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Showing posts from September, 2013

God is like...

I received this prompt for prayer writing in my email today from Rachel Hackenberg at :  A frequent scriptural image used to identify God's faithfulness is rock. "For who is God except the LORD? And who is a rock besides our God?" (Psalm 18:31) I thought that I might write a prayer today using new images for God's faithfulness . . . but to my surprise, I'm stumped! What is more constant than a rock?! My cell phone, which is constantly by my side? It will glitch and die just before its two-year contract expires. The sun, rising every morning? Its lifespan is only as long as the day. The river, with its endless run toward the ocean? Its paths are ever-shifting and eroding, and its ecosystem varies depending upon pollution, salinity, droughts & floods. So I pose the challenge to you for your creativity in prayer: what image of faithfulness might you use to describe God?  I wrote this prayer, which doesn't exactly capture the idea of f

My Brother's Not Heavy. Jesus Said So.

I’ve been thinking about the cuts to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) last week. Remember the House voted 217 to 210 to separate SNAP from the farm bill. The legislation that passed will significantly reduce SNAP funding in the next four years. Good! Too many people abuse that program. Too many people sit around- expecting handouts. Do you really think that? Do you truly believe the majority of food stamp (SNAP) recipients are just sitting around, doing nothing, and waiting for the mail? Yes, I do. I’ve been to the grocery store on the day the benefits come out. It’s crazy. Did you think it might be because people didn’t have the funds to go shopping prior to that day? Maybe their spare cash went to rent or a car payment. Or to cable or to pay for an iPhone. What would satisfy you in this scenario? There are genuinely people who cannot make ends meet. Do you care at all about that? Let them get a second job. Who will watc

Notes on Jacob

(These notes were my "back-up" reflection for Sunday 9/22/13. God delivered a much more intense word in reality. The audio is in this post .) Genesis 27:1-4, 15-23; 28:10-17             For me, the stories of Genesis begin to feel “real” when Jacob appears on the scene. I understand Abraham as the “Father-of-many” and father of our faith. I sympathize with Isaac- in the binding, in the grief of the death of his parents, etc. However, Jacob- wrestling within the womb, grasping all he can, wanting more than he can define clearly, and prepared to do anything to get it- Jacob is a truly fleshed-out character, a human being, a person who makes the Scriptures pop and sing. After all, why would this ancestor be included, with his cheating and tricky ways, except that through him, we understand (like many generations before us) that God is no respecter of persons.             Jacob comes out of the womb clinging to Esau’s heel and spends the rest of his childh

Sacrifice (Sermon 9/15/13)

Genesis 21:1-3; 22:1-14             Sacrifice.             The life of faith is one of sacrifice. That’s the truth of it. Sacrifice on the part of God and sacrifice on the part of those who trust God, who want to trust God, who work to trust God.             Sacrifice.             Frankly, in a religious system that requires those who believe to tell others- sacrifice is among the LEAST appealing words. No one sings, “I love to tell the story. It is fierce and gory/ To tell the old, old story/ of Abr’m and his son.” We are squeamish at the songs that are about blood, about sacrifice, about giving up all our things, about the less- than- stellar human rights record of the church and its equally dull historical response to evil.             Sacrifice.             It is also difficult to realize that even reading Scripture requires sacrifice. There are things that cannot all be true when we read Scripture as a whole. We all generally have a habit of consi