Thursday, January 30, 2014

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Year A - Epiphany 4 or Guiding Gift 4
February 2, 2014

The message about the cross — live your life as deeply and widely as you can and then que sera, sera — is foolish to those whose life-force is fading and are scared of suffering or fear itself, but to those who are interested in gathering more energy it is a joining with G*D and Neighbor in everday living.

From this starting point we are able to take another look at wisdom, good ol’ Sophia herself, “Grandmother” in many indigenous traditions. We won’t be fooled by scripture/reason or tradition/experience when we insist that all four are needed in addtion to the glue of humble/service.

Even if we get into the fancy language of wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption, holiness, dikaiosyne, hagiasmos, apolytrosis, consecration, justification, ransom. purity, or whatever, we won’t be fooled by letting projected outcomes control our choice to be loving and merciful in the moment.

Blessings on being able to translate “cross” into “choice”.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Psalm 15

Year A - Epiphany 4 or Guiding Gift 4
February 2, 2014

We continue to promote your use of Jim Taylor’s paraphrases of the Psalms. Here is his version of Psalm 15:

1   Your doors are always open, God; 
     You have no locks or fences.
2   Anyone can walk in --
     Anyone who does no harm to others, 
     who holds no grudges, 
     who rejects pretense and sham.
3   Your guests have no double standards;
     They will not double-cross a friend for their own gain, 
     nor sow dissension among their colleagues.
4   Yet they do not simply tolerate whatever comes; 
     They steer clear of evil causes. 
     They keep their word -- even at personal sacrifice.
5   They do not see money only as a means of making more; 
     They will not seek profit from the plight of the poor and helpless. 
     They are not fickle or changeable. 
     They will not do anything to cut themselves off from your company.

For paraphrases of most of the psalms used by the RCL, you can order Jim’s book Everyday Psalms from Wood Lake Publications,

The question of who is “in” is a never-ending list. It is far more direct to ask, “Who won’t be welcome?” To this question there is an easy one-word response: Nobody.

A basic presumption here is that being made in the image of G*D means that everyone will eventually wrestle their way through the various dualistic choices set before them to choose that which is not split from itself — steadfast love with the rest of creation. To separate from others will be no more thinkable than chopping off your hand for a misdeed going back to one misapprehension or another. Body, mind, spirit, and relationships are all in this together and placing the blame on a hand for an intention’s error is both inappropriate and ineffective.

So see the blessing in others and accept the opportunities set before you.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Micah 6:1-8

Year A - Epiphany 4 or Guiding Gift 4
February 2, 2014

One way of approaching a public reading of the scriptures is to have them be read as part of a larger conversation. If we expect folks to make connections from disconnected readings we are not paying attention to the way folks work or learn.

Here it would be helpful to remind folks that contention is not an automatically bad thing. Too often we prefer “order” to “change” and turn any “differences” into “nice”.


1) Note the tradition of G*D and creation being in contention. This means they are fruitfully engaged in figuring out their relationship and the future.

2) Now we can hear Prophet Micah set up the situation (Micah 6:1-7) and his summary of principles (Micah 6:8) upon which to engage a next stage of clarity (confrontation’s purpose).

3) Then we can hear Jesus say: Micah’s principles needs some additional flesh on them. Here are some applications of them regarding the way we look at others and see the blessing they carry with them (Matthew 5:1-10).

4) With Jesus, we need to hear that these blessings pose a danger as well. If we are going to take them seriously, they will put us athwart the political, economic, and moralities of the current time. (Matthew 5:11-12).

5) More than hearing is need. We need to return to Micah 6:1-2 and risk contending with one another and with G*D. This feedback loop of contentious setting, statement of principles, practical application, engaged risk, and a return to a review of the contention now — is important. Cutting it off at just hearing the principles or applications is to weaken and kill the dynamic of change in favor of stifling order.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Matthew 5:1-12

Year A - Epiphany 4 or Guiding Gift 4
February 2, 2014

Large crowds followed Jesus for his teaching and healing. You can decide the proportion of followers. We suspect it was for the immediate healing, not the long-term life-changing teaching.

