, 
Maker of heaven and earth.
Liberal in love.
Generous in mercy.
Without restraint and caution.
You created a world of amazing beauty,
wonder and

Full of odd creatures.
Including us.
A strange blend of dirt and divinity.

Your love is our bright morning star.
Your love brings us here today.
Your love opens windows of understanding
and service.

Your love sustains us.
Guides us.
Disciplines us.
And reshapes us constantly.
As a potter with clay.
An artist with paint.
An organist with music.

That we might be more like Christ.

We are yours, dear God,
For you have made it so.
And for that,
We are ever grateful.
And ready to serve.
A labor of love.

In the name of our LORD Jesus Christ.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Holy Saturday

It's Holy Saturday ... I read a book about this some years back.
Don't remember much of it, but the idea of waiting.
What will happen, if anything?

For the disciples, it was all over.
It was finished.
I mean, finished.

No one expected anything but death.
Death is like that, I guess.
It's the final word for us.

It's the final word for Jesus, too.

I think It's Holy Saturday only in retrospect.
So the in-between time is hallowed.

Death holds on.
Even death is given its day.
For awhile, so the story goes.

But that's tomorrow.
Today, I'll wait.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Maundy Thursday Moment

Maundy Thursday about 8:15.
Some early-morning grocery shopping.
My heart is full.
I'm singing and praying.

The black limo to my left, a few feet ahead.
Moves into my lane.
It was going to end badly.
The limo or the curb.

I hit the horn.
Took the LORD's name in vain.
Called the guy an idiot.
Like any good Christian on Maundy Thursday.

Took a few minutes.
Heart pounding, adrenaline rushing.
To recover my dignity.
I laughed.

Bright side, dark side.
It's all there.
Praising God.
Cursing a limo driver.

Ah well ...
For such as me.
He took bread and broke it.
And a cup and poured it.

Here, take this.
Taste the bread.
Relish the drink.
I do this for you ... and the limo driver, too.