Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday - Why We Stand

Tonight I didn't go to my regular church.  I went to the one I like to visit infrequently.  It was nice to be a little unknown tonight, feel like I wasn't being watched and just blend in.

There was the extended reading with Jesus in the Garden thru to his death.  Several voices read the parts and in the beginning we sat and listened as the dialogue  jumped around the room.  The final scene, the end of Jesus' life, we were asked to stand.

It felt powerful to stand there.  I was standing with Jesus as he died.  I was being a witness to this event.  I was claiming my desire to live a life of Peace and not back down.

It felt humbling to stand there.  I was standing with Jesus as he died.  I knew that I have rejected him. That sometimes Love is too much to handle.  That I want it my way.  I want things to happen with power that comes from being right, from making moves, from violence.

Oh, that last one is hard to admit.  If I am truly honest, I do want violence.  I just want someone else to do it.  I want to turn away and let it happen.  I want to pretend it isn't happening.  Because if I don't pretend, I either have to admit I want it.  Or I have to stand up and say, without violence, stop.  And I don't even know how.  And I'm not willing to die.

Tonight, standing and listening I knew my place.  And it wasn't on the Cross.

It is beside the Cross saying remember me.
And Jesus says, of course.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Giver

This weekend I read The Giver by Lois Lowry.  Here is a link to it at Barnes and Noble.

So many thoughts have been swirling in my head from this book.  I won't be able to talk about them all, but I do want to talk about one(ish).

The scene when Jonas first experienced snow and a hill reminded me of this verse from the prophet Isaiah:

Isaiah 40:4New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 

Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.   

There is was.  No more hills.  It was all even.  Sameness was the word used in the book.  Sameness of people, dwellings, experiences, the land.  All the same.  

It seems this book was written in response to something.  At least at an intellectual level.  Perhaps playing with ideas, seeing where "sameness" might go.  It was written shortly after the Cold War, so some reaction to communism could be part of it.  It also reminds me of other stories from the 1990s such as Pleasantville and The Truman Show.  Both were artificial communities and not dissimilar from the community in The Giver.  

As Christians we strive to live in Community.  God calls us into Community.  The world of The Giver is called community, and the valleys had been lifted and the mountains had been made low.  

Despite this there is something very wrong feeling about the community in the book. There is no strong emotion.

Revelation 21:4-5

4he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”

They achieved this.  

But they also got rid of Love.

That's the difference.  And it is BIG!

The community we find with and in God, in and with Jesus, is grounded first and always in Love.  Because God IS Love.  

Are we co-creators with God?  Do we use our hands to do God's work in the world?  For the second one I would most definitely say YES.  That is what we are called to do.

We are called into community, but our community is formed in the Love of Christ shared and proclaimed in with and under, in a declaration of Grace, together at the communion table.  (Oh, I am so Lutheran.)  It is from that place of renewal, again and again. we are called and sent to proclaim good news to the captives.  (Just as it is declared to us because I am certainly captive to Sin.)

That is what is different between the Community in The Giver, and the Community of Christ is pulling us into - The Kingdom of God.  It matters where you start.  It changes where you end up.

Ok, that seemed a little "Sunday school" to me, but it really was a genuine thought I needed to work through.  Using a utopian society is a common theme in many stories.  Sometimes they break down, but other times they remain "lifted up".  I needed to think through what makes something a utopia and what makes something Kingdom.  

Monday, April 21, 2014


This is going to be short, but I've been thinking about something that I just want to get down.  It revolves around the story of the Feeding of the 5000.

Short tangent: I gave my daughter a new Bible Story Book for Easter.  On the cover is a cartoony Noah and the Ark.  Why?  This is not a kid's story.  The feeding of the 5000 would be better.  What a great empowering story for kids.  And about food, who doesn't like food?
Tangent over.

So there is a miracle in the Feeding story, but I don't think it is about how Jesus made more bread out of just a little bit.  I think the miracle is that Jesus changed people's hearts, so that they shared what they had hidden away.

When we read it as Jesus made the bread we don't put ourselves in the story.  It is just a nice thing Jesus did  Ok, God cares about our needs.  But!  If the miracle is about changed hearts, we are right there!  I can start to imagine myself surrounded by hungry people knowing I have something to share.  The great miracle that my heart can be changed becomes real.

 I could use some change of heart.  I can relate to this miracle.  I don't always want it, but that is why it is a change of heart done by God and not me.

Powerful story.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I Shouldn't Read Facebook

Why do I do things that I know will upset me?  Why do I read the comments of anything on facebook?

