Monday, February 28, 2011

Your Transfiguration

And if anyone says to you at that time, “Look! Here is the Messiah!”- or “Look! There he is!”—do not believe it.  False messiahs - and false prophets will appear and produce signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.  But be alert; I have already told you everything.   Mark 13:21-23
We had a discussion yesterday about the necessity during Jesus' life to be able to differentiate the Messiah from a false-Messiah.  How would one do that?

Anita made a comment -- Peter, James and John were present at the transfiguration.  That was probably pretty convincing evidence that Jesus was the Messiah.

What is your transfiguration?  Has there been an episode in your life that you can point to and say, "This convinced me that Jesus is the Messiah?"


God still comes

Our Sunday school lesson today centered around Mark 13, the "little apocolypse."  It's a difficult passage to understand, and given Christ's statement that even he does not know the day or the time of his coming, I can easily move this passage aside as something I will not worry about.

However, is there a message in this scripture for me, today?  I think there may be several, but the one that spoke to me today is that no matter what happens -- no matter how terrible the suffering, God still comes.  He gathers us together, and does not leave us alone in our pain.  Stars may fall and the sun may stop shining, but nothing can separate us from God.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Blue Trunk

I thought the reflections of a nearby sign illuminated with blue lights on the tree trunk was interesting.


Friday, February 25, 2011

It Makes a Difference

We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living." (Romans 14:7-9 NRSV)
This scripture arrived in my email this morning along with a quote from Jack C. Ammon, who wrote a devotional for the Upper Room in 2007. Jack tells of a time spent in the front lines in Normandy during World War II. A fellow soldier asked him why he was a Christian. Jack's answer was, "A person would have to be really dumb not to be a Christian, for you live better and you die better."

Is this why I am a Christian?  I'm not sure if that is the answer I would have given to the same question, but I can affirm the truth of what Jack says.  Being a Christian does make my life better.  I hope it will make my death better.

Perhaps this is the key to convincing other people to give their lives to God -- convincing people that Christ makes a difference.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011


In the beginning was God. 
His hands itched to create,
to swirl nothingness with the power of his Word
and create goodness and glory.

Nothing existed except for God.
The breath of his Word swept across the nothingness,
until God imagined light.
From a tiny flicker of thought
in the mind of God,
there was a spark.
God pulled light out of darkness,
and it was good. 
God created the Day and the Night.

God moved across the water,
dividing it with power greater than we can imagine,
until there was sea and sky.
Related and yet separate.
God imagined clouds and wind,
waves and tides.
And he created them,
and they were good.

God swept across the ocean,
and like a potter with clay,
divided out land from sea.
Mountains rose at his thought.
Valleys and canyons were carved by his fingertips.
With joy and power, he sculpted the earth,
setting into motion the tectonic plates,
floating on a core of fire.
Each detail felt his breath
until he was satisfied.
Using the fabric of life,
he quilted together the trees,
Leaves and berries were his stitches,
Pops of color in the flowers.
Seeds for the future,
creating for the perpetuation of all he designed.
As he tugged the last aspen into place
he knew that it was good.

Like a photographer, he gathered the light,
and bound it into the sun and moon.
He met the needs of his creation
for heat and light,
by swinging the sun into the sky.
The moon became an anchor for the tides.
Earthly time flew from his Words
as the movement of his creation through the sky
marked the hours and the years.
His paint bush dabbed power in the sky
as stars began to glint and glimmer.
Giving the planet a push, he set the world spinning,
creating an evening and a night.
And they were good.

The next morning, God surveyed his canvas,
and smiled, rubbing his hands together with glee.
Life began to pulse as his Word spoke.
The air lifted creatures with wings
and fish shot through the deep.
Color and variety danced on the joy of God's imagination.
Clown fish darted as anemones waved in the water.
Eagles soared as God played with ostriches.
Fish swam and birds flew
as God declared their goodness.

