Tuesday, May 29, 2007

TIMING IS EVERYTHING...

I have enjoyed blogging through The Phaith of St. Phransus and sharing and cultivating theological ideas with friends and fellow bloggers.

I have decided that I need to take some space away from blogging for a season and spend my time studying, and reflecting where God is leading me.

I may come back to blogging after I had some time away, but it probably won't be as The Phraith of St. Phransus. We'll just have to see about that one.

Thanks for wonderful wonderful discussions, challenges, and most of all friendships (which I value more than ever).

shalom,

Jonathon Norman

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

GREAT NIGHT TONIGHT


I just got home from wed. night youth activities and am winding down. Tonight we had a coffee house/benefit concert to raise awareness and funds for Darfur relief. IT WENT GREAT!! What was my favorite part?


Fav Part 1: It had to be that the band who performed is one of my favs right now- The Psalters. They lead a large youth crowd in singing the apostle's creed, part of the communion liturgy, and ended with their great rendetion of the Lord's Prayer. All of this great music set to their tribal/gypsy/punk rock affinity.


Fav Part 2: my youth group did such a wonderful job at being hosts tonight. I saw my kids step up and show wonderful hospitality to both a very humble group of artists and musicians and to the guests who came to the coffee house. WAY TO GO Y'ALL!!


Fav Part 3: Brian McLaren came!! Well, not really for the show, but he was there. He is in town for the Festival Of Homiletics and I along with Team JV will be assisting him in the morning with "Emerging Worship" so Team JV met to go over the worship gathering.


Fav Part 4: Red Hands!!


Pics will come later after Gavo sends them to me and I will post. I will leave with this quote from the newest Psalters CD, "The Divine Liturgy of the Wretched Exiles" which I picked up tonight:

oh it is true that songs can do what bombs have always missed?
to strike the lips of power that all meen have longed to kiss
that all may know if You don't save than everything is lost
Your road map to freedom is from infancy to cross

no rock will bear my load, i'll cry out loud with in my time
a battle cry against this world
"God help me!" is the line
and as i rush upon the field i know i may fall slain
but i would rather fight and die than live my life in vain

THOUGHTS ON WAR....

great article by William Cavanaugh:

History does not tend to be kind to Christian theologians who demand war.

Peter Steinfels recently called attention to a contemporary history lesson drawn in an ongoing debate between Catholic neo-cons who have supported the Iraq war and the popes and bishops who have not (“A Catholic Debate Mounts on the Meaning of ‘Just War,’” The New York Times, April 14). In the April issue of First Things, George Weigel revisits his arguments for the justice and necessity of the Iraq war and refuses to admit regret. Weigel instead casts blame for the failures in Iraq in two directions: the U.S. foreign policy community who failed adequately to plan for the war’s aftermath, and the Arab Islamic political culture whose “irresponsibility, authoritarian brutality, rage and self-delusion” has caused them to refuse “the foreigner’s gift” of political freedom that we have brought them. (I’m not making that up.)

The history lesson is delivered in a commentary by the editors in Commonweal (“Bishops and Their Critics,” April 20), who remind their readers of Weigel’s original well-publicized arguments in favor of the invasion back in 2003. They focus on one key point: In the face of vociferous objections to the impending war by the pope and the U.S. bishops, Weigel argued that Catholics should defer to the president’s judgment on whether or not this war, or any war, met the just war criteria.

Weigel’s argument on this point was two-fold: 1) the president has access to privileged information, and 2) the president, by virtue of his office, exercises a “charism of political discernment” not shared by leaders of the church. The Commonweal editorial wonders whether all the mistakes that Weigel points to in his recent article undermine his claim of the special charism enjoyed by the president. Commonweal remarks that, in retrospect, the Catholic bishops’ charism in matters of war and peace looks pretty darn good compared to that of the president.

Weigel’s argument here is self-defeating. In the case of the Iraq war, the more he insists on point number one, then the more point two is proven false. If the president did indeed have access to privileged information, then he either misinterpreted that information or deliberately lied about it to make a case for the war. This conclusion seems inescapable, given what we now know about how pre-war intelligence was handled.

Regardless of the facts of this particular case, moral judgments about war, like all moral judgments, are not primarily a matter of good information. Good information is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for sound moral judgments. Sound moral judgments depend on being formed in certain virtues. Why a Christian should assume that the president of a secular nation-state would be so formed – much less enjoy a certain “charism” of moral judgment – is a mystery to me. “Charism” is a theological term denoting a gift of the Holy Spirit. To apply such a term to whomever the electoral process of a secular nation-state happens to cough up does not strike me as theologically sound or practically wise.

The fundamental issue here is of much greater importance than arguments about the justice (or lack thereof) of this particular war. Weigel would have the church effectively abdicate its moral judgment in matters of war to the leaders of the nation-state. It is hard to imagine what could do greater damage to both church and nation. If the church does not have an independent process of discernment to bring the gospel to bear on matters of war and peace, then any hope that the Prince of Peace will be heard over the din of self-interest and fear will be lost. History is already littered with the wreckage caused by Christian capitulation to reasons of state.

William Cavanaugh is associate professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and author of Theopolitical Imagination and Torture and Eucharist.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I LOVE APPLE TECHNOLOGY...

I only have two words for this... HILL ARIOUS!!

Friday, May 11, 2007

SPIRIT FALL ON ME... Pentecost and Worship

Here are a couple of worship ideas to use for Pentecost Sunday (not my ideas).

1. Some churches use Pentecost Sunday (like my church) as a confirmation day
2. Like confirmation Pentecost Sunday is also a traditionally popular day for baptisms (it makes sense doesn't it?).
3. Use the day to celebrate all the ministries of the church and all the lay people who share in those ministries.
4. Invite everyone to wear the color Red (liturgical color for Pentecost)

Besides those worship ideas I put together this pentecost worship slide show. I came up with the song last night and then put together the slides from various pictures portraying pentecost, flames or wind. Enjoy:

Worship video loop for Pentecost Sunday that I did. Enjoy.

THE MONK-O-MERGENT CHALLENGE

So my good buddy Stephen, aka Rev. Fife, spent a week being very emergent at monk-ee at a monastery in Cajun Territory. His last words as he recapped the experience was a CHALLENGE... TO ME!!
He said... BEAT THAT JONATHON!!

Well obviously, being one who is up for a challenge I sought out to do just that. The following story is TRUE:




I arrived early in the morning... dew was still on the ground, there was even still a chill in the air, even though the sun had been out for at least two hours. As I pulled into the entrance of the Monastery I saw the gate that said "God Alone" just like I had so many times before. I felt a little uneasy about this visit BUT a challenge is a challenge and I did not know any other way to answer THE CALL.






