Monday, August 31, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
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.
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
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
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
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
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).
The petition this comes from is here.
Friday, August 21, 2009
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!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
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.
Eve Gittelson (nyceve)
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
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?’”
Whoever said it gets easier the second time around had rocks in their head.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
With the cancellation of town hall events in Northwest Arkansas due to fear from the local Tea-baggers, free speech is now officially dead in Northwest Arkansas.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Go there if you need ammunition against your Tea Party friends...
I also heard one of my conservative co-workers say that Faux News has been saying Speaker Pelosi has been calling their protests "un-american". Truth is, what she has been calling "un-american" is the shouting matches and drowining out of disenting voices by the Tea-Baggers.
FAYETTEVILLE — The diocese has removed the Rev. Bradley Barber from his pastoral role at St. Joseph Catholic Churchin Fayetteville after an accusation of sexual assault.The allegation is under investigation by both the church and the Washington County prosecutor, a church official and attorney said. No criminal charges have been filed, said officials with the Diocese of Little Rock.The accuser is in his early 20s and alleges that Barber forced him to engage in sexual activity Tuesday between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. at Barber's home, said the Rev. Francis Malone, chancellor for ecclesial affairs with the Diocese of Little Rock. Malone read a letter to parishioners during masses this weekend at St. Joseph. Malone said the letter was from Bishop Anthony Taylor of the Little Rock Diocese. Taylor said it was "the saddest letter I ever had to write."...
Barber, 53, is a former Episcopal priest. He and his wife joined the St. Joseph parish in 2007. He moved to Fayetteville from the Corpus Christi, Texas, Diocese. Officials there are being informed of the sexual assault allegations, Malone read from the letter.In an August 2007 Arkansas Catholic news article, Barber was critical of the Episcopal church for ordaining women, recognizing same sex relationships and allowing openly gay priests."Theologically, I knew I was Catholic," Barber is quoted as saying in the article.Smith said the accuser is awaiting a decision by Washington County Prosecuting Attorney John Threet, who will determine if any criminal charges will be filed against Barber.
Again, I am only asking that you pray for the congregation, the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator that healing, comfort and justice will all prevail.
Friday, August 7, 2009
And they shouldn't have to. Where are all the folks who so heartilly supported President Obama during his campaign? Why aren't we at these meetings shouting back? We need to make our voices heard as well. But instead we are holled up in our storm cellars waiting for the bad men to stop yelling at us. Where is the passion?!
So get out there on your blogs, write and call your Senators and Congressmen, attend these meetings and FIGHT BACK! Don't let the Limbaughs, and Faux News pundits be the only ones to stir the pot! Start putting the truth out there!
And so let's start our own movement. The Anti-Tea Party!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
On one particular Sunday morning, Tammy handed Father Roger a small handwritten note thanking us for the prayers, food and comfort that we had given their family in their time of grief. As a sort of pride in our church filled me in this, I felt sorrow as well. It made me reflect on how our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters are still treated in North West Arkansas. Where else would this family, for that is what they are, have found the ministry of healing and comfort they desperately needed? Outside of a hand full of Episcopal Churches, not very many. Instead they would have been looked upon as an abomination. The words of comfort, if any, would have been laced with the venom of condemnation and scorn. And that is wrong.
Then there was the second couple. Here they were, simple folk who had been outcasts even in the churches they had attended, finally finding a place that welcomed them for who they were, not in spite of it. They had finally found a place where they could belong. But it was snatched from them. After a few weeks Father Roger received a rambling email from them saying they would not be back to our church because of our stance regarding gay and lesbian clergy and same sex blessings. This nearly brought me to tears.
In Luke, Jesus asks, "Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? " You as spiritual leaders need to ask yourselves this. Are you giving your parishioners the Bread of Life, the love of Christ, or are you instead giving them the snakes and scorpions of condemnation and bigotry?
The Episcopal Church has made a stand. We are offering our whole selves, scarred and blemished to God by welcoming all people regardless of race, creed, sex, or sexual orientation. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. " We turn John 3:16 into a nifty T-shirt slogan, but we forget verse 17.
Our mission as Christians isn't about condemning others. It's about introducing them to the love of God. How many families have we destroyed, how many children have we killed, and how many people have we turned away from Christ because of our own bigotry? And that is what we have done. We, the Christian community have killed each child or teen that committed suicide because they were told they were an abomination and cast out of their homes. We, who were previously known by our love, have destroyed families by telling our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters that they are not real parents. We have turned people like the Ostermans and the other unnamed family away from God's love by telling them that homosexuality is a disease, an abomination that needs to be cured and eradicated.
This is why I am an Episcopalian. Because I believe that God loves us. Because I believe that salvation is more than just reciting a prayer and joining a church. And because I believe that we all are God's children, and that His love extends to the poor, the disabled, the LGBT community, the undocumented workers, the child that had an abortion, the drunk on the corner, the war veteran with PTSD, EVERYONE. The world needs that message. Will we give it to them, or continue to poison them with hate?