Tuesday, August 31, 2010

daughter of a.... wildness


Category 3 or 4. Maybe. 40 foot seas off the coast. Definitely. Could go out to sea. Maybe. Maybe not. Mainly coastal impacts... probably. Nobody really knows.

Joel has added a hurricane kit to his to-do list for today. Just in case. Because the storms are lining up off the coast.... and it never hurts to be prepared. Not that we expect to be affected more than 100 miles in-land.... but just in case. Just in case something wild happens.

I've never been in a hurricane. Hurricane virgin. I'm from earthquake country... a descendant of those who walk where the ground is alive and moves.... I've never seen the wind and rain go amazon....

At morning prayer (John 8:33) They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, 'You will be made free'?"

I am not a descendant of Abraham. I am not a descendant of Moses. I am probably a multi-breed mutt of the child of the woman who mated with the stars, AND a child of the woman who mated with a bear.... the humors of heaven and earth.... a member of the body of Christ --a child of God.

Even so.

Wild Creator --generator of all life; we are nothing without you, all life is held in being in your beloved child, the Christ. Give us courage to open our eyes and see you as you truly are... and when we prefer our blindness, be merciful. For those caught in high water, in rough water, in fast water, without water; for those caught underground, for those who perpetrate violence and for those who have forgotten where they truly come from and who they truly are... help us keep you in our mind's eye --great liberator, set us all on the way to be made free.

Monday, August 30, 2010

..blessed are those who live on volcanos and leave it up to God....

At morning prayer (Job 12:13-25) "With God are wisdom and strength; he has counsel and understanding.

If he tears down, no one can rebuild; if he shuts someone in, no one can open up. If he withholds the waters, they dry up; if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land.

With him are strength and wisdom; the deceived and the deceiver are his. He leads counselors away stripped, and makes fools of judges.

He looses the sash of kings, and binds a waistcloth on their loins. He leads priests away stripped, and overthrows the mighty. He deprives of speech those who are trusted, and takes away the discernment of the elders. He pours contempt on princes, and looses the belt of the strong.

He uncovers the deeps out of darkness, and brings deep darkness to light. He makes nations great, then destroys them; he enlarges nations, then leads them away.

He strips understanding from the leaders of the earth, and makes them wander in a pathless waste. They grope in the dark without light; he makes them stagger like a drunkard."


Hmmmmmm --sounds pretty much like the Song of Miriam and the magnificat.... you know what I mean? --He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.

And the mountains shall be made low, the valleys like plains --the crooked straight....

Can't help but think of the Glenn Beck rally in DC this weekend.... --because I think we have much, much more of that crap ahead.... and then wonder what the internal panic is that drives him and Palin.... especially when I read scripture like this.

It is one of the hopes of the poor and the marginalized that the power structures really will crumble, and those that have made them suffer will suffer as they have suffered.... and the power they wielded will be turned to dust and less....

And it has always been true that governments support the power structures.... there is no government for 'the people.' And the law --laws are made because people are already doing what the law prohibits or restricts.... and are for the benefit of the power structures....

Dang, that's jaded. Or is it....

Grandmere Mimi provided a very interesting link in a post yesterday.... I, too, have heard the idea that the Tea Party movement is a 'people's' movement --a grassroots endeavor emanating from the hearts and souls of the common ordinary person in middle-America.

Well, indeed --it seems as those rumors are false --you know, follow the money --and the Tea Party movement is funded in large part by Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers who wish to abolish not just Social Security, federal regulatory agencies and welfare but also of the F.B.I., the C.I.A., and public schools — in other words, any government enterprise that would either inhibit his business profits or increase his taxes. He hasn’t changed. As Mayer details, Koch-supported lobbyists, foundations and political operatives are at the center of climate-science denial — a cause that forestalls threats to Koch Industries’ vast fossil fuel business. (The 'he' in the quote is Koch who ran for office to the right of Ronald Reagan.)

And the Koch brothers' father was on the board of the John Birch Society.... some apples never fall far from the tree.... and why else would billionaires spend millions on obtaining an elected office.... except to mold the laws and power so that they can make more $$$$$.

You know --some part of this scripture which tumbles power from its throne is not just true for some yet unrealized time in the future.... it is already true. Somehow, the Becks and Palins and Murdochs and Koches of the world already know that what they wield and build is built of nothing --which is why they are so desperate to protect and sustain it, and build more fabrications to bulk it up.

There is such awful spiritual violence in this raw 'operative' of taxes and power and control. Especially when Beck and Palin invoke their god in their rallies and speeches, and try to make folks believe that it is the Christian God they invoke.

And all supported by the kings of industry and capital. And law.

Heavenly creator --I have seen the mountains with their summits blown asunder, walked their ridges and seen the work of your wild imagination. Help us remember that you who make mountains flat and fill valleys were also born a child of illegal immigrants told to return to their own country to be counted --and then fled for your life to another place because authority and power will always seek its own glory and gorge on the blood of innocents. I pray for those caught in high water and deep underground; for those without shelter in this heat; for those threatened by storms --and for those who will try to profit from the suffering of these your lambs. When we are brought low, deprived of speech, groping and wandering in a wildness of waste, staggering and drunk on despair, help us remember your promise --blessed are the poor, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, blessed are the meek, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemakers, and give us the voice and will to sing and dance your praises. Now and always. Amen.

Hah --spellcheck wanted to change magnificat into magnified. Nope. No way.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

G'wan. Go to church

If they damn pharisees and all they bible people had had sense and lounged at a round table like my celtic wanna-be ancestor, King Arthur --Jesus wouldn't have had to give 'em all a lecture on where to sit and who to invite.


G'wan. Go to church. It ain't about good table manners and who to invite --it's about practicing at all times and in all places that which is necessary for a Christian life. And the more you practice, the easier it gets!

You'll need food for the journey --so... g'wan.

the high plane of dignity and discipline

The day we remember Augustine of Hippo --probably the first well-known African Bishop of the Church. Would that the African bishops of our own day..... sigh.

The day Martin Luther King, who spoke of true liberty on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and later gave his life for all. Thanks be to God.

The anniversary of Katrina. Lord have mercy.

And Glenn Beck, spewing forth.... damn it!

(Funny. As I reflect upon Augustine's challenges, Mr. Beck is both a Donatist (purity of priests matters) and Pelagian (just try harder --we can be perfect)....)

....sigh....

--and then I remember I absolutely, firmly, enthusiastically trust in universal redemption and salvation --which, of course, includes Beck.... It's a good thing God is God, because I could not be trusted with judgment.

At morning prayer (John 8:14-16) Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I judge no one.

There we are.

Gracious God, I stomp my feet and want you to throw the likes of Glenn Beck and all those effing hateful selfish self-absorbed Tea Partiers straight to hell. Yes I do. Help me keep the eyes of my heart, mind and soul focused on you that I may walk the way of love. No matter what. Amen.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

....

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.
MLK.

Amen.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Pornographic


(#$%*^&#$*(%&! Glenn Beck.

