Feb 172013
 

thumbnail.aspxMaybe we have not thought much about Satan,
either in glib self-regard,
or in a rejection of such silly speculation,
or in a way more urbane and benign
than to imagine such a character.

 

Except that as we our on our strenuous Lenten trek,
we are aware
that the power of resistance is at work in our midst,
that the force of negation is alive and well,
that our best will is contradicted
by stuff that surges
against our best selves,
that we, even we, are prone to our
several addictions that render us helpless.

So we pray in the Lenten season,
give us primitive freedom to
take full stock of Satan and the power of
evil still among us in our prosperity and
wealth and sophistication,
and give us primitive openness
to your ministering angels
who are present with care and gentleness
and great nourishment.

In the Lenten season, give us freedom
to reconfigure our lives
as a testing field between the force of Satan
and the food of your angels.

Enter our lives with power for newness,
deliver us from a sense of naive mastery,
and give us honest contact with our vulnerability.

Enter the deep place of our life and claim us for your purposes.
We would be more free than we are,
more bold than we dare,
more obedient than we choose.

We wait for the gift of your large gift of life
that will wrench us away from death
to the miracle of Easter joy.

 

Walter Brueggemann

 

Feb 152013
 

The numbers don’t lie.

The store is in last place in the district and sinking.

As a result, I’m in corporate hospice on “final written notice” that they will bring someone else in to turn those numbers around.

They brought me in to do the same thing, but it didn’t happen.

The number of sales and gross profit is the measure and I didn’t measure up.

There are other numbers that measure other things…customer satisfaction, employee turnover, quality of sale…and we lead the district in those.

Our neighbors are pleased to work with us having had to work with those who only cared about the things that I didn’t produce.

Still, all that matters are nickels and noses, the volume of customers and the cash extracted from them.

In that regard, I am a corporate failure and will soon be set aside as such.

A failure…despite having the happiest customers and most contented staff in the district.

A failure…despite holding up every ethical and business standard the corporation holds to.

Nickels and noses.

Thank God we don’t judge success in the church that way…

Make your own application…

Feb 132013
 

anglican
The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ’s ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.

As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred, so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith.

This is one where I really wish I knew more of the history. I do know what the state of the church of Rome was at the time, but am sort of at a loss with what was happening with Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch.

I had to post this a little early, got slammed with work, spent 13.5 hours flat out toiling today. I have to be on a roof at nothing o’clock in the morning, so have fun with this, and thanks for the prayers for work, it seems to be panning out for the moment.

 Posted by at 8:55 pm
Feb 132013
 

1fa8e_ash_wednesday_2013_homily_ash-wednesday1235157642Ruler of the Night, Guarantor of the day . . .
This day — a gift from you.
This day — like none other you have ever given, or we have ever received.
This Wednesday dazzles us with gift and newness and possibility.
This Wednesday burdens us with the tasks of the day, for we are already halfway home
halfway back to committees and memos,
halfway back to calls and appointments,
halfway on to next Sunday,
halfway back, half frazzled, half expectant,
half turned toward you, half rather not.

This Wednesday is a long way from Ash Wednesday,
but all our Wednesdays are marked by ashes —
we begin this day with that taste of ash in our mouth:
of failed hope and broken promises,
of forgotten children and frightened women,
we ourselves are ashes to ashes, dust to dust;
we can taste our mortality as we roll the ash around on our tongues.

We are able to ponder our ashness with
some confidence, only because our every Wednesday of ashes
anticipates your Easter victory over that dry, flaky taste of death.

On this Wednesday, we submit our ashen way to you —
you Easter parade of newness.
Before the sun sets, take our Wednesday and Easter us,
Easter us to joy and energy and courage and freedom;
Easter us that we may be fearless for your truth.
Come here and Easter our Wednesday with
mercy and justice and peace and generosity.

We pray as we wait for the Risen One who comes soon.

Walter Brueggemann

The Lenten season begins. It is a time to be with you, Lord, in a special way, a time to pray, to fast, and thus to follow you on your way to Jerusalem, to Golgotha, and to the final victory over death.I am still so divided. I truly want to follow you, but I also want to follow my own desires and lend an ear to the voices that speak about prestige, success, pleasure, power, and influence. Help me to become deaf to these voices and more attentive to your voice, which calls me to choose the narrow road to life.I know that Lent is going to be a very hard time for me. The choice for your way has to be made every moment of my life.  I have to choose thoughts that are your thoughts, words that are your words, and actions that are your actions. There are not times or places without choices. And I know how deeply I resist choosing you.

