Sermon from 3-26-17, Can you see with new eyes!

The reading we worked with from the Lectionary are:

1 Samuel

NT Ephesians 5:8-14

Gospel John 9:1-41 AWESOME!!!!!!

 

My handout “Random Thoughts” for the day:

 

Matthew 13: MSG

1.Your ears are open but you don’t hear a thing.
Your eyes are awake but you don’t see a thing.
The people are blockheads!
They stick their fingers in their ears
so they won’t have to listen;
They screw their eyes shut
so they won’t have to look,
so they won’t have to deal with me face-to-face
and let me heal them.16-17 But you have God-blessed eyes—eyes that see! And God-blessed ears—ears that hear! A lot of people, prophets

Galatians 5 MSG

2.How do we know if we are living in God’s light?:

22-23 But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.23-24 Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.

 

3.“…..Knowledge puffs up , whereas love builds up…”p103 Rohr The Divine Dance”

4.I am a hole in the flute that the Christ’s breath moves through—- listen to this music. Hafiz, 14th century Sufi poet and mystic.

5.One woman in a group I was working with was almost instantly able to turn around a very difficult standoff with an ultraconservative bishop when she realized that his resistance was not the problem to be solved but a given to be worked with. With an almost visceral “Aha!” she relaxed her sense of polarization and was stunned to learn the next day that he had miraculously softened his stance. While it was not clear to her who had actually been the broker of third force here, it was clear to her that the two relaxations were not unrelated.

One can only imagine how greatly the political and religious culture wars of our era could be eased by this simple courtesy of the Law of Three: (1) the enemy is never the problem but the opportunity; (2) the problem will never be solved through eliminating or silencing the opposition but by learning to hold the tension of the opposites and launch them in a new direction. Imagine what a different world it would be if these two simple precepts were internalized and enacted. CAC 3-19-17

  1. And in everything that I saw, I could perceive nothing except the presence of the power of God, and in a manner totally indescribable. And my soul in an excess of wonder cried out: This world is pregnant with God! —Angela of Foligno (1248-1309) (Paulist Press: 1993), 169-170
  2. 10 “The thief(most of the time the thief is us) comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly”. What are you doing in this life, does it feel abundant, at least some of the time. John 10:10
  3. Bill Hicks Life is a ride video has really engaged me in the last few months, he a Comedian, and I love this video. Google Bill Hicks life’s a ride or the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgzQuE1pR1w

 

 

Sermon for 3-19-17

The reading we worked with from the Lectionary are:

OT Exodus 17:1-7

NT Romans 5:1-11

Gospel John 4: 5-42

 

My hand out Random Thoughts:

The word of the day: SPIRIT

 

Developing Patience Romans 5:1-11 MSG

1-2 By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

3-5 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!6-8 Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

9-11 Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!

1.“Facts” are simply habits of thought we’ve been thinking so long that they now seem normal. When we invest in them over and over again, we validate them. We create more of them. “Facts” fill in around those beliefs.

Quantum physics has proven it’s impossible to observe anything without affecting it. Sadly, we’ve been seeking (and therefore affecting) things that no longer serve us. We’ve been seeking “facts” that were perpetuated long before we evolved to the place where we realized we have the power to change them. And, yes, they’ve picked up quite a bit of momentum. Pam Grout Blog 3-16-17

  1. In the United States our politics have devolved into divisiveness and partisanship. Think about it: You feel passionate about your party and your issues. Your co-worker or neighbor backs the other political party with equal passion.

The way we live so much of our lives stops right there. Someone takes position A, and someone else opposes them in Position B; they exist in rivalry and antagonism, world without end. This is precisely the behavior we’d expect in a binary system—a place of “two-ness” in opposition. At best, when we’re finished yelling at each other, we might try to compromise and form some kind of “synthesis” position out of our dueling dualisms.

