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Showing posts from 2011

Among Us

He is born…with those words a new time begins for humanity. A new understanding of God is born with the Child in the manger. God is no more removed: "out there;" but He is here, "Immanuel, God with us."
All children understand the importance of the loving touch of their parents. Studies in Russia during the last century show us that children without human touch soon wither and die. It is the same way with us in our God/human relationship. If God is simply "out there," we lose interest and feel abandoned. An impersonal God is a meaningless God.
But, when God becomes personal to us, things change. When we feel and understand the loving immediate presence of God, our own lives become more vibrant and more concerned with the world about us. Truly Christian people are involved in some way with their world. They are not simply removed from the world, but immersed in it. They are so because of the revelation of God in Christ: the child who grew into a …

All Saints

All Saints Sunday is the first Sunday of November. This is the day when we recall the lives of those who have gone on before us and who have impacted our lives with their goodness and love. It is one of those great celebrations of The Church, and is one of the most important days of the Christian year.
Each year, as we approach this time, I think of those good people who have affected my life. I recall the death of a saintly woman in my first appointment: Mrs. Pinkie Parker. She had worked all her life in a local mill, and her hands were so gnarled with arthritis that she could hardly grasp anything. That did not deter her love for children, however, and she expressed it in a most sacrificial way.
Every infant who arrived in the Almon community would receive a gift from Mrs. Parker: a set of hand-crocheted booties. She labored endlessly to create one such pair of shoes because of her affliction, yet she was never deterred in making those wonderful gifts for little children.
I somet…

Loving...

Sunday's scripture is about the Pharisees' asking Jesus about which is the greatest commandment. He replies with the Shema: "Hear O Israel, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, (He adds this one…with all your mind), and with all your strength." Jesus then says: "This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it; "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
In our world of so much anger and hatred it is hard to see this last commandment being lived out in our society. A current conservative infatuation with the writings of Ayn Rand and her atheistic philosophy of capitalism which she called Objectivism, makes it hard to get people to hear about loving neighbor amid the cries of "What's mine is mine." So much current conservative opinion calls for the divorcement of politics from faith. I find it disheartening.
One major political candidate has called for the building of a deadly …

Ramblings from The Fall...

I wonder what’s so wrongWith the notion Of caring for each other?Our politicians fightEndlessly about this...Which you would thinkIs such a simple thingOf mutual love and responsibility.But we disagree;Whether one deserves love,Another deserves care,Or another’s too lazy,Or too different in color,Or language,Or custom.So the wealthy ride byIn Maybach limousinesOr Rolls RoycesOr only in the grandeurOf their own minds,While the poorLong for bread,For clothes,For a place to lie down Where it’s warm...We get lostIn getting and spending...And making it To the top.Perhaps it might helpIf we remembered That God Lives at the bottom, too.10/7/11 CR

What if we were a Christian nation?

What would the US look like if it were a Christian nation?
1. Nobody would go hungry. 2. Medical care would be available for all. 3. No person would go without shelter. 4. Sharing rather than "HE WHO DIES WITH THE MOST TOYS WINS," would be the norm. 5. Hate would die, and love would live. 6. Racism would cease to exist. 7. Everybody would be "somebody." 8. Politicians would quit fighting over ideology and start working on the needs of people. 9. Everybody would be welcome at the table…all colors, undocumented immigrants, the poor, the sick…Nobody would be pushed aside. 10. Moral courage would be the norm, not the exception. 11. No child would truly ever be "left behind." 12. The airways would be filled with love and laughter rather than anger and hate. 13. "Talking heads" who spew hatred would lose their audience. 14. There would be no "least" among us, for we all would be valued. 15. ...
The list goes on. Would you like to add to it?
I…

Tired of this loneliness

Thought I'd share a little of my poetry with you. This poem was written late one evening while sitting at the table in our dining area.
Tired of the lonelinessThat I've always known,Tired of the emptinessThat makes my heart groan.Tired of the longingFor someone to care,O Lord, if you're listening,Please, hear my prayer.O Lord, fill my emptiness,Fill my despair,Fill up this heart of mine,This is my prayer.Shine your light upon meHelp me to knowPlant yourself within my soulAnd let that seed grow.Light falls around meSo bright I can't see,I feel you, I feel you, Lord,I feel you fill me.Thank you dear Father,I now know you care,Thank you for loving me,For hearing my prayer.8/1/11 CR

The Rabbi in the Woods

I'll be using this story in my sermon this week on The Early Church. The story is interesting, and I have used it once years ago.
It seems that a monastery had fallen onto hard times. No more novices came seeking admission, the industries by which the monks sustained themselves were not attracting customers...the monastery was dying.
The Abbot knew of one resource. He undertook a journey deep into the nearby woods to see an old man who was the last surviving Jew from a persecuted group. He was known simply as "The Rabbi Who Walks In The Woods."
The abbot came to the rabbi's house, and was invited in. Between them on a table sat the Bible. Both contemplated it, and the abbot, overwhelmed with sadness at the demise of his monastery, began to weep. The rabbi wept with him.
Finally, the rabbi reached across the table and touched the abbot's hand. "I have something to tell you," he said, "but you must repeat it only once...then no more."
Then th…

Midnight musings

Midnight ramblings...A tune plays soft inside my mind,About a man who's lost just about everything,And doesn't know where to turn.He feels like he's a blind manWandering down a strange road,And somebody's taken his cane,So he shuffles along so scared.We all feel like blind menAt some time in our lives...Just like we've lost everythingAnd lost our way as well...And we wonder about our purposeAbout where the next step's going,We forget about the manWalking silent by our side.But I take comfort just in knowingThat there's one who walks beside meAlong the dusty roads of life,There to catch me when I fall.Always there to pick me upWhen I'm too tired to stand,Always there to love meWhen there's nothing left to love.4/2/11 CR

Musing on Directions I am taking

Most of you know that I love to read. At present, I am beginning to renew my acquaintance with Eric Hoffer, the American blue-collar philosopher who wrote a number of books on change, society, and extremism. Hoffer was an unusual man, spending much of his life on the road, sometimes as a hobo.
Born in New York in 1902, Hoffer left the city upon the death of his father, a cabinetmaker. He moved to Los Angeles where he lived on skid row for many years while reading voraciously and occasionally writing. He decided to become a migrant worker, and during a winter, he became a gold prospector and was snowed into a cabin where he read the philosophy of Michel de Montigne and was impressed with his writings. From this experience and his migratory lifestyle, he became increasingly interested in the American underclass. Hoffer was not formally educated, but read voraciously: collecting library cards wherever he travelled. He finally settled in San Francisco in 1941, where he worked as a…

Snow Days

Well, here we are, caught on top of our mountain for the third time this season by snow. I took much of the afternoon today with the tractor gradually clearing the drive so we can use it. Alex and Keila then spread chemicals on the drive and it is reasonably passable.
Being caught in one place is an unusual experience these days. We're used to being able to drive anywhere at a moment's notice, fly off across the world with a little planning...we're the most moble population the world has ever known. Even those of modest means in the United States have exceptional options for mobility.
A drive across the USA today is a matter of a few days: to fly it is a matter of five or six hours in the air, along with time at airports getting ready for the flight and receiving luggage at the other end. Even then, a day's time will allow us to span the three thousand-odd miles of our nation.
A few years ago an XR-51 Blackbird flew the span of the USA in just a couple of hours, ave…