Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Spud's Christmas...











And the fight continues:






Anyone who still doubts that a public option or single payer healthcare system should be the cornerstone of real healthcare reform should read this article from the New York Times. It seems big insurance/pharmacy has positioned itself into state legislatures to further fight of health reform.

What really puzzles me on this is how a state like Florida, that has a large percentage of people on Medicare (a government run healthcare system) can be so against a government run health system. The same can be said of Arkansas, which is ranked #5 in the percentage of people who live below the poverty line (17.9% ), and around 25% of its children living in poverty today. Recent polls show that most Arkansans are against health care reform, even though a large number of Arkansans would benefit from these same reforms.

Add to that the coverage on conservative Christian radio and TV stations like TBN (Trinity Broadcast Network) AFR (American Family Radio) and Relevant Radio (Catholic Radio) touting how the current plan should be fought tooth and nail, and I am further confused. I've even heard the abortion card played in this debate. People, I hate to tell you this, but current federal laws mandate that no federal funding can be used for abortion. The Stupac ammendment is a smokescreen. There are no Death Pannels. Nobody is pulling the plug on Grandma and no one is mandating abortion.

I have to say again that I am less than pleased with the current healthcare bills. Without a public option, any reforms we see are like peeing into the wind. Yes it makes you feel better, but you are still going to be standing in a mess.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Hit & Run... at Church...

I'll post a picture of this later, but right now I'm still miffed. Yesterday after services someone backed into the driver's side door of my car... and left without so much as an "I'm sorry". I am actually more hurt than angry over the damages. Cars can be repaired, and I have full coverage insurance, but they didn't come to me about it... that's what gets me. That's the hardest thing for me to forgive.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Advent meditaion with the Anglican Rosary

I sort of cobbled this together from several traditional Advent prayers:

Crucifix:
Apostles’ Creed
Invitatory bead:
Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah,* the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host,* praising God and saying, 14‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!’*

Cruciform beads:
My soul magnifies the Lord,And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.He has shown strength with His arm:He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.He has put down the mighty from their thrones,and exalted those of low degree.He has filled the hungry with good things;and the rich He has sent empty away.He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.

Week beads:

1st bead
O WISDOM, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: Come, and teach us the way of prudence. Sirach 24:2; Wisdom 8:1. Symbols: oil lamp, open book.

2nd bead
O LORD AND RULER of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come, and redeem us with outstretched arm.Exodus 3:2, 20:1. Symbols: burning bush, stone tablets.

3rd bead
O ROOT OF JESSE, who stands for an ensign of the people, before whom kings shall keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: Come to deliver us, and tarry not.Isaiah 11:1-3. Symbol: vine or plant with flower (especially a rose).

4th bead
O KEY OF DAVID, and Scepter of the House of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens: Come, and bring forth the captive from his prison, he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.Isaiah 22:22. Symbols: key; broken chains.

5th bead
O DAWN OF THE EAST, brightness of the light eternal, and Sun of Justice: Come, and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.Psalm 19:6-7. Symbol: rising sun.

6th bead
O KING OF THE GENTILES and their desired One, the Cornerstone that makes both one: Come, and deliver man, whom You formed out of the dust of the earth.Psalm 2:7-8, Ephesians 2:14-20. Symbols, Crown, scepter.

7th bead
O EMMANUEL, God with us, our King and Lawgiver, the expected of the nations and their Savior: Come to save us, O Lord our God.Isaiah 7:14; 33:22. Symbols: tablets of stone, Chalice and Host.

Invitatory (to exit):

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the begining is now and will be forever. Amen.

Crucifix:

Blessed be the name of Lord. Thanks be to God.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Quote of the Day

"I think if we're going to worship babies, we ought to think about why we make so many of them go without health care. "

Comment on Arkansasblog regarding a Winter Solstice display put up on the Captial Lawn by Arkansas Freethinkers. Big controversy about them putting this up, since they won the court case to allow them to put it up near the Nativity scene.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Advice

I am debating whether or not I should invest any more time into the HC plan I mentioned on Grandmere Mimi's blog. Should I send it up and see if anyone thinks its a good idea or not? Thoughts?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

From the Book of Common Prayer... for Those Traveling this Holiday

Especially for one of our doctors and her family as they fly to Myanmar today to be with family:

O God, our heavenly Father, whose glory fills the whole creation, and whose presence we find wherever we go: Preserve those who travel [in particular Mynt Kyu and family and all holiday travelers]; surround them with your loving care; protect them from every danger;and bring them in safety to their journey's end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sen. Joe Lieberman, Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln - Asshats at Large

Washington (CNN) -- Dashing the hopes of Democratic lawmakers Sunday, Sen. Joseph Lieberman signaled he would oppose a health care bill that includes a proposal to expand Medicare to people as young as 55.

Ok, I realize Joe is still miffed that Democrats in his district wouldn't vote for him, but this is getting rediculous. So the Democrats in Conn. didn't vote for you in the primary a few years ago... get over it already!

I have pulled my support of the health reform bill at this time because it no longer has a public option. Until it is back in, I will not support it, and I will not vote for any Senator that caused it to be pulled. Are you listening Blanche and Mark? Or are your ears still plugged with all that pharmacutical money pouring into your accounts?

I have to hand it to the big pharmacy and insurance companies. They have convinced the majority of Arkansans that a public option (emphasis option) is not in their best interest. And maybe it isn't. A large number of Arkansans are already receive their health care via Medicare, Medicaid, Veteran's Administration, and Indian Affairs. We don't need no socialized medicine here...

Friday, December 11, 2009

And a Third Request

This seems to be a bad season here in NW Arkansas. A co-worker "Donna" lost her husband this week. Please keep her in your prayers as well.

O God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day our brother Cliff. We thank you for giving him to us, his family and friends, to know and to love as a companion on our earthly pilgrimage. In your boundless compassion, console us who mourn. Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth, until, by your call, we are reunited with those who have gone before; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Another Prayer Request... too sad

Pastor Stacy, who leads the Lutheran Church that All Saints rents space from posted on Facebook that she will be presiding today over a funeral service for an infant. Please keep her and this unnamed family in your prayers as well...

From the Book of Common Prayer:

O God, whose beloved Son took children into his arms and blessed them: Give us grace to entrust N. to your never-failing care and love, and bring us all to your heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Prayer Request (not one I would usually offer...)

Though I don't usually ask for prayers for celebrities, since this is a local family I'm throwing it out there... please pray for Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their 19th child. From USA Today:

"18 Kids and Counting" mom Michelle Duggar gave birth to a baby girl Thursday night via emergency C-section, although she wasn't due to give birth until spring.
Josie Brooklyn Duggar weighed in at 1 lb, 6 ounces.


No matter our personal oppinions on this, this family needs some serious prayers right now. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

For Those of us playing the home game

Here is the abomination of a bill I mentioned earlier (from CNN... Hat tip to Mimi for posting this originally):

CNN) -- As a gay man in Uganda, Frank Mugisha is used to the taunts, the slurs and the daily harassment of neighbors and friends.


But if a new bill proposed in the east African country becomes law, Mugisha could be put away for life, or worse, put to death for having sex with another man.