Cell to cell, worms and elephants began to evolve
from the imagination of God.
Serpents basked on rocks, soaking in God's sunshine,
as spiders wove webs.
Animals sprang to life,
and God planted dreams of creation in their minds.
God's hands became gentle as he whispered.
A self portrait.
Man and woman, two parts of a whole, were spoken into being.
He blessed them with his imagination, his joy and laughter.
He blew across their hearts to start them beating
with love, created out of his own depth of being.
He made them clever and emotional,
and touched their lives with an awareness of their creator.
God laughed
at the goodness of it all.

He invited them to dominion and responsibility.
He placed his creations in their care --
the moon and the stars;
the water and the air;
the plants and the animals;
each other.
He promised them his presence,
and kissed them with his spirit.
The master touched his creation,
hallowing it,
and knew that it was very good.

Exodus 1:1-2:3

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Too Close

Have you ever played the game where you start with one word, and then change the word letter by letter to create a new word?  For instance:


I was reading a blog written by Tim Good, in which he said, in an adaptation of 1 Corinthians 4:5:
He will bring pure light and new vision, revealing the hidden purpose of each heart. Only then will we know real commendation or condemnation.
Do you notice how close the words commendation and condemnation are? 

It reminded me how easy it is to slip from acts that would bring commendation to actions that would merit condemnation.  How easy is it to step away from God?  To turn our backs and ignore Christ's teachings? 

I am worthy of condemnation, but I am blessed by the grace of God to be a forgiven person, made new.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I read a review today of iPhone apps that will allow you to take notes with your phone.  The gentleman who wrote the review included the features and benefits of four different apps.  I read it with interest.

As I look at my phone, I find the default Notes app, an app called Dunnit! for making lists (to feed my need to check things off), and an app called aNote, where I keep notes of things I want to remember, including a directory of "blog seeds" for when I'm looking for something to write about (ideas come to me that I don't want to forget about, so I record them here).  I also use email as a reminder system, sending myself a note to "not forget...."  I keep a record going at work of what I do each day, who I talk to, etc.  I keep a blank book with me for notes at church, and yes, I take notes during sermons (I don't want to  hear your giggle; I like doing it -- it helps me, so there). 

How do you remember?

My husband takes notes all the time for work.  He keeps a running record of his day.  When he's out and about, and wants to remember something, he writes it on his hand.  Literally.  And he remembers.

How do you remember?

I love this line from the lectionary reading from Isaiah:

49:16a See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.  Isaiah 49:16a
God will not forget us.  He has written us on the palms of his hands.  Maybe, though, "write" is the wrong word.  God has inscribed us on the palms of his hands.  When I look up the word inscribed, I come away with something more permanent than writing.  I come away with a meaning such as engraved. 

When we were first married, we had a dog named Highway.  She was a black and white Cocker Spaniel.  We found a Christmas ornament shaped like a cocker at a seasonal kiosk store in the mall.  We bought the ornament, and they engraved it with her name.  It was a terrible job, and we've always laughed that it looked like they had done it with a nail.

God has done it with a nail.  We are inscribed on the palms of his hands.  We are not forgotten.


Monday, February 21, 2011

The Fifth Note

Have you ever heard of a "ringing chord?"  According to what I heard on television tonight, it is a chord used by a barbershop quartet to create the audio illusion of a fifth note from a chord.

Four notes combined in such a way as to sound like more than they are alone. 

Is church like that sometimes?  When it is at its best, does the song the Church creates (figuratively) amount to more than our voices raised in solo?  Isn't it true that we can do more together than each of us alone?