There was some stirring in the community at this point, monks heading off to do their daily work. As I walked around the campus a few greeted me with smiles, but none stopping to talk- it was off to various jobs. And I had mine to do anyway.
It would not be easy to infiltrate into the hermit's hermitage. In speaking with a couple of the brothers in the past I knew that his cottage was off limits. He had been back there for years, keeping his vow of silence and praying for the world. Like the monastic hermits before him- he stood in a tradition of prayer and solitude that only few people would choose to live.
Upon my last trip to the Abbey at Gethsemani I had picked up a map of the grounds and knew exactly where I needed to go. It would not be easy though- around a lake, behind a walled and secure area and not to mention "monks gone wild" if they were to see me. But I had plotted the entire mission out. I was not leaving until I had outdone Stephen Fife. Oh he is so smug with his Brian McLaren book while being in the presence of monks in compline. "I will show him", I thought to myself.
But the first part of my adventure that morning was to conjure some good mojo. I walked one of the trails into a quiet area where there where only a few statues and some trees. There off to the side was my friend... my patron saint... my brother- St Francis. There I said morning prayer- Francis and Phransus- it was perfect almost like when all the robot cats would come together to create Voltron.








Then it was time. I put on my black monastic habit with ninja facial wrap and nonchucks and headed down a winding path. After several hours I finially made it to a small cottage. It was beautiful how I crept around the cottage- there was no way anyone could hear or see me- I was a model of STEALTH.








I peeked into the window and there was what appeared to be an old man. His beard was grey and long, his hair unkept. He was washing dishes and appeared to be in his own little world. I hid in a bush and part 1 of my plan began. I had some stones in my pocket that I had picked up along the way and I began throwing them at the door. The door slung open and the hermit peered out... NOTHING... He went back in.








Oh I laughed to myself, this is just too easy. Again I did the same thing. And again the hermit peered out... NOTHING... He went back in.

The third time I moved closer to the cottage, then threw the rocks just as before. This time when the door swung open and the hermit peered out I snuck in behind him into the house (i moved like the speed of light). I positioned myself under his bed. I waited there all day. He went on with his "hermit tasks", mostly prayer and then cleaning, and prayer and writing.

It was time. I came out from under the bed. The old hermit was now carving a large walking stick. On the end he was carving what looked like St. Benedict. I was a little fearful that he might know how to use this as a weapon, but I had made it this far and there was no way Stephen was going to outdo me as the king of monk-o-mergentism.

I jumped on top of his bed and yelled!! The hermit froze and then jumped head to the ceiling and yelled out a profanity that I cannot repeat here!!
He came down from the ceiling... I laughed... he just kept screaming swear words at me....

I got silent.... he continued... and continued.... and continued.... until.... he... finally... got.... quiet.... he looked at me.... I looked at him....
I made my way to the door and left him with this advice.... "SHHHH... IT HAPPENS".

BEAT THAT STEPHEN!








Shalom,




stPhransus

ME BASED BIBLE STUDY

SWEET!!! A new Bible Study based on ME!!! You'll definitely want to pick it up for your next small group B.S.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

SPIRIT FALL ON ME...


I have not been blogging too much lately which is understandable. Wearing the "youth pastor cap" I have a crazy busy summer coming up and still lots to get done before hand... wearing the "daddy cap" I have felt the urgency of wanting to do some extra stuff with Jonas and Abby before summer hits- for instance tonight we went to our neighborhood library for "night time stories and lullabyes along with milk and cookies" which was really nice (especially the cookies and milk. Of course the "hubby cap" has almost been worn now for 11 years (15 more days) and with summer approaching I am wanting to be present more. And obviously the caps go on and on....


Besides the caps that I wear I have several books I'd like to get through- such as one that I'm really enjoying that is on the philosophy/theology of Alasdair MacIntyre.


But one of the projects going on right now that I'm really enjoying is preparing electronica/ambient tracks for an emerging style worship gathering led by Brian McLaren and some fellow bloggers. It will be during the Festival of Homiletics and Brian will be preaching this particular service. I will be acting as the monastic dj- spitting out crazy ambient soundtrack music along with gavo as the monastic vj- giving visual ambience to the sounds. It should be pretty cool.


So here is a worship track I put together not for the emerging worship event, but just for... whatever. It is for the first sunday of pentecost.


Feel free to download it:

Ad Pedes Spiritus (Spirit Fall To Our Feet)


Lyrics:

"Spirit- fall on me; Spirit fall on me"


What is Pentecost?



Tuesday, May 08, 2007

WED. MORNING PRAYER


"CERTIFIED CANDIDATE YOU ARE..."


Last Thursday I met with our Jedi Council, the Nashville District Committee on Ordained Ministry. As of Thursday I am now a certified candidate. It was a very good meeting (much better than the meeting in the fall).


So now I am waiting to be in touch with my DS to see if I will be able to be appointed to Hermitage UMC (my current church where I am on staff as the youth and young adult pastor) as a licensed local pastor with responsibilities for Youth and Young Adults.


Also another update- I spoke with the admissions department at Sewanee School of Theology about the possibility of transferring from Trevecca. Sewanee is an episcopal divinity school. My main reason for wanting to transfer is that they offer a Masters of Divinity degree and are recognized by the United Methodist University Senate. Also, I think that Sewanee would be a great fit for me. Lots to do before Annual Conference!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

PLAY

Gavo and I are heading to Beersheba Springs to lead worship for our TN Conference Youth Ministry Institute.

One of the worship stations that I am envisioning is a space that deals with Youth Groups and how we play together as a spiritual practice.

Here's a track that I just finished up to have at the station.

IT'S AN ADAM WEST THURSDAY

Monday, April 30, 2007

DR. ROBERT WEBBER, 1933-2007


A dear hero of mine passed away this weekend. Dr. Robert Webber was a teacher, a writer, and creative voice within the Church. His ideas on worship and evangelism has been a wonderful gift and inspiration to me over the last several years as I have struggled through my own faith journey.


He is probably most known for his "ancient future" series of books. Its funny because he gets thrown into the "emergent" crowd a lot of times. Several years ago Gavin and I had a chance to hook up and talk to Dr. Webber while at an emergent convention. I was being my obnoxious self and going around and asking different emergent leaders if they could spell out the ecclesiology of emergent (be careful, i ask that of methodists too). It was my biggest criticism of emergent at the time. So I asked the question of Dr. Webber. And he laughed and said- "you know, I don't know what it is either! And that's probably the place where I part ways with emergent. What I'm trying to do is more convergent movement. I'm here teaching but I don't really get what this is all about."


