Sunday, March 08, 2009



Church hit me right where it counts today: head, heart, relationships, with peeps in the Real World and here.

Deacons met. I get to serve on the ecclesiastical council of a candidate for ordination. The ministry support committee on which I serve for a seminarian met. Various and sundry church-related functions are set for the next several weeks.

Grounded. Today I got grounded in the practical, everyday work of the church as a church -- the kind of inside baseball that allows it to be a force for good, and for the Gospel, in the world.

It came after a few days of being buffeted by winds of theological theory. A good day, today is.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION today at church:

Lord of Life, help us to be honest and open when it comes to our friendships. Anyone can be an acquaintance. Friends are rare, and give us the opportunity to argue and risk disagreements. To be in covenant with a friend, whether part of our family or not, is not a picnic. Sometimes we will argue and disagree. This is the sign that the covenant matters, as well as the friendship. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, our Teacher and Lord we pray, Amen.



Quite a day for us too. We found out that our pastor of 10 years has accepted a call elsewhere. Excellent news for him (and his family), and I'm sure it will be an important change for us. But it's still a difficult change, and like Peter in the Lectionary today, we all like to hang on to what we know instead of letting go in order to do something more important.
Sorry, dude. Changing shepherds always disturbs the flock.
"Lord of Life...'

"... help us..."

"... to be honest and open..."

Reams of theological reflection, or theory, compacted into theologically meaningful speech.

When we slow down and think, even just the first one could sustain a few hours of grounded living.
Ya know, my first real encounter with sustained meditation on being honest and open (and willing) -- H.O.W. -- in a spiritual context was ... yep, in AA when I went my a love to open meetings in the early-mid '90s, and then in Al-Anon later.

Not in church.
AA is one of the most beautiful of theologies going.

I find that the people in my professions who are in "recovery" are the most admirable at their work and the most supple in their Christian faith.

Perhaps because forgiveness is such a centrally theological work of liberation.
Maybe it's privileged insight into something.
We will never know how the country aphorism, "If a turtle bites you, he won't let go until it thunders," came about.

I'm going to fricking bed.
Date night, huh?
LOL -- I remember "dates." ...

Hey, I'm probly fixin' to start gettin' my redneck on a little. The Lord has done give me a sign that that's what I need right now, to get all centered like, since I been whacked upside the head so much by life here lately. I will keep the Confederate references, but probly not the Southern ones, to a minimum. I hope you will find a way to tolerate collateral symbols and cultural references that come with other stuff. For example, I am fixin' to go lookin' for a certain Bocephus tune on the Youtubes, 'cause I like the song, and I want to post it. If there is a battle flag in the video, it ain't my dang fault.
God and the whole world is tired of me reading Kant along with a lot of other Germans and Russians and French. A quarter of my library is filled with anti-Semites who contributed to or were blind to the Europe capable of the Holocaust.

And yet they sustain me in my work of love for those in front of me and the country for which I am responsible as a citizen. The real world is a God inhabited world, a theological world, then.

The Bible I read laid some unfortunate groundwork for Christian militancy and hate. Everything is fallen. Even those things which nourish us.

My Cowboys, Mets, baseball, sport altogether.

Your Bocephus, Country and Western Music, NASCAR.

The books have been written on the negatives of entertainment, Western civilization.

As long as we can be clear about where the good is and what the bad is to be left behind.

As they say in Friday Night Lights:

Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.
I reckon you and I agree on all that. Especially this: "Everything is fallen. Even those things which nourish us."

Lately, I'm feelin' pretty fallen, as in lowly. And I'm gonna reach for handles to climb out of it where I've found 'em before.
Willie and Marty Robbins for me. Robbins I took from my dad and uncle.
Willie is just Willie. :-)

I like Marty Robbins' cowboy songs.
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