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|Sunday, April 4th, 2010|
Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν,
θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας,
καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι,
Christ is risen, sisters and brothers!
|Wednesday, January 13th, 2010|
Haiti Earthquake Donations
as you may or may not know I am the webmaster of servehaiti.org
I am quite confident that all funds donated to them will go toward continuing to fund their currently existing and undamaged clinic in grand-bois Haiti which is currently treating earthquake survivors. If you are wanting to donate to assist earthquake survivors in Haiti or know someone who is I strongly suggest this organization. They have been on the ground with their clinic for years, and currently guarantee that ALL donated funds will go to maintaining the clinic or to other organizations that are reputable and have people on the ground there helping folks in need.
|Sunday, August 2nd, 2009|
Counterprotest Fred Phelps!
A synagogue in my community is being targeted by Fred Phelps, and his folks from Westboro Baptist Church
. Phelps is attempting to bring his message of virulent homophobia and anti-Semitism into our community, and our community says NO!
According to its upcoming picket schedule
, they will be at the Emanuel Congregation
from 11:15 to 11:45 tomorrow morning. Please come and help us say NO to hate, NO to homophobia, and NO to anit-Semitism!
Where: Emanuel Congregation 5959 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago
When: Monday, August 3rd at 11:15 AM
Lets come out and show our community that we will not stand for hate and intolerance!
|Tuesday, June 16th, 2009|
Just had to share this because it is whole lot of awesome.
Every year at pride parades around the country there are always right-wing protesters spewig their threats of hell at the crowds. Portland, OR is no different. This year, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence had a response. The Sisters stopped the parade when they saw the anti-gay protesters. Sister Dixie had a bullhorn and started chanting, "Words kill! Words Kill!" When we heard that, all the Sisters fell to the ground. Those marching with us ran out with chalk and outlined our bodies on the ground. Soon the crowd picked up the chant and were chanting, "Words kill" with Dixie. After we were outlined the Sisters rose up, showing the power of love over hate and the crowd went wild. It was an incredibly moving experience to be a part of.
Full disclosure: I am a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Current Mood: hopeful
|Monday, May 11th, 2009|
sermon on queer ordination
Hey all! You may have heard about the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s struggles over queer ordination, which is being voted on across the country right now. I recently preached this sermon about the issue, and I wanted to share it with you all: After the Betrayal
(x-posted a bit)
|Sunday, April 19th, 2009|
The Forgotten Reading
Ok. I did manage to complete the Lenten Readings, and I hope you all had a wonderful Easter.
At our service today, we had the Priest who usually like to give sermons that explain the readings for that day; in this case, the focal point was on the story of Thomas
. I myself think Thomas gets a bad rap for refusing to believe Christ had risen until he saw him with his own eyes. I can imagine that in the week after the Crucifixion and Resurrection that there was a lot of confusion among the followers of Christ.
But the priest managed to ignore the first reading, which tells of the communal, even socialist way that the community of Christ lived:
The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common. . .
There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.
There are several other passages like this, that speak of the spartan lifestyle of the Apostles and Disciples. Also the numerous times that Christ condemns the wealthy and powerful, and urges Christians to help the poor and powerless.
Somewhere along the way, perhaps as the Church grew in power and prestige, words like the ones above had to be modified, or the passages ignored.
There have also though been folks who have tried to carry this idea a bit. The Catholic Workers come to mind, whom I hope to get in touch with to see about volunteering with. I realized that a theme to the readings for this Lenten season was "service", and I think I heard a call to serve those that Christ served. So if the person whom I remember from the Catholic Worker House answers his phone with, "How may I serve"? I can answer, "That's what I wish to ask you"! Current Mood: Going to update resumes. . .
|Saturday, March 28th, 2009|
The Hole in our Gospel
I recently heard about this book, The Hole in our Gospel
by Richard Stearns. On the face of it, it looks very interesting and quite positive--basically saying that the hole in our gospel is a lack of service to the poor.
But Stearns is the CEO of World Vision, an organization which I have had my doubts about. For one thing, they seem to have a very high overhead... I've known people who sent them small donations and received videos, t-shirts, junk mail, etc. in the mail as a result. For another thing, I seem to remember hearing that their "sponsor a child" program is a bit of a sham (that you get a picture but you're not really sponsoring THAT child) although I can't remember where I saw this. They also kind of go "in and out" of a community, building this or that and dropping off some Bibles and then taking off, rather than staying and working in partnership with the community. Anyway, I certainly don't give my donations for world missions to World Vision (I go with UNICEF
So, has anyone read this book? The 20 reviews on Amazon are all good (4 or 5 out of 5 stars). And it seems like a really interesting and hopeful idea, but I'm concerned that it comes from the CEO of a company that may not be quite as progressive as I'd like to support. I was just curious if any of you had read it or had comments about Stearns or World Vision in general.
|Thursday, March 26th, 2009|
Today, we heard the tale of the Israelites and the golden calf
. This reading was also the point of the sermon, and the priest made a point about how they may have been trying to "bring God to them".
But I got to thinking about the "golden calves" that we as Christians may have. I'll be honest that many fundamentalists seem to be more followers of a particular minister than followers of God or Christ.
But I look also at some of the other "idols" that are raised up. For years it seemed that Americans were worshiping the gods of war, as Bush, etc, rallied the masses beneath on cover of fear and lies. We worship money and consumption; a "culture of consumption" may be to blame for some of our current situation. People worship celebrities, and more than a few people put themselves before God.
I know I have a few idols that I need to shatter as well. It's just I need, like a lot of aspects of this, to figure it out. Current Mood: Running outta juice
|Wednesday, March 25th, 2009|
Answering The Call?
Today, in my church, was the Feast of the Annunciation. This day, cleverly nine months away from Christmas, is when Mary received the message from the Archangel Gabriel that she was to bear Christ.
The Bible is full of people hearing and answering calls; Noah to build the Ark, Moses to lead his people, the prophets, and the Apostles. All of these people heard the Lord's call and said; "Here I am".
Our own history is full of people who heard a call to serve God and humanity; the Abolitionists, Martin Luther King Jr, Desmond Tutu, and Father Roy. We too are called to do God's will.
Of course, knowing what that will is can take some time. It can also be ignored or placed on the "back burner". Such is the case with me; but I think somehow that call will have me working in the inner-city of Harrisburg PA. I just need to figure what exactly.
|Sunday, March 22nd, 2009|
The Rest of The Story. . .
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
Perhaps the most familiar passage in the Bible, but how many folks give much thought to the sentence that follows: "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him."
It seems to me that many 'Christians' are quick to condemn the world, and those in it. They see the rest of the world, especially the secular one, as 'evil'. The only folks worthy of blessings are those who are of 'their' flavor of the faith, those who their 'leader' has deemed worthy.
And woe to any who fall outside this narrow band. They are to be damned; be they of a different gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc.
They seem almost like the Pharisee, in the reading from Saturday
, who makes a point of saying how he is not like the tax collector, and how righteous he is.
Of course, I see much of the same righteousness from the rationalist/atheist community too. They see themselves many times as superior to their religious counterparts.
If only both sides, or all sides would remember that "He who exults himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exulted".
I've been thinking a lot of how I might be able to do more to live my faith, and the idea of volunteering again at the local Catholic Worker
House. I'm not sure that the place still exists or if the guy who runs it is still there.
But it seems like a good place to start. More on that to follow. Current Mood: Lot on the cranium
|Friday, March 20th, 2009|
Practice What You Preach?
Ok. I have been keeping up with the readings for Lent, just haven't had time to make posts as often as I'd like. We've kinda had a "spike" at FedEx Ground, and I've been "on a roll" of sorts with my self-paced and self-taught C#/MySql programming studies.
readings were for the feast of St. Joseph. Now the Homily did speak a lot of obedience, which has always been an enigma for me. We were given free will, but are urged at all times to surrender this to God. Why would we be given a gift and then basically be asked to return it?
But then there's another conundrum I see. The Catholic Church, of which I am a member (at least for the time being), puts the Virgin Mary in high regard, but it's record on women leaves a lot to be desired.
