Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sad


My soul breaks for thee my friend;
Through the cracks flow the tears.
My beloved denomination spoke:
Telling you my dear to fuck-off;
To stop rocking their boat;
To suck it up and comply;
To circumcise your love!

You are of lesser worth...
So, our hearts are not fully open.
So, our minds are not fully open.
So, our doors are not fully open.

What hope can I lend you but
The grace and mercy of your God?
Jesus loves you, this I know -
Regardlessly, compassionately;
Wholly and holy beloved. 

I am sorry.
I AM sorrows.

What must we do?
What would God have of us?
Do we cleanse the Temple, or
Is it time to tear it down again? 
Do we stay or do we go now?
What do we do when love is
Proscribed, restricted, illegal?
When being real, being God-formed,
Being honest is heresy, then what?
Now what?

~ Tiwago


Friday, April 28, 2017

Yet Unbroken


Buffeted and battered am I -
Bowed by it but yet unbroken.

I am a man full of seasons, and
Stand less straight than once I did.

The steady prevailing winds,
The persistent acidic rains,
Have graced me with scars.

But in the background rises,
A steeple with its loud bell:
Tall and straight and strong.

Tiwago


(photography by tiwago)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Hope During the Apocalypse

This morning, I finished the book that I have been using for my daily devotional: Ecotheology: Voices From South and North; David G. Hallman ed.; 1994. I posted a cursory review of the collection on Goodreads:

"Compiled in 1994, much of this collection is still fresh, relevant, and prophetic. An updated version would be greatly welcomed, one that should be required reading in seminary.

Ecotheology deals with being: God's caretakers; fighters for human justice and environmental justice; and participants in Jesus' healing ministry. It can not stand separate from secular ecological movements or in religious isolation. It borrows strongly from liberation and feminist theology as inter-related strands in the braid of a new theology of hope, love, and inclusiveness. Ecotheology brings together ecology and economy into an 'ecologic' of accountability."



The final chapter is entitled: Chosen Persons and the Green Response to the Population Apocalypse by Catherine Keller; the following excerpts provide a flavor of the book:

"Population is only one of at least four horsemen of doom; the others might be named Economics, War and Environment. But they gallop together, this quartet, inextricable in their cumulative momentum of horror. Without any literalist expectation of a particular and predictable termination, it is hard to miss the global threat of doom. If many of us came of age under the sign of the nuclear Armageddon, it is at this moment pre-eminently an eco-apocalypse we face. I am interested in facing the apocalyptic threat, in letting it exhort us to 'wake up', the perennial biblical call to consciousness, to 'prepare', to rub away the numbness brought on either by too much pain or too much comfort. But only for the sake of what we may dub the 'counter-apocalypse' which Jesus seems also to have pursued: that sense of urgency which does not plan on ultimate doom but rather begins already in the present 'communities of resistance and solidarity' to experience the divine realm, that is, that which for us may better translate as meaningfulness of life."

"...beyond rhetorical pragmatics, it seems to me the prophetic vision of shalom is sensuous in its relation to the world and rarely prone to obsessions about private morality. What we need is a sensuous asceticism, in which the joy of our senses -at the rhythm of day and night, the rising of the sun and stars, the parade of seasons, the delight of fresh water, of wholesome food, the zest which arises from having enough and getting free of the consumer addictions of over-indulgence and accompanying self-detestation - works to support the reduction of our consumption levels."



(photography by tiwago)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Walking and Talking With a Stranger



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?" Maybe, this was a spy of the state-police seeking to entrap them?

"What are these goings-on that are troubling you two so much?"

With that, their reserve broke, and in a torrent of released emotion, they spoke one over and with the other, tumbling along together: "All the stuff with Jesus of Nazareth a mighty Prophet of God to the people and that our treacherous Chief Priest and our religious leaders handed him over as a goat to the Occupiers to be tortured and murdered on their damned cross even though we had such hope in him that he were the one to redeem the people but now and now it's been three days since his cruel execution but this morning some of the women of our group came running to us and shocked us they were early to the tomb to finish preparing the body but did not find it (the body not the tomb) they were out of breath when they told us that they had seen angels who told them that our Rabbi was alive so some of us went to the tomb and found it empty but did not see anything..."

