Blog Entries Quotations

(mis)Quote of the Day: Jesus and Equipment

The recent arrest of a “Christian” militia group (yea Ohio and Michigan) has made international news (just what I want my friends around the globe reading about us) and for good reason, the initial response of hearing about a group of people who think of themselves as followers of Jesus taking up arms to kill innocent people in hopes of igniting an end times war is slightly disturbing. (What did you do during your year of unemployment?). But then I read this quote from the militia group, called the Hutaree, a made up word meaning “Christian warrior” because, well a word for “Christian warrior” doesn’t exist in a real language, and  the quote instantly changed my demeanor:

Hutaree says on its Web site its name means “Christian warrior” and describes the word as part of a secret language that few are privileged to know. The group quotes Bible passages and declares: “We believe that one day, as prophecy says, there will be an Antichrist. . . . Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment.”

I can’t find the reference to using the sword or equipment in the Gospels but I am not giving up hope yet, any ideas what translation they’re using?

Buffalo News.

Convergent Friends Six Months Quaker Preacher

New Convergent Friends Article (Quaker Studies)

Next time you find your way to a university library you should pick up the latest copy of Quaker Studies journal (Volume 14, Issue 2 March 2010).  My first journal article, “Convergent Friends: The Emergence of Postmodern Quakerism,” appears there.

Six Months Quaker Preacher The Biblical

When the Stones Fell Silent

“He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.” (Luke 19:40)

Today is Palm Sunday, the day we reflect on Jesus’ “triumphal” ride into Jerusalem. Ironically his ride isn’t really triumphant as much as it is parody; the king of Jews riding on the back of a small colt, with his followers cloaks draped over it would have struck those who saw the events transpire as a kind of impromptu play mockery of the way Roman emperors would enter the city after a triumphant time away at war.  But this scene disturbs some of the religious leaders to the point that they go up to Jesus (while he is in the middle of staging a scene no less!) and complain to him to have his followers shut up. After all, what they are chanting “Bless is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven,” is itself a troubling language. There was already a “king,” and that king (Caesar) has promised “peace” as well (though his form of peace necessitated war machines). You can see that things are quickly heating up, and this is just the start of holy week!

Practices Quaker Six Months Quaker Preacher

Preparing for Unprogrammed Worship in A Programmed (Quaker) Meeting

When I was hired as the pastor of Camas Friends one of the things that the elders told me was that they hoped to have unprogrammed (aka silent or open) worship quarterly. This was an attractive idea to me and I was glad they were willing to support this type of worship in our meeting. Well I have fallen behind in scheduling in these times. So recently when I mapped out the calendar for 2010 I made sure to plug in these quarterly worship services. This coming Sunday is the first one for the year and I’m really looking forward to it!

In the process I looked around for something to help explain what open worship is (my preferred wording) so that I could email it out to everyone early in the week to help with preparation, as well as put it into the bulletin for Sunday. I found a lot of helpful things written, but none of them had all the components and language I really wanted to see in a document of this sort. So, I decided to draw up our own. After I wrote this, I sent it to our meeting and posted it on facebook as a google doc. I got a lot of feedback from both groups. I have incorporated that feedback into this second draft. I consider this still a draft because I hope to get more feedback from those in our meeting, I want to know what is helpful and what is natural for our community here.

Blog Entries

Christ would not be Redeemer

Today is the feast of Oscar Romero so as I think about his work today and pray for all those who are cruelly treated, those who do not have a voice of their own and those who long for God to make the world new, I am posting some of his thoughts for others to read.

Christ would not be Redeemer
if he had not concerned himself with giving food
to the crowds that were hungry,
if he had not given light to the eyes of the blind,
if he had not felt sorrow for the forsaken crowds
that had no one to love them, no one to help them.
Christianity cares about human development,
about the political and social aspects of life.
Redemption would not be complete
if it did not consider these aspects
of the Christ who chose in fact to be an example
of one oppressed under a powerful empire
and under a ruling class of his people
that savaged his reputation and honor
and left him on a cross.

