Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Inhale Exhale

I breathed in hope and exhaled your name,
I closed my eyes and imagined your face;
I reached out and touched his garment
and hoped that his power would explode in my screams
in those dark moments when I see your tears
and your body shakes with doubts and fears.

I breathe in hope and exhale your name
I reach out and stroke his cheek
and catch the drop that escapes his eye,
and when he leans over, to my ear, I understand;
he breathes in promise and whispers your name.

Monday, October 23, 2006

elections

Maria sent this link out on our community list serve but i thought i would also post it here....

"As the election approaches, here is a website that has a survey sent to all local candidates, with their responses or lack thereof. It's set up by Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, which may or may not align with your personal politics, but it does seem to be a good resource for seeing some of the positions side-by-side. Hope it helps! Maria
http://kftcvoter.netcorps-or.org "

Sunday, October 22, 2006

fall


we took a family trip yesterday to Reed Orchard...i took this pic of a variety of apple called "Arkansas Black." it was beautiful to see the many different types (shapes, colors, tastes) of apples and pears. the Creator seems to delight in variety. It was a spectacular day and Isaac ate his body weight in apples. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

the stranger in my DNA

Yesterday during Kingdom Conference at Asbury Seminary, Professor Christine Pohl spoke in a moving and prophetic way about the biblical mandate to welcome the stranger and care for the alien in our midst. With this year’s theme “Crossing Borders at Home” the focus is on refugee resettlement and immigration. Artfully and yet plainly, she lead us through the metanarrative of Scripture, reminding us of God’s loving and hospitable initiatives to a nobody people who were guaranteed that throughout their history they would be strangers again and again. We were carried through texts such as Exodus 23, Genesis 12, Matthew 25 and 1 Peter 2. In and through these, an identity unfurls of being both a stranger and a host. This central thread in the Bible culminates in the report that Jesus, as a child, was forced to flee to Egypt with his family. It is not often remembered that our Lord and Savior himself was a refugee at the start of his life.

As I heard this message, I was inspired, convicted, and overcome. I thought of two things personally. I recognized the privilege of my fatigue and burnout in the work of refugee resettlement and the shame that goes with it. I had the honor of receiving and serving families forced by war and conflict to reside in a strange and sometimes unwelcoming land. And yet, even as I’ve shared in the role of host, I hadn’t realized that somewhere wrapped up in me is an alien and the genetic memory of being an outsider. Because we are grafted into the story of the people of Israel, this identity of stranger in a strange land is ours too.

This is our story, our genealogy. Recently my father shared with me about his substantial work on our family’s genealogy. He loves it. He managed to meticulously document our relatives back to the 1600s. What he unearthed is rich in stories and places of the people who made us, the Espy’s. Without any effort or leap of imagination, I easily associated with these long-since-dead people I never knew and I thought, “oh, great, these are my people.” An inherited dignity is ascribed to me by my ancestors that takes no work on my part and asks nothing of me – a detached history.

More ancient and central than this earthly lineage is my inheritance and place in the story from Scripture As Christine reminded us, this family tree comes with mandates, frightful promises of exclusion, burdens to live justly, and the Head of the clan being crucified. This heritage is one I don’t always want to belong to. Of course, it also comes with the mystery of grace and abundant life. The important thing about the renewal that came in those moments in chapel is that the reminder of identity and the acknowledgement of who’s I am spills over into the call again to live and to act as a servant, a blessing…to cross borders again and again, simultaneously aware of my own exile and the holy honor of being a welcoming host.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

please pray

...for Lisa and Ty Samson as they meet with others in this nation's capital today. They are gathering to protest the use of torture and the related, recent changes to US law. Whenever our kin in missional community go out and put their hope into action like this we are mindful that they represent us and we are called to support them. Here's a clip and link from and to Will's post at his blog.

This Tuesday there will be a demonstration at the White House, just prior to the time when the President is to sign the Military Commissions Act of 2006, legislation that legalizes torture of prisoners. Further, this bill would eradicate the the writ of habeas corpus for detainees, meaning that we have eliminated the process for determining if the prisoners we are torturing are even individuals of interest. God help us (and I mean that quite literally). This is a terrible piece of legislation and ranks the United States with some of the cruelest and most barbaric cultures.

see here for more details in Will's post: http://willzhead.typepad.com/willzhead/2006/10/take_your_stand.html

Monday, October 16, 2006

Thanksgiving.......

