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“I think the oddest thing about the advanced people is that, while they are always talking about things as problems, they have hardly any notion of what a real problem is.” -- GK Chesterton

“I think the oddest thing about the advanced people is that, while they are always talking about things as problems, they have hardly any notion of what a real problem is.” — GK Chesterton

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Be sure to pack your gun in Georgia Sunday at church.

Be sure to pack your gun in Georgia Sunday at church.

“The 2nd amendment should always be at the forefront of our thoughts,’ the Georgia governor said in signing a bill that allows guns to be packed most anywhere in the great Dixie State.

Hail yeah cause we need guns in churches, courthouses, airports, restaurants and bars (and everywhere our cold beer is served), and classrooms, and well, just everwhere, by Gawd.

You just never know when you might have to shoot dead some CRAZY SUMBITCH who RICHLY deserves to be shot to Hell where CRAZY people be-lONG.

I mean, think about all the shootin’s you’ve had, or you’ve survived, right there in your own church (you do go to church, don’t you????), your favorite restaurant or bar, your kid’s classroom, your courthouse, or at the airport.

Really, what we REALLy need is a law requiring ALL Americans who aren’t CRAZY to own guns and to have guns on their persons at all times* to regain this country’s safety and security.

God bless Amerca!**

———
*The only exception other than crazy people being African Americans, Spanish types, Muslims and Kenyan-born foreigners, who absolutely should not be allowed to pack guns and are not recognized as Real Americans in Dixie anyway, are they????
**But God please mostly bless gun-secured Dixieland!

Capitalism fails the church when people who don’t tithe say the church should take care of the poor.”

— Rev. Morgan Guyton at “Mercy Not Sacrifice”

The argument is that churches should provide health care and take care of the poor. So assuming that you attend church and faithfully tithe, how much is your church doing to provide for people in need?

The argument is that churches should provide health care and take care of the poor. So assuming that you attend church and faithfully tithe, how much is your church doing to provide for people in need?

Being a genuinely political conservative, I agree wholeheartedly, 100 percent, with the conservative argument that churches and faith-based traditions and organizations, not the government, should take care of the poor and sick.

But you have to wonder how many people who make that argument attend churches or houses of worship on any regular basis. I wonder how many conservatives who rail about government welfare are conservatives who tithe and give generously to their churches or faith charities.

How many people in your own church actually roll up their sleeves and encounter the poor and needy, hear their stories and provide directly for them in any serious, Christian-like way in terms of love or money or both?

* * * *

United Methodist Rev. Morgan Guyton challenges us to think about “Six ways that capitalism fails the church” at “Mercy Not Sacrifice”–his blog whose name is derived from Hosea 6: 6.

Here’s a sampling:

“If you don’t think that your hard-earned tax dollars should be used to help poor people get access to health care, then don’t say that you think ‘the church should take care of it’ unless money that you put in your church’s offering plate has contributed to adding a health clinic to your church basement with an MRI machine and an operating table, plus an MD and a couple of RN’s added to your permanent church staff.

“If you don’t think that unemployed people who are actively seeking work should receive any money from the federal government, then I presume your church has its own private Civilian Conservation Corps by which you hire unemployed people to work at a living wage to make improvements in your city.”

And today’s “Big amen of the day to that!” goes to young Rev. Guyton for this provocative thought:

“Instead of using ‘the church’ as a talking point to argue that the government shouldn’t provide for the poor, why not first try to figure out how your church could take some of the load off of the government’s hands?”

Capitalism can certainly serve the poor through the church and faith traditions–and as far as I’m concerned it should. But the church and faith traditions sure don’t exist to serve capitalism, as so many seem to think these days.

Click here to read the whole enchilada from Rev. Guyton.

“Practice resurrection.”

— from poet Wendell Berry

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"Women at the Tomb"

“Women at the Tomb”

* Art by Sr. Mary Stephens CRSS at http://www.canonesses.co.uk/gallery/art/
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It’s one thing to confess Jesus as one’s Lord and personal savior.

It’s another thing to “practice resurrection.”

To practice resurrection is to practice love, joy, faith, hope and more hope, in spite of all the mud pies of cynicism (i.e., “sin-icism”) they’ll throw at you.

To practice resurrection is to love someone, forgive someone, show mercy to someone who doesn’t deserve it.

To practice resurrection is to be fearless in all the fear you can never quite escape.

To practice resurrection is to love God with all your heart, mind, body and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.

Jesus looks into our hearts and minds from the vantage point of the cross--that should humble us in our views of Judgment. Watercolor by Christian artist James Tissot (1836-1902).

Jesus looks into our hearts and minds from the vantage point of the cross–that should humble us in our views of Judgment. Watercolor by Christian artist James Tissot (1836-1902).

Christ from the cross looks down on us every day in judgment as we in our sin delude ourselves into believing we have no sin–that we’ve done no offense to the one who suffered all for us, in order to be with us in our suffering. (More on suffering from Henri Nouwen below.)

