Friday, August 29, 2008


Pentecost +16 – Year A

it is so easy
and satisfying
to accuse another
of causing stumbling

it is so difficult
to turn denying
to investing
in fullness of life

it is so strange
and heretical
to shift dead crosses
to dynamic living

yet having seen the change
difficulty eases
strangeness becomes familiar
and we pick one another up

even while demanding
sameness through denial
freedom surprises – taking up life
affirming good doing

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Romans 12:9-21

Pentecost +16 – Year A

Romans 12:9-21

"Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

"Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

"Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody.

"Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it."

"Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good." [The Message]

(Take up Your Life) <===> (Set People Free)

(Love from the Center) <===> (Do Good)

With these equations, reactions, and parentheses we find ourselves and one another. Print them out. Cut them out. Hand them around. Practice them consistently.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c

Pentecost +16 – Year A

Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c

Praise the Lord!


Playing Monday morning quarterback regarding history is a strange way to receive praise and glory. With this process everything is either carefully arranged or yet to be revealed.

The rubric here is lifting God up so whatever the rewrite that is necessary will be done. As we are reminded in 1984 those who control the present control the past and those who control the past control the future. It is that tendency to revisionism that raises questions about cutting up a psalm in this fashion.

Here we are weighted too heavily toward only the divine. Just like the infamous Dolly - what God wants, God gets. In coming at things from this perspective we lose a ring of authenticity and participation in salvation history.

If you were to cast about for a Psalm to deal with betrayal or call or living well, what would you choose. This one is just too pat and not helpful in reflecting upon the other three lections for the day. We need scripture to rub against scripture in a way that will bring more light, not just stay on message.

= = = = = = =

PS - just noted that this is post 601 in this series. I don't know what to make of that information other than we missed an opportunity yesterday for a celebration. Since we are a virtual bunch there is probably no reason not to have that party today and no reason for you not to party today, where you are, on behalf of the rest of us.

On this date in the Vandlarian timeline: "601 – King Mordacus III leads an expedition through a portal to the fey realm. King Mordacus returns from his journey mysteriously appearing to be 20 years younger than when he entered." May you find yourself rejuvinated as you celebrate 601 in your own setting.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Exodus 3:1-15

Pentecost +16 – Year A

Exodus 3:1-15

Pharaoh's daughter was surprised in the midst of her daily ritual to find a baby floating toward her. Moses was surprised in the midst of his daily ritual to find an unconsumed burning bush before him.

In the midst of daily rituals holiness holiness can still be experienced. The division between sacred and secular, holy and profane, or any other duality we might mention fades in the face of a mystery beyond all the differences we so glibly pronounce. This holiness leads us in strange directions. Pharaoh's daughter adopts a male Israelite her father has condemned to death before the little guy was born. Moses returns to face down the ruler who had condemned him and a whole people, to bring those people out of slavery, to be "somebody"s.

In the midst of daily rituals we ourselves have been called to do what is right even in the face of power to the contrary. We, too, have wondered whether we could do what needs doing. We, too, have sometimes needed a sense of authority larger than ourselves (although, note that Pharaoh's daughter didn't have the same recorded reservation that Moses did).

Sensing that most of us are more in the situation of Moses, unprivileged, or even less than that, we do look for a talisman to carry with us into the difficulties ahead. What we know about such is that if it is too specific it won't hold up in changing circumstances and if it is too general it will float away before gaining traction. And so we hear the specifics of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the much broader I-AM-WHO-I-AM (in all its various tenses). Moses holds together these two gifts, the specific and the general.

May you hold your contradictory gifts together that you might further the models Pharaoh's daughter and Moses offer you of doing the right thing to honor life – the life of a condemned child and the lives of enslaved relatives. Those same gifts are needed in today's world. Of particular need is a move toward an integral worldview, where our current world-centric pluralism and relativism (seemingly too accepting and unwilling to stand against wrong) are transcended and included into a critically evaluated, more systematic, whole [collected from written background material of bodymindspiritworks and Integral Life].

