Friday, February 29, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Yesterday the paper noted that it was decided by officials that it was not a hate crime, instead it was just a prank or vandalism done by some juveniles. (See the Florence Times article). However they are clear that their investigation is not finished.
In his editorial, the editor said this "Even if the the incident was intended as an ugly prank, it's difficult to view it as anything other than a hate crime."
Several things have come to my mind about this incident. First if the doors of our churches were painted with some slurs or symbols that put down Christianity, how would we respond?
Secondly in any prank or any sarcastic remark there is usually an edge of the negative, whether the person owns it or not. How would we help the person with the underlying negativism that is there?
Thirdly How are we the churches in the community to respond to this particular event and others that may occur as well to places of worship? One of the things that was said of the church during Hitler's reign of Germany was that the church stood by and did nothing and said nothing to stop the Holocaust and the other abuses his regime incurred. Will we do the same or be willing to speak the truth in love?
One of the things that stands out about Jesus was he was not afraid to speak the truth in love. Paul in Ephesians 4:14 -15 writes this; "Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ."
Leviticus 19:17-18 reads this way: "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord." Jesus picks up these words in Matthew 22:37-39: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment and the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Instead of letting hate dominate our thinking and our actions let's chose to love first the Lord our God and then to love our neighbor as ourself; including whoever spray painted these words on the church doors.
It is interesting, I am preaching Sunday on the Leviticus passage.
Monday, February 25, 2008
door of a mainly all black congregation. The pictures shows them.
They are words you would expect to see during the civil rights
movement. They are words that reflect hate in one's heart and in
one's hands. You don't think you would see them in this day and age. Maybe in private conversations, the words are used. It is sad to see those used once more toward people who are a different color. It is sad to see them used on the door of a church.
What would we do if they were painted on our doors of our congregations or something just as derogatory? How would we respond?
The members of this church responded with love. They prayed for the person(s). "I still don't bear ill will toward him or them," one of the members said. "I'd like to invite him to church, to fellowship with us."
The men of the church hoped that whoever did this did so more out of boredom than hatred.
"I know there can't be that much hate around still," the member said.
"It's 2008," Alexander said. "Back in 1966, when we first built it, I might have expected to see this, but it's 2008."
Here is the link to the news article in the Florence Times.
What do you think can there still be that much hate around? Can hate live on?
What is to be our response to hate?
Matthew 5:43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (New International Version from Bible Gateway.com)
I believe Love is a greater than hate, heals hate, and offers us hope beyond hate.
I Corinthians 13: 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Today I watched the movie "Into Great Silence" in the midst of a quiet day. It is the movie we are going to discuss at revgalblogpals for Feb along with the book " An Infinity of Hours." by Nancy Klien MacGuire. I wasn't sure what it was going to be like to watch a film in silence for three hours, and yet it was well worth the time. It actually didn't seem like three hours. I loved the beauty of the scenery. It seemed as if we weren't just watching, but were partaking in the silence, the prayers, the meditative work, and rituals. I say we, because Bob watched it with me. It was comforting to me to watch this DVD. Not sure why, maybe the repetition of their tasks and lives, the simplicity, the prayers, the night office.
When I was in seminary I took a course in the Sociology of Religion. Part of what we did in this course were to go to different churches, different denominations. One of the places we went was down to Bardstown, KY to the Abbey of Gethsemani, a Trappist Monastery, where Thomas Merton was a Monk. When we went, I was told that I as a woman could go in to the area hidden from the monks view to watch their worship, but I could not go in and talk with the monks. I had to sit outside most of the time and wait for the guys to come back and tell me about their experience. I must say, after watching this video, I feel like I now have experienced what I could not back then.
Bob and I talked about what kind of person it would take to live in such a setting, we both used the word disciplined to describe that person. I told him, I don't think I am that kind of person. But I will say there are things I can learn from the Monks and their daily lives and prayers.
Silence is golden, because it does offer a way to hear God more clearly. This is the verse they used over and over in the film; "And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still, small voice" (I Kings 19:11-12).
At Taize they say this of Silence: "Silence means leaving to God what is beyond my reach and capacity. A moment of silence, even very short, is like a holy stop, a sabbatical rest, a truce of worries."
Mother Theresa is quoted as saying; "God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer."
Psalm 62:5 says: "My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him."
I grew up not learning much about being silent before God. I grew up with what I would call a "noisy religion". prayer is talking. Reading the bible as a devotional can be noisy, but doesn't have to be. The worship service is noisy. When I began to learn about being silent before God, it was very freeing, and became part of my life, my prayer time, bible reading time, and worship. However, with kids, my life has gotten noisy again. Sometimes it really is hard to stop, be quiet and know that he is God. This film showed me the importance, but also the beauty of it.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
I am proud to read about my sisters here in town. I think a lot of Joy, and she has done a bang up job with The Bridge, the contemporary service at First United Methodist. Don't know the other two ministers although I have heard of the Episcopal Priest. There are some others of us who got left out, like yours truly, but that's okay for this time.
Here's the article
And here is a link to the whole series on the Front Lines of Faith, including a video of Joy Morgan.
I thought they did a good job writing about the different denominations and non denominational churches. They also wrote quite a bit about youth and young people and their influence on the church.
And there are women who don't just want to preach, they are preaching! Preach on! The Doors are wide open in the Kingdom of God!
Monday, February 18, 2008
I appreciate those who wrote to me about missing my posts.
I hate to admit it, I have been under a great deal of stress that I can't blog about yet. And I can't blog about it for awhile. But when I can I will.
At the same time the Fly Lady has been keeping me busy with shining my sink, wiping and swishing, and decluttering. And boy has it paid off. I can see the floor in my room and the top of my dresser. And a real "biggy" is that the "hot spots", those places where paper, and junk just automatically accumulate have been put under some control. Kids' papers still get put out from their book bags, but we are doing better about what to keep and what not to keep. And Bob is doing better about not just laying stuff down just anywhere. He even helps me keep the Kitchen sink shining and wiping around in there.
We added one more thing since we have young kids at the house, the Fly Lady has a friend, called The House Fairy. The House Fairy now comes to my house to check on the kid's rooms. Now the beds are made, clothes picked up, trash in the trash can, and toys picked up without an argument. Imagine that. The idea is, the kids never know when the house fairy is going to come inspect their room. And if she comes and finds the room clean then its possible they might get a prize. If she finds it messy and bed unmade well no price. Where was the House Fairy when I was growing up? What a wonderful concept. So if you have you got little kids, I suggest you check her out. My kids love her, and I do too.
As someone said, you do get tired of her emails. I don't mind the reminders, its all the other emails.
I have been applying some of her decluttering tactics to my office. I threw out a whole bag of papers, magazines, etc the other day. I just haven't gotten the organization down yet.
In the meantime, Bob got the head crud and is getting over it. I got the flu this weekend. I don't wish it on anybody.
And so how about you? How goes it in your world?