Wednesday, August 31, 2005

ok, katrina can drive my car

after posting my rant on gas prices i found this. not only has katrina stolen land and life it has also caused the jump in gas prices.

so, i want to direct people here to consider giving to people who have been horribly affected by this storm. the elca's disaster relief is one of the best sources for giving because if you designate where you want your money to go they will give 100% of it to your choice. they also have resources for congregations about giving to things just like this.

baby, you can drive my car...

so long as you pay for the gas.

yes, i'd like to rant a bit today...

my tank was empty (i mean running on fumes empty) on monday so i took it to the local gas station to fill it up only to discover that none of the pumps was in service. so i decided to drive to my appointment and hit another gas station that i know is across the street from the diner where i was meeting with the other local lutheran pastor. i have a saturn and one of the great things about saturns is that they run best on regular unleaded, so i can put the cheapest stuff in my tank. of course the cheapest stuff was $2.60something. so at $5.00 i hadn't even gotten 2 gallons of gas in my tank. when i got the car, only 4 years ago, $5.00 would have given me a half a tank. ~sigh~

well, today i drove by the local gas station again and the sign said that regular gas was now $3.04!!! how could gas go up .40 in two days!!! and this is the cheapest station in town. they didn't even bother listing the prices for the other two grades.

needless to say i am so very glad that i can walk to work.

i might have to buy a bike (which will be fun during the winter months.)

so there is rant number one. here's rant number two.

the christian exodus this is a group that wants to bring christianity back to the government. of course they mean morality and their brand of morality at that. i can't even tell you the prayers i am praying on this one.

the "reverend" phelps i could give you lots of links on this one; but i just found this blog and really enjoyed reading it so here it is. once again... prayers on this one i can't tell you... i find myself being too honest with God about my feelings to share them here. and just in case you think this is an issue for liberals only check out what rick at brutally honest has to say about phelps here.

well, there it is. as my friend the boston pobble says... that and a buck fifty will get you a cup of coffee (unless you like the caramel lattes at dunkin donuts... those will cost you the same as a gallon of gas.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

my new kitty

i was checking out the boston pobble's thoughts and she had a new virtual pet. i love "stealing" stuff from other people's sites when it's cool.

since i already have a dog, two cats, and a snail (the frogs died) i am done with actual pets, so a virtual kitty is just fine... and since all blogs eventaully have cats... and cats is my nickname, and... well, do i really need another and?

my new favorite color is pink, which i once thouht to be way too girlie. i am still a blue person, but the color pink makes me happy the way yellow used to... so how could i resist a pink kitty?

she's named gracie cause that's hubby's favorite nickname for the princess kitty (my daughter) and 'cause the idea of grace makes me feel happier than the color pink.

so there it is.

God's peace!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

sunday morning black and blues

moments before getting into the shower this morning hubby called to say that he had been in a car accident. now, he's ok. he banged his head and was shaken, but ok. and we won't know about the car until tomorrow when the shop is opened and someone can look at it. he was on an exit ramp and skidded in the rain. so, no other cars were involved.

of course a police car happened by moments after the accident. Now, despite the fact that it was raining and there were trucks out, putting down sand because of the slippery conditions the cop still gave hubby a ticket. even though he had no idea how fast or slow hubby was going. but what really gets my goat is that the cop never even asked if hubby was ok! he was more concerned with whether or not he had to call a tow truck.

i love cops and what they do. but gimme a break!

the other news in my life is that my mom, who has been out of commission for some weeks now is doing better, though she's come down with some sort of late summer bug.

after our family vacation in june she noticed that one of her legs was very swollen, but she was going to the doctor and would ask him about it. and what does the doctor say? oh, it's fine. this even though she has a history of bloodclots.

well, sure enough she wound up in the hospital for 9 days because of... now wait for it... a bloodclot in her leg that made its way into her left lung. hmmm... wonder how that could have been prevented?

talked to her yesterday and today and she sounds great (except for the bug). and needless to say she and dad had a new doctor.

now i also appreciate doctors and what they do, but... well, you get the point.

at this point i feel as though i should say something philosophical or at least semi-deep about all of this, but the truth is the best i can come up with is life isn't easy.

but... we have good friends visiting with us and there's a pot of coffee brewing and everyone is alive and safe and i have beautiful flowers in my kitchen from church today so... despite the black and blue morning i still have hopes for a yellow and pink day.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

if you've come to read a sermon

just a reminder that i am posting my sunday sermons at my new sermon site Sermons at Salem. you can also access the link to the right. happy sunday!