Tomorrow, on the anniversary of MLK's I have a dream speech, Glenn Beck will hold a rally in the same place at the same time --on the steps of the Lincoln monument --calling for the restoration of American honor.

And the billboard size speaker system --that is what I think it is any way, right under the words 'restore honor' --has been painted in rainbow stripes.

Beck claims he just chose the date arbitrarily --he doesn't mean to offend. And, besides, MLK doesn't 'belong' only to black people.... Beck is comparing this rally to civil rights rallies, a world changing event like the moon walk, or like the coming out of Abraham Lincoln.

Obviously, it is none of those things.

Beck says Throughout history America has seen many great leaders and noteworthy citizens change her course. It is through their personal virtues and by their example that we are able to live as a free people. On August 28, come celebrate America by honoring our heroes, our heritage and our future.

Join the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and many more for this non-political event that pays tribute to America’s service personnel and other upstanding citizens who embody our nation’s founding principles of integrity, truth and honor.

Our freedom is possible only if we remain virtuous. Help us restore the values that founded this great nation. On August, 28th, come join us in our pledge to restore honor at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.


Huh.... Well. There we are. Honor indeed. But I don't expect these Tea Party folks to be met with fire hoses, guns, tear gas and line of police in full body armor... but I cannot believe anything except that they hope to incite a riot.

And I am not at all sure about American honor.... just sayin'. And, please, that does not mean that some American citizens have not done very honorable things....

This attempt to regain and 'preserve' American honor and restore the values of this nation --regain, preserve, and restore should give us the clues we might need to truly understand ---to go back to where we were --to the once-upon-a-time dominance of the man, the white man in particular... the white, presumably straight man.... and let us remember, MLK did not work to regain, preserve nor restore...

At morning prayer (John 7:47-52) Then the temple police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, "Why did you not arrest him?"

The police answered, "Never has anyone spoken like this!"

Then the Pharisees replied, "Surely you have not been deceived too, have you? Has any one of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law - they are accursed."

Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before, and who was one of them, asked, "Our law does not judge people without first giving them a hearing to find out what they are doing, does it?"

They replied, "Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee."


In this, Nicodemus was honorable--waiting to hear, see... before judgment. We all know Jesus was silenced and judged with violent suppression by the powers that be. So were MLK and all those who worked for equality and liberty for all.

Violent suppression is what happens when Truth and Light stand before the darkness of power, force and corruption. Because that is what power, force and corruption do.

Let's give Beck his time. Let's not give him what he wants --which is to be met with force and violence. Because then he can justify his actions....

--which is perverse and the best example of pornography I can think of --taking something beautiful and making it over in his own image --missing the mark.

Besides, true honor works for those who have nothing, at one's own expense, and without thought to the personal cost.

Tell me, Mr. Beck, whose honor you intend to restore... whose 'freedom' you intend to preserve... Yes, I know, merely your own. And that is pornographic. Twisted. Demented.

Feh. Yes. This is my prayer today. What do we do with the likes of Beck and all modern-day pharisees and arbiters of power and force and privilege.... who twist goodness for their own sake.

Help me, Lord, not let this overwhelming sick-at-heart feeling take hold. Forgive them, for they know not what they do.

thanks to News Corpse for the image.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Let my prayer rise up

Start here... g'wan --35 seconds... because I shall end where I began....



No --psalm 141 is not supposed to be included in morning nor evening prayer... but it is where I went today.

There is an interesting article at the Huffington Post --I was made aware of it by Mother Kaeton in a letter she distributed on the HoB/D --on clergy burnout.

Burn out.... --sigh. My fire is going strong. Big heap o'fire. Thank you.

Now hear me --I've been in a tough spot all summer, and I'm tired--and I do need to process the violence and grief and mental illness I saw and experienced and carried in my flesh for the sake of our beloved Juan Manuel --and I do need to process the near-death experience of my beloved soulmate, --and I am getting that help, but I don't think I'm any where nears burned out on parish life.... I hope not, any way...

Any how --the article discusses boundaries, self-care, expectations and the changing role of clergy in our brave new world. The conclusion, in essence, is that churches do not promote spiritual discipline and wellness, and the clergy as a whole lack a good spiritual life --both getting buried in programs and the management/administration of a non-profit....

Hmmmmmmm....... well, yes. And no. I think there is a whole lot of romantic fluff about the responsibilities and life of clergy before our contemporary constructions... and I have many thoughts about 'professional' clergy --those who treat this occupation as a career instead of a calling....

And it's a hard call between sacrificial living --doing and giving all, --and well, I remember a story told me by a parishioner (KH--this would be you!) of a pastor living sacrificially for 20 years (or so) keeping a parish together, and when it came time for her to retire the parish could not afford to go on --it's been a while since I heard the story, but I think that was the gist of it....

So, it's a hard call --what is sacrificial living? --what is spiritual living? --when does sacrificial living become enabling?

And what does it mean to suffer burn-out? Is giving all and then some until you can't give any more --is this not what it's all about?

I know --I know... clergy wellness and all that... my life is precious and all that.... I do take it seriously. I do practice all those things...

But what does that mean --really mean, when we are called to follow Christ and to give our lives away?

Perhaps it is what we are giving our life away to/for that matters....

And to keep that priority in place --that is why I am here --acknowledging the prayers of my heart --some I can say out-loud, some I cannot....

At morning prayer (Psalm 18:33-37)
It is God who girds me about with strength *
and makes my way secure.
He makes me sure-footed like a deer *
and lets me stand firm on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle *
and my arms for bending even a bow of bronze.
You have given me your shield of victory; *
your right hand also sustains me;
your loving care makes me great.
You lengthen my stride beneath me, *
and my ankles do not give way.


ahhhh --would that my way were secure, that I were sure-footed, supple, and that my ankles never gave way.... sigh. All this while I ponder our broken political systems and processes, death, and all that our common life requires...

At times, it is near overwhelming.... and one can lose one's way....

Sometimes when I pray, I see a woman inside me keeping house --sweeping usually, otherwise it is searching for a coin --you know... it is a biblical house --no furnace, no paint, --but a mud and stick shelter that rises seamlessly from an earthen floor, open windows, a blue door, and an open bee-hive shaped oven as the source of heat and light.... and when she is done sweeping and there is a neat or not so neat pile --she takes an ember and lights the pile and tends the flame while a wisp of smoke rises up.... a fragrant offering....



it is when I quit trying to hold on to it --when I offer it... --then, finally, God can...

A Collect for the Renewal of Life from morning prayer --revised :) O God, the eternal fire, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: alight the rubbish heap of our wrong desires with your bright light, incline our hearts to keep your joy before us, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Burn out. Indeed.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

dreaming of dreaming


Have you ever had a dream, or a vision, or something 'other' that changed your consciousness? We are not a people nor a culture that puts much merit into dreams/visions.... and, indeed, it is difficult to judge and trust that which is not rational....

--but it can be life changing.

