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There Is No Big Red Phone

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In preparation for me taking paternity leave as soon as #3 arrives (I constantly imagine the baby singing Dylan’s lines “Any day now, any day now, I shall be released) the church has set aside today’s “message” and the next two Sundays’ messages to be led by people from the congregation (and friend of the congregation – Seth Martin). The invitation isn’t exactly to give a “message” as it is to share one’s story about God. Today’s story was shared by a woman who I have known for about 2.5 years through the church and hearing her story was beautiful and powerful.

In sharing her story she was able to talk about the difficult stuff as well as the good things that have happened to her. The story that came forth was one that was honest about the struggles she’s had in searching for God, the various churches that she’s been to (and many, turned off by), and the “many teachers” that have crossed her path and helped her learn and grow. One of the most powerful parts of the story she brought was when she shared the first time she ever heard Jesus say directly to her that he loves her. Another came when she talked about the realization that she was being invited to forgive someone she had no intention of forgiving and what it was like to work through that.

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Quotations

I Have Only Today (Prayer)

This is one of my favorite prayers and one that was brought to my attention again today.

My life is an instant,
An hour which passes by;
My life is a moment
Which I have no power to stay.
You know, O my God,
That to love you here on Earth–
I have only today.

-Prayer from Therese of Lisieux

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What is Born of God?

One of my constant “growing edges” in life and faith is the negotiation of what is my responsibility and what is God’s. When I stop and take a look at what is happening around me, and through me, I am often surprised by how much I live as though everything depended upon me. This probably has as much to do with my own growing up as an oldest children, and the family systems of which I have inherited, as it does with my own “little” faith. Whatever the explanation(s) are for this behavior, I understand that intellectually that “it” (whatever it may be in any given situation) is not all up to me, and thankfully so. If it were really up to me, we’d be in trouble. De-Programming this as an orientation, however, is much easier said than done.

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Featured

Amazon Takes on Quakerism?

Some of the Basics*

Amazon is one of those companies that’s kind of off-limits for the typical American consumer. I mean, who owns a computer and hasn’t purchased at least one thing from Amazon? I know I have. And who can argue with such a “successful” business model? After-all, shouldn’t we capitalists encourage this kind of economic triumphalism? Amazon proves that capitalism still “works,” at least for some. And who doesn’t want to save money on a book, you’d could buy down the street at the local bookshop for $10 more? A number of years ago, when I was still using the “service” I used to make decent money selling my used books and getting ad-revenue from their site. So I get it, I understand why people are drawn to it.

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Isaac Penington to Elizabeth Walmsley 1670

I’ve often shared quotes from one of my favorite early Quakers, Isaac Penington, here’s a thought from him for the day:

Truly the Lord hath done great things for us! He hath given us the sight and knowledge of himself in his Son, which is life eternal: he hath given us of the nature and spirit of his Son; he hath given us of the true faith whereby the just lives, and obtains victory over sin, death, and the grave; he hath given us of the hope which purifies the heart, and stays the mind in all storms; he hath given us of the Lambs patience and meekness &c. And now if he will brighten these by afflictions, and try them, and cause them to shine to his glory; yea, and take advantage to increase them, and add further virtue to them, what cause have any of us to complain? Israel of old, after the flesh, murmured upon every trial; but Israel, after the new creation, doeth not so, but blesseth the Lord, and repineth not at the instruments which he permitteth to afflict them; but they love the Lord and love his truth, and are faithful in their testimony thereto, whatever befalls them. Yea, they rejoice that they are counted worthy to suffer in any kind for his names sake, and are like lambs before the shearers, not opening their mouths in a way of murmuring or reviling; but instead thereof, pitying them, praying for them, and blessing; because God hath made them children of love, children of peace, children of blessing; which nature they retain, in the midst of all their trials and afflictions, and show forth the virtues of Him that hath called them.

So that men shall not put out our life, nor put out our light, nor sever us from the love and power of God; but the more need we find of our God, and of his help and strength, the nearer shall we be driven to him, and dwell more closely in union with him, and in holy and humble dependence upon him. And in this temper shall we draw and receive more from him: and the more we draw from him, the better will it be with us, and the more like him shall we be.

via Isaac Penington to Elizabeth Walmsley 1670.