Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Would you like some encouragement for your own daily prayer practice? Every Advent, I offer readers a chance to receive the greeting "Let us bless the Lord!" from me every morning. As you may know, it is the way in which many worship services end, a signal to venture forth from prayer back into the world, refreshed. When you receive my greeting, you answer back with "Thanks be to God!" That's it. It's not rocket science, but sometimes just those few words are enough to put you in mind of receiving the gift of prayer God wants to give you.If you'd like to receive "Let Us Bless the Lord." just ask, in email to email@example.com.Remember Barbara? Love her. She was the one who once said something like "if you want to know God but dont pray, you're like a person who needs a hammer but refuses to go to the hardware store." So I'm gonna try this, before someone has to go get the hammer for me.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
It’s because of this one statement that I think of Vincent VanGogh’s painting Starry Night created in 1889, as one of the first postmodern paintings. At first glance, it might seem to be a “window” painting. After all, it IS the view from the window of the sanatorium where VanGogh was staying at the time. But, although it is a picture of a night sky, it is a work which he painted from memory, during the day. (This and other information about Starry Night from Wikipedia. Awesome idea of connecting this scripture to this painting from Feasting on the Word.) So, it’s not exact replica. Rather it’s a reflection of VanGogh’s night-time state of mind, as remembered by him during the day. It’s not a window, it’s a mirror. Rather than showing you something exact, by viewing it, you have a window into VanGogh’s mind, heart, soul; and your own too.
So, with that in mind, I invite you now to take a moment with the painting, Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. Look at it, rather than looking at window, instead as if in a mirror. When you look at it, what does it make you think of? What does it make you feel? What does it remind you of?
It might be helpful to consider today’s passage from Luke in the same way – as less of a window than a mirror. Rather than hear these words as a picture painted of events that will happen exactly as depicted, think of these words instead as a mirror. It is helpful to spend time with words of scripture like this with the same questions we asked of the painting. (Starry Night was painted by the way, when VanGogh felt “a terrible need for religion” and which shows a sky in as much turmoil as the sky in the scripture passage. )
Now, here’s what I believe. Rather than a grand final judgment, in which Jesus will return to terrorize and amaze the world, I believe that the kingdom is being revealed all the time, every day. I believe not in one cataclysmic event, but in the everyday unfolding of the Reign. What then does a passage like this - in which the planets provide signs so terrifying and absolute that people faint from fear - have to say to we who believe in this way?
Well, first, it might be helpful to remember what it is that people who believe in apocalyptic actually believe."Apocalypticism is the religious belief that there will be an apocalypse a term which originally referred to a revelation of God's will, but now usually refers to belief that the world will come to an end time very soon, even within one's own lifetime. This belief is usually accompanied by the idea that civilization, as we know it, will soon come to a tumultuous end with some sort of catastrophic global event such as war." (Quote from Wikipedia) In other words, a big, one time event.
It’s can become almost a joke, this view of the end of the world. You know that guy in the cartoons wearing a beard down to his knees and a tattered robe, carrying the “end is near” sign? How about the recent movie 2012, which one citizen review acknowledged contained “Good cataclysmic Action, but waayyy to much bad kitsch…” It can be kitschy, this view of apocalypse
With these kinds of jokes, what does this kind of scripture have to seriously say to you and to I? Well, it depends on how you look at a scripture like this. If you look at it as if through a window, you are going to start looking for these exact things to happen in just this way.
And on the one hand, this may have been a very real warning to the people of Jerusalem. Jesus is talking in the temple – a place he both loved and challenged, the center of power for his faith and system that has grown unjust and corrupt. He is warning them that things cannot go on in the way of injustice. And it is true that some years later, the temple was destroyed, brought to the ground in what must have been a scene of confusion and terror. A one time event. (Thanks folks at Working Preacher Brainwave for conversation on this, and also for discussing why passages like this do not mean that God is a sadist.)
But what if we look at this passage as if looking into a mirror, not a window? Think again about how it makes you feel to hear those words – the day when the planets themselves seemed out of order, you were confused, the wind and the sea roared.
Look in the mirror – you’ve had days like that.
Because we’ve had times, each of us, when the planets seemed out of order – the absence of a loved one, the layoff, the accident, the illness, the divorce, the unwanted legal action, the death. At times like these it does seem that the roar of the wind is so loud that you can hear nothing else. At times like this, it does seem like the planets have been rearranged.
