#bless and #blessing #slatespeak #reLENTless

c5nwu43uoaagif5

 

Genesis 12:1-4

I was able to take a pilgrimage to Israel in Seminary and meet Archbishop of Jerusalem Father Elias Chacour, who was doing work to build schools to education Jews, Muslims & Christians together to sow peace.

Father Chacour said that “blessing” has a very active meaning in his (and Jesus’s) native tongue of Aramaic.

To be blessed, means to be called to work into God. In essence every time we read that someone is “Blessed” we should probably actually translate it as Genesis 12:2 “You are blessed, now go and be a blessing” (Read the Beatitudes this way, and I guarantee it will rock your world)

I love it. Sometimes I think I want to start a new church plant and call it

Achoo ministries

sneeze_success.png

Bless and be  Blessing

Its catching

Blessings are funky, because we try to think that they are limited. Throughout the New Testament the disciples are worried about how liberal Jesus blesses and heals people. Their attitude continues to be “shouldn’t you save some of that for later/more of it for us” As if there is a LIMIT to the amount of blessings int he world. I can imagine Jesus continually chuckling at their confusing and explaining, again, that this is not how blessings work.

The most modern parallel I can see to this is safety. In the modern era we act like there is only so much safety to go around, we have to grab our safeness “quick” before its all taken. Also, counterwise, if someone else is safe, that means we cannot also be safe, because that group has “taken up” the safety.

Objectively put, we can see how ridiculous the idea of limited safety and blessing is….but the church, and the United States continue to act as if blessing and safety are limited.

When in fact, when one person is more safe, the entire community is more safe.

When in fact when you are blessed, then you also are being called to go and be a blessing and share it out as much as possible.

How changed is our life is we act like blessings and safety (i.e. Peace) are actually from the never-ending bounty of God.

….Its catching….

Advertisements

#Rain #reLENTless #slatespeak

c5nwu43uoaagif5

Love is not exclusive. Everyone can love. Even this who do not believe in God, even those who are evil, the “bad guys” that my 5 year old likes to name. Even they can love the people who love them.

Look at the dictators of the world, many of them love. But then they also hate. They hate their enemies, they burn with the need to destroy.

God says to love our enemies. Love the neighbor, love the stranger, love the enemy.

The good news is there is NO gaps in the love of God.

The bad news is, there is NO gaps in the love of God.

When we go out in the storm that is God, we all get soaked in God’s love. The righteous and the righteousness all dripping with Goddroplets.

storm_goddess_by_thoughtsthunk-d5nra7o

Image: Storm Goddess

Its a funny thing, that God is the storm, and the love is the water.

And yet, maybe that’s why we get baptized in water.

To remind us, when you go out in the storm, everyone gets soaked.

 

 

#reLENTless #Holy

c5nwu43uoaagif5

74f9d-church__made_of_people

You shall be holy.

This is God’s promise.

This is God’s Problem<–confession I typed this first above, and figure its a Freudian slip of the keyboard.

These are the rules

We humans suck at rules.

Because we think Rules are about power.

But here God puts it straight, we are holy.

The rules are about holiness. They DON’T MAKE US HOLY. They are about what the holiness of who God is. When we follow the rules, we do so ONLY by the work of God

Revering Parents, Sabbaths-making, Gleanings for the Poor

These are not rules, these are ways of life, living into the holiness of God.

And I’m not certain we are called to Holy. Because I dinna think we can really do that. I think we are called to God, God who is Holy.

We are the people of God, not the people of power or hate. We are the people of the God, not the people of greed or consumption. We are the people of God, not the people of falsehood or slander. We are the people of God, not the people of hate or injustice. We are the people of God, not the people who hate.

This is God’s problem, this is Jesus’s work, this is the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We are the people of God.

But here’s the real deal, if you mean holy by being perfect or pretty or untouchable

I am in no way Holy

But if you mean holy by getting down and doing the work that needs to be done to keep humans thriving through food, shelter & relationships. I’m willing to do the stumbling viscereal & reality that is being a Holy human of God

 

 

 

#reLENTless Jesus in the #wilderness

c5nwu43uoaagif5Matthew 4:1-11

If you are…..

Jesus is in the wilderness and gets into a double-dog-dare fight with the tempter, the devil . The devil tries to erase, silence and ignore Jesus’ true identity. Because that is what the devil does!