Friday, August 26, 2005

And Vivian Followed

I have always been in love with the story of King Arthur. Most likely as a result of the book "The Mists of Avalon" by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

"Mists" tells the story of Camelot from the point of view of the women who played such a key role in this great story.

My two favorite characters are Morgan La Fey, the half sister of Arthur and in some tellings of the story, the mother of Mordred (also Arthur's son) who strikes the blow that kills Arthur.

My other favorite is Vivian, the Lady of the Lake, who gives Arthur the gift of Excalibur, Arthur's famous sword which is not necessarily the one that he pulls from the stone.

Why I love these women is because they represented the spiritual side of the story, even if it was often as pagans. So often spiritual women are portrayed as witches. Clearly, history and literature has had a difficult time with the concept of powerful, spiritual women.

I won't tell you where Vivian followed or who she followed... only that she followed.

And, that I'd like to go with her.

My New Sermon Site

it occured to me that when i first began this blog that i wanted it to be an on-line journal. a place to "search for the sacred and find wonder." but it's become a sermon site, a place where i post my sermons from sunday. and that's just not what i wanted it to be.

so... i have decided to go back to my original intention which is to write an actual blog. but then, what shall i do for all those people i know wait with baited breath to read my sunday sermon?

well create another blog just for my sermons of course!

so you can come visit me here and i promise to try and write interesting things, but you can also follow the link to my new sermon site over on the right. the next sermon will be posted sometime between late late saturday night to tuesday morning depending on when i get the chance.

in the meantime... God's peace and my love and prayers

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Loving, Growing, Healing, Rejoicing in Rebirth

In the name of Jesus; amen.

“Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.”

When I was in high school I had two friends Abigail and Katie. Whenever one of us had a birthday we would get all dressed up and go out to lunch at a fancy restaurant. On what must have been my 16th or 17th birthday we went to a restaurant in Center City Philly. I remember it being a great lunch and after eating we walked toward Broad Street. Now Broad Street in Philly is one of the longest streets in the Northeast and it goes from top to the bottom of the City.

There was a lot of construction where we were headed and a great amount of the side walk was torn up and marked off with yellow tape. We were less than 10 feet away from the corner when we noticed three people walking along Broad arm in arm. The person in the middle was using a cane and tapping it back and forth and they were going full steam ahead.

Suddenly we realized, all at the same time, that they were headed right toward a hole about six feet wide and six or seven feet deep. In horror we realized that we were too far away and that they were going too fast for us to be able to warn them in time.

It was like a scene from a cartoon. All three of them took a step into the hole, hovered, and dropped straight down. We rushed to them, but so had several other people, including some burly men, who were more capable of helping than three teenaged girls. As we walked by we saw one of people in the hole turn towards the man who had been carrying the cane and say, “That’s the last time we let you lead.”

The blind, leading the blind.

I suppose it shouldn’t be a funny story; none of them were seriously hurt, just very startled by discovering that the ground was no longer underneath them.

It happened to me last week, when I fell down those side steps into this room. I was certain that I had reached the bottom, only to discover that there was one more step that I hadn’t noticed and boom there I went right on my butt.

The Pharisees were upset with Jesus again. This time for telling the people that it didn’t matter if you ate unclean food or washed your hands. There were very specific laws about what made a person clean or unclean and lots of rituals that went with those laws. The Pharisees were guardians of those laws and rituals. It was their job to care for the ritual purity of God’s people and it must have seemed to them that Jesus was trying to make their work obsolete.

