Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Psalm 26

Pentecost +18 - Year B

Psalm 26

An interesting shift in tense occurs from the beginning of the Psalm to its end. We begin with a claim upon G*D because of our past actions - (verse 1) “I have walked . . . .” By the end we move to the present - (verse 11) “I walk . . . .” and future (verse 12) “I will . . . .”

This is what we have to work with - remembrance of the past, decisions in the present, and consideration for the future.

Focus on these three will move us away from an unnecessary concern regarding vindication. Life will happen in all its joy and suffering, but we can take these in stride as we remember, decide, and plan. To throw vindication into the mix muddies our motivation and distracts our energies.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Job 1:1; 2:1-10

Pentecost +18 - Year B

Job 1:1; 2:1-10

What land are you from? Job was from the land of Uz, which was a traditional source of wisdom. Wouldn’t you like to be known as someone from the land of Wisdom?

A part of wisdom is to know where to focus; what is chaff and what good grain, what will lead to infinite arguments and what will nourish now and again.

The whole business of the Satan, the agent provocateur, the prosecuting attorney, the litmus tester, etc. gets us into all manner of theodicy issues we won’t find our way out of without some Gordian Knot getting sliced and diced.

Of more pertinence is the reprise of the Adam and Eve (fruit) story with Job and Sitis (bread). Are you going to persist in your understanding of G*D or not? In some sense Job bests Adam. As in Adam all sinned, so in Job are all made to question.

What is your bottom-line? What questions are you asking G*D these days?

[Aside: The description “foolish woman” goes back to a sense of “outrageousness” - in this case a word study leads to the incongruity of a married woman acting as though she were engaged in premarital sex. To have our actions repeat a previous stage of life rather than moving into a next stage is foolishness that does not sustain. This is the foolishness of Sitis contrasted with the wisdom of Job. Now take this out of the patriarchal model and apply it to your life. Are your questions reflective of where you were in a previous stage of life or are they stretching into new territory that will feed your soul?]

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mark 10:2-16

Pentecost +18 - Year B

Mark 10:2-16

“Hardness of heart” is a disconnect with creation. It is this disconnect that is behind the surface of divorce. Disconnect can happen in any relationship - one to one or one to many.

Here it is tempting to focus on the doctrine of marriage and divorce. More to the point is a look at the disciples and how they are disconnected from non-disciples - children and others overlooked by them. This become an entry point to growth for all of us - how are we doing with our disconnects?

Can you hear G*D, Jesus, creation blessing where we would not. Listen again, “The disciples spoke sternly to the children”. Can you hear that as, “The disciples divorced themselves from the children”. Listen again to Jesus, “Do not stop the children”. Hear him say, “Do not divorce the children”.

Which of your disconnects haven’t yet eventuated in divorce, but will unless there is a change in your willingness to bless instead of restrict? It is time to get on with either stopping a disconnect and starting a larger blessing or to get on with a divorce?

Friday, September 25, 2009

of stumbling blocks

Pentecost +17 – Year B

of stumbling blocks

most amateur strewers of stumbling blocks
are unaware of their sowing
it is just the way life is
suck it up and deal with it
I stumbled, you stumble, we all will stumble

professional strewers
know a different picture
of a discipline of restraint
for them to advance
many must falter

healers, prayers, praisers
place warning signs
pick-up stumbling litter
give a hand up to stumblers
stumble themselves and confess their fall
set up professional strewer watches
raise consequence awareness of amateurs
remove millstones from necks and eyes
stumble again and rise again
see systemic patterns
kiss boo-boos and apply bandaids
yes, still stumble onward

Thursday, September 24, 2009

James 5:13-20

Pentecost +17 – Year B

James 5:13-20

Let’s follow some parallels. Sufferers pray. Elders pray. Elders are sufferers – thus the reality of wounded healers.

Prayer of sufferers segues into prayer of faith or praise.

We started with sufferers praying for themselves and the cause/healing of their sufferings. We come full circle with a prayer of life binding sufferers and non-sufferers together with the cheerful and non-cheerful.

Prayer is also paralleled with praise and so we can hear a background of life that leads us to confess our suffering by and praise of one another. This is a community builder that is much healthier than catching another in their sin and praising ourselves for praying them into submission.

