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Showing posts from 2008

One Night God came to Earth...

Our scripture this week is Mary's Magnificat...that wonderful song of praise which begins, "My soul doth magnify the Lord..." In that beautiful song in which Mary both subjugates her will to God's and praises God's magnificent power, we are taken again into the mystery and depth of the coming of Christ.

The birth of Jesus is not an isolated event. It begins with Elizabeth's pregnancy with John, continues with the Immaculate Conception, the Angel's visit with Joseph, the journey to Bethleham...the journey of the Magi...the appearance of the Angels to the Shepherds...there is such miraculous depth and complexity. But, that is all eclipsed by the birth itself. God presents Himself to us in the form of a child.

This story is not to be approached as adults, but as children ourselves. As we come to the manger, we forget all which leads to the moment and are captured by the event itself: God sends His mighty answer for humanity in the form of a helpless baby…
Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat,
Please put a penny in the old man's hat,
If you haven't got a penny, a hapenny will do
If you haven't got a hapenny, then God bless you.

This Christmas we come as travellers through a time of want. Across our world millions have lost their lives to tribal warfare, terrorism, and other atrocities. Where is the light? Who will come to save us?

Enter again the child, Jesus. Who comes to save us? The helpless God who strives to bring our hearts into the light of his love. The child who pleads for all the world to put aside those easy lives of hatred and spite, and come to the hard Gospel of Peace.

As Herod slaughtered the infants trying to maintain his awful power at all costs, so do the forces of evil always try to keep goodness at bay. Yet, each year, He comes again...quietly...helpless...a child born among us to bring us light. Herods of the world die away, and others rise...but, always comes again the Child. Comes again t…
Thanksgiving is upon us, and, I have a great deal for which to be thankful. A loving wife. A wonderful daughter. A whole bunch of other ancillary kids, Alex, my son in the Air Force, Suphanni, my Thai daughter, Jessy/Jing, my Chinese daughter, Veronica, my Mexican daughter, and a host of kids with whom we work each day and whom we love.
On Thanksgiving day we will have the ability to gather with our family and eat a sumptuous meal together. We will recall our blessings...and we are blessed.
Millions are not! Millions go hungry. Millions don't have jobs. Millions have no roof over their heads. Even more poignant, millions are without hope.
All this could be avoided if we simply worked together for the common good. One of the great sadnesses of our world is that we don't do that. I am sure our Heavenly Father weeps at our inability to unite for good.
What can I do? More! The problem is that you and I are single people and can only do so much. But, together, we can do …
The election is just around the corner: Angela and I voted yesterday, and I have yet to ask her about her votes. I wonder if we both voted the same way, or, if we might have done what my parents often joked about: canceled each other's vote? At any rate, we both voted, and, in this crucial and historic election, I think that is most important. One of the great gifts we have here is that of actually choosing our leadership. Sometimes that elevates our nation to great heights, and sometimes it condemns us to hardship and ordinariness. Perhaps this election will produce leadership which is both inspirational and groundbreaking in the most positive fashion. For all of you, I encourage you to vote your convictions, and to prayerfully consider your convictions before you vote. I would also encourage all of you to examine the positions and the candidates and make your vote based on your thoughtful and prayerful understanding.

Secondly, the economy.
Our church is largely made up of o…
It is the day of the second presidential debate...the bailout has begun for Wall Street, Ben Bernacke has announced that the financial crisis is deepening...people are frightened...jobs are disappearing...a huge raid in SC today brought about the capture of over 300 people believed to be illegal...just wanting a job that no one here will do. It is a dark world for many.

In that darkness we need light. In that darkness we need hope. It is time people...ordinary people...began to dream dreams and see visions again. It is time for rising above the ordinary by which we are described into the extraordinary which we are. It is time for hope and justice to roll down. It is time!

It is time...
Time for beginnings,
When ordinary men and women
Find that extraordinary spark we truly are...
All of us...
Brothers, sisters,
Dark-skinned people like my daughter,
And pale skinned people like me.
It is time...
For us to band together
In peace and love
To explore the greatness we are meant to be,
When we deman…

In His Hands

The life of The Spirit is a strange one. It's something like being in a boat on a treacherous river without paddle or oars, totally at the mercy of a force outside yourself. You plunge down one rapid to the next, never knowing when mishap or mayhem may plunge you into the freezing water...and if it does...will you gain safety of shoreline or boat again, or be dashed against the rocks.

In the midst of that mayhem you may lose sight of God's power and experience the panic of any sane person, or...if you are fortunate, you may have moments of lucidity in which your soul is calmed and your spirit quieted by the One who controls all about you. In those moments you are among the most privileged, for you recognize the hands of God in whose grasp you are. It is a feeling like no other.

St. Paul asked if anything could threaten us? Can peril, or powers, or anything else? Then answer is no! Safe in God's hands, we plunge through the river of life. That life may batter us, bru…

Prayer

Faith is a funny thing...like the wind it blows where it will and when it will, yet we need the presence of God constantly, and our faith is that which brings us into that so sought-after relationship. Keeping faith is easy in good times, and most difficult in hard times. Today, we are in the midst of hard times for so many people. It is our prayer, then, that those experiencing the hard times of life will find God very near, and the Spirit of God hovering upon their lives. This is our prayer for all God's children. Curtis

New Ideas

Al Gore has challenged the U.S. to become independent of oil for our electrical energy production over the next ten years. Can it be done? Yes! Will it be? Probably not, because big oil and other energy-producing industries have such a strangle hold on both the Republican party and on our government as a whole. Besides that, I am no longer sure the American public has the will to do such an heroic thing.