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Office Flower


Saturday, February 19, 2011


From this week's RevGalBlogPals site:  For this Friday Five, please list five words that identify your passions, spirituality, and/or life. Describe as much or as little as you wish.
  1. Grace -- When I was younger, grace was one of those words that was a "churchy" word.   I really didn't know what it meant.  As I've grown older, and hopefully grown in the faith, grace has come to mean a great deal to me.  It's a word whose  meaning has blossomed in my faith. 
  2. Joy -- Joy is a word whose meaning has changed for me.   It used to mean "happiness;" now it means closeness to God.  The Joy of being close to God. 
  3. Communication -- I feel very strongly about communication.  It's the glue that holds a team together.  It is how you validate the worth of other team members.  It takes some effort and time, but for me, it is totally worth it.  I am passionate about communication.
  4. Organization -- There is a scene in the television show Friends where Chandler is looking for a job.  Monica takes the time to organize his options in a file box with colored labels and alphabetical stickers.  He pulls out the first one -- Advertising -- and decides that is the field for him.  He apologizes that she has gone to all this trouble, and she laughs at him.  She finds joy in the organization of the data.  I'm with her.
  5. Color -- I love to play with color.  Color is probably the motivating factor behind most of the things I make by hand -- the items I knit, jewelry I make, cards I put together.  I use color to organize my work; in fact, I have an office supply drawer in my desk at work with about half of the space filled up with colored paper -- organized in "rainbow order."  Behind the files of paper are small baskets of colored pencils and markers.  I love color.


Friday, February 18, 2011


Window at John XXIII Pastoral Center, Charleston
I received this quote by Philip Yancey (Reaching for the Invisible God) today in my email:
Monastics (monks and nuns) have a practice they call statio that means, simply, stopping one thing before beginning another.  Rather than rushing from one task to the next, pause for a moment and recognize the time between times.  Before dialing the phone, pause and think about the conversation and the person on the other end… I find that if I take time to pray for the recipient before beginning to compose a letter or before making a phone call, it makes the task less of a chore and more of an opportunity in which to receive or express God's grace.  In life, we rush from one thing to the next, or we "multitask" -- doing more than one thing at a time.  Do we stop? 
When I post a picture on this blog, I do a little bit of work ahead of time.  I choose the image, crop it in order to focus the readers' eyes on the portion of the image I think communicates my message, or to just improve the composition, and then I add a 3 point black margin. 

Should I be doing that in life?  Should I be stopping, and adding a margin to what I am doing? 

When I worked in the lab, and my boss would call, his first question was automatically, "What's going on?"  He wanted to know what I was doing, how experiments were progressing, etc.  Knowing he might be calling, whenever the phone would ring, I would pause, and formulate in my mind the answer to his question.  In a world where I was probably doing five things at once, it helped to take a moment to form a cohesive answer prior to the question being asked.  The preparation was useful.

Should I be doing that in life?  Should I be taking time to prepare, to think, to pray, before I move from one activity to the next?  Would that little bit of margin invite God in?

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Thursday, February 17, 2011


I was reading an article about the possiblity of a new planet -- Tyche.  Scientists are only theorizing about its existance, based on the action of objects around it.  Orbits of comets with the Oort cloud where Tyche might exist are ellipitcal, as if something is interfering with their movements.

This is my favorite quote from the article:
The IAU (International Astronomical Union) has laid out strict guidelines concerning what constitutes a planet; if Tyche does exist, it would have to meet each one of those guidelines to bring the solar system back to a total of nine planets. ....The existence -- or nonexistence -- of Tyche should be determined conclusively within the next two years.
The planet exists or does not exist completely independent of any declaration from the IAU.  The Union is not deciding, in the new two years, if the planet will exist or can exist.  I was just stopped by the way the sentence is worded.  At my first reading, it sounds as if the conclusions of the IAU will determine the existance of the planet.

Do we do that with our faith in God?  Do we fool ourselves into believing that we are entitled to declare God's existance (or non-existance)?  Do we act as if our understandings of God define him?


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This Holy Mystery

I'm working on completing Module 2A for the Certified Lay Ministry training.  Module 2A is about Worship.  As a part of that module, I'm reading the United Methodist Church's statement about Communion  This Holy Mystery.

As I was reading it, it renewed my conviction that my beliefs align with those of the United Methodist Church.  As I was reading it, several statements made me think, "Yes.  Yes!"  Listed below are several quotes from the document.

