Thursday, December 31, 2009

views around town

This is Our Lady in the Church of Saint Francis. They have a big sign up --1009-2009 800 Years OFM. Celebrating 800 years of the Order of Francis Minor.... I think that's it. God bless Francis. The Franciscans here run a big hospital.

this is Malinda, studying in our classroom. The benches are VERY VERY hard after seven hours! So is my BRAIN!

This is our classroom. They can accommodate many students --but right now there are only two of us --perhaps next week.....

This one is for my lover --full moon over la eglesia de san francisco....

And this is the full moon over the ruins of san domingo --there is a very posh hotel built over these ruins... I am planning to go back here when it is not dark!

These are the ruins near our house --san sebastian....

Tonight is the knock-down festival of New Year's --the town is already a little crazy! Fireworks, firecrackers, lots of cooking and running around. We are let out of school at noon! I'll let you know how we fare at the parties!

Happy and Blessed New Year --EVERYONE!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

how do you say.....

the view out my bedroom window....

Por favor

We are studying hard! Posting quickly during break. Love to all! I ask your prayers for a little sunshine down here --there are no doors in the house where we live (well to the outside, yes, but on the inside it's all open to a patio) --and when there is no sun, there is no HEAT --and our school is outside too!)

And --you'd think in the capital of the coffee world, some would drink something other than Nescafe, YES?!!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009


En Guatemala! Con Malinda! Es muy bueno.
Es la camina por la escuela.

A Dios!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

G'wan. Go to church

Galatians 3:23-25; 4:4-7 Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

Now, who the hell can get snarky about that?! ARE YOU LISTENING YOU FUNDIES?!!!
G'wan. Go to church --hear the best news ever --God with us!

And, if you ain't goin' --read this and sing something, anything that makes your heart jump and beat quickly--something to dance to!

The Gospel John 1:1-18 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'") From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known.

I'm not going to church, see, cuz I'm a goin' to Guatemala!!! I will try to post from there when I have a chance. Blessings!

Stoned, every year about this time....

(Acts 6:51c-60) When they heard these things, they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen. But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. "Look," he said, "I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!" But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he died.

Saul.... Saul, Saul.... (she says shaking her head).
Perhaps you have heard of the conservative bible project --they are removing anything Jesus says that might be too "nice" or feed so-called liberals... Wonder what they do with Saul/Paul in his righteousness for the law through murder.... wonder if they eliminate Stephen's words... word is, they do eliminate the line "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do" --it's just Jesus being too nice.

Can't have that, can we... No. It's much better to be like Saul. Oh yeah....

And today, I am packing to go to Guatemala, to language school.... YIKES!!! --my beloved is staying home with Juan..... and WhoooHOoooo! --I'm traveling with blessed Malinda!!! I hope and pray that this journey will enable us to deepen and broaden our ministry together.

And I pray that we won't move casually through the landscape and culture of Guatemala --but allow the wonder and colors to seep in to our bones!

So, in honor of St. Stephen, and the piles of snow in the front yard:

Blessed Day --one and all!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for see-- I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.

Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, "Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God.

He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God's people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.

And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

From morning prayer: Isaiah 35:1-10
And for those who seek a little hardcore edge (Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels, 1450, by Jean Fouquet):

I repeated some of this from my Christmas post last year. Oh well, it's 1:30am and I just got home, and I hope to sleep in a little before I head off to church again --so, here it is!

Merry Christmas!!!!

Time to turn the world upside down, and seek God in glory HERE

Now, when we're singing it tonight --this is what my inner ear will be hearing. Oh, do listen to the whole thang!

From morning prayer (Baruch 5) Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God. Put on the robe of the righteousness that comes from God; put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting; for God will show your splendor everywhere under heaven. For God will give you evermore the name, "Righteous Peace, Godly Glory."

And this:
(Galatians 3) There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 4) My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors, are no better than slaves, though they are the owners of all the property; but they remain under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

Have a Blessed Christmas Eve!
And I challenge you to see the living flesh and blood of Christ in every face today, and always! God has pitched his tent, and dwells among us ---YAHOOOO!!!! That is freakin' RADICAL!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

God is not SpecialK cereal --unless, of course, God is

(Luke 1:41-45) Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.

Mary --the first priest... took ordinary bread and ordinary wine and made the real Body and Blood of Christ, the liberator, our passover. Blessed is she who believes that there will be a fulfillment of what has been spoken to her by the Lord.

Last night, when I was checking out the TV Guide on-line, there was a button to talk to a Mormon missionary. I thought that might be more interesting than anything on tv, so I clicked on it. I learned that it was not discrimination to base roles upon gender --but is instead God's Order. I learned that this was a revelation--given to them. And that my understanding of 'apostle' meaning someone who is 'sent out from' was wrong --so the women at the tomb with the first news of the Resurrection couldn't be apostles. Apostles could only be men. And it means something different. Again, by revelation. And Prophets had said so. And that God the Father is a different entity all together than God the Son.... separate Gods. And that consecrating bread and wine for the people of God was a priestly ordinance, and I did not, could not qualify, because of who I am.

And then I threw him the line about Mary --the first priest. Real bread. Real wine. The first to make real Bread.... real Wine --the Body of Christ.

I know... I know.... why did I bother?! I am always interested. Always. He asked me why I was asking questions that were more like calculus when what I needed was multiplication. The breeding pun did not pass me, but I let it go. And I said, 'because we are one. --Jesus has told me so. And he is the perfect and complete revelation of God. No other is necessary.'

That really bothered him. But he reassured me --God is not excluding me. God loves me. 'Yes,' I said. 'I know. And one day you will believe and know that too.'

When there was a long silence on the screen, I decided it was time --and wrote my husband was doing the dishes, and I better go help him.