Now, it’s easy to cast the Pharisees as the bad guys in this gospel. Jesus calls them blind guides leading people into a pit, full steam ahead. But I want us to be careful not to cast blame on others where we might need to take responsibility.

In the last two weeks I have put some pretty serious recommendations in front of you all. Two weeks ago I said we should take it upon ourselves to feed all the hungry of the world. And then last week I suggested that we take a leap of faith and stand up to injustice around the world.

So, this week I’m going to make it easy on you. All I will ask is that you look. That’s it. I just want us to open our eyes and see where we are going.

Simple enough? And to make it even easier I want to remind you that we actually have something called a “Vision Statement” here at Salem. It was part of the paperwork that I received while I was interviewing to come here and I thought it was so good that I have actually been using it quite often.

Here it is, in five simple words and one preposition:

“Loving, Growing, Healing, Rejoicing in Rebirth.”

Jesus says that it isn’t what we put in ourselves that defiles us, but what comes out of us that defiles. So here it is: what do we want to come out of us?

We have a vision, we know what we want to see, and it’s good stuff, I put it on my business card I like it so much. But we need to be purposeful in what we do to actually see that vision.

Love, growth, health, joy, and rebirth will not come to us if we keep our eyes closed. We need to look and see those around us and begin to question what good we can do. Not for salvation, not to avoid pitfalls, but to do the work that God has entrusted to us.

So I have homework for you this week. I know it’s the summertime and school is out, but I’m going to ask that you take notice of life around you. Read the paper, surf the internet, watch the news, have coffee with a friend, talk to your neighbor, spend time with your children, ask questions, be curious about others, take time and focus on others outside of yourself. And do it all without judging, just see what you see.

There won’t be a quiz next Sunday I promise. Next week Peter tells Jesus that he believes that Jesus is the Messiah and all I will do is ask you to believe it too. All I want you to do is take a look, make it a discipline this week to see as much as your eyes can take in and then think about what you have seen keeping in mind the vision statement of this congregation.

Here it is again: Loving, Growing, Healing, Rejoicing in Rebirth. Five words and a preposition and I’ve even written it down for you to remember.

Let’s open our eyes and with God’s help we’ll see what then comes from our hearts.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

not your typical sunday morning

Usually I post my Sunday sermon at this point in the week, but this morning I did an off the cuff kinda thing that just didn’t translate on paper. If you read last week’s sermon on the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 this morning was a continuation of that based on Jesus and Peter walking on the water from the 14th chapter of Matthew.

Last week I said that we needed to invite 700 million people to dinner; this week I said we needed to walk on water. Much of what I preached was based upon my finally seeing the movie Hotel Rwanda. (If you haven't yet seen it, do yourself a favor and rent it.) In it a reporter makes a comment about footage he shot of a massacre only a half mile away from where he was staying. He’s just been thanked by the main character, Paul Rusesabagina, who believes that once the west sees what’s on the tape they will intervene and he responds: “I think if people see this footage, they'll say Oh, my God, that's horrible. And then they'll go on eating their dinners.”

14:28 Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water."
14:29 He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus.
14:30 But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"
14:31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"

If we believe in God, then we listen when Jesus calls us to come to him. But that means we leave our safe spaces around the dinner table and take a step out onto the water. The gospel message this morning is that even when we are frightened, Jesus still reaches out to us. BUT… we still gotta leave the safety of that boat.

I didn’t write or prepare an ending to my sermon. (A real leap of faith, if you know what I mean?) Instead I asked what we should do and the people responded! They responded with stories of times they couldn’t just sit at the dinner table, bemoaning the fact that bad things happen. They responded by talking about the upcoming crop walk… and I felt the water on the bottom of my feet.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Grace Rocks

rick at brutally honest posted this about bono, lead singer of one of my all-time favorite band, U2. bono is a rocker, but he's also a person of great faith and great perspective on that faith.

take a gander on his thoughts on grace.

"and vivian followed."

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