Categories
Blog Entries

A Pile of Ash

Ash Wednesday
by Elvis Perkins

No one will survive
Ash Wednesday alive
No soldier no lover
No father no mother
Not a lonely child

In the up and in the bedroom
A black and white of the bride and the groom
Will bring me to my knees
With the colorized bad dream
That takes its place on
Ash Wednesday

So each day is Ash Wednesday
All this life is Ash Wednesday

 

A pile of ash can be a powerful image.

What was once life is not broken down in to a very fine dust, ready to return to the earth and begin again.

For Ash Wednesday, we too prepare ourselves for this same cycle of death and life. If we are to join in the work of the Kingdom of God, which Jesus announced was “at hand” in his ministry then we must first be ready to die.

Categories
Uncategorized

Befriending the Stranger – Jean Vanier

Here’s a passage from Jean Vanier’s “Befriending the Stranger” that I felt was worthy to post here:

Jesus came into the world to re-create it,
to give it back its full meaning
to take away our limited vision of life,
a vision which prevents the birth of hope
and which paralyses us in front of all that seems impossible.
Yet “nothing is impossible for God…

Many of have been taught, for example,
that we should “do good to” the poor.
The gospel message tells us that it is the poor who do good to us.
A mother knows full well that her little child gives her life
just by the way he looks at her, smiles at her,
calls her, loves her and needs her.

Categories
Blog Entries

Teaching My First Seminary Class

This week I had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with my first ever class. I’ve been teaching a course online for George Fox Seminary called “Culture and Systems Change” since the beginning of January, but since it is what they call a “hybrid” course, that means that we also have some time together in the middle of the semester. Almost all of the students in my class this semester are scattered throughout the country (from Hawaii to Virginia). The online portion of the class has been going really well and so I was pretty excited for this week to come where I would have a chance to sit in a classroom with these 15 students – almost all of whom are pastors or working “in the ministry” in one way or another – and have an opportunity to go deeper into our subject matter. 

Categories
Blog Entries Quotations

Gustavo Gutierrez’s Definition of Poverty

Gustavo Gutierrez’s Definition of Poverty:

“What then does being poor mean? I believe that a good definition does not exist; but we can approximate it if we say that the poor are the non-persons, the ‘in-significant ones,’ the ones that don’t count either for the rest of society, and – far too frequently – for the Christian churches.  For instance, the poor are the ones who have to wait for a week by the door of a hospital to see the physician; the poor are the ones who have no social and economic relevance, the ones disowned by means of unfair laws; the poor are the ones who have no possibility to speak to change their predicament.  The poor are the ones who constitute a despised and culturally marginalized race.  At best, the poor are present in statistics, but they do not appear in society with proper names.  We do not know the name of the poor.  They are and remain anonymous.  The poor ones are socially insignificant, but not so to God.”

-Gustavo Gutierrez Liberation Theologies, Postmodernity, and the Americas, pg. 72

via Gustavo Gutierrez’s Definition of Poverty | The Christian Harvey Blog.

Categories
Quaker Sermons

On Integrity: Mirrors, Ships and Living Truthfully (James 1:19-27)

This was the message I gave during our meeting for worship at Camas Friends this past Sunday.

James 1:22   But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23 For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; 24 for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25 But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing. 

Mirrors and Self-Examination_

Integrity is about rightly seeing what it is that we reflect in the world, it is about owning up to the image we portray of ourselves, and of others. It is about not just knowing truth, but living it.

James 1 never uses the word integrity, but it does use the image of a mirror so we get the idea that people who hear and do God’s word reflect or should expect to see something in the mirror.

So you use a mirror maybe to check to make sure you don’t have anything like asparagus stuck in your teeth right? What would you think of me if I looked, started to walk away, forgot whether I had food in my teeth, walked back to look again, walked away, maybe I forgot again, and on the cycle goes.