We had a laugh over that and I realized what a wonderful, brilliant and quirky gift Dr. Webber was to the Church. Thank you Dr. Webber for what you contributed to the Christian faith of the 21st century.
you can read a reflection here from the chaplain of the worship institute of which Dr. Webber was a vital part.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

A WEEK WITH... THE PSALTERS day 4


Scott on struggles and victories:
"I work at Covenant House which is a shelter for runaway teenagers. Working with the homeless and learning from them and what they have to say about life has taught me a lot. The struggles of dealing with ghetto people and that whole mentality--because I don't have that mentality--living among them, that has been quite a struggle. That's been an exodus from my upper middle-class upbringing and my comfy-cozy life that I've been blessed to have. Then going into Philly and living there and hanging out with heroin addicts, people who are constantly manipulating you because that's the only way they can live, hearing gunshots in the middle of the night. The struggles of that have really helped me with my music and with my spiritual life and that's the key; the best place for art is also the best place for your spiritual life and that's amidst exodus.

I believe in this fallen world we are to be pilgrims. God created order out of chaos and he moved over the surface of waters and then there was light. I think that's kind of how art is. You go through the struggle and then you create out of what you experience from that struggle and there's that movement from pain to struggle to joy, it's that constant cycle. It's that cycle that we need to stay in, for art and for our spiritual life. So many of us Christians have such crappy art because we don't seem to be willing to struggle as much as we should. It's the same problem with America in general."

Listen to song: Turn Me 'Round

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A WEEK WITH... THE PSALTERS day3


Scott speaking on the original psalters from Old Testament times:

"They created their music amidst exodus and it was exodus with faith. They did not fixate in pain and sorrow and just stay there and not see hope. And they didn't stay comfortable and stagnant in praise and joy and pastels. They were in movement, they were in pilgrimage, they were going through the depths of the sea, and the wilderness and the desert. Their music had that passion and struggle in it.

In order to go into exodus you have to have faith. You have to have trust that God will deliver you. And if you read throughout the Psalms, there's this crazy lamentation, and it's honest and it's truthful. When they were in pain they admitted it and they talked about it and they struggled with it. They didn't ignore it. They said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" But then, even in the midst of that struggle, while they were right in it, they would cry out in faith and say, "Praise you God." So I characterize it as a constant movement; struggle for righteousness with great faith."

Listen to song: The Lord's Prayer

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

CELEBRATING RESURRECTION....


There might be a temptation to view Easter as only one Sunday. It's sort of like we go through this intense season of Lent and then Holy Week things get REALLY intense. And finially Easter Sunday comes and then we take a breath and say, "shooo, it's over. another wonderful holy season."

But I would suggest that it's way more beneficial to the worship life of our communities that we observe the full Easter season that the Church has recognized for centuries. According to The New Handbook of the Christian Year, the Easter season also known as The Great 50 Days is “the greatest, most festive season of the Christian Year." But it doesn't always seem that way.

In her article, "What's So Great About the Great 50 Days", Erin Martin, suggests that "Maybe it’s because this “great” season begins in the doldrums of “Low Sunday,” the term used to describe the sparsely populated pews the week after the Easter crowd has gone home. Maybe it’s because as “flabby” Christians we arrive at the season already exhausted from the preceding Lenten demand of 40 days of discipline."

In Blair Gilmer Meeks book, Season of Ash and Fire: Prayers and Liturgies for Lent and Easter, she offers some refreshing suggestions for revitalizing the Great 50 Days. First, she points out that the number fifty calls to mind the year of the Jubilee from Leviticus 25, a time appointed to replenish the earth, free the slaves, cancel debts and spread God’s justice and peace throughout the land. Consequently, the season following Easter is for us a “Jubilee of days,” a time for rejoicing in the restoration we receive through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Great 50 Days is an occasion each year for the people of God to announce anew a time of God’s favor.

Also, Meeks explains that the Lectionary readings for the Great 50 Days are never a mere reiteration of the Easter narrative, but rather, they are a progression that flows forward from the narrative. In the eight Sundays that follow, the readings disclose more and more about the resurrected Lord and the God who sent him. As a result, the Easter story doesn’t get stale. Instead it gradually leads us into deeper insight into the risen Jesus and into the community of faith that will be left behind. By reliving the stories of resurrection through the lectionary we find ourselves moving with the disciples right into Pentecost.

STOP THE FALSINESS...

A WEEK WITH... THE PSALTERS day2


Scott on why "The Psalters"...

"I read in a couple of books somewhere that the people who performed the Psalms back in David's time were called "psalters." They were people who praised God through music. What I wanted to do is glorify God through music and I wanted to do it in the way that they did it, not with the same sound or the same style or with the same rituals, but with the same philosophy, the same heart, and the same passion.

That was back in '93. Back then I couldn't play anything. I was talking to Karin Bergquist of Over the Rhine and I said, "I'm too old to start music." She encouraged me to go with it, and said, "When you make it, give me a call." Ever since I wanted to be in music, it was always the psalters project. The name is an identity, not a band name."

listen to song: Hosanna

Monday, April 23, 2007

A WEEK WITH... THE PSALTERS day1


If you happen to be in the Nashville area either May 22 or 23 you definitely should not miss The Psalters. These self proclaimed nomads travel around in their big black bus and share there creativity with anyone willing to listen- blending VERY organic world music with the ancient liturgies and creeds of the Church. If I had to put them into a category it would be something like- gypsy punk meets radical orthodoxy.

I am excited about both nights because on the 22nd they will be in East Nashville at The 5 Spot performing (which is my neighborhood) and on Wed. the 23rd they will be performing for our youth group's first coffee house night which is also a benefit show to raise awareness and support for the Darfur region. Our show starts at 6pm, no cover, just donations (half to darfur and half to our travelling gypsies).

So with that shared, I have decided to spend my next "week with" series with The Psalters, words from band member Scott Krueger and music clips from the band. Enjoy.

May the Lord bless you and keep you,

stPhransus

WHAT THA....?

this just does not make sense

Thursday, April 19, 2007

WHICH METHOBLOGGER AM I





Lorna Koskela



92%

Gavin Richardson



83%

Art Ruch



75%

Jonathon Norman



58%

Keith McIlwain



58%

John the Methodist



50%

Theresa Coleman



42%

Allan Bevere



17%

Abi Carlisle-Wilke



0%

Which Methoblogger Are You?
created with QuizFarm.com


You are Lorna Koskela! You read, write, take walks, and no one knows the truth about what goes on in your basement!

Wow, I never knew that I was actually Lorna. That's kinda cool. And SUPER WOW, I'm more gavin than I am myself. Hmmmm.... I'll have to sleep on that one. Thanks John for helping me find myself.

IT'S AN ADAM WEST THURSDAY

who would you send back to the 5th dimension if you could?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

GOOGLE DOCUMENTS

I have become a big fan of google documents. It offers an online word processor and spreadsheet (basically an alternative to microsoft word and excel). I was excited this morning when I read that google will soon be adding the new feature of a "power point" presentations to it's documents. I cannot wait!! Read about it here.

