Saturday, June 30, 2007


i don't usually post my sermons here, just the link to my sermon site, but since it's apropos for the 4th of july i thought, why the heck not.

God's peace y'all

a sermon based on Galatians 5:1, 13-25

In the name of Jesus; amen.

I am surrounded by American history buffs. My brother is a big fan of World War II history, my father is big into the Civil War, and my best friend is a constitutionalist who once considered becoming a lawyer. Now I enjoy watching the history channel, but I can’t say that I am all that into American History except that this weekend it seems pertinent to understand some of the history of this country.

We wanted to be free from English rule. That desire launched our forefathers and mothers into a rebellion that turned into the Revolutionary War. It was the time that defined us as a country, at least to begin with.

Growing up in Philadelphia I used to walk streets where battles were fought for our independence. I have stood in the room where the Declaration of Independence was signed and even touched the Liberty Bell. I rode my bike through Valley Forge where the greatest battle our soldiers fought was against the cold of the harsh winter and one day I spent hanging out in Betsy Ross’s home where the first American flag was sewn.

I take the freedoms I have as an American seriously. They provide me abilities others do not have in other countries: I can worship as I choose in the religion I choose, I can speak my mind, and have access to news that tells me what is going on in the world, I can gather with others, and I can petition the government for redress of grievances.

No matter how other nations and peoples might feel about America this is the greatest country in the world and I would not choose to live anywhere else.

In our second reading Paul writes to the Galatians: For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Just yesterday I told my daughter that she couldn’t do something she very much wanted to do. Her response to me was, “We live in America; this is a free country.”

“Yes,” I told her, “but that doesn’t mean you get to do whatever you want.”

The freedoms we enjoy as Americans come with great responsibility. As Uncle Ben told Peter Parker aka Spider Man, “With great power comes great responsibility.” I don’t just have the freedom to assemble; I have a responsibility to assemble when there is a need. I don’t just have a right to free speech; I have a responsibility to speak out when there is a just cause.

The same is true with the freedom that Christ offers to us as Christians. We have been offered salvation, the greatest freedom, because it is freedom from damnation and hell, but this freedom comes with a responsibility to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

As Americans we love ourselves dearly. Two days ago Apple released its new iPhone a combination Mp3 player, cellular phone, and storage devise for all sorts of things from pictures to videos. At 3:30 in the morning, the mayor of Philadelphia, John Street, got in line outside of an AT&T store in order to be one of the first people to purchase an iPhone at 6:00 that evening. After spending about 8 hours in line some punk kid with a mohawk haircut questioned why he, the mayor of Philadelphia, wasn’t working when there had already been 200 murders on record for the city of Philadelphia this year.

His response? “I can work anywhere.”

We love ourselves dearly and I am just as much of a capitalist as anyone else in this room or in this country, but perhaps John Street standing in line to buy an iPhone had nothing to do with the responsibilities of his job as mayor of the city where so much of our history as a country took place.

Paul tells us that we should live by the Spirit and not by the flesh. It is easy to get caught up in the list of fleshy things that Paul goes on to list: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealously, anger, quarrels, dissentions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. These things drive us back into slavery and away from Christ. But be careful not to focus on this list only, to do so would be entering another kind of slavery where the fear of the wrath of God dispossesses the grace of God which Christ won for us.

It’s the second list where our focus should go: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. These are the fruits of the Spirit and they are the fruits that feed us in our lives as Christians. They are the fruits of freedom in Christ’s death and resurrection which we share.

This week as we remember the freedoms we have as Americans we should be called to a renewed responsibility to use those freedoms, but we should not ever forget that our true freedom was won on the cross and in the resurrection.

Love your neighbor, give thanks for joy, work for peace, have patience, show kindness, exercise generosity, be faithful, reach out with gentleness and let your self be controlled by the Spirit.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

'Ohana, the amazing swimming dog

since it was 1,000 degrees today i took the kids in the pool after dinner. the water was still too chilly for me to go all the way in, but it was very refreshing. the three of us were having a great time until suddenly there were 4 of us in the pool.
that's right, the dog jumped in the pool.
'ohana is 1/2 border collie, 1/2 black lab, 1/2 gazelle and 3/4 fish. (and no, i am not that bad at math. close, but not that bad.)
she had a grand time swimming in circles around the pool until she realized that nowhere in the pool is she able to stand without going under. at this point i also realized that eventually she would drown if i didn't get her out. she jumped, i pushed, and the pool survived which is a good thing for the dog.
now to try and put the air conditioner in the window of the silent prince's room... i might want to get back into the pool after that.
God's peace y'all

Monday, June 25, 2007

why do they call it tossing your cookies?

i don't remember eating any cookies.

i do remember being sick as a dog (another weird saying, how sick can a dog really get?) this past friday night. now that it is monday morning i am finally feeling like myself again and sitting at the computer. it's been a long time since i've posted anything even though there have been lots of things on my mind.

i've been reading three new blogs worthwhile in their own ways:
bible bending: a site that monitors the usage of the bible in popular culture,
The Pentecostal Pariah: a mom with an autistic son, and
2 dollar productions:who replaces any need i might have for people magazine.

and that's all i can say right now. gotta go and pretend to have a life and work to do... actually no pretending needed; i do have a life and work to do.