It is reported that Jesus saw them and went up a mountain. Was this a retreat to an attempted retreat? How far up did he go? The higher he went the fewer people would follow.

At some point Jesus sat down. We do not know how long he sat. Long enough for the stragglers to arrive? Long enough for an internal clarity?

Strange how Jesus refers to folks as “happy” those who most would characterize as troubled or unfortunate (CEB note).

Verses 1-10 are of a piece - pronouncement of happiness and a reason for such. Verses 11-12 is a different animal and is worth a deeper look as it shifts from the general “Happy are people...” to the specific “Happy are you...”.

People in the pews need to hear this distinction so they can see the blessing in those they might otherwise overlook and also hear their particular call to be prophets. In a sense a priest can only be a Priest if the people are being Prophets. These two functions can then inform one another. If the priest is trying to get others to be priests, the church ends up being an echo-chamber rejoicing on every street corner that it isn’t like those other miserable SOBs.

What, then, will the prophets do about the hopeless, grieving, walked upon, hungry and thirsty (ref Luke’s version here)? How will they see mercy, purity, and peace in others that may be even greater than their own?

Here is a test: Does Leviticus exercise you more than Matthew 5-7? If so you may be a church-gate-closer rather than a Sermon-on-the-Mount-door-opener.

Friday, January 24, 2014

we are left

Year A - Epiphany 3 or Guiding Gift3
January 26, 2014

     we are left

there is no covenant
made eternal in the heavens
that shapes our present or
revisions our past
only a steadfast love
through ages and stages
of current decisions
wrestled in time
season and locus

to have it else
requires a creedal response
imposed past its prime
a procrustean bed
to shape all comers
into what they are not now
nor ever will be
never denying a stoop of age
a straightened spine

to love what is
without selecting
parts from the past
hopes for a future
conversing consulting
conferencing contending
delving deep within
widening engagements
to love what is

before a conception
through gestation
facing a stillbirth
just because or because
in crowning or casket
now and ever now again
unexplainably hurtful
unexpectedly kind
we see through mercy

a mercy premeditated
bone deep and tender skinned
unlimited by experience
and finding such over and over
there is and is and is not
a limit by our worst
a possibility of our best
unconstrained by death
uncelebrated by resurrection

we covenant
to not covenant away
steadfast love
to engage to grow
past our past
beyond our future
a still small voice
gracious in welcome
gentle in parting

and so
ipso facto
we dare soften our gaze
both the inward and outward
to see again what we forgot before
our past brought us here but can't carry forward
our intentions await a decisional power of will and way
we are left with nothing to call upon than to live present love

1 Corinthians 1:10-18

Year A - Epiphany 3 or Guiding Gift3
January 26, 2014

“United in the same purpose” is a rallying cry of prophets attempting to blow open a rigidified religion and of priests attempting to narrow faith to rules. It is no little thing, though, to ask about the purpose of unity.

A call for “unity” usually comes with a threat of “schism”. Those two are used in tandem to keep everyone off-balance. If you want a contemporary view of how these rallying cries are used, purchase and read a just released book that is already sold-out at Amazon: Queer Clergy: A History of Gay and Lesbian Ministry in American Protestantism. You can also get an autographed copy directly from the author R. W. (Obie) Holmen. Here you will find documentation about how the “gatekeepers” of the church alternately use “Unity” and “Schism” as propaganda tools to perpetuate the power of the past against resurrectional sightings leading us past the past. My review of this book is found here.

Now, back to the text. Christ can’t help but be divided if Christ is to minister to all the different realities in people’s lives and the life of the world. It is exactly this variation that led to the crucifixion of Jesus. So many saw the way Jesus treated others differently than they would that he was a universal affront. There was no way to control the power of a steadfastly loving G*D than to deny it and the ultimate denial we have available to us is death.