Monday, August 25, 2008

Matthew 16:21-28

Pentecost +16 – Year A

Matthew 16:21-28

Jesus was a stumbling block to Peter, eliciting a "God forbid!" Peter was a stumbling block to Jesus, bringing forth a "Get behind me!"

In the face of mutual stumbling, looking in a common direction may be of benefit. To move beyond our disappointment in another, a reflection upon death is salutary. Death is a commonality usually recognized as larger than our temptations to stumble or just plain old stumbling iteself.

When focusing on our stumbling places we aren't able to recognize their false nature and get caught up in wasting energy on pseudo-death when a consideration of real death might clarify our mind and heart and aid us to regain our balance.

No matter how daily we lose and find life, there is a sense in which we won't move toward death, catch a glimpse of it, even, before we can see beyond it. Here is the contradiction: we are to see death before we can see life and we can't see death until we do so through a glimpse of life beyond.

Blessings upon our stumbling and our death watch. May our loss be our gain. May our rigidity be softened to appreciate that which we call both divine and human.

Friday, August 22, 2008

sesame keys

Pentecost +15 – Year A

keys are ready
are the locks?

a variety of tumblers
allow a variety of keys

specific keys
master keys

note how many keys
note how many locks

there is not just one
there is enough for every one

imaginary heavenly locks
have infinite tumblers

they yearn for a key any key
all keys are sesame keys

every gift can be unlocked
every key is a gift

sometimes this takes forever
sometimes but a moment

so – present keys!
start unlocking

this is not lock and load
this is unlock and free

ready or not locks
the keys are coming

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Romans 12:1-8

Pentecost +15 – Year A

Romans 12:1-8

Function is a difficult matter in a setting where expectations run high. Here we are called to think locally in order to act globally.

If we try to monitor that which is beyond us (with the best of intentions to make it run more smoothly) we lose functionality.

If we let another care for that which is usually ours (it is easier to just get along with strong-willed people rather than standing up for what is ours) we lose functionality.

This is a family systems issue – to know our boundary, our call, our gift.

So, here’s the deal, we grow up by settling down to the maturity of being who we are, simply who we are. The way to function well is to function well.

In so doing we find our self, we find one another, we find G*D.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Psalm 124

Pentecost +15 – Year A

Psalm 124

If Charlie were not on our side [remember when] we would have sunk.
If Mabel were not on our side [remember when] we would have sunk.
If G*D were not on our side [remember when] we would have sunk.
If Mom were not on our side [remember when] we would have sunk.
If Jesus were not on our side [remember when] we would have sunk.

Who else would you add into this list?

Sometimes our thanks is creation-wide. Sometimes it is very specifically located. Either way, when we experience being lifted up it feels as though we were a bird escaped from a cage. A new horizon is before us.

In all of this we find ourselves unable to say "thanks" to G*D without also expressing it to Charlie. Likewise, we can't say thanks to Mabel without including Jesus. May your thanks always bind together new relationships.

If we are to love both G*D and Neighbor, we are to thank both Neighbor and G*D.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Exodus 1:8-2:10

Pentecost +15 – Year A

Exodus 1:8-2:10

Moses was pulled out of the water: Peter was pulled out of the water. Thanks be for those who pull folks out – from a maid to a daughter of Pharaoh to Jesus to you.

The need for being pulled out has to do with a lack of power. The social setting around one can sap one's power. The faith setting within one can sap one's power.

Without a sense of factual history a fear is set up based on a scary future [how pertinent is that in today's world?!] and babies are set adrift. Here a baby is not thrown into a river, but is lovingly placed in its care. Creation and midwives and mothers know better than most of us how precious life is and why we must be diligent in pulling life from death (whether from the world around us or within us).

Sometimes we are the puller and sometimes the pullee. May you enjoy both aspects of this yin and yang reality of spirit living, of justice living.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Matthew 16:13-20

Pentecost +15 – Year A

Matthew 16:13-20

Caesarea Philippi – where honorifics are most prudently directed toward representatives of Roman rule. Here comes a question to peek behind the trappings of power.

The question begins innocently enough – what's the scuttlebutt at the watering hole? Where are folks looking for hope?