Oscar Romero // MARCH 26, 1978

Church in Mission Reviews Six Months Quaker Preacher The Cultural

Creating Liberated Spaces: Some Thoughts

Back in February, and on the dawn of Transfiguration Sunday, about 30 (?) folks piled into a Southeastern Portland home to share in a conversation being facilitated by two out of towners Eliacin Rosario-Cruz (Seattle) and Mark Van Steenwyk (Minnesota). The crowd was made up of a number of men and women from a variety of backgrounds, some Episcopalian, some pastors and clergy, some starting or living in intentional communities, all interested in what it means to follow the radical way of Jesus in our time. I was particularly interested in going because I wanted to meet Mark, whose website Jesus Manifesto I follow, and hang out with Eliacin and his family. But the description of the event from the website caught my attention nonetheless:

In what way is Jesus and his way actually revolutionary? Is Jesus’ call to “seek the Kingdom” actually a call to nonviolent resistance, to solidarity with the poor, to liberation for the oppressed?

What structures within our society (organizational structures, thought structures, etc.) get in the way of that happening? And what way can we realistically embody the Kingdom alternative?

Join us as we talk honestly about the radical call of Jesus, the distractions that gets in the way, and how we can begin to to create Kingdom spaces in the here and now.


Iconocast Podcast

I’ve been really enjoying the first two episodes of the Iconocast and thought I’d share the link here for those of you interested in listening in. The podcast is put together by some of the fine folks behind the Jesus Manifesto site as well as Jarrod McKenna of the Peace Tree community in Australia and Eliacin Rosario-Cruz of the Mustard Seed Associates. A brief description they have on their site says: “The Iconocast is twice-monthly podcast exploring the anti-imperial implications of Jesus’ teachings within our modern imperial context.” Be sure to check it out here.

Church in Mission Practices Six Months Quaker Preacher

A Prayer for Those in Need

Here is a prayer we prayed one Sunday morning after reflecting on those who have great needs in our town.

God of the broken,

God of the wanderer,

Christ who is without shelter,

Surround those in deep need among us.

Surround them and help us hear their cries for help.

We are a people who long for the broken to be mended,

We long for justice in the face of much corruption,

We want to practice hospitality but have legitimate fears,

Surround us in our trying times and help us to reach beyond ourselves.

We confess we are bogged down by so much need in the world,

May we have the courage to stand for what is right even when it offends,

May we have the imaginations to help create a better world,

And the strength of your Spirit to carry on.

Let us be as you are in this world.


Quaker Sermons The Cultural

Simplicity in a World of Excess – John 12:1-8

This week on the pastor’s email list there has been a really long discussion around whether it is appropriate to boycott certain businesses. It all started when a pastor sent around a forward he’d received that claimed that a certain corporation had been working with the immigration enforcement to get immigrants arrested on a specific day in March. This pastor was calling for a boycott of Wal-Mart because of this. It quickly came out that this text message was a hoax, but the question of boycotting a business because of how they do or don’t use their resources was still being discussed days after the initial email got started. (I think this is a good question and worth continued discussion in the church, boycotts can be powerful tools for social change — don’t forget the Montgomery Bus Boycott — or my post on Amazon).

Sermons Six Months Quaker Preacher

The Three Prodigals – Luke 15:11-32

This is the sermon from last week.

1 spending money or resources freely and recklessly; wastefully extravagant : prodigal habits die hard.
2 having or giving something on a lavish scale : the dessert was crunchy with brown sugar and prodigal with whipped cream. See note at profuse.

This was broken into three scenes which were read in parts by various people in our meeting. Here is a link to the scenes.

[Read Scene 1: The First Prodigal]

Jesus’ parable often called the parable of the prodigal son is clearly about forgiveness, but not just any kind of forgiveness. It is about the deeply divine forgiveness that only a caring and compassionate parent could have toward his or her child. The prodigal son is about radical, unsolicited forgiveness. It could even be considered a reckless forgiveness that doesn’t take into account the cost involved in the sin. This forgiveness flies in the face of many of our own feeble attempts at reconciliation. This is the forgiveness, Jesus proclaims, (jubilee) that is available to all of us from God, no matter who you, or what you have done with you life.

But in this parable what makes it so radical, on the top layer it seems basic enough right? A father forgives his son and so on. But there is something rather shocking about the first scene of the parable. Often the story has been read as one in which the son screws up royally, repents, then returns home to a forgiving father.