Be it an all-male clergy, the celibate priesthood, or the Pope's recent comments on condoms; Catholics seem to be sending the message that while they seem to hold a woman in high regard, that they're best left in the background.
Just thought that I'd put my $.02 in. Current Mood: Maybe making some breaks
|Thursday, March 12th, 2009|
Taking Us Down a Peg?
I've been a bit busy at my job at FedEx Ground; I have been keeping up with the readings, but haven't had time to make responses--until today.
We start with the Gospel
from Tuesday. Christ's criticism of the Pharisees, in my opinion could equally apply to the fundamentalists of today:
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people's shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi.'
But even Christ's followers were not immune to putting themselves ahead of living Christ's way. In Wednesday's Gospel
, we hear how two of Christ's disciples wish to put their own personal honor ahead of that of Christ. How many times do we see this from a fundamentalist, or even from ourselves.
is the familiar story of the rich man and the beggar. Where eventually, the measures are meted out.
To me all three of these readings have the theme of reminding us that we can't think we are bigger or more important than our faith in Christ. Indeed, two of the readings also allude to the need to be a servant.
But the question still with me is; "How do I serve"? Current Mood: It's Thursday
|Monday, March 9th, 2009|
Facing The Enemy
As we continue through the Lenten readings. We come to Luke
and another restatement of the Golden Rule.
And I first thought that this was another reading for the fundamentalists to look at and look inward, But, much as has been happening so often to me, it came back to me looking at me.
I judge and condemn much more than I forgive. I take more than I give in many regards. And perhaps a lot of this comes back to me.
I have a long way to go, and I think this may continue way beyond Easter and beyond Pentecost even. The more I read the gospel, the more I think and the more I read. This all has to lead somewhere. Current Mood: confused
|Sunday, March 8th, 2009|
Out Of "The Zone"
One thing I'm thinking may be really holding me back from really living my faith is that I'm going to need to step outside my "comfort zone" a bit. Of course I need to figure out what that is 1st.
I'm not thinking I need to do anything as drastic as what Abraham was about to do in this passage from Genesis
. But I also realize that I may need to make a sacrifice or two in order to truly live my faith as a progressive Christian, what those are is what the issue is. Perhaps I need to add something as opposed to give something up, but then by adding one thing, does one not need to subtract something else?
Perhaps I'm a bit like Peter in the Gospel
. Who so much loved Christ that he may have wished him to stay on that mountain, safe from those who were to persecute him. But then I need to determine what my "mountain" is; perhaps the internet is that place of safety. It's easy to speak from behind a screen, it can be harder and very frightening to speak up and speak out in the open.
But what am I so afraid of? Is God not with me? Current Mood: What's holding me back?
|Saturday, March 7th, 2009|
Ok, I have to admit that, since I started doing these little commentaries (that I may look at continuing beyond Easter), I've been thinking a lot about how I can better live as a progressive Christian. So today's Gospel
reading from the book of Matthew really has me thinking.
To start with; many of the Fundamentalists, who seem to think anyone who falls outside their circle is an "enemy" need to heed this reading. As the gospel of exclusion that many of them practice, like many fundamentalist ideas, runs counter to the words of Christ.
But what of me? Am I to pray that fundamentalists see how they are following a gospel of hate and exclusion, as opposed to the message of love and tolerance that Christ brought to the world. How do I best show them this, or do I?
I started doing these with the idea of making others think a bit. I never expected that I'd be the one thinking too. But this is not necessarily a bad thing, someone told me I needed to look inward a bit, and so I am. Current Mood: contemplative
|Thursday, March 5th, 2009|
What Works For Them
I went and 'attended' mass on-line today and the same priest who I wrote about last week
was there again.
But this time, some points from his homily resonated with me a bit and also may tie into another member of this community's request for us to look at ourselves.
There was an implicit, at least to me, first point. That is to get focused. This man has made opposition to abortion his driving force. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves, myself included, what will be the issue that drives us. For one it may be ending war and empire, for another, a clean planet, for a third, a world free of poverty. For me, it may be breaking the stranglehold fundamentalist Christians seem to have on the faith.
