Monthly Archives: July 2009

Bridge Builder Award

 

bridgebuilder_award

Wooo Hooo!!!  I won an award for my blog!!!  You may not have heard about it as it is an award that was recently created by Wendy over at “Burning or Building Bridges In The Community?”   I’ll let her describe what it’s all about:

The bridge builder award  is pretty simple really. Think of a blogger or web writer you know who, in their connections with others, really has a heart for building bridges between all different types of people. Someone who leaves you with a little more hope, humor, humility, happiness.

My post for the Bridging The Gap Synchroblog  and the conversation that was generated from that post was what grabbed Wendy’s attention.

Be sure and check out Wendy’s blog.  She started her blog after she was fired from a non-profit organization strictly because of her sexual orientation. 

I want to say that I am humbled and thrilled to accept the Bridge Builder’s Award!!!!!!!!!!

Advertisements

Think on this…

416853172_af646da567

I found this at Kingdom Grace (I love her blog) and thought it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve read in a while.  Here’s hoping it is a blessing and inspiration to you as well.  (It was written by Baxter Kruger)

As the light of Jesus shines into our darkness, we will not be yearning to escape the ordinary, we will be stunned and full of wonder at the ordinary presence of the blessed Trinity in our humanity.

Heaven is not a bodiless state in an invisible place. Heaven is the life of the Father, Son and Spirit coming to full and abiding expression in our human existence, and the earth and the cosmos are filled with the life and love and fellowship of the blessed Trinity.

Meantime we grieve over the self-centeredness, over the lust and greed, the social and racial, environmental and political and religious injustices that run wild around us, wreaking such havoc in our lives.

And we fast and pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to us in our darkness.

We pray for people to be given eyes to see and that the way things are in Jesus Christ would indeed emerge more and more in our human existence.

 

A Lucy and Ethel Moment

2829268952_a1405bd731

 

When I was growing up my mother loved to watch the “I Love Lucy” show. It cracked her up when Lucy and Ethel would get themselves into some crazy predicament. I remember sitting on the couch beside her as we watched their comical antics, both of us laughing to the point of tears. It is one, among many, of my favorite memories of my mom.  Even though she passed away in 1993 I can still hear the sound of her laughing at Lucy and Ethel.  It just so happens that my best friend, Colleen, who lives in San Antonio, is also a big “I Love Lucy” fan.  And so it is probably no surprise that over the years we have dubbed some of our crazy times together as “Lucy and Ethel Moments”.

I was reminded of one of those moments recently when my friend, Jules, who blogs at The Wonderer, published a post that included some funny stories about herself.  (Check out her post here – you will crack up)  All of that to lead up to telling you about the time my friend and I maced ourselves.

My best friend, Colleen, lives in San Antonio, TX.  We usually manage to get together once or twice a year for a few days.  A few years ago I was in San Antonio for a visit.  One evening, after dinner, we relaxed on her patio, drank some wine and talked (talking with each other is one of our favorite things to do when we get together). 

At that time she lived in an apartment that backed up to some undeveloped land that looked like a small forest and was home to a lot of wildlife.  I use the term “wildlife” loosely as the animals were used to being fed by their human neighbors and were not afraid to get up close and personal.  It was really pretty cool the way the deer and squirrels would come right up to you. 

Anyway, there we were, sitting on the patio and here comes an armadillo – or maybe it was a possum – I really can’t remember which one it was now – coming right toward us.  Whatever it was, I remember it was ugly and was making a little grunting noise. We jumped up and started shooing it away.  It moved back a few feet, stopped for a minute or so and then headed back towards us.  Like I said, the wildlife there wasn’t afraid of humans and thought of humans as a source of food.  After a couple of times of shooing the animal away it became more bold.  It began to almost act aggressive and we were a little nervous, wondering if we should just move inside. Colleen said not to worry that if the animal got aggressive she had some mace on her key ring that was sitting on a small table beside her.  I asked her if she had ever used it and she said no and that prompted her to point it off in a direction away from us and away from the animal and spray a little to see if it worked.  It worked and we went back to talking and keeping an eye out to make sure our little friend didn’t sneak back up on the patio.