Which was true. Which, of course, I didn't do.

Dear God --I am so hungry. For so many things. Is that neediness? Or hope for fulfillment? Is belief/faith/trust what lies beyond hope? Or, perhaps hope is the foundation, the beginning?

Hey God --it's margaret here. You wrote the questions on my heart. Quit laughing. Oh --all right. Laugh. yah, I know. We're all funny.

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, creator of the Universe. You bring forth food from the earth, food to make glad the heart of man, the heart of man to be the Body of your Son. Give us grateful hearts for our hunger, and the food you provide and share with us. For you alone are God, living and holy, and we are hid with Christ in you. Blessed are you.

And, now, for some SpecialK cereal.... or something to fill this very real hunger....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Spewing my coffee

At morning prayer (Titus 2:1-10) But as for you, teach what is consistent with sound doctrine. Tell the older men to be temperate, serious, prudent, and sound in faith, in love, and in endurance. Likewise, tell the older women to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be self-controlled, chaste, good managers of the household, kind, being submissive to their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and sound speech that cannot be censured; then any opponent will be put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us. Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to answer back, not to pilfer, but to show complete and perfect fidelity, so that in everything they may be an ornament to the doctrine of God our Savior.


Yep --that's why the authorities had Jesus arrested, because he was temperate (remember the good wine), serious (have you never heard the irony?!), prudent (right --speaking out to power is always prudent), sound in faith (he broke the LAW for God's sake!) --awwwww c'mon. Get a grip.

As to all the rest --what old and young women are supposed to do so as not to make waves or have a self that is differentiated from clan and family and tribe --his mother was unwed, Jesus seemed to like women that talked back to him (go read his encounters with Martha and Mary in John --even his own mother) And most importantly, slaves--OBEY. KNOW YOUR PLACE.


Okay --the Good News? --there is nothing you can or have to do. God is with us. Whether we deserve it or not. Right now. Alongside us. And the all the rest is Grace.

Anything else is religion. And I remain convinced that Jesus didn't die for religion, but instead to set us free from religion --liberate us --our Passover --our ticket to freedom. Jesus died to abolish religion and give us a life.

A young woman gave me a pin to wear, it says --"Joyfully Subversive"

Monday, December 21, 2009

...change shame into praise....

My focus is liberated this morning --4 Advent behinds us --that long trudge of tasting hope only with the tip of the tongue is over. I can now begin to gather hope in my hands, gather hope and joy like wildflowers, gulp hope like clear water offered the thirsty --I count myself as very thirsty... and I have been very thirsty indeed. Sing and dance aloud even in the face of --particularly in the face of gloom and disaster....

At morning prayer (Zeph. 3:19) And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.

Can't help it --seems the older I get, the less patience I have with Advent and Lent. Granted, I never had much to begin with --but the spiritual exercises recommended within the boundaries of these months of the church calendar rub me all the wrong way, and it's getting worse. Perhaps it is time to quit doubting the reasons I am galled at these times, and explore --dig in the trough, root around in my resistance and see what gives....

After all, it is the day to remember St. Thomas --Doubting Thomas. Blessed doubt which can push us to see anew the whole creation, to explore what we consider fringe and find ourselves at the center of it all....

I pray for those travelling, for A and her mom who is having surgery, for J, and J, and M who is a lone wolf, for P who grieves all that she has lost, for T and H, for the C family.

For all who are alone, for those who have lost joy and doubt.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Laugh.... and the word Covenant...

Well --okay. I haven't made the attempt to parse the "final draft" of the Covenant.... it's made me too angry to do so, and besides, there are others far more gifted in that sort of thing. Like Mark Harris at Preludium. Jim Naughton at the Cafe. But I will say plainly enough --I despise the idea of this Covenant --of any Covenant for the churches. We are not nor have we ever been a covenanting church. And this Covenant is not a statement of faith, per se, --it is the first step in centralization, power games, and is patronizing and paternalistic, colonialism at its best...

...I suppose you know I am holding back my choice language....

But then, a colleague I knew from the Diocese of San Diego wrote a little something that got me thinking about the stinking Covenant... in a new way. Which is always good. He said:

I am ready for us to sign the Covenant.

Yes sir, yes ma'am, I'm ready. I say affix our signature to it and then...

Begin filing complaints against all those provinces diddling with our parishes. File complaints about the human rights violations proposed in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi. File complaints against ACNA even before they are let in and then file complaints about whoever lets them in.

Then I say we file complaints about the treatment of women with respect to the ordination processes and their welcome as deacons priests or bishops.

This new campaign is the Numbers 11:19-20 campaign, where God tells the whiners that if they want meat he will feed them meat till it comes out their noses and become loathsome to them.

I say we sign it tomorrow and strike first! Bury the Star Chamber of the Anglican Communion in paperwork and demands to be heard.

We should offer Changing attitudes a platform for filing complaints and anyone else who needs it. Lets file a complaint about the despicable treatment of Jeffrey John. We have have some great fun doing this and demand that lots of people be pushed from the table.

Please of please ++KJS, PHod, and EC sign it tomorrow!


Unless this message is clearly in the public domain, e.g. a press release, it may not be redistributed without its author's permission.

Michael Russell, Rector
All Souls' Point Loma

I think he's on to something! Yes, indeed.
(It's actually an ancient form of subterfuge, come to think about it!)

Thank you Mike.
And, yes, for the first time in a long time, I can think of the Covenant --and LAUGH!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

G'wan. Go to church

Mary and Elizabeth. And don't idealize 'em. Two women.

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.

If that doesn't either scare you or make you want to dance, it should!

G'wan. Go to church. It's more than just blessed resistance.... it's subversive!