When Jesus says “this generation will not pass away before these things have come to pass,” it sends window-scripture readers paging through their bibles looking for signs to back up the signs. But for those of us who see passages like this as a mirror, instead, we know that Jesus is saying “this is business as usual – death and accidents, and brokenness and grief happen. In every generation they happen, including this one.”
But that’s not all that happens in every generation. Jesus is also saying, “Business as usual is God’s work too, and the way God comes to us - bold and beautiful and frightening - is business as usual, too."
In hard times, good, well meaning folks will sometimes say something like: “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle,” or even “God is testing you” like it’s GOD who’s set up the situation which moves your world. No. In times like these, business as usual times, God grieves more than anyone. In hard times, it's God who sends small but life giving reminders of hope in the most hopeless times.
Let me warn you of a little danger. There is a little danger that mirror-lookers might turn into navel gazers. You have to walk this path carefully, because this IS about you, but it’s not ONLY about you. Listen to Jesus when you feel like you might doing just a little too much navel gazing. “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they sprout leaves, you can see for yourself and know that summer is already near.”
In that time of interior calamity – of the confusion and the roar – it is the beauty and constancy of the tree’s movement from one season to the next that reminds us that the revealing of the kingdom is not a one time deal, but an every day, every moment occurrence, we just need to open our eyes to see.
When the planets are crashing around us, can we take a moment to pause and look for the barely budding, sweetly opening leaves of the fig tree? Can we dare to find hope in unexpected, and yet expected too, signs of life in creation and in one another?
The apostle Paul expected it. Separated as he was from the Thessalonians, he expected to see them again face to face, knowing that it was their relationship with each other, the love they felt and knew for one another, that would restore loss of hope they had. And you’ve seen it too. In the sun breaking through the clouds. In the phone call that restores a relationship. In the touch of a hand. In a kind word said at just the right time. At a prayer unexpectedly, and yet expectedly too, answered.
And remembering that is what advent is all about. Unlike the retail Christmas season that sends us in a frenzy out to grab the one “must have thing,” in advent we say, “we are people of hope because we know that the kingdom is not going to be revealed in the single cataclysm of being first in line to purchase this year’s must have toy (which by the way is a robotic hamster which rolls around, makes 40 different sounds depending on its environment and comes with quote "tons of accessories" – we hope that tons is not to be taken literally) rather than that one perfect toy – a one time event, we are looking for signs of hope every day, in every small thing.
In the weeks to come, we will hear snippets of the Christmas story – we will hear of angels who proclaim good news, of shepherds who are willing to hear and leave all that was familiar, of a young mother who says yes to god, of a husband and father willing to trust, of wise ones following a star. We might be tempted to think of these as one time, cataclysmic events – life changing. We might be tempted to look at the Christmas story through a window, as events that happened once to other people, long ago. But for each of us, if we see the Christmas story as a mirror, not a window, we will see that each day we have the opportunity to wake up and proclaim, to be willing to hear, to say yes to God, to trust, to follow. These are not cataclysmic, one time events, but every day every day every day opportunities. These are the ways in which the kingdom is revealed. These are the ways in which the Christ child is born anew within each of us. Amen.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Friday, November 06, 2009
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Monday, November 02, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
1. What is your favorite footwear at this time in your life?
2. What was the craziest shoe, boot, or sandal you ever wore?
3. What kind of shoes did you wear in your childhood?
I remember saddle shoes as a little girl. And, in middle school, some kind of kooky multi-colored hightops. Honestly cant remember a single pair of shoes I had in high school, except for the died-to-match violet shoes that went with my prom/graduation dress. I ended up only wearing one of those on graduation day, actually, because I had a broken toe and had to wear a "boot" on the other one.