This is an easy one – they are looking for a prophet – one who is oriented toward justice and will speak and act on what they see and hear.

Then the question deepens. Am I among the prophets? Who am I? Or, to phrase it as a hint, I AM whom?

Here in Caesarea Philippi there is a question that must be responded to – what is the balance of justice and power between myself and Rome?

This question continues on and becomes our question in the context of our power broker.

Hooray for those who can see within us to an image of a just G*D. They hold for us the Presence of G*D, they unlock the justice that had been un-hoped in the face of powerful principalities.

Can you hear here Peter unlocking Jesus, not just responding to a mid-term test? [Note: This follows Jesus being unlocked by a Syro-Phoenician woman.] Have you honored those who have unlocked you? Have you passed that favor on by aiding in the unlocking of another?

Finally, the deal is not to set up an alternative power system with Jesus or yourself as top-dog. Simply be a rock bigger than the ancient Pan or pandering Caesarea Philippi rock formation, a rock big enough it doesn't have to prove itself through power – a rock that can skip over water, a rock that can learn faith, a rock of prophetic justice.

Friday, August 15, 2008

wish upon a word

Pentecost +14 – Year A

words, words, words
I'm so sick of words
it’s the Eliza/Freddy sticking point
let's see the action
not hear about it one more time

Word, Word, Word
I'm so sick of Word
idolizing a day-by-day past
universalizing a this-day present
restricting each next-day future

I am sickened by what goes in
a greedy maw unsatisfied
refuses any discipline
on type or amount of stuff
and it does show in waist and word

any amount more of consciousness
would soften the dichotomy
between self-satisfaction
and other-awareness
releasing more mercy

but so angry at what I
have to put up with
I chide and demand and ignore
until faith is recognized

having lost my own
a new day dawns with yours
keep saying yes
in the face of my no
with gratitude

and so it is
for her
for him
for all
as you wish

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32

Pentecost +14 – Year A

Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32

What is a limit on G*D's warranty of steadfast love?

What, then, is a consequence of your response on your behavior?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Psalm 133

Pentecost +14 – Year A

Psalm 133

How beautiful it is when relatives don't argue (negatively put) or live together in unity (put positively).

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what is it that strikes us about this? Might it be how unusual it is for us to so live? Would it be a wonder if it were usual? Is its beauty enhanced by its lack of being what is expected? Would we wonder about this if the standard behavior was for folks to get along?

May you be beautiful this week.

If not for the whole week, perhaps for a day? an hour? Wherever you can start being a wonder to your compatriots and foes will be OK. Then the challenge begins to lengthen and lengthen – like more stably holding a yogic pose over time. Again a chart will be helpful to note your progress and solidify your ability to not argue (nor to get even) and deepen your compassion (unity re-spelled).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Genesis 45:1-28

Pentecost +14 – Year A

Genesis 45:1-28

We should note what went before we get to this particular wonderful end of a story when twice or thrice it is noted that G*D had sent Joseph ahead without telling anyone that G*D was doing so. All is well that ends well? Or is G*D just quick at taking a bit of extra credit?

Before, there was betrayal of Joseph and by Joseph: trickery by the brothers of Tickster Jacob Israel and by Joseph of the brothers. This is the equivalent of remaining silent and blurting out nasty stuff – quite the precedent for Jesus.

While a typical focus is on the purpose of G*D bringing everything around right, we might this week focus on the learning of Joseph – "Don't quarrel along life's way."

Quarreling delays healing and reconciliation, neither of which benefit from postponement.

Is there a quarrel going on in your life that will take your not prolonging it by playing one more round of gottcha? Is there a quarrel you observe that takes your bringing Joseph's insight to bear that it might end, here and now?

Let's go see the result of a healing and reconciliation and bring that word back where it might encourage others to finally risk doing what it takes to participate in it, not as a choice, but simply as a right thing to do.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Matthew 15:10-28

Pentecost +14 – Year A

Matthew 15:10-28

It's what comes out of the mouth that we are judged by, not what goes in. Likewise with what doesn't come out of our mouths.

