Let them Dance!

So this was reformation Sunday, the day that Lutherans remember the day Martin Luther, the founder of the Religion, nailed his famous 95 Theses to a church door. I was inspired by Rev. Dawn Hutchings, a progressive Lutheran Minster in Canada, and her thoughts on the day. She is fabulous, her sermons and blog post have really inspired my own thought process. So I start with some of her ideas to get going.
Then as always I springboard off to my own ideas.
I get into my thought that we have frozen the Bible in time, we don’t see the “word”or God as a living thing, and (he\she) is, we need to have new Reformations all the time.

“God still Speaks.”
Does she speak to you, she will if you can learn to listen. She speaks to me, at least I hope that’s her. Its a whisper… a feeling…a knowing…
Not necessarily a thought, its something else, its deeper, a yearning, somewhere deep in your soul.

When Jesus is asked, he doesn’t talk about Gays, or tithing, or religious affiliations… no he says love the lord your God with all your heart\mind\strength\soul and your neighbor as yourself,then you will have life.
Transformational then and Transformational now. Lets try it.
Its a Love Story.. on a level we can’t put into words.

We tend to sanitize Jesus, he was a rebel. I wonder what he would think of the institutions we have made in his name, the killings committed in his name, the hurt well meaning Christians have inflicted verbally and mentally in his name. Those SINS continue today………
I feel called to move the story forward, that’s the pull- like the expanding universe, always moving…. God is action, the story can’t stand still, it needs movement or it stagnates, just look around….

I also speak about the story of one of the more mature ladies in our church, and how she remembers when, as a girl, they were not allowed to dance their “priest” said it was evil. The story does move forward!
” Let them Dance”

Let them dance… 10-25-2014

Jesus ” Rebel with a Cause”

In this sermon I get into a little college football, and some more Rob Bell, his blog is my go to when I am short on ideas. How do you describe what the Bible is? That’s a great question, I’ll get into that. I used Rob Bells blog as a starting point and of course I added my own material.
I just had the pleasure of hearing John Spong speak in Naples, FL, what a treat, in this sermon I get into some of Bishop Spong ideas, the chief among them, when it comes down to it we are called to live our lives “wastefully.”
Laughter, babies, the beach, love, pain, touch, a sunrise, beauty everywhere, if that’s not describing your life, then your GPS(God Positioning System) is off kilter. That’s what we are suppose to do here on this earth, live our life with joy, compassion for others, have fun, Love Wastefully this is the good stuff!
I learned from Bishop Spong and Rob Bell and others, that we must look at the Bible from a first century Jewish perspective, to think about it from any other view point is naïve. It like saying modern American literature could be read and understood contextually by an Indian that lived two thousand years ago. Jews never wrote or understood the “Torah” to be literally or historically true, the books are more than that, much more. They echo our human struggle to make sense of our world, the stories might not be historical, but they are true on many levels, and the stories become even more beautiful. It makes us and the Bible “small” when we do that, look at them through a 21st century world view, its so much more than literal truth.
If you can pull back and see the thread of God running through the stories of the Bible and the progression of peoples understanding…. Beautiful. God is still speaking…if we choose to listen.
One of my favorite themes, are you happy, where does your “happy” come from ? If it comes from some where outside of you, or your waiting for some other time or “condition” to be happy, your missing out on your life. Happy can only come from inside you, its a gift.
And of course Jesus- the rebel with a cause.

Audio from 10-19-2014

Let God “Out of our Box”

So this is one of my favorites, I got my inspiration from a Rob Bell book “Drops like Stars” in it he quotes Hugh Gallagher’s entrance exam for NYU, do yourself a favor and take a listen.

