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Showing posts from November, 2011

A Haiku of Exhaustion

Too tired to write
The blank screen sits accusing
Today to-dos won.



Like One Who Lifts an Infant to the Cheek

A Sermon on Hosea 6:1-6, 11:1-9

Who knows anything about Hosea (the book or the prophet)?
Hosea is a prophet in the Northern Kingdom, probably just a little more than seven hundred years before Jesus is born. The Northern Kingdom of Israel, remember, has more money, more tribes and more power, but it doesn’t have the Davidic line (the line of kings descending from David). During the time of Hosea’s prophecies, the Assyrians will come and conquer the Northern Kingdom and carry them off into exile.
One of the reasons we don’t get a whole lot of Hosea is because the book can cause a lot of indigestion. There are two main metaphors in the book: a husband/wife metaphor and a parent/child metaphor.
In that first one, the husband/wife metaphor, God is the faithful husband and Israel is the unfaithful wife, deserving of punishment- possibly death. While we can understand a metaphor of idolatry as adultery, we don’t always think about the fact that in ancient Israel, there wasn’t really any suc…

One Minute Writer: Teach Edition

If you were to teach as a career, what would you teach?


One of the reasons I haven't considered hospital chaplaincy more seriously is because I love to teach. I think I would enjoy teaching religion- world religions, church and culture, Jesus (and Jesus figures) in film, modern religious movements.
.....




Above is all I could write in one minute, but it caused me to think back on some of the classes of my Religion degree (undergraduate) and remember how much I really enjoyed them.

Prayer for a New Day

Psalm 19 - Contemporary English Version


The heavens keep telling the wonders of God, and the skies declare what he has done.
Each day informs the following day; each night announce to the next. They don't speak a word and there is never the sound of a voice. Yet their message reaches all the earth, and it travels around the world.
In the heavens a tent is set up for the sun. It rises like a bridegroom and gets ready like a hero eager to run a race. It travels all the way across the sky. Nothing hides from its heat.
The Law of the LORD is perfect; it gives us new life. His teachings last forever, and they give wisdom to ordinary people.
The LORD's instruction is right; it makes our hearts glad. His commands shine brightly, and they give us light.
Worshiping the LORD is sacred; he will always be worshiped. All of his decisions are correct and fair. They are worth more than the finest gold and are sweeter than honey from a honeycomb.
By your teachings, Lord, I am warned; by obeyi…

Verbage

I'm at a continuing education conference that is turning out to be really excellent. One of the things that happens when you get a bunch of people in the same profession together is that they will get on each other's nerves. In clergy circles (of the same denomination), there can be little tweaks in verbage or theology that can cause eye-rolling and snarky comments like you wouldn't believe.

(What? You thought we were all sitting around singing Kum-Ba- Yah?)

In reality, there is always truth to what is pointed out to you, it is just that it can be hard to hear it.

Two phrases that have been pointed out by people I know well (and like) are:

1) "We worship # on Sunday." A phrase that I never use in my daily life comes up immediately with other clergy because one is quickly asked, "How many do you worship on Sunday"- meaning "How many people attend worship on Sunday?" The great pastor from Sitka Lutheran in Sitka, Alaska says, "We worship Go…

Where Have All the Reading Materials Gone?

The NaBloPoMo prompt for today is: When was the first time you realized that your home was not like other peoples' homes?

I recall roller skating in a friend's garage in kindergarten. We didn't have a garage, but that's not the memory that sticks out in my mind. Nor is it when I think about playing with Barbies at other peoples' homes, but not having them at home.

When I was in eighth grade, I went to spend the night with a friend and I remember her house looked totally different than either my (parents') house or other houses I knew. There was something odd about the place that I couldn't put my finger on for a while. Finally, we were dancing in the living room and I stopped and said, "Where are all your books?"

I was used to a house that had reading material everywhere. In the living room on shelves and by chairs. In the laundry room on the "brown table" that collected everything. By my parents' bed. Both sets of grandparents had ma…

If I Were A Rich Man

A couple weeks ago I went to an excellent production of Fiddler on the Roof, one of my favorite musicals. John Preece was Tevye and he was AMAZING. I was seated in the front row (a friend picked the tickets) and Preece's expressions and emotions were mesmerizing. (I can't find any videos that show Preece, but you can hear him here.)

