Friday, January 28, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Blogging Towards Sunday January 30, 2010

Blessed. That's what Jesus talks about in this week's gospel passage.  A blessing that isn't what we expect.  One that transforms our vision of what blessed means.  One that turns our world upside down, inviting us to see the world, each other, ourselves and God differently.  Paul in 1 Corinthians 1 talks about it in another way, what God is doing in the world (the Kingdom of God, or the Reign of God) is seemingly foolish to those we often consider wise, and yet this apparently foolish thing is anything but.  These scriptures, along with another one of the day Micah 6:1-8, point to what faith looks like when lived out and when we live into it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bumper Sticker of the Week

Blogging Towards Sunday, January 23, 2011

A favorite author of mine, Madeleine L'Engle, writes, "We are all asked to do more than we can do.  Every hero and heroine of the Bible  does more than he would have thought it possible to do, from Gideon to Esther to Mary."  Abraham is my favorite hero in the Bible.  Together with his wife they hear a call - literally hearing God's voice - to strike out, to leave home, what's familiar, what's routine, to discover something new.  They're not asked to volunteer.  They're called - told - to "go" [Genesis 12].

Today's passage is a similar experience - the call of the first disciples.  Jesus doesn't ask for volunteers.  He calls out to them, disturbing their workday, interrupting their routine, changing up the familiar.  What's interesting in the way that the story is told is that Simon, Andrew, James and John respond, leaving their familiar life (nets, boats, fish and all) immediately.  Something is irresistible about the authority of Jesus.  Something is unique about his voice, intoxicating in his call.  I wonder how often they regretted or questioned their response as the years went by?  How often was it unclear where they were going?  Did they really "get" what it means to be(come) a fisher of men and women?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Living into the Dream by Remembering It

Thursday night around our dinner table we had a discussion trying to introduce who Martin Luther King Jr. was to our 6 year old.  At school they'd talked about it a bit.  The class was working on memorizing a poem.  Yet it was when we started talking about how life was when Dr. King was alive - who could and couldn't marry each other, which multi-racial members of the circle of our family and friends wouldn't be alive - and how folks rode buses, ate in restaurants, and that some of our kids' teachers wouldn't be allowed to teach them in a school - it was in the midst of the litany of how things used to be that a light bulb sort of illuminated.  Our children - in particular most children in an OUSD school - are living that dream as reality wether they know it or not, wether they call it every day life, or are able to grasp that it hasn't always been that way, and/or that it isn't necessarily that way throughout our city, nation or around the world.  The challenge in the teachings of Dr. King, which reflect the hope and experiential truth of the words and person of Jesus of Nazareth, aren't done.  We don't have far to look to see that we still are a house divided by race, gender, orientation, class and political perspectives.  Here are two videos I've seen online that are meaningful for today's active celebration of that dream, living into it through active remembering.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tuscon, Beliefs, Children & the Tongue

Like everyone, I've been thinking about, reading all around and pondering the violent rampage outside of a Safeway in Tucson this past week.  Action by a mentally ill individual.  Violent expression of fear.  Consequence of political vitriol.  Preventable.  Illogical.  Consequential.  In my thoughts I come back to what I do, who I speak, act, live out my perspective, articulate my worldview, treat my neighbor.

I heard a story of a teacher interacting with a student this week during a spelling exercise using the simple proper name O-B-A-M-A.  A 6/7 year old student, issued from a Christian faith believing family, responded "I want to kill Obama!"  What is that child hearing at home?  Such statement can't merely be planted by FOX or MSNBC.  They have to be heard, reheard, and claimed through family experience.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bumper Sticker of the Week

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blogging Towards Sunday, January 16, 2010
Getting Dusty

Sunday in the church I serve as pastor, we're having elections of new leaders - elders and deacons - for our community.  It's also the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Weekend, a three day weekend which is intended to remember what authentic paradigm-changing leadership is like, what it can do and what faithfulness to a radical vision often costs.

The lectionary scriptures for the day that I'm preaching on touch upon leadership and discipleship, a word that's increasingly just religious.  A disciple is a student who follows a master teacher.  In the ancient world such a student often times came to consider themselves the son of a new father (yes - it was a sexist society with primarily male metaphor).  Eventually this new son, would supplant the father, and become in turn the leader.  Yet the student would most often take the name of the master, passing on the tradition, leading through following.  That's what these scriptures are about.