"Right now, you can't go to places that are crowded, because the mob can attack us or even burn us. We can't walk alone. We are ostracized by relatives. But if this bill passes, it will become impossible for me to live here at all. And that part hurts the most," Mugisha said.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill features several provisions that human rights groups say would spur a witch hunt of homosexuals in the country:

• Gays and lesbians convicted of having gay sex would be sentenced, at minimum, to life in prison

• People who test positive for HIV may be executed

• Homosexuals who have sex with a minor, or engage in homosexual sex more than once, may also receive the death penalty

• The bill forbids the "promotion of homosexuality," which in effect bans organizations working in HIV and AIDS prevention

• Anyone who knows of homosexual activity taking place but does not report it would risk up to three years in prison
"Who will go to HIV testing if he knows that he will suffer the death sentence?" Elizabeth Mataka, the U.N. Special Envoy on AIDS in Africa, told reporters last week. "The law will drive them away from seeking counseling and testing services."
Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda under colonial-era laws. But the bill, introduced in October, is intended to put more teeth into prosecuting violators.
It applies even to Ugandans participating in same-sex acts in countries where such behavior is legal.

"They are supposed to be brought back to Uganda and convicted here. The government is putting homosexuality on the level of treason," Mugisha said.
Lawmakers have indicated that they will pass the bill before year's end.
It has the blessing of many religious leaders -- Muslim and Christian -- in a country where a July poll found 95 percent opposed to legalizing homosexuality.
The Rev. Esau Omara, a senior church leader, said over the weekend that any lawmaker opposing the bill will pay for it during the next election, according to local newspaper reports.

And a leading Muslim cleric, Sheikh Ramathan Shaban Mubajje, has called for gays to be rounded up and banished to an island until they die.
Several media outlets also have inflamed sentiments in recent months by publicly pointing out gays and lesbians.
Who will go to HIV testing if he knows that he will suffer the death sentence?
--Elizabeth Mataka

In April, the Observer newspaper published tips to help readers spot homosexuals. And over the summer, the Red Pepper tabloid outed 45 gays and lesbians.
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has not publicly stated his position on the bill, but last month blamed foreign influence in promoting and funding homosexuality.
"It is true that, if the president has said that, he must have information that European nations are promoting (homosexuality) and recruiting homosexuals," government spokesman Fred Opolot said. "You must note that the president or the legislators are responding to the concern of the citizenry of the country."
At the Commonwealth summit in Trinidad and Tobago late last month, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he pulled aside Museveni to deplore the bill.
"We find them inconsistent with, frankly, I think any reasonable understanding of human rights, and I was very clear on that with the president of Uganda," Harper told reporters.

In the United States, a coalition of Christian leaders released a statement Monday denouncing the bill.
"Regardless of the diverse theological views of our religious traditions regarding the morality of homosexuality, in our churches, communities and families, we seek to embrace our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters as God's children, worthy of respect and love," the statement read.
Human rights groups have called on Western nations to withhold aid from Uganda if the measure passes. About 40 percent of the country's budget comes from international aid.

"This draft bill is clearly an attempt to divide and weaken civil society by striking at one of its most marginalized groups," said Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program at the New York-based Human Rights Watch. "The government may be starting here, but who will be next?"
Opolot, the government spokesman, said consideration of the bill in parliament is merely "democracy at work."

"We as a country are engaging and debating a pertinent issue," he said. "So if a foreign country chooses to cut aid simply because Uganda is debating its destiny, then it is quite outrageous and quite wrong."

Mugisha, who now heads the group Sexual Minority of Uganda, said he is working with lawyers and other activists to change minds and defeat the measure.
"I have put a lot of effort in this struggle. I just want to live freely every day," he said. "I want to be happy knowing that if I'm going to meet someone, I'm not going to be taken to jail forever."

Anyone still wonder why I'm so angry with Rowan now? The absolute gall of this man to condemn the Episcopal Church for following through with our end to the moratorium and yet he says nothing about this stinking piece of offal in the middle of the highway.

Congratulations a bit late and the Asshat awards...



Congratulations to the Diocese of Louisiana for their election of Morris Thompson as their new bishop and to the Diocese of Los Angeles for electing Diane Jardine Bruce and Mary Glasspool as suffragen bishops.

And on to the Asshat Award... I haven't given these out much because they are so many great candidates right now. However, one in particular seems to strike a nerve. To the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams.


This award is presented to him via the blogsphere because of his rapid response to the election of Mary Glasspool, a lesbian in a committed relationship for 21 years, while offering only stony silence on the bill in Uganda, fully supported by the Anglican Church there, to not only make homosexuality a capital offence (punishable by death), but will extend the warm welcome of the Iron Bar Hotel to anyone who would hide them, support them, render pastoral care, or discuss the issue in a positive light.
Here's his response in full:
The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop elect raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole.
The process of selection however is only part complete. The election has to be confirmed, or could be rejected, by diocesan bishops and diocesan standing committees. That decision will have very important implications.
The bishops of the Communion have collectively acknowledged that a period of gracious restraint in respect of actions which are contrary to the mind of the Communion is necessary if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold.


He was asked in 2007: "You yourself once thought it possible that same-sex relationships might be legitimate in God's eyes." He responded: "Yes, I argued that in 1987. I still think that the points I made there and the questions I raised were worth making as part of the ongoing discussion. I'm not recanting. But those were ideas put forward as part of a theological discussion. I'm now in a position where I'm bound to say the teaching of the Church is this, the consensus is this. We have not changed our minds corporately. It's not for me to exploit my position to push a change."

>An old curmudgeon and friend of mine once said that theology was, "attempting to apply the Word of God into our lives..." and that theology was not an abstract thought, but something meant to guide us toward the will of God. Dr. Williams seems to think that theology is merely abstract thought with no practical application.


We have a saying here in the hills, "If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes". The way I see it the Archbishop can either lead the pack into a greater understanding of Christ's love and inclusiveness or he can simply follow the rest of the sled dogs with their myopic view of exclusivity. He is obviously choosing the later, and now the blood of the innocent is on his hands.

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's About Time the Crickets Stopped...

From Episcopal Life: (Hat tip to Grandmere Mimi):

[December 4, 2009] The following is the statement of Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori concerning proposed private member’s bill on homosexuality in the Parliament of Uganda:

The Episcopal Church joins many other Christians and people of faith in urging the safeguarding of human rights everywhere. We do so in the understanding that “efforts to criminalize homosexual behavior are incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ” (General Convention 2006, Resolution D005).This has been the repeated and vehement position of Anglican bodies, including several Lambeth Conferences. The Primates’ Meeting, in the midst of severe controversy over issues of homosexuality, nevertheless noted that, as Anglicans, “we assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship” (Primates’ Communiqué, Dromantine, 2005).

The Episcopal Church represents multiple and varied cultural contexts (the United States and 15 other nations), and as a Church we affirm that the public scapegoating of any category of persons, in any context, is anathema. We are deeply concerned about the potential impingement on basic human rights represented by the private member’s bill in the Ugandan Parliament.

In the United States and elsewhere, we note that changed laws do help to shift public opinion and urge a more humane response to difference. The Hate Crimes Act recently passed in the United States is one example, as are the many pieces of civil rights legislation that have slowly changed American public behavior, especially in the area of race relations. We note the distance our own culture still needs to travel in removing discriminatory practice from social interactions, yet we have also seen how changed hearts and minds have followed legal sanctions on discriminatory behavior.