Wed. Morning Prayer

Wednesday, April 18
The Morning Office To Be Observed on the Hour or Half Hour Between 6 and 9 a.m.

The Call to Prayer
The LORD is near to those who call upon him,* to all who call upon him faithfully. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;* he hears their cry and helps them. The LORD preserves all those who love him,* but he destroys all the wicked.
Psalm 145:19–21
The Request for Presence
Not to us, O LORD, not to us,* but to your Name give glory; because of your love and because of your faithfulness.
Psalm 115:1

The Greeting
Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens,* and your faithfulness to the clouds.
Psalm 36:5
The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
I will exalt you, O God my King,* and bless your Name for ever and ever.
Psalm 145:1
A Reading
After this, Jesus appeared again to the disciples, this time at the Tiberias Sea (the Sea of Galilee). This is how he did it: Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed "Twin"), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the brothers Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.

Simon Peter announced, "I'm going fishing." The rest of them replied, "We're going with you." They went out and got in the boat. They caught nothing that night. When the sun came up, Jesus was standing on the beach, but they didn't recognize him.

Jesus spoke to them: "Good morning! Did you catch anything for breakfast?" They answered, "No." He said, "Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens." They did what he said. All of a sudden there were so many fish in it, they weren't strong enough to pull it in. Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, "It's the Master!"

When Simon Peter realized that it was the Master, he threw on some clothes, for he was stripped for work, and dove into the sea. The other disciples came in by boat for they weren't far from land, a hundred yards or so, pulling along the net full of fish. When they got out of the boat, they saw a fire laid, with fish and bread cooking on it.

Jesus said, "Bring some of the fish you've just caught." Simon Peter joined them and pulled the net to shore—153 big fish! And even with all those fish, the net didn't rip. Jesus said, "Breakfast is ready." Not one of the disciples dared ask, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Master. Jesus then took the bread and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus had shown himself alive to the disciples since being raised from the dead.
John 21: 1-14

The Refrain
I will exalt you, O God my King,* and bless your Name for ever and ever.

The Morning Psalm
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with my whole heart;*
before the gods I will sing your praise.
I will bow down toward your holy temple and praise your Name,*
because of your love and faithfulness;
For you have glorified your Name*
and your word above all things.
When I called, you answered me;*
you increased my strength within me.
All the kings of the earth will praise you, O LORD,*
when they have heard the words of your mouth.
They will sing of the ways of the LORD,*
that great is the glory of the LORD.
Though the LORD be high, he cares for the lowly;*
he perceives the haughty from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you keep me safe;*
you stretch forth your hand against the fury of my enemies;
your right hand shall save me.
The LORD will make good his purpose for me;*
O LORD, your love endures for ever; do not abandon the works of your hands.
Psalm 138
The Refrain
I will exalt you, O God my King,* and bless your Name for ever and ever.

The Cry of the Church
O God, come to my assistance! O Lord, make haste to help me!

The Lord’s Prayer

The Prayer Appointed for the Week
Almighty God, you have surrounded me with a great cloud of witnesses: Grant that I too may persevere in running the race that is set before me, until at last I may with him attain to your eternal joy; through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. †

The Concluding Prayer of the Church
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen. †


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

USING OUR MORAL IMAGINATIONS...


I speak a lot about how the reason there is such a divide in Christianity when it comes to the "liberal/conservative" issue is that Christians have allowed themselves to be informed by the politics of the state and not the politics of Jesus. There has been a loss of "moral imagination" when it comes to solutions and alternatives to the problems we face in the world.

"So Jonathon", you ask, "what in the world do you mean by moral imagination?" Friends, moral imagination is our spirit filled ability to imagine what the world might be... to imagine that "God Dream" for the world- and then to LIVE IT NOW, and participate in it NOW- no holds barred.

Does it look ridiculous? Sometimes... sometimes even to ourselves it looks strange and downright stupid.

Will it change the world? Maybe it will, maybe it won't- BUT it will give us and everyone a glimpse of "what might be" when we are living out God's Kingdom together.

I came across this video and I LOVE IT because these guys are willing to do something subversive and wonderful, something ridiculous and creative. They are using their God breathed moral imaginations to show the possibility of what might be. Thanks be to God that the Church still has artists who are dare to paint a kingdom come in the world now.

shalom,
stPhransus

CRASH OVER US LIKE A WAVE...


"Pain in times like this, I believe, is not simply something to be escaped, resolved, fixed.Instead, it is something to be suffered, something that must, in a sense, crash over us like a wave or knock us down like a fever, shake us so that we truly feel our feelings and name them; so that we can speak of them and share them and feel an exchange with others of sympathy, empathy, common grief, and common sorrow." - Brian McLaren speaking about the Virginia Tech shooting. To read the full article click here.


Prayer:

Almighty God, Father of all mercies and giver of all comfort: Deal graciously, we pray thee, with those who mourn, that casting every care on thee, they may know the consolation of thy love, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Source: Book of Common Prayer 1979

Monday, April 16, 2007

MAKING WOPi



Keep a look out... The Way of Pilgrimage is soon to be "hot of the press" and in stores!!

Annnnd... along with it is the Way of Pilgrimage, or WOPi, Website with the Methoblog's two quirkiest mystics as guides. I hear the WOPi Website should be up and going within a week or so. Check back for more details.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Friday, April 13, 2007

YOUTHWORKER MOVEMENT PODCAST


Back in September, 2006, Gavo and I agreed to be the hosts for a podcast sponsored by The Youthworker Movement for people in youth ministry. Well we recorded, it sat on a hard drive for a while, it resurfaced, was edited, soundtrack was recorded and now it's up and we have ourselves a new adventure in the making.


I don't think it's available at the Youthworker Movement website yet, but you can listen to it here.


shalom,

stPhransus

HOW LUCAS CAME UP WITH STAR WARS

Thursday, April 12, 2007

WHEN THE WAR ENDS...


When the war ends, it will be found that there was an equal amount of "thuggery" practiced on both sides, that terrible things were done to force the final victory. - Rufus M. Jones; 1863-1948

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

WED. MORNING PRAYER

Wednesday, April 11

The Morning Office To Be Observed on the Hour or Half Hour
Between 6 and 9 a.m.



The Call to Prayer (leader)
Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous,* and give thanks to his holy Name.
Psalm 97:12

The Request for Presence (all together)
Bow down your ear, O LORD, and answer me,* for I am poor and in misery. Keep watch over my life, for I am faithful;* save your servant who puts his trust in you.
Psalm 86:1-2

The Greeting (all together)
Blessed is the LORD!* for he has heard the voice of my prayer.
Psalm 28:7

The Refrain for the Morning Lessons (all together)
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Matthew 5:6, KJV

A Reading (leader)
A revealing of Jesus, the Messiah. God gave it to make plain to his servants what is about to happen. He published and delivered it by Angel to his servant John. And John told everything he saw: God's Word-- the witness of Jesus Christ!