Look at the war in Iraq. It has been a war resting on the strong shoulders of the volunteer military, with fewer-and-fewer members of that military coming from the higher levels of the socio-economic strata in our nation. The current administration has given us a war without a true call for national sacrifice, and the majority of us sit home in comfort. This is a far cry from the sacrifices of other wars.

The current administration, aided by a weak congress, has led us ever-onward into disastrous policies with lack of proper oversight in so many areas that financial crisis, ene…

4th wishes and grumblings

The fourth of July is a special day: it celebrates the birth of our nation as a place of equal opportunity for all people. Sadly, with the dominance of right-wing extremism in today's politics and in the Christianity of the United States, we find that goal of equality diminishing. The proliferation of supply-side economics has dramatically widened the gap between rich and poor, and the dominance of fundamentalism has widened the gap between those whose Christianity is other than fundamentalism and those whose faith is fundamentalist. It has also widened the gap between concepts of moderation and those of dogmatism in both faith and politics. It is my hope that the dialogue between liberals, moderates, and conservatives may be opened up through love to a point at which meaningful conversation between the groups may emerge. Alas, this has not yet been reached at the present. Immigration, the socio-economic gap, better control of energy corporations, more environmental effort, …
One of the current controversies in the United Methodist Church is the possible building of the George W. Bush Presidential Library on the campus of Southern Methodist University. I stand wholeheartedly against this, as I believe Mr. Bush has acted against the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church repeatedly and flagrantly in his presidency. I am including a letter from Dr. Tex Samples, one of our finest theologians, to the Southeast Jurisdiction Delegates of the United Methodist Church. I endorse Dr. Samples comments, and solicit your comments on the controversy. If you agree with me on this issue as a United Methodist, or want to learn more on how to formally join the petition of disagreement with this move, you may contact me at curtisaurus@yahoo.com. If you wish to comment either pro-or-con, you are invited to do so on this blog.

A Letter to SCJ Delegates from Tex SampleOn June 30, 2008, the letter below was sent from Dr. Tex Sample, emeritus professor at St. Paul S…

Immigration and the election

Who will you vote for, if you can vote. Even if you can't, who do you like, and why? Who will help us with a speedy immigration policy to make those here legal? McCain and Obama have very similar thoughts on immigration, and very different thoughts on taxes, Iraq, issues of national security, and many others. What do you think?" What sort of stances should the church take on the salient issues confronting us in this election year? Curtisaurus
Here is the newest book review for Sunday, June 7th.

KILLING ROMMEL
By: Steven Pressfield
Doubleday, N.Y. 2008

Steven Pressfield’s newest novel, Killing Rommel, is one of the finer World War II novels I have read. It is a simple story of both war and coming-of-age for an entire generation, yet the simplicity of style undergirds a book with great depth and insight into the generation of young men from the British nations who formed the mighty war machine which, along with the other Allied nations, defeated Germany’s finest military minds with their innovative and determined waging of the greatest international war in history.

The time is autumn of 1942. Hitler’s armies occupy Europe. France has fallen. England is isolated and under siege. In North Africa, the prospects are terribly grim. Germany’s greatest general, Erwin Rommel, heads the Afrika Korps of the German Army, and his audacious leadership, coupled with the professionalism of the Germany Army, has secured much of North Afric…

Immigration Reform

It is the belief of our congregation that immigration reform is desperately needed. We believe that reform should include a way for those already here who have been living within the law to achieve legal residency. We believe immigration is a moral issue rather than just a legal one, and we also believe that rational thinking shows that our nation needs a permanent immigrant work force. We believe that the current immigrant bashing is outside the will of God, and that Christ calls us to compassion for our brothers and sisters.

immigration

This site is obviously pro-immigration reform, with an emphasis on legalizing persons already here who are law-abiding. Let us know your opinions, and we'll respond. Curtis

Book Review, Rubicon

RUBICON
By: Lawrence Alexander
Harper Collins, N.Y. 2008

The title of this book relates to the historic crossing of the Rubicon river, a relatively minor stream in northern Italy. By Julius Caesar in 49BC. The generals of Rome were never to come south of the Rubicon with an army, for to do so would threaten Rome itself with civil war. Caesar defied that rule, entered Rome with his army, and installed himself as Rome’s first Caesar, or Emperor.

In this novel, a plot to overthrow the government of the United States is marked by the same name as that of the Italian river. In this plot, a thinly-veiled fictional cast of characters uses the current concern for the sitting president’s usurpation of powers generally shared with the congress. In this book, Alexander proposes a fictional account of the vice president and other shadowy figures of the administration using the war on terror as a reason for a treasonous plot to take The United States from its history as a Republic into their visi…

An Introduction

Hello,
My name is Curtis Rivers, and I am one of the pastors at Douglas Street United Methodist Church in Cartersville, GA. I am married to Rev. Angela Rivers, the Sr. pastor at Douglas Street, and we have one daughter, Keila, who is entering her sophomore year at Berry College in Rome, Ga. For the first blog, I want to enter the information below as interesting material to stimulate us into thought about the two major divergent political/religious belief systems which influence life here in the United States.

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Perhaps the derogatory naming of liberals as “bleeding hearts” is pretty accurate, according to research by Dr. John T. Jost, a professor at New York Universtiy, and Jamie L. Napier, who have produced a most interesting study: Why Are Conservatives Happier Than Liberals? In this study they have found a direct correlation between the happiness of conservatives vs liberals through studying divergent…