Monday, September 18, 2017

Jonah's Whale of a Tantrum (Warning: "Adult" Language)

When the Renewing God of Ongoing Creation saw that the lost sheep (Nineveh, Rome, Germany, Japan, _______?) had turned from the path of corruption, They rejoiced and changed Their mind - the impending doom I was promised was canceled. This was very upsetting to me, and my anger grew.

"Lord, this is exactly what I was afraid of! I knew You were too merciful and loving to do what needed to be done! You drug me through storms and whale-vomit all the way out here for no good reason! Wrath of God my ass! I don't want to live in a world where people like them are allowed to exist unpunished; kill me right now!"

God asked me: "Is it right that you are so irrationally mad at me?"

That just pissed me off even more - They were totally ignoring my righteous anger! So I went off in a huff. I put up a blanket for some shade, and sat there in the desert watching Sin City; waiting for God to come to Their senses and do the right thing - for I still had faith, even in my despair at Their softness!

The blanket was not big enough, and the damn sun kept moving; heat-stroke was setting in. God "appointed" a bush, and tasked it to give my hot head more shade. Obviously, God was on my side after all, why else would They care for my comfort? I was very happy knowing that God was going to strike the heathens down soon, and slept well that night.

In the morning, God "appointed" a caterpillar (a hungry, HUNGRY caterpillar) to devour MY bush - its branches were soon bare. WTF, God?! The unrelenting sun beat mercilessly down upon my head, and I became faint and distressed. "Please Lord, this migraine is killing me; let me die already!"

But instead, They asked me: "Is it right that you are so irrationally mad at the bush?" Tired of God ignoring my pleas I answered: "It sure the hell is! I have EVERY right to feel the way I feel! I'm mad enough I could die!" (OY! Do I always sound so whiny? And what's with all that "I wish I were dead" crap? I didn't realize I was such a drama Queen.)

Then the Lord my God said: "You are so worried about the death of a bush, of my Creation; aren't the people in the City also my Creation?" I said nothing more.

Jonah 3:10-4:11

(photography by tiwago)

Friday, September 15, 2017

Forgive Us Our Debts As We Forgive Our Debtors

Jesus told this story about people we all know to teach us about forgiveness:

A bank was getting their affairs in order for an upcoming audit. The Manager met with a man who owed her bank $10,000 on a mortgage and was behind on his payments. She told him that he had to pay off the remainder of his loan right away, or the bank would foreclose, and his family would be evicted. He begged for for his family so passionately that she took pity on them, and got the bank to forgive the debt. Imagine that!

The man went right out, and went to a guy who owed him $100. He grabbed him by the collar: "Give me the money you owe me or I'll break you legs!" The poor man fell down there in the street groveling, begging for more time; but the thug refused and left him in the gutter, a beaten and bloody mess. "You still owe me! I'll be back."

Word got back to the bank Manager. She called the man back to her office: "You a$$hole! I got the bank to forgive your huge debt because you pleaded with me. Why didn't you extend that same mercy to the person who owed you a little money?" So she turned the loan-shark over to the police, and in prison he met a lot of not-so-nice people who owed him money, and even some whom he owed...

This Abba will also do to you, if you do not forgive your sisters and your brothers.

Matthew 18:21-35

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Does God Only Love Those You Love?

Is Paul being unitarian, ecumenical, encouraging inter-faith cooperation, or just trying to get people to quit acting like jerks?

Paul writes:

Interact with those whose beliefs are different than yours; to be hospitable, not to try to beat them into submission! We are ALL different - some people chow down on snack-food, while others will only eat locally produced organic produce. Those who drink beer must not look down on those who abstain, as those who refuse bacon must not hold it against those who love it. We are all a little odd; yet God welcomes all of our quirks into the Fellowship of the One.

Who are you that you think you can pass judgement on those who follow someone or something else than you do? Who died and made you God? Each will be measured by how well they followed their own Way - but at the same time, the Lord-of-All will stand with them.

Some determine that one day is holier than another day, but aren't all days meant to be sacred? We will be judged on how well we keep our own holy days sanctified, not how many we force to worship on the "right" day. Observe a day to give thanks to your Lord, and eat (or not) so as to mark the day as being special to you.

We are not alive to serve ourselves; nor do we die for ourselves. Since we live and die for that which we worship, we then belong to who or what we worship.

So, here is what I believe: Christ was born, died, and lived again to confirm that he is the Lord of both - the quick AND the dead. 

But, why do you judge your sisters and brothers who believe differently? Why do you hate your brothers and sisters of different beliefs? Though we will all be judged differently, we will all be judged together! Our scripture tells us that all will come to honor the Lord (at some point in each person's life or death, or at some point in the history of humanity?) - so we are not then all equally accountable?

Romans 14:1-12

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Confession of a Covenant-Breaker

I have reserved myself for myself and those who are mine.
Abba forgive me!

I go where life takes me, and stand with those who I like.
Abba forgive me!

I resent Your commission, because I try to avoid suffering.
Abba forgive me!

I look out for myself and my family; I have laid You aside.
Abba forgive me!

I hunger and never have enough, yet I am full of myself.
Abba forgive me!