It is all too easy to see ourselves as modern-day Elijah’s able to pray consequences into people’s lives. As prayers we tend to see ourselves powerfully and effectively righteous. Praying through suffering and praising the possibilities of others is a good antidote to righteous pride.

Prayer and praise circle a tree of life so fast they merge into one another – yin and yang. Welcome to the joyful chase.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Psalm 124

Pentecost +17 - Year B

Psalm 124

The issue is “help”. What help and whose help is effective in which circumstances?

Can we help ourselves? How are your bootstraps these days?

Can we help one another? G*D and G*D’s people help those who cannot help themselves?

Can we help helping? Imagine who will say, “My help had your name.” Some days it will be you who say that and some days it will be said to you. “Who was that masked man?” G*D, you, another? In help it really is one for all and all for one.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22

Pentecost +17 - Year B

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22

There is here an expansion of a joy to include others (the poor). It is an expansion of a one-day celebration into two days.

Given this process, what is the limit of expansion of a joy?

Behind this question is an idea that there is no limit but ourselves. Can you remember a time of great joy and relief to you? Is that not worth expanding through time and space? Can you imagine Mordecai expanding this feasting into a week, month, quarter, or year? Presumably it wouldn’t get acted on in the same way every day as some weeding of the ground and milling of the wheat and fermenting of the grape is important for feasting to continue. However, it might, nonetheless, be acknowledged that this seemingly ordinary day includes a celebration of some previous event and is part of its on-going gladness.

Might you take an important time in your life and reclaim it and consciously live today in its light? What would that do to your interactions with others and your engagement with the cultures of the world? You may still get it in the neck, but with new attitude and energy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mark 9:38-50

Pentecost +17 - Year B

Mark 9:38-50

Bigotry arising from self-absorption is deeply troubling because it substitutes a partiality that denies the expansive and expanding opportunities of love and mercy. Disciples, to this day, attempt to wrestle one another for the top of a totem pole and to deny any not in the loop an opportunity to come in. This includes us all, just different issues for which we battle. So we move from identity issue to identity issue and cycle back through them with a variety of bigotry permutations.

What a gift it is to have this line available to us: Mark 9:40 “Whoever is not against us is for us.”

Applying this in any of the cultural “wars” would help to diffuse them. So often we set up figures of straw we can claim are against us, when they are not. When loosed from this process we find the zest and preservation of life renewed.

Thus the Jesus of reason.

And then Jesus does exactly to his disciples as they would do to others not of their esteemed position. Listen to the extreme imagery of cutting off parts of ourself as if such physical absence would make any difference in one’s approach to life.

Thus the Jesus of extreme religion.

Now the test in our own bifurcated lives: If “salt” is “fire”, have fire/passion/zeal in yourself and have peace with one another and all others. As a practicing saint, practice this combination of fiery peace. Go ahead, try it, you may like it.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Pentecost +16 - Year B


Who is this child placed in the middle of angry children arguing about who is king of the hill?

Could be any child.

But it is the earliest child of each of the angry older children.

Embraced in a way they had forgotten.

Embraced again so strongly they can trust their journey.

In solitude, power, desolation, or desire - Embraced!

and that makes all the difference.

= = = = = = =

For other takes read: Leonard Cohen’s If I could help you and Naomi Shihab Nye’s Kindness.

= = = = = = =

What is your take?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a

Pentecost +16 - Year B

James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a

Wisdom literature tends to have simplistic and dualistic rules. James’ community is persecuted and it is to be expected that wisdom’s black-and-white, this-and-that choices will be attractive. The same is true today when a sense of persecution is internal rather than external. [You may be interested in an online study of James.]

A broader approach is that of an on-going relationship with G*D and Neighbor, rather than generalized moralities that are always open to interpretation in any given circumstance - “You weren’t being kind.” “Was too!” and around and around.

Draw nearer to G*D and Neighbor. In that interplay there will be life and confusion and error, but always growth. Without such risky interplay there is deadly stasis, prelude for a violent revolution. Keep growing toward an embrace of G*D, Neighbor, and Yourself, even without a guaranteed clarity of either/or.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Psalm 1

Pentecost +16 - Year B

Psalm 1

This beatitude of a psalm looks at the choices in life’s journey and reflects that a choice that leads to greater rootedness in being open to new instructions by G*D is a far happier place to be than those who consider that they have a corner on decision-making and judgment.