The view from my front door

About a foot of snow--maybe more.... we sang the Canticle of Creation at morning prayer:

Glorify the Lord, you angels and all powers of the Lord, *
O heavens and all waters above the heavens.

Sun and moon and stars of the sky, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, every shower of rain and fall of dew, *
all winds and fire and heat.

Winter and Summer, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O chill and cold, *
drops of dew and flakes of snow

Frost and cold, ice and sleet, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O nights and days, *
O shining light and enfolding dark.

Storm clouds and thunderbolts, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Heavy, wet snow... glorify the Lord!
So --the Governor has declared a state of emergency... for snow! But, before you snowophiles get cranky, remember, --as a very wise woman I know says, 'snow removal in Virginia? --It's called Spring!'

And she's correct! This part of Virginia just doesn't know quite what to do with the stuff...

Anyway, it's about a foot of snow out there. It's been sleeting since about 4am --I could hear it against the windows. And today is the day we lay to rest a beloved mother, sister, friend. It's going to be interesting! (And when they opened a grave for her, they discovered solid granite.... they will have to lay her to rest in a temporary grave until they dynamite hers...)

Never a dull moment....

So, I am awaiting the call for a ride in a four-wheel drive vehicle.... That was brilliant. The family organized a fleet of snow-eating machines.

At morning prayer:
(Psalm 55:7-9) Exaudi, Deus

And I said, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! *
I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee to a far-off place *
and make my lodging in the wilderness.
I would hasten to escape *
from the stormy wind and tempest."

And on this day, two years ago, my own mama tore through the veil and stormed into heaven. She loved everything. Even snow. For the sheer joy of it, she used to take us camping in mess like this --in the mountains of California. Once it stormed so much and dropped so much snow the tent collapsed in on us. And she still thought it was fun! Laughed the whole time. Pulled out the magnifying glass (who the hell goes camping with an emergency magnifying glass except my mother!) because the tent was made of dark fabric, and she took the opportunity of a flat dark tent to marvel at the construction of snow flakes....

Damn, I miss her!
Now --off I am, into the thick of it! (Shall I take a magnifying glass with me--just in case?)
The weatherman is calling for another two to four inches of the stuff.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Kingdom images


We are awaiting anywhere from three to fifteen inches of snow. Or maybe sleet. Or maybe freezing rain. We don't really know--except it's gonna be raw. Beginning late today and all day tomorrow.

And --I'll be out in it. With those who are grieving. With those who mourn.

I heard something interesting yesterday--from a lady who claims to read electromagnetic fields around people.... anyway--she did say that grieving is what we do internally. Mourning is what we do publicly. And if we don't do both, our electromagnetic fields get out of balance.

So, I could have done without the last sentence (although the idea of balance IS essential), but the parsing of grieving and mourning was helpful. Very helpful. And helps put a new perspective on helping folks navigate the rough waters of loss.

I usually work in images myself.... just do. One of the images I carry on my role is that I am like a taxi driver --I help folks get where they want to go. Another image --particularly when it comes to funeral planning, is one of being a ferryboat captain on a big impassable river with locks. I drive the ferry into the lock with the family aboard. Put a small lifeboat over the side with their beloved in it, pull the ferryboat back in to the river, call for the lock doors to be closed, and call on God to carry the small lifeboat further upstream.

It works for me.

Anyway --what I haven't found an image for is going from funeral planning, to dealing with a Sunday morning bulletin, to the family needing assistance at the door, to the plumber working in the kitchen, to the phone call about baptism, to the Christmas presents for the elders project arriving, worrying about the snowfall and the front walk and stairs of the church and liability, and then working simultaneously on a sermon and wrong addresses or emails in the database....

What I do know --is that I have the best staff in the whole world who sometimes catch the boomerangs and deal with them, or keep them in the air until I can deal with them. Or put on their mittens and help me chip the ice off the front walk. While laughing. For hours. Or outline the choices between plumbers and their work, and tell me which choice makes sense....

All so that we can all do this:

At morning prayer (Zech. 7:8-11) The word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying: Thus says the LORD of hosts: Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.

And continue to love when confronted with this:

But they refused to listen, and turned a stubborn shoulder, and stopped their ears in order not to hear.

Perhaps I just need a viable image of the Kingdom.... perhaps my Kingdom images need refreshing.... Yes. I think that's it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Be born again

Reading morning prayer (Matt. 25:1-4) Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.

Today, Dorothy Sayers is remembered at morning prayer. She was no foolish bridesmaid. Her flask was filled to overflowing.

In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair, the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.

The only sin passion can commit is to be joyless.

As I grow older and older, And totter toward the tomb, I find that I care less and less, who goes to bed with whom.

Oh yeah. Whip it Dorothy!

The great advantage about telling the truth is that nobody ever believes it.

Time and trouble will tame an advanced young woman, but an advanced old woman is uncontrollable by any earthly force.

Except ye become as little children, except you can wake on your fiftieth birthday with the same forward-looking excitement and interest in life that you enjoyed when you were five, "ye cannot enter the kingdom of God." One must not only die daily, but every day we must be born again.

Those who make some other person their job... are dangerous.

[N]obody could possibly guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything 'funny' about woman's nature. But we might easily deduce... it from his Church today.

Oh yeah. Whip it Dorothy!!! Buy your own shirt, or give one for Christmas, here.

Dorothy is a fascinating woman.... bold, assertive, professional... passionate lover.... pregnant out of wedlock.... author of countless books and essays from detective stories to theology.... breadwinner for her household. Dorothy --thank you for your witness.

Blessings all. Off to pray over a funeral sermon and get ready for Christmas. One must not only die daily, but every day we must be born again. Wisdom there.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Love. always love.