At morning prayer (Acts 10:8-16) About noon the next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat; and while it was being prepared, he fell into a trance.

He saw the heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down, being lowered to the ground by its four corners. In it were all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air.

Then he heard a voice saying, "Get up, Peter; kill and eat."

But Peter said, "By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean."

The voice said to him again, a second time, "What God has made clean, you must not call profane." This happened three times, and the thing was suddenly taken up to heaven.


My native American sisters and brothers take dreams and visions far more seriously than we do. They even cultivate the circumstances to induce the opportunity to have such dreams. And then they share it quietly with one experienced in dreams/visions and are helped to interpret them --whether they are personal or affect the entire community.

If the dream/vision is personal, it is for you and you alone.... And if the dream/vision affects the entire community, one is supposed to act. It is a public dream.

In our modern world, Martin Luther King had such a dream --and acted upon it. He died for it too.

Peter's dream presented above is a dream for him personally and for the entire community --realizing that which is forbidden and taboo is a human construct, not a God thing. It is also a little bit o' scripture quoted by LGBTQ Christians to demonstrate the mental shift from taboo to clean, being holy-made in the image of God... --and that dream is their dream.

I have dreams. Most are not fit for sharing.... most are deeply personal. I do not have public dreams....

Even so, I do listen to them. They are not prophecy or directives --not like that. But the means to rethink and revision my ordinary every-day life, to give me perspective.... color....

Trouble is, I have been bereft of remembering my dreams for about a year.... --and I feel like I'm ready for a big one....

Perhaps I should cultivate the circumstances.... yes, perhaps I should.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

....structure

The news --the stigma of bedbugs, should you tell your neighbors.... the Chilean miners alive but trapped underground until Christmas.... primary elections--and how many millions and millions spent.... the caustic and jaded and purposeful use/manipulation/hysteria of the idea of the Muslim center in NYC.... and locally, domestic violence erupting in to a gun fight which leaves four people dead --uncles, brothers, nephews.....

And I return to work today. Gratefully --I am looking forward to putting structure back in to my life.... structure other than prayer and sleep--as much as I can get and food--as much as I can get.

Morning prayer today is given to the apostle Bartholomew. And us, trying to work out his identity because the Gospels don't sync... but the focus being the gates of heaven.

(Genesis 28:10-17) Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. .... And he [Jacob] was afraid, and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."

And, then, in the Gospel of John, Nathanael is believed to be Bartholomew (Nathanael Bar (son of) Tholome...). and we have this reading (John 1:@50) Jesus answered, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these." And he said to him, "Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."

The gate of heaven....

I have heard that the gathered people of God, the church, is the gate to heaven, the transcendent and incarnate presence of Christ. And so often that idea is met with such mockery or skepticism, because so often the church looks pretty much like the headline news --and if one can avoid it, who would want to voluntarily become involved in such situations....

This morning, Joel brought me coffee and breakfast in bed --as he usually does, but he was also full of an idea --a new liturgical structure... He said, excitedly, something about Greek services and anaphoras and then laid it out: begin with the beatitudes because we are Christians, go to the prayers of the people and then the collect, and then read the Gospel --BAM! Gospel first --and then read the OT and the letters... because we must have Christ first to open the scriptures for us, like on the road to Emeaeus.....

And he got me thinking.... one has to know Christ to see Christ, particularly in the church.... or is it that Christ is revealed and then Christ is known and seen...

And that got me thinking about the vampire writer denouncing church but determined to be a follower of Christ --and is that possible...? Because I know she is not alone in that place of hating church, hating the institution, and loving Christ...

And I am mulling around the idea of church again --and again --and again.... and I find myself comfortably trusting that the first and really only reason for church is worship --because worship shapes us, forms us for all that comes in Christian life the other worship which is service. Isn't it interesting.... worship and service are almost interchangeable....

So, those who don't show up for worship..... don't risk entering the gate, putting their hands and feet on the ladder....

I wonder if the Bishop would let me play with the template of worship --move the parts around like Joel suggests....

I wonder.......

Wow --time, structure --I must....

I am so very grateful I have had this time --I needed it so desperately, it did not go as planned certainly --but I have had the luxury of daydreaming --mucking around in the foundations of the gate of heaven.... underground, so that I might rediscover structure...

Peace out.
Hi ho, hi-ho, it's off to work I go!

Monday, August 23, 2010

"...they were all afraid of him..."

This is my dad. Graduating from medical school.


At morning prayer (Acts 9:19b-27) For several days Saul was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God." All who heard him were amazed and said, "Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem among those who invoked this name? And has he not come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?" Saul became increasingly more powerful and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah.

After some time had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night so that they might kill him; but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket. When he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus.


You know --I don't think I would have trusted Saul.... having tortured and killed how many disciples of Jesus?

I am not sure how I would have received Paul, either.... I would have to work really hard at it. I know this about myself....

Because, see, it is my dad's birthday today. He's been dead 28 years now, --and the long and short of it is still complicated. My dad left my family when I was 15 and he moved in with a woman who was just two years older than my eldest sister. It gets worse from there, so I'll just say my dad tried every trick in the book to make sure he didn't have to support my mother or his minor children.

It was really awful.

Sigh....

And yet I know my dad was an incredible man in so many ways --brilliant, a doctor who gave his time away at our local public hospital, committed to giving access to good medical care to the poor, a gifted musician, loved going to church, loved the mountains, loved cultivating unique camellias.... I acknowledge he shaped many fine qualities in me.

Including striving to love someone who hurt you. Terribly.

What an incredible discipline it must have been for those who knew Saul, murderer of friends and relatives, fellow Christians --and yet they worked on accepting him, and then even listened and were changed by what he said, did and taught.

It is them --those who struggled to accept Saul in their midst-- them I remember today. And give thanks for the life and gifts of my dad. As broken as he was.

And all those who push us to remember to love as Jesus loves. On the calendar, we can also remember Martin de Porres, Rosa de Lima and Toribio de Mogrovejo, Witnesses to the Faith in South America, 1639, 1617, 1606.... not sure today how I feel about celebrating those who assisted the church in the brutal colonization of the new world, even if they did assist the poor and sick --but I guess that brings me right back around to where I began...

And, I pray that the hurt I may have done --wherever, whenever, be gently revealed as I can bear it, and through your grace and mercy, Creator, that hurt be redeemed.

Concede, oh Dios, que tu santo y vivificador Espiritu anime de tal manera a todo ser humano , que se derrumben las barreras que nos dividen, que desaparezcan las sospechas y que cesen los odios; a fin de que, sanadas nuestras divisiones, vivamos en paz y justicia, por Jesucristo nuestro Senor. amen (BCPp823)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

G'wan. Go to church

Preach it Isaiah --who needs to say more?

(Isaiah 58:9b-11)

If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.
The LORD will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.


And Jesus is a bad boy and heals on the Sabbath when he should do no work.... helps a woman stand up straight.... what's he doing touching a useless woman anyway?!