God's peace y'all

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

just practicing semantics

it happened again today. i opened up a piece of mail from an conservative religious group within my denomination and saw the words: "practicing homosexual."

few other things disturb me the way this phrase disturbs me.

prac·tic·ing –adjective 1. actively working at a profession, esp. medicine or law.
2. actively following a specific way of life, religion, philosophy, etc.: a practicing Catholic.

ok, maybe there are some who could make the argument that homosexuals practice being homosexual if you follow the second definition, but i have yet to hear one person use the phrase: "practicing heterosexual" and this is why the phrase totally falls apart for me and becomes stupid and silly.

strangely enough i don't practice my sexuality... i'm not certain how exactly i would do that besides some obvious activities that are reserved for me and hubby alone... of course i haven't ever referred to that as practicing, not even the first time.

what do people think glbt's do exactly... to practice being glbt? do they have to keep trying to practice until they get it right? why is it that i don't have to practice being straight? or do i? omg, what if i'm not practicing and suddenly become a lesbian because i haven't practiced being straight enough?

sexuality is not like piano lessons folks.

and here's the next problem with this phrase. "practicing homosexual" is supposed to refer to those people who are having sex with someone of the same sex. if they aren't practicing... do they suddenly become heterosexual or asexual?

is my sexuality based solely upon whether or not i practice having sex?

maybe it's that there isn't a better phrase that we use such a stupid one. (it unnerves me even more when people who seem hip to this kind of stuff use this phrase.) but i'm not really sure that we need a phrase to describe this concept of glbt's who are in relationship or sexually active besides "single" or "in relationship".


God's peace y'all

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

at least the sun is shining now

but not but a few moments ago this was my world

this is the front yard. i wish you could see the river that was my street.

'ohana, the dog, checking out the weird white ice ball things.

this is my herb garden. i really hope the sage survives the puddle in which in now lives.

a piece of hail in my hand. i waited until after it stopped coming down to pick this one up.

God's peace y'all

Monday, June 04, 2007

2 rainbows

ok, it had been just one rainbow, but then i couldn't log in to post this and decided to do some reading first and now it's 2 rainbows.

the first rainbow is something i received in an email this morning:

Autism Speaks created a music video of the Five for Fighting song, "World", which features images of autistic children and their families. It is a truly moving video and was the work of Bill Shea. The band is generously donating $0.49 to Autism Speaks for each time the video is viewed - the funding goes toward research studies tohelp find a cure. When you have a moment, please
visit the link below to watch the video and pass it along to your friends and family. They are aiming for10,000 hits, but hopefully we can help them to surpass this goal.

here's the link.

the silent prince is doing well, but has suddenly turned aggressive. he grabs and pinches and bites. the other day at school without warning he jumped on the girl sitting next to him at circle time. i think he's frustrated. without words, he can't say, "i don't like this" "i don't want to do this anymore." "i want this instead." "i don't know how to do what you are asking."

he's also getting heavier and still does the trick where he makes his whole body limp when he doesn't want to go where i want him to go. this forces me or whoever is watching him to have to drag him or pick him up. and of course, if he really doesn't like that... he bites or pinches.

the silent prince may not be able to speak, but his autism can... so please take a moment to visit the video... and if you blog, to consider to link to it on your blog too.

that was the first rainbow, here's the second from Rambling Along In Life:

We have come along way,
but still have a long way to go.
Thanks to all those who have paved the way,
Some even gave their lives...
Keep their fight alive...
We won't forget!!

It is that time of the year again where I post a photo that shows the rainbow and ask everyone to pass it around in hopes of spreading the idea of diversity. It may not be as pretty as last years, but it is more of the point I am trying to make. This is a rainbow created by different forces in nature (a little sunshine, water and wind). Last year there were over 100 of you who participated in my challenge and this year I want more. As I find the picture on sites, I will link to that site here in this post. I will try and keep this post at the top of the page all month long with links to the other sites. This challenge is not just about being accepted as a gay man, but it is about societies around the world learning to accept people for being themselves... diversity. Gay, straight, Christian, Muslim, skinny or fat... we need to be a little more accepting these days. The world is a mean place, let's work to make it a little nicer by showing this colorful rainbow that formed thanks to the right angle of the sun and a slight breeze across the pond. Mother natures way of saying she approves of this challenge... shouldn't we all.

God's peace y'all

"and vivian followed."

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