The devil isolates Jesus and then systematically tells him, he lacks identity (Madeline L’engle calls this process unmaking someone)

Mocking Jesus’ identity as the Son of God, the devil does his work, telling Jesus that if he’s really the Son of Man he should be able to make bread appear.

The devil is tricky, tell us what we should be able to do. How true is that today? How often have I felt people saying to me “Are you a woman of God?” If anyone says that to me I’m silently cursing in my head, because I KNOW what follows is going to be doubt-infusing-gaslighting. The most memorable one to date was “Because a woman of God would dress appropriately and not wear a slutty skirt” I was the celebrant for a wedding at the time and had disrobed to my shirt and skirt which went down past my knees.

It makes me think of my bi, asexual, trans and aromantic-sibs who are told they don’t even exist.

The devil then takes it a step further, trying to say that God made you to be hurt, therefore God doesn’t love you.

God doesn’t really love you Jesus because…..

if God loved you, you could throw yourself off a cliff and die. Telling Jesus that if God lets him die, God doesn’t love him HAS to hurt, because we all know what is going to happen to Jesus.

Jesus dies. How do we square this with our sibs of color who are systematically told they were made to be hurt? That its not our fault they were made inferior (oh my soul, its hard to confess this). How often do we rationalize lack of love? How often do we equate it to God not loving them either?

The devil is doing his work.

Then, the final temptation, is misdirection. The devil tell Jesus that he will give him everything, if Jesus but worships the devil. Ignoring Jesus’ identity as God. Jesus’ answer is the worship of God: the very thing the Devil is trying to silence in Jesus.

 

Erasing, ignoring and silencing is what the devil wants.

Jesus continues to ground his identity in God’s very being. Knowing who God is, Jesus knows who he is. Nothing more life-affirming than that. wilderness

 

#reLentless #truth

c5nwu43uoaagif5

Truth is my weapon of choice. When meeting with adversity and evil. When facing down the human machinations that we call politics, when dealing with the perniciousness of gossip, when hearing a criticism that burns my soul….I choose truth

unknown-jpg

Its a chancy weapon, because its a double edged sword, naming who I am in the situation even as it names others. It becomes confession. When you tell the truth you admit to yourself, and all others, that you are but human.

And I am all too human, horrible at remembering the names of my 40 some congregants who I have known for 6 plus years (and I am young), bad at details, fumbling at asking for help when I need it. I am small and frail. Spending a season admitting that I was, am and will be Ash is hard.

But even as I admit who I am, I also admit who God is.

“You are my God” “To you I cry all day long”

“Be gracious to me” and “Gladden the soul of your servant” for all that I lack, God has, and all that I wish for, God knows and all that I need, God is.

Other gods, do not dirty their hands with humanity. They may bargain or scheme with humans, using them or playing with them. But they do not broker humanity choosing to enflesh themselves through their only son.

I will bow down before the Lord my God, and glorify her Holy name, for God alone does wondrous things, stepping beside us in the daily, dirty, beautiful thing called life.

Only God does it all through truth, revealing to us who we truly are

Revealing to us who God truly is

Because you Lord, “have helped me and comforted me”

Praise Be to God

http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=355488475

#Relentless #oppress #Slatespeak

c5nwu43uoaagif5

O how it hurts me that Christianity is used for a tool of oppression. In the grand pantheon of ways to be Christian, I figure you and God are working it out.

Unless you are using the Gospel to preach hate or oppress someone, because that right there people, is heresy. Heresy is using the Gospel for the opposite of its purpose.

Hate instead of love and Oppression instead of freedom are pretty much it.

But it hurts, because I benefit from oppression. I’m white and I have to deal with my whiteness. I’m cis-hetereo and I have to deal everyday with the fact that my so-called normalcy gives me an advantage.

And Jesus isn’t about the normal people. The more we normalize Christianity, the more we make it about power. In a slatespeak discussion a couple of weeks ago, my colleagues mused that Imperialism is when we are mistakenly convinced that God only talks to those in power.

Heresy, again I cry heresy.

I cry heresy to the core of my soul, but Christianity has been entrenched and tied to Power forever. Only Christ can save it. Only Christ can save us.