We give thanks for the clear position of the United States government on human rights, for the State Department’s annual human rights report on Uganda, which observes that the existing colonial-era law on same-sex relations is a societal abuse of human rights, and for the State Department’s publicly voiced opposition to the present bill. We urge the United States government to grant adequate access to the U.S. asylum system for those fleeing persecution on the basis of homosexuality or gender identity, to work with other governments, international organizations, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to provide adequate protection for these asylum seekers, and to oppose any attempts at extradition under a law such as that proposed in Uganda.

Finally, we note that much of the current climate of fear, rejection, and antagonism toward gay and lesbian persons in African nations has been stirred by members and former members of our own Church. We note further that attempts to export the culture wars of North America to another context represent the very worst of colonial behavior. We deeply lament this reality, and repent of any way in which we have participated in this sin.

We call on all Episcopalians to seek their own conversion toward an ability to see the image of God in the face of every neighbor, of whatever race, gender, sexual orientation, theological position, or creed. God has created us in myriad diversity, and no one sort or condition of human being can fully reflect the divine. Only the whole human race begins to be an adequate mirror of the divine.

We urge continued prayer for those who live in fear of the implications of this kind of injustice and discrimination, and as a Church, commit ourselves anew to seek partnerships with the Church of Uganda, or any portion thereof, in serving the mission of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That Gospel is larger than any party or faction. It is only in mutual service and recognition that we will begin to mend our divisions.

We are grateful for the willingness of the Anglican Communion Office and Lambeth Palace to hear this plea on behalf of all God’s people, and urge their continued assistance in seeking greater justice. We note the impediments this legislation would pose to the ability to continue a Listening Process in which all of the Anglican Communion is currently engaged.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts SchoriPresiding BishopThe Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 109 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations. The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

From the Revised Common Lectionary:

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Remember today to be thankful not only for the bounty that we have received, but the ability to share it with those in need.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

And We're a Christian Nation?


An interesting story from Belief Net:


Poll: Americans Pin Poverty Passage on Obama, not Bible
Tuesday November 24, 2009

(RNS) More Americans believe a statement about giving "justice to the poor and homeless" came from President Obama instead of its true source, the Bible. A survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the American Bible Society found that 54 percent of U.S. adults polled believe the statement -- "You must defend those who are helpless and have no hope.
Be fair and give justice to the poor and homeless" -- came from a celebrity or politician, when the statement actually comes from Proverbs 31:8.


Of the 1,001 adults surveyed, 16 percent believed the statement came from Obama; 13 percent said it came from the Bible. Other popular answers included the Dalai Lama, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Oprah Winfrey. Other questions in the survey also addressed poverty and the Bible.


In a question about the teachings of the Bible, 40 percent said the Bible offers the most teaching on heaven, pride or adultery, even though poverty is actually mentioned more than any of these subjects.(Emphasis mine)


The survey was developed to coincide with the release of the society's new Poverty and Justice Bible, which highlights verses about poverty and justice and provides tips on helping people in need. By Angela Abbamonte, Religious News Service.


This is another reason I tend to doubt that the US is a "Christian Nation" based on "sound biblical principles". How can our nation be based on these when the majority of its population has no idea what it really says? We progressive Christians are accused of "cherry picking" what verses we want to follow, and yet conservative churches are willing to ignore the majority of what the Bible says in favor of some purity laws that happen to agree with what they personally feel is correct.


Right now we are nearing the end of the healthcare debate for another season. Those in opposition to the idea of a public option have sited many fanciful claims, from "it's a government takeover of healthcare" to "it's something we can't afford." We hear that a public option either "will drag the current system down" or "will make the private insurance companies unable to compete". Meanwhile, let's look at some other numbers from the CDC:


Persons under age 65
Number uninsured at the time of interview: 43.6 million (2008)
Percent uninsured at the time of interview: 17% (2008)
Percent with private insurance at the time of interview: 65% (2008)


Children under age 18
Percent uninsured at the time of interview: 8.9% (2008)
Percent with private insurance at the time of interview: 58% (2008)
Percent with public health plan coverage at the time of interview: 34% (2008)


43 million people without insurance. Almost one out of every 10 children in America are without insurance coverage. That's one in ten children that are not getting proper medical care.


Add to that the 2/3 of bankrupcies in 2007 that came from medical costs. Also add in that every year the equilivant of the deaths in the 9-11 attacks die because of lack of medical care/insurance.


I usually sign my e-mails off with a quote from Zacheriah: "Render true judgements, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another" --Zechariah 7:8-10. How much more plain can you get than this? To me this is the priority of God, not worrying about who sleeps with whom or whether or not the Genesis stories of creation should be taught in classrooms. To be Christian means to follow Christ. We as a nation are doing a pretty poor job of this.



Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fair Winds and Following Seas


Posted on Roseanne's Facebook page:


(Roseann's Husband): Roseann's Spirit shed its mortal shackles at 8:45 p.m. Saturday. She would want you all to know that she went quietly and painlessly thanks to the loving care of the Hospice staff. She would want all of you to know that your expressions of love and well-wishes these last weeks made her passage much easier and that she loved and cherished you all. Somewhere tonight a new journey began.


From A New Zealand Prayer Book:

Let us pray:

Gracious God, nothing in death or life, in the world as it is or the world as it shall be, nothing in all creation can separate us from your love

We commend Roseanne into your loving care. Enfold her in the arms of your mercy. Bless her in her dying and in her rising again in you. Bless those whose hearts are filled with Sadness, that they too may know the hope of resurrection; for the sake of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Go forth, Roseanne, on your journey from this world, in the love of God the Father who Created you, in the mercy of Jesus the Redeemer who suffered for you, in the power of the Holy Spirit who keeps you in life eternal. May you dwell this day in peace, and rest in the presence of God, Amen.

God of all consolation,
Grant to those who sorrow the spirit of faith and courage, that they may have the strength to meet the days to come not sorrowing without hope, but trusting in your goodness through him who is the resurrection and the life, Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

In honor and memory of Roseanne, comments will be turned off until after her memorial service.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Thoughts from A Liberal Christian




Something that has bothered me in recent weeks. I have noticed that all of the advances that Progressive Christians have made in the last few years seem to be erroding and Fundamentalism is once again reasserting itself as the dominant form of Christianity in America. Having the perspective of being raised in a moderately fundamentalist home, I do have some perspective on it and why it is so popular, especially in the rural areas of the country. These are my observations, and they can be taken with a grain of salt, but they might help shed light on why this seemingly unforgiving and potentially harmful theology is so prevelant in our society.






1. Certainty: With the downturn in the economy has come an upswing in conservatism of all kinds. Religion is no different. The theology of "Good little boys and girls go to Heaven, Bad little boys and girls go to Hell" gives people a certainty in uncertain times. People tend to find comfort in things that do not change. Having a clear and basic theology, even one that is as flawed as Biblical litteralism, brings comfort to people. It is something that is easy to understand and gives a feeling of security. We saw a similar thing happen after Septembe 11th when people were willing to give up the uncertanty of their freedoms for security. Things will be better in the afterlife, so that is where we should focus, not on the bad times here.






2. Retribution: The Heaven/Hell scenario also gives those that are suffering a sense of comfort in knowing that thier lot will be better in the future. They can look at the Bernie Maddofs of the world and know that God will "get them back" for the evil that they have done.






