Month: July 2015

Where the Soul Rests

stormy lake

Where the Soul Rests

See this old sign?

It looks pretty beaten up doesn’t it?

Its weathered a few storms,

and survived.

It’s watched vacationers come and go.

watched them

awe at the Eagle,

listen for the loon

be still for the mother deer and her fawn.

This is the place where my soul rests.

It’s the place

where I want my ashes spread

where my truest self is known.

A place of rest and restoration.

A place of peace and imagination.

A place of simple hope.

It’s how I imagine the Kingdom of Heaven to be.

Do you know where your soul rests?

Where your soul is the most content?

Like a yellow lab who always brings back the ball….Where does your soul return?

Think on these things. Think about your soul.

Have you paid attention to it lately?

Do you know where your soul rests?

Beware.

If you go to your soul and you allow yourself to be restored, you will see where you are lacking. Like the missing letters in this old sign, you will see where you have been battered, weathered and worn.

You will see the pain.

The weathering of life.

It’s not the same, but you are still there.

Do you know where your soul rests?

Go there.

And be at peace.

 

 

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I wish I was an Evangelical

www-St-Takla-org___Holy-Face-of-Jesus-23

I took a road trip with my friend, who is an Evangelical Christian.  Normally, if I’m in a car with someone other than a fellow Presbyterian, I am with an Atheist, or a Buddhist/Christian, or a “Spiritual but not Religious” person, Rarely am I in the car for a long period of time, with an evangelical.

She came to faith in college at Campus Christian House. She was not born into her faith, she came to it. Today, she is part of a church community that acts out the mandate of the Great Commission, to go out and make disciples.

She said she lives by this acronym: JOY

  1. Jesus
  2. Others
  3. Yourself

Everything her small group does is based on the priority of helping people grow in their faith and bringing more people to know Jesus.  Her small group is not a support group, it is a faith formation and outreach group.

As we drove through a downpour on a busy highway, and she talked about her love for Jesus and her commitment to outreach,  I felt like a wimpy Christian. I thought,

“I wish I was an evangelical.”

I was not raised in an evangelical home. My mother was drawn toward the mystics and contemplative prayer. My Dad taught critical thinking.  My faith formation was rooted in feeling but measured in critical thinking.

My best friend in junior high was Mormon. She and I walked home from school together every day and when we weren’t talking about boys, we would often talk about Jesus. She seemed to know a lot more about the Bible and Jesus than I. I hadn’t heard about the Second Coming, or the Book of Revelation. Somehow, my Sunday school class seemed to stay with miracle stories from the Gospel and a few “child friendly ” Old Testament stories. My friend would use words like, “rapture,” and “second coming,” leaving me puzzled and confused.  I loved talking to her about her faith. I admired her conviction. I struggled with my beliefs as she so firmly stated her own. I had a feeling about God, but I was afraid to say what I believed, in the likelihood that I would say it wrong.

When I got to college, I tried Intervarsity. One day,  I told the leader of the group that I wanted to speak or offer a testimony  to the large group and they said only guys were allowed to do that, so I left and joined the Newman Catholic Center. I loved the Newman Center.  We talked about world issues, poverty, women’s rights, eco-justice and AIDs.  Images of Jesus were everywhere. The hands on work of ministry fed me. I loved the Catholic community and yet, I still wasn’t sure what I believed.

It wasn’t until seminary, and I read Barth and Calvin and Niebuhr,  that I found a foundation for my faith. It wasn’t until seminary, that I really studied the Bible.  It was in my little seminary room, that I read the Bible without judging myself or it. I came to it, embraced it, discovered it. I realized that the Word, Logos and God, Theos were intertwined. I fell in love with the Word.  For the first time the Word became Flesh. It became real, living, life giving and redeeming. It was in the safe conversations with fellow seminarians that I felt I could start to speak for myself and not rely on quotes from CS Lewis or Beuchner or Bultmann to speak on my behalf.

It was the time in my life that I could not get enough of Jesus. I miss it. I recall it when I need to remember who I am and whose I am.

And yet, as I was driving with my evangelical friend, I still felt that the strength of my convictions and the measure of my faith was tepid. I realized that the church can so easily become a social service agency, another program in the week, a product to be applied. I realized that as a pastor, I can easily slide into the role of CEO, life coach and motivational speaker.  Jesus can get lost in the junk drawer. Joy becomes diluted by self-satisfaction and personal preference.

If the mainline church is going to survive, we are going to need to embrace joy. We are going to need to be strong in our convictions.  We have to be willing to put the discipline of loving God and neighbor before ourselves into authentic practice. We have to be drawn back to the Word made Flesh and not be afraid that we will get the answer wrong.

Let us not be afraid to be evangelical.

Make it Sound Like America

creating sacred communities

Make it Sound Like America.

I heard a recording of Aaron Copland working with an orchestra and conducting his famous piece, Appalachian Spring.  He explained how it should sound this way, “Make it sound like America,  don’t play this like Tchaikovsky, make it sound more bouncy, less sentimental and more…cool.”

I love this piece of music, and sorry to say, I feel very sentimental about it. I walked down the aisle on my wedding day to Simple Gifts. The first movement always makes me cry. (Hit “play” now if you haven’t already).

It was this question, posed to Copland that has gotten me thinking…

How does America Sound?

I know how I want it to sound.

th9F6U0AWJ

I want it to sound honest, pure, genuine, gritty, and lovely.

cropped-image6.jpg

I want it to sound hopeful, peaceful and life-giving.

rainbow in the dessert

I want it sound like a rainbow in the desert.

morning

Like a…

View original post 78 more words

Make it Sound Like America

Make it Sound Like America.

I heard a recording of Aaron Copland working with an orchestra and conducting his famous piece, Appalachian Spring.  He explained how it should sound this way, “Make it sound like America,  don’t play this like Tchaikovsky, make it sound more bouncy, less sentimental and more…cool.”

I love this piece of music, and sorry to say, I feel very sentimental about it. I walked down the aisle on my wedding day to Simple Gifts. The first movement always makes me cry. (Hit “play” now if you haven’t already).

It was this question, posed to Copland that has gotten me thinking…

How does America Sound?

I know how I want it to sound.

th9F6U0AWJ

 

 

I want it to sound honest, pure, genuine, gritty, and lovely.

 

 

 

cropped-image6.jpg

 

I want it to sound hopeful, peaceful and life-giving.

 

 

 

 

rainbow in the dessert

 

I want it sound like a rainbow in the desert.

 

morning

 

Like a morning, unblemished.

 

dad's sunset

Like gratitude.

 

This is how I want it sound, and maybe it does some places.

But it also sounds

tired

hungry

pillaged

polluted

plastic

fractured

violent

abused

divided

I do not believe we can hear America without hearing all of it.

Today, on this Fourth of July, as you watch a parade, eat watermelon, wave flags, set up lawn chairs, and hear the sizzle of a fire cracker, listen.  Listen,

How do you think America sounds?