Because, we are the nation “trumpeting our righteousness”, even as we sin. We only fast “to quarrel and fight”

So this is the FAST that I choose

to loose the bonds of injustice–against the Trans, Muslim, Autistic, Lesbian & Gay, Deaf, Jewish, Sikh,  Genderqueer, Blind, People of Color, Mentally Ill, Asexual, the poor and the children.

To undo the thongs of the yoke of the overworked, the under appreciated, the homeless, the victims of violence, the helpless, the depressed, the lonesome

To Let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke.

The way to do this is to share my bread with the hungry, to bring the homeless poor into my own house and cover the naked.

water, food, shelter, medical care, clothing, treating each other as human beings

water, food, shelter, medical care, clothing, treating each other as human beings

water, food, shelter, medical care, clothing, treating each other as human beings

the most basic and essential of prayers for all peoples

To somehow empower without enabling, to be gracious in an unjust world and to magnify those voices that society tries to erase, ignore or unnamed.

For then the light shall break forth like the daw, and healing shall spring up quickly.

Heal us, break us our from our own heresies, entrench us instead in love.

 

http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=Isaiah+58

 

holy-night

#Days #relentless #slatespeak #Lent

c5nwu43uoaagif5What is the length of a day? Some days pound on me, relentless, some days never let me go.

http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=Deuteronomy+30

The length of days–heaven and earth are called to witness–will count. When we choose life our time counts even moreso.

Before I had children I would strive to be on time for everything. My parents were not the on time sort, and apparently I used to complain that I was the last child to be picked up from things.

Today I not only have to be late to things, but I have to miss commitments. Things I never would have done before children. But life is more complicated now I have a church, a husband, 3 children-one of whom is autistic-and myself.

WAIT! that meeting was today too? I had it in a different time stream in my mind and didn’t realize it was the same day.

Time no longer runs in straight lines for me, its seems to squiggle and intersect in weird ways. Its like running parallel world at the same time.

Thus obligations and time and everything flows differently.

We count our days, but God is the true reckoner, and God’s way of counting is not in pure math or numbers. Its in experiences and hope, its in the life-giving moments.If I have three children, then God has all children. If time flows different with different children for me, then time takes on meaning beyond seconds and minutes and days. Time has become an out of body experience. But time has also become more meaningful than trying to do all the things or trying to count up my life by counting. Because nobody has time for that. Time has to count with the goodness and fullness of days.

Because, God is timeless, its hard to conceptualize A Being beyond time…

A Being who just Is, for whom Was and Will Be are intrinsic.

 

god-in-time

Time counts differently for God

Time counts differently for God’s people.

Hold Fast to God, but how do I do that? My concept of holding on is to calculate the time I spend in prayer or measure the good deeds that are done. I’m too human, I can only love by keeping track. As evidenced in this 30sec clip  http://thirtysecondsorless.net/author/kstenta/

God loves me, without needing to keep track.

How do I let go of the relentlessness of time? How do I enter the time of Lent?

 

 

 

#ash #psalm51 #relentless #lent #slatespeak

I have been feeling the #relentless-ness of life this season. The relentlessness of the news cycle, telling me over and over how broken we are…

The Jewish Community Center daycares receiving bombthreats

The 7 Trans women who have been murdered

The queer couples who married quickly, just in case

The travelers who are being detained and kept from their families

The need for young transpeople to go to the bathroom safely

The international relationships that are in peril

The Jewish cemeteries being desecrated

The Dakota Pipeline camps being cleared out

http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=Psalm+51

Ministry, is about life, which means that there is seldom a “normal week” in the church. The best of ministry is open and adaptable, because Life is Relentless. The basement pipe leaks, then a member is ill and dies, then the governing body is borrowing your building for a meeting, then your board member steps down. This is church, its imperfect, because its alive. Its real, because it reflects real life, its about the imperfections and love in the midst of the daily-ness.

Relentless, means “unmerciful” and “heartless” and “unforgiving” Life is indeed relentless.

Lent, then is the season of the opposite.

Its the season of “have mercy on me O God” the season of God’s “steadfast love” the season of “abundant mercy.” Its the season of pause and reflection. Its the wait and see, its the celebration of the journey.

And I am aching for this season. The restoration of Joy, because only God can provide Joy in this time of weary sin. Only God can sustain a spirit of willingness.

Good thing you like broken spirits, God, cause thats what I got. Brokenness and Hope.

Lent & Relentlessness

c5nwu43uoaagif5