Last night after our fellowship meeting I had a really nice conversation with John and Katheryn about their work at First UMC, what's happening in the broader city, and the various other things that seem to be coming together among Christians on the national and international level. It was an encouraging conversation. During the talk John and Katheryn shared about how amazed they have been at the example of the Amish community in Pennsylvania who have made amazing efforts to come around the family of the man who murdered and maimed many of their children. We agreed that this is an awesome example of mercy, grace, and belief in the power of kindness and compassion to overcome evil and oppression. It is a timely reminder. In our world today there are a great many who have valid concerns about the ill-effects of "western" understandings of civilization, the current course of our consumerist culture, and the ideology of violence that seems to underlie so much of our quest (especially in America) to "secure" our markets, beliefs, and personal lives. And at a time when war both threatens and continues to consume so many precious lives daily, I think it is amazing that we're given such a remarkable example of a simple and obscure people's refusal to repay "evil for evil." Though certainly as human and prone to weakness as the rest of us, the Amish have indeed given us all a gift at a time when we ALL really need it. It is possible to resist the negative influences and corruption of the surrounding culture with peace, love, compassion, and forgiveness. And it is possible, when the "filth" of the world pollutes our homes and communities, to act in a way that makes the hope and promise of another and better world seem possible. So, I give thanks for this wonderful gift, and thanks to John and Katheryn for taking the time to share and consider. I guess that is ultimately the greatest gift of all.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Green Living Expo in Lex

****3rd Annual Bluegrass Energy &Green Living Expo
Where: Lexington Convention Center/ Heritage Hall
Date: October 14- 15, 2006
Times: 10- 6 on Saturday, 11-5 Sunday
Contact: Ben Perry, event coordinator
Email: benperry@a-spi.org
Phone/ Fax: (859) 523-4773

Description: The 3rd annual Bluegrass Energy &Green Living Expo is free and open to the public and includes sustainable living workshops, educational exhibits, a Children's Expo, and a trade show offering a variety of green products and services!
Visit our website at http://www.bluegrassenergyexpo.org/ for directions and more details.

SCN will conduct 2 workshops at the Expo on Sustainability Philosphy and Practice...Saturday at 5pm and Sunday at 4pm in Room D...everyone is invited to help facilitate this conversation.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Mercy and Justice

our friend (and missionary hero in India), Kate Pocklington sent us this quote.

Mercy is like the ambulance at the bottom of a cliff, ready to help those who fall.
Justice builds a fence at the top of the cliff to protect them from falling in the first place.
Mercy wipes the tears from the eyes. Justice asks, “Why are you crying?”
Mercy welcomes the hungry to gather around G_d’s banqueting table.

Justice addresses why some are under the table aching of hunger while others are sitting on top of the table aching from gluttony.
Mercy seeks and saves those lost in the darkness.

Justice asks, “Why is it dark? Who is keeping it dark? Who is benefiting from this darkness? Is it I, Lord?”
Can You Hear Me? – Brad Jersa

grocery downtown?

this was in today's local paper....
"Grocers might return to downtown"

would be a nice thing for those of us living in the city. here's hoping...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

is god green?

i wanted to pass on this information (from an email we recieived) about a show tonight...Sherry and I were actually contacted by the producer of this show some time back and it looks like an interesting program.

I wanted to let you know – and ask you to spread the word – about an important PBS special that airs this week and prominently features the role of faith in the fight against mountaintop removal coal mining.

In “Is God Green?” – which airs this Wednesday, October 11 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check your local listings) -- Bill Moyers examines the changing views towards the environment among evangelical Christians.The documentary features Allen Johnson, co-founder of Christians for the Mountains. As one review puts it:
The program explores the real-world consequences of mountaintop mining and its toxic by-products on the local water supply, profiling residents forced to live with drinking water allegedly contaminated by harmful chemicals and their fight against a subsidiary of the region’s largest coal company, Massey Energy. Allen’s group is working to recruit local churches to explore the pollution problem as a theological and Biblical issue, and to join their fight. Today, after 12 years, the local government is building the infrastructure that eventually will bring clean water to the effected communities.

