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Walking and Talking With a Stranger

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The couple were sadly plodding home to Emmaus, away from the recent tragic events in Jerusalem. They were Disciples of Jesus Christ. As they went, they tried to make sense of all that had happened - HOW COULD it happen? As they were deep in conversation, they did not at first notice that a Stranger had joined them.

Now, we observers know that the "Stranger" is their Teacher and Lord, but that God had placed blinding scales upon the eyes of their minds and spirits; a temporary prosopagnosia from on-high. They knew him not.

"What is it you are so hotly debating?", the hidden one asked. The question so astounded them, that they stopped dead in their tracks, right there, in the middle of the path.

The man named Cleopatros (the Glory of the Father, "but call me Cleopas") did not answer the Stranger's question, but rather, asked a question of his own: "Have you been on the Moon? How can you not know of what has been going on in Jerusalem these last days?&…

As Yourself

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Love the Other as the Self, taught the Teacher;
But love your Self first, say the Self-help gurus.

Is that selfish vanity of one un-crucified to Self?
It seems so wrong in many self-centered ways;
Am I the point upon which the cosmos pivots?

Narcissus sits self-absorbed besides the water;
A showy daffodil who found no greater love -
Trapped not by the love of Self, but by Self-lust.

Love your Self first, say the Self-help gurus?

We seek experts for our Self-help:
These merchants of insufficiency;
These capitalizers of inadequacy...

Love the Other as the Self, taught the Teacher?

Love is mutualism: comfort and trust and joy.
Love the God and the Other as you love Self.
Yet, we idolize the Self - love the Self as god! 

Be comfortable with and within your Self.
Trust your Self as one who seeks goodness.
Take joy in being with your Self as you are.

Then, love this way, the Other as the Self.
Then, love this way, the Lord God likewise.

Love the Self that you see there in Others.
Love the God that you see there …

Naked in the Garden

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"Indeed, there were forests,      abundance of rain. But in our ignorance and greed      we left the land naked. Like a person in shame,      our country is shy      in its nakedness."
From a liturgy of tree-planting eucharist; the Association of African Earth-keeping Churches


"God takes the initiative to restore the ravaged earth, but his divine commission to deliver the earth from its malady lies within the body of Christian believers, the church. The deliverance finds expressions on kufukidza nyika, that is, "to clothe the land" with trees. This mission is clearly seen as an extension of Christ's healing ministry, which his disciples must fulfill."

M. L. Daneel

From "African Independent Churches Face the Challenge of Environmental Ethics", in Ecotheology: Voices From South and North; 1994
(photography by tiwago)

Bear Fruit, Or Die - a Sermon for the Day After Earth Day

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I don't often write out my sermons in full, but when I do, more often than not it is because it is more teaching than preaching. Since it has been written, I gladly share it with you - why should my congregation suffer alone?




From far away, he noticed a fig tree in leaf, so he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing except leaves, since it wasn’t the season for figs. So he said to it, “No one will ever again eat your fruit!” His disciples heard this. Mark 11:13-14 (CEB)
- We know this is a parable, rather than history. - Otherwise, he is performing a petty and unjust “miracle” just because he is “hangry”. No, Jesus is giving us a sign. - Commentators tell us that a fig tree should only be in full glorious leaf, IF it is fruiting! - Throughout the Old Testament, the Prophets over and over again used the Fig Tree to represent  Israel, the People of God. - Theologians suggest that this particular tree symbolized the Temple to Jesus - all done up in…

Earth Day: Sin and Evil

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Sin:

"Theologically, we may speak of ecological sin. Attitudes that compromise the ecological equilibrium and provoke perverse consequences for living creatures and human beings are not restricted to the present but reach into the distant future, touching those who have not yet been born. The biblical precept "You shall not kill" (Ex. 20:13) may also refer to biocide and ecocide of the future. We are not permitted to create environmental and social conditions that produce disease and death for future living creatures, human and non-human. From this perspective we may understand generational solidarity - actions and attitudes that will allow those who do not yet inhabit this planet the right to live without disease and to enjoy a preserved and holistic environment."


Evil:

"To reach the root of evils that confront us as well as to find a solution for them, we need a new theological worldview that sees this planet as a great sacrament of God, the temple of the Spiri…

The First Church Council Meeting

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Gathered. Gathered together in the gathering darkness. Gathered together, individually isolated, mourning the death of their unifying purpose.

Afraid. Gathered together behind locked-doors. Hiding. Hiding from occupying troops, religious strongmen, spies, friends, family, themselves... Hiding in a close and shuttered room filled with the rank musk of fear-sweat. Gathered and separated by despair. 

"Shalom."
He was there? He was there! In their midst. In their gathering - gathered with them. He was alive? He was alive!
"Shalom."
"As I was sent by Abba, I send you."
Purpose again? Purpose again! In a tightly shuttered musty room - fresh air. He was alive? He was breathing! He breathed upon the gathered ones.
"Inhale the Holy Spirit."
Purpose again! A mission granted. A mission taken up. Those who abandoned him were forgiven. Those who were forgiven were sent out to forgive.
But one was not there in the room. One was not breathed upon. One did not inhale. T…

Repentance

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Who is my neighbor?

"Respect for creation must necessarily result in justice, just as genuine justice necessarily is the achievement of peace.


We understand repentance as a call to be liberated from our perceived need to be God and instead to assume our rightful place in the world as humble beings in the circle of creation with all the other created. 

If we believe we are all relatives in this world, then we must live together differently from the way we have. Justice and peace, in this context, emerge almost naturally out of a self-imaging as part of the whole, as part of an ever-expanding community that begins with family and tribe, but is finally inclusive of all human beings and all creation. Such is the spirit of hope that marks the American Indian struggle of resistance in the midst of a world of pain."


George Tinker; The Full Circle of Liberation: An American Indian Theology of Place



From Ecotheology: Voices From South and North; 1994

(photography by tiwago)