  • This dynamic action becomes re-presentation of past gracious acts of God in the present, so powerfully as to make them truly present now.  Christ is risen and is alive here and now, not just remembered for what was one in the past.  (There is a whole blog post in exploring just that sentence).
  • We receive spiritual nourishment through Holy Communion.....  Wesley wrote that, "This is the food of our souls:  This gives strength to perform our duty, and leads us on to perfection."
  • John Wesley stressed that baptism is only a step in the salvation process and must be followed by justifying faith and personal commitment to Christ when one reaches an age of accountability  He referred to Holy Communion as "a converting ordinance."....The Wesleyan tradition has always recognized that Holy Communion may be an occasion for the reception of converting, justifying and sanctifying grace.
  • We have no tradition of refusing any who present themselves desiring to receive.
  • We do not share in Communion because of our worthiness; no one is truly worthy.  We come to the Eucharist out of our hunger to receive God's gracious love, to receive forgiveness and healing.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Not the greatest evening; too tired to post.

Your character will show forth in the fruit of your actions.  I pray my actions demonstrate a character being shaped and changed by God. 

I have spent the last 12 hours arguing (in my head) with someone I just met, whose fruit, though shiny, lacks integrity.  I can see the necessity of praying, if only to quiet my own mind.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Directions for Singing

One of the exercises in my Certified Lay Ministries module is to consider Wesley's Directions for Singing.  Have you ever read those?  You can find them in the first few pages of the UM Hymnal, or at this link.

Here are my thoughts:

As I read these rules, I am struck by the idea that the same rules could apply (in some ways) to life in a community of believers.  As you read these, be aware of the word "sing" in a metaphorical sense, not a literal one.

  1. Focus first on learning what we have in common, and then branch out. Once you know how we sing, imagine how it can influence what you learn beyond our song. Imagine what you can bring to the community from other songs.
  2. Accept how we sing. Learn the rhythm, tunes and words the way the community will teach them to you.
  3. Be present. Sign with the community. Just sing!
  4. Enter into the community with energy. Your attitude will affect all of us, so contribute your voice and you life. Do not be a drain; be a contributor. Also, know that we will not judge your voice or your song; we will accept you as you are, so do not be afraid to sing.
  5. Be modest; be humble. Contribute your gifts in a way that lifts up God, not yourself. Unite with the community.
  6. Move with the community, sharing one timing. Lead when called; follow when called.
  7. Above all, place God first. Let him be the purpose of why you are here.
I think Wesley was trying to tell us to focus on the Church. Learn the music of the church before other music – be committed. Learn how to sing it as part of the community, in time and in harmony with the community. Do not be afraid to participate, and do not believe you are the most important voice to be heard. Before all else, place God first. What does that mean for a modern church planning its music ministry? As with any other part of worship, planning for the music should be done with an eye to God’s will.

  1. Spend some time teaching music. If a tune is unfamiliar, practice it with the congregation during the announcement time.
  2. Use a Song Leader when necessary. 
  3. Design the music ministry in worship with the same intentionality as the rest of worship.
  4. Encourage people to sing.
  5. Use accompanying instruments that are appropriate to the style of music.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Roman 12 Random Thoughts

Present yourself as a living sacrifice – remembering Dennis’ comments about a living sacrifice at the last team meeting. Brings to mind resurrection, complete commitment, surrender of self.

A sacrifice holy and acceptable to God – God must have done this; I am not on my own holy or acceptable to God.

A living sacrifice, made holy and acceptable to God – By God, the work of God. Thanks be to God.

Renewed and transformed minds – it follows, then, that this is also a work of God. 

A transformed mind -- A change in the way we think.  Through the work of God, we start to think with the mind of God.  The way we think and react, respond, is more in line with God's leading.

Present yourself – but also a work of my own, requiring my participation.

So that you may discern what is the will of God – Transformed by God, surrendered to God, I am able to be in relationship with God.

The will of God – good, and acceptable and perfect. Do I always think of it that way?

