Lately I’ve been struggling a bit with boundaries. It often seems to me that the limits we place on faith or life or God are far too small, that in reality there are no limits at all. Even while I acknowledge that a complete lack of limits and boundaries leads to a faith that lacks grounding, my own experience tells me that I and we usually err on the side of boundaries that are too rigid and too fixed. And so I push. I push against the limitations I see in myself, in the world, in the Church, etc. I’ve never met a line I didn’t like putting my toe across. This kind of mischievousness is a gift, and one I’m learning to embrace more and more. And, like most gifts, it carries with it liabilities.
One such liability, to which I’ve already alluded, is that boundaries and limitations are…
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I am really working through an online devotional under the hashtag #reLENTless. This is an example of why I find it so personally necessary.
I am holy too. Not piously perfect, not perfect at all. Human. Holy.
Source: #reLENTless #Holy
I’ve been engaging in the online Twitter community organized by The Slate Project, a progressive Christian real world and online group of people, called #SlateSpeak (Thursdays 9pm Eastern). Check it out. Rev. Jenn is one of the co-founders.
Ash Wednesday is an exhausting day, even for an extrovert like me. My co-pastors and I, of The Slate Project, worked the streets all day and although we are dog-tired, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
What did my day look like? Here is a glimpse….
A hug from a 5-year-old twin on her way to move with her mom and sister to Utah.
A woman who is 13 years in active recovery from her heroin addiction.
A man who invited everyone he knew on the street to come over so we could pray together.
A woman waiting for her daughter at a Hopkins bus stop.
A teacher at a daycare.
A woman who went to multiple #ashestogo locations looking to be blessed and prayed over.
A man whose views I couldn’t disagree with more.
A woman under hospice care with Hepatitis, AIDS, and cancer.
A man who was…
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2016 is nearly at it’s prescribed end. 2017 “around the corner” and ready to unveil itself. In parts of this creation, that’s through balls dropping, bottles uncorking, and passionate kisses. In others, though, families will cower in the dark waiting for the next bombs to drop, migrating families are praying not to die in the deserts or mountains, and others still will sleep wrapped in (if anything) discarded cardboard or fabric, homeless and afraid of the next hour, let alone an entirely new year. Children are being thrown to the streets, abused by their church or family, and killed because they are gay, transgendered, queer, etc. Indigenous peoples around the country and around the world, are again being pushed aside in the interest of progress. Being killed, and moved off their land so “we” can have more of whatever it is we want.
These, to name but a few of the atrocities we inflict upon each other. We are no closer to equality than we were nearly 400 years ago.
Happy New Year?
I am continuing on a personal journey of awakening these last few years. The death of my Mother nearly 5 years ago set me on a path of private religious and life exploration that at first brought doubt and disbelief, and has since twisted and turned into a faith life built on equal parts doubt, commitment, and communion. This exploration, more importantly, has brought me into fellowship with people searching for and working toward justice. Racial justice through movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #NoDAPL. LGBTQ justice through the Human Rights Commission (HRC) and others. Food justice through Feeding America, No Kid Hungry, and my local Food Pantry. The list is limitless when we look to who needs love on this earth. My goal (“Resolution” is too sturdy a word for this fallible, frail human) in the future is to be more physically active in working for justice. Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) is one way, continuing work with my church to feed our neighbors, and wherever else I can help, and whatever else I can do.
And I’ve found communities of people online through Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms that have lifted me and guided me to be a better human being. In particular, I’m grateful to @TheSlateProject through #SlateSpeak, a weekly online gathering of searchers who desire not only the justice they seek for their cause(s) but the ability to come down and just be for an hour. To recharge a bit. To feel and know a solid hour of love and welcome regardless of whatever label the world imposes, or is claimed. In this community, there is no identity other than beloved. We get to be, unjudged.
I’m learning that as a white cisgendered heterosexual male, that’s all I know and that it is the default inconsiderate lens through which I view (and judge) the world. That to help others is to first step back. To listen. To learn. To understand that I can’t understand. To see with their vision and feel with their hearts. My history has caused incalculable pain and suffering. Why would I think I should be in front of those deserving and working for justice? I need to read, to engage with, and to see life, not through but with, those who I want to have equality justice, and peace. I’m working at it, and I encourage each of you to also.
I’m blessed to have a wonderful wife of 30 years who I love as much or more as the day in 1984 that we met. We have two wonderful sons, the oldest married to a wonderful man this year, and the youngest just beginning his independent journey as a college freshman. We struggle at times, but we’re family. We remember that and love each other through the hard times, the sad times, the rebellious times, and the scary I don know who I am or who we are times. Our extended families are that; An extension of the lives we live in all their wonderful and delicious imperfectness.
This coming year will be a hard one. but a still a good one I believe. I hope. I pray.
So yes, Happy New Year!
Love your G-d, and their God(s). Love your neighbors. (all of them). and work to love yourself. You are good.
My friend Michael tells such wonderful stories. This is one of them. Enjoy.
When i was in the seminary back in the 60’s, we had a cute little saying, when some pretty girl passed by, “You can look at the menu, but you can’t order!” OUCH! That was a toughie!
Thanksgiving 2016 will pass me by in a similar fashion. For a year and a half now i have had the lovely plight of losing my sense of smell and taste – except on some rare occasions. While my doctors are pondering the dilemma, one of them the other day smiled and offered consolation, what with today’s FEAST upon us: “This year you must savor the sights…Feast your Eyes!” i was tempted to say, “Hey, doc, where’d ya put that scalpel!?”
ALL IN JEST! All in jest. Please pardon me, but laughter is one of the ways i deal with it, when turkey tastes like smashed potatoes, which taste just like lasagna, which…
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THE RESURRECTION OF MARY – An Idle Tale To commemorate this festival day, I repost this not-so-long-ago encounter with a visiting New Testament scholar to entice you to follow Mary out of her tomb and beyond the streets to her place at the head of the fledgling community that became the church: He just said […]