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  • [From June 30, 2012 & July 1, 2000 archives]The sins that bind and oppress--hatred, selfishness, jealousy, pride, vindictiveness--all enemies shall retreat in the day we call to you. To us it was a hard thing, when Aaron was dying, to strip him of his vestments and put them on his son; but it was thought a father can die, yet live on in his son. Much more crucially, because you are for us we can die to our old life, and yet live in your Son. Blessed is the one who came in your name.  Hosanna! Lectionary Readings Ps. 56; 149; 118; 111 Num. 20:14-29 Rom. 6:1-11 Matt. 21:1-11 Selected Verses Ps. 56:9 Then my enemies will retreat           in the day when I call.           This I know, that God is for me. Num. 20:28a Moses stripped Aaron of his vestments, and put them on his son Eleazar; and Aaron died there on the top of the mountain. Rom. 6:8 But if we have died with Christ, we...

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  • John Baez came up with a “Crackpot Index” for those who think they are geniuses with revolutionary ideas in physics. What do you say we adapt the list for the field of historical Jesus? How do you think the list below – adapted ever so slightly from Baez’s – works? What changes would you recommend? How [Read More...]

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  • Country Parson

    Most everyone around here knows my politics are center left, what I call pragmatic.  It means that legislative proposals have to satisfy some simple questions.  Will they promote the good of the community?  How?  Will they work?  How?  Can we pay for them?  How?  I like politics, and I don’t have a problem with government, big or small, as long as the political process works with integrity to hammer out policies meeting the test of these simple questions within the context of our democratic traditions and ideals.  I want to make that clear up front to avoid questionable labeling about where I stand as this brief essay continues. A number of my well educated Liberal/Progressive friends are arrogantly dismissive of local tea party types as ignorant, unintelligent, yokels unwilling, maybe unable, to see what they see as the obvious political good.  Rudely huffy about the far right’s intransigence, they act as if it would help to...

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  • Luke 9:51-62Either the disciples are accustomed to calling down fire on folks or they’re blowing smoke. I’m voting for the latter. But then church folk do get a little hot under the collar when what they believe to be sacred is not well received. Jesus puts out their passion for revenge (and ours?) with a rebuke and the narrative continues with three on the road sayings. The cost of following Jesus will be high. No home. No time to bury the dead. No turning back. We tend to have an easier time of it and even if we make sacrifices we are not without the comforts of home or time to mourn or take care of business before doing whatever it is God has called us to do. So we are either “not fit for the kingdom of God” or the text does not apply to us. I’m going to opt for a middle way aka the Lutheran solution. We may indeed have comfortable places to lay our heads and take time to bury our dead and say farewell before following but being fit for the kingdom depends wholly on the One who had...

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  • Rev. Jeff Hood

      *Christian Parks is accompanying me again this summer. Throughout our time together, we will post brief snippets of our conversations.   C: In a break from visiting with the guys on death row, we had an amazing opportunity to witness the last glimpse of the Strawberry Moon over the ocean in Galveston. What did God say?   J: The pull of the ocean is always strong. There is something about the movement of those waves. The moon leads the dancing. A multitude of witnesses gather for the performance of the Divine. The ocean always makes me feel like I’m a part of the performance. God told me to move. What did God say to you?   C: In the midst of turbulent transition, God said “don’t afraid, my child. Just as a dance with the moon as it dances with the waves, so do I dance with you. Trust your steps. You may crash into the rocks with great force, know it is all part of the process – your process.”   J: It’s amazing that every grain of sand is a...

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  • From January of 2000 through May of 2002 I served a small church as an interim. They were reluctant, to say the very least, to have a pastor that was not male and not straight. It was a strange set of circumstances that only God can arrange that led me to be their pastor. We had an interesting couple of years together. We learned some things from each other, both good and less than good. That church struggled with a lot of fear and a huge reluctance to go where God was calling them. Simply put, they did not want to change. One Sunday I was preaching on Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt into the desert on the way to the Promised Land. I’ve always had a strong affinity for Moses and all that he had to endure in service to God and God’s people. In that sermon I laid out the difficulties facing Moses. I started with the fact that he said no to God five times and ended up doing as God asked him to do, anyway. Then I moved on to the moaning and groaning of the people as soon as...

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  • Tamed Cynic

    Here’s the second half of our most recent conversation with guest Fleming Rutledge, author of The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ. https://www.spreaker.com/user/crackersandgrapejuice   Follow @cmsvoteup

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  • Though we pressed our bibles to your hands and promised you life in the deep chilly river we never meant to love you and prayed Christ would forgive you for not being like us, not even at the threat of death. Though we survived by your blood and thrived on your charism and consumed your resources we never meant to love you and resented that your resilience outlived us, defied us, but never saved us from this death. Though we pledged to embrace your spirit distinct from its desires & needs & dreams we never meant to love you and made of your affections a golden calf for which we killed faith & preached death. Though we traveled the world in great hopes of far becoming near and the strange familiar we never meant to love you and now you are too near so let us not risk familiarity, else we care about your death. Though we etch in our hearts “God so loved” and pontificate amply of “brothers & sisters” we never meant to love you and build walls of ...