How blessed the reader! How blessed the hearers and keepers of these oracle words, all the words written in this book!

Time is just about up.

(His Eyes Pouring Fire-Blaze)

I, John, am writing this to the seven churches in Asia province: All the best to you from The God Who Is, The God Who Was, and The God About to Arrive, and from the Seven Spirits assembled before his throne, and from Jesus Christ--Loyal Witness, Firstborn from the dead, Ruler of all earthly kings.

Glory and strength to Christ, who loves us,
who blood-washed our sins from our lives,
Who made us a Kingdom, Priests for his Father,
forever--and yes, he's on his way!
Riding the clouds, he'll be seen by every eye,
those who mocked and killed him will see him,
People from all nations and all times
will tear their clothes in lament.
Oh, Yes.

The Master declares, "I'm A to Z. I'm The God Who Is, The God Who Was, and The God About to Arrive. I'm the Sovereign-Strong."
Revelation 1: 1-8

The Refrain (all together)
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

The Morning Psalm (in the round)
As the deer longs for the water-brooks,

so longs my soul for you, O God.

My soul is athirst for God, athirst for the living God;*

when shall I come to appear before the presence of God?

My tears have been my food day and night, while all day long they say to me,*

"Where now is your God?"

I pour out my soul when I think on these things:*

how I went with the multitude and led them into the house of God,

With the voice of praise and thanksgiving,*

among those who keep holy-day.

Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul?*

and why are you so disquieted within me?

Put your trust in God;*

for I will yet give thanks to him, who is the help of my countenance, and my God.
Psalm 42:1-7

The Refrain (all together)
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

The Small Verse (leader)
My soul thirsts for the strong, living God and all that is within me cries out to him. Traditional

The Lord's Prayer (all together)

The Prayer Appointed for the Week (leader)

O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of my faith, that I may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. †

The Concluding Prayer of the Church (all together)
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen. †

LOVE IS OUR TRUE DESTINY


Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone - we find it with another. We do not discover the secret of our lives merely by study and calculation in our own isolated meditations. The meaning of our life is a secret that has to be revealed to us in love, by the one we love. And if this love is unreal, the secret will not be found, the meaning will never reveal itself, the message will never be decoded. At best, we will receive a scrambled and partial message, one that will deceive and confuse us. We will never be fully real until we let ourselves fall in love - either with another human person or with God.

- Thomas Merton

Love and Living, edited by Naomi Burton Stone and Br. Patrick Hart Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985, page 27

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A WEEK WITH... STANLEY HAUERWAS (again) day 4


STANLEY HAUERWAS ON ISLAM, TRUTH AND LIVING FAITHFULLY:


"What right would I have to urge Muslims to be faithful Muslims? I have no idea what it means to be a faithful Muslim. I would certainly hope that Christians might live well enough that we would be a witness to Muslims so they might consider making peace a way of life. Of course Islam can be true for Muslims, but that doesn't imply a relativism about truth. It just means that you cannot control what another tradition says is true. What you must do is try to find a way to understand what they mean by truth. In this respect I've been deeply influenced by Alasdair MacIntyre and his understanding of truth as the best we have done so far."

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A WEEK WITH... STANLEY HAUERWAS (again) day 3


STANLEY HAUERWAS ON DISINTERESTED WAR, SUCH AS THE CONFLICT IN DARFUR:


"That I have some sympathy with those who would refuse to allow another person to be unjustly injured or killed is simply a statement that any person should make. But that sympathy does not mean I think we should kill in order to prevent another from being killed. I've always insisted that Christian nonviolence is a harsh and dreadful love requiring that at times we may have to watch the innocent suffer for our convictions. But that is true of any serious moral position including the just war position. Of course Christians should have tried to prevent the massacres in Rwanda and Darfur. The question is how? I can't imagine what a disinterested war would look like."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

MOVE OVER BABY BACH...


This little girl could be the coolest kid in school- EVER!!!

A WEEK WITH... STANLEY HAUERWAS (again) day 2


STANLEY HAUERWAS ON WHETHER OR NOT HUMANS ARE "NATURALLY" VIOLENT:


"The claim that God's creatures are not naturally violent is a claim meant to make you think twice about the word "natural." We were created to be at rest, that is, capable of worshiping God. That we refuse to be at rest, to be at peace, is an indication of our fallen character. But we refuse to believe that God has abandoned us, making possible outbreaks of peace in places most unexpected. For example, look at the work of Jean Vanier and the L'Arche movement. Then you will see what we were naturally created to be. [L'Arche is an international network of faith-based communities involved in creating homes and day programs with people who have developmental disabilities.]"

MY THOUGHTS

I like that Hauerwas when speaking about our lack of being able to be at rest or to be at peace speaks of the problem as being due to our "fallen character". CHARACTER has everything to do with how we live our lives- the routines, practices and HABITS that make up our daily experiences.

A people who practice loving one another, practice kindness to strangers, practice prayer and stillness, practice generosity to those in need- if practiced consistently will over time BEcome loving, kind, prayerful, and generous people. When I look around at our culture in America (and most places around the world) I don't see the virtues being lived out that Christ taught us.

I know that I have heard Christian leaders say things like being a servant, being loving, or being kind is natural- that following Christ is natural- we are living the way we were intended to live.

I suppose I sort of believe that but there's more to that. I don't think following Christ and the way he taught his "Christ Community" to live comes to natural to us- loving our enemies, choosing to be last, selling all we have and giving it away, etc...- we have to practice at it- over and over until we have a routine. Routines become habits. And after a time passes- habits become simply who we are.

I think Wesley understood the essential need for people to have certain "practices" or means of grace that if practiced routinely would help people draw closer to the presence of God and to one another.

I'd rather be a part of a community of Christians who share in practices together in such a way that they model to the world what it means to live together peacefully in love than a community of Christians who claim Jesus is their center but their life together looks no different than what is seen and experienced everywhere else in the world.

shalom, stPhransus

Monday, April 02, 2007

A WEEK WITH... STANLEY HAUERWAS (again) day 1


I know, I know!! I have already done a week with stan "the man" hauerwas. but HEY, get over it!! I have absolute guy love for the cussin' texan. what can i say? if you don't know much about dr. hauerwas- well check out his bio here. his work has been probably THE biggest influence on my theology and thoughts on ministry over the last few years.

so i hope you have a wonderful week and that maybe the words from dr. hauerwas might spark a little conversation and stimulate our minds and hearts to be challenged and stirred.
may the lord bless you and keep you through holy week,


stPhransus


STANLEY HAUERWAS ON THEOLOGY, SCRIPTURE AND SALVATION:

"I really don't have a "basic theology." I'm not sure what that description would imply. I believe what the church tells me to believe. I assume that the question about Scripture being inerrant assumes that such a view of Scripture is what constitutes "basic theology." But inerrancy is anything but basic. It's a modernist view that is in deep tension with the church's claim of the authority of Scripture. Of course I believe that Scripture is the word of God. It contains everything necessary for salvation, but it does so through the Holy Spirit through the discernment of the Word by the Body of Christians. To ask, 'Is salvation only through Christ?' presumes you might know what salvation is separate from Christ. Christ is our salvation—so you cannot separate the new creation enacted through Christ from His work."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

AHHH! DANGER WILL ROBINSON...


