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Showing posts from April, 2010

environmental faith foundations

This week Wilton is having a Green Festival... Wilton Go Green. The clergy association decided to host a table together showing support for the communal effort to care for the earth. In respect for the diversity of our group, I put together a brochure examining common faith foundations taken from the teachings of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. I was pleasantlysurprised that we share some common views about our role in relation to earth care.

Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater wrote in the Jewish Journal that we have misinterpreted the meaning of dominion as mastery over. Instead, we should understand our responsibility as unique creatures who are able to reason as the ones who will make moral choices about the earth. Our responsibility is serious... we can either protect the planet or destroy it. The Rabbi also cautioned that it is dangerous to consider ourselves above nature or superior to nature or we venture into idolatry. We must consider ourselves as a part of nature responsibl…

thoughts on Revelations 7

This morning I took a very story approach to Revelations chapter 7... It wasn't real apocalyptic or particularily prophetic. What I noticed was that in the midst of incredible suffering and persecution, God gave the Apostle John a glimpse of the day when the church from around the world would gather in a victory celebration.

Gathered were the ones who had gone through the great tribulation, the ones who had followed Jesus in living the mission on earth, through death and out the other side to resurrection. They were in joyful worship having experienced the victory of God for themselves. How amazing to be in the midst of pain and suffering and for a brief moment see the day when all things are made right.

I thought about the image of God wiping away our tears. To me it is more than a sentimental picture of a God who gives you a little hug and then gets out the kleenex box to wipe away my tears. I think this is about a picture of God who sets the world to rights, brings wholeness and …

sacrifice

I've been thinking a lot about sacrifice and what that really means. We can sacrifice for a lot of things... for a career, for a family member, for a cause, for some noble vision.

Some of our sacrifice is pathological in that we give ourselves away to please a person or because we feel we must or are obligated to do some thing that someone we honor considers worthy. Or we even sacrifice to get one of our emotional needs met--or to keep someone we love or want tethered to us. But what does it mean to give ourselves to Christ and sacrifice our lives for him and the vision of shalom born of Christ's heart?

That is harder to answer. Various religiousknowers will use the idea of sacrifice to manipulate followers to give for their cause or for their particular interpretation of the cause of Christ. Often it is interpreted as a political cause or a church cause. This is where discernment kicks in and we need to examine to what and for why we are sacrificing ourselves.

Is it rea…

Grace

I've been thinking about grace again especailly as it relates to community and environment. My husband grows flowers in a greenhouse and as the grower, he seeks to create an optimum climate for growth to occur. He carefully augments the soil so the seedling can receive the proper nutrients. He gives the plant water in doses that allow the plant to develop a good root system and remain hydrated. As a good grower, he also sets the temperature for maximum flourishing--not to warm--not to cold. The grower creates optimum conditions for the flourishing of a plant.

I think that God has done that for us with his grace. He has created a loving space for people to grow and filled it with grace. Grace is more than a soap dispenser that is dispensed when we sin. Grace is a space in which we are completely loved and accepted by God--and we will not lose that grace and love and acceptance. It is the optimum climate for growing as people.

While grace offers us a beautiful space of warmt…

Thoughts about Gospel and Gender Roles

I learned last night that a certain Christian group in the US had elevated their definition of biblical roles for men and women to the confessional level--to the level of gospel.

And I grieved.

I see Jesus doing a lot of things in the New Testament related to healing, hearing the marginalized, feeding the hungry, restoring people to community but I don't see him defining particular roles for men and women. The society already had defined roles--some which were oppressive.

I don't for the life of me see how roles can be elevated to the level of Gospel. And I don't see how such narrowly defined ways of thinking about womanhood and manhood can really be good news. And I don't see how we can make one group's assumptions about roles the test for true believers as they have done.

I see Paul addressing the existing social roles in his community and I see him seeking to bring more wholeness in relationships between husbands and wives. I see the church struggling with how to ap…

Initial thoughts about John 21

The lectionary text is from John 21, the story about Peter's restoration and call. I can relate with Peter in his journey from foolishness to wisdom. I love Peter, bravely stepping out onto the water to walk on water, I love Peter's vocal processing and the way he blurts out questions. Peter is so human in his pride. I think that like anyone who chooses to follow God, we dream big dreams and try big things and maybe have loads of improper motives. On the way, we are tried and tested and at times even broken.

I love how Jesus not only calls Peter to shepherd the sheep but how he as the good shepherd restores Peter to wholeness and to the community.

I wonder what Peter would have been like had he not gone through brokenness? Would he have been a arrogant or hurtful shepherd? Jesus first heals and feeds his own and then sends them out in his name to feed the others.

I've been broken... and learned much. I am a different person today... I've been through disillusio…

April 10th more thoughts on Thomas

I have been thinking a lot about Thomas this week. I think Thomas is a model for us as we seek to move from a received faith to a faith that is truly our own.

As children we attend church often because our parents make us attend or because it is simply the thing to do and we benefit. We learn much, encounter God and are exposed to faith. But at some point in the spiritual journey each person comes to a sense of owning their own faith. For some owning faith may come through choosing a church or worship pattern that differs from that of their parents but for others owning faith is a deep, questioning spiritual journey involving facing one's own doubts.

Some of us do this around the time we go off to college. Others, like myself, take this journey in adulthood. And it often happens more than once, especially if one has been deeply disillusioned by faith and by church systems. One begins to question, seek, express doubts, quest. Such journeyers often find that such spiritual q…

Thinking about Thomas... the doubter

I have been thinking about the struggle for faith. We as humans struggle to have faith in God first. It is always easier to trust in what is known, in what we see, in what is tangible. It is much harder to trust in what is not seen.

A futher struggle of faith is to believe that one is worthy and capable especially when one has received--and by received i mean taken into to ones processing filters--messages that say other wise from family of origin and other influential people.

But know all of that helps me make choices with my faith... whether it is little or great. In the struggle to trust in God, i can hear the stories of others and their experiences with God and learn that he is good and faithful and for me. Then in the struggle for faith in myself, i can choose to believe that the messages I received about being unworthy or incapable may not really be true.

This week's lectionary is about Thomas, the one who doubts. I am encouraged by his struggle for faith and to believe.…

Easter Thoughts

What does it matter that Christ has risen? When we think about the resurrection as Christians, we often debate it's reality--whether it actually happened. But what does it mean in practical living? Apart from all manner of theological discussions, I think the resurrection has much to do with being in relation with the God who lives.

How do we notice this God?

The author of Luke recounts a story about a couple of disciples on the road to Emmaus. In the journey, two disciples find that they are walking with the risen Christ. Humans once walked with God in the garden of Eden. Walking is an anthropomorphism used of God being present in the community. Now two disciples are walking with Jesus again. This suggests that we meet a risen Jesus in the journey.

We also meet the risen Lord in the scriptures. In the story Luke is telling, Jesus reminds them of what was foretold in the scriptures about what the Messiah would suffer. As he talked, their hearts burned.

We meet Jesus in the Euchari…