Thursday, June 26, 2008

world refugee day

you are invited to come and celebrate world refugee day with refugees who have come to our city of Lexington and the staff of KRM.

who: hosted by Kentucky Refugee Ministries

when:  Saturday, July 28th, 10am-1pm

where: woodland park (near the pavilion)

see this link for more information about the world refugee day and the UNHCR

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Further Reflections on Liminality

There is a space of existence between.
It is a period of unconnected moments
not defined by brokenness
but by darkness and wandering.

There I am, I see. Though much is unseen.
Between "Will you?" and "I do,"
Amidst the interlocking roots of two trees I dwell.
Opposing one another end to end.

One tree is the beginning
the other, consummation.
One's fruit taken and eaten,
the other to be given and received.

The Mandorla, a womb, a space between,
I am pre-existing here before I am born again,
before becoming one, before saying "I do,"
before a foreshadowing taste of the final fruit. 

the end of oil

my brother passed this article on to me.  from 'the independent' newspaper of london, it is a good summary of the oil (energy) crisis that has long been creeping up on us.  as people of the coming kingdom - people of hope - we must take these things very seriously and creatively engage with a world that will no doubt suffer greatly as resources diminish.  if you want to know more we would encourage you to watch "a crude awakening."

here's a link to the full article.

and here's an interesting couple of paragraphs...

Worryingly, for a world reliant on the dirt-cheap energy that oil provided throughout the last century, the idea that oil production in all nations may soon start to decline just as in the North Sea has been seeping into the mainstream. The "peak oil" theory – that oil production has reached its maximum and will soon begin its decline, bringing potentially catastrophic consequences to the modern world – no longer just comes from internet crackpots and conspiracy theorists; now geologists, market analysts and oil prospectors believe that this scenario is becoming reality. And within the past year, there have been signs that the major oil companies are admitting this themselves. If they are right, high petrol prices could be the least of the world's problems.

The idea is simple enough. Those warning against an imminent peak oil crisis – the "peakists" – say that while the world will not totally run out of oil, all of the oil that is easy to reach has been all but used up, meaning that producing enough oil to meet the growing world demand is becoming an ever harder task. Worse, we now stand at the high water mark of oil production. That means that not only will we never be able to produce much more oil than the 87 million barrels a day we now consume, but world oil production will actually begin to fall very soon, causing not only ever higher prices, but also creating the prospect of shortages, industrial upheaval, battles over ever-depleting resources, and even an end to the modern world built upon the assumption of a plentiful supply of cheap oil.


One of the best things about living together in community is watching our children grow up together. For parents who have older children I know that it can be a difficult thing to be around so many people with very young children. Our ability to relate is definitely limited and I grieve that difficulty. But I wanted to give thanks for something that has been a tremendous blessing for me over the last couple of months. We've been spending some good time with Issac and it has really been wonderful to watch he and Miranda play with each other and simply enjoy life brings me a lot of hope and are a couple of pics...... (Above: Issac, Miranda, & Maria riding an elephant at the Shriner's Circus!)
Issac and Miranda at Lexington Cemetery

The religious false self

This is something that I read this morning from Bob Mulholland's book The Deeper Journey....perceptive and challenging, something I need to hear every day.....:

"A friend of mine once said, as he began the second of a two-lecture series, 'The first step is the hardest. Then it gets more difficult!' The same could be said in dealing with our false self. The reality of this pervasive, deeply entrenched, self-referenced structure of being as the primary context of our spiritual journey is one of the hardest things for us to acknowledge. We tend to think of it as a 'surface phenomena' that can be treated by a few cosmetic alterations in our behavior. We are slow to accept the fact that our false self is who we are all the way to the core of our being. We are profoundly habituated to a self-referenced way of being in the world. Jesus makes this umistakably clear when he says, 'If anyone would come after me, they must deny themselves,' and, 'Whoever loses their self for my sake will find it' (Mt. 16:24-25)." Jesus is not talking about giving up candy for Lent. He is calling for the abandonment of our entire, pervasive, deeply entrenched matrix of self-referenced being.

It is even more difficult, however, for us to acknowledge the reality of our religious false self. Our religious false self presumes, because we are religious, that everything is fine in our relationship with God. Oh, to be sure, there may be a need for some 'fine-tuning' of a few aspects of our life, a polishing up of a few of our rough edges. Our religious false self may be rigorous in religiosity, devoted in discipleship and sacrificial in service-without being in loving union with God.

We see a frightening example of this at the end of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus depicts a scene before the throne on the judgment day. A group of people appear and they say, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?' Obviously these were serious, dedicated disciples. Their lives had been spent doing 'God things.' But Jesus replies to them, 'I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers' (Mt. 7:22-23). Their lives, their ministries, were not grounded in loving union with Christ. They were religious false selves. They were so busy being in the world for God that they failed to be in God for the world. There is a great difference between these two ways. A religious false self will expend amazing amounts of energy and resources to be in the world for God. But you see, we are called to be in God for the world, and this is costly. It requires the abandonment of the whole self-referenced structure of our false self and, especially, the religious false self. Oswald Chambers says it well: "Salvation is not merely deliverance from sin, nor the experience of personal holiness; the salvation of God is deliverance out of self entirely into union with Himself (pgs. 47-48)."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

to inhabit a place

sherry and i have been reading and thinking and conversing about what it means to properly inhabit this place (lexington, ky).  it seems to us that one must grapple with fidelity to and love of a place in much the same way we grapple with fidelity and love as it relates to people and God.  Brueggemann writes ( in his book, "land: place as gift, promise and challenge in biblical faith) that much of the story of God involves three-way covenants/promises - God, humans, and the earth.