A few minutes later, my throat started feeling scratchy and felt like it might be closing up AND I started coughing.  I told Colleen what I was feeling and almost at the same time we noticed that there was an A/C unit sitting near the area she had sprayed the mace and realized that it had probably blown the mace back in our direction.  We were already sort of in that giggling mode that you can get to when you have been a little spooked about something (the wildlife) and we started to get tickled and freaked out at the same time. We started asking each other questions about whether we should call 911 because of the mace and we began to imagine how the call would go… 

911 Operator:  “Hello, this is 911, what’s your emergency.”

Me and Colleen: ”We were on the patio and we were afraid of an armadillo that is practically tame because it was sniffing around the patio to see if we had some food and we tested our mace by spraying it where an A/C unit was running and the mace blew back in our direction and well, we ended up macing ourselves.  Our throat is scratchy and feels like it is swelling up.  What should we do?”

911 Operator: “I’m not sure what you should do but I definitely think you need some help.”

We were ROFLOL.  We took our chances and never called 911 and we were okay.  Well, at least we were not harmed by the small dose of mace – whether we were okay or not was up for debate.

Anytime we are together and hear anything about mace we look at each other and start laughing uncontrollably.  It is definitely one of our favorite “Lucy and Ethel moments” ever. 

What about you?  Got any funny stories about yourself or you and a friend that you want to share?

Does Interfaith Dialogue Lead To Syncretism?

119927522_729802e22eLast year I attended a women’s bible study for a short period of time.  We met on Monday evenings for a couple of hours.  We prayed together, studied scripture together and socialized.  We are new in the community and I was hoping to make some new friends.  It didn’t turn out that way.

One evening, a few weeks into the study, I shared with a few of the women that I had been participating in an interfaith dialogue and that I was really enjoying it.  They had never heard of such a thing and wanted to know more.  They were uncomfortable with the idea that an interfaith dialogue is not focused on trying to convert others to Christianity.  They could not grasp that we, as Christians, could learn anything of value from someone outside of our faith.  They thought it was probably a sin to be willing to take the position that we might discover that we are wrong about something we believe.  In the end they believed that there was some sort of evil involved in the idea of interfaith dialogues and that there was probably a hidden agenda of syncretism.  The result for me was that I became someone they, at least, were worried about or, at worst, suspicious about.  Needless to say, I didn’t keep attending the Bible study for long after that.

My understanding and experience has been that interfaith dialogue does not require one to give up or hide one’s own beliefs.  It is true that it is not a dialogue that is focused on validating one’s own religious conviction but at the same time there is a need for one to be rooted in their own tradition in order to have a meaningful dialogue.  I believe that the dialogue not only offers us the opportunity to learn about the faith of others but to also discover dimensions of our own faith that may have been unknown or forgotten by us.  In addition, I believe that interfaith dialogue opens up the possibility of people of different faiths working together for the common good.

Still, there are many who believe that it is not worth the risk of our faith becoming polluted with what they would consider false ideas and beliefs and that the most probable outcome is a blended belief system.

What do you think?  Is interfaith dialogue a slippery slope that leads to syncretism that will just end up dilluting and harming Christianity?  Or is interfaith dialogue a worthy endeavor that will heal divides, make the world a better place and lead to Christians becoming better followers of Christ because of our encounter with others?

This month a group of us have decided to synchroblog on syncretism. The synchrobloggers so far:

How To Cook Up A Personal Jesus by Matt Stone

How to be a Syncretist by Ellen Haroutunian

Our Uncomfortable God by Susan Barnes

Synching on Syncing by Phil Wyman

The Man In The Moss by Steve Hayes

We Had Him by Maya Angelou – For Michael

As a young girl I roller skated around the skating rink on Friday nights with the colored lights spinning slowly while “I’ll Be There” played so loud that you couldn’t hear your own voice singing along and later I sat in video bars and stared in awe at the tv screens while the “Thriller” and “Billie Jean” videos were played.  I’m sad at the passing of Michael Jackson – sad that his life ended so suddenly and because it seems as if it ended before it was finished.  I loved the poem that Maya Angelou wrote in his honor that was read at the Staples memorial and so I wanted to share it here.

