Monday, May 28, 2007

the credo community's lord's prayer

recently we visited an inner city ministry called urban seed in melbourne. they gather on tuesdays before lunch to worship and then they have a meal together. it is open to everyone and they welcome homeless folk and friends with mental illness. it is more than a safe space. it is a place where people find relationship, healing and dignity. here is their own version of the lord's prayer -

"God, our creator, provider and carer
You are the best and the fairest

We are committed to searching out and
living the way that you want us to

Help us not to worry about the future
and to share what we have with others

Forgive us when we destroy life
and teach us to create life instead

Give us courage to choose to forgive
those who hurt us

Be with us in our time of need
and help us not to give up

Our safety and life is in you"

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Blessed are the peacemakers

we appreciate keeping up with sean and rebecca gladding from mercy street. sean wrote this reflection for a weekly newsletter.

It seems that all things British made the front page of the Chronicle last week. What with the Queen’s first visit to the US in quite some time and Prime Minister Tony Blair announcing his resignation, I felt a twinge of homesickness most days. I remember sitting in a friend’s living room in Lubbock ten years ago watching the electoral votes come in that swept Blair’s “New Labour” into power – a new day was dawning in the U.K. But a decade later, much of the shine of that new day has worn off, and no doubt his legacy will be questioned by historians for years to come.
However, another story from the U.K. grabbed my attention more than either the Queen’s or the Prime Minister’s. This story could be found at the back of the Chronicle, in the International section. It was accompanied by a photograph I thought I would never see. A simple photograph, two men shaking hands. But two men who represent the opposing sides in a decades long, community dividing conflict. Ian Paisley of the Ulster Unionists, and Martin McGuinness of the Provisional I.R.A. – sworn enemies, now sharing power in co-governing Northern Ireland. Maybe that photograph will prove to be Tony Blair’s legacy.
Space does not allow me to go into the history of ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, that period beginning in the ‘70s. The religious divide – disenfranchised Catholic Republicans fighting pro-British Protestant ‘loyalists’ – literally pitted neighbour against neighbour. The violence and terrorism committed by both sides took so many lives, and not just “over there.” I remember bomb scares in my hometown as a young lad. My dad’s brother – my uncle Clive – was in an armored car destroyed by an IRA-planted landmine that killed everyone else inside, but which he survived, blown out of the turret. And this tragic scenario is being played out all over the globe: Sunni’s and Shi’a’s in Iraq; Israeli’s and Palestinians in the Middle East; Christians and Muslims in the Balkans; Darfur, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Timor…the list goes on and on.
That’s why that photo grabbed me. Because if Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness can find a way to sit down at the table and work together (largely due to Tony Blair’s tireless work), then maybe, just maybe, it’s possible that peace might be made in these other places. It is the tragedy of humanity that so much of the conflict in the world is fueled by religion – in the words of one of my favourite punk bands from the 80s, “worshiping the devil in the name of God.” Those who claim to be ‘children of God’ waging war, bombing, torturing, murdering others – all in the name of God, claiming God’s blessing. Jesus’ words cut to the heart of that lie: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Peacemakers. Not just violence avoiders. But those who work for peace. Whether quietly in their own family, or neighbourhood, or at the international level. God’s desire is for all of us to know shalom, God’s peace – God’s wholeness. And that peace is most often made one decision at a time – one choice at a time. In a world torn apart by tribal, ethnic, national and family violence, may you and I be those who make peace – may we become children of God.
See you on the Street this Saturday,
Until then – keep it weird!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mother's Day Proclamation

Retrieved from "wikipedia"

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says:
"Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice." Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means Whereby the great human family can live in peace, Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask That a general congress of women without limit of nationality May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient And at the earliest period consistent with its objects, To promote the alliance of the different nationalities, The amicable settlement of international questions, The great and general interests of peace.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

a theology of land

sherry and i have been working on better understanding what it means to be stewards of the land. mary fisher has helped us with a reading list and we are inspired to know about the greenhouse project in lexington that some of you are working in. we feel like these issues are critical right now as climate change begins to effect how food is grown across the planet.

this article from today's melbourne newspaper (the age) touches on these questions.
from the end of the article:

"We can't allow this to be thought of strictly as an economic or technological problem. We really have to think hard ... of what kind of role we want our agriculture to play in the future," said Paul Thompson, WK Kellogg chair in agriculture, food and community ethics at Michigan State University. Regional climate change effects on land and water also mean conflicts will be complex and have to be negotiated, resolved and debated within a regional and global context.
"It's really rethinking what land is beyond simply a productive factor in producing crops. Land has become a much more precious commodity - so the question is, how do you maximise the use of the land?" Spellman said.

click here to read the full piece...

Contemplation on Development

I am, within myself, a shade of infidelity,
a pall blowing in the winds of development,
refusing to be laid over the coffins of childhood and adolescence.
I stand with spades of decision round about.
I am plunging my hands knuckle deep into rich soil,
yet refusing to dig the six needed feet.
I am found at the place where children's night ends
and the morning sun of adulthood drops its rays onto my grave;
I stand in the dusk of between, not knowing how to mourn my own death.

Monday, May 07, 2007

good news for gardeners

we came across this bbc article and thought it might be of interest to those in communality digging deeper into the soil this spring.

see this link

more of dave andrews

slowly but surely i am reading through dave andrew's book, "not religion but love - practising a radical spirituality of compassion" with a women's group here in oz. the book contains pointed insights based on years of his experience of community life. the chapter on "breaking barriers of spitefulness" was a difficult one for me to read. i'm still convinced that spite is not only justifed at times, but it actually feels good. here's what dave thinks:

"Christ says we must give, forgive, and suffer, till we have exhausted our reserves; then ask God for the strength to give, forgive, and suffer some more. We are to give - as long as it meets someone's need. We are to forgive - as long as it sets someone free. We are to suffer - as long as our suffering creates the chance for a human being to be born again. We have reached the limits of the usefulness of our giving, forgiving, and suffering, only when our giving and forgiving makes us irritable, our suffering makes us resentful, or our generosity makes others incorrigible. If we become irritable or resentful, Christ said we must pray for grace to extend our capacity to give and forgive, in spite of how much we may have to suffer (Luke 6:32-36)."