4. How do you feel most comfortable? Barefoot, flip-flops, boots, or what?
5. What kind of socks do you like, if any?
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
There has definately been some training (sitting, down, no, etc.), but must be consistent and firm. He comes with a nice large kennel, a brand new dog bed, food, dishes, two different collars, a raincoat, treats, etc. We have receipts for items and all his paperwork. It is the most important item on our agenda to find this gorgeous animal the best home possible! Please e-mail us with any questions! Thankyou!!there's desperate:
My Puppies, 12-weeks are brother and sister who need an excellent home. I would keep them but I lost my Job and can't afford my apt fees. PLEASE, THEY HAVE TO BE SOLD TOGETHER. It breaks my heart to seperate themthere's practical
I am a disabled Senior. I have had this dog since she was 5 wks old. I got her to train as my Service Dog, and I have been diligently trying to train her as my Service Dog, but I have become too "disabled" to finish the training. I do not want to re-home her, but she has gotten to be too much for me to handle. I need a mellower dog. She is pure-bred and viable. She has a wonderful loving personality. Her conformation is perfect! She loves everyone!But however they write them, see how much more you learn about the people than about the dogs? Fascinating.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Sunday, August 02, 2009
Sermon on Ephesians 4:4-16
In case you have been completely insulated from all American media for the last 2 weeks, let me catch you up.
On July 16, African American Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr was arrested by white policeman Sgt Joseph Crowley for breaking and entering into his own home, after Gates experienced some difficulty with the front door key. Gates was released a couple hours later when the mistake was discovered but he was shaken and angry and he started telling people what had happened. When President Barack Obama heard about the situation, he called it a “stupid act,” setting off a media frenzy. The president then suggested that he meet with the 2 men over drinks, exciting the media --who dubbed the meeting The Beer Summit -- even more.
Late night comedians in particular have been having a heyday, especially David Letterman, who on Friday bestowed upon the beer summit his highest honor, when he created a top 10 list about it. Well, if Letterman can do it, why can't all of us? What about:
The Top Ten Things Christians Can Learn From the Beer Summit
10. When you make a mistake, admit it
More than one mistake was made in this situation, which makes it tempting to let the other guy take the blame. Just before the passage in Ephesians we heard today, the author urges one-ness beginning with humility. Part of humility is taking responsibility for your part, saying “Mistakes were made – some of them by me.”
9. Rcognize and appreciate diversity
Or, maybe we could call this one: “a professor, a policeman and a president sat down over a beer.” Or, in the words of playwright Lisa Kron, "Other people are not you with their own experience laid on top.” Henry Gates is not just a James Crowley who happens to be black and have a PHD. The racism he has encountered in his life has shaped him in a way that must be understood before Gates and Crowley can sit down together. It’s one thing to see the differences, another to acknowledge them as gifts. The gifts he gave, says the writer of Ephesians, were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers. Each very different. Each very needed. But...
8. ...Remember that more unites us than divides us
This is not just political rhetoric, convenient for an election year. Listen to Ephesians: one body, one Spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. Unity.
7. Sit around the table together
A policeman, a professor and a president probably wouldn't usually bump into each other in the course of everyday business. How about a black person, a brown person and white person? How about a Christian, a muslim, a jew? An Iraqi, an Ethopian and an Oregonian? Seek out those whose difference from you makes you a little squirmy.
6. Share a cup…of something
Once you’re around the table, what do you do there? You recognize, Ephsians says, that “each of us was given grace.” Strangers share cold drinks around a picnic table on a hot summer day. Grace. Around the world, including here in this building this morning, Christians share at the table of Christ. Grace.
5. Do the right thing.
Some people ask if the whole beer summit thing is just a big distraction for a media tired of Michael Jackson and health care. Some people scoff that 3 guys talking makes no difference. Some people say apologies are politically expedient. Forget about what some people say. Do the right thing.
4. Big things start small.
Look, three guys over beer is no big thing but look how one incident, and then one conversation has amplified the conversation about race in this country. One little conversation has started many more conversations, including this one here and now. Start somewhere. Start small
3. Don’t be afraid to go into broken places
Racism is still an unfortunate and ugly truth in our nation. We don’t like to to talk about it, because it makes us uncomfortable. As the church, however, we are charged to follow Christ -- who Ephesians says “descended into the lower parts of the earth” – into places where others are too uncomfortable, too fearful, or too angry to go.
2. Speak the truth in love
Sometimes you need to look another in the face and say something like the author of Ephesians: “We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.” In other words, don’t be a fool. In other words…
(the number one thing that Christians can learn from the Beer Summit is....)