These are easy maxims that trips easily off our tongue. As any good storyteller will tell you, this statement is a great setup line for a next scene.

Next we see Jesus with no word where a word of mercy is asked for. What doesn't come out of his mouth is of great import. "He didn't answer her at all."

Then we hear Jesus with a tribal aside to his inside circle in the hearing of one begging for mercy, as though she could hear not - an even greater dismissal than speaking to the woman. "I was only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Out of Jesus' mouth is an unseemly silence and a thundering ignor-ance.

Listen then to the words of the woman from far away:
"Have mercy!"
"Help me!"

Finally Jesus says, "Great is your faith." We wonder why this admission took so long.

The distance between our mouth and our own ear is ever so far. We can ignore what we are saying and not saying for a long time. Without bringing these two into closer harmony the disconnect between who we have been and who we desire to be remains huge. To constructively judge what comes from our mouths we need a renewed gift of listening.

May your faith find itself consistent in your mouth as you engage your life and the life of others. Sometimes speaking for yourself, sometimes for others.

"Have mercy!"

And in letting your "Yes" be "Yes" may the "No" of the world be revealed for what it is – temporary.

Friday, August 08, 2008


Pentecost +13 – Year A


temptations return regularly
having passed three big ones
along comes Cana
turn water into wine

a moment later
along comes an upper room
with twelve little ones
turn wine into forgiveness

between the two
friends die
escape is made
wide water becomes a path

friends call out
and are called out
striding focused outward
a path turned tentacles

grabbed from below
hoisted from above
a world stands balanced
tethered below shining above

looking back over a shoulder
a string of buoys stretches on
and we are farther from the boat
than imagination allows

we have come a step farther
further staking miracle space
pushing faith closer to fear
thankful to be buoyed

because everything falls
catfish are fat
when temptations return
we are farther along

so call to be called
with fear and faith
step out
a bell buoy

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Romans 10:5-15

Pentecost +13 – Year A

Romans 10:5-15

In a stormy sea with the demons of the deep all roiled up with no where to go but after you; in a dried out well around which relationships are fractured rather than merged – we find ourselves looking for beautiful feet walking the flood and the drought with us.

When we acknowledge that we were sinking deep and find ourselves raised beyond what we and our bootstraps could do on our own, we know that beautiful feet have drawn nigh. Our hammer toes and athlete's foot scale and fungus under toenails and high heel shortened Achilles and flat feet and all the other bunions and plantar wart ailments become beautiful in their own time.

Finally "there is no distinction", all is beautiful. In this we live and move and have our being. Let your feet shine on top of the white caps and below a depleted water table. Whenever you walk where others fear to tread, fields of daisies spring up where'er you go. How beautiful your feet.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b

Pentecost +13 – Year A

Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b

Being sent for and released is one of those experiences that is beyond our usual way of measuring time. We are always more ready for release from whatever pit we have found ourselves in (or gotten ourselves in) than we are for the timing of release to be even a nano-second longer than our recognition of our desire for such.

I suppose a Hooray belated is still a Hooray.
Hooray for G*D finally coming through!
Hooray for Joseph, at long last, having come through!

Have you been the cause of your own downfall – asking to be Peter-principled (what a hoot that concept is in light of Peter of disciple fame)? Have you asked to do that which is beyond you, but you won't know it until you've stepped in it?

Have you had your downfall caused by others, regardless of their calculated motivation or simple unconscious ineptitude? Have you received blessings without seeing how they affect others and learning too late about charges of elitism (an old charge)?

Have you found no cause for your downfall, like Job of old? Have you been able to claim innocence in the midst of great testing and turned an accusing eye toward G*D?

It is time to pull out your time-destroyer mechanism so a reset or recalibration of life perspective can go on. It is time to look beyond our usual time limits and simply do the next right thing – get back in the boat, get ahead.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Genesis37:1-4, 12-28

Pentecost +13 – Year A

Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28

Who knows what family storms were brewing when Joseph received his special coat. It was as dark and stormy a time as when the disciples were in the canoe without a paddle.

