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Showing posts from November, 2017

I will with God's help....uncomplicating the complicated

I was baptized when I was nine years old. I have vivid memories of the baptism itself, of being terrified, as I was fully immersed three times in a deep pool of water, and my relief that I did not drown. But I have no memory of any preparation for that baptism. I don’t recall anyone talking to me that morning or the day before about the meaning of baptism and how it would impact my life.
In the early church people spent two years preparing for baptism. Then, only adults were baptized and the two years were spent unlearning one way of understanding the world - particularly that the emperor was God - and replacing that worldview with an understanding of who Jesus was and the Christian understanding of God.
Now, when I meet with parents and Godparents of an infant who is to be baptized, I spend about an hour in conversation with them followed by a rehearsal. 
Baptism is the beginning of one’s journey of faith. The first thing baptism does is “name” us. In baptism we all share the same last …

A remedy for spiritual malaise.....

I’m tired.  I’m tired of the onslaught of violence in the world: guns and mass murders; abuse of people of color; abuse of women; abuse of children; abuse of money; and on top of all of it, the seemingly endless hypocrisy. I’m tired of being in a rut and feeling stuck. I’m tired of the world as it is and yearn for what the world could be. I’m tired of feeling like I try, but I am just spinning my wheels, like tires stuck in mud. I use to spend the month of November and the days leading up to Thanksgiving thinking about gratitude and those things that I could be thankful for in life. And, although there are things that I am truly, deeply grateful for, the effort to list them feels false and trite to be as if I were trying to hide my head in the sand and pretend that all is well. Last week I asked us to consider the state of our souls. If I really look deeply, I can only say, my soul is agitated because I want to make a difference in the world, I want the world to be a less agitating pla…

Resting on the Spiritual Porch

I have a good friend who is always late for everything. Whenever my friend and I schedule a date to get together I plan to arrive 15 minutes to a half hour later because inevitably she will call and say she’s just leaving. At first brush, the Gospel story of the bridesmaids seems very critical of those who tend to be late. Unusually harsh because the story says that none of them knows the day or the hour that the bridegroom will come. However, if you don’t know the day and the hour how are you supposed to know when to be ready? Under those conditions even the most conscientious of us could be late and unprepared. Perhaps the reading is not about promptness at all, but about what it means to be  awake, attentive, preparing? Specifically, in our context, what if it is speaking of spiritual preparedness? Jim Wallis, one of the founders of the Sojourners community, tells a story about a colleague living in a village in Central America. She worked in a community that was marginalized in all k…