Please, Lord, be with me at every moment and in every place. Give me the strength and the courage to live this season faithfully, so that, when Easter comes, I will be able to taste with joy the new life that you have prepared for me. Amen.

Henri Nouwen

Feb 122013
 

B-8-sew-loose-ends-451x300A little after noon we pulled into the convenience store to get something to drink before heading to the skatepark…or we tried to.

There were two police cars in the way and as we squeezed by them I saw the object of their attention.

 

He was old and quite disheveled, wearing his pajamas and a bathrobe and some torn slippers.

Everything about him spoke of confusion and fear…he was lost and cold and terribly alone.

Soon, some EMTs arrived in a fire truck to tend to him.

One of them gently closed his robe and tied the sash around him tightly to ward off the chill of the wind…he acted as if someone usually did this for him.

He knew not where he had come from or where he was going or how he had come to this place…this is just where he was.

I assured Trey that the elderly pilgrim was all right, that now he would be cared for and he would be taken home as soon as they could discern where his home was.

I assured my son, but I did not tell him how often I feel like that old man.

We live in a world where the ancient markers have been moved, where things once known are known no more, where sometimes you feel so lost, so confused, and so very alone.

Sometimes, I just want to go home… sometimes I wonder if I’ll find it.

Thank God that He has promised never to leave or forsake us, that He has prepared a place for us, and He promises to get us there safely.

Thank God as well for the ones who remind us of all of the above when we can’t remember for ourselves…

6009556_f248The prophecy wonks will be having a Hee Haw good time with the “prophecies of St. Malachy“.

Evidently the next pope is the last one followed by the judgment according these forgeries prophecies.

What do you think?

More on the ministry of Richard Twiss…

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/36502515[/vimeo]

 

 

Feb 112013
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251.“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.”(1 Corinthians 4:1–2 ESV) According to Paul, pastors and leaders are classed as “household servants” that belong to the community, not vice versa. It was rather awkward to explain my new job description to the church last night.We are the caretakers of the things of God, not the owners. The measure of my ministry isn’t how “successful” it is, it’s how faithful I am to what I have been given…

2.The new cultural divide is Android vs. iOS.  It has all the fervor of the old Mac vs. PC battles. We find our identities in some very strange places…

3. “In the divine economy, the scarcity of hope increases it’s worth in the marketplace of dispositions.” Great piece this morning by Matt Redmond…

4. The cell phone store I manage doesn’t carry the iPhone…which is like having a grocery store that doesn’t carry milk.

5.Two things that I simply cannot understand Christians watching…graphic horror movies and MMA.

6. I see this morning that the Pope has resigned…glad to see that some leaders care about orderly succession and the future of their traditions…

7. Some weeks I preach to myself while others listen…

8.Real ministry is crippled when we try to completely divorce the experiential from the doctrinal, the emotional from the spiritual, and already from the not yet…

9. I’ve been on antibiotics for two weeks. I don’t understand how they bring healing but they do. Same with the Lord’s Supper…I don’t have to understand what it does to receive the benefit.

10. Finally this morning, the church lost a giant over the weekend…a giant you probably never heard of. Richard Twiss was an advocate for the Native peoples of this country and  a provocative and iconoclastic follower of Jesus. I commend him to your hearing…

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/44269430[/vimeo]

Feb 102013
 

thumbnail.aspxWhen the world spins crazy,
spins wild and out of control
spins toward rage and hate and violence,
spins beyond our wisdom and nearly beyond our faith,
When the world spins in chaos as it does now among us…

 

We are glad for sobering roots that provide ballast in the storm.
So we thank you for our rootage in communities of faith,
for our many fathers and mothers who have believed and trusted as firm witnesses to us,
for their many stories of wonder, awe, and healing.

We are glad this night in this company
for the rootage of the text,
for the daring testimony,
for its deep commands,
for its exuberant tales.
Because we know that as we probe deep into this text…
clear to its bottom,
we will find you hiding there,
we will find you showing yourself there,
speaking as you do,
governing,
healing,
judging.

And when we meet you hiddenly,
we find the spin not so unnerving,
because from you the world again has a chance
for life and sense and wholeness.
We pray midst the spinning, not yet unnerved,
but waiting and watching and listening,
for you are the truth that contains all our spin. Amen.

Walter Brueggemann

Feb 082013
 

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

(Hebrews 11:1 ESV)

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”

(Hebrews 11:13–16 ESV)

Sometimes all that’s left is hope for heaven.

Sometimes, in God’s providence and wisdom, the promises fail.

Though this may cause doubt and fear and foolish thoughts fit for an unbeliever…God is not ashamed to be your God…or mine.

That’s all I’ve got this morning.

If you can make your own application, you’re in my prayers.

 

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