Wisdom writings often have subtle environmental lessons to impart. Key images here are a tree deeply rooted by water that runs through it from root to leaf, bringing life (living water) from ground to sky, and chaff, the dryness when root is unable to hold the soil and life-giving humus is blown away. These images evince the result of journey choices.

The Wesley Study Bible notes that John Wesley understood the “righteousness” described here as right relationships, “holiness”. Blessings, beatitudes, come clear in choices that bind us closer together. The futility of going-it-alone leads to more and more loneliness, being blown off course under the guise of self-determination.

Drop your roots a bit deeper, honor and hold the soil around you, delight in paying attention, in being open, to new instructions found in the relationships of G*D and Neighbor that aid us in journeying together.

This dropping of roots actually allows greater exploration. Here is a Soft Edges offering by Jim Taylor on the blessing of being open to new instructions/possibilities/choices/relationships/“law”.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Proverbs 31:10-31

Pentecost +16 - Year B

Proverbs 31:10-31

It takes 30 chapters of lecture snippets to aid a man to come to their essential conscience. It takes only 1 chapter to describe the virtues of a woman on that same journey. Do you think she was listening in and practicing what a man was being taught? Or is she just a naturally quick study more tuned into what her conscience says? Does this continue the inequality of the creation story with Adam coming first and formed entirely and directly from humus while Eve has just a part of Adam as a starting point?

The use of the word “conscience” here, instead of “fear of the Lord”, comes from the Jewish Study Bible when it notes, “Fear of the Lord is the ground for wisdom to grow in; it is essentially conscience.” What do you make of this understanding?

How’s your conscience doing today? Helping you grow in wisdom or having to be stomped down lest a different tomorrow arrive?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mark 9:30-37

Pentecost +16 - Year B

Mark 9:30-37

I appreciate the advice that it is important to remember the horror of capital punishment, whether as slow and painful as a crucifixion or as fast and antiseptic as a lethal injection, for a solid year before talking about “cross-bearing” as a model for discipleship.

This advice comes from Richard Swanson in his Provoking the Gospel of Mark, who also asks: “Could the operative flow in the passage be something more like from rejection to welcome? If the flow is sketched that way, the middle term, in which the disciples embarrass themselves yet again, becomes a picture of people too inattentive to catch the tragedy of the first moment [crucifixion], and too full of themselves to catch the last [receiving people of low estate].”

To embrace that which is below one’s station, is to embrace all of creation [want to play G*D - here’s your chance]. We get all caught up with being sure we are not on the lowest rung of our current hierarchy and argue, argue, argue that we “are not” in the worst position. All the while not catching on that a welcome of one of the least is an invitation to both of us to move on up. The work is not to move up, but down. When this welcoming work is done we look around and by-golly we are even more blessed than we dared dream.

So is this strange process of proceeding by receding a design flaw in creation or a deep and beautiful blessing? [Note: this works in a milieu of achievement. If you are already settling for second-place because people are always telling you about your place - don’t listen to this posting, unionize, rise up.]

Friday, September 11, 2009


Pentecost +15 - Year B

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Hang down your head and cry
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Poor boy, you're bound to die.

So runs a folk song. Hang down your head, says Jesus to Peter. Hang down your head, says James. Hang down your head, says Lady Wisdom. Hang down your head, says the Psalmist.

We are tempter and intemperate in speech and resolute in refusal to change and this is but the tip of an iceberg with so much hidden below the surface.

There is much to be hangdog about. No matter how many diagnostic tools we use, our progress, by fits and starts, is so glacially slow.

In the midst this sort of talk, remember the lowly sunflower.

glorious flower
head hung low
for eye and tongue

When it hangs down its head it is ripe - so many seeds for the future. An even larger harvest to come is ready. Also hidden in us are gifts; gifts for a larger tomorrow.

Imagine the comedic image of Tom Dooley on the scaffold with a huge sunflower pinned to his lapel. Imagine going through the rest of this week carrying a huge, ripe sunflower. Hold it up to Jesus, to James, to Lady Wisdom, to the Psalmist, to your Family and Friends and Enemies. Hold it up and say, “Yes, hidden faults I have, but I also have ripe gifts for a larger future. If you were to choose to focus on my faults or my gifts, which would it be?”