Do you want the cross to have power? Constraining or liberating?

The power of the cross turns out to be no power. The power is not in a cross but in a life lived in response to lives. The power is in a process of becoming wholier than our present wholeness, or “being saved” (not once and always saved). Remember back to the Matthew passage for this day and the processes of “proclaiming” and “healing”.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Psalm 27:1, 4-9

Year A - Epiphany 3 or Guiding Gift3
January 26, 2014

Ahh, the desire of beauty and learning. These are worthy seekings.

For now, though, remember your Purloined Letter? What might it be to be hidden in a day of trouble (today)? How is one hidden both under a tent and at a high remove? How does one not be noticed while singing their head off? Perhaps we need to ask the Shadow who knew how to work in the face of the evil that “lurks in the hearts of men” through learning an East Asian technique to cloud the minds of others while going his own way.

Here we are, trying to find a hidden face of G*D while hiding our face in the presence of trouble. Something here needs to shift.

In troublesome times we are not helped by escaping our realities via a deus ex machina but in seeing G*D’s face in the face of our difficulty. To face our difficulty is to step aside from a sense of forsakenness to claim a participation in transforming life. The laboratory or school of beauty is not cosmetology, but a deeper inquiry into what lies beneath our current dis-ease and beyond our divisions. In this we will find our orientation changing from “my salvation” to “our salvation”.

This beauty of inquiry is our life-line to not becoming an enemy or holding on to an enemy, but to join and transpose/modulate an ancient melody to a new song. “Modulation is the essential part of the art. Without it there is little music, for a piece derives its true beauty not from the large number of fixed modes which it embraces but rather from the subtle fabric of its modulation.”—Charles-Henri Blainville (1767)

Isaiah 9:1-4

Year A - Epiphany 3 or Guiding Gift3
January 26, 2014

There is a word of hope, someday, of no gloom for the anguished. At such a time a light will shine. There will be great gloating as though dividing the spoils of a stolen treasure. When captivity is released all bets and rules are off.

That is one way to read this text of the day.

What might be a teaching of good news, in captivity and out? Does a curing/healing of every disease include the disease of revenge and recompense?

Imagine if the transition from anguish to rejoicing were not a sharp one, but simply a gradual increase of “light”. This either gloom or brightness pairing is one way to try to arrive at consciousness. To know different states is to be able to reflect on them and make decisions about a next step; what direction to head in.

If we don’t lose track of our “light”, even in a dark night of self or soul, we remain open for learning that doesn’t have to overcompensate for the darkness of a previous stage of life. With a growing light we are able to reflect on how far we have come, the reality of our present (including its limits), and that intriguing path over there that beckons us to a new vantage point.

Imagine: there is no gloom now for those who begin to learn and proclaim and learn some more.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Matthew 4:12-23

Year A - Epiphany 3 or Guiding Gift3
January 26, 2014

Compare and contrast these two verses:

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near! (v. 17)

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. (v. 23)

- - -

Much has been made of two kingdoms that have no overlap, no available Venn Diagram. One “kingdom” has to be chosen against in order to choose the other. There is often a stark divide seen between the two. Or, a vast chasm with only a Jesus connection to get you from one to the other. This connection is often seen as a one-way bridge—from an earthly hell to a heavenly paradise.

Note here not the excitement of vocational change and an “immediate” leaving of fishing for fish to a fishing for people, but a giving rather than a taking.

Fishing for people has too often meant hooking or netting them and dragging them from the water to be devoured, to be canon-fodder for a religious cult/institution.

Here, whatever is known as repentance, is connected with teaching (learning) that what we had been told was hell, is, rather, a locus of paradise. Thus it is appropriate to cure the warring sickness among the people by redeeming plowshares from swords. Yes, the cures mentioned could be seen as individuals receiving a healing, but note well that an individual cure that does not also add to the health of the whole body is not a long-term healing.