Some of us in community here are very much taken with the idea that we can enact faithfulness to the Triune Creator Covenant God by making long-term commitments to Lexington.  it is a small effort to affirm the particularity of the incarnation and speak a word of caution and perhaps rebuke against the hypermobility of our culture.  we are convinced that moving over and over again is ultimately dehumanizing and works against (for the most part) healthy human communities.

anyway, back to inhabiting a place...i read this quote in a book called "a christian theology of place" by John Inge (2003, p.131).  Inge is quoting Kemmis from his book, "community and the politics of place" (1990).

To inhabit a place is to dwell there in a practised way, in a way which relies upon certain regular, trusted habits of behaviour.  Our prevailing, individualistic frame of mind has lead us to forget this root sense of the concept of 'inhabitation.'  We take it for granted that the way we live in a place is a matter of individual choice (more or less regulated by bureaucratic regulations).  We have largely lost the sense that our capacity to live well in a place might depend upon our ability to relate to neighbours (especially neighbours with a different life-style) on the basis of shared habits of behaviour....In fact, no real public life is possible except among people who are engaged in the project of inhabiting a place.

Friday, June 13, 2008 attempt at prose poetry.

Disconnected. Helpless. Each choice blocked by barriers. Creations and situations over which I have no control. I am sick, voiceless, and lonely. Patience is a fruit whose plant has shallow roots in the soil of liminality. I am alone. I have no voice. Just a scratchy whisper escaping the swollen lining of the cavernous, gaping hole in my face. I have no place. Here. I have no home. Here. I am a stranger. Welcomed but lonely. My voice is tired. My mind and nerves are scarred. I have been thrust into this space between boundaries that I cannot see; it is dark, yet I am afraid to open my eyes lest I find that the place I am found in has no room for deal makers. Here, I am tired; here, I need a pillow to pull under my head; here, I want to find the place to curl up and find myself sleeping with grace. In peace. Enraptured. Alive. Again. 

Friday, June 06, 2008

Wake up call......

These days a lot of my reading has been focusing upon learning all that I can about the complex relationships that have arisen between the United States, China, India, and many other nations due to globalization. The book that I recently finished called The Elephant and the Dragon, about India and China, was both informative and daunting at points. Like many of the scholars, business leaders, and public policy makers interviewed in the book, I feel like we all need to invest more time in examining and coming to grips with the delicate nature of how global trade, labor, environmental policy, energy policy, and national identity/understanding are interwoven and immersed in potentially explosive tensions in our globalized world. These sections at the end of the book were really sobering for me....a few things that I am thinking about as we prepare to elect a new president......:

"Back in Mr. (Robert) Rubin's office, his serious tone of analysis takes on an edge of frustration. From where he sits, it seems that as the United States focuses on fighting the war on terror and a war in Iraq and Afghanistan, it isn't paying enough attention to the gathering storm right outside his windows: America isn't fighting the economic war that has already reached its shores. Mr. Rubin isn't really worried about the rise of India and China. He's worried about America. "What we've really got to do is to get serious, " Mr. Rubin says. "We have to address the various challenges we have and create the best possible environment in this country."

He reels off a rather gloomy list of what America must do to compete-matters that the nation has put on the back burner in recent years. "We've got to have a public education system that's first rate. We've got to get our basic reasearch back. We've got to get our fiscal house back in order" by reining in the budget deficit. He adds that the United States must recognize that "in the long run, good environmental policy is good economic policy." Then he pauses, and his almost perpetually worried look gives way as he thinks about how making these changes could change America. "We've got to put in place the ability to be the best we can be," Mr. Rubin says. A small smile emerges: "The best we can be might actually be pretty good (p 204)."

Reading further......

"Today's challenge is to ready the nation for the coming wave of stiff competition from India and China. The good news is that what the United States must do is clear: it must stengthen its educational and economic foundations and foster the innovation that will keep the U.S. ahead in the technology that underpins so many parts of the nation's culture and global economy. Now is the time for the United States to recognize the threat to American standards of living and to resolve to raise its game and compete on the new global terms. Forget protectionism. Forget letting the free market ride. To meet the challenges, the United States must choose a third way: the nation must focus on creating jobs, even as it increases support to those losing jobs."

"In readying for a storm of competition, America must return to basics. The most critical building block is education. Federal, State, and local governments-and the individuals who elect them-will be catastrophically irresponsible unless they insist on dramatically improved education, starting with elementary school. Despite years of hand-wringing and despite higher spending than other industrialized nations, America's schools threaten to leave the nation less competitive in global labor markets. A barrage of test scores shows American students are already far behind the world's academic leaders. U.S. universities are still considered the best in the world, but shockingly, American fifteen year-olds are tied for twenty-first place in average academic performance globally (p. 205)."