The oppressed, the victims of gossip, the hungry, the afflicted, women..... who can get snarky about that kind of stuff?!!!

G'wan. Go to church. Food for the work ahead.

our oppressors called for mirth...

It's the psalms today --just singin'....

Psalm 137:1-6

By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept, *
when we remembered you, O Zion.
As for our harps, we hung them up *
on the trees in the midst of that land.
For those who led us away captive asked us for a song,
and our oppressors called for mirth: *
"Sing us one of the songs of Zion."
How shall we sing the LORD's song *
upon an alien soil?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, *
let my right hand forgets its skill.
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you, *
if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.


Yes. We do ask those who are oppressed to be mirth-full. Those who are ill to be strong.... because we want them to tell us that oppression and death are not so bad after all... keep our denial well knit and without holes....



How can we sing King Alpha song in a strange land?.... 'cuz the wicked carry us away captivity --so that the words of our mouth, and the meditation of our heart be acceptable in thy sight... got ta sing it together...

Irish style:



In Ms. O'Connor's other renditions she changes it from plural to singular. That just misses the whole point. Just sayin'. 'Cuz we are one....



It's only round and round and round....

Well --there we are.
Prayin' for K. big time today.
and JM. and all our kids.
amen.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Not grateful dead --but grateful pink

It hasn't always been pink. But it is now. My room... and it's all hand-me-down stuff.... greatgrandmother, grandmother, mother... and that is Mr. Witty's room under the bed....


At morning prayer (John 6 beginning at about verse 32 cuz I'm too lazy this morning to look it up precisely) Then Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always."

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."


You know --there are scholars who say the Gospel of John is written as a pedagogical tool "--written that you may believe....' And the whole wedding scene is not about weddings, but the true bridegroom providing the best wine --the woman at the well pointing us to the best drink... --and the whole feeding of thousands and all that follows pointing us to the true bread. And here he just comes out and says it --I am the bread....

I am the wine, the true vine, the source of all you drink. I am the bread for which you truly hunger. I am the healing, the restoration. I am love. I am the light. I am life. Beyond imagining.

John. Ecstatic. Passionate. Not ethereal --rather, busting down the walls and fabrications we build to contain the holy, opening us up to the wild sky. The cross, from which Christ reigns, implodes on itself like a black hole and explodes in to a life beyond fear and death, bearing the marks of violence and oppression as icons to the inner light.... turning our barnyard lives of blood sacrifice for the sake/necessity of life in to the holy of holies... inverting the taboo of blood in to consumable shared source...

I have been sustained by wildness of this sort through the last two months --the crazier it has become, the calmer and more grateful I have become.... although the stark clarity of what was dealt has at times been frightening --and I have been at times exhausted beyond exhausted, --the wildness has --I know this sounds strange --but the wildness has been inverted to strength --not my own by any stretch of the imagination, but knowing I could not hold on, I found I was held.

Not ethereally... but truly.

And I know we --Juan Manuel, Joel and me and the communities in which we move and have our being --we are not any wheres near done with what is before us. If any where --we are probably just beyond the start line and beginning with the middle part....

--and that is okay. Life itself is not a long haul. When one breaks through, the architecture of life itself takes on a whole different dimension.

Really.

I guess that is what moved me --in an outward and visible way, to make such a dramatic expression --painting my room pink. PINK. --pink.


Ecstatic. Passionate. Not ethereal. The walls laugh and so I do too. Opening the sky....

Look at that --a whole other architecture and dimension under the bed --you can see Mr. Witty's tail-end near the head of what is my bed and what must be a whole other reality under it....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

the Book of Job? --ha......

Well --there we are.

The Juvenile Court decided to send Juan Manuel back to Texas yesterday. He is more than terrified of the violence which will ensue --not maybe, but will... domestic or gang, take your pick. He so desperately wanted a new life --especially since he had tasted it.... I fear for his very life.

And today Joel goes in for an infusion.... He has to go to the infusion clinic for a six or so hour dose.... --it can't come too soon. He is beginning to choke when swallowing and his speech is unexpectedly slurred again --demonstrating that his muscles are not responding to his brain. It's like chemotherapy --but it is called immunotherapy.... I fear for his very life.

And today, in morning prayer we start the Book of Job.... I feel like I could add a chapter to that book....

But, I give thanks that the military has withdrawn from Iraq to Camp Virginia in Kuwait. And I remember the nearly 5,000 dead in seven years... the 80,000+ or so Iraqi dead.... and the thousands upon thousands upon thousands of those whose hearts beat but whose minds and bodies languish....

And damnit --I will go to NYC and help build the Community Center near the World Trade Center.

At morning prayer (John 6:16-19) When evening came, Jesus' disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid."

So, I will not be afraid. God is good. All the time. Even in the midst of the dark and storm.

The prayers at morning prayer:
Show us your mercy, O Lord;
And grant us your salvation.

Clothe your ministers with righteousness;
Let your people sing with joy.

Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;
For only in you can we live in safety.

Lord, keep this nation under your care;
And guide us in the way of justice and truth.

Let your way be known upon earth;
Your saving health among all nations.

Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;
Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.

Create in us clean hearts, O God;
And sustain us with your Holy Spirit.


I remember K & RA fighting cancer; R who begins new life in Illinois; AB who is confused; DE who is alone; and many thanksgivings for the community with whom I have been called to serve.
Amen.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

beyond the miracle there is ---you and me and that makes three

At morning prayer (John 6:1-15) After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick.


Signs. Signs. Signs. John. John. John.... --and the people were lusting after the signs, weren't they.... --they saw only the signs.... You know, some folks are merely looking at the signs when they come to church too --the numbers, the buildings, the programs.... instead of looking beyond those things...

Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?"


Why does Jesus feel this compulsion to feed the large crowd that is coming up the mountains where he sits alone with the disciples? --it seems the crowd was looking to celebrate the Passover, not find Jesus. --oh, John. That's very clever.... And, yes, I am already remembering this is about what is beyond bread.... living Bread of Heaven.

He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, "Six months' wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little." One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?"



See Philip --it's not about the money.... and this is where folks preach doing/thinking abundance rather than scarcity... If I scratch and sniff to see what more there is --I see the child, the least among them, the one without legal standing, no power, no authority, no physical strength.... bottabing bottabang.... talk about courage...

Jesus said, "Make the people sit down."


Now, that's a miracle right there.... surely there were some who didn't sit down.... surely.

Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.

When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, "Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost." So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, "This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world."


The crowd --like the Samaritan woman, start in the 'prophet' mode.... and grow in understanding as they 'see' more....

When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.


I am reminded here --striving to make Jesus king... forcing him. So many ummmmm protestants for lack of a better word, pray TO Jesus. They make Jesus king.... they make him God.... our own BCP is peppered with this kind of praying....

What a mash that makes. I shiver whenever we do it... such a denial of who we are as a gathered people....

Our good ol' Eucharistic prayers make it quite clear --we pray to the 'Father' (yes, the Traditional word, forgive me) through, by, with, in the Son.... our voice is the voice of Jesus lifted....