The sermon itself seemed to have two major ideas to it. One was that to act, one needs to get angry. I myself think a better term would be to 'get passionate'. Find something that you can get fired up and focused on. Then figure out how to deal with it. One thing even I'll admit the anti-abortion movement has done is cover a lot of bases. We progressives, myself definitely included, need to take our cause and message to wherever we can.
Doing this will mean doing the second major point I drew from this sermon. Be willing to take risks. I'm not saying we need to act like members of Greenpeace or the Ruckus Society, but a need to put our ideas and ourselves more in the open, as well as live the change we want to see in this world.
I insist that the fundamentalists have seized faith, perhaps using some of their tactics for our ends can be a way to take the faith back. Current Mood: tired
|Wednesday, March 4th, 2009|
The Lesser Evil
To start with--I'm not going to apologize for my post yesterday. I have an opinion, a lot of folks don't seem to agree with it, and that's OK with me.
That said, today's Gospel, Luke 11:29-32 is one that most fundamentalists would really sink their teeth into, especially the passage where Christ speaks of an "evil generation". Likely they would trot out their "laundry list" of evils; abortion, birth control, homosexuality, etc. They also may reinforce their notion that the world itself is an evil place. Now I admit that there is evil in the world, but that does not make the world as a whole evil.
But so many of the "evils" that fundamentalists speak of are more personal and perhaps even doctrinal. There are greater evils that are too often ignored by the fundamentalists; poverty, war, environmental destruction, etc.
Perhaps it's because these "evils", are more complex. They don't simplify into the black and white worldview that many fundamentalists create; are there situations when war is justified, what is the best way to help the poor, how do we protect the planet? These can't be answered by "right or wrong".
Another factor is that to deal with some of these evils, one may need to change themselves. To deal with the environment for instance, one may need to confront the American "culture of consumption"; to deal with poverty, one may need to deal with the issue of population, or confront the growing power of corps and their CEO's.
And that may be the main reason fundamentalists find it hard to deal with society's "greater evils", they may have to bite the hands that feed them. Current Mood: bloated
|Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009|
Babbling On. . .
". . . In praying, do not babble like the pagans. . . "
This passage, from Matthew; Chapter 6, Verse 7-15, is one that got me to thinking about the way many Christians pray. I think of the resurgence of the Catholic Latin Mass, the speaking in tongues that has become associated with many charismatic faiths, and perhaps the general bombast of so many of the evangelicals.
I think a lot of this ties into an odd need by many Christians to "stand apart" from the rest of the secular society, much like how the Pharisees and scribes were a class onto themselves. The idea of having a mass conducted in another language, or to seem to speak a "secret language" give folks the idea that they are a "breed apart", a "chosen people".
If only these folks would realize that "Your father knows what you need before you ask him". Current Mood: bouncy
|Monday, March 2nd, 2009|
This American Life: Heretics
Yesterday, I went to services at the nearby Episcopal church. The sermon was delivered by this cool, long-haired, canvas-sneakered dude (I think he was a visiting seminarian or something) and he mentioned this episode of This American Life about an evangelical pastor who radically opens his views to preach a gospel of inclusiveness. We listened to it last night. I found it incredibly inspiring that people really can grow beyond how they are raised/taught and embrace everyone with an open heart.Listen to it herexposted to my lj
Whatsoever You Do. . .
Today's Gospel reading is a favorite of my Aunt's friend and likely more than a few folks in this community.
Matthew, Chapter 25, Verses 31-46 is an account of how the last judgment will be conducted, and the criteria for whether one is to spend eternity in bliss or damnation is "whatever you do for one of these least brothers".
And in this regard is where it seems to me that many Christians fail. They either see poverty as a sign of moral failure, much like how in Christ's time illness was seen as a sign of sin. Or they will feed the hungry, etc, but not ask why they are hungry.
And the asking why they are hungry, naked, etc is what Christ seems to have done often. The New Testament is full of Christ rebuking and condemning the powerful elites of his day. Unfortunately, the officials many Christians support based on one issue are pursuing policies that benefit the elites of out time, as opposed to the masses that were the base of the proto-Christian community.
One near constant theme of Lent is to "do a little more", perhaps those folks who are giving money to help the poor should consider giving a bit to groups working for the poor as well. Current Mood: eh