This widening of repentance is a vocational challenge well-worth the investment of a life—yours and mine. What are you teaching these days that is different than the old dualistic heaven and hell? Can we repent of that too-easy division and return to a paradise grounded on the ground-of-being, fertile soil (humus)?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Splash Away! Splash Away All!

Year A - Epiphany 2 or Guiding Gift 2
January 19, 2014

Splash Away! Splash Away All!

I have come baptizing
with simple water
a universal solvent
to wash away
our overlay of privilege
on light-heartedness

gifts of grace
have been refused
to make consistent
one idea or another
based on the smallest
corner of creed

to wash away
to lighten up
to reveal dark corners
to refresh dirty frescoes
to see beloved doves
to prepare for wilderness

sweet water
nectar of the gods
raise a glass
aqua vitae
an eternal
water to wine

baptizing opens eyes
and ears
to see and hear
skies open
bread in stone
love enacted

never knowing
for whom baptism
is a ritual
or a vision
we splash

Thursday, January 16, 2014

1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Year A - Epiphany 2 or Guiding Gift2
January 19, 2014

Look around. The context of your journey is large. You are moving well beyond today to be able to see the long line that has led here and to anticipate even more to come. This long view enriches your moment in time.

Every gift needed is available in a community that works together to transcend our current limits so tomorrow won’t be bound according to the limits of today.

The faithfulness of G*D is found in your trusting you have been called together to work together. G*D’s faithfulness can be thwarted by our extreme freedom to break covenant with one another for a momentary advantage. This does fail as our only advantage is how well we can blend our gifts into a working whole.

Do feel free to substitute for the holy words here. If you leave them out it turns out this is a relatively simple message.

Paul, called beyond self and related to all, announces to you: Goodwill and Health. I give thanks for the gifts you have. In every way you are enriched by your calling tomorrow into being through an engagement of what you now know. This Way is being continually strengthened in you that your best will be activated and revealed to all of creation. Together you have the strength to see this journey to its end and find yourselves “in a place just right”. Trust your fellowship, one with another and all manner of things will “come round right”.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Psalm 40:1-11

Year A - Epiphany 2 or Guiding Gift2
January 19, 2014

A crying patience is an intriguing way to talk about engagement in the world and in our own life. This is an active non-attachment; an unfocused attention.

In this state we find our interpretation of a desolate pit or miry bog to be only one viewpoint. Just a blink of an eye away is a firm rock from which to relaunch.

Here we do not live out of creeds that require we sacrifice ourselves and offer to be but a worm. No, here the psalmist says what is needed is an “open ear”. Here we need to hear the word of belovedness echoing within that is an assurance participation in a book of life that contains my story along with yours and yours.

This story lodges in and warms our heart, our bowels, and we find our actions and words to be congruent with our inmost calm.

Here we are in need of and overflow with mercy. In this play of need and abundance we sort our way through to a steadfast trust, in season and out, of a great congregation singing its way forward toward a healthier wholeness.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Isaiah 49:1-7

Year A - Epiphany 2 or Guiding Gift2
January 19, 2014


Before I was born, I had meaning.

Since being born this meaning has been questioned and squashed and redefined. It has been an exercise in vanity, in futility. And yet, a sense of meaning flickers.

And in this confliction, I am called to recognize the meaning of the exiled, the lost. I am to claim them for themselves, that honor might be shared, even before I am able to claim myself.

In this work of bringing meaning when it is so dark to myself, my task grows from another to all. Every jot and tittle has meaning. Conception and egg and sperm have meaning. Before their activation and proximity they had meaning. And before that. And before that.

In expanding my work it circles back and my own meaning again rises.

What is not able to be healed when our meaning is set free of meaning? Naught.