Its brings up one of my favorite concepts “let God out of the box”, we make “our” box’s over and over and over, and when we think we let God out of the box, we still see God from our box(our point of view). Thomas Merton said something like..the God we find says more about us than about God. I think God is big enough to encompass us all, Lutherans, Catholic’s, Southern Baptist, how about Jews.. Muslims… yes all of us, how could we think we could be separate from God.
I get into the concept of God only language is silence, that’s where he meets us.
I think Mark Twain said.. If I woulda had more time, I woulda said less.
Sometimes it about saying less..
Knowing what to take away…

The “tape” from 9-28=2014

“God lets the Children tell the story”

This is a sermon I borrowed liberally from Rob Bell’s blog, and his discussion with Peter Enns, the quote above is from Mr. Enns.
Sometimes a poor schmuck like me can’t do any better then the pros’, so I let them do the heavy lifting, and its quite good.
I throw in a Thomas Merton Quote “Our personal ideas about God tells us more about ourselves, than God.” Think about that one for awhile, you know that mean nasty God of yours, take a look in the mirror my friend.

We get into the Jonah story a little, and that puts me back on the thread in the Bible that pulls the story forward, always pulling it forward, God doesn’t change, human understanding of God changes. God didn’t ask people in the old testament to kill babies, he\she didn’t period…
If your God’s chosen people and you are sure this idea is great, then it must be from God, because he is on our side right?
Its a iron age people’s understanding of who there God is, the shame of the story is that many of us today can’t see that, and use this beautiful book to justify all types of things from slavery to hate crimes. I repeat things over and over to try to make a point, we don’t have this figured out yet..
If you justify anything hurtful, in any way,with the Bible or God or Jesus, its comes from you….PERIOD(yes that’s me yelling).

The Bible is a call to action, I believe it’s story is always moving forward, to freeze the story in time(see my last post) does us all a disservice. Its belittles God and it holds us in a sometimes barbaric thought process of the past. Think ISIS here for one…. its always those people… over there… not me or mine…
If that’s your thought process(like mine is some of the time) then you are part of the problem. Yes you! and me.
Put away the crayons and your Sunday school coloring book and pull on your big boy pants, and love radically and forgive unconditionally, that’s how we find true freedom, that’s Jesus gift to us. The rest is just noise.

Sermon 9-21-2014

I had a Dream

No really, I woke up in the middle of the night and thought, I really should write this down. What was this fabulous thought…… “we froze the Bible in time.”

No updating, locked in place, frozen like that piece of your wedding cake you keep for your 25th wedding anniversary , like that. I don’t think that was what the Bible was meant to be, not like that, no… God is in motion, a verb, John Spong says “it’s a call to action.” We try to make God and the Bible noun’s , masculine noun’s to boot, frozen back there, and that’s a problem. Maybe we need to keep re-writing the God story as we go….. I know my story(life) changes?????

I know we don’t have it right yet, I know we hold on to the wrong stuff, look around us, I just read on the internet that ISIS just beheaded a Japanese man, I can guarantee it’s not what the big guy had in mind. Its old world view thinking, it’s definitely not what God had in mind. It comes from looking at any religious text as a thread(to close), taking any one verse out of context to suit your needs, not the whole tapestry in all its glory. All of us, need to be big picture people, this looking at the world from a thousands of years old prospective(a thread, to close) is getting us killed.

We need to do something about it, love them … in their brokenness, that’s what Jesus would do. If you do what you always have done you get what you always got, I am sure somebody else said it first, but here it’s me. If you still see “them”, and I do, then there is still work to be done, on me, on you, on the “them.” You know how that “work” happens, love and radical forgiveness, that’s how.

I try to tackle John 3:16 in my own humble way. Jesus is always inclusive, it’s not a club and you don’t get to choose the members, God through Jesus(for some of us) will make it work, it will be OK. Don’t put God in a box, it does you a disservice, and its way to limiting for God. Funny , we always seem to find the God we go looking for, our thoughts on God tend to be a reflection on us. Ask yourself , have your thoughts on God changed since you were a child, or are you still “coloring” inside the lines?

I quote C.S. Lewis when he says ” we think we are a body that has a soul, when really we are souls that inhabit a body.” Beautiful, what do you think? If you believe this one sentence it can change your life. You are God’s and he Loves you as you are.

I need to correct something, I use the term bibliography, instead of the correct term of bible idolatry , or falling in love with the Bible, instead of the message it delivers.

I touch on processing problems, my term for when life comes at you to fast, and ask yourself…”are you working to your highest best self.” I know sometimes it hard, but its because we make it that way.

Let me know your thoughts.

Take a listen. 9-14-2014