At morning prayer (Matt. 24:45-51) Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. But if that wicked slave says to himself, "My master is delayed," and he begins to beat his fellow slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Alright --I am sick and tired of weeping and gnashing of teeth. Just sayin'. I am sick and tired of slaves, masters, drunkards, unexpected events, delays, judgment.... I just want something nice and easy for a while.

And, then, there's life.

That is one of the joys and blessings of scripture--it's not escapist literature; it is plainly about human joys, aspirations, pitfalls --all the best and worst. There is rest and no rest and arrest. All at once. One can never be in denial....

Well, I suppose.... if one is in denial and one reads scripture and acts, the results are more than devastating --power, force, hatred, venom --all in the Name of God.

And I just got an unexpected pastoral call. Gotta run.
Blessings all.
As D@M says --love. Always love.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Good news!

News Alert
02:35 PM EST Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Breaking News: D.C. Council passes bill legalizing same-sex marriage

The measure allowing gays and lesbians to marry in the city is approved 11-2 and will be sent to Mayor Adrian Fenty, who is expected to sign it before Christmas. The bill will become law next spring if, as expected, it survives a 30-day congressional review process.



At morning prayer (Rev. 3:20-22) Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.'

Oh yah. Listen up churches! (Oh my--it's biblical. Church in the plural. So much for what a presumed unity might look like!)

And --to shake the Advent blues (pun intended), here's another little one to dance to:

Juan was helping me clear the altar last Sunday --clean and put stuff away. He was holding our Gospel book and asked if it were all the scriptures. 'No,' I said. 'Just the Gospels.'

'Pan de Vida,' he said. As I was putting unused bread into the cabinet.
'Yes,' I said, turning around with the bread in my hand.
'No, this,' he said, holding up the Gospel book.

I laughed aloud, as we are doing often, learning new language from each other. And the image of munching on the Gospel has stayed with me. Or--how about letting it rest on the roof of your mouth and melt, no chewing...

--nah! I like eating too much to wait for any thing melt in my mouth....

LOVE bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guiltie of dust and sinne.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lack'd any thing.

A guest, I answer'd, worthy to be here:
Love said, you shall be he.
I the unkinde, ungratefull? Ah my deare,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?

Truth Lord, but I have marr'd them:
let my shame go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, sayes Love, who bore the blame?
My deare, then I will serve.
You must sit down, sayes Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.
(George Herbert)

Hungry. for more.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Chuck it... blame the fog

Aw --c'mon..... REALLY!?

They've delayed schools two hours here because of the --get this, BECAUSE OF THE FOG!????

Here is some foggy morning music for you:

That's better.

Oh --hey, --if you want to hear the incredibly gifted Pete Legato, our own star who does the music for our Spanish language service, go here. Buy two. And, mind you --he plays not only the lead, but sings/plays all the parts! (Sorry to provide just the link, couldn't figure out a way to bring the sound here! Click the little arrows to hear a sample of each track.) He is giving half the proceeds to our food pantry ministry. God bless you Pete.

As for contemplation on the Scriptures at morning prayer.... well, fuhgedaboutit.... just never mind.... I am so sick and freakin' tired of hearing apocalyptic, judgmental, gonna fry, God please beat up and kill my enemies-- I guess I'm at that place in Advent where I am tired of waiting for the Good News --Godwithus. I mean, the first four verses of the Psalm were fine... and then it was all down hill from there.

I'll blame it on the fog ---maybe I DO need a two hour delay!

From morning prayer: Psalm 41 Beatus qui intelligit

Happy are they who consider the poor and needy! *
the LORD will deliver them in the time of trouble.
The LORD preserves them and keeps them alive,
so that they may be happy in the land; *
he does not hand them over to the will of their enemies.
The LORD sustains them on their sickbed *
and ministers to them in their illness.
I said, "LORD, be merciful to me; *
heal me, for I have sinned against you."
My enemies are saying wicked things about me: *
"When will he die, and his name perish?"
Even if they come to see me, they speak empty words; *
their heart collects false rumors;
they go outside and spread them.
All my enemies whisper together about me *
and devise evil against me.
"A deadly thing," they say, "has fastened on him; *
he has taken to his bed and will never get up again."
Even my best friend, whom I trusted,
who broke bread with me, *
has lifted up his heel and turned against me.

See what I mean? And it gets worse...
Just one of those days. At least it's not raining.
Blessings all.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

G'wan. Go to church

A little bit of bling for your stir up Sunday can be found, for reals, here. Otherwise, feast your eyes!

Don't forget to bear fruit while you're at it, --'cuz certainly, you aren't vipers, are you?

I'm thinking I'm really ready to move on to Christmas. Sooner, rather than later....

G'wan. Go to church. Only one more hearing of John the Baptist 'till the end of the year.

What He said is true--all of it

Tainted. That's what we are --tainted. There is a smear on all of us. Somebody a long time ago held up a platter of excrement before the proverbial fan, and we are all covered with it. And the world is basically bad, bad, bad.

That is, unless you believe Jesus.

We live in a new world, one which has already been redeemed. We do not have to work for grace nor favor --it has been given to us already. We took God almighty in the person of Jesus and killed him. That was us. And God took the fractured, dead, pierced corpse we offered on the cross, and gave us new, eternal life in him.

At morning prayer (Matt. 24:1-3) As Jesus came out of the temple and was going away, his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. Then he asked them, 'You see all these, do you not? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.' When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, 'Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?'

That time is now and every moment. The temples we build, the sacrifices we make and endure, all this is being thrown down. Constantly. We already have all the signs. The old structures just don't work or lead to health. Or life. They are broken, by us and for us. Each stone thrown down.

Some folks treat Holy Scripture as a temple. The Church as a temple.
These, too, will be thrown down.

