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Showing posts from March, 2014

Wading through the swamp

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[caption id="attachment_2737" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Heron rookery north of SLC, Utah[/caption]

A reflection on the readings for Lent 3A: John 4:5-42, the woman at the well...

A couple of weeks ago I spoke about my mischievous brothers and in contrast my effort to be the perfect child. Then, I really believed that if I tried hard enough I could be perfect. I mentioned how much therapy I needed as an adult to understand my motives and accept my imperfect self. So it’s no wonder that I am drawn to Brene Brown’s book, “The Gift of Imperfection.” Brene Brown is a researcher and TED recipient and a widely popular author.

Brown’s premise is that everyone feels shame.  She defines shame as feeling bad about who we are. Guilt is feeling bad about something we have done; shame is how we see ourselves. Shame is foundational and universal, every human being feels shame. It turns out that efforts to be perfect are a mask covering up the areas of our lives for …

Friday Five: Trips

I've been a blogger since 2006, and for many of these eight years I was a regular at the RevGal Friday Five. I never imagined I would become one of the infrequent players, but I have. Today, however, affords me the time to play. So YAY!

Jan, over at the RevGal's blog offers this Friday Five: For today’s Friday Five, tell about five different trips you have made in your life due to different reasons, modes of travel, or whatever category you choose!

1. Between September of 2009 and May of 2010 I made seven trips from Arizona to Illinois. Five of the trips were round trip driving, two of them included driving one way and flying the other. Each of driving trips took about 36 hours to complete, including stops to rest, eat, and occasionally sleep. I usually drove straight through without spending the night in a hotel. If I were heading east I'd plan my trip to spend several hours sleeping at the rest stop east of Amarillo, Texas, off of highway 40. It was secure, safe, and clean…

Piercing the darkness

A young woman brings her fiancé home to meet her parents. After dinner the parents ask the couple questions about their plans for the future.

Knowing  that their daughter intends to work with the poor and the marginalized and will never make much money, the parents ask the couple what their plans are.

"I’m a Biblical scholar," the fiance replies.

"A Biblical scholar.  Hmmm," the father says. "Admirable. Now I wonder how you two plan to afford a house to live in.

"I will study," the young man replies, "and God will provide for us."

"And how will you afford furniture and food and clothing?" asks the father.

“I will be serving the poor, we will not need much to live on, God will provide.” said the daughter.

"And, I will concentrate on my studies," the young man replies, "and God will provide for us."

The conversation proceeds like this and each time the parents question them, the young ideal couple responds that “God will…

Changing Habits: our Lenten practice

A couple of days ago, on Ash Wednesday, we offered two services designed just for children. The services were informal and interactive. The intent was to teach the children about Ash Wednesday. Why do we impose ashes on our foreheads and why do we practice the season of Lent? The 11am service was offered for our four year olds in Chapel Day preschool and the 4:30 service was offered for children of all ages and open to the entire community. We sat on the floor and had a lively discussion about hurt feelings. We talked about the need, sometimes, to say we’re sorry. Anna, the preschool teacher, reminded the children that not only have they have learned to say they are sorry but they have learned to show others that they are sorry. The children are learning that our actions speak louder than words. I asked the kids what they do to show someone they are sorry. The kids said things like, “I hug mommy when I’m sorry.” Or,” I kiss mommy when I’m sorry.” Or,  “I make a gift and give it to the…

One Degree, a spiritual trophic cascade

In 1995 wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park, having been absent from the park for seventy years. In the 1800’s Yellowstone park rangers took it upon themselves to eradicate predatory animals like wolves, bears, and coyotes in order to sustain the viability of livestock animals for food. A hundred years later people began to have an awareness of how one species of life can impact an entire ecosystem. This led to fourteen wolves being reintroduced to the park in 1995 and another 25 within the next year.  What has transpired since these wolves were reintroduced is a phenomenon known as “trophic cascade.”

Trophic cascades are powerful indirect interactions that can control entire ecosystems. Trophic cascades occur when predators limit the density and/or behavior of their prey and thereby enhance survival of the next lower trophic level.[i] In the case of Yellowstone, the wolves impacted the ecosystem on every level.

As soon as wolves arrived there was a radical change in t…