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  • Meantime we shall express our darker purpose. Give me the map there. Know that we have divided In three our kingdom: and ’tis our fast intent To shake all cares and business from our age; Conferring them on younger strengths, while we Unburthen’d crawl toward death. – King Lear (with thanks to André) [Image: Nicholas Harding, ‘Study for John Bell as King Lear’, 1998–2001]  Filed under: Politics, Theology

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  • Knowing Summary and background on the show How each of us got into it Reading Skylar and fan hatred Walter Jr., Gus, and models of manhood in “Salud” Hank and White machismo The Cousins and the cult of La Santa Muerte Faust in the ABQ Passing On https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Met%C3%A1stasis http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/24/opinion/i-have-a-character-issue.html?_r=0 http://www.amc.com/shows/better-call-saul

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  • Khanya

    The Glade Within The Grove by David Foster My rating: 4 of 5 stars A book about the establishment of a hippie commune in 1968/69 in southern New South Wales. The story is told by a retired postman, who discovers the manuscipt of an epic porm on the topic in the bottom of an old mail bag, The Ballad of Erinungarah . He asked a friend, Kimberley Moon, about the poem, and tried to follow up the events of 27 years previously, when the members are scattered or dead, and the children have grown up, I found it an interesting and good read, and found it particularly interesting because the people involved in starting the commune were about my age, and in the same period I was involved in starting a commune, though of a rather different kind. Another reason for finding it interesting is that, though the location was fictional, the general area was at one time the home a relative of my wife Val. Her name was Agnes Green, and she lived a very interesting life, part of it in Southern New South...

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  • There's so much to this story that's old news, so much that's so awful yet so obscenely ordinary, that the whole thing is almost predictable. To a point. At some D-1 university, some football players get drunk along with some maidens who've come for a party they really wouldn't wish on their worst enemy. Too much booze goes down, waaaay too much, and things go on that are beyond reprehensible, plain criminal. Rape goes on. Again and again.Brenda Tracy, 24, a single mom, should not have been in the company of footballers from the local university, Oregon State, that night. She had her own life and the lives of her children to attend to. But she was. When she woke up, she was naked beneath a sheet. Something beyond imagination, worse than a nightmare had gone on.The attack lasted more than six hours and as I went in and out of consciousness the things that they did to me are now burned into my memory, Like a piece of cattle I was branded, never to forget eight hands on me,...

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  • Allan R. Bevere


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  • Perhaps nobody in the history of Christianity has so clearly understood the power of humor and wit to indicate truth as Gilbert Keith Chesterton did. G.K., as he was known, was a writer who was also dubbed the "prince of paradox" because of his uncanny ability to formulate short but insightful sentences that seemed, at first, to smack of wrongness only to give way to sublime truth. He was educated in both art and literature but never received a degree in either subject. Instead, he became associated with publishing houses and freelance journalism. He had been raised a nominal Christian but found himself fascinated by religious and philosophical subjects from a relatively young age. Consequently, he "drifted" closer and closer to the Church as the years wore on and his writings led him closer and closer to Truth. He was an apologist of a sort that was difficult to confront. His humility and compassion in the presence of his opponents presented them with ample opportunities to...

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  • Five items for June...1. The second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt released on Netflix in April, and we finally sat down to slowly binge our way through it this month. Kimmy continues her adjustment to life after being trapped in the bunker, this time around finally visiting a therapist whom she finds through unconventional means. Her friends Titus, Lillian, and Jacqueline also get into misadventures of their own, including finding love, protesting the hipsterization of the neighborhood, and trying to maintain her high society status, respectively. But the main story is Kimmy's finally reconciling with her feelings about the bunker, which of course play out in sometimes ridiculous ways. But the wackier moments of this show are always grounded in a warmth that help the viewer care about the characters beyond whatever silly thing they end up doing next.2. I read When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi this month. Kalanithi was a neurological surgeon who, in his mid-30s, was...

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  • Some months, I’m in the mood for John the Baptist. I’m ready to go into the wilderness. I’ve got a file of recipes for locusts and wild honey. I’m in a daring mood—I’ll speak truth to the King Herods of the world, even if it means my head on a platter.But much of the time, when John the Baptist shows up in the lectionary or when we celebrate his feast day on June 24 or when we talk about prophets in general, I’m weary. Most of the time, I'm tired of having prophets like John the Baptist call me part of a brood of vipers or comparing me to shrubbery that refuses to behave.I know, I know, I have all these faults. Don't threaten me with that ax. I try so hard to bear good fruit, but I'm afraid it isn't enough. I'm surrounded by people who are clearly in a more crabby mood than I am, and I'm trying to be sympathetic, but it's hard. This attempt of mine to transform myself into a compassionate person is taking longer than I thought it would. I see people at work having meltdowns, and...