Does this shock you? Is this too harsh?

(And once again we will see and know anew the living flesh and blood among us.)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Resist. Light the lamps in hope and rededication.

Friday. Blessed Friday. Our elder brothers and sisters in faith begin their celebration of Hanukkah this evening at sundown.

In 168 B.C.E. the Jewish Temple was seized by Syrian-Greek soldiers and dedicated to the worship of the god Zeus. This upset the Jewish people, but many were afraid to fight back for fear of reprisals. Then in 167 B.C.E. the Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus made the observance of Judaism an offense punishable by death. He also ordered all Jews to worship Greek gods.

Dang. This sounds disturbingly familiar. Death for those who are authentically themselves.

What strikes me in this --resistance. Many were afraid to fight back for fear of reprisals.... Yes. Fear. Holy resistance and fear. Afraid to do what is righteous....

In the civil rights battles of the '60s, there was real anger at those who were not afraid to resist. And it is not just from those who are the power brokers --the anger can come from those who are sympathetic or even from those who would benefit if the resistance is successful. --it says it right there --many were afraid to fight back....

And yet, with time, those who were resisting become heroes. It wasn't too long after MLK's murder that he was elevated as a national hero with a holiday, school's named after him.... all that. And I remember how he was vilified. The horror and fear....

Resistance is a strange apple to eat.
(Oh, Eve, there you are! Welcome back, strong sister.)

So, thank you and a blessed holiday to our elder brothers and sisters in faith, who celebrate resistance, re-dedication and G*d's presence with stubborn light. Night after night. An octave of days.

And thank you to all who enter the desecrated temple of our own faith, prepared to sweep, clean, discover the piles of waste and filth, and light candles in faith. And don't forget to pray for those who are full of fear or anger.... fear of reprisals, angry that those who resist are shedding light on the desecration.

From morning prayer (Matt. 23:27-33) 'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, and you say, "If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets." Thus you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors. You snakes, you brood of vipers!

Blessed are those who risk and resist. Blessed are those who enter desecration and seek to light the lamps in hope and rededication.
Blessed is the one who comes in the Name of the Lord.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

straining gnats and camels

Rachel Maddow rocked last night! --connecting the dots between fundamentalists/evangelicals in this country and the lousy Anti-gay legislation pending in Uganda. If one hasn't thought so before, Christian fundamentalism in this country is as dangerous, if not more so, than the religious terrorists we pursue in other countries. It is just as violent, paternalistic, rigid and deadly.

At morning prayer (Matt. 23:13-15, 23-24) 'But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!

I don't think Jesus much liked 'em either --the scribes and Pharisees being the fundamentalists of the day....

I like the imagery of the scripture in the last paragraph above -you tithe herbs, but not anything with weight.... gnats, but not camels. How much of the way we have 'ordered' the church makes us lose the Gospel? Lots, I think. To our peril. --like bishops who, for whatever reason, refuse to speak to justice, mercy and faith....

I am off to a Diocesan meeting --budget, probably. What else gets talked about at meetings this time of year.... to our peril. Blessed Advent.

My thoughts and prayers are with New Jersey today, as their legislative process takes first steps to marriage equality. For those who suffer persecution, injustice. And for D as the pressure for being unemployed increases. For MP and his wife. For A, J, R, T, A, and B. For J. For all those whom the church has hurt.

Lord, have mercy.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

only death is still....

I have often sought the still center of the dance. That is a mental image I carry of a nirvana-like state of being..... reaching the center and being still.

Joel and I were talking the other day --about Zen, Tao, Buddha.... And a new image formed in my mind. It is not the idea of a still center which informs these --it is more the unstill, vibrant, moving course of the universe, the river, the watercourse way ---there is no still center. Only death is still, unmoving.

Such a delightfully different lens.

At morning prayer (Matt. 23:1-5) Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 'The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.

Sounds like the church, too. Yes?

I am moved to action when I hear these words. Perhaps I need to shift lenses, quit trying to find the still center, and let the watercourse carry me....

(I don't usually post more than once a day --but I did yesterday --and below are my sermon notes from 2 Advent. Blessed Advent to all.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

More than a reflection of the light....

Joel called me outside the other night.
It was late and dark.
I was concerned that something was seriously wrong,
why else would he be calling me out in to the cold and dark night?

But what he wanted me to see was that the moon was nearly full.
And that there were two rings around it.
One faint ring very near the moon,
and the other far from the moon’s light
in the outer darkness of the night
a bright ring.

And as I turned my head to look, and saw what it was
that Joel was so excited about,
I experienced a rush of gratitude--
that Joel was standing in the cold and dark
and having a good time!

I also experienced a flood of memories:
My grandmother telling me
that rings around the moon were created by fairies and stars
dancing together. She was like that.
Or with Joel, decades ago, and the utter thrill
of walking in Delaware,
in the moonlight, and seeing fireflies for the first time in my life,
and not just one or two peeping in the dark,
but a cloud of them, brighter and bigger than the moon;
Or, my mother expressing her fear and sorrow
as I prepared to move to Richmond--
and looking at the moon with her
and saying to her, “wherever I am mama,
I will look at the moon,
and you can look at it too, at the same time,
and the space between us will be holy.”

All that, as I craned my neck,
unwilling to leave the front porch in my stocking feet,
trying unsuccessfully to remember the scientific name, any name,
for rings around the moon.

And I felt full of the space between us –-holy space, yes,
but empty space; profound joy and sorrow
in the light of the moon.

Advent is like that moon-filled night.

We have before us the palate of joy and sorrow
as we paint rings of waiting and hope
around the moon
and can’t really remember what to call them;
or how to wait and hope while the world
dresses itself in tinsel party clothes.