I always loved that robot on Lost in Space. Look out for the new robot in Lost in Vegas.

30 DAYS... OF PURPOSE

So on Wed. nights in our youth group we've been watching a great documentary/reality show called "30 Days" by Morgan Spurlock. Spurlock came into the limelight when he made the film supersize me. The television show models supersize me but draws light to social issues. This week the social issue is that of immigration.

When we watch the show I ask the youth 3 questions to consider and then we discuss after viewing the show:
1. What stood out to you?
2. What challenges your worldview?
3. What is one thing that you will take away from the show as something teachable or meaningful?

Tonight I have also gathered many verses from scripture that have to do with how we are to treat "the stranger" as he/she lives among/with us. Some of the verses include:
Exodus 22:21
You must not molest the stranger or oppress him, for you lived as a stranger in the land of Egypt.

Proverbs 21:13
The person who shuts their ear to the poor person's cry shall plead and not be heard.

1 John 4:20 (how funny, 4-20)
A person cannot love God without loving their neighbor.

2 Corinthians 8:13-15
I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written, "The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little." NRSV

Here's a short segment of what we're watching tonight:

MORNING PRAYER


I'm not sure if I shared on the blog or not but at the beginning of the new year I and a few members here at Hermitage UMC started a Wed. morning contemplative prayer group. Every wed. morning at 9am we come together and pray the psalms, I lead lectio divina reading of scripture, and we lift up prayers of joy and concern. It has been a real blessing. I have used The Divine Hours as the main liturgical source, but also have drawn from the book of common prayer, and pray-as-you-go.

Here is this weeks' prayer that we just got finished with:

Wednesday, March 28 The Morning Office To Be Observed on the Hour or Half Hour Between 6 and 9 a.m. Wednesday, Fifth Week of Lent
The Call to Prayer (leader)
Bless our God, you peoples;* make the voice of his praise to be heard; Who holds our souls in life,* and will not allow our feet to slip.
Psalm 66:7–8

The Request for Presence (all together)
Come to me speedily, O God. You are my helper and my deliverer;* LORD, do not tarry.
Psalm 70:5–6

The Greeting (all together)
You are my hope, O Lord GOD,* my confidence since I was young. I have been sustained by you ever since I was born; from my mother’s womb you have been my strength;* my praise shall be always of you.
Psalm 71:5–6

The Refrain for the Morning Lessons (all together)
“Be still, then, and know that I am God;* I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46:11

A Reading (leader)
After saying these things, Jesus headed straight up to Jerusalem. When he got near Bethphage and Bethany at the mountain called Olives, he sent off two of the disciples with instructions: "Go to the village across from you. As soon as you enter, you'll find a colt tethered, one that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says anything, asks, 'What are you doing?' say, 'His Master needs him.'"
The two left and found it just as he said. As they were untying the colt, its owners said, "What are you doing untying the colt?" They said, "His Master needs him."
They brought the colt to Jesus. Then, throwing their coats on its back, they helped Jesus get on. As he rode, the people gave him a grand welcome, throwing their coats on the street.
Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed:

Blessed is he who comes,
the king in God's name!
All's well in heaven!
Glory in the high places!

Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, "Teacher, get your disciples under control!" But he said, "If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise."
Another said, ‘I will follow you, sir, but first let me go and say good-bye to my people at home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Once the hand is laid on the plow, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’ -Luke 9:61–62

The Refrain (all together)
“Be still, then, and know that I am God;* I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.”

The Morning Psalm- Psalm 90:1–8, 12 (in the round)

A Thousand Years Are Like a Watch in the Night
Lord, you have been our refuge* from one generation to another.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or the land and the earth were born,* from age to age you are God.
You turn us back to the dust and say,* “Go back, O child of earth.”
For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past* and like a watch in the night.
You sweep us away like a dream;* we fade away suddenly like the grass.
In the morning it is green and flourishes;* in the evening it is dried up and withered.
For we consume away in your displeasure;* we are afraid because of your wrathful indignation.
Our iniquities you have set before you,* and our secret sins in the light of your countenance.
So teach us to number our days* that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
A Thousand Years Are Like a Watch in the Night

The Refrain (all together)
“Be still, then, and know that I am God;* I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.”

The Small Verse (leader)
The Son of Man shall be delivered over to the Gentiles, to be mocked and scourged and crucified.

Prayers of Joy and Concern
The Lord’s Prayer
The Prayer Appointed for the Week (leader)
Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. †

The Concluding Prayer of the Church (all together)
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen. †

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

... IN A TIME OF WAR...


With the anniversay of the war in Iraq still fresh I came across this poem published in the Alive Now Journal:


A PRAYER IN TIME OF WAR by Beverly Johnson Biehr


ALMIGHTY God,

You are all powerful, all knowing

and all present in this world of your creation

Two millennia ago, the people of Jerusalem had hopes at a

fever pitch for a Messiah, who would bring justice and peace

to God's people. We find ourselves in a fearsome and dangerous

time in which plans for destruction proliferate,

while plans for peace and justice fall by the wayside.


Lord, you know our fears and our weariness with war.

We are impatient with trying to understand ethnic hatreds

and religious turnoil that never find resolution over

centuries upon centuries.


Nevertheless, today we pray for the peoples of the Middle

East and for all at war. Keep alive all hopes for peace and justice.

Be with all those affected by conflict and all who suffer.


O Lord, we, like the ancient Israelites, ask, even beg you

to bring peace and reconciliation to this warring

world. Forgive us for our wars, and give us the eyes and ears

to recognize and support thsoe leaders who do your will with

humility and with love for people.


Teach us as a country and as individuals to make peace; give us

the desire to wlrk as diligently at making peace as we have dedicated

our time and resources to making wars. Help everyone to live

out your eternal truth- hatred does not cease by hating but by loving.


Give us the eyes of Christ to see those who live and labor around us,

including immigrants from the Middle East. Lead us to open our arms in

hospitality and friendship. With your wisdom and love, give us the courage

to overcome anger with love and evil with good.