In our conceit we tend think that we’ll be fine on Judgment Day, don’t we?

We convince ourselves that it will be OTHERS who pay for THEIR sins.

That serious writer and serious God seeker Aldous Huxley said, “There’s no such thing as Judgment Day; every day is Judgment Day.”

I think he was onto something. I submit that every day is indeed Judgment Day, that Christ is looking down on us from the cross–-and not just on Good Friday.

By all means, let us praise and glorify him and be thankful to him for his extreme, radical love on this special Holy Day! This is a day when we look up at the crucified Lord our Savior on the cross, in awe of his love for us, as well we should.

But we might do so with utter humility, mindful that he looks back at us and sees right into our hearts and minds.

And let us be mindful on a day such as this special Holy Day mindful of our own immortality.

Christ challenges us to look within, to look unflinchingly at how we might be judged if we were to meet him face to face today–in the next five minutes, for that matter.

If only we knew that anointed hour a year or a month or a week before our last breath–wouldn’t we be on our best behavior with our Judgment Day closing in on us.

Surely Christ is glad for the praise and thanks we give him today–while challenging us to greater love, to greater mercy and forgiveness.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

— From Luke 23

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“When we say “Christ has died” we express the truth that all human suffering in all times and places has been suffered by the Son of God. There is no suffering — no guilt, shame, loneliness, hunger, oppression, or exploitation, no torture, imprisonment or murder, no violence or nuclear threat — that has not been suffered by God. There can be no human beings who are completely alone in their sufferings since God, in and through Jesus, has become Emmanuel, God with us. The Good News of the Gospel, therefore, is not that God came to take our suffering away, but that God wanted to become part of it.

Henri Nouwen, from Christ of the Americas


“After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”

— From the Gospel of John 13

For Maundy Thursday (see here)

Belizeans walk miles and miles on rocky, dusty roads. The feet can get plenty dirty, as when Jesus walked.

Belizeans walk miles and miles on rocky, dusty roads. The feet can get plenty dirty, as when Jesus walked.

Back when Jesus walked, washing the feet of a guest in a home was far from being a glamorous job. But cleaning feet was an act of hospitality and a custom.

Somebody had to do it.

And it was usually the servants who had to do it.

Here in Belize, where most Belizeans struggle through life outside the purview of all those tourists covered in oil, relatively few people can afford to own or maintain cars and trucks. Those who do own them typically own prehistoric vehicles that come with odometers that have turned over multiple times since the 1980s.

Most car owners keep their driving to a minimum because Belize’s roads and streets are literally some of the worst in all of this great, big world. The ruts and rocks and potholes–Belize me, you can’t even imagine the sizes and number of potholes in the ultra-narrow streets of bustling Belize City–can do violence to a set of wheels in short order.

So Belizeans walk and walk a lot on roads and streets, which right now–in the peak of the six-month dry season–are as dusty as they are hot and dry. It’s not uncommon at all for the every-day Belizean to walk ten, fifteen and even more miles a day, in sandals or ragged shoes.

And the feet show it.

I’ve become aware of just how dry and cracked and callous and dirty the feet can get in an environment of the sort that Jesus and the people of his time walked in.

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Back when he walked with his disciples, Jesus was the man!

Jesus was the master!

So imagine the shock of the disciples when he took up a basin and towel and started washing their feet. Peter–that always peppy, child-like, pre-Resurrection Peter–was so taken aback that he told his Master Jesus that there was no way he’d be washing the Master’s dusty, dirty feet.

Of course Peter was bound to get his dirty, dusty feet washed by Jesus, who told him and the other disciples that he was setting an example of servitude for them, and disciples for all times, to follow.

In a way, we Christians are called to be cops of the Kingdom–the utterly good cops who advance the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.

We’re called in advancing the peaceable Kingdom that Christ ushered in to “Protect and Serve.”

That is, to protect and serve one another in fellowship and protect and serve the poorest and most vulnerable wherever they struggle through a day with tired, cracked, calloused feet.

What a journey it was to Jerusalem for that strange mystic who had powers to make the broken whole again.

Along the way he’d demonstrated the power even to walk on water, revealing to us his ability to walk with us above all the turbulent waters of fear, anxiety, worry, illness.

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I can look out any window in my home and what I’ll see are the branches and leaves of palm and coconut trees all around. If I step outside and walk a few yards I can see the sturdy greenery of such trees nearby and miles away, too. Palm branches are strong and durable, able to withstand fierce wind and rain and blazing heat as well.

Jesus casually walked across the turbulent waters and triumphantly road across the “pavement” of palm branches and garments spread before him.

The whole of what happens in a lifetime is contained in the stories of Jesus walking across the stormy waters and his riding triumphantly into town on a humble donkey.

One day you’re on top of the world, riding high, honored, respected, feeling so good about yourself.

The next day somebody, if not life itself, is knocking you on your ass.

Jesus picks you up at the bottom of your slide and walks with you and, if necessary, carries you.

“Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!”

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