1. Grow up!
As we baptize a baby, we make promises about helping him grow in Christian faith – really we need to make those promises to ourselves first. Growing up means all the other 9 – taking responsibility, honoring diversity, seeking unity, gathering at the table, sharing the cup, doing good in the face of opposition, starting small, going there (wherever THERE might be, speaking the truth in love. Brothers and sisters, if you hear nothing else today, it is my prayer that you hear these 2 words, that you hear them and that you live them as Christ’s disciples, spoken in love and with humility and patience, not with scorn – grow up. Amen.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Last winter it was all putting chains on, taking chains off and shoveling for pretty much the whole month of December. Everyone talked about the weather all the time. And every foray out into the weather required special clothes.
Which is why, last night with that deep wisdom that comes right before sleep, I told J that I thought summer was like winter, only hot. By which I meant, all the extra work (in the this case moving fans around, watering plants - so much watering! - and constant adjusting of shades up and down), all the extra conversation (I felt like I was shouting into the phone all day yesterday with people who I worried might be at risk from overheating, "are you DRINKING enough WATER?"), and, of course, the what to wear question (keeping cool in 100 plus while looking more like a pastor than a beach bum is definitely a challenge).
The Book Of Face is all wondering if this year's climate weirding in the PNW is the sign that global warming has finally arrived for good and earnest. But I dont think so. I really believe in global warming. (Which you actually still have to say out loud and firmly in some circles.) But I would like to advise against making one hot week in summer proof of global warming (or climate weirding, as I've heard it more accurately called).
Climate weirding is big picture stuff - major weather patterns and global movements - not the small inconveniences of one hot week in one hot city. And when we say "I'm too hot, this must be the global warming theyve been talking about" I think we might give those anti-global-warming folks more fuel for their ridiculous flames.
So be hot, and be cranky about it if you must. Be incovenienced or annoyed or (in the case of one friend) delighted, like you're "in a cleansing spa sauna all. the. time." But remember this has been a few days, in one small part of the world. Because climate weirding is affecting all of us, for all time.
Monday, July 20, 2009
-This is the most awesome summer I can remember in recent years. So far no one has pneumonia or a broken leg (coujeffgh), we are not moving, no one has a constant migraine (yeah, that'd be me), we dont have a newborn baby (I'm mean, I'm all for babies, but they do kind of cramp your maxin' and relaxin' summer style...) and we're not planning any big trips. We're going to the ocean for two nights, but other than that, we are just enjoying Portland in summer. Which is pretty enjoyable.
-But, it is pretty hot.
-Spent an afternoon at Portland Saturday Market. Best people watching EVER. And we got a cool tie-dye for E, so it was a day well spent.
-Went to Cooper Mountain. Humungous new park with lots of trails and an example of how you can get right into Nature without really leaving town. Portland reminds me of Duluth that way.
-Even the lessons we're learning this summer are the benign kind, not the hit-you-over-the-head kind: If you put 2 cherry pits in your garbage disposal, it will make a funny noise, so you should take them out. If you go to Home Depot at the cool end of a hot day and ask for 12 bags of mulch, everyone will rush to help you, since they get to be outside for that part. If you dont cut the dog's hair, pretty much all that will happen is that it will get longer, which is not so bad.
-Getting ready to do a wedding I am really looking forward to. Since it's Portland, the reception will be a bike polo game. I dont know what that is either, but I'm looking forward to finding out.
-Attended one hour of our 9 hour neighborhood party. During that hour, got asked the question I have actually never been asked for real, in person by the octogenarian who had just told me that he married his wife even though she wasnt as built (I believe was his term) as her twin sister:
Him: "Have you been born again?"
Then, me: "Oh, I think I'm born again every day. Every morning my prayer is, Jesus, let me know what you have for me to do today."
Then, him: "Well, that's a weird way to do it."
Then, me: "Well, I suppose so, but it's what works for me."
-This was not as adverserial as it probably looks in print. In fact, I'm pretty sure we're still pals. And he DID say he prayed for us every day as he walks by the house, and I'll take all of those I can get.
-We will not be going to Lebowskifest tomorrow. (In fact, I'm not even linking to it, since there is a stripper on the front page. But you can google it if you really want to find it.) So, anyway, we're not going, even though Jeff had this great idea of going as The Big Lebowski in a suit and a bald cap. And I could choose if I wanted to be Bunny or Brandt. Anyway, great idea, but we're not going. Still, when I went to get my nails done today, I picked up the green polish, put it down, picked it up again, put it down again. Picked my usual orange-ish.
-By usual, I mean, the once or twice a year that I actually go to get my nails done.
-So, good summer.
-Although. Have I mentioned? Sure is hot.