Seeing Joseph's ghost coming closer the brothers decided that vengeance was the way to go to take care of such matters. Eventually Joseph went down into the pit, as deeply as Peter when down in the sea – as deeply as every one has gone down from internal or external forces.

Imagine for a moment the Midianite traders playing Jesus' role of putting out a hand to raise someone up. Imagine again – for whom do you put out a hand to raise them up? Does the commercialization of the raising here discount it as a raising by the hand of G*D (recognized later)? What limits we put on "real" raising or "real" salvation!

When you have the time, instead of considering this story in light of Matthew's, try considering Matthew's story in light of this one with Peter, the best loved, being raised after looking down or back at the storms that had just taken place within the relationships just experienced in the boat-bounded expressions of fear.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Matthew 14:22-33

Pentecost +13 – Year A

Matthew 14:22-33

Unlike last week, Jesus can get away to pray. Dismissing an outer crowd hungry for healing miracles and an inner crowd hungry for modeling, Jesus is alone and in this aloneness chooses, according to the party line, to pray.

Whatever else Jesus' prayer was, it wasn't keeping the disciples free from chaos and danger. Have you had a fantasy of Jesus at prayer and all being right with the world? Isn't that a major part of an ascended Jesus? Well, that may not be a very deeply grounded perspective.

Either when Jesus' prayer was ended or was brought to completion, he faced into the same wind the disciples were wrestling with. Imagine the social and individual story weather patterns available. This is an opportunity to turn this scene into a variation on a Rorschach Test to see the demons in our life.

With dawn still faint behind them in the east and a ghost becoming less faint from that same east; with John murdered and Jesus away, their teeniest fears became vivid.

On a dark and stormy night we don't need assistance arriving at a slow and steady pace. Note, then, the two references to "immediately". Jesus was quick to speak out a word of clarification and hope and to reach out a hand of help.

In the midst of our own stormy times a good way to model discipleship is that of a quick word and quick hand.

How is your quickness in the presence of evil –
- homophobia
- immigration xenophobia
- educational rigidity
- health care politics
- violence and abuse
- war
- STDs
- and your addition to this short list?

Our worship is practicing being Jesus prayerful and Jesus quick. According to John Wesley's sermon on Zeal (#92) if you have to make a choice, choose quick.

Saturday, August 02, 2008


Here is an indication of why I don't do more statistical analysis: In the last posting I indicated numbers for the months of July in 2008 and 2007. The time frame for those numbers was actually only the last week of the respective months. I guess that means readership was four times better than reported? Still a pittance in web hits and still worth it to me.

At any rate, may the numbers in your life continue to add up to an abundance, whether currently felt or not.

Friday, August 01, 2008


Pentecost +12 – Year A

Currently our Kairos CoMotion Lectionary blog is being blocked. According to Google, our blogspot host, we may be in violation of their spam policies. They do admit that their algorithmic suspicion of us may be a false positive. So, as I write they are supposedly doing a "human review" of our site.

It seems a desolate place, alongside opportunity, has come knocking, knocking, rapping, tapping at our door. Our fear of nevermore has manifested. If we don't pass some human review, in 20 days all the words here will be deleted.

Is this an opportunity to turn our few readers into a multitude? Probably not. We do not currently have the interest, expertise, or other qualities to market this site. In fact, according to the statistics for the month of July 2008 we have 186 fewer visits than in July a year ago (510 minus 324). 85% of our visitors come as a result of a link on (the premier lectionary site you should know about) [kudos also to links or references to us from and and a few who apparently have us bookmarked]. This web usage is in addition to the 29 people who receive it as an email on a daily or weekly basis.

I don't usually look at these sorts of statistics as this site is not intended for mass appeal. When I do these periodic reviews, however, it usually brings a pang or two of disappointment since we all behave as though a mirror reflects better than it receives (see Mirrors Don't Lie. Mislead? Oh, Yes.) and I am not exempt from fantastic fantasies of self-importance.

Upshot: we are a desolate place on the web. May a blessing come, anyway.

Second upshot: In theory we will be able to post within two business days. Since we aren't known for doing business as usual, we'll just have to wait and see. If you get this, you get this. If you don't, you don't.