(from Alive Now Journal, upper room publishing, november/december 2006; p. 44-45)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

PRAYERS FOR NEIGHBORS

I'd like to ask the blogging community to keep some neighbors in prayer for me. They live a few miles from me, I do not know them but after hearing this news from my neighborhood listserv my heart broke. Please keep in prayers the Flores-Scarbrough family. They were robbed a few days ago and the husband was killed in the process. From what I heard they have not been in the states for long.

By The Associated Press
March 12, 2007

NASHVILLE - A half-dozen men wearing bandanas over their faces charged
into a backyard family cookout Sunday night, robbed the husband and
father, then fatally shot him as they ran away.

The incident occurred in an East Nashville neighborhood and claimed the
life of Jose Flores, 30, who had given the robbers everything they had
demanded, his wife said.

The men forced Flores, his wife Tiffany Scarbrough and the couple's
children into their house and demanded cash, car keys and other
valuables.

Scarbrough says as the robbers left, one of them turned and fired a shot
into the house, striking Flores in the side. He was pronounced dead at a
hospital a short time later.

''Now my babies have no father and it's all because of some little thug
street gang that took him away from me,'' Scarbrough said.

The couple's children are twin sons, 4, and another son, 6.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

KNOWING THE WONDER...


I recently acquired a number of back issues of Alive Now magazine from a staff person at GBOD. I've been reading through them and they are GREAT!! Every now and then, since I have a pretty wonderful collection of these magazines now, I'm going to post interesting things that I come across from Alive Now. I hope you enjoy the articles as much as I do.


Who is my body?


"I am your friend and closest partner. Sometimes I am your mother and father. Sometimes I am your child. Always I am your lover and spouse.

"I am truth-teller. I witness to you your unknown self.

"I am the faithful messenger and recorder of your memories, your powers, your hurts, your needs, your limits.

"I am the stored wisdom and hurts of the ages and generations before you.

"I am a gift-giver. Through me, you live and move in God's creation. Through me, you have your vital link with the rejoicing, groaning, travailing universe.

"I am your partner in stress and pain. I carry much of your suffering, so your spirit does not need to carry it all alone.

"I am the frontier you have barely explored and the eager companion who speaks to you every moment.

"I am the manifestation of the miracle which is you. I am the ground of your deep powers.

"I am the microcosm of the community that surrounds you. I am the microcosm of the universe in which you live.

"I am the visible means by which you relate and unite with others.

"I am one of the major ways by which God abides with you, speaks to you, touches you, unites you.

"Far from separating you from your spiritual life, I open it to you

"You can pray with me, for me, through me. I can pray also, in my way, when you cannot.

"I am always in embrace with you, though sometimes you ignore me or even hate and try to harm me.

"I will never leave you. I will be with you after death as your risen companion of clearer light and swifter energy in a different form. Only my outer appearance dies.

"Together, in passion unity, we will become the fully alive human being.


- Flora Slosson Wuellner, "Knowing the Wonder", Alive Now Journal, November/December 2003; p. 24-25


Monday, March 12, 2007

NOW THAT'S A BLOGGER'S KIND O' CONTEST!!


The U.S. is currently in 3rd place in the World Wide "Clicking" Competition. Get competitive and contribute some clicks for the US. I just contributed 999 clicks!!! Go Team!!!

NOT QUITE WHAT I EXPECTED...


I arrived home yesterday evenening absolutely exhausted from the this weekend's Walk to Emmaus, but I have to say it was a "good tired" (if you were on the walk you'll appreciate that).

I'm not going to say much about what we actually did during the weekend except that:

1. Despite rumors I've heard in the past Walk to Emmaus is NOT a cult, it is COMMUNITY all the way and it builds community in very special and endearing ways.

2. God is there just like God is always there in our lives, but there really is a spirit about the weekend that invites grace to be much more visible in our lives.

3. Don't go if you aren't ready to have a heart to heart with God.

With that said, I am not the same person that I was on Thursday afternoon. This weekend God's grace became apparent in my life in some ways that I have not experienced so strongly before. In fact I'll be quite honest, I came both face to face with God this weekend and i came face to face with that part of myself that I hide so deep down inside that I don't allow him to surface too often. There are things that in coming home have not returned home with me.

BUT, that is not the end of the story. So when I woke up this morning I realized that I still had some "stuff" that I needed to process and I decided that I needed to get away from the church and the house for this and go somewhere that I consider a sacred space. So I drove up to Gethsemane Abbey and was able to pray the hours of sext and none with the brothers there. Other than that I spent a bit of time in solitude reading and in prayer.

Here were a couple of God moments today:
When I opened my bible to today's lectionary reading it was Joshua 5: 9-12. In that reading the People of Israel, led by Joshua, are coming into the land of Canaan. God tells Joshua that although God has provided manna as food since God's people left Egypt now the people are to eat from the crops of this New Land.

Any other day I probably would have read that and thought, "Rannnndommm". But today as I was sitting in the abbey and read those words God was speaking through that story saying- "This weekend I brought you out of another Egypt (not the first egypt for me, nor the last) and this weekend you had lots of manna. Now that you are home your "eating habits" aren't going to be the same as in Egypt, you are in a different place and I need for you to change your "diet" a bit. Wow!! Affirmation of God's grace all around!!

Second God Moment: I was driving home from Gethsemane and hit one of those monotonous driving zones where eyes get heavy and you aren't sure if you may have dozed off for a split millisecond or not. I'm driving along and my eye keep getting heavy, I keep shifting around in my seat, shaking my head trying to snap out of "the hypnozone" when my tire blew out. I WAS AWAKE THEN!! Not quite how I wanted to end my day especially since I had to wait on the side of the interstate for 3 hours for the wrecker to come that Jen called.

But all in all it was a great grace filled weekend and very good fourth day.

shalom,
stPhransus

Thursday, March 08, 2007

WALKING TO CHURCH... AND EMMAUS



This will be my last post until Sunday evening. Tonight I'll be going through the Walk to Emmaus program. Walk to Emmaus Nashville area's hub happens to be at my church, Hermitage UMC, so for 72 hours I'll be a pilgrim at my church.

Up until last night I was a little indifferent about going through this (more than anything I was looking forward to a little rest and renewal) last night it hit me- an anxiety about going on a retreat that I'm not leading or have leadership in. I don't do too many of those (in fact I simply don't do those). It felt awkward. It became apparent to me that God was already at work in this weekend telling me that I have to release and let go of control- be a pilgrim and wait.

All day Carolyn, one of the secrataries and my good friend told me that she is confiscating my keys at the end of the day, David, my Emmaus sponsor, is taking my cell phone and watch (not too hard since I don't wear a watch).