If the universe is created in the image of the Creator and the Creator is a Trinity, it begs the question: What if we don’t live in a binary universe, but instead in a ternary universe? CAC from Richard Rohr Blog 3-?-17

 

3.As we “tune our hearts” [1] to greater perception, we’ll begin to experience God almost like a force field, to borrow a metaphor from physics. We’re all already inside this force field, whether we know it or not, alongside Hindus and Buddhists and Muslims and every race and nationality. God doesn’t stop or begin at the Mexico/U.S. border, the Israel/Palestine border, the border between North and South Korea, or any such line in the sand. The divine force field is all-encompassing. Rohr blog 3-10-17

4. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 ONE OF MY FAVORITE’S and ties in with today’s message.

 

Sermon 2-19-17

Scripture for the day:

1st reading: Leviticus 19:1-2,9-18

2nd reading:1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23

Gospel: Matthew 5 38-48

My handout for the week:

1.As Ken Wilber so brilliantly says, “Religion starts elitist, but ends egalitarian(s a trend of thought that favors equality for all people). Always!” Richard Rohr

2.Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached. Simone Weil

  1. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

 

  1. The word “prayer” has often been trivialized by making it merely into a way of asking for what you want or making announcements to God, as if God did not know (see Matthew 6:7-8). But I use “prayer” to mean any interior journey or practice that allows you to experience faith, hope, and love within yourself. It is not a technique for getting things, a pious exercise that somehow makes God happy, or a requirement for entry into heaven. Prayer is much more practicing heaven now. CAC Rohr 2-7-17

 

 

  1. “The moment God is figured out with nice neat lines and definitions, we are no longer dealing with God.”
    Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith

 

6.Every person has immense light and love inside them (no exceptions) and the only reason we cannot see it is because of the lens we laid over it. We covered it up with our beliefs and expectations, with facts that we just KNOW are true. We made a judgment and assume we know what that Republican is up to or that Democrat wants to do to destroy our freedom.

Nothing is as it appears. All we see with the limited five senses is a hologram of our beliefs and expectations. And it’s flawed and it’s getting us in trouble.

I heard about an amazing man yesterday who is doing his part to bridge the divide. His name is Daryl Davis. He’s a black musician whose early years were spent overseas in diverse classrooms. When his parents moved back to the United States, he, like most of the boys in his sixth grade class, joined Boy Scouts. One day, while marching with his troop, people started throwing rocks and sticks at him.

His first thought was, “They must not like Boy Scouts.”

At that point, his parents sat him down and had the race talk with him.

He was stunned.

“How could they not like me?” he thought. “They don’t even know me.”

Since that time, he has taken on the hobby of getting to know white supremacists and, instead of yelling at them, berating them, he sits down and asks questions. He genuinely wants to know what they think.

As he says about engaging his “enemies,” “When you are actively learning about someone else you are passively teaching them about yourself.”

In other words, he gets back to first generation reality. Some black activists call his methods crazy, but as he likes to say, “I’ve got dozens of retired hoods and robes in my closet. How many do you have?” from Pam Grout’s blog 2-14-17. How is that for a take on Matthew 5-44??????

  1. “Love is giving up control. It’s surrendering the desire to control the other person. The two—love and controlling power over the other person—are mutually exclusive. If we are serious about loving someone, we have to surrender all the desires within us to manipulate the relationship.” Rob Bell

 

Sermon 3-12-17

The scripture for today:

1st reading Genesis 12:1-4a

2nd reading Romans 4:1-5,13-17

Gospel John 3:1-17

My handout for the day:

1.Lent is the opportunity to change what we ought to change but have not…Lent is about becoming, doing and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now… Lent is a summons to live anew…Lent is the time to let life in again, to rebuild the worlds we’ve allowed to go sterile, to “fast and weep and mourn” for the goods we’ve foregone. If our own lives are not to die from lack of nourishment, we must sacrifice the pride or the sloth or the listlessness that blocks us from beginning again. Then, as Joel (2:12-18) promises, God will have pity on us and pour into our hearts the life we know down deep that we are lacking.~ Sister Joan Chittister

2.Translating Romans 4:1 is a bit tricky. The NRSV reads, “What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh?” The Greek, however, does not say “gained.” The word is “found.” We might think of Romans 4 answering the question, “What did Abraham find?” However, there is another option.