"Oh how silly," said he of whom they had spoken, "are you so slow to remember what the Prophets have told you of the Messiah? Hasn't it been written that Anointed One would suffer before entering into his glory?" They began to walk again, and he taught them all the things that scripture said of him.

As they approached their village, Cleopas' wife begged him to stay in their home before journeying on the next day. As they sat down to table for a light supper, the strange man did a strange thing - he assumed the role of the Host, without asking. As the Host, he blessed their bread and broke it for them, and then he served them. This simple act of service is what did it - the glamour was lifted from him and they at last knew him. As soon as they could see him, he was no longer to be seen! He had vanished.

Those who not that long ago were sightless, suddenly had 20/20 hind-sight: "I knew it all along!"; "Weren't our spirits on fire with the Spirit as he was revealing and interpreting scripture to us?"

Even though night had settled, they could not stay home; they had to tell someone! So they walked back to Jerusalem; their feet so much lighter than before; their heads so much higher than before. They sought out the hiding place of the underground Apostles and the women from their group who took care of them and nurtured them in their despair. After a secret knock, they were let in and overheard: "He has indeed risen! Simon saw him!"

Then the two from Emmaus testified to the others what had happened during their walk home, and how the knowing came with the breaking of the bread at their table; the intimacy of revelation.


From Luke, Chapter 24.


(photography by tiwago)

As Yourself


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 likewise.

Tiwago


(photography by tiwago)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Naked in the Garden

"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)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

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

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 its fanciness and its trappings of finery. All leaf and no fruit. All show and no go.

In one of his commentaries, John Wesley refers to the tree today as the Church.

So, with this as our point of reference, let’s now go back to what the children and I were talking about. It is written in Matthew:

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you dressed like sheep, but inside they are vicious wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Do people get bunches of grapes from thorny weeds, or do they get figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, and every rotten tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit. And a rotten tree can’t produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, you will know them by their fruit. Matthew 7:15-20 (CEB)

We are called, as Christians, to bear fruit. We are recognized as Christians by others because we bear good fruit. What, then, is this fruit that both Mark and Matthew are talking about? This is how Paul described this fruit to the church in Galatia:

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this. Galatians 5:22-23 (CEB)

In one of his letters to his church in Corinth, Paul stressed which fruit was the most important: LOVE.

Luke has John the Baptizer stressing the producing of the right kind of fruit:

Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. Luke 3:8-9 (CEB)

In his notes on these verses regarding the reference to Abraham, John Wesley reminded Methodists that being a member of a church, or even going to church regularly, is not enough on its own. We must have a change of heart, and that change of heart is proven when we do two things: we stop doing bad things; and we start doing good things! Or, as Luke says:

The crowds asked John, “What then should we do?” He answered, “Whoever has two shirts must share with the one who has none, and whoever has food must do the same.” Luke 3:10-11 (CEB)

As Methodists, we believe in the importance of doing good works as an exhibition and a verification of our faith and salvation; not as a pathway to faith or salvation..

It is written in the Letter of James:

My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people say they have faith but do nothing to show it? Claiming to have faith can’t save anyone, can it? Imagine a brother or sister who is naked and never has enough food to eat. What if one of you said, “Go in peace! Stay warm! Have a nice meal!”? What good is it if you don’t actually give them what their body needs? In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity. James 2:14-17 (CEB)

Faith, as we can see, is not a thing we acquire and possess. Faith is how we behave, and how we treat others.

John Wesley often preached upon good works coming from good fruit. Potential church leaders had to first answer a series of questions; question number 3 was: do you have fruit? His sermons were full of the duality which has come to mark us as Methodists: faith and good works; piety and mercy; loving God and loving others. Wesley said:

It is incumbent on all that are justified (saved) to be zealous of good works. And these are so necessary that if a man willingly neglects them, he cannot reasonably expect that he shall ever be sanctified (made holy or perfected).

Are we zealous? We do not often think of methodical Methodists as being zealous, but about doing good works we must be.

Our Methodist Book of Discipline states that this Wesleyan emphasis on the relationship of faith and good works is what makes us uniquely Methodist. It tells us:

We see God’s grace and human activity working together in the relationship of faith and good works. God’s grace calls forth human response and discipline. Faith is the only response essential for salvation. However, our General Rules remind us that salvation evidences itself in good works. For Wesley, even repentance should be accompanied by fruits appropriate for repentance, or works of piety and mercy.