You know, when we made Jesus THE God --or even made him the intermediary for our prayers to THE God (--and when he got too lofty we used his mother as intermediary....) we committed a crime against the Spirit because that still leaves us as the piddling little crowd who comes looking for the sign rather than realizing they are participating in it....

There would have been no effing miracle (lookingness) if the people hadn'ta sat down and been willing to participate in it....

hummmpf.... more than abundance.... it is participation, and so often we don't even realize we are doing it... or not.

We are baptized in to the Life of Christ --so how can we pray to ourselves? Jesus didn't pray to himself....

Bread. Participation. Knowing it. Seeing it. Doing it.
Following up the mountain for a better view.... oh dear. That's a whole other thought.

Gonna go be present for Juan Manuel in court this morning. See. Be seen. Participate --but not in the ways people think...

Then I'm going to paint my room --get this-- PINK. Well, sorta pink....
Pray for the people of Afghanistan, China, Haiti --all those who suffer as a matter of conscious and integrity, and that we may all participate seen and unseen in the healing and restoration of this world.

And for the little ones who carry the bread and fish we so desperately seek and need. Amen.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Life

At morning prayer (@John 5:36) You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

So much for fundamentalism and bible-based Christianity.... yeppa --living flesh and blood is the only way to go...

Just over a week ago, Joel and I ran away to Williamsburg --we got clearance from his doctor with some guidelines --like, no, you may not go camping (which is our usual get away) because heat exacerbates your condition --but, yes, you may sit at the pool in the shade so long as you get in the water every 15 minutes....

So, that is what we did.... and we ate in our room every night but one --saved our $$$ for a feast which will keep us another year. (See below)

And my body is rested. Only part of my mind is.... We go back home with Juan Manuel's court date tomorrow and Joel has his first infusion on Thursday -- the infusion is immunotherapy --kind of like chemotherapy, except with stuff to suppress his own immune system and give him stuff to provide him with some immunity.... We are glad there is such a thing. When he was released from the hospital, he felt great. He can tell he is declining again... so can I. So the immunotherapy is comming just at the right time.... smart doctors.

We are slowly slogging back in to the world of TV news and all that. What has been amazing is to listen to the rhetoric of the re-enactments of the Revolutionary War stuff in Williamsburg and then watch the tea-baggers on TV.... Same rhetoric in so many ways --well, at least the words they use are the same.... which is so terrifying.

And the news regarding the floods, the droughts, the storms --the wars, the violence and murders.... it is all so very discouraging. What has really caught my heart and the imagination of my prayer is the images of the persons carrying corpses, wading through water, holding dying children.... and I remember our ability to "run-away" for a mental and spiritual break is such a luxury --even though what we have done is spartan.... I mean, we ignore the drug deals in the parking lot, the guys living in the woods behind the motel who don't think anyone can see them....

And, our time has been punctuated with things like the horrific car accident --I was sitting at the pool, Joel was away getting his hair cut, and three cars slammed in to each other at the strange intersection in front of our motel --twenty feet in front of me... saw the whole thing... ---glass and blood and children and screaming mothers.... at the impact I put my shoes on and ran to help organize the chaos, telling the children to sit down here, told the parents what to do, getting pool towels for compresses, holding the hysterical child....

When the ambulance finally got there, the medics thought I was part of the accident because I was covered with blood and little specks of glass..... I pointed to my stupid bathing suit with its stupid little old lady skirt and then the pool --and then they smiled.... and continued to ask me how they could help me.... a good hose I said, and laughed at myself wondering whether I meant the noun or the verb... and I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the drug dealers and forest hobos had emerged and were gathered in little crowds. Watching. Unable to move. And disappearing with the advent of the police and lights....

I can understand why they did not help.... it is so much easier not to be involved. Safer. To keep one's eyes averted....

Yes. Living flesh and blood.
Yes, Scripture informs me, shapes me. Like love letters. Family history.

But it was/is not scripture that compels me to move.... it was/is not my mind nor my body which always needs rest and recreation.... it was/is that quickened center in my inmost being.... that point of light which floods me....

And that light in my inmost self never grows tired. It is Life. Source. Ground. Being. Christ.

And I am entirely grateful.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dang!!!!


Okay --this was dinner. Iced tea for joel --I had tangy ginger ale. Roasted scallops. Black rice. Asparagus. French bread. for dessert --burnt sugar ice cream.... O.M.G.... we had to eat it take out cuz the little restaurant just got in trouble for letting dogs on their open patio --and we had Mr. Witty with us cuz he couldn't stay in the hot car.... and he has joined us on this patio for five years.... but even eating it out on the street couldn't undo the incredible sequence of totally outrageous flavors....

And when we got back to the little budget inn the internet didn't work --so this morning, there was still no internet and I could not do morning prayer..... So, I didn't.... but I did say my prayers as we wheeled around Williamsburg.....

And the kind host --who has let Mr. Witty swim with us in the swimming pool all week, just came and told me the internet has been fixed.... and indeed it has!

Blessings -all!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

G'wan. Go to church

Luke 12:49-56

Jesus said, "I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided:

father against son
and son against father,
mother against daughter
and daughter against mother,
mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."

He also said to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, `It is going to rain'; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, `There will be scorching heat'; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?"


Holy patoooties!!!! So much for family values.....

I am so glad I am not preaching tomorrow....
Maybe I'll sleep in.... nah --I'll go....
Peace out.

"brokennes a place of possibility...."

It is the day to remember Jonathan Myrick Daniels, a young seminarian answering the call to assist citizens in registering to vote and killed by a man who felt threatened by the full inclusion of African Americans....

.... he lived beyond generosity and violence....

Maggie Ross presents a discussion in her blog entry on August 3 of Walter Brueggemann's 2009 book, saying

An Unsettling God
In his 2009 book, Walter Brueggemann has written a forceful critique of modern culture using an unadulterated model of the Old Testament God. I find his books compulsive reading in any event, but this one may be his best.

'At the root of reality is a limitless generosity that intends an extravagant abundance.... This insistence flies in the face of the theory of scarcity on which the modern world is built. An ideology of scarcity produces a competitiveness that issues in brutality, justifies policies of wars and aggression, authorizes an acute individualism, and provides endless anxiety about money, sexuality, physical fitness, beauty, work achievements, and finally morality....

'At the center of reality is a deep, radical, painful, costly fissure that will, soon or later, break ever self-arranged pattern of well-being.... It cannot be helped, and it cannot be avoided....

'This insistence on the reality of brokenness flies in the face of the Enlightenment practice of denial. Enlightenment rationality, in its popular, uncriticized form, teaches that with enough reason and resources brokenness can be avoided. And so Enlightenment rationality, in its frenzied commercial advertising, hucksters the good of denial and avoidance: denial of headaches and perspiration and loneliness, impotence and poverty and shame, embarrassment and, finally, death. In such ideology there are no genuinely broken people. When brokenness intrudes into such an assembly of denial, as surely it must, it comes as failure, stupidity, incompetence, and guilt. The church, so wrapped in the narrative of denial, tends to collude in this. When denial is transposed into guilt—into personal failure—the system of denial remains intact and uncriticized, in the way Job' friends defended the system.