3. Us vs. Them: Societies have always needed an enemy, an "other" to band together against. It drove the uber-patriotism of the 1980's to new levels as Ronald Regan railed against "Communist Russia". Today that enemy has become "Evil Islam", "The Gay Conspiracy", "Abortion Activists and Feminazis" and other groups that are "Unchristian". In having a scapegoat, we have something to fight for, a purpose.






The problem with this type of thinking is it forgets some of the fundamental principles of the Gospel message. Jesus earthly ministry, which has become a footnote in some circles, was about forgiveness, love, charity, and social justice. The Kingdom of God Christ spoke of wasn't about an Us vs. Them. It was an Us & Them. John 3:17 says "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." His focus wasn't about earning a "mansion in the sky" but about making this world a better place. The second part of the Lord's Prayer says, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven." Not on Earth so we can get to Heaven but as it is in Heaven.






We are all God's children, no matter who we are. "...in Christ there is no male or female, slave or freeman, Jew or Gentile." In order to get through this crisis today we need to band together, not as Christians, but as Children of God, regardless of what label we put on ourselves. We need to see the Christ within each person regardless of what denomination or religion they follow. In loving one another as Christ loves us, looking past labels of "Muslim", "Queer", "Sinner", and "Biggot" and reaching out to one another. Only then will we see the Kingdom. Jesus said that wherever your treasure is, so is where your heart is. Is your treasure a future reward for you or is it helping others here?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

News from Gary about Roseanne

From Gary: Roseann was admitted to the Arkansas Hospice inpatient facility. She sleeps pretty much all of the time now and only wakes up for a few seconds at a time -- sometimes lucid, other times not. The Hospice staff is awesome and are doing a wonderful job of keeping her comfortable and making sure she gets anything she needs. Her room has an extra bed and I will be spending most of my time in the room with her until the end comes. Thanx so much to all of you for your love and support -- your calls visits & online messages meant a great deal to her (and me). Please know that she loves you all as do I.


Please continue to keep both of them in your prayers as Roseanne crosses the mists.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 2 at SSW

Well, what we saw of the Seminary is really nice. But we just got back from one of the local ER's. Spud tripped at the daycare and the corner of a coffee table decided to hit him in the head. He now has four stitches above his left eye and a big knot. The faculty and students here have bent over backwards to help us out and Elizabeth has been especially helpful. She stayed with us while Spud was getting stitched up and offered to bring us dinner from an outside restaurant and get some kids motrin for him. The Dean of the school came to the hospital and bought Spud a great big corduroy Elmo from the gift shop... I'm sold. If the discernment process plays out, I definitely want to come here.

Update: Spud is doing great. We stayed the extra day and left yesterday evening. We got back to Arkansas around 6am this morining and I am now at work, so can't post much now. I'll update everyone on the rest of the trip, which was absolutely wonderful except for the ER trip, but even that let us see Austin's top notch health care system. I want to thank everyone that has been praying for us and for Spud.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day One at SSW

Whew... I'm beat. We left the house at 3:30am today and finally arrived at the Seminary at about 4:15pm. What was only supposed to be a 9 1/2 hour drive turned into over 12 hours. Murphy's corollary states that you should add at least 1 hour per child to any road trip you take.

So far everyone is friendly, even if we're only 10 minutes from that bastion of evil, University of Texas. I suppose I could still go to school here, but would have to wear Red and White every Saturday during football season.

All in all, day one looks good. We had a lot of good information thrown at our tired brains, the kids are worn out, and I am pooped. Tomorrow I meet with the financial aid advisor and see if we can squeak out the $1500 per month I am short should the Diocese of Arkansas decide I would be a suitable candidate for Holy Orders. We'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Road Trip!


Well, this Friday the whole clan will be headed to Austin, TX to invade the SSW campus. I am so excited I can hardly stand it! I'm not finished with my undergraduate degree, so I can't start the official discernment process, but this will at least give me an idea of what I am in for coming up. Besides, neither Mrs. H or I have been to Texas before, so this could be a real treat.

I'll try to post here and on Facebook what happens down there.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Prayer Request for Roseanne

Roseanne over at Give Peace a Chance Please posted to Facebook that she has started hospice. Please keep her in your prayers. She has had a long bout with a great deal of sickness, and has put up one hell of a fight. She's been an inspiration to me and others, and a great many of us in the blogsphere care a great deal for her.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Prayer for the Fallen

From the Book of Common Prayer:

Almighty God, we remember before you today your faithful servants at Ft. Hood; and we pray that, having opened to them the gates of a larger life, you will receive them more and more into your joyful service, that, with all who have faithfully served you in the past, they may share in the eternal victory of Jesus Christ, our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Let us also pray for all who mourn, that they may cast their care on God, and know the consolation of his love.

Almighty God, look with pity upon the sorrows of your servants for whom we pray. Remember them, Lord, in mercy; nourish them with patience; comfort them with a sense of your goodness; lift up your countenance upon them; and give them peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More Bad News

Maine just repealed the law allowing for same-sex marriage. One step up, 5 steps back.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hat tip to IT


While this issue has already been decided in Arkansas, and only a ruling from the Supreme Court will overturn it (hopefully), this is something to think about:

..... Limiting marriage to a man and a woman would not make families led by same-sex couples go away. It would just keep them in a legally inferior position that is inconsistent with Maine's tradition of equal protection under the law.

Gay men and women already live together, own property and have children, both biological and adopted. They hold responsible jobs, they volunteer in churches and schools -- they are full members of our communities. The only thing they cannot do is form the legal partnership that gives them the advantages and duties that other couples have when they start families. The same-sex couples are not the only losers. This also puts their children at a disadvantage.

I personally know at least three same sex couples that have children, some biological, some adopted. I've said it before, but I'll say it once more: their children are just as happy, healthy and well adjusted as any other kids I know. It's time to get with the program folks. Either we are a nation that believes in "liberty and justice for all" or we aren't. There can be no middle ground anymore on this.

One of my friends lives in the closet in fear because she is afraid she will lose her job and, more than likely, her 13 year old daughter if she were to "come out". The one and only place she feels safe and welcome is a radically inclusive little church that I also call home. This is beyond ridiculous, gang. This is a family we're talking about, not an abstract concept, not an "abomination", but a FAMILY.

A right wing blogger in this state equated being raised by same-sex parents with child abuse. My own parents voted to pass both the amendment that defined marriage between a man and a woman and shut the door on any possibility civil unions and Act 1 (that banned any single cohabiting couple from adopting or fostering children). The most recent e-mail conversation between my father and I left me in tears as I realized he wasn't the man I knew growing up.

I used to hope I could help change minds here in my part of the world, but I have felt as if I am shouting in a vacuum. As Bishop Spong supposedly said earlier, the battle should be over. But it isn't and people that have become my friends and brothers and sisters are paying the price.

I have seen a ray of hope in this state. Recently a 10 year old West Fork, AR boy was punished for refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance. His reason, according to the Arkansas Times Arkansas Blog:

Their son told them last weekend he had decided to no longer stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance at school because he didn't believe there is liberty and justice for all, especially when it comes to gay rights. "To say them (words) and not mean them would be a lie," [his father] Jay said.

Out of the mouths of babes. Even a 10 year old boy can see that there is no justifiable reason outside of religious fueled bigotry to deny same sex couples the same rights many of us share. There is no secular reason why a committed, monogamous couple should not be allowed the full benefits and hardships that only a marriage can bestow.