Both Richard B. Hays and N. T. Wright have argued that a better translation would be, “What then shall we say? Is Abraham found our ancestor according to the flesh?” To this the implied answer would be, “No.” He is not forefather according to the flesh (physical descent marked by the physical sign of circumcision). Instead, he is forefather because of his trust in God’s promise. This way of looking at Abraham’s paternity opens up the possibility that Gentiles(us) who entrust themselves to Israel’s God might look to Abraham as their ancestor just as much as Jews who are physically descended from him. From “The Working Preacher” for this week

 

 

3.At conference in 1998  the Roman Catholic Pope John Paul the Second wondered what needed to be done to reverse the prominent mis-understanding that heaven and hell are geographical places. Pope John Paul II insisted that both are states of consciousness – not places to be found somewhere in this great big cosmos. As told by Richard Rohr in the Hell No! MP3

 

4.“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

 

5.God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. The Serenity Prayer is the common name for a prayer authored by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr[1][2] (1892–1971), also adopted by AA

 

 

6.Who in their right mind would walk into a restaurant, take a look at the menu and order the dish they least desire?

Likewise, who would go shopping at Nordstrom’s and opt to carry the rack’s ugliest outfit up to the sales counter?

Yet, that’s what most of us do in our thinking, in our conversations. We focus on things we don’t want to happen. We focus on the fear, on the negative, on the lack.

And those decisions have a much bigger impact on your life than one ugly dress or a dish you can’t stand. You literally draw out from the universe(GOD) whatever you focus upon. Pam Grout Blog 3-2-17

 

 

 

GOD IS DEAD

I saw a bumper sticker on a car the other day, outside of a local tattoo parlor, and it read GOD IS DEAD!
I can imagine the car belonging to a cool 20 something with “tats” all over her body thinking she has it all figured out, there is no God , right, how could there be , just look around- don’t you see the mess the world is in?

It’s all just chance, there is no God, there can’t be.
I use to think that way when I was in more pain; I got just enough God to make me miserable, if I believed in him on any certain day , he was mad at me for sure, and the whole world in general.

Just look around the world is in chaos, ISIS beheading westerners, Global Warming, white supremacist and cop’s killing blacks- COPS. Total and utter CHAOS!
Or is it?  Is that just the surface, the general back ground noise that so pervasive in today’s world.

All those issues do deserve our attention, and something needs to be done- we need to LOVE more- that’s right I said LOVE.

A few Sunday’s ago  when I preached, I brought up the poor lost kid that killed those SOULS in that Church in Charleston SC. What’s your take away from that tragedy? The 9 people that lost their lives in that horrible moment, or that most of the families of the victims forgave him, the next day. The few that didn’t knew that they would have to work on it, to get there, that’s Radical Grace!
That’s the face of God showing HERSELF – through LOVE and FORGIVENESS. You don’t have to like the person, you don’t have to invite them to dinner, just forgive them and LOVE them. That’s  the kind of LOVE that comes from GOD, a LOVE most of us don’t understand, it’s a total out pouring of LOVE towards us. Our job is to just clean the receptors off so we can receive the signal from her.
I think we take to small of view of the world, we tend to look at it to close, we don’t see the big picture, most of us including me many days, buy into the background noise, we buy that we are separate, we think others exist to please us, not the other way around. We get so caught up in the petty bull shit in our lives we lose sight that we are from GOD.
GOD is big enough for that kind of relationship, we humans are not!
So we dull the pain in a myriad of way; drugs, drink, sex, endless spending, vacation after vacation. We lose the connection that keeps most of us close to God, it’s a shame SHE is an out pouring of LOVE, but we have to learn to see with new eyes.
When we don’t see God, it comes from our side, God is a constant out pouring of love and light.