'The outcome for the isolated failure is that there can be no healing, for there has not been enough candor to permit it. In the end, such denial is not only a denial of certain specifics—it is the rejection of the entire drama of brokenness and healing, the denial that there is an incommensurate Power and Agent who comes in pathos into the brokenness, and who by coming there makes the brokenness a place of possibility.' (pp. 171-172)


....brokenness as a place of possibility....

This is such a relief for me to read.... Yes. Relief. Brokenness and violence in the center of what is... abundance.... and not denying it the necessary way to healing. And that our society and church are are chock full of denial. Built on it.

Because in so many ways I have felt broken, and a failure.... resulting in shame. Because of all the circumstances.... jail--broken lives, ICU--broken bodies.... etc... and my eating my way through the stress.... And I am comfortable --no, okay with the brokenness.... it is the judgment --the shame of which I am most concerned....

....but I am not ashamed....

....just because I have lived what most would like to deny....

But, then there are folks like Daniels who give us a model for confronting the denial... roll your sleeves up, get in it. This is Daniels' favorite bit of scripture that was a canticle at morning prayer....

Canticle: The Song of Mary
Magnificat
Luke 1:46-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations shall call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.


...because in brokenness is a place of possibility --our own plans made in our own image finally shattered.


Collect of the Day: Jonathan Myrick Daniels, Seminarian and Martyr, 1965

O God of justice and compassion, you put down the proud and mighty from their place, and lift up the poor and afflicted: We give you thanks for your faithful witness Jonathan Myrick Daniels, who, in the midst of injustice and violence, risked and gave his life for another; and we pray that we, following his example, may make no peace with oppression; through Jesus Christ the just one: who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Gonna go ride my bike.
It's gonna break my fat ass.
And I will not be ashamed.

Friday, August 13, 2010

signs and wonders


At morning prayer beginning at about (John 4:45) Then he came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, "Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe." The official said to him, "Sir, come down before my little boy dies." Jesus said to him, "Go; your son will live." The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way.

In the Gospel of John --it's all about signs.... The signs and wonders. But the signs and wonders are not what is important. Signs and wonders point to what is beyond....

I trust that miraculous healing is not what it is all about.... Seems to me that with what Jesus says, he does these wonders because that is what it takes for us... he does them almost grudgingly. I trust that even the resurrection is a sign of the kingdom --resurrection is not our goal. Resurrection is a sign of what is beyond.... I believe that too.

Resurrection is not what following Christ is all about... and resurrection is not something we wait for. In the days to come.

Resurrection is now. And forever.

Always.
Just sayin'.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

but no one said.....

At morning prayer (John 4:27) Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, "What do you want?" or "Why are you speaking with her?"

That just cracks me up! How many times do we avert our eyes and not talk about what is right in front of us!!! ....draw our own conclusions....

On another note --a beggar on a bike approached Joel and I asking for money. He began his request by saying, "I've been here for two years...." We didn't have any cash and would normally have invited him out to eat... but, it was obvious he didn't want food. ....but, the line keeps coming back to me.... what is right in front of me about this request that I am missing...? Qualifying the duration of his misery? Why is this haunting me?

Poor kid. He will be in my prayers for a while.

The people of Pakistan are in my prayers. ....have been...
...and all who beg for a living....
...thanksgiving for the imagination of Baum and all who brought us the Wizard of Oz --it's the 71rst anniversary today... and thanksgiving for my little dog too!
Thanksgiving for the congregation I serve....
For K and RA, fighting cancer.
For AB who is confused and keeps calling my home....
For R who is supposed to board a plane today for a new home. Not sure he has ever flown....
And all those prayers floating around me in images and colors.
Amen.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

WWYD? (What would You do?)

From morning prayer (from John 4) Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come back." The woman answered him, "I have no husband."

Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying, 'I have no husband'; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!"

The woman said to him, "Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem."

Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."

The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us."

Jesus said to her, "I am he, the one who is speaking to you."


The woman at the well.... She goes from seeing him as a man to the threshold of seeing him as messiah. She was the first apostle sent out to bring others to him.

This is not a discourse to reveal her as a loose woman --all that "husband" stuff comes from the OT imagery of God as husband (Sandra Schneider, Written that you may believe). I mean look at it --duh. I mean, even Jesus dissed Jerusalem...

It's about what/whom/how we worship....

Would that we all could know our worship is not dependent upon place or method, but is revealed in something as simple as giving a stranger a drink of water and being willing to see in them the face of God.

I was speaking to a young mother last week, and her six year old daughter saw a man holding a sign by the side of the road and asked her mom to read the sign. "Homeless Need Food Will Work" the mom read. The daughter said to her, mom, then we should take him home--we have a home, and we should feed him. The mother said, yes --but.....

And then struggled to say why she couldn't, knowing her daughter was right, and wanting to teach her daughter to do just that..... but....

It is risky to speak to a man carrying signs while you go on about your business. Could change your whole world....

What would you say/do if you were this young mother....?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Laurence and Gamaliel --is that the rope of God --or the camel of God....? Sometimes it is better to live with ambiguity


Don't know why because I usually am shy of the Book of Acts... --but this stuck with me at morning prayer:

(Acts 5:@33-39) But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time.

Then he said to them, "Fellow Israelites, consider carefully what you propose to do to these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and disappeared.

After him Judas the Galilean rose up at the time of the census and got people to follow him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered.

So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them - in that case you may even be found fighting against God!"


It speaks to me of patience. Not ready acceptance --but the integrity to wait, see, watch. Unthreatened by otherness. Willingness.

Praying with a vision that is unafraid and willing to take a while. Unmoved by hyperventilation.... Not that it is non-judgmental... There will be decision. But there is no immediate condemnation....

We need that in the church. We need that in our lives.

St. Laurence --whom we remember today. Roasted alive on a rack. Joel says his antiphon should be: Turn me over, for I am done on this side. Or maybe it is... Can't remember. Laurence was arrested and told to give over the treasures of the church. He pointed to the poor, the widows, the orphans, the sick, and said, 'these are the treasures of the church.'

But when one messes with "them" --one cannot stay "clean." And that will put you at odds with a bunch o' people. Cuz most have very limited ability to maintain the vision of Gamaliel... or Laurence.

Hah! spellcheck wants to change 'unthreatened' to 'enthroned.' There's another one for you Laura!

Monday, August 9, 2010

John 3:17 is more important than the line that everyone knows cuz it's on billboards and such


At morning prayer (John 3:16-17) For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

This is the billboard gospel line --the t-shirt version of God's love taken to the cross....

Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

This is the line I stake my life on. No condemnation in Christ. The lines that follow --about those seekers of the Light knowing, and those who fight the light.... seek death. (in so many words)....