Why oh why.

I know I partly do it because 1) I want to know what people are thinking. 2) It is a safe thing to get mad at.

But it is no longer safe.

I am letting it get to me in an unhealthy way.  It is starting to make me question who I am and what I believe.  Partly because I have not spent enough time doing the work to make my own faith structure strong enough, at least not recently. So I get really disheartened and angry and just want to throw in the towel.  Don't call me a Christian, I'm not one of those people.

But I am a Christian.

I do believe that Jesus is more than a nice guy. I do believe there is salvation through Christ.  Really, I do.

So maybe I should be reclaiming instead of hiding.

And I do know when I do talk about what I believe with someone and how it affects my life, it does matter and it does start to change perspective.

Sometimes it can be hard to be either the only liberal in the room of Christians or the only Christian in the room of liberals.

But let's get real, I am so lucky because I live in a place that this doesn't happen all that much.  I have lots of pretty rad liberal Christian friends.  Who are some of the most thoughtful, intelligent people I know.

So really what I need to do is have lunch with some friends, read the Bible or some good theology books and stay away from comment sections for a while.

Thanks, blog for helping work that out.  :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Life After Death

I have no idea if there is life after death.  Sometimes I want to say yes, but other times that just seems like wishful thinking. I wonder if my true hang up is that the concept of infinity freaks me out.  When I think about what infinity is it makes me uneasy and uncertain and blows my mind in sometimes an uncomfortable way and sometimes in an awe inspiring way.

The awe moments come when I'm on the "this afterlife thing makes no sense but I will embrace it because surely my little brain can't comprehend it all" moments.

As interesting as that all is, I'm not really thinking about that kind of life after death tonight. I'm thinking about regular boring life and exciting life and hard life and well, life after someone dies.

Life after death.

We keep living.

I had to look up how long it had been since two friends died.  Eight years.  Eight years of me living, of the community we belong to still gathering.  Eight years of missed conversations.

Since it has been eight years it seems like something I shouldn't think about very much.  And I don't. But I do, and I still hurt.  Not in the raw way anymore.  Just in the scabby way.  Just in the way that I wish instead of my little girl having Dinah as a middle name she would be able to play with Dinah's little one, that never existed, but may have if there was time.

There is life after death.

And a scar.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Benefit of a uniform

Sometime ago I wrote about pastors wearing robes.  After a conversation with a pastor friend and some thought I don't want to take back what I said, but I would like to amend it.  What we don't see when a pastor wears a robe is his/her personal style of dress.  We see tradition.  We don't see if she is stylish or if he is a hipster pastor.  We don't get into conversations about if what is worn is "appropriate".  That being said, people will still talk about such things, but it is more limited - make-up or not, hair style, facial hair.

Annoys me that this seems to be more of an issue for women.  Barbara Walters interviewed Secretary Hillary Clinton and asks her about lipstick.  Really!  You have one of the most powerful people in the world sitting in front of you and you ask about lipstick.  That is shameful.  It seems we don't know what to do with women.  Should they be like men?  Should we just care about them as potential sexual partners?  (That is what the lipstick question boils down to.)

While we try to figure ourselves out, I get why women pastors might choose to wear a robe.  It also gives them more authority and power which is strangely ok in this circumstance.  Men, you have the power.  You don't need the robe.  Or maybe you do, so I don't judge you by your manner of dress.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I have a few thoughts circulating in my mind, so I'm going to put them down.  This post might fall in the BS category of this blog.

Either do it or don't.  I've been thinking about how thinking about an idea is fine and all, but really the doing is what matters.  So, I've been working on taking more risks, even small ones.  One of my maybe small maybe big things I want to try is to open a "Toy Library" for other parents/kids to check out toys. I'm thinking of running out of our garage.  Many steps between thought and reality, but the old fridge is getting picked up on Tuesday so that is a good start.

Be more interesting.  I waste a lot of time reading stuff online that doesn't do me any good and just makes me angry.  So, instead of just surviving and wasting time I want to DO things.  I want to have more of those kind of days that you look back and think wow, I did a lot today.   Even if it is simple stuff like I made pretzels first time or clean up a closet or write a blog post at least I'm doing and not just existing.

This house is too big.  We need to downsize.  Meanwhile lets use it all for great things like hosting people and making things and opening toy libraries.  Currently our garage holds bikes and boxes - empty boxes, and an old fridge, surely this space could be put to better use.  We need to downsize our stuff before our stuff owns us.

That's enough for now.