Advent is like that moon-filled night
as we anticipate a future, a promise we know has already happened.
We have John the Baptizer—a mere reflection of the light of the Son,
calling us to repent, to prepare the way, the high and low places the same,
salvation is on the move;
and we get stuck between our personal transgressions
and the overwhelming systemic and cultural sins
that we can hardly name, --that is, if we can see them.

And we have that memory,
that knowledge, that the moon we see,
is the very same moon our Lord saw,
and the space between us is holy.
A Lord and savior we already know,
a Lord and savior we anticipate.
But it, too, is empty space, a void,
because the world groans in loneliness, poverty, injustice,
amplified wars and postures of aggression.

If we have been saved,
Good God, what does being saved look like?

Where and how do we go from here?
What do we do?
Let me name it: It is time to be still, and listen.
In striving to listen this week, I found this:

Hearing the Word of God
is a moment of subversion and ambiguity.
…. we hold together our old failing and largely unexamined world,
along with a new hopeful world of promise voiced by God's … prophets….
In such moments God's newness is given.

[Truly hearing the Word of God leads to worship…]
The moment of worship,
when we hear and participate in the divine action….
It makes serious change in our lives possible.
The Word of God invites us to turn away from our old world.
The essential attitude is to abandon our self-sufficient ways
and recognise our need to be profoundly touched
by the One who is to come …!
(Anglimergent Webpage)

It is time to listen.
It is time to be changed by what we hear.
It is time to worship.
It is time to "participate in the divine action.”
Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem,
and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God.
Put on the robe of the righteousness that comes from God;
put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting….”

“Prepare the way of the Lord, …all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

The time is coming when we shall no longer stand in the dark
on the front porch of our sorrow and joy, belief and disbelief;
and no matter how glorious or full,
we shall see more than a reflection of the pure light of the Son.

Be still. Listen. Be changed. Worship.

My sermon notes from 2 Advent.

Love your neighbor as yourself.... Really. Truly.

I feel like I'm in mile eleven of a marathon, and I'm fighting the wall --I haven't hit the wall, but I've had to adjust my pace and focus on my breathing so that I won't hit the wall.

I am very glad I have my women's clergy group this morning.
I am very thankful for Juan's presence in our lives. I am amazed at his fortitude and grace. His willingness to stand his ground and not run.
I am very thankful for all the folks with whom I work and worship.
I am deeply humbled and grateful for the communities of prayer.
I am very grateful for my beloved, who always reminds me that I am made in the image of God.
I am grateful for the leadership and voices of +Barbara Harris, +Robinson, +Bruno, +Shaw, +Tutu.

I am sick at heart for the faces I saw in court.
My heart is broken for the faces I saw in the immigration offices. Especially the distant and unfocused gazes of those who carried guns and worked behind the desks. Is it their job that broke them?
I actively hate some of the Christmas ads on TV --especially the one where they tell the little girl 'but we didn't spend that much on you.' I am sick that Christmas spending is a lead in the news.
I am heart-broken at the rhetoric in the church at large --such hatred and venom and condemnation is not worthy of those who follow Christ. I am furious that the ++ABC speaks veiled threats so quickly to those in this church regarding the election of Glasspool+ in L.A. and yet says nothing about the planned extermination of LGBT faithful in Uganda. Working behind the scenes, --Bullpucky. Leave politics for the politicians. I expect something different from Bishops --just sayin'.

What is it +Barbara Harris said --something about half-assed baptism? And this, too: "Since we don't have any say in who gets see-lected as bishops in some other provinces of the communion, why should those in other provinces be able to dictate who can or cannot be ee-lected by the laity and clergy whom they will lead in this branch of Christ's holy and catholic church?"

Thank you +Barbara. Bless you.
I feel fully alive ---and am tired. I thank God for the love and life which sustains us all.

At morning prayer (Matt. 22:34-39) When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 'Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?' He said to him, '"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.'

How can anyone hear those words and not be moved? I guess because some confuse love with control --telling others what to do and the privilege of thinking they know better.

Dang-- slogging through it again --didn't we just finish John's Apocalypse at morning prayer (commonly called 'Revelation') --it seems we slogged through that just a few months ago ---where is time?

And I am mindful and grieve for all those whom the church has smashed. I am ashamed.
Love your neighbor. Really. Truly.
It is in doing that, that life beyond the cross becomes real.
But we keep stopping and wanting to nail each other....


Monday, December 7, 2009


From the lectionary for Ambrose (Ecclesiasticus 2:8-9)

You who fear the Lord, trust in him,
and your reward will not be lost.
You who fear the Lord, hope for good things,
for lasting joy and mercy.

We are running off to court --Juan's deportation hearing. In Alexandria. 9AM. And then he has to check in with I.C.E. That's scary too.

If you are the praying type.... thank you and bless you.

And give thanks to God for the Diocese of Louisiana --yes, that's Grandmere's Diocese. They've elected a decent guy to be their next Bishop. Congratulations and blessings upon them!

UPDATE: We just got back from Alexandria and Fairfax... court and immigration. All day.

At court, the judge refused Juan's petition. He has no recourse in that court. His lawyer is going to scramble to try to pull some things together for him --perhaps asylum... for a final hearing in September.... but it doesn't look good.

The good news --he doesn't have to check in again with immigration until April 5. Oh wait... is that Easter Monday or Monday of Holy Week..... ? Dang.....

Saturday, December 5, 2009

History in Los Angeles

Diane Jardine Bruce

Mary Glasspool

The first and second women to be elected in the Diocese of L.A.
The sixteenth and seventeenth women to be elected in TEC.
And Mary Glasspool is the first honest/open/partnered lesbian to be elected!

God bless them both! Hard work ahead.

Congratulations to the Diocese of Los Angeles!

