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Showing posts from April, 2008

Airport Epiphany

This picture is from Dec. 2005 - when I was in Rome and present at the weekly papal audience. As I write this, I am sitting in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. On my way to my gate, I passed four or five nuns and sisters. That is a little unusual for me. I know a few, but I hardly ever see them. The ones I saw this morning were visible because they had habits or suits and head coverings. So I might have also passed sisters who don't have designated dress. I'm always fascinated by nuns and sisters, especially today. As I walked behind two Dominican sisters, in their distinctive habits- I thought about why I was traveling this week. A week ago today, I received approval from the NC Lutheran Synod for ordination. This was a very big step in my vocational life and I have been pondering this all week. It burns in my heart as I walk behind women who also took their vocation seriously. Their dedication to God goes to the extent of vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and

Stendahl

I haven't posted in a while because I've been on vacation following my successful approval meeting with my home synod. However, the death of Krister Stendahl , the former Bishop of Sweden, this week has moved me to write from where I am. Stendahl was a well-known and progressive Lutheran theologian whose writings transformed the way many Protestants read the writings of the apostle Paul. When I was in college, Stendahl's Paul Among the Jews and Gentiles was the first Lutheran book I ever read. As I read it, I was moved to tears by the clarity and depth of Stendahl's writing. His ideas opened to me the possibility that there was more to the Bible than I had imagined. As I discussed the writings with my campus pastor, the conversations we had led to my eventual decision to go to seminary. Stendahl had many interesting and provocative ideas about the Bible, Paul and religious plurality. Below is an excerpt from an article he wrote for the Harvard Divinity Sch

Judgment

No one likes to think they are judgmental, but the fact is- many of us are. We think things about people we see, hear, read about or even encounter tangentially. Regrettably, people do this to us as well. Think about yourself on a really bad day- someone may have that one encounter with you, which will ever color their impression of the kind of person you are. My sister and I sometimes use a rhyme we swiped from another source. We know (and acknowledge) that we are having a judgmental conversation, we occasionally say, " Judgy - wudgy was a bear..." This is a major corruption of the children's rhyme "Fuzzy Wuzzy ", but it is useful within our conversations. However, judgment can be a bear- one that claws at your own sense of self and personal understanding. When you actually think about what you're doing, it causes internal pain because being judgmental is probably not how you picture yourself. Similar to our discussion of the retention of sins ye

Retention

In last week's gospel reading (John 20:19ff), we look mainly at Thomas for the meat of the text, almost missing a key theological point within that passage: John 20:22-23: "...[Jesus] breathed on [the disciples] and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.'" This is a curious message. In one way it points to the fact that it is through the power and the work of the Holy Spirit that we are able to forgive. Building on that, it is only through the work of the Spirit that we can know we have been forgiven by God. But what about that retention thing? Many people ignore this verse or think about it the idea that if people aren't forgiven- it somehow hurts them. However, when you aren't able to forgive someone, who is actually hurt? Have you ever been angry about something for a long time and eventually you go to the person with whom you'