I hope it's a great weekend, and I can already tell that I am going to learn some things about myself that I need to grow through. This is turning out to be quite a lenten season.

shalom all,

stPhransus

R.I.P. DIRK

NOOO!!! Please say it isn't so!!!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

REFLECTIONS FROM THE BOTTOMS PILGRIMAGE pt. 2

FROM MY JOURNAL, MARCH 2 2007 written while on my sabbath day pilgrimage

'Jesus said, "Don't worry, I will... Today you will join me in paradise." ' Luke 23: 43

Remember me God
Re-Member me
Re-connect my life
to something worth connecting with

Gone... where I stood
is old news... yesterday...
a minute ago

Paradise- a pair of dice
rolled by your hands
blown on by your lips
breath that fills my lungs
calls my name but it sounds
so different now

It sounds so rhythmic and
colorfilled with bass- bass
and percussive voices

Re-membering me- rebuilding
this life into something beautiful
Re-membering... relocating to
a new neighborhood

written while on sabbath pilgrimage

stPhransus

HUMAN NATURE AND AGRESSION

HOWARD ZINN ON HUMAN NATURE AND AGRESSION:


I listened to this and immediately thought about how the "practices" of a particular culture really define how we live out our lives. There is a messge for the church in that somewhere I believe...

h/t: starrider

Monday, March 05, 2007

REFLECTIONS FROM THE BOTTOMS PILGRIMAGE


FROM MY JOURNAL, Friday March 2, 2007

"Father forgive them: they don't know what they are doing."

This mad world spinning
I'm so quick to judge it
There I am spinning a life...
just like everyone else
My self pales alongside them
We sit, stand and bow
at the foot of the cross waiting
for a word... I need forgiveness
Just like she does... he does...
so we can live this
I'm afraid of this

I thought...
I knew...
At least what I was doing...
But I was mistaken.

written while on a sabbath day pilgrimage

stPhransus

THE BOTTOMS PILGRIMAGE






Friday was a good day. I have not taken time out in a long while to simply "BE" in solitude. I could really feel myself needing to take the time out to have some quiet, contemplation and conversation with God.

So after a half day at work I headed somewhere pretty close to home- Shelby Park's "Bottoms" area.

The East Bank Greenway, known to locals as Shelby Bottoms is a wonderful gem right in the middle of the East Nashville area. This one-half mile trail adjacent to the football stadium provides great views of the Cumberland river and downtown Nashville. It also features interesting artworks reflecting the industrial history of Nashville on the Cumberland.


After arriving I sat on a bench and started the time with midday prayer from Divine Hours. Then as I walked the greenway trail I stopped every so often and reflected on 2 of the 7 last words of Christ, along with readings from Stanley Hauerwas' book Cross Shattered Christ.





One of the cool features of the park are the native american circles that one finds at different locations on the trail. One of the signs that tells about the circles shares that these circles represent sacred spaces where humans intermingle with the divine. So as I approached one of these circles I found myself walking around in the circle praying one of the phrases from my scripture reading.


We had quite a bit of rain in recently so the river was up and the creek areas of the trail were pretty swampy. The sound of frogs filled the entire trail- it was pretty crazy loud.



As I came to the end of the walk and the end of prayer I ended as I began- with the Divine Hours- saying the Lords Prayer as I walked a prayer circle and then the closing prayer for that day.



Thinking back to Friday I realize how badly I need days like that on a regular basis.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

CIRCUIT RIDING STACHE


I hate that last thursday I missed seeing United Methodism's most famous new circuit rider, Dirk Diggler, ride again. For those who don't know it- Dirk is the name of Jay Voorhees' mustache (yes, I named his mustache because it's the coolest stache I've ever met). I don't think he likes it so much that I gave his stache a name, but hey Jay- THAT STACHE HAS MUCHO PERSONALITY!! IT DESERVES ITS OWN NAME.


NEW ALBUM!!


I am one excited Coldplay fan!!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

RECONCILING ZOMBIES MINISTRIES NETWORK

Over at bff's blog gavo made the statement "let's be honest, ninja's are awesome! so much cooler than zombies". Now one might read that and think to one's self, "self, I had not thought about ninjas as being cooler than zombies, but now that I think about it- yes it's true- those sneaky star throwing assasins are pretty darn cool."

However, knowing my bff for as long as I have and how he thinks (like a ninja), I know that his post is a subversive attack on all bloggers who happen to be open and inclusive to zombies.

Y'all, I'm afraid that what we have here is the beginnings of what might be a very politically charged situation in the methoblogosphere. What will this do to the UMC once we all start taking sides?

In fact, gavo's little attack on zombies just happens to be coming out a little too close to GC'08. And I hear that he is trying his best to be at GC- coincidence? I think not.

Before we have two new political action groups pitted against one another I want to call us all back to the center:

Monday, February 26, 2007

THICK SKINNED PLURALISM


Here's a great article from Tony Jones on pluralism that is an alternative to the "same ole same ole". This "thick skinned pluralism" is definitely closer to where I stand than in what has been traditional ideas in the past.

MAKING SPACE....

In some circles of conversation that relates to emerging church communities/postmodern church, etc.. the talk is in "either or" language. For example: "the modern church has come to pass but someone forgot to tell it"; or "the postmodern/emerging church is the present and future"...

I of course am making a very broad generalization here. But what I would say is that this kind of thinking does not represent those of us who are interested in the emerging church conversation and do indeed feel that there has been a cultural shift abound that the church should be concerned with. The reality we are living in, I believe, is closer to a transition time- a time between what has been and what is to come (now that sounds pretty eschatological doesn't it?), somewhere between modernism and postmodernism.

I think a lot of my frustration with the church (especially the methodist tribe) comes out of my leaning to a more postmodern paradigm while most of the structures and leadership tend to lean towards modernism. On my best days I find humor at the misunderstands, lack of language we have. On my "not so best days" I feel like a "puppy who has invaded the world of the alpha cat":



ever feel that way?

IS IT CRICKET SEASON? I think yes.


My apologies to my mobile phone service provider, Cricket. I have been with this service for 4 years now. If you have never heard of Cricket there is a reason for this- they have the reputation of WORST SERVICE IN THE UNIVERSE!!


The upside to Cricket service is that EVERYTHING is unlimited with the highest monthly service plan being $50 (which is what I have). I started out T-Mobile several years ago and to my displeasure Jen banned me from cell phone use when I continuously went over the monthly minutes, which is when I switched to Cricket.


Well 4 years later, and a much improved service can I just say for the record- Cricket, I am sorry for all the bad things I have said about you in the past. I can't take them back because they were all true- but you have redeemed yourself.


According to this article that I read from the BBC people are using their cell phones and mobile devices now more than ever for checking email, surfing the web and online communication. I know that this is true for me. Last week I purchased a new phone- the Motorola SLVR which allows me to text, check email, and surf web and when you partner that with Cricket's unlimited everything- that equals SWWWWWEEEEEEET!!!


Gee, if only Cricket would offer a Smart Phone, then I'd be hooked up big time.


shalom,

stPhransus