Monday, January 13, 2014

John 1:29-42

Year A - Epiphany 2 or Guiding Gift2
January 19, 2014

So what would you do/say if you saw Jesus coming toward you?

We hear John’s response to that scenario. What say you? Would you take the Matthew story of Jesus’ baptism where he was the primary or only viewer of a descending spirit and incorporate yourself into the story as Baptizer John did? In some other way would you claim to be part of a Jesus story?

What about another day when Jesus is not coming toward you? Would you simply point him out rather than calling out to him? Would you be surprised if such a pointing out would lead others away from you or that you would lose one power/authority or another?

It is easiest to focus on Andrew and friend. And with these two it is easiest to focus on Andrew and Simon. (Whatever do you imagine happened to the other of John’s disciples?) Did he (“he”—remember the patriarchal nature of disciples) not see what Andrew saw and return to John? Did he give up on all holy teachers? Did he become a silent and safe follower?

This story wants to push us toward Peter. Can you stop it with the John monologue and wonder about your own response if you were to see Jesus coming toward you? Again, what would be your response?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Troubling Witness

Year A - Baptism of “the Lord” - Beloved
January 12, 2014

Troubling Witness

if I could
I surely would
prevent Jesus
from baptism

I could just tell
this one was going to be
with a capital T

I’d say oh no
it is I 
who should be
baptized by you

and sure enough
he was trouble
and I was
in trouble

or no cousin
my disciples
became his

I lost them
I lost my head
with Herodias
and lost my head

see how things
have come
to a pretty pass
I do declare

G*D shows no partiality
we all journey blind
from beloved to wilderness
baptizer to martyr

there is no benefit
to telling the truth
other than
telling the truth

and the truth
beloved ye be
in season and out
witness so


Year A - Epiphany - Guiding Gift
January 6, 2014


in a time of trouble
we are born

searched for
finally found


overwhelmed with joy
in a time of trouble

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Acts 10:34-43

Year A - Baptism of “the Lord” - Beloved
January 12, 2014

G*D shows no partiality!

A revolutionary insight that affirms our own belovedness and that of others.

A resurrectional insight that affirms our participation in a message of belovedness.

A prophetic insight that affirms creation’s energy and adjustment of any temporary status quo.

- - -

The Wesley Study Bible carries this “life application”:
When he felt the call to become a missionary, the young man felt that he had been privileged to study and thought it was his responsibility to take God to other people. The story of Peter and Cornelius teaches us just the opposite. Cornelius is a Gentile and yet God gives him the vision to seek Peter. This is an example of the Wesleyan doctrine of prevenient grace—of God loving us even before we know him (sic). Now the young man who became a missionary is much more humble in his mission theology and sees God at work around the world—well in advance of the missionary visit.

Ephesians 3:1-12

Year A - Epiphany - Guiding Gift
January 6, 2014

The commission of passing on G*D’s grace is an important task.

To fulfill it takes a discerning eye. A sign is sighted indicating where hope is needed. Provisions for travel and a gift to be given are laid in. These acts take time and resources. We must be in the presence of another who is to receive our recognition and gift. When push comes to shove we have to actually let go of the gift we bring for it to truly be a gift. To hold strings that gold or grace must be used according to the givers direction directly negates the gift as gift.

When we have given our gift, we need to further act to protect the one who received the gift that they might grow into the gift, make it their own, and live/share it in their own way.

Being commissioned to gift, whether myrrh or mercy, is no easy commission with a rulebook for how to carry out your commission. We are either confident in our commission and able to freely give, or we are insecure and look around for the safest route.

May you implement your commission to gift frankincense and fairness.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Psalm 29

Year A - Baptism of “the Lord” - Beloved
January 12, 2014

Glory can not only Thunder, but whisper. Depending on which Gospel story you read the glory of “Beloved” is explicit and loud or intuited and quiet. Depending on what stage of life or mood we are in, we could use a dose of “Beloved” to rattle our bones or comfort our fears.