I remember going to an island in the Caribbean, I was disappointed “it was just like home”, or so I thought, I was kinda honked off waiting all those years to get “there” and it was the “same” as the States. Then in the midst of feeling sorry for myself (not too sorry, I was on a beach with a rum drink in my hand) I thought instead of looking for the things that were the same, I needed to look for the things that we different- that’s new eyes! It changed the rest of the trip; I started “seeing” the wonder around every corner.
Are you willing to try to find new eyes, a new perspective on the world, a new way to see; EVERYTHING. Or are you just going to follow the herd- seeing “THEMS” everywhere you go. Those Muslims-Jews-Hindu’s, they’re all going to rot in hell- RIGHT! Or is the black’s taking all the jobs us white folks should get, or is it all those immigrants they let into this country.
Thomas Merton said “the God you find says more about you than it does about God.” What does your world look like? What God do you see? That relationship is just like our personal relationships, much of what we see in others, good or bad, is a reflection of ourselves.
Your view of God and the world cannot be larger than your view of yourself.

The way to see yourself is  “THE” limiting factor in all areas of your life. Do you see a miserable world full of conflict and war, It’s there for all to see. Or do you see the joy of a new sunrise, or butterflies playing in your yard, or stare in wonder at the stars?

What you seek you will find, that scripture. Be careful what you go looking for, I have come to realize we do find it much more than we realize!

Is GOD dead, to some people, she was to me for awhile, I had to come back around, work out my issues, find her again. She was there waiting for me, with open arms, smiling a knowing smile.

We all have different journey’s to take, we all have different things we need to grow through. We just need to remember that God is always there waiting for us, like Motel 6, she keeps the light on for us!

PEACE!

Jesus as wall paper?

We just had a beautiful Easter Service last week with “the real” pastor, and my 3 son’s had their first communion, what a beautiful Easter Service at our little Church.

I was struck by a few things, the sermon was based on the idea that we keep Jesus as wall paper, kind of hanging around, but not front and center in our lives. The pastor did a great job, the C and E days are tough, there are always a lot of people who only come twice a year, which is fine, but the audience is different. He pointed out how we were all speaking about the Easter Dresses, the food at breakfast, and did the Easter Bunny come to visit?

But no Big Guy?

At the time in the pew, I was thinking how he was right; most of us don’t work Jesus into our lives. I seem to have a way to get talking about him, but that’s because I think of him as a friend, somebody in my life. Like all my friends how I feel about him changes based on my mood, but he is always there for me.

When I got home I was thinking about the sermon, and came up with the idea, we don’t talk about Jesus much because organized religion made him a God. Dare I say many of us fear him, because he holds the “keys” to heaven or hell!  On top of that how do you work a God into an every day conversation? On top of that we are not suppose to talk about such things with “normal” folk- no politics- no religion. Interesting to me we lump those 2 subject together?

Something to worship, not a “buddy”, to talk to like you talk to a friend, or somebody to run your ideas by, or engage with about the little things in life. We don’t think of Jesus as a close friend, how close can you be with a God! That creates a level of separation that’s hard to cross. Interesting use of the word “cross.” On “that” cross he showed us how to be Divine, but how to be fully Human as well!

Jesus was enlightened, Jesus got it, and Jesus got God. Jesus never said worship me, he said follow me. That’s a radically different thing!

Come follow me, let me show you this new way of seeing. It’s beautiful. LOOK what right here in front of our noses! This new way of seeing God.

Organized religion has not done a very good job of showing us the Mystical Jesus! Constantine in his conversion to Christianity got the ball rolling in “main streaming” Christianity, but we lost a lot of the best “Fringe” thinking. The subsequent centuries have not been good for seeing the “real Jesus” either. We did what humans do best, we made a system around Jesus, with a different type of hierarchy, depending on what religion you were raised in. Could that be why most religions in the developed world are losing people by droves, or why we see the rampant fundamentalism in all major religions today. We lost the best part of the message its all a radical love story!

If we want to