Well then. We are called to bear good fruit for a world that hungers for goodness. Is there any hope if we see ourselves, our church, our denomination, or the Christian Church as a whole, to be fruitless, or to be bearing sour or rotten fruit? Let us compare today’s reading from Mark with Luke’s Parable of the Fig Tree:

Jesus told this parable: “A man owned a fig tree planted in his vineyard. He came looking for fruit on it and found none. He said to his gardener, ‘Look, I’ve come looking for fruit on this fig tree for the past three years, and I’ve never found any. Cut it down! Why should it continue depleting the soil’s nutrients?’ The gardener responded, ‘Lord, give it one more year, and I will dig around it and give it fertilizer. Maybe it will produce fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.’” Luke 13:6-9 (CEB)

Wesley prescribed the fertilizer we must use to nourish the tree and to stimulate it to produce good fruit: getting to know God by reading and studying scripture; communicating with God through prayer and meditation; worshipping God in church and at home; getting to know each other better in fellowship and communion; and by letting others know God by performing acts of mercy. 

Luke tells us that God gives us second chances. But, what if we think it is too late? What if the tree looks dead? This first Sunday after Easter, surely we still remember that death is not always the end of the story? If any of us fall away from the church, there will be new saplings to grow in the light where our shadow once fell. If this church were cut down, a new one would rise up to fill the void. That is the nature of trees!

I, you, we, are trees:

  • By what fruit will others know me?
  • By what fruit will people know you are Christians?
  • By what fruit will Manhattan Methodist United Church be recognized and valued in Manhattan?
  • By. What. Fruit? 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day: Sin and Evil

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 Spirit, the place of creative responsibility for human beings, a dwelling place for all beings created in love. Etymologically, ecology has to do with dwelling place. Taking care of it, repairing it and adapting it to new threats, broadening it to allow new cultural and natural being - this is the task of ecology and its mission."


Leonardo Boff, "Social Ecology: Poverty and Misery"; in Ecotheology: Voices From South and North; 1994

(photography by tiwago)

Friday, April 21, 2017

The First Church Council Meeting


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. The others tried to explain, but they did not yet know how to explain the unexplainable. He would not believe without proof. He could not believe without something more.

A week passed. Again they gathered behind lock and key. Gathered to worship. Gathered together. All together, in anticipation and hope.

"Shalom."

"Come Thomas."

"Use your fingers to see. Touch my reality."

"Enter into me - put aside your fear and doubt."

"Believe."

Thomas looked, and touched, and probed. "My Lord? O my God!"

"You each believe because you have seen. But, what of those who have not seen? Blessed shall be they who have not seen, and yet believe regardless."


From John 20:19-29


(photography by tiwago)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Repentance

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)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Conflict of Understanding



"Reference to the earth in our culture is not individualistic so as to indicate ownership. Our words indicate sharing and belonging to the earth. The coming of Europeans to the land which we used in North America meant a conflict of understanding which centres on the ownership of land. The initial misunderstanding is not surprising, since the first immigrants thought of themselves as coming to take 'possession' of a 'vacant, pagan land'. The incredible fact is that this perception continues after five centuries. Equally surprising has been the historical role of the Christian church in this process of colonization, which basically was a dividing up of the earth so it could be a possession."

Stan McKay


From "An Aboriginal Perspective on the Integrity of Creation" in Ecotheology: Voices From South and North; 1994
(photography by tiwago)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Grandfather

"Grandfather, look at our brokenness.
Now we must put the sanctity of life as the most sacred principle of power, and renounce the awesome might of materialism.
We know that in all creation, only the family of man has strayed from the sacred way.

We know that we are the ones who are divided, and we are the ones who must come back, together to worship and walk in a sacred way, that by our affirmation we may heal the earth and heal each other.

Now we must affirm life for all that is living or face death in a final desecration with no reprieve.

We hear the screams of those who die for want of food, and whose humanity is aborted and prevented.

Grandfather, the sacred one, we know that unless we love and have compassion the healing cannot come.
Grandfather, teach us how to heal our brokenness."

Art Solomon


photography by tiwago

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter: Rejoicing in Emptyness

Survivors experience death over and over: their birthdays; their death anniversaries; your shared wedding anniversaries; sudden smells and memories; lonely nights... We feel an emptiness - a void where once they were. A wound that heals but leaves its scars.