Not to think of yourselves more highly than you ought – Listen.

Each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned – even faith, a gift from God.

measure of faith- ??Not sure what this means.

We are members, one of another – interesting to me. Not just me, a member of the Body of Christ, linked to Christ, together with others, but me, a member of one another. More than a part of something larger, but a part of each other?

Marks of a True Christian:
  • Genuine love
  • Abhorrence for evil
  • Maintain what is good – hold fast to it
  • Love one another with mutual affection – outstretched arms
  • Outdo one another in showing honor – honor each other, not in return, but in response to God
  • Zealous
  • Ardent in spirit – on fire with the spirit – reminds me of Pentecost
  • Serve the Lord – perhaps this is not a characteristic all its own, but is a motivation for the rest. When you do this, you are serving the Lord
  • Rejoice in hope – so often we rejoice in cynicism
  • Patient in suffering – rejoicing in hope would enable patience in suffering, I would think.
  • Persevere in prayer – without ceasing. Keep talking to God
  • Contribute to the needs of the saints – love
  • Extend hospitality to strangers – love all
  • Bless those who persecute you – reminds me of praying for my enemies – asking God to keep their best interests at heart.
  • Rejoice with those who rejoice – No room for envy there
  • Weep with those who weep – clear vision to the needs of others, to the hurts and grief of others
  • Live in harmony with one another – singing different notes that make music, avoiding discordant notes
  • Do not be haughty – How often do I need to hear these words?
  • Do not claim to be wiser than you – And these?
  • Take thought for what is noble in the sight of all – If there is anything good, think on these things....
  • Vengeance is mine, I will repay – Trust God in this.
  • In doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads – a jarring and different ending to the chapter than I would have expected.


Saturday, February 12, 2011



Friday, February 11, 2011

Dear God

Sky on my way to work, Wednesday
In light of yesterday's post, when I said God called himself, "I am" when Moses asked what his name was, what is it that you call God?

Do you know what I mean?  When you are praying, when it's just you and God, is there something you call him?  A way you open your prayers?

I hadn't thought about this until I noticed how I opened private prayer:  "Dear God,".  It's as if I'm writing a letter in my head.

When I'm praying in public, with and for other people, the name of God changes.  It might be "Heavenly Father," until I realize we United Methodists try to avoid gender specifications for God.  "God of Power, God of Grace" -- I've used those.  "God who created....."   When the prayer is more spontaneous, and is accompanied by intense feelings, I'll start it with "Oh, God...." in public.

In my head, just God and me, it's "Dear God."

I have no idea why.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

I am me

I was listening to the radio the other day.   You know how it goes -- you half listen to what is being said until something attracts your attention and then you "tune in." 

I don't know exactly what the person who was being interviewed did for a living, but I believe he was a "life coach" or something like that.  But, anyway....

He works with people to determine their goals and priorities.  He starts the process by having his client write down who he is and what is importnant to him -- about six pages worth.  Then, over the next few weeks, they narrow down the description, until it is boiled down to just one sentence.

He gave examples of what that sentence might be:

I am a doctor.
I am a mother who takes care of her family.

I was surprised by this end product -- a single sentence with a single description of a person.  It seems very one dimensional.   Do you have one role?  Are we at all one-dimensional?  I have many differnet hats, with many different roles in life.   I am me.  (or should that be I am I).

Writing this, it just occurred to me that God, when he was telling Moses who he is -- what his name is -- he says, "I am."

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Measure a Year

525,600 minutes
525,600 moments so dear
525,600 minutes
How do you measure a year?

In teenagers hugged.
In sons sent to school.
In meals shared, prepared.
In times of laughter
In times of frustration.
In moments of pride and amazement.
In raising two young men.

How do you measure a year in the life?

In times spent as one of a pair
In moments of love
In knowing looks and grins
In holding hands
In kisses and touches
In chores shared
In times spent in dreams.

How do you measure
Measure a year?