Right now the battle in Maine is being waged at the polls. In California, it is about to be fought in the courtroom. Here in Arkansas, we do what we can while Right wing evangelicals whip people into a frenzy about the evils of "the gays", and the "queer conspiracy" while lining their pockets with gold bought with the blood and sweat and tears of a fearful populace.

I believe in the words of the Declaration of Independence "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by the Creator with the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Until that day, when *Ginny* can introduce her mother and partner to her friends without being looked down on, until a President can be Muslim or Atheist, and until *Jim's* family can not exclude *John*, his partner of 10 or more years, from his deathbed because the do not agree with the "lifestyle" this will not be.

*Name has been changed to protect the innocent*

Richard Hooker (1554-1600)


Anglican priest and theolgian, Richard Hooker helped usher in this grand experiment that we call the Anglican Communion. His "three legged stool" of scripture, tradition and reason are still the foundation of the Episcopal Church and other eclesiastical bodies of the Communion today.

O God of truth and peace, you raised up your servant Richard Hooker in a day of bitter controversy to defend with sound reasoning and great charity the catholic and reformed religion: Grant that we may maintain that middle way, not as a compromise for the sake of peace, but as a comprehension for the sake of truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lorelai's Christening

I'll try to upload pics a bit later, once Mrs. H emails them to me from her phone. Today was Sprout's big day, and boy was she ever pretty. Her Godpappa's bought her outfit, white dress and bonnet, bloomers, tights, booties and white blanket, and her Godmamma bought her the most beautiful little diamond and gold cross to wear. She looked so precious! Even Spud behaved himself through most of the service! It was such a beautiful day for it too. Even God smiled on us and gave us sunshine and warm weather for the event.

Mom and Dad and some of my friends from work came, and I got an interesting take on our practices. Dad, who is a Full Gospel Pentecostal, thought our service was "too catholic" for him while my friends, who are Catholic, thought the service very enjoyable and laid back in comparison. I guess the saying is true "We (Episcopalians) do Catholic right!" Doc and his wife may even start coming regularly, which would be very cool indeed.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Coincidence

I'm not one to believe in coincidences, but things just seem to keep falling into place...

First, I decide to talk to my priest about starting the discernment process (two years ago). He throws up the first roadblock... I need to get my undergraduate degree first. Well, being a lowly civil servant with wife and our first child on the way, there is no way I can pay for it on my own. So I apply for a program through the VA to get my degree online. It's approved and now school is paid for...

Next, I start looking into seminaries. It did't look like I'd be able to afford it, and my GI Bill expires soon. Then congress passes the new GI Bill for veterans that served after 9/11/01 (that would be me) giving us more money for school, a stipend to live on, and pays for most of our books... and the expiration date is extended to 15 years from the date of discharge...

Now (though smaller miracles), I am scheduled to attend the fall visitation at Seminary of the Southwest on 11/13-14. I was concerned that I would be splitting my attention between my current school and the visit, but it turns out that my classes this term end on the 11/10 and start back up on 11/18. AND... the bonus for meeting our goal in a competition at work hits my account on ... 11/13.

Like I said, I am not one to believe in coincidences. It actually sort of scares me.

Friday, October 23, 2009

There's a special place...


Great News!!!!

One of my best friends, Molly, just told me she is getting married!!! They plan on doing the deed in Colorado on the Winter Solstice. I am so tickled for her! She lost her previous husband to melanoma 5 years ago, so this is a big step for her. Please keep her in your prayers in praise of this joyous occasion!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Prayers Please

Spud and Sprout both have the crud this week and poor Mrs. H. has hardly slept a wink in three days.

I'm also in a bit of a funk after I made the mistake of sending my Dad, a die hard Pat Robertson fan and conservative, a copy of Spong's Manifesto. Big mistake... and now I am dealing with the consequences. Dad and I are on opposite ends of the political and religious spectrum, and that can be tough when he's someone I've admired and looked up to forever. His response broke my heart in more ways than I think he knows.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Spong's Manifesto

Ruth Gleidenhall posted this on the Times Online site... I reprint it here:

"I have made a decision. I will no longer debate the issue of homosexuality in the church with anyone. I will no longer engage the biblical ignorance that emanates from so many right-wing Christians about how the Bible condemns homosexuality, as if that point of view still has any credibility. I will no longer discuss with them or listen to them tell me how homosexuality is "an abomination to God," about how homosexuality is a "chosen lifestyle," or about how through prayer and "spiritual counseling" homosexual persons can be "cured."
....
'I will no longer take the time to refute the unlearned and undocumentable claims of certain world religious leaders who call homosexuality "deviant." I will no longer listen to that pious sentimentality that certain Christian leaders continue to employ, which suggests some version of that strange and overtly dishonest phrase that "we love the sinner but hate the sin." That statement is, I have concluded, nothing more than a self-serving lie designed to cover the fact that these people hate homosexual persons and fear homosexuality itself, but somehow know that hatred is incompatible with the Christ they claim to profess, so they adopt this face-saving and absolutely false statement.
....
'The world has moved on, leaving these elements of the Christian Church that cannot adjust to new knowledge or a new consciousness lost in a sea of their own irrelevance. They no longer talk to anyone but themselves. I will no longer seek to slow down the witness to inclusiveness by pretending that there is some middle ground between prejudice and oppression. There isn't.'
....
'I will particularly ignore those members of my own Episcopal Church who seek to break away from this body to form a "new church," claiming that this new and bigoted instrument alone now represents the Anglican Communion. Such a new ecclesiastical body is designed to allow these pathetic human beings, who are so deeply locked into a world that no longer exists, to form a community in which they can continue to hate gay people, distort gay people with their hopeless rhetoric and to be part of a religious fellowship in which they can continue to feel justified in their homophobic prejudices for the rest of their tortured lives.'
...
In my personal life, I will no longer listen to televised debates conducted by "fair-minded" channels that seek to give "both sides" of this issue "equal time." I am aware that these stations no longer give equal time to the advocates of treating women as if they are the property of men or to the advocates of reinstating either segregation or slavery, despite the fact that when these evil institutions were coming to an end the Bible was still being quoted frequently on each of these subjects. It is time for the media to announce that there are no longer two sides to the issue of full humanity for gay and lesbian people. There is no way that justice for homosexual people can be compromised any longer.

I will no longer act as if the Papal office is to be respected if the present occupant of that office is either not willing or not able to inform and educate himself on public issues on which he dares to speak with embarrassing ineptitude.

I will no longer be respectful of the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who seems to believe that rude behavior, intolerance and even killing prejudice is somehow acceptable, so long as it comes from third-world religious leaders, who more than anything else reveal in themselves the price that colonial oppression has required of the minds and hearts of so many of our world's population. I see no way that ignorance and truth can be placed side by side, nor do I believe that evil is somehow less evil if the Bible is quoted to justify it. I will dismiss as unworthy of any more of my attention the wild, false and uninformed opinions of such would-be religious leaders as Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Albert Mohler, and Robert Duncan.
...
I make these statements because it is time to move on. The battle is over. The victory has been won. There is no reasonable doubt as to what the final outcome of this struggle will be. Homosexual people will be accepted as equal, full human beings, who have a legitimate claim on every right that both church and society have to offer any of us. Homosexual marriages will become legal, recognized by the state and pronounced holy by the church.
...
I will also no longer act as if I need a majority vote of some ecclesiastical body in order to bless, ordain, recognize and celebrate the lives and gifts of gay and lesbian people in the life of the church.
...
The battle in both our culture and our church to rid our souls of this dying prejudice is finished. A new consciousness has arisen. A decision has quite clearly been made. Inequality for gay and lesbian people is no longer a debatable issue in either church or state. Therefore, I will from this moment on refuse to dignify the continued public expression of ignorant prejudice by engaging it. I do not tolerate racism or sexism any longer. From this moment on, I will no longer tolerate our culture's various forms of homophobia. I do not care who it is who articulates these attitudes or who tries to make them sound holy with religious jargon.

