Friday, May 28, 2010

This Just In... Archbishop Of Canterbury Sends the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church in Canada to Their Rooms Without Supper

I just finished reading Archbishop Rowan Williams' Pentecost letter, and I must say, I am not impressed. He uses a lot of big words to tell us he wants to put us in "time out" until we learn our lesson and stop treating LGBT members of our congregations like members of our congregations. No word in his letter about the awful law coming down the pipe in Uganda or the gay couple who were sentenced to 14 years hard labor for getting married. Nothing much about bishops from other countries poaching churches and in some cases entire diocese from TEC. Oh no, it's all our fault. Excuse us for trying to live out the Golden Rule.

+++ Rowan's actions remind me of the President in Monsters Vs. Aliens, "Listen up! I'm not going to go down as the President who was in office when the world came to an end, so somebody think of something, and think of it fast!" That train has already left the station. ACNA is now a separate entity from us. Time to move on.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Two requests...

First, one of my best friends and Sprout's Godfather, James, lost his uncle suddenly to a heart attack. Please keep him in prayer tonight.

Also, I just found out that my Grandma Maxine is in the hospital with some form of colitis. They say she is going to be OK after the antibiotics they are giving her kick in, but prayers would still be appreciated.



Arkansas Hillbilly
Update from Dad's cousin Shelia:
I just spoke to Maxine - she is feeling much better. She had an infection in her stomach and must have had a blood clot in her colon, but the treatment is working. They just fed her and she said if she keeps it down with no problems, she can go home tomorrow.
I want to thank everyone for your prayers!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

If You Want a Bible Based Country (Are You Seeing a Pattern Here?)

Leviticus 19:33-34:
When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 24.14:
You shall not withhold the wages of poor and needy labourers, whether other Israelites or aliens who reside in your land in one of your towns.

Deuteronomy 27.19:
19 ‘Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien, the orphan, and the widow of justice.’ All the people shall say, ‘Amen!’

Zechariah 7.10:
10 do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.

Ezekiel 16.49:
49 This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Where Did It Come From?

A couple of weeks ago, Mrs. H. told me about a religious fiction book she was reading that was full of the old cliche's about Christians and Non Christians. Then with my cousin's posting about wanting to be more in church and not in the world, the wheels started spinning. Something that I remember being drilled into my head, especially in the Southern Baptist environment was, "We shoule be in the world but not of the world." Where did that saying come from? Dad taught me to doubt everything someone tells me until I see it myself, so I had to go back and look for the verse that tells us to separate ourselves like that. I was actually shocked when I found out that it's not in there! Jesus never says these words.

The closest that anyone comes to saying is the writer of the Gospel of John. John 15:19 says, "If you belonged to the world,* the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. " Further along, in chapter 19: 13-16 Jesus says in his prayer, " But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.* I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.* They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. "(emphasis mine) Quite a different view.

In 1st century Judaism separations were everywhere. There was a class structure in place of clean and unclean. People who were deemed "unclean": gentiles, women who were menstrating or had just given birth, lepers, the sick and poor, were not able to enter into society and were kept on the outside margins. Jesus ministry was as much about breaking down those barriers as about anything else. His resurrection was about reconciling all of humanity to God, an open invitation that put the Samaritan and Roman on the same footing as the Pharisee and Scribe. That is the gospel, the Good News, that the Apostles were told to spread.

But somewhere along the way we lost that. Today we hear devout Christians talk about home schooling their children, listening to only Contemporary Christian music, reading Christian fiction, watching only Christian TV stations, voting for only Christian political candidates. This dilutes the inclusive message of our Savior. Christians now look at those that are "Unbelievers" as the "Other", when our own holy writings tell us that there is no difference between us. St. Paul boldly says in Galatians 3: "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. " and in Romans, "For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..."

Looking back on a campaign started by an Evangelical pastor, I have to ask, would Jesus wall himself off like this? Would he tell us to create our own culture, or would he instead encourage us to go out into the world and be a force for change? Will we continue to look at those most in need of love as "other", or will we instead "embrace the leper" as St. Francis did, and see that divine spark, the Christ in everybody? Will we continue to shun someone because they are different, speak differently, love differently, or worship differently, or call God by a different name than we do? Will I continue to do this? Will you? What Would Jesus Do?

Monday, May 10, 2010

School's Out!!

I just turned in the last two assignments for school, which means I am officially done with my coursework for the BSBA in Human Resources. Wow! I am about to be a college graduate, one of the first, if not the first in my family to do it. I am so excited I could just cry.

Now comes the really fun part. The discernment process sounds kind of like tearing your heart out of your chest, rubbing salt in the wound, having a group of people examine said heart, then put it back in your chest. After doing this for about a year, Bishop Benfield will have the final say on whether or not I get to go for the MDIV or MAR degree.

But for now... I'm celebrating... Cue the "Pomp and Circumstance"! Where's my robe and square hat?!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chief... June 2000- May 3, 2010

This morning Chris' prized Yorkie, Chief, was hit by a car. Without going into details, I can tell you from my limited medical expertise with humans that it was over too quick for him to know what happened and that he didn't suffer. Apparently he snuck out of the house in the midmorning to go see his friend (a white fuzzball of a dog) across the street. A lady from the neighborhood came and told us what happened, and I ran outside to get him out of the street. I cradled him for a bit and just came unglued. I don't know how long I cried and babbled.

I dug a grave for him, and we laid him to rest with some of his favorite toys in a nice shady spot in the back yard.

The hardest part this evening was trying to explain to Eli why he couldn't go get Chief when we got home from the store and why he wouldn't be following us upstairs to Eli's bedroom tonight.

Chris and I first brought Chief home shortly after we got our first apartment 10 years ago. He was a runt of a puppy that both of us fell in love with. He grew into a good dog, if a bit crotchety at times and big for a Yorkie. He was Chris' companion when I was away on deployments, and she was his human. He simply tolerated me. Now he's sleeping with the angels. Maybe God will be able to finally teach him to pee outside. No, he'll probably get his own scotchguard carpet.