Grave-robbers?

At dawn she saw the desecrated grave. It was like he died all over again; but this time she did not even have the comfort of a last ministry to his body. She ran as fast as the hot desert wind to find the others where they mourned in hiding.

"Grave-robbers! I don't know where they have taken him!"

Shocked, two of the Master's students ran before her, back to the violated cemetery. The younger faster one arrived first, but froze before the gaping maw. He looked inside the tomb, and saw the death-soiled rags lying empty, left-behind. The second man too saw the linens as he entered the vault; but he saw something else too - someone had taken the care and time to neatly roll up and place the head-covering. Then the first man joined his friend inside. It is said that they both believed and did not believe. They returned home, probably believing less with each step back into reality. 

They left her. In their stunned wonder, they just left Mary there by herself. They left her there weeping. They did not stay to comfort her with their presence. Cautiously, she looked inside, for they had not even told her what they saw that spooked them so. She saw what they had not, two Angels dressed in holy white, casually sitting where a corpse should lie!

They asked her: "Why are you mourning?"

"They have taken away my heart! I do not know where to go to care for him!" 

They must not have answered her, for she turned away from the opening and the stone. She was startled to see the gardener standing there. 

The gardener asked her: "Why are you mourning?"

"Have you moved him to another plot? Please tell me so that I can bring him back!"

"Mary."

"Teacher?!" She knew her Shepherd's voice.

Jesus calmed her: "Do not keep me here, for I must yet go home to my Father's house. Go to our brothers and sisters and tell them that I ascend to our Abba, to our God; yours and theirs, theirs and mine."

She ran back, even faster than before: "I've seen him! He's alive!" Then she related the good news to them as she had been directed.

As we mourn death over and over, so too should we celebrate rebirth; over and over.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

What Is the Measure of a Person?

"Technology is not the measure of human development...


That is always evidenced rather by the ways we love and treat the young, the regard and reverence we have for the old and, most specifically, the status, love and respect we accord to women. Yet none of these human values can be compartmentalized, any more than we can differentiate our lives from the world we live in. To attempt to do so is to dishonour our creator and to cease to live in harmony with creation."

Rob Cooper

From Ecotheology: Voices from South and North; 1994


(photography by tiwago)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Jesus Died



Jesus died for me -
He died for all of us.
He died to show us:
How low we would go;
How low he would come;
How high he would rise;
How high we'd arise.

Jesus didn't die,
Because he was the Son;
Or even,
Because he was our Brother.
He died, 
Because he was the Father.
The child does not die for the parent;
But the Mother dies for her children.

Jesus didn't die for Friday,
But for Sunday;
Not for Passover,
But for Easter.
Not for dark night,
But for bright light.

Jesus was born to be present,
And he lived to be present.
Jesus died to be present,
And was buried to be absent.
Jesus rose to be present:
To walk beside us;
To eat with us.

God is Love:
God incarnated for Love;
Jesus died for Love -
Can we not at least,
Live for Love?

Jesus died,
To show us how to die.
Jesus died,
To show us how to live.
I AM died, 
To show us how TO BE.

Jesus died, because humans die.
Jesus died because he was full human:
Pregnancy and labor;
Infancy and childhood;
Learning and working;
Teaching and healing;
Loving, laughing, crying.
He in we and we in he -
Jesus lives.


Tiwago




photography by tiwago

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Table for Thirteen


When we share a table, we share
More than food or space or time,
We share ourselves with each other:
We testify to the events of our day;
And interpret the news of the world
(Apocryphally and anecdotally told -
Leavened with the bread of laughter);
There we plan yet again the past; and 
We remember the coming future.
We create a common experience,
A binding for community and unity.
It is an opportunity to share the grace
Of hospitality, the blessings of service.

Waiters know all about the Table,
For they serve a Table, not a thing.
Table is not a flat plank with legs:
One comes to Table as a destination;
One experiences Table as an event.
Those who share a table,
Become the Table.


Tiwago






Tuesday, April 11, 2017


No longer do we worship a golden calf; now we worship Egypt from whence came the gold, and we bow before Aaron who shaped it into an acceptable form. In the evolving American state-religion, maximizing profits regardless of the socio/economic/environmental costs is becoming not just a sacrosanct right, but a sacred and patriotic duty.


"The Bible makes clear a basic truth that we self-centered humans find difficult to accept, namely, that the natural universe was not created primarily for us. There is no doubt that God wants us to enjoy it and even use its resources to optimize a good life for ourselves. But the ultimate purpose of creation is worship. Nature and all living things were created to glorify God." Tony Campolo

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Indomitable Dance

Domination is the public or private serial display of physical, political, or economic power by the spiritually weak and mentally frightened in an attempt to intimidate those least likely to or least able to effectively fight back, and so as to appear larger by making others appear smaller. Those who resist such a false monologue and do not buy-in to the devaluation of their life, human lives, or Life on Earth are indomitable.


In this current age, rich white men strive to dominate all who are not rich and white and male - they seek to dominate the very world itself. These gods, their idols, and their false prophets are a dark force of corruption. But against this cancerous physical and spiritual pollution, liberation theologies remind the meek of the Beatitudes. Ecotheology and feminist theology are such:

"Ecologists enable us to see our anthropocentric sinfulness in relation to other living beings. They call us to a new pattern of relations with all beings in the cosmos based on mutuality, interdependence and life-giving values.

Feminist movements all over the world have also raised a radical cultural critique of our way of living. They have identified the cause of women's pain and struggle with the conceptual framework of patriarchy - a hierarchical system of domination in which men with power rule all other beings in the cosmos drawing on the ideological support of sexism, racism, classism, cultural imperialism and androcentrism. This system of 'domination-submission' has promoted war, in justice and ecological in world history." Chung Hyun Kyung


Those who attempt to dominate others seek discord, misunderstanding, and to create division - while liberation theology seeks to create a oneness based upon God the Maker's Oneness and His Kingdom:

"When the ecological movement and the feminist movement joined together to work towards justice, peace and the integrity of creation, they discovered that they share many basic premises - such as their worldview, analysis, method, life-style and vision of the future. Both movements oppose 'power-over' relationships which promote dualistic and hierarchical oppression among all beings. They envision liberated and liberating relationships which encourage 'power from within' and 'power with' other beings. They think the rape of women and the rape of the earth come from the same root: the violence of 'power-over' which is the main characteristic of the man in power: he destroys the right relationship among all beings." Kyung


In our corruption of dominion into domination, we replaced our care-taker mission with imperialism. Those who have faced colonialism add to our discussion and understanding:

"Therefore, when we incorporate African and Asian indigenous spirituality to eco-feminist spirituality, we begin to perceive the meaning of nature, God and humanity in a fresh new way. First of all, nature stops being a non-feeling, dead place. it becomes a God-infused and God-breathed place. We begin to feel deep respect, even a sense of awe before the life-giving, yet fragile interwovenness of the earth. The earth becomes sacred. The rhythmic ebb and flow of the rivers and seas become God's dance. The life-giving fecundity of the land with the water is the source of food coming from God's bosom. The wind and air become God's life giving breath. then we cannot destroy earth since God is there. God is the life-giving power. The cosmos is God's 'womb'. This intimate relationship between God and the cosmos is exploding with the seminal energy that generates and regenerates life. God energizes the cosmos, and the cosmos in return moves with the creator in a cosmic dance of exquisite balance and beauty. in this cosmic unfolding of creation, human beings become co-creators with God and nature." Kyung


I danced in the morning when the world was begun,
and I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun, 
and I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth.
At Bethlehem I had my birth.

Dance, then, wherever you may be;
I AM the Lord of the Dance, said he.
And I'll lead you all wherever you may be,
and I'll lead you all in the dance, said he.

                                                                  Sydney Carter

Dance y'all, dance!




Images by Tiwago.

Quotes by Chung Hyun Kyung are from; Ecology Feminism and African and Asian Spirituality: Towards a Spirituality of Eco-Feminism, in Ecotheology: Voices from North and South.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Learning to Read


"Our predicament now, I believe, requires us to learn to read and understand the Bible in the light of the present fact of Creation."

Wendell Berry


(photography by tiwago)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Which Jesus Do You Chose?

Which Jesus would they chose?
For whom would the mob cry?
Jesus bar Joseph, Rabbi?
Or,
Jesus Barabbas, warrior?

Which Jesus do you chose?
Pilate asked the unsettled throng.
We want a strong-man, give us Barabbas!
What should I do with your Messiah?
Kill him!
But he is innocent.
KILL HIM!
I wash my hands.

One Jesus was freed;
One Jesus was flogged.
One was seen as a savior;
The other was crucified. 

Caesar's soldiers adorned him in royal scarlet.
They crowned him with a royal crown.
They gave him a royal scepter. 
They who bowed to only Caesar,
Bowed down in petty mockery.
Then they mounted him upon a cross:
Here dies your weak and puny King!

Crowds gathered for the entertainment.
They heckled him there as he hung:
what, can't you get down from there?
You said you were the Son of God, 
Bar Abba, didn't you your Majesty?

The Priests also gathered,
Brightly-colored vultures:
You "saved" other people,
But you can't save yourself?
Come on down! Let us see!
Then we'll believe you're a King!
If you are the Son of God,
Throw yourself down!

In that field of crosses,
Others too were dying -
They too laughed to see
He who would be King.

My God.
My God.
I am so alone.
I AM, so alone.



Tiwago



Each and every morning, we must answer Pilate's question: which Jesus do we want? 

Do we want Yeshua bar Abbas, the strong lion, the man of might and warfare, the fleshy son of the times? Or, do we want Yeshua bar Abbas, the Prince of Peace, the Son of God?

Do we chose an Empire of might-makes-right, or the Kingdom of the meek?




(from Matthew 27:11-54)

(Painting by Hieronymous Bosch)



Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The First Law


"The first law of our being is that we are set in a delicate network of interdependence with our fellow human beings and with the rest of God's creation."

Bishop Desmond Tutu


(photography by tiwago)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

One of Twelve



One among Twelve:
A twelfth part;
Twenty percent;
The Principle of Pareto.

They say that after
The forty days, and
The forty nights of
Testing in the Wilds,
It waited for a more
Opportune time to try again.
And, when It saw Its time,
It offered thirty silver coins;
Flesh always has a value!
One of Twelve accepted
Those thirty silver coins.

The Twelve dined with the One,
Who said one would betray him:
"Surely not I!" said One of Twelve;
"Surely not I!" said the first of the Twelve;
"Surely not I!" said each of the Twelve.

Then he went to the garden to pray
With a few close and sleepy friends;
When One of Twelve approached
Along with a frightening armed mob:
"I will go and kiss him. Lock him up!"
"My friend, why come and kiss me so?"
For thirty silver coins.

The first of the Twelve was their witness -
He spied upon the proceedings, but was seen:
"You are one of his followers!"
"Surely not I!";
"You are one of his followers!"
"Surely not I!";
"You are one of his followers!"
"Surely not I!";
"You are!" crowed the rooster.

He did not expect the result
When he accepted the coins.
Who knows the lies he'd told himself?
But now, he regretted;
But now, he repented;
But now he tried to undo it,
To take it back, to give it back,
To wash his hands. He threw
Thirty silver coins back at them;
He threw himself from a tall tree,
And died upon it, as his Teacher
Would soon die on another tree.

Thirty silver coins lay there,
Unwanted on the Temple floor,
Associated with blood, it was unclean,
Fit only for an unclean purpose.
So thirty silver coins purchased
A field for poor and unclean dead,
For hadn't the Prophet Jeremiah said:
"Thirty silver coins is the value
On the head of the one with a price,
He on whom the people set a price;
So thirty silver coins purchased
A field for poor and unclean dead"?

Bloody business this.
Pilate too tried to wash his hands,
To say: "Surely not I!"

But it was he, 
And it was we;
And it is ever I.



Tiwago





(from Matthew 26:14 - 27:66)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Transfiguration or Disfiguration?


"If nature is not transfigured, she becomes disfigured."

Patriarch Ignatius IV Of Antioch 



(photography by tiwago)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Am I My Brother's Caregiver?


"Did God make the world? 

Does he sustain it? 

Has he committed its resources to our care? 

His personal concern for his own creation should be sufficient to inspire us to be equally concerned."

John R.W. Stott; Under the Bright Wings



(photography by tiwago)

Christ the King Sunday

The last Sunday of the Church's year. The Sunday before Advent. As a convert (2003), I had always assumed that Christ the King Su...