Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ungovernable and Broken:
California, The Church and Cows

My cousin Lori, a big paper and web reader, turned me on to an insightful blog article about California and our near-death insolvency.  "There's no budget, but California is all over the foreign cow issue" lifts up some terrifying aspects of the train-wreck we all seem to agree our state has become, a place in which the general population seems to becoming not merely depressed and hopeless, but deeply apathetic and uninterested in solving our problems.  "If we all focus on the budget, then we're going to crash [personally and emotionally]" said a congresswoman.  Maybe that's why so many congress members are up in arms about foreign cows being used in a Happy California Cow commercial.  Maybe that's why the governor went an made a bad cult movie with decrepit action stars [The Expendables | TRAILER] while serving our state in the past year.  Nothing better to do, I guess.  Here's the commercial.  You may need to watch it on the original site: LINK

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Blogging Towards Sunday October 3, 2010

This week's passage is the ongoing continuation of what Jesus has been teaching since chapter 13 about discipleship and life of leadership based on following someone beyond ourselves, the tyranny of the urgent and our cultural context.  Leadership implies responsibility.  It doesn't equate earn entitlement.  Rather that in leadership, following the One from Nazareth we are changed as we change the world.  We are held responsible for our actions, not in a subservient, ego-crushing way; but rather in a life-affirming, leadership-maturing and earth-community-awareness-transforming way.  What we say and do and our relationships matter.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fun Music Video

It's a great Italian classic I like performed by an Irish Dance Troupe (Up & Over It)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blogging Towards Sunday, September 26 2010

"Well I'll be damned!" : a funny sermon title I'm flagrantly plaguarizing for my sermon this week.  It might just be what the rich man in this parable says in the end.  Funny.  Ironic.  Painful.  Fitting.  It's all about perspective, it's what Jesus is talking about.  This rich guy never helped, let alone noticed, Lazarus laying like a sick dog on his doorstep.  He was unimportant until the rich man needed his help.  It's a bit like Ebenezer Scrooge in Dicken's A Chrismas Carol. A wealthy, arrogant man who claims to need no one, or to have anyone worthy of his friendship, until his eyes are opened to life  in general - and his life in particular - by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.  In this parable the scrooge character doesn't get it.  He's read and hear the Torah and Prophets every day of his life as he followed the prescriptions for good faithful living (as articulated in Deuteronomy 6:1-12).  That obviously didn't change his heart or his perspective.  Would the ghosts of Christmas, or someone returning from the dead, make any other change?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Can you leave religion & keep Christ?
Leaving the Church:  Anne Rice

For many Ann Rice isn't a name you often associate with the Christian Church.  Wildly famous for her numerous novels about vampires, she rediscovered her Christian Faith, in the Catholic Context, several years back in a time of deep grief.  She then wrote 2 novels in a planned trilogy telling the story of Jesus in the first person.  A challenging endeavor to undertake: Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt; The Road to Cana and a memoir about her spiritual transformation: Called Out of Darkness.

In August she announced that she was leaving the Church, quitting religion, but in no way renouncing Jesus the Christ, nor abandoning her life-path of discipleship.  [Belief Net Blog]  [NY Times Article]  [Christian Science Monitor Article]  The news came out in early August, yet it seems to have gone much un-noticed, being overshadowed by religious comments and conflicts around Glenn Beck [site].  She claims that she could no longer be identified with a group that she feels has little, or no, identifying links to Jesus of Nazareth, his teachings and his life.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bumper Sticker of the Week

I saw this one last Sunday in the parking lot behind our church.  Good food for thought at the end of a week filled with debate about politics, scripture, pluralism and sacred texts.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blogging Towards Sunday, September 19

The Clever Manager parable is widely regarded as one of the most difficult of Jesus to understand.  Is he wise? Shrewd?  Dishonest?  How are we to interpret it?  Having squandered the property of his boss (as the Prodigal Son scattered the inheritance of his father Luke 15:13) he is lauded as a good manager.  Is this clever steward commended by his boss or by Jesus for having reduced the debts owed to the master?  In doing so he gains favor with the indebted farmers.  He makes his boss to look like a very generous benefactor.  And he secures his position by earning new friends and making it nearly impossible for his boss to fire him without losing face among his grateful debtors.  Jesus talks about children of the world (or this time/age), encouraging children of the light to be clever in their decision-making.  It’s not about dishonesty, deceit, trickery, but rather about recognizing how things work and working in the world with a different view as the goal.  It’s not just about self-preservation or self-enrichment.  It’s about a wider vision of life, a world-view of Jubilee (based on Leviticus 25): a global vision of justice, inter-dependence, solidarity, and peace all both in the name of God and for God.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Blogging Towards Sunday, September 12

The texts suggested by the Lectionary (a 3 year cycle through which we travel the breadth of the Bible) address the question of discipleship and grace.  We're challenged to love and live as Jesus did.  A radical invitation that seems poignantly a propos in this week of threatened Koran burning by a Florida church as we mark the 9th anniversary of the horrific destruction of September 11th and its consequences.

In the gospel according to Luke, again we see that Jesus is encountered around a meal, a celebration: with the wrong people.  Tax collectors, sinners, maybe prostitutes and gamblers: folks who were considered immoral or wrong because of their economic activities.  At the same time they were the ones with money, enough to host large meals, something that was rare and very costly in the poverty that dominated Palestine in Jesus’ day.  It’s in this setting that the parables of Luke 15 unfold: verses 3-7: the Parable of the Lost Sheep; verses 8-10 the Parable of the Lost Coin; and verses 11-31 the Parable of the Prodigal Son, also called the Parable of the Loving Father.  All follow a similar narrative structure:  something is lost.  It’s sought out.  It’s found.  A celebration occurs to mark that was was lost is found.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday, September 03, 2010