I am not fooled. We all seek death. In our own patterns of destruction. We all fight the light. We all do it. (Well, maybe we all do... ---except Louie Crew --who handles even the dark things as avenues to the light more often than any one I know.) And this is when I go back to that John 3:17 --no condemnation...

I trust Jesus. Even when I seek those things that do not lead to life, those things that are not of the light --when I make terrible mistakes.... and sometimes don't even know it, can't even see it.... in Christ, there is no condemnation.

Love, only love.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

G'wan. Go to church

Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out....


Yah. My mama carried one just like this as a purse. Really. No, --really.

G'wan. Go to church. Be inspired to make a purse for yourself that does not wear out....

mortification of words....


At morning prayer (John 2:23-25) When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.

Huh. Fascinating! needed no one to testify about anyone.... Huh.

The quiet mystification. The time to be still when you know something for certain and the whole world is spinning.... a mortification of words.... wisdom.

I pray for KL as she began her new job this week; for RC, JM; RA & K fighting cancer; for the poor and marginalized communities; thanksgiving for BC; and all those wordless prayers that float in colors or like webs or out the top of my head that I know I do not need to formulate in to words--especially today. Amen.

Friday, August 6, 2010

the Feast of the Hidden Jesus, more commonly called the Transfiguration


At morning prayer (John 12:27-36) Jesus said, "Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say - 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name."

Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again."

The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him."

Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.

The crowd answered him, "We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?"

Jesus said to them, "The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light."

After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.


Now. There's a little teleology for you --Now. is the judgment.... the fearful day --the Day of Judgment-- has already happened, is always happening. Not some future configuration of clouds and thrones and a barefoot Jesus descending on a light beam --but Now.

Today is a day of judgment indeed --it is court day for Juan Manuel. Perhaps today they will finally make the decision as to whether he is returned to Texas, to his nightmare, or whether he stays. My suspicion is that the court will decide to favor Texas. Honoring State to State contracts is more important than the care and feeding of one of its citizens....

I keep shuddering at the monster the "System" has become for me.... between ICE, the SWAT team, the utter betrayal of the mental health system, the sick power of the detention system.... To get R off the streets, we worked the system, used the holes to R's advantage. But in this.... the system is a sticky web that becomes tighter when one tries to move.... no aiming for the holes....

A few days ago an undocumented immigrant killed a nun in a drunken stupor and car accident in northern Virginia. The nun was principal of a local RC high school here in Richmond. It's tragic. Awful. One of the questions I have heard rising above all the anger is --why did ICE let him go? Well, it's called due process.... to make sure he has proper documentation to send him back to where he says he is from.... because other countries wouldn't like it much if we just got planes full of criminals and dropped them in say, Brazil.... or Mexico.... So, instead of paying almost $400 A DAY for the incarceration of an undocumented person, ICE lets them go, and they have to check in on a regular basis....

That's the way it's done. Not that ICE check-in is particularly pleasant, either.... the long stinkin' shoulder to shoulder lines, the small barred and bullet-proof glass window and a gum smacking clerk, the constant cameras --little fish eyes everywhere, the paperwork and rubber stamps, the cruel barbed numbers instead of names, the guns in stiff slim holsters at the ready hung by over-sized bellies.... five hours of waiting for ten minutes of rubber stamp... just sayin'. I know this, because I have lived it.

So.... there. I have forbidden Joel to come to the courthouse.... stress triggers his myasthenia gravis.

So. I love it that the gospel reading ends with Jesus hiding.... hide and go seek with Jesus. On the Feast of the Transfiguration.

....there we are....

Thursday, August 5, 2010

blame it all on Adam....

Hip hip Hurrah for the people of California!!! Prop 8 has been thrown to the ground by a judge appointed by President Bush (the first one).... Prop8ers will, of course, try to block this --I think they have already filed a brief, and there is still much work to do --but relief for the moment is certainly welcome!!! Hurrah!!!

The time is coming closer when an opposite sex couple and a same sex couple --both married in a State which allows marriage for all --will come to Virginia or some other bastion of so-called family values and file suit --that their out-of-State contracts of marriage are not equally valid and should be. The time is a-coming....

Oh --and Judge Walker is an appointee of President Bush (the first one). He must be a real commie-pinko-radical type... yeppa.

Oh --and just to show you how far the Diocese of Virginia has moved --we have more "Listening" sessions planned around the Diocese for the autumn months.... time to gear up. Now is not the time to put it all aside.... I know --it is the 20-mile hit-the-wall heart-stopping can't do it feeling... I will persevere. If I know how to do anything at all --I know how to run marathon situations.... Will you join me?

At morning prayer (a portion of Psalm 145)
The LORD upholds all those who fall; *
you lift up those who are bowed down.
The eyes of all wait upon you, O LORD, *
and you give them their food in due season.
You open wide your hand *
and satisfy the needs of every living creature.
The LORD is righteous in all ways *
and loving in all works.
The LORD is near to those who call upon the LORD, *
to all who call upon you faithfully.


Hmmmmmm.... I tried to make the Psalm gender-neutral... don't know how successful I've been....

Peace out.

I wonder what would have happened if Adam had chosen as a mate.... say, --a fish?!
Just sayin'....

Oh --mermaids and mermans. Of course.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

despair and hope. ....genesis....

The Prop 8 ruling in California regarding marriage equality is due today --sometime between 4pm and 7pm our time.... IT reminds us that this is not the end of the road in California --no matter the decision, it will most likely be appealed. She has all the links to discussion etc.

And Joel and I were talking about it --the observation of 'worn out-ness' around us.... It started with the trees which are turning prematurely yellow in the extreme heat we've had around here (hottest month on record, I believe) and the lack of rain.... and maybe because none of the roadways are being mowed due to budget restraints --the whole atmosphere is ragged, scraggly, exhausted, worn out.... and the streets in and around our hood are just strips of weeds and chaos due to construction trenches and patches.... and I just don't think this was our lens.... although we certainly admit we feel like we are there....

And, interestingly, there was an article at the Lead on this very topic. The link to the Alban Institute discussion of hope and despair is excellent too --a teaser for you here: But what if hope is never far from despair? What if they are so close that they share some of the same characteristics? What if, to be hopeful, you need sometimes to admit your despair?

It is a particularly hopeful article, suggesting that hope encourages us to act hopefully in the midst of despair.... one small step at a time. And, yes, --I am not in the "good works" camp --actually, it is neither faith nor works which saves. My being 'saved' has nothing to do with anything I think or do. Because, what is it that I am being 'saved' from? --the big boogyman devil? Wickedness? Hell?

In this --Dante's picture of hell, wherein the devil is sitting all alone in absolute isolation is a much closer picture of what I feel 'salvation' is all about. Salvation has to do with seeing that one is hooked in to that life which is infinite and knows no boundaries. We are part of that --participating in that. And despair is isolation.... hope is assurance that life is abundant and unending. No matter what.