G'wan. Go to church

'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth.'

As the Pastor's newest convert, and taking John the Baptist's word literally, Corley got right to work.

G'wan. Go to church. It's John the Baptist's Sunday! Love me that wild bug-eatin' type... Just sayin'!

Blessed Doubt.

Yesterday, I got a call from a mom.... her teen had announced at the dinner table that God didn't exist and that 'believing' was not a possibility any more. She was concerned, frustrated, and understanding.... who hasn't been there. In blessed Doubt.

'How exciting,' I said. 'This is wonderful!' I'm not at all sure that is what the mom wanted to hear from me. We talked for a while more --we will continue the talk this weekend.

I give thanks to God for this young person's doubt and disbelief. It means a thinking mind is emerging. It means one more person is beginning to put aside the fluff and bubble and fairy-tale bearded God of childish understanding and cartoon faith. It is a time to stand by in awe and wonder and joy. A re-birthing is at hand.

And moms and dads always need community at times like this. Let us stand by them too.

At morning prayer (Jude 20-23) But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on some who are wavering; save others by snatching them out of the fire; and have mercy on still others with fear, hating even the tunic defiled by their bodies.

Joel and I played with that last line over coffee.... comparing Greek, Latin, and three English translations... The RSV notes that the line is an enigma and is unclear. No kidding. To the best of our ability, we parsed it as being about disease --like leprosy. Have mercy on the others in fear (with great care), avoiding the tunics stained by their flesh.

Duh. But be there for them and care for them. In faith. All of 'em.

And I love my doubts. Just sayin'. Doubts always take me to the wild places. Forcing me to lay down boundaries I didn't realize I had. Learn new languages. Blessed Doubt.

Happy Saint Clement's Day to all. A perfect day to celebrate doubt.

Clement, a native of Athens, was converted to Christianity by Pantaenus, founder of the Catechetical School at Alexandria (then the intellectual capital of the Mediterranean world), and succeeded his teacher as head of the School about 180. For over 20 years he labored effectively as an apologist for the faith and catechist of the faithful. He regarded the science and philosophy of the Greeks as being, like the Torah of the Hebrews, a preparation for the Gospel, and the curriculum of his School undertook to give his students both a knowledge the Gospel of Christ and a sound liberal education. His speculative theology, his scholarly defense of the faith and his willingness to meet non-Christian scholars on their own grounds, helped to establish the good reputation of Christianity in the world of learning and prepare the way for his pupil, Origen, the most eminent theologian of Greek Christianity. Clement is not on the present Roman calendar (having been removed by Bellarmine at the time of Galileo, when the Roman See was undergoing a period of wariness about intellectual venturesomeness), but is on the Eastern calendar and many modern revisions of the Anglican calendar. His influence has been considerable.

written by James Kiefer

And, I am not convinced we are gonna get that snow... maybe to the west and north. Poor Juan --he really wants it to snow as he has never seen snow....

Friday, December 4, 2009 might know what I mean....

At morning prayer (Matt. 22:1-14) Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 'The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come.

Again he sent other slaves, saying, "Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet." But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them.

The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.

Then he said to his slaves, "The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet." Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

'But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, "Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?" And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, "Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." For many are called, but few are chosen.'

I've always thought that 99% of the Christian vocation was showing up --being present. But, this story always reminds me --yeppa, it's all in the clothes!

I worked as a museum curator before, a Fellow and graduate of the Winterthur Museum and University of Delaware --until I stopped trying to run away... you might know what I mean. I worked in rural southern Oregon, curator of a 39 acre farm.

One of the guys I worked with participated in a church that attracted those who like to go into trances and speak loudly in tongues. I don't remember what it was exactly, but something happened at work, and he became fearful for my soul, got down off his ladder and came over to me and started to shout at me in gibberish he claimed as 'tongues.' He paced round about me, putting his hands up in the air, his eyes rolling back in his head. This went on with quite a ruckus for several minutes...

I was just a little terrified as he was about 6'-8" tall. But stood my ground. Feeling like if I ran, he would strike like a snake, so it was safer to stand still... I refused to become his prey.

When he was done and wound down a little, I asked him what all that was about. He said it was because he saw me trapped outside the gates of heaven with all the sinners, unable to enter. And that if I did not amend my ways, I would be condemned and thrown into the outer darkness.

I was tempted to laugh and scorn.... deride and debase.... you might know what I mean. But instead I decided to speak to faith and said --oh, yes. His vision was absolutely correct. I was standing outside the gates of his heaven. Tending the wounded, the suffering, the outcast, those barred and discarded --because I sought to follow Jesus, and I knew I would find him there, among the condemned, the outcasts, the sick.... the ones outside the gate.

So. There. And when I try to wrap my mind around this parable, I am thinking that Jesus is pushing all our buttons about vocation.... any and all Christian vocations... those who are invited, refuse. Those who arrive --good and bad alike, not all are ready --not all have on their wedding garments --not all present are prepared.

Isn't it ironic that this parable focuses on those excluded from a wedding.... those cast in to the outer darkness away from a wedding feast.... It's a wonder that this parable has never been parsed to discussion full inclusion.

And, I am particularly grateful this morning. Juan's family court hearing was extended until September 2010 --so even if the powers that be decide to deport Juan in to the outer darkness, they cannot do so until his family court hearing concludes.... we have ten months.... it is a gift of time this young man desperately needs.

You know --I think there is a way to invert this gospel story. Cuz the king sure sounds like a pharisee to me.... you might know what I mean.... cuz the true bridegroom of the universe, born in a stable, was standing there in front of them in a poor garment with a band of outcasts....