I have been part of this debate for years, but things do get settled and this issue is now settled for me. I do not debate any longer with members of the "Flat Earth Society" either. I do not debate with people who think we should treat epilepsy by casting demons out of the epileptic person; I do not waste time engaging those medical opinions that suggest that bleeding the patient might release the infection. I do not converse with people who think that Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans as punishment for the sin of being the birthplace of Ellen DeGeneres or that the terrorists hit the United Sates on 9/11 because we tolerated homosexual people, abortions, feminism or the American Civil Liberties Union.

I am tired of being embarrassed by so much of my church's participation in causes that are quite unworthy of the Christ I serve or the God whose mystery and wonder I appreciate more each day. Indeed I feel the Christian Church should not only apologize, but do public penance for the way we have treated people of colour, women, adherents of other religions and those we designated heretics, as well as gay and lesbian people.
...
This is my manifesto and my creed. I proclaim it today. I invite others to join me in this public declaration. I believe that such a public outpouring will help cleanse both the church and this nation of its own distorting past. It will restore integrity and honor to both church and state. It will signal that a new day has dawned and we are ready not just to embrace it, but also to rejoice in it and to celebrate it."
--Rt. Rev. John Shelby Spong...

All I can answer to this is "Amen".

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Excitement Abounds...

The news in brief:

All Saints Episcopal Church in Bentonville, AR (my home church) has been in the process of purchasing land on which to finally build on. The Diocese of Arkansas has approved the purchase, and we'll be holding an outdoor service on Oct 25th at the new property to celebrate. This is a very exciting time for our young mission, and it's been fun to watch it grow from a small congregation into a thriving church.

In other news, Sprout will be christened on November 1st at All Saints/Christ the King in Bentonville. Anyone in the Bentonville area that day is welcome to attend. She had her well-baby check on Tuesday and has grown 2 whole inches and has gained over 2 pounds!

And finally, the whole gang, (me, Mrs. H, Spud and Sprout) will be headed to Austin, TX, next month to visit the Seminary of the Southwest. I am looking forward to seeing what is there and hoping that I can get a bit more direction in where this journey is going.

That pretty much sums up what is going on in the Hillbilly Household at the moment. Going back to full time at school plus work and baby and toddler and Mrs. and Church have been keeping me on my toes for sure.
'

Monday, October 5, 2009

Some thoughts on yesterday's Gospel reading




Mark 10:2-16

Much of this covered the question of divorce. This struck home for me, as my baby sister will be getting remarried this coming summer. Because of this set of verses, her regular pastor, a devout Full Gospel minister that has oversaw every sibling's marriage but mine, will not preside over this one. Between this and a friend's sermon yesterday on how the divorce of her parents after 34 years of marriage affected her recently and other messes in my extended family's lives made me think long and hard on what Jesus really meant in this passage. So let's look at the points here:

Some Pharisees came, and to test Jesus they asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" He answered them, "What did Moses command you?" They said, "Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her."

In the first place, this is a test. My Lutheran friend's sermon brought up an interesting point. Divorce was pretty common in first century Palestine, much like today. Were the Pharisees asking if divorce was legal, to which they already knew the answer, or were they asking how one should go about it? Their offhanded way of answering his rebuttal shows that they weren't really interested in what the marriage was, just whether or not they could legally end it. This is where Jesus turns the scriptures back on them:

But Jesus said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."

Here are the kicker verses, and the ones that have caused the most grief. So let's look a little deeper here. "Because of your hardness of heart..." We all know by now that the Pharisees would let their own mothers die on the Sabbath rather than break the law to go get a doctor for her. I believe, Jesus is practicing the age old art of sarcasm. Sort of like, "Yes, Moses says this, but if you want to really follow the scriptures you have read this part..." He knows, like everyone else, that sometimes we humans are unable to live up to the standard that God set for us. Nobody is perfect, and nobody can know what is coming 5, 10, or 34 years down the road. It's not, as it appears, an admonition against divorce. It's more of a zinger meant to throw their piety back on them in a way to make them question their idea of piety.

Marriage itself has evolved over the millenia. From biblical times until around the time of the troubadours, marriage was about property rights and alliances. These were arranged usually by the families involved and the husband and wife to be had little say in the matter. Wives in these times were little more than chattel, bargaining chips used to forge dynasties. It wasn't until the middle ages that monogamy became the standard in most of the world. And today the debate rages about whether or not we can allow same sex unions to be included in the umbrella of marriage. I think we should keep all of this in mind when we attempt to understand the "mind of God" in reading verses like this.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

More Congratulations Are In Order..

Our friends Kerrey and Kari are now the proud parents of Lillian. 8lbs even and 19 3/4 inches long. Prayers of thanksgiving for safe delivery and a new daughter to compliment their two sons. Praise be to God!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Another hit on my childhood...

Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary dead at 72

DANBURY, Conn. — Mary Travers, one-third of the hugely popular 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, has died.

The band's publicist, Heather Lylis, says Travers died at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut on Wednesday. She was 72 and had battled leukemia for several years.


I can remember my daddy singing "Puff the Magic Dragon" to me with his guitar when I was a wee baby and have loved Peter Paul & Mary's music ever since. And the woman could play one heck of a guitar.

Rest in peace and play with the angels.



Sunday, September 13, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

Great News!!!

According to the Dr's, Sprout is doing much better and should be able to come home tomorrow!!! Apparently it was just a NASTY little virus that's been going around. My guess is that either I brought it home from work (I do work in a hospital) or Spud brought it back from daycare. Sometimes I wonder if I'm not raising little petri dishes...

Thank you all who prayed for her and for us. My baby girl's coming home tomorrow!!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

You have GOT to be kidding me...

This has got to be THE height of Biblically induced HOGWASH I have ever heard...


video

I wonder if anyone has told him he's the antichrist...

More Prayers Please

Mrs. H has been at the ER with Sprout since about 4:30 this morning.  I don't think it's anything serious, but that's the optimist in me.  She had a 100.8 fever this morning, and the discharge instructions said "if the baby has a fever over 100.4 call the Doctor." Long story short, the Dr. on call at the ER told her to bring Sprout in.  So far they've run tests for flu (negative), chest x-rays (clear), blood and urine cultures (pending) and such.  Her temp has hovered between 97.7 and 100 since she got there.  The doctor on call told Mrs. H that normal procedures for babies that small (I think they are treating her as a preemie, even though she was only 3 days early) is to admit for three days.  They have poor Sprout on all kinds of monitors and Mrs. H is at her wits end.  I of course am manning the fort and keeping Spud out of trouble at home, so I am getting all the news second hand.  Please keep Mrs. H and Sprout in your prayers today.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Recap, or How to Almost Have a Home Birth part 2



You know, you'd think I'd learn my lesson the first time around, but no...