Likewise with Fire and Pentecost. Each of our moments of glory has a loud and soft component to it. We can talk about some of it and other aspects need the respect of silence.

So, enthroned? Yes. But, common and everyday? Yes. When we can be able to receive and give both the loud and the soft, peace becomes more possible. Peace is not just one thing, it is a dynamic that takes out of tomorrow’s treasure chest that which is better than today and begins to enact it in the present. This kind of peace lights a way into tomorrow through a gateway of today.

Folks in Bethlehem and Jerusalem were too close. They needed angels and magi from afar to reveal what was already present. Folks today are too close to have a “yearning for learning, a reaching for teaching” (life is too loud). We still need a mystical philosophy (quiet questions that reorient, such as that from Abarbanel.

Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14

Year A - Epiphany - Guiding Gift
January 6, 2014

So why would you “deliver the needy” when they identify their need? To receive honor? Why would you have your heart and resources go toward the weak? To receive praise? Why would you stop oppression and violence? To receive tribute?

If you are able to avoid these limitations, why would we want to put them on G*D?

It may be as simple as:

Justice is available and achievable.
Prosperity for all is available and achievable.
Defense of one another is available and achievable.

Which part of current injustice are you called to call out and shift?
Which part of ecological harm are you called to call out and shift?
Which part of political/economic shallowness are you called to call out and shift.

Be the light. Shine it in dark corners. 

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Isaiah 42:1-9

Year A - Baptism of “the Lord” - Beloved
January 12, 2014

To be a beloved one is to be a just one. 

Justice? What is it? 

  • Not to lord it over others through propaganda or rhetoric; to have a gentle voice.
  • Not to take advantage of someone already down and out; to tend the bruised.
  • Not to remove hope from the weak; to light their way.

All of this is to spring forth from your assurance of being a beloved one of G*D and any other willing to wait for your revelation.

Epiphany; Baptism; Shine; Show.

Isaiah 60:1-9

Year A - Epiphany - Guiding Gift
January 6, 2014

Arise. Shine. A light has come to little ol’ you.

Where once there was darkness, a light shines on you.

There is no hiding your belovedness.

Folks are already being drawn to you that your gifts might be mingled and the common good enhanced.

What is being revealed in destroyed Jerusalem or a manger in Bethlehem or your own locale is the importance of all, from the most overlooked or looked down upon to the most praised and honored. Without your gifts received and given, we, together, are slowed down.

It is time to accept that you are as much in the spotlight as anyone, so act—act as though you mean something.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Matthew 3:13-17

Year A - Baptism of “the Lord” - Beloved
January 12, 2014

And in one fell swoop we leap from birth to baptism some 30 years later.

Our lives often proceed in the same manner. We have a significant event. And then another. And another. All the while missing some transition point between. Take any timeline of your life and you see this happen. Sometimes we can come up with “lesser” significant moments between, but still miss the ever-present background against which such times emerge for a moment.

I expect there are a multitude of unexplainable moments that just as surely move us from one stage of life to another. And, for some, just as surely keep us stuck in our current stage well-passed time to move on.

Even though we are making this jump to a new time, give at least a moment’s consideration to all the mysterious ways in which you have come to this moment. It is a gift to be cherished and taken advantage of.

Basically, whether we can track our progress or not, the background against which we live is that of Belovedness. Sometimes we can experience it more clearly than others. Sometimes it is a literal dark night of body and soul. Whichever time you are in, whether you can sense it or not, there is a movement of care for you. To have this insight is to have darker nights for the loss and brighter hope to build for those who will follow.

Belovedness does not make everything better; it merely makes it possible to live toward something better.


A physical analogy to a background of Belovedness before which we live is the 3 Degree Kelvin Background Radiation or Cosmic Background Radiation.

Matthew 2:1-12

Year A - Epiphany - Guiding Gift
January 6, 2014

Context: Herod. Enough said. Too much expected.