In sermons preached and chapters read
In Agreements and letters
In churches visited and funerals attended
In PowerPoint and Publisher
In working with a team
In serving individuals, familes and ministries
In the hope of a job well done.

525,600 minutes
525,600 moments so dear
525,600 minutes
How do you measure a year?

In friendship and family
In holidays celebrated
In coffee and tables shared
In birthdays
In emails and text messages
In shared rants and shared joys
In fellowship

How do you measure
Measure a year?

In prayers, both mindless and desperate
In study of the Bible
In worship of God
In meetings, frustration, visions and missions
In classes
In fellowship
In the Body of Christ

How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love.
Seasons of love.

In lessons learned
In tears shed
In pure joy and times of laughter
In self-knowledge and revelation
In quiet and knitting and movies
In hours of sleeping
In growth.

You know that love is a gift from up above.

Phrases in italics from Season of Love, Rent

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

And the winner is....

For something different for the blog, I looked at the list of Best Picture winners, and made some lists:

Winners of the award that I saw and liked:
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – 2003
Chicago – 2002
A Beautiful Mind – 2001
Titanic – 1997
The Silence of the Lambs – 1991
The Sound of Music – 1965

My favorite nominees for 2010:
The King’s Speech

Nominees for the award that I saw and liked:
Avatar – 2009
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – 2002
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings -- 2001
Chocolat – 2000
The Sixth Sense – 1999
Sense and Sensibility – 1995
Apollo 13 – 1995
Four Weddings and a Funeral – 1994
The Fugitive – 1993
A Few Good Men – 1992
Beauty and the Beast – 1991
Ghost -1990
Working Girl – 1988
The Right Stuff – 1983
ET – 1982
Raiders of the Lost Ark – 1981
Heaven Can Wait – 1978
Star Wars – 1977
Mary Poppins – 1964
The Music Man – 1962
The Ten Commandments – 1956
The King and I – 1956
The Quiet Man – 1952
The Wizard of Oz -- 1939

Winners I have seen and did not like:
Chariots of Fire – 1981
Ordinary People – 1980
Gone with the Wind -- 1939

What did I learn?  There are several movies on the list that I haven't seen and would like to see.  There are several on the list I have not seen and have no interest in seeing at all.
Which one is your favorite?  You can find the total list here.


Monday, February 07, 2011

Communion Welcome

Rocks and the water wall at St. Marks
I really need to get out with my camera and take some pictures.  I'm am just about out of image sources for the blog.

Anyway, back to communion.

We -- theologians, clergy, lay people, believers, church-members, Christians, Protestants, Catholics -- try to explain communion.  We think of theories, we preach about it, we pray about it, we study it, we listen to sermons about it.  We act as if we have figured out at least some of it.

Then we say (sometimes, some of us) that children should understand what is going on before they are invited to participate in communion.

Aren't we fooling ourselves?   Is understanding really a prerequisite to partake? 

Communion is God's action -- God's invitation -- God's grace. 

I don't understand grace, and I am certainly blessed and thrilled that my understanding of grace is not a requirement to receive it.  Communion is the same.  I can appreciate it more through study of it, but I don't have to have an understanding of it in order to participate in it, and neither do children.

God loves you, and he invites you to share grace.  Welcome.


Sunday, February 06, 2011

Please, Sir, I want some more

As I thought about communion, a scene from a book came to mind.

Did you ever read Oliver Twist or see the movie?  Remember the scene when the orphan, Oliver, approaches the adult and says, "Please, sir, I want some more."

At an Emmaus team meeting yesterday, the spiritual leader of the walk told us that the work that the team must do could not be done on our own.  We need Christ to be able to move forward with us.  We need to take him in through communion, through our relationship with him, so that we would be strengthened and equipped for the task at hand.  And then he served us communion.

Have you ever approached communion with the feeling, "Please, sir, I want some more?"

Christ always provides, always answers, "Yes."  He yearns for us to ask, and gladly provides.