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  • Meanwhile, over here in the colonies, there’s a much-welcome statement from Australian-based psychologist Steve Biddulph on why Eddie McGuire should resign: In case you are in any doubt, I think he should resign too. The pattern is important to understand if we are to end violence against women. Caroline Wilson is a serious journalist, she made valid and important – but always reasoned – criticisms of Eddie McGuire’s performance as a manager of Collingwood. That’s her job. A grown up would have two options – to address her arguments and make a case why she was wrong. Or to concede that she was right. But instead of engaging as an equal and an adult, Mr McGuire seethed, and in a setting where he felt safe, among mates, and in the hearing of several million people, they joked about – essentially – killing her. When shamed men can’t deal with the anxiety they feel, they choose to resolve it by imagined, or real, violence, and rally support from other men to make that okay. This...

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  • It is always fun when you find yourself as guest hosting a host. It was a joy on Tuesday night for KCML to host the Wellington Forum of Central Presbytery. The place was packed. Extra chairs were needed with locals suggesting it was the largest ever gathering of the Wellington Forum. When we as KCML […]

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  • [From June 27, 2014 archive]Loving God, in your grace you have given us a free gift--the grace of Jesus Christ--which has abounded for many. Like the blind by the roadside we call to Jesus to have mercy on us; like Israel in the desert we cry out in despair. But the terrible darkness that so frightens us is not dark to you, O Lord, for to you the night is as bright as the day. By your light lead us; by your grace, calm our fear. Lectionary Readings Ps. 130; 148; 32; 139 Num. 20:1-13 Rom. 5:12-21 Matt. 20:29-34 Selected Verses Ps. 139:12 …even the darkness is not dark to you;          the night is as bright as the day,          for darkness is as light to you. Num. 20:5 "…Why have you brought us up out of Egypt, to bring us to this wretched place?  It is no place for grain, or figs, or vines, or pomegranates; and there is no water to drink."  [The people to Moses] Rom. 5:15b...

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  • John P. Leggett

    Anger seldom shows up these days. At least the good kind. The good kind of anger enables hope to flourish, because it can remove the scales from our eyes so that we can see the things that are wrong with the world. And that kind of anger is the first step toward finding the courage to set things right. It is an anger that exists for the sake of wholeness and health. I would love to see that kind of anger alive in the world, and in myself. But too often I bump into another kind of anger, the anger that exists not to set things right. It lives solely for itself. It cares nothing about justice or setting things right. It is an all-consuming anger that chokes the possibility of hope. That kind of anger explodes, but rather than creating energy for change, it leaves nothing but destruction. I hate seeing that kind of anger in the world, and in myself. But it shows up everywhere I turn. I see it seizing presidential candidates who try to outdo one another in showing anger. I hear it in the...

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  • My upcoming newsletter column will be an announcement--having already submitted a proposal at my congregation's annual general meeting this past January--of my upcoming sabbatical for the first three months of 2017.Those columns, though, only have space for a few hundred words, and I chose to dedicate those to outlining for my congregation the process of calling a part-time interim sabbatical pastor to provide worship and administrative leadership in my absence.But there is a larger discussion to be had here.Many (perhaps most) churches still do not offer their pastors any sabbatical time, despite the fact that (a) it's Biblical (Leviticus 25:1-7; the people are to refrain from their usual work after six years, the seventh year is meant to be a rest for the land that physically nourishes them, much in the same way a pastor spiritually nourishes a people) and (b) church leadership experts have concluded that a sabbatical is an extremely useful tool in prolonging a pastor's tenure...

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  • An enduring symbol of medical practice is the physician’s caduceus; it’s a winged staff, with two serpents twined around it.Robertson Davies reminded me that the Greek myth of Hermes is this symbol’s origin. Hermes came upon two warring snakes, “who writhed and fought upon the ground at his feet. To restore peace, the god thrust his staff between them, and they curled around it, forever in contention, but held in a mutuality of power by the reconciling staff” (Davies, The Merry Heart, 97).One serpent represents knowledge; the other stands for wisdom. Good doctors need both.Wisdom, of course, isn’t the same as knowledge. They’re more like cousins than like twins.Knowledge asks about “what” and “how”; wisdom muses about “why” and “who.”For doctors, knowledge has to do with curing and is focused on the body. Wisdom has to do with healing and concerns the whole person, who is an embodied spirit or an inspirited body.It’s not just physicians who need both knowledge and wisdom. We all do....

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  • I've shared images of the ancient Israelite view of the universe before. But above is a video that talks you thought it, created and narrated by Mike Heiser.  

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  • This is the final day of the 2016 Enoch Seminar meeting on the Gospel of John and Jewish messianism. It has been as fascinating as each of the preceding days. There were short papers on topics such as John and Philo’s Logos, John and mysticism, and John and the imagerly on the recently-discovered Migdal Stone. [Read More...]

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