Hold it up to a mirror. “Wow, what a lot of gift seeds! My weight is one of too many gifts, not so many hidden faults. Lightening my load will be fun. I can be as fruitful and generous as a head-bent sunflower.”

[for extra credit, try Allen Ginsberg’s Sunflower Sutra]

Thursday, September 10, 2009

James 3:1-12

Pentecost +15 - Year B

James 3:1-12

Check your eyesight, it may just cleanup your mouth.

To see G*D or a likeness of G*D sets loose a blessing.

Now, go ahead, look around. Dee a likeness of G*D? Feel a blessing moving back and forth, to and from you?

Did you notice a lackness of G*D? Go ahead, let loose a curse.

Now comes a diagnostic tool for the refrigerator door - a scale with "G*D's Likeness" on one end and "G*d's Lackness" on the other. Note your day's location with a dot and a date. After a week, see if you've clustered more toward "Likeness" or "Lackness". After a month or year of recording, your location should be more definable. After a lifetime, may you find blessing after blessing.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Psalm 19

Pentecost +15 - Year B

Psalm 19

A tent as a pit stop for the sun, as a staging area for a beloved, portrays safety, nurture, comfort, strength - a source of joy. Today in the South Dakota "Badlands" a strong wind blew through, dislodging stakes and scattering tent supports. Tent images are various.

Yes, who can detect their errors. One of its corollaries asks, "Who can detect the difficulties of the many systems they are in?"

We find ourselves caught between competing laws and values from the variety of systems we participate in (consciously or not). This Psalm is an attempt to discern one response that will cover a multitude of errors - personal and societal.

When we come upon such a meta-response we want to claim it glorious and holy. But not every situation requires a hammer or judgment. For the "hidden" faults still occurring we may simply need duct tape. Blessings upon your gift of naming what needs changing and your other gift of mercy beyond judgment.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Proverbs 1:20-33

Pentecost +15 - Year B

Who knows the journey Lady Wisdom has taken to bring her message. She and Jonah may want to compare notes. Both end up deep within a city to bring their word of judgment, Lady Wisdom's is wordier.

To continue the comparison we can wonder about what happens after Lady Wisdom brings her message. Does she sit under something more subtantial than a shelter and shade plant? Does a forgiving G*D with an expansive and expanding desire for premeditated mercy still have a last word? Is anger Lady Wisdom's response to mercy - how about you?

Monday, September 07, 2009

Mark 8::27-38

Pentecost +15 - Year B

Mark 8:27-38

When we find stories like this it is sometimes helpful to retell it from end to start and see what new emphasis comes into view.

Here we might hear Jesus asking,"Have you glimpsed glory and holy in me?" As with all folks, even our "enemies", we can probably say, "Yes."

Then comes an intriguing question - do you find yourself ashamed in the presence of glory and holy? All too often we are more scared of our strengths than our weaknesses.

To glimpse glory and holy in another and in ourself is to glimpse a fuller life available to both of us and all. It is appropriate to ask, "What wouldn't you give for such a glimpsed possibility?" Whatever it is that would keep you from recognizing a glimpse of fuller life and moving closer to it will be your fear, your stuck place. This is a wonderful diagnostic tool.

Now we can more fruitfully journey together toward glory and holy by picking up our fear and carrying it with us.

Peter identified his stuckness as being three-fold - suffering, death, and new life (each and all together).

Even so, having glimpsed glory and holy in Jesus and thus maybe in himself, he can name a source of a glimpse of glory and holy as Messiah beyond anything else he had experienced.

So, in whom do you see glory and holy? An iconoc Jesus, yourself, a loved one, an enemy or other? This helps us avoid the confusion, misunderstanding, or inconsistency of Peter and claim our glimpse of glory and holy. This same claiming helps Jesus in his naming of his journey to deal with suffering, death, and new life in light of his glimpse of glory and holy.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Health Care Reform - Now

Pentecost +14 - Year B

Health Care Reform - Now

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a letter to the editor regarding Health Care Reform. Subsequent to that the local interfaith AMOS group asked me to make a presentation at a Rally. In light of the healing stories and the built-in issues regarding healing in Mark 7 - who is eligible for healing and responses to healing - I offer a longer than usual posting, the text of my presentation.