8-31-09
1230am  Mrs. H asks me to put her to bed since I am still up working on a 1000-15000 word essay for class on Monday.  She is complaining of some back pain and wants me to rub her back... She asks me to stay home from work "just in case".

2am  Finish the first 500 words of the essay and call it a night.

6am  I get up to call in to work.  I leave a message saying that Mrs. H thinks she's going into labor, but I'm not so sure.

6:15am  Bloody show. Crap... Call work back and tell them it looks like there will be a baby after all. Since Spud came in about 5 hours from that point, I still have some time.  I start double checking our bags.

7:00  I go wake Spud up and take him to daycare.  I let them know that a friend of ours will probably be picking him up later because he's about to be a big brother.  Spud is ambivalent.    Teachers are excited for us.

7:45 I stop at McDonald's for a quick xtra large vanilla iced coffee.  Rush home.

8am  Mrs. H calls her doctor's office.  Hospital policy is that if possible you stop at your clinic first (which is on the same campus) so the doctor can check you out before hand.  Her contractions are "mild" (her words) but moving to about 10 minutes apart... crap...   The clerk can't get the nurse on the line but moves her 3pm appt to 9am.  We start loading the car.

8:40am  Finally on the way to the hospital (10 minute drive).  On the way Mrs. H has a contraction that nearly puts her on the roof of the car... count to 30....crap... still going to doctor first.
8:45 get to parking lot to Dr's office.  I go get a wheelchair for Mrs. H.  Before she gets out of the car she says, "I need to push!" ...s**t.  I tell her to get in the wheelchair and run across the parking lot to the hospital.
8:50am  We get to the L&D ward (on the 5th stinking floor).  Mrs. H is now only speaking two word sentences, mostly "Help!  Baby!"  I grab a nurse and tell her, "We're having a baby, NOW!"  Nurse calmly takes us into a room.  About 4 nurses follow.  One gives her a gown and says, "here's a gown, the bathroom is over there if you want to change.  Mrs. H is ripping her clothes off and trying to get the gown on herself.  "Y'all don't understand, she was pushing in the parking lot..." Not much more urgency.  They start hooking her up to monitors.  One nurse does a quick check of her cervix... "Guys, her bag of waters is right there."  Now they start moving with some urgency, Dr. Johnson is paged.

9am  After another 10 minutes of "Don't push" which Mrs. H ignores, "Not doing that again" (she endured 20 minutes of  "don't push" while we waited for the Dr. with Spud) and, "Doctor! Now! Baby!"

9:01am Dr. arrives, out of breath (he's clostrophobic and ran from the clinic, up 5 flights of stairs and into the room).   Someone throws a gown at him, "Gloves!"  He gloves up and gets into position when Mrs. H's water breaks.

9:04am  After 3 good pushes, Sprout is born.  Mrs. H rips her gown off to hold the baby.  I cut the cord.  After a bit she gets to hold our new daughter.  "So what's for breakfast?" she asks a nurse.

I don't ever want to cut it that close again...

Today she wants to go to some sort of Tupperware event... I don't think so.  The nurses keep asking if she's a patient because she's up and about and acting like it was no big deal...  She's a machine!

Monday, August 31, 2009

IT'S A GIRL!!!

Lorelai Elisabeth Adkins born 8-31-09 @ 0904am.  5lb 3oz, don't have a length yet.  Mrs. H. and Sprout are doing great!  Talk about quick... 3 hours of real labor (her words, not mine), and we got to the hospital about 15 minutes before she was born.  I told the Dr. that she would go quick...

Update---  My wife is a friggin' machine!  She hasn't sat down for more than 10 minutes except to nurse.  First words out of her mouth after Sprout was born...."What's for breakfast?"  Here it is after 10pm and she's still awake and going strong.

Maybe Baby...

This may be my last post for a day or so.  It looks like Mrs. H. is going into the first part of labor so if you all could keep us in your prayers we would apreciate it. 

Thursday, August 27, 2009

They're at it again

H/T to John Shuck ant Shuck and Jive...

Apparently the folks that brought us the Jesus Seminar are at it again.  This time they are working on an "Origins of Christianity Seminar".  If that don't beat all.  One of the members of the original Jesus Seminar, Dr. Marcus Borg, has been a profound influence in my theological persuits, and I think bringing out the human in Jesus is every bit as important as the divine Jesus.  While it had many critics, the Jesus Seminar did open up the floor for scholarly debate on the place of the historical Jesus.  Let's see if the same thing happens with this one.

Still No Baby Yet, but Here's A Little Filler from Margaret and Helen

Shamelessly pinched from Margaret and Helen's blog...

  • You can’t be Pro-Life and Pro-War at the same time. If one of
    these dispositions has to be in your cadre, then pick one and
    live with the consequences.
  • You can’t deny the right to marry to some and then cheat on your
    spouse. The right to happily marry belongs to all no mater how
    unhappy it makes you.
  • You can’t tolerate the atrocities of one President for eight years and then
    assign the consequences to one who follows. From this day forward
    everything was Reagan’s fault.
  • The Christian Right should be forced to spend a week in Iran. May the
    best radicals win.
  • Still on pins and needles waiting for Sprout's debut.

    Wednesday, August 26, 2009

    Another Request

    I just found out tonight that one of my fellow parishoners, call him R., was laid off today. Please keep his family in your prayers.

    Prayer Request

    Ok, I know this is nothing serious, but the Dr's want to check Mrs. H out today with a quick ultrasound to make sure her amniotic fluid level is ok. Their concern is that Sprout is too small, but they had the same concerns with Spud two years ago and he's fine. Still, as late in the game as it is, I don't think there is much to do besides pray, so if y'all could think about Mrs. H and Sprout in your prayers today I'd appreciate it.

    Update: As I suspected, everything is normal.

    Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    It's Official... Arkansans are Nuts...

    According to a recent poll from Public Policy Polling the outlook in Arkansas is not good...

    Some snippets from the poll:

    When asked whether they think Obama or Limbaugh has a better vision for the country,
    55% of respondents selected Limbaugh in spite of the fact only 35% of them have a
    favorable opinion of him, compared to 44% unfavorable.


    This survey also found Arkansas is home to many ‘birthers,’ as just 45% of voters believe Obama was born in the country.
    Do you think Barack Obama was born in the
    United States?
    Yes ................................................................. 45%
    No ................................................................... 31%
    Not Sure.......................................................... 24%


    While these numbers sadden me, they don't shock me. I've heard these opinions and the "Obama=Muslim=Enemy" assertion from most of my family since the elections. Ladies and gentlemen, Jim Crowe is alive and well in the the state of Arkansas.

    Monday, August 24, 2009

    A Healthcare Creed

    Pinched shamelessly from Father Jake's website:

    As one of God's children, I believe that protecting the health of each human being is a profoundly important personal and communal responsibility for people of faith.

    I believe God created each person in the divine image to be spiritually and physically healthy. I feel the pain of sickness and disease in our broken world (Genesis 1:27, Romans 8:22).

    I believe life and healing are core tenets of the Christian life. Christ's ministry included physical healing, and we are called to participate in God's new creation as instruments of healing and redemption (Matthew 4:23, Luke 9:1-6; Mark 7:32-35, Acts 10:38). Our nation should strive to ensure all people have access to life-giving treatments and care.

