Friday, May 09, 2008

The good news is...

So General Conference of the United Methodist Church met again this year. Of course primary on the agenda was the debate over full inclusion of homosexual persons into the clergy and life of the church. The good news is that the rules didn't change. We are so thankful that our rulebook is safe from the "liberal element" and the "homosexual agenda". We are so fortunate to have the Confessing Movement and the Insititute for Religion and Democracy to protect the Book of Discipline!

True, some might say that the people are more important than a canon law book.. Some misguided persons might say that souls are more important than legal code and that perhaps, IF homosexuality is a sin we should invest time in researching a healthy, rational, and sane treatment to provide healing. Perhaps something that is based on psychology as well as prayer and not based in theophostic heresies. However the Gospel teaches that the law is first and that people are second. That's why Jesus was such good friends with the Pharisees!

So I want to send my thanks to our modern day pharisees! Thank you all of you for keeping the Book of Discipline safe from this generation's outcasts! Well Done!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Daily Reading and Reflection- The Rule of Saint Benedict


Hence the Lord says in the Gospel,
"Whoever listens to these words of Mine and acts upon them,
I will liken to a wise person
who built a house on rock.
The floods came,
the winds blew and beat against that house,
and it did not fall,
because it had been founded on rock" (Matt. 7:24-25).

Having given us these assurances,
the Lord is waiting every day
for us to respond by our deeds to His holy admonitions.
And the days of this life are lengthened
and a truce granted us for this very reason,
that we may amend our evil ways.
As the Apostle says,
"Do you not know that God's patience is inviting you to repent" (Rom. 2:4)?
For the merciful Lord tells us,
"I desire not the death of the sinner,
but that the sinner should be converted and live" (Ezech. 33:11).

I love this interplay that Benedict seems to have between the promises of God and the deeds of the believer. A protestant might read this and say it is works righteousness but notice how he frames this. From God's promises, spring righteous acts, holiness, and transformation. It is as if, all of the Christian life is just a river of goodness flowing down from God. Notice that for Benedict, goodness in the Christian person is first initiated by God's assurances. That our lives are constantly lived in response to God rather than reaching up to God. For Benedict all the goodness of the monastic practice of faith as an act of harmony with God.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Adulthood and Great Deals on Furniture

So these past few weeks have been bloody. My psyche feels absolutely bruised by all the crap that has been thrown around lately. Oh don't get me wrong, ministry is fine and my life is fine. It's just been tough you know?

In the past few weeks every member of my family have been in the hospital. Most notably my sister Cathy who after experiencing Kidney failure has been on dialysis and added to the transplant list. She's getting along and so am I but the entire situation could best be summed up by a question my nephew Logan asked my sister when he got home from school. "So Mom, who went into the hospital today?" Pretty astute for a second grader.

On the other hand I just bought a beautiful armoir at a second hand furniture store that is one of the most beautiful things I could possibly imagine. Follow that with an $1100 coffee table I bought a few days later on sale for $250. What a fantastic deal!!! It has a marble top and must weight at least 80 pounds! However, it has made coming home such an unexpected pleasure you know. I think I might be developing an addiction to buying furniture. It took me ten months to pay for my armoir but now that it is home I want to go out and buy something else.

I also turned 30 in January and it kind of freaked me out. Coming home each day to hand me down furniture that was falling apart made me feel like I was behind my age. You're supposed to have crappy furniture and empty rooms in college. So I am happy to be getting rid of the milkcrates and exchanging them for actual pieces of furniture. It makes me feel like I am at the right place in my life you know?

I am also so proud of my youth group! What a fantastic group of kids! So that is a quick biographical sketch of what's been going on lately.

In my next blog I'll write about a research project I've been doing.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Regular Blogging...

I will make no promises... but I would like to begin blogging regularly again. I miss this world entirely to much. Especially since I think I have gotten the hang of many aspects of my ministry that have thus far eluded me. I am also in a hopeful frame of mind due in no small part to many hours of sleep I have had today. Yesterday I returned from Michigan with the youth group, and today I rested the entire day away. I didn' even do the dishes that have been staring at me for a week. I still feel tired but I know that when I go to bed tonite tomorrow will find me refreshed. So I am hopeful for a day of full energy. Days that have been far to few lately.

Hope is the operative word here though. My sister, Cathy, who is one of my wisest and most wonderful of counselors has been very ill. It has not been in any way easy and does not appear to be letting up. She did return to work today and is out of the hospital but the prognosis isn't good. But I continue to hope...

A couple years ago I had what I described as "The Fullest Lent Ever". This year has been the "Longest Lent Ever". Alot of wilderness and desert lately.

However I have a funny little story that might demonstrate the immutability of hope. I have this cactus that for some reason is not doing well. In fact, I think my dark green thumb has degraded to a black thumb and I'm going to be a plant killer soon. However, even though this cactus looks bad, the other day it flowered. I've never seen a cactus like this flower before and it is helping me to realize that no matter how dark it seems, God,is still here working things out.

So I have hope... that immutable and undying thing that flowers even the desert.