Time: After Jesus was born. 

Scene: Foreigners come asking after a new born king.

As might be expected, things are changing and staying the same. Herod will remain tricky and murderous. Wisdom isn’t all its cracked up to be when it comes to dealing with political power.

If your memory lingers from last week, you will know this story is not just about a baby Jesus, but about all the Herod-murdered babies after these magi don’t report back to him. If we don’t remember these innocents while sweetly camel-rocking as we sing “We Three Kings” we will have lost an important component of the story.

The first time around we might be surprised, but now, whether told in scriptural order or liturgical order, announcements of great joy carry with them the eventuality of a stone-cold tomb. Hopefully the joy will lead folks to live for the common good even if that means difficulty on the way or even if it is delayed to a future generation.

There are a lot of ways to talk about the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but we will do well to remember the fourth gift. This gift, too comes out of their treasure chest. A treasure chest of spiritual practice of attending to mystery—stars and dreams. Their fourth gift was listening to dreams.

No matter the amount of gold, frankincense, or myrrh that you have available to you to give away, you have an immense amount of attention that can be directed to the mysterious realm of “What’s next” and not just fated to do the expected.

On this Epiphany, dream strong dreams, believe them, and all will be well (whether you can tell it in the moment or not).

Friday, January 03, 2014

Ephesians 1:3-14

Year A - Christmas 2 - Blessed Body [2]
January 5, 2014

Ah, the Utopian dream—we can be holy and blameless before G*D in love”. The Common English Bible notes that this is the way believers are to think of themselves, but need to be careful not to see those outside the church as unholy and blameless, because if they should come to join the church they too must have been chosen before creation.

This attempt at a softer and gentler predestination still comes with the bitter pill of dissection. How do we measure the holy and blameless, find ourselves sadly lacking, and still have an assurance of whatever salvation might mean in either the short- or long-term?

It shouldn’t take too long to figure out that every measure of Holy lives under an obelus banner. Rulemakers set up rules they can follow. These rules become a shibboleth test for who is in and who is out.

How different it would be to affirm that G*D has blessed everyone and we are to come to the aid of one another to discover and enact (or enact and discover) our gift for the common-good.

- - - - - - -

For extra credit, compare and contrast: prevenient grace and predestined grace.

Psalm 147:12-20 or Wisdom of Solomon 10:15-21

Year A - Christmas 2 - Blessed Body [2]
January 5, 2014

A light shown so brightly folks became disoriented. From whence comes this light as it seems to be everywhere? Is it eternally now or simply a moment in a longer journey? Why does it show you more clearly than it shows me?

In the midst of such disorientation provisional responses seem to add to the discomfort of not being in charge. Eternal answers begin to creep in to cut through the contingencies of life. Prime among these answers is that of privileged space and time.

At first it takes a great deal of energy to wrestle with simply being. Simply think of the years of the stages you have gone through to mature and then to mature some more. In so doing we begin to see it is not our will that prevails and any attempt to guarantee a moment’s calm is to eternally build a wall higher and broader that divides light from dark, one from zero, or me from you.

One important brick in this wall is “victory”. Everything we know and believe must be protected. Everything else is suspect and to be defeated.

These passages express that old understanding of a G*D being evaluated on the basis of that G*D’s military/political victories. Some are able to hold to their G*D even in defeat and when they next are next victorious their belief is multiplied and more rules added to further narrow who is in and who is out.

If light is light, wave and particle, we need to grieve for G*D as well as praise G*D. If light confuses us, imagine how confused we become when the reality of experience continues to simply be present in the midst of our best laid plans. It can help us remember that there is no reward for belief that will allow plundering that which is currently un-belief; “victory” gives no privilege, only obligation. An ever-victorious G*D breeds tyrannical followers.

Light leads everywhere. Even Wise Ones lose their way. Light reminds us to look in palace and manger and then to choose where we will place our bet on Herod or the shepherds.