Showing posts from January, 2011

Eyes to See and Ears to Hear

"Claudia said, 'But, Mrs. Frankweiler, you should want to learn one new thing every day. We did even at the museum.' 'No,' (Mrs. Frankweiler) answered, 'I don't agree with that.  I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal.  But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside of you until it touches everything.  And you can feel it inside you.  If you never take time out to let that happen, then you just accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you.  You can make noise with them, but never really feel anything with them.  It's hollow'" (p. 153). This short passage comes from From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg, a great little book written for preteens.  In this book, Claudia is a young preteen who had run away from home in search of an adventure.  Mrs. Frankweiler is the wise 82 year-old woman who holds many of life secr

"Thank you, God, for making me an athiest." - Ricky Gervais

I really enjoy Ricky Gervais.  There.  I said it.  I think he is very funny, at times (I know that not everyone agrees).  At other times, he is WAY OVER THE TOP (I think that many would agree).  And even those moments intrigue me, and, yes, often make me laugh.  Therefore, I was sorry to have missed last Sunday night's Golden Globes.  I had actually been looking forward to the show.  Even though I missed the show, I have not missed the fall out.  I understand that Ricky was typical Ricky.  He was cutting, funny, unreserved and irreverent.  I have found it interesting that even the people who were responsible for the production of the Golden Globes have felt the need to speak out about some of the things Gervais said (Come on folks.  You hired the guy and knew what you were getting into when you signed the contract. But I digress.).  Gervais wasn't going to change his ways, for better or for worse. Amidst all of the hullabaloo about his hosting, the comment that has gotten quite

Genesis - A New Beginning

In the creation myths found at the beginning of the book we call Genesis (the word "myth" is being used here as referencing "a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon"), the ancient storytellers tell a dramatic tale of the beginnings of all things, and the creativity that was the source of the creating.  These stories are wonderfully colorful, epic, poetic and multi-layered.  The debates have lingered throughout the millennia about whether or not these stories should be taken literally or figuratively.  Those on each side of the debate are equally convinced that they are right.  There are interesting arguments from each camp.  However, within the debate, the beauty and rich poetry of the creation texts can be lost.    In the first of these creation stories, creation comes about in an ordered fashion.  This story tells us something about nat

Dr. King's Challenge

In January of 1955, in a speech titled “A Realistic Approach to Progress in Race Relations” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. boldly declared to an audience that included many clergy, “You must do more than pray and read the Bible” in order to destroy racism and segregation, “you must do something about it."   He also wrote, " How often are our lives characterized by a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds!   We talk eloquently about our commitment to the principles of Christianity, and yet our lives are saturated with the practices of paganism…This strange dichotomy, this agonizing gulf between the ought and the is , represents the tragic theme of man’s earthly pilgrimage" ( Strength to Love 40). Dr. King famously over and over called the church to truly walk in the footsteps of the one whom we claim to follow, Jesus.  He admonished that we must follow his example of extravagant love not only when it is convenient and confortable.  Our lives are to be charact

Breathing the Divine

Fr. Thomas Keating, Trappist monk, once wrote, "We rarely think of air we breathe, yet it is in us and around us all the time.  In similar fashion, the presence of God penetrates us, is all around us, is always embracing us, and it is delightful." In Genesis we read these words, "On the day the LORD God made earth and sky - before any wild plants appeared on the earth, and before any field crops grew...the LORD God formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life's breath into his nostrils.  The human came to life ." (Genesis 2:1-7, Common English Bible)  We rarely think of the air we breathe.  However, maybe we should.  The Divine breath is in each one of us.  We cannot get away from it.  It permeates the very blood that courses through our veins and the air that fills our lungs.  We cannot flee the presence of God any more than we can run from our own breath.  Take heart.  God is with you.  God fills every breath you draw.  Divine Breath Cea

The Face of Grace

What is grace?   What does it look like?   Does it have a face? Here is a thought-provoking quote from theologian Paul Tillich about grace. "Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty life. It strikes us when we feel that our separation is deeper than usual, because we have violated another life, a life which we loved, or from which we were estranged. It strikes us when our disgust for our own being, our indifference, our weakness, our hostility, and our lack of direction and composure have become intolerable to us. It strikes us when, year after year, the longed-for perfection of life does not appear, when the old compulsions reign within us as they have for decades, when despair destroys all joy and courage. Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying: ‘You are accepted. You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater