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Showing posts from April, 2017

Sad

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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

Yet Unbroken

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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)

Hope During the Apocalypse

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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;…

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)

A Conflict of Understanding

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"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)

Grandfather

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"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


Easter: Rejoicing in Emptyness

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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.…

What Is the Measure of a Person?

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"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)

Jesus Died

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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…

Table for Thirteen

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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





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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

The Indomitable Dance

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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 m…

Learning to Read

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"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)

Which Jesus Do You Chose?

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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!

The First Law

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"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)

One of Twelve

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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 n…

Transfiguration or Disfiguration?

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(photography by tiwago)

Am I My Brother's Caregiver?

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"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)