And it is through, by, with Christ that the door to that abundant and unending life is revealed to me. Through which the invitation to participate is revealed. And the knowledge that the pattern of his life, death, resurrection and assumption/ascension is like the barn-yard knowledge of life and death leading to life and more life....

And all that is very good, but seemingly thin when one contemplates the unending vagaries of injustice and poverty... the poor [economic and in spirit] will always be with us....

What to do? --especially when the very institution --the community --the church falls in to that arena of all that participates in despair and isolation instead of leading to the deep stream of life....?

I think this is the best part of being church --remembering those who have gone before us in faith.... as if our troubles are any greater or worse than any other generation.... And today we remember the likes of Dr. W.E.B. DuBois. Examples of Godly living aren't perfect themselves, but they show us how to live. Do what's in ya.... what do you want to do...? That is your calling....

At morning prayer (John 1:@35) The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!" When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?"

Many of us don't get to do what we want. Generations of witnesses are sometimes deprived of the very vision they are driven to accomplish.... When I think only of the women's movement, for example.... and we must never become complacent...

Perhaps thinking about hope and despair and which is informed or formed by the other is like thinking about the chicken and the egg.... but that is precisely the point. There is no single point of beginning, no single point of ending.... it is about being, willingly stepping in to the stream...



...to not step in to the water is hell.... we do what we do because it is our passion.... in so many ways.... our own simple barnyard lives....



O Mary don't you weep was my mom's favorite song.... she sang it with a particular throaty realism... which gave me the image of Mary weeping, sitting on a rock in the middle of the carnage of Pharaoh's army, corpses floating like corks... but I was never sure whether it was the sister of Moses, the sister of Lazarus or the Lord's own mother.... perhaps it doesn't matter.... it was the knowledge of the weeping and the acclamation of hope which always stuck with me....

Like genesis.... life coming out of the deep bloody dark.... out of nothingness.... out of the chaos. Barnyard. The cross. indeed.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It's not politics.... it's Gospel to care for the outsider, the little ones, the prisoners, the hungry, the destitute....

The Commonwealth is at it again --not only is the State suing the Federal government over the Health Care Bill --citing inter-state commerce or something --that the Federal government cannot force it's citizens to purchase insurance.... our wonderful attorney general, Cuccinelli, has already advised local law enforcement in Prince William County to go ahead and check immigration status on those they arrest --a portion of the controversial law put on hold in Arizona --the difference being, in his mind, that checking such status is optional... not required.

Right.

Mind you, this is the same county whose state representatives that said children with physical or mental challenges are punishment from God because of abortion --cuz first born are sacred to God, and if you abort your first born, God will smite the others.... just dues....

You know, some have left the parish I serve because I am "too political...." But, someone, please --tell me how this is NOT a Gospel issue? --treating some children of God as less than.... whacha gonna do when they come for you?!

And, yes, perhaps I can help you see that someone I know --a clever juvenile trying to avoid being sent back to an abusive home --despite having fingerprints and photos already on file in the system --the state and the feds were so hyped they were poised and ready to deport a brown-skinned American citizen to Mexico....

If they are ready to do that to an American citizen..... without checking.....

Canticle: A Song of Pilgrimage
Priusquam errarem
Ecclesiasticus 51:13-16, 20b-22

Before I ventured forth,
even while I was very young, *
I sought wisdom openly in my prayer.
In the forecourts of the temple I asked for her, *
and I will seek her to the end.
From first blossom to early fruit, *
she has been the delight of my heart.
My foot has kept firmly to the true path, *
diligently from my youth have I pursued her.
I inclined my ear a little and received her; *
I found for myself much wisdom and became adept in her.
To the one who gives me wisdom will I give glory, *
for I have resolved to live according to her way.
From the beginning I gained courage from her, *
therefore I will not be forsaken.
In my inmost being I have been stirred to seek her, *
therefore have I gained a good possession.
As my reward the Almighty has given me the gift of language,*
and with it will I offer praise to God.

Praise to the holy and undivided Trinity, one God:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.


I will say it again --it's not politics.... Pray. Pray for wisdom in this mess. Pray. Seek the Wisdom of Christ.

Monday, August 2, 2010

thank you --and thanks to Joseph who slunk to it all in the dark of night

I am so deeply grateful-- thank you to all who have brought us food-- whole meals... thank you to all who have sent us cards, made a phone call --dropped by to check in and see if we need anything. Thank you.

Thank you.

Mostly we have been keeping quiet. Yesterday (it wasn't hot and Joel really wanted to sit outside --heat exacerbates his condition) we packed a picnic and went and sat among the trenches of the Civil War forts which line the River west of the city. Huge trees. Quiet. Books. It was wonderful. Perfect. And we came home and were in bed by 8 --asleep early....

We are so wild and crazy, ya know.

Actually, yesterday was the first day we began to talk about last week. We did the speechless things on Friday and Saturday, seeking out the new routines and limits without the words. Yesterday, we used words.... "I was ready to die, you know," he says. No kidding, I thought... why the hell do you think I gave you last rites.... "I had planned your funeral," I said.... "but decided you couldn't die --you have to live long enough to help me deal with all this STUFF."

We have collected lots of fun things in the last 29 years.... too many. But all of them have stories, are physical remnants of thoughts, events, days.... more than mementos --embodiments of our life...

At morning prayer (beginning with John 1:1) 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.
....
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.


Word before all--holding all in being.... become stuff.... flesh.

I love the ecstasy of the Gospel of John... it is like one of Mr. Witty's dances... I mean, it would be enough to come and sit quietly and put a paw on some one's leg.... but no --the wild abandonment to sheer movement, full bore from room to room, between the legs of tables and chairs, sometimes throwing a favored toy into the air --and the laughter.... a very serious and dangerous endeavor because one wrong move and one could break a rib or leg or something...

For the Gospel of John, it isn't just that the water and the heavens part and the dove comes down on a full grown man, or that Jesus has a mother and a belly button, a genealogy good and bad, and is revealed as the Son of God or the Son of Man through miracles.... no, in John, Jesus is the full out full bore dance of the cosmos made human.... the abandonment to the regular movement of the stars and planets in their courses made irregular and unpredictable in the new Adam breathed out of the mouth of God at the very beginning of all, and brought to mind by the uncombed bug-eating spectacular crazy prophet we love to avoid --who calls folks from the streets and avenues of their lives to the reed encrusted inaccessible banks of the snake infested bird shit brim of the deep muddy chaos.... --all wrapped up with a narrative like a Greek tragedy....

...in light of the tangible hope of being pulled in to that eruption, who worries about death?

Except.... except.... I.... do....

We all choose to be busy and distracted with our day to day....
But, I am so grateful for the day to day....
It is so delectable.... and overwhelming.... just beyond the tip of the tongue....
Hey God, it is through the day to day that I have come to know you...

I am so deeply grateful....

No wonder Joseph of Arimathaea, whom we remember today, slunk to it all hesitantly in the dark of night...