Here at Appalachian Voices, we know that people of faith have a critical role to play in the effort to end mountaintop removal mining. Five major religious denominations have already passed resolutions against mountaintop removal mining.You can learn more about the intersection of religion and the fight against mountaintop removal mining by clicking on this link:http://www.ilovemountains.org/prayers

And if you haven’t yet done so, please add your voice to the more than 2,000 Americans who have already pledged to help end mountaintop removal mining by visiting the

ILoveMountains.org website:http://www.ilovemountains.org/take_action/Please forward this email to your friends and family, and invite a friend over on Wednesday to watch “Is God Green?” Getting the word out about the real consequences of mountaintop removal mining is critical to our efforts to end this destructive practice. Thank you for taking action.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

more words for community living

"as long as we are on earth, the love that unites us will bring us suffering by our very contact with one another, because this love is the resetting of a Body of broken bones. even saints cannot live with saints on this earth without some anguish, without some pain at the differences that come between them. there are two things that men can do about the pain of disunion with other men. they can love or they can hate. hatred recoils from the sacrifice and the sorrow that are the price of this resetting of bones. it refuses the pain of reunion."

thomas merton

lord, help us to love.

Global Warming: Local Practices, Global Effects

“An Inconvenient Truth” with panel-led discussion
Wednesday, October 11, 2006 at 5:30 PM
"Global Warming: Local Practices, Global Effects"Presented by TERRA, the Transylvania Environmental Rights & Responsibilities Alliance

Kentucky Theatre
5:30 -- Free showing of "An Inconvenient Truth"
7:15 -- Panel Discussion with
Congressman Ben Chandler;
Deputy Secretary of the EPPC, John Clay;
Dr. James Wagner, Professor of Biology, Transylvania University;
and Dr. Alan Bartley, Professor of Economics, Transylvania University

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Sign and a Psalm

Last week I walked behind the old court house on my way somewhere. I noticed a historical marker that I hadn't seen before. It noted that on this square, in the shadow of the courthouse, humans were once sold. White people would buy and trade black people here. The marker noted that children were often separated from their parents. This was also the site of a whipping post where slaves were beaten if they were out in town past curfew. Here was the market, an open air, free market, and the law enforcement, that sustained slavery here in our town, in Lexington. When I turned away from this sign, I saw that I had missed the light at the crosswalk. I felt a bit disoriented as I waited on this corner with my thoughts. I could be down the street had I not read this sign. It is a sort of burden to consider our history on a sunny morning; it does not lend itself to efficiency. It is not terribly easy to get on with a morning after such a lesson (though, to be fair, it is probably easier than it should be.) I am not sure how the Psalmist does it. Psalm 90 begins with a reflection that God has been our dwelling place for all generations, that God has been "from everlasting to everlasting." God has been present throughout our histories, observing, participating, allowing some pepole to buy and trade, and others to be bound. Somehow, the Psalmist is not paralyzed by history. How can this be? How are we to journey with this God who has been present for our sins and those of our fathers? How can I ask that God establish the work of my hands when they tremble so?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

(not) crocodile tears

i was really sad when i heard about that crocodile bloke from Australia, Steve Irwin. i was quite surprised how sad i felt and i'm still not sure why - perhaps it's because i'm australian and a long way from 'home', perhaps it was Steve's love for nature that enlivens me, perhaps i'm just soft. anyway, the other day my dad sent me a link to this article by Brian Mclaren and it caused tears to flow as a lament and in gratitude - a proper grieving. it managed to touch me where my sadness lay and i'm very grateful for Brian's writing. here's a snippet from the piece and here's the link to read the whole article.

I don’t recall Steve speaking of God much. But every time he said, “Isn’t that a little beauty!” I think he was speaking for God, the One who notices and loves the smallest goodness of every created thing. The look on his face when he sat with an orangutan or swam with a green sea turtle or let a lizard perch on his finger – that look in itself was a sign and a wonder. Sure, some people think he was over the top, but with millions of other fans, I miss him, and with them, I’m inspired to live life a little – no, a lot - louder and freer because of him … playing my own unique part in the sacred mission of saving love. Rest in peace, Steve-o. Well done.

Question

The following question came as a result of some discussions following Theta Phi lectures in chapel (at Asbury) last week. It's pretty broad but I'd love to know your thoughts.

Did Jesus expect his teachings to become national policies?