 

mj thriller

mj rehearsalmj

mj street art

 mj star

 

 

 

 

We Had Him by Maya Angelou

Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing

Now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind

Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace

Sing our songs among the stars and and walk our dances across the face of the moon

In the instant we learn that Michael is gone we know nothing

No clocks can tell our time and noo oceans can rush our tides with the abrupt absence of our treasure

Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone

Piercingly alone

Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him

He came to us from the Creator, trailing creativity in abundance

Despite the anguish of life he was sheathed in mother love and family love and survived and did not more than that

He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style

We had him

Whether we knew who he was or did not know, he was our’s and we were his

We had him

Beautiful, delighting our eyes

His raked his hat aslant over his brow and took a pose on his toes for all of us and we laughed and stomped our feet for him

We were enchanted with his passion because he held nothing

He gave us all he had been given

Today in Tokyo, beneath the Eiffel Tower, in Ghana’s Blackstar Square, in Johannesburg, in Pittsburgh, in Birmingham, Alabama and Birmingham England, we are missing Michael Jackson

But we do know we had him

And we are the world.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words – SBC kicks out gay friendly church

437384421_0e216c1a1eLove Loud: Actions Speak Louder Than Words is the Southern Baptist Convention’s theme this year.

I find the theme ironic in light of their recent decision to expel Broadway Baptist Church of Fort Worth, Texas from the SBC due to the fact that Broadway (in their opinion) did not put enough effort into opposing homosexuality.

Back in 2007 Broadway Baptist was preparing to celebrate its 125th birthday and part of that celebration was to include a church pictorial directory that would include yearbook style photos of its members and families.  A problem arose when some gay couples (I think it was three gay couples) asked to have their pictures included.  It quickly became a divisive struggle as the church began to disagree as to whether allowing the gay couples’ photos to appear in the directory would be an endorsement of homosexuality.  After much debate and a vote, it was decided that no family photos would be used – instead group photos would be taken and published in the directory.  The issue led to a lot of conflict within the church and eventually to a motion before the SBC to disassociate from Broadway.

There was no evidence that the church endorsed or affirmed homosexuality but the SBC eventually decided that there was a lack of active opposition (like asking gay persons to resign from their volunteer positions and offering some sort of restorative ministry for gays) and voted to oust Broadway Baptist after a 127 year relationship with them.

I remember when I first heard about the directory issue at Broadway – I was disappointed that it was an issue, after all, they weren’t worried about including pictures of gossips, gluttons, adulterers, thieves, liars, drug users, unwed mothers, divorced people or even straight people who didn’t think homosexual relationships were sinful – they were only concerned about including pictures of gay couples, and I was disappointed that they ended up with the “no family photos” decision.  I thought it was a poor attempt in demonstrating the love of Jesus.  But now that they have been ousted by the SBC I feel a little better about their “small step for gaykind”.  I still think it is sort of lame that Christians can shock the world so easily by displaying a little tolerance – I really think we should be shocking the world with an extravagant and generous love – but I think the attention this church has received over this issue is going to help in the long run.  So, as sad as I am that there are still so many who think God’s mission is to keep openly gay people from serving in the Kingdom of God and from being recognized members of the body of Christ, I am hopeful because of those who are slowly standing up against that kind of mindset and I am thankful that Broadway Baptist did not take formal congregational action to condemn homosexuality (as some conservatives wanted to see happen).  Click here to read “Disfellowship and Dismay”, an excellent column from the interim pastor of Broadway Baptist.

No matter what the SBC says – I think their actions are loud and clear!