Saturday, February 05, 2011


Here are a couple of links about communion that you might find interesting:

Random Thoughts by a Lutheran Geek about why she allowed her toddler to take communion, against the church's tradition.

A sermon by Songbird called By the Book

What is your view of very young children and communion? 


Friday, February 04, 2011

Random Friday Thoughts

Random Friday thoughts:

  1. I have to be up and out of the house tomorrow by 8:15 am.  Last Saturday I was able to stay home, watch TV and knit, until I was motivated enough to clean my desk.  I would rather not be leaving home at 8:15 tomorrow. 
  2. Speaking of my desk, it is clean.  I can't tell you when it was last clean, so this is wonderful.  I love having a clean desk.
  3. We installed a new printer last weekend.  I haven't needed to print since then, but I love the idea that I can. 
  4. I have a cold, and I find it annoying.
  5. Busy day at work.  I like busy days.
  6. Steve and I bought each other a television for Christmas.  It's big, and we are enjoying it.  People's heads end up being more than life-size. 
  7. Great dinner tonight with great friends.  A joy.


Thursday, February 03, 2011

Holy Spirit

I was led to a couple of blogs by this post by David on Methodist  I do have opinions, but I'm not going to enter the fray.

However, in reading these, I was struck by an image I had never considered.  In my mind's eye, Jesus, the human (and he was 100% human, in addition to being 100% divine) was male.  I gather that from what is written in the Bible.  In my mind's eye, when I need an image of God, he is male.  In my mind itself, God has no gender.  I limit him with my male image of him, but I'm aware I do it. 

But, my image of the spirit has no gender at all.  I had never considered that before.  I might call the spirit by the male pronoun, but only because the word "it" is too impersonal.  Truly, I don't imagine any gender at all for the Spirit of God.  Just Spirit.  As close as my breath, part of my breath, living with in me and around me, but not male or female.  Just Spirit. 

Someone, Pam, I think, said the Spirit was a foreign invader, because she could not relate to him (because of the maleness).  Maybe the spirit is a foreign invader (not the way Pam means).  S/he is separate from me.  Foreign at times, but only because we disagree, and we argue until I am convinced. 

When I'm in my chair, praying, God is God.  There is God and there is me, and that's it.  No one else gets to dictate any part of that (not that anyone is trying to).

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Are we the church?

I found the following quote in this blog by Henry Neufeld, but the quote is from a post by Allen Belvere:
And one more thing– as long as the church wants to grow only in order to pay the bills; if we see new people not as persons made in the image of God who need God’s transforming grace as much as the rest of us; if we only see them as instruments by which to meet the general budget, then we will have really lost what it means to be the church in the world.
Too many times I have heard that we need to attract more members to our church so that we grow, can pay our bills, thrive, survive.

Is that really why we need to attract more members?

No.  And I think using that motivation turns those who visit our church or those we invite to church into a means to an end -- church survival.  That's not love -- we're not loving that person if we only bring him or her to church so that the institution will grow or even survive. 

And here is the secret we hope isn't true -- the new person knows what we are doing. 

If we aren't loving, then the person in front of us will not feel loved.  He will feel used.  And we aren't a church.

I keep saying something the same thing, and feeling naive, but I truly believe it is right, and I was glad to see it on someone else's blog.

It is not our goal to attract new members so that our church will survive.  Our goal is to make disciples for Jesus Christ.  Do that, and we are a church.  Don't do that, and does it matter if the organization survives?


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Open Mind

I found this slide show on Yahoo! today.  (click this link).  The website Gizmodo challenged its readers to send in images they had captured of nighttime appearing as daytime.  Take a look at some of the images -- they are great.  I especially like the one with the woman sunbathing (at night, appearing as day).

It reminded me that there are times when we think we know what is going on.  We look at the evidence, we draw logical conclusions, only to discover later how wrong we were.  Has that ever happened to you?

We can be quick to judge people based on what we think we see or think we know.  We judge situations based on our own experience rather than truth.  We think night is day, and we are convinced of it.

May God give us an open mind to see his truth.