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Showing posts from February, 2016

Give a Fig....

Being There, a movie from 1979 starring Peter Sellers, tells the story of Chance, the gardener. Chance grew up secluded in a house in Washington DC the apparent offspring of a very wealthy eccentric named Jennings. Chance’s life is simple and routine. He’s allowed to garden in the small plot in the walled-in backyard, and dressed in expensive handmade suits. His only knowledge of the outside world comes from watching television. But when Jennings dies, and no provisions were made for Chance, the housekeeper is fired, Chance is evicted, and the house is sold. Chance walks out of the house for the first time in his life and encounters a street gang, which he tries to make go away with a remote control TV changer, and then, after a freak accident ends up in the home of a wealthy but dying industrialist and his wife, played by Shirley McLaine. 
McLaine’s character misunderstands him when he says his name is Chance, the Gardner, she thinks he says Chauncey Gardner. Over time the characters …

Nourished Souls

Our young children in the Prayer Room are learning about chocolate for the season of Lent using a curriculum called “No Chocolate Know Chocolate”. They are learning about how chocolate is made, beginning with cacao pods through the harvesting and production of chocolate, as a metaphor for how people grow in their faith as Christians.
For example, did you know that cacao trees require very special growing conditions?  A cacao tree can only develop within twenty degrees of the equator in rainforests. It needs a place that is warm and moist, with a canopy of leaves to provide the tender plant some shade and protection.The cacao tree blossoms all year long, not just in certain seasons. And the blossoms can occur any place on the tree—usually the flowers are directly attached to the trunk - not the end of branches like other seeds. Flying all around the blooms are tiny midge flies that pollinate the blossoms so that they can grow into football-shaped pods the size of pineapples. Those pods …

What's It Gonna Be?

Do you recognize any of these wrappers? [Hold up empty chocolate wrappers.]
Too bad these are empty! Is one of these a favorite of yours? [Allow suggestions of favorites.]
Have you ever heard anyone say that he or she plans to give up something for Lent? Maybe something like chocolate?  Giving up something we find tempting—especially chocolate—serves as a tool to help focus our minds and hearts during the season of Lent. Every time we crave whatever we have given up we are reminded that its Lent. Whether we give in to the craving or not, the practice is intended to be a trigger to focus on the real point of Lent, growing our relationship with God, with ourselves, and with others; growing deeper in our faith and growing as Christians.
During this Lenten season, I want to suggest a different way to prepare for Easter. Instead of NO – N-O—chocolate for Lent, how about KNOW – K–N–O–W—chocolate for Lent? This is the curriculum our youngest children in the Prayer Room are using for the season of…

Ontologically More Than We Could Ever Imagine...

When I was in seminary and the members of my class were preparing for ordination there was a Greek term, Ontological, that we talked about a lot. Ontology means the study of “being,” the study of who one is, at one’s most fundamental core self. The conversations we had involved what was going to happen to us, ontologically, when we were ordained? If ordination is a particular calling forth of the Holy Spirit making one a priest, and that once ordained one could never be unordained, did that not mean that one was changed, fundamentally, at one’s core self? Many wondered if they would actually feel changed. Most were sad to report that following ordination they felt no different from the day before. I have to say that the dominant feeling that I have had since being ordained a priest is an acute awareness that I am always a priest. It’s not the collar that makes me a priest nor the vestments. Regardless of where I am, what I am wearing, or what I am doing, I am a priest. It calls me up …