Her characterization of Tevye was of a man who prayed without ceasing, in continuous give and take conversation with God. His wrestling and faith were evident in each sideways glance, tap of a mezuzah or fidget with his tzitzit.

One of the scenes that has stuck with me is the song "If I were a Rich Man". Preece ambled around the stage and it was as though each new verse struck him as an epiphany. My wife could have servants! I would be respected! We could live in a bigger, better house!

Then the last verse came very poignantly and I heard it in a way I've never heard before. "If I were rich, I'd have the time that I lack to s…

A Meditation from St. Francis of Assisi

For All Saints' Day- a meditation on the Lord's Prayer from St. Francis of Assisi: 
Our Father.  Our Creator, Redeemer, Comforter and Savior.
Who art in heaven. 
 You are with the angels and the saints, bathing them in your light that they may be enlightened by your love, and dwelling within them that they may be filled with your joy. You are the supreme good, the eternal good, from whom comes all goodness, and with- out whom there is no goodness.
Hallowed be your name. 
 May our knowledge of you become ever clearer, that we may know the breadth of your blessings, the length of your promises, the height of your majesty, and the depth of your judgments.
Your kingdom come. 
 Rule in our hearts with your grace, that we may become fit subjects for your kingdom. We desire nothing more than to dwell in your kingdom, where we can watch you on your throne, and enjoy your perfect love.
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 
 May we love you with our whole heart by always thinking …

Pineapples to Hockey Pucks

I love where I live, but certain comparisons should not be made:







Friday Five: Time with Friends Edition

Over at RevGalBlogPals, kathrynzj encourages us to write about five things we like to do with friends. The posts seem to take two directions- what you like to with friends in general and what you like to do with friends who visit your hometown.

In general, I like to travel, eat, read books, walk and have long, long talks with friends.

If out of town friends come to Anchorage, I like to:

1. Go to the Winner Creek trail and (maybe) do the hand tram!

This is not my video, but it's pretty good. You can see how far you have to go and what the gorge looks like. The hike is fairly easy- a little hilly and beautiful. The tram is optional! ;)




2. Visit the Eagle River Nature Center (and assorted trails). I got married here on the salmon viewing deck. It's a great place- all supported by volunteers. The ERNC is only about eight miles from my house.




3. Drive to Seward and visit the Sealife Center. Seward is a really neat town. We could walk up to the face of Exit Glacier, eat salmon and h…

The More Things Change

After a book discussion around science and speculative fiction, I needed a funny reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Enjoy!

L'Ultima Cena

L'ultima Cena is the name of the painting you may know as "The Last Supper". The Italian uses the phrase "ultimate" as in final, not as in awesome (though I enjoy a parsley salad and some lamb, so it may well have been awesome).

It never fails to move me to think about Jesus, gathered with those he loved, in that upper room- smoky and close- consuming their history and sanctifying their future. Powerful stuff.

On a more mundane thought, the NaBloPoMo prompt for the day is: "What would you want for your last meal?"

What would my ultimate, ultimate last meal be?

In truth, I'd prefer not to know it was my last. That would the best seasoning of all. I love food in general, so it's hard to narrow it down to one meal. Several courses?

I'd like Greek salad with lemon and oil dressing, heavy on the lemon. Then a open-faced, hot turkey sandwich, with gravy. Mashed potatoes. Cranberry sauce. Steamed broccoli. And chocolate cream pie.

Comfort food, I …

Death cannot destroy

For some reason, I'm thinking of both All Saints and the first law of thermodynamics today.  Aren't you? 
Today is the Feast of All Saints, the day upon which we celebrate the lives of the faithful who have gone on to their reward. I want to be able to say that I am celebrating, but mostly I am missing people today. My grandparents, a mentor, friends, classmates... all gone too soon to my way of thinking. 
The first law of thermodynamics is that energy can be transformed, but it cannot be created or destroyed. I could talk more about heat and energy conservation- the principles of thermodynamics- but that's not what I want to say. 
Energy can be transformed, but it cannot be created or destroyed. 
There's no way to talk about this without seeming a little out there, but stick with me. Scientifically, I know that our bodies decay, but spiritually I believe death is not the end God intends for us. We are transformed in ways we don't understand after death. I can'…