Religion and Health Care Reform
Health Care Rally - Cameron Park, La Crosse, Wisconsin
September 3, 2009

I was born in a hospital named St. Mary's. My wife was trained as a nurse at Baptist Hospital. Our daughter will be doing medical research at St. Jude’s. Around the country there are scores of hospitals that include the name Methodist, Presbyterian and Jewish. In other countries there are hospitals including the designation Islam or Buddhist. This community is blessed with two hospitals: Gundersen Lutheran and Franciscan Skemp (did you catch the religious connections?).

The religious community has been deeply involved with Health Care. Much energy, time, and resources have been invested by religious organizations and religious people to see that their faith meant something more than just words. Even people who claim they are not religious, but spiritual, have a grounding in one or another version of the Golden Rule: Do for others as you would have others do for you.

Twelve years ago, here in La Crosse, I was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer. That is no longer a health issue in my life. I am thankful for the care I received and a part of expressing my thankfulness is support of others who do not have the resources I was fortunate to have had at that point in my life. Whether through a quick miracle called spontaneous healing or a slow miracle of treatment for a chronic disease, thankfulness arises. Thankfulness is a deeply religious response to life and is prelude to the moral act of compassion.

I expect you have a thankfulness for some aspect of the healing arts.

What I wonder about is the lack of “religious” people to extend their thankfulness. We seem to take our healing as our due and forget to pass on to others a gift we treasure.

Imagine the power that would be set loose should religious people find their voice and let loose their thankfulness.

Our politicians would be overwhelmed with evidence for Health Care Reform far beyond the fear-based behavior of pundits and un-thinking repetition of same by yellers and screamers and disrupters of opportunities to talk together about this important matter.

Our media would find the discontinuity between spending so much of our gross national product on disease-care and having the unhealthiest citizens of any industrialized nation. Even the CIA recognizes we have more infants per hundred die than in Cuba. We get so exercised about the morality of abortion and are so blas̩ about the morality of infant mortality. These kinds of comparisons and interpretations are far more important than the "he said Рhe said" reporting we generally get.

Our economists would understand the multiplier-effects of good health and explicitly factor health into their interpretations of some magic invisible hand of the market that seems to be giving all too many people an invisible finger.

Our conversation in the community would shift from dollars to people, from “What is this going to cost me?” to “What is this going to do for me and for someone else?”. Basically we would be reclaiming the religious value of compassion over competition; of community over isolation.

This sort of deep thankfulness is persistent. Should we, for whatever reason, not fully arrive at universal Health-Care-for-All, religions connected with their roots will keep at this task. Just like software goes through version after version, we will continue to work together until Health-Care-for-All is a reality.

Our spiritual formation informs us that Health Care Reform is a perspective through which the interconnectedness of life becomes clear. As we work to bring needed Health Care Reform to America, we will find that care for health will also mean care for plants and animals and air and water – for when they are healthy we are healthy. Health care will also lead us into new reforms in our relationships with one another. For our bodies cannot be healthy without healthy communities free from international conflict, domestic abuse, terrorism, and fears of differences, whether of skin or dialect or sexual orientation. Welcome to a new way of living together based on the morality of promoting health, not just focusing on disease or difference. This is important because health-care systems are not just policy choices but expressions of national and religious character and values.

To engage the morality of Health-Care-for-All is not easy. We need the wisdom of all of us together, not just a bright idea of one or the other of us. I am thankful for each of you who have put your shoulder to the boulder of an inadequate-health-care-system-for-all and done what you can. I am encouraged to keep doing one-more-thing as I see all the one-more-things you are doing.

I conclude by wondering how we got into the situation where religion has become so focused on miracle and lost its connection with everyday living. Somehow prayer in a crisis has become our standard, not doing the little known ways of staying healthy and whole. We have forgotten that the very symbol of medicine, the rod of Asclepius, the snake entwined staff, connected healing with ancient Gods. Asclepius was a Greek god of medicine and healing. He represented the healing aspect of the medical arts; even his daughter's names remind us of this - translated, they were called “Health”, “Medicine”, “Healing”, “Healthy Glow”, and “Universal Remedy”.

The work of Health Care Reform we are addressing today has roots as old as humanity and we are privileged to be able to move it a next step in our time.