I "need" everything that I see advertised - I fear deprivation.
Abba forgive me!

I hold on to all I have accumulated, for I worked hard for it!
Abba forgive me!

Even so, O Glorious and Blessed One,
They-the-Three, give Themselves to me,
While claiming me as Their own child?

I don't know why, but let it be.
The vow I make here on Earth,
Has been stamped in Heaven.

Abba forgave me.
Abba forgives me.
Amen and AMEN.

(Taken from a Covenant Prayer in the Weslyan Tradition; UMH #607)

(photography by tiwago)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Before and After

Tired columns of exiles,
Crossing the Wilderness:
Angel-of-God bilocated,
Before and behind them,
Preceding and perfecting;
The Pillar-I-AM going,
Before and behind them,
Alpha and Omega in One.

The people, 

Between Masters and their Slaves,
A Cloud towered in the darkness,
And the night was made into day;
There with the Sea to their backs,
One last chance to turn around... 

Exodus 14:19&20 by Tiwago

Monday, September 11, 2017

Tweeting #POTUS

My church is participating in a 'read the Bible in a year' program. Right now, our OT readings are in the Wisdom Book of Proverbs. Since Twitter is his preferred medium of communication, and as the self-appointed Twitter-Chaplain to the Tweeter-in-Chief, I sometimes tweet the President verses that seem Spirit-breathed words of guidance for a leader. My evangelical brethren tell me that Mr. Trump greatly values our Bible, so I am sure that he appreciates these daily devotional readings and meditations!

Here are examples from today:

I am surprised that he has not expressed his gratitude yet for my ministry...

Friday, September 8, 2017

DIY Fail Part 2

The world keeps telling me to "love myself" - if I can just love myself enough, some of that love will trickle down to others. "I am perfect just the way I am!" Then the world tells me all the things I need to buy to become "more perfect."

So, I was looking at the lectionary reading from Paul's letter to the "churches" in Rome...

"Do not borrow money, favors, or trouble. Don't owe ANYTHING to anyone; except love - owe love! Those who love others have perfected the Laws of Moses. Six of the Ten Commandments can be combined into one: 'Love your neighbor AS YOURSELF!' Love others as your own flesh and blood. Love others as part of yourself, part of the Body.

Love does not harm others.

Therefor, Love completes, fulfills, and brings to fruition the Law. Do you know what time it is? IT'S TIME TO WAKE UP! Every second, you are a second closer to sanctification. The long night is nearly done. The beautiful morning is just in sight. Throw away the selfish and treacherous deeds of darkness, and put on the brilliantly polished armor of reflected Light. 

In the light of day, you behave as though people can see you, right? You are called to live as if it were always full daylight, regardless of what time of night it is. Stop partying out of control. Stop letting your lusts lead you around. Stop being jealous of others, hating each other, and fighting.

Cover your nakedness with Christ the Light. 

Stop worrying about your "idols" and searching for self-gratification!"

(Romans 13:8-14)

(photography by tiwago)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

DIY Fail

Abba - I try, and then I try again a little harder, but I still can't do it:

Teach me
The Way
And I will follow it to the end

Give me
That I may discern and obey

Lead me
Along Your path
For I yearn for Your guidance

Turn me
Toward Your will
And away from my selfishness

Turn my head
From shiny distractions
So that I may live a righteous life

Confirm me
As part of Your covenenant
For I live in awe and amazement of You

Rescue me
From disgracing myself
Because Your decrees are good for me

See me
I long for perfection
By Your grace and mercy give me life


Psalm 119:33-40
(photography by tiwago)

Monday, September 4, 2017

Get Ready to March

Sometimes, we are called to teach with our feet, pray with our feet, advocate with our feet. Sometimes, we're called to flee, to go away from home, to find somewhere new and strange...

The Lord said: 

"This is a new beginning for you. Let it begin your calendar - let it start your new story.

Each household shall procure a lamb or kid. Some households will not be able to afford such an expense, so you must share evenly with your neighbors! The people shall all slay and butcher together as one community. All shall take the blood of these sacrifices, and paint their door-frames on the top and both sides. That same night, barbecue the meat. Treat it as manna - what you don't eat, throw away in the morning.

Be ready to march at a moment's notice. Eat it with tough brush-pants on. Eat it with your hiking boots on and laced up. Eat it with your walking-stick at-hand. Do not linger over the food - it is not a feast or banquet. Eat in readiness to assemble and move out. This is the night of my Passing-Over!

I will pass through the land where you have been enslaved and oppressed. As I pass by each of their houses, I will take away their most prized offspring. All their imaginary gods and shiny idols will be useless as I pass. I AM the Lord, and I will see the signs you painted. I will pass over my children.

For all time, mark this day on your calendar as Memorial Day. Feast to remember the time when you did not have time to feast because you were fleeing for your lives. Remember when you were an alien, abused and unwanted. Remember that you are my beloved, and that I have redeemed you. Remember me."

Exodus 12:1-14

(photography by tiwago)

Jonah's Whale of a Tantrum (Warning: "Adult" Language)

When the Renewing God of Ongoing Creation saw that the lost sheep (Nineveh, Rome, Germany, Japan, _______?) had turned from the path of co...