    I believe, as taught by the Hebrew prophets and Jesus, that the measure of a society is seen in how it treats the most vulnerable. The current discussion about health-care reform is important for the United States to move toward a more just system of providing care to all people (Isaiah 1:16-17, Jeremiah 7:5-7, Matthew 25:31-45).

    I believe that all people have a moral obligation to tell the truth. To serve the common good of our entire nation, all parties debating reform should tell the truth and refrain from distorting facts or using fear-based messaging (Leviticus 19:11; Ephesians 4:14-15, 25; Proverbs 6:16-19).

    I believe that Christians should seek to bring health and well-being (shalom) to the society into which God has placed us, for a healthy society benefits all members (Jeremiah 29:7).

    I believe in a time when all will live long and healthy lives, from infancy to old age (Isaiah 65:20), and "mourning and crying and pain will be no more" (Revelation 21:4). My heart breaks for my brothers and sisters who watch their loved ones suffer, or who suffer themselves, because they cannot afford a trip to the doctor. I stand with them in their suffering.

    I believe health-care reform must rest on a foundation of values that affirm each and every life as a sacred gift from the Creator (Genesis 2:7).

    Amen.

    The petition this comes from is here.

    Friday, August 21, 2009

    Good On ELCA!


    Today the ELCA, our brothers and sisters in communion, officially voted that gay and lesbian clergy in comitted, monogamous "lifelong relations" are in fact eligible for ordination! Welcome aboard!

    This news is of interest to me also because All Saints is currently renting space from Christ the King Lutheran Church (ELCA).

    Thanks be to God!

    Thursday, August 20, 2009

    From Grandmere Mimi

    FDL ActionHelp us reach 25,000 petition signatures: House progressives need to keep the pledge for a strong public option.When Congress returns to work on health care next month, Jane Hamsher and nyceve will be there to deliver the petition.Click here to add your name to our petition.Dear June,After two months of your hard work, 65 members House drew a line in the sand: no public option, no health care reform. You responded by raising more than $175,000 for those members in less than 48 hours. It's a great start, but it's just the beginning. We need to make sure these 65 members hold firm. We've shown them we have their backs. Now they need to get ours.I'm starting a petition to the House to keep their pledge to support only a public option in both the House bill AND the conference bill.

    I'm going to be in DC next month. If we can reach 25,000 signatures, Jane Hamsher and I will be there to hand-deliver the petition to the House when they return to take up health care.Click here to add your name to our petition to members of Congress who pledged to support only a strong public option.Members of the House who took this pledge will be under insane pressure from Rahm Emanuel and the rest of the Obama Administration to cave for an insurance industry bailout. Rahm's plan all along has been to trade away the public option. But Rahm didn't count on you. Now that we've shown progressives in the House it's possible to stick together, it will be our job to make sure these members hold the line on a strong public option.Let's be clear: these members need to hold the line on two votes.

    Once when the House passes its own bill, and again on the conference bill that's combined with the Senate's version. Anything less is a vote for an insurance industry bailout.Help us reach 25,000 signatures on our petition to House progressives. You can make sure that progressives keep the pledge to only vote for a strong public option.Click here to add your name to our petition: http://action.firedoglake.com/page/s/keepthepledgeThanks so much for your help. I hope we can get to 25,000 signatures so I can deliver the petition with Jane next month.

    Best,
    Eve Gittelson (nyceve)

    Award time once again...


    For those of us playing the home game, this is Jerry Cox, president of the Arkansas Family Council. the AFC is the Arkansas wing of Focus on the Family. He has previously been awarded the Asshat Award for his efforts to keep orphans and children in foster care from being placed in loving homes via Initiated Act 1 (which banned any and all single cohabiting couples from adopting or caring for foster children).
    He and his hatemonger group today recieve the award once again for their efforts to make sure that the poorest of us do not have affordable healthcare.
    What I find especially deplorable is that this "gentleman" and his group claim to be Christians and yet are fighting tooth and nail against helping "the least of these."



    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    Back to Healthcare

    For months I have been couching the health care debate into a Christian context. I believe that basic health care is not only a right, but in a Christian context is mandated by the Gospels.

    Let's put this in terms of our salvation, since that is another hot button issue. Where would we be today if John 3:16-18 had said, "For God so loved the Jews that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who is Jewish may not perish but may have eternal life, Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the Jews, but in order that only the Jewish might be saved through him. Only those who follow the Torah are not condemned; but those who do not are condemned already, because they have not believed in the Law of Moses."? Praise God that is not the case!

    What if Jesus had turned away the Centurion, the representation of Roman oppression in Palestine, when he asked for healing for his favorite servant? What if Jesus had stood His ground with the Cannite woman who asked for healing for her child? He very well could have. Instead, He gave them what they asked for, healing. Then He gave himself for all of us, black, brown and white, male and female, gay and straight, sick and well, Christian and Non-Christian. He did these things without conditions. How can we, who claim to follow Him do any less?

    In the gospel reading for this coming week, Jesus says, "Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them." In participating in the Eucharist, we believe that either symbolically or literally we are doing just that. It is a physical action of "letting Jesus into our hearts" to be our Lord and Savior. Stop and think on that for a second. In accepting Him as Lord, aren't we then saying we will do His will? What is his will? Matthew 25 pretty well sums it up:

    "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

    "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick, or in prison and go to visit you?'

    "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”

    If we don't do this, then how can we say that He is Lord of our lives? In denying those most in need, are we not thumbing our noses at Christ? This is why there is such a need for honest health care reform in this nation. We are the richest, most powerful nation in the world, and we still have one of the highest infant mortality rates in the industrialized world! Families each day have to choose between paying their rent or mortgage and paying for treatment for cancer. This should not be!

    It seems rather ironic that many of the people who before were promoting and selling the WWJD bracelets and T-shirts are now on the forefront of the healthcare debate urging us to do just the opposite of what He did. To be a Christian means to be the hands of Christ within the world. If we cannot do this for the least of these, how can we say that we are Christians? Is basic healthcare something that only those that can afford it should have, or is it something that everyone is entitled to? To quote Rev. Deacon Gary Baird, “Today Jesus is laying the sick and lame at our feet and is asking, ‘What will you do?’”

    More News on the Baby Front: No News on the Baby Front

    I don't seem to remember this much hardship with Spud. Mrs. H. is cranky and uncomfortable, and has run out of things to clean. Her Dr. visit yesterday said she is only dilated to 1cm, so it may be shaping up to be a LO-O-O-O-O-O-NG couple of weeks. I think Spud is starting to suspect something is up, but his little two year old mind can't fully grasp the whole "big brother" concept just yet.

    The bags are packed, the birth plan is written and signed, the babysitter is on speed-dial, and we are all set for the big day. I don't think it can come soon enough.


    Then there are the irrational fears and concerns. Mrs. H. started hawking Tupperware, and has parties scheduled for the next couple of weeks. She has threatened to send me to the parties with a laptop so she can do her schpeal live via webcam. I am having nightmares of being in the middle of communion as a chalice bearer during the Bishop's visit and her water breaking at the altar. "I'm sorry, Your Grace, I have to take the Mrs. to the hospital now. Would you be a dear and finish this for me? There's a good lad." Or worse, having to deliver the baby at home or church. Like I said, completely irrational, but there nonetheless.


    Whoever said it gets easier the second time around had rocks in their head.