The Hippocratic Oath physicians take is a deeply moral and religious way of encountering life. It begins with remembering Apollo and Asclepius and we are called to remember our own religious icons and values and traditions. A modern translation of the Oath from the Declaration of Geneva avows: “The health of my patient will be my first consideration”. In our case, those of us gathered here might understand that the larger patient of the day is America.

The health of our nation as well as its citizens is at stake and needs to be a first consideration for how we will spend our energy, time, and resources this next month. The time is now for us to reconnect our morality, our religious traditions, and our spirituality with health care reform – Physicians appropriately claim, “The health of my patient will be my first consideration”; You and I, American citizens, properly claim, “The health of my nation will be my first consideration.” As religious and spiritual people, we claim again for our environment, our communities, our families, and our selves, “Health, in all its aspects, will be my first consideration.”

Simply put, without a larger national health our individual health is put in jeopardy. The time is now. The person to act is you - and me. The movement for Health Care Reform, for single-payer, universal coverage, is ours. A source of reform comes from our religious and moral intention of thankfulness, compassion, and caring for others as we would be cared for. Our process is that of AMOS, Advocating - Mobilizing - Organizing in Solidarity for health and wholeness. Out of your thankfulness contact and contact again your political representatives, write and write again letters to the editor, talk and talk again with your neighbors and friends, act and act again and again in large and small ways to have us work together in reconstructing a healthy society physically, mentally, emotionally, and relationally.

In the name of an expansive and expanding Love of Life, the time for Health Care Reform is now!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17

Pentecost +14 - Year B

James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17

Ahh, the old joke (or not) about a boss who gets an invisible finger from a demigod of the marketplace and bawls out an employee, who bawls out a partner, who bawls out a kid, who kicks a dog.

“Can’t you track things,” asks James and in so doing asks, “Can’t you break the pattern where you are?”

While appreciating that faith by itself is “dead” if it has no “works,” this does lead us to a new legalism, keeping every jot and tittle of a work ethic and setting all laws as equally valid in all situations. This passage was shaped to lead us to this conclusion. An important antidote to a Protestant Work Ethic and literalistic doctrine is found in the missing section - mercy triumphs over judgment. While James is talking about specific rules in a negative fashion - whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it - we do also need the positive spin of mercy that brings the freedom to intentionally break some rules when they lead to a reduction in love of neighbor.

It is this mercy that will rebalance the world, not equalizing income, but, amazingly, the equalizing of resources does open up new possibilities for mercy to become an organizing principle for human interaction. And around and around we go. A helpful focus here is the connection of loving neighbor with mercy. This helps us deal with those we would otherwise shunt onto the siding of evil. And so a restatement might be, “You shall be merciful with your neighbor as you are merciful with yourself.” This reestablishes a relationship rather than a rule that all too easily slides into whether or not I like my neighbor.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Psalm 125

Pentecost +14 - Year B

Psalm 125

“Peace/well-being over Israel!” is a popular sentiment. It comes at the expense of doing away with a tension between those who trust in the Lord (good) and those who don’t (evil) by destroying evil. This sort of peace is a dream. Do you remember any group able to hold their purity over time? They either lose their focus and are caught in their own trap of identified sin or they are not sustainable and fade from view.

A problem arises regarding the way in which peace or well-being (shalom) comes into being and the projected end state. If trust can only be experienced as victory then trust has lost a key component - an uncertainty of outcome. Contrasting the breadth of trust with the narrowness of victory gives a background to some of the technical difficulties and discontinuities within the Psalm itself.

May it be well with Israel! and with every particular! as we work our way toward and beyond one another, rather than away from one another toward only our own.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23

Pentecost +14 - Year B

Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23

A good name is important. Being able to self-identify is important. When we play games with names we are on dangerous territory. When we identify another contrary to their self-identity we are blaspheming.

Generosity is a blessed event. To share bread or healing or compassion with another is to join their life, to lift both our lives. When we threaten to block generosity or otherwise waste it we are setting ourselves up to loose the gift we have.

Intentionally defend the poor until it becomes second-nature or seemingly unintentional. Defending the poor with their correct human name and modeling generosity, speeds up G*D’s justice since it seems to grind along slowly and through such vehicles as you, and me.

   - Listen to the way people self-identify and use that same language.
   - Be generous and be blessed.
   - Join G*D in coming to the defense of the poor.