I never noticed. Bridegroom.... both a bride and a groom.... what a strange word.
Oh dear....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gift from God--God given Gift


Alright. Yesterday was totally confusing. And I actually posted the lectionary for November 2 instead of December 2... Maybe it was... ah, hell. I don't know... blame it on the moon.

I think I have the right readings for today. If not, it is enough.

Juan has his family court hearing today. 2PM and on through the afternoon. Monday is his deportation hearing.

As a kid, being raised in California, I knew the border was an imposed fantasy --that people who had lived in the region had walked freely where their people had walked freely for thousands of years whether the land had been claimed by local tribes or drawn and quartered by far-away empires like Spain, France, Mexico or eventually the U.S. And in the last 20 years, the unseen permeable lines imposed upon a grand landscape became bars, barbed wire, high-tech motion detectors and steel walls.

While Europe pulled down its walls, the U.S. erected them.

And my heart has not been changed in what it thinks of this, but it has been broken by the story of one young man, who has seen and lived the nightmares this wall implies.

This wall is death. And it belongs to us. We created it. And as long as it stands, we are responsible for the death and suffering it imposes.

Yes, there is war and death on our own borders, on our own soil, perpetrated with night scopes, howling rifles and roaring engines; and we turn deaf ears, blind eyes.

And then there was this reading at morning prayer today (Matt. 21:42-43) Jesus said to them, 'Have you never read in the scriptures: "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is amazing in our eyes"? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.'

The name 'Juan' means 'gift from God.'
A cornerstone in the rough.

At least the pharisees and Temple authorities knew Jesus was talking about them.... and it made them mad. Do we have the sense to think or feel anything about it?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Coffee, the Gospel and a Hooker in my day

When the State tries to regulate LIFE, it loses its authority and trustworthiness.

When the Church tries to regulate LIFE, it loses its authority and trustworthiness.

As institutions, the Church and State fail when they get hooked in to systems of enforcement and regulation.

When we forget that love is the only rule (if rule is imagined, lived and known as a way, a road, not as a means of regulation which leads us to authority) --and love means not seeking one's own fulfillment but the fulfillment of the other --when we forget that, we have lost all, especially LIFE. Lost all except the love of the Three-in-One who in/by/through the life of Christ pull us in to that divine mystery and perfect love.

From the Eucharistic lectionary for the Feast of Richard Hooker (John 17:20-23) As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may trust that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."

So the Father gives all authority to the Son, and the Son through the Power of the Spirit who is one with the Father and Son, gives all authority to us. And in perfect relationship, we delight in giving all back to the Father through the Son by the Power of the Spirit, who is one with the Father and Son....

And to break all the regulations and systems, put all that in the divine feminine.

But what does it matter anyway --we forget love --where we are called to live for the fulfillment of the beloved not the self, and we hold on to that authority given us and disrupt perfection. Authority makes us drunk and sick and deadly.

What was God thinking?
How easy it is to blame God for planting that Tree in the middle of the Garden.
Eve wasn't so bad after all, sharing the apple... sharing that apple was the first example of a human being sharing authority. Or was it complete seduction....? Maybe that's just the easy answer-- the story when it is about regulation and enforcement. Maybe there is a way to read the story if it is about coming of age --"expulsion" from the garden as liberty from regulation and enforcement --more like a mother bird pushing the baby bird out of the nest so that it will learn to fly --more like a mother bird showing the adolescent how to pick worms rather than feeding it.

And Christ is our mother bird. Our nest. The air the lifts us. Our first fruit on the tree... Liberty. Yes, our seduction, if you will.

At some point in the last couple of days, I heard of a woman who was trampled trying to enter a toy store on "Black Friday." She is trying to sue I guess, and is placing blame on the store because there was no 'Security' present to regulate and control the crowd.

When we rely upon exterior regulators, --exterior power and authority, we have no center, personally and corporately, and the center cannot hold.

Perhaps the "middle way" of Richard Hooker is the glory of love --all things in relationship.

I should never read and ponder the Gospel of John before breakfast.... off I go, to get breakfast now! Thank you, Hooker.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive...."

Today we had the choice between fishing and throwing some fish into the fire to celebrate the day of Nicholas Ferrar, or we can have Jesus throwing tables and seats around in the Temple, and then withering a fig tree.

And a train derailed in Richmond. Near downtown. This morning. Just coal, they say --no hazmat.

And the reality of Juan's situation is looming with his first hearing this Thursday. An impossible maze with impossible hurdles. Yet, we are preparing to leap with faith...

Some days are just like that.... impossible. Faith full. Today, after a month of rain, the sun is shining --a respite of sun. And it's not yet that clear, cold, blue-white winter sun --it is still full of warmth. And texture.

And, today, I am going to go get my passport renewed.... looking at Spanish language schools in Central America....

I am remembering my prayers as I run....

At morning prayer (Matthew 21:12-22) Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer'; but you are making it a den of robbers." The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard the children crying out in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they became angry and said to him, "Do you hear what these are saying?" Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read, 'Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise for yourself'?" He left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there. In the morning, when he returned to the city, he was hungry.

And seeing a fig tree by the side of the road, he went to it and found nothing at all on it but leaves. Then he said to it, "May no fruit ever come from you again!" And the fig tree withered at once. When the disciples saw it, they were amazed, saying, "How did the fig tree wither at once?" Jesus answered them, "Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' it will be done. Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive."

Hey, God --it's margaret here --I pray that when I think I see disaster looming, I may have the strength to stand and lift up my head with joy and without shame --my Advent discipline.... I pray that when I think I see judgment, I remember judgment has already happened, and the gates of hell have been shattered and strewn about --just like the tables in your Temple... and I don't much like figs anyway, so there... you blew it with too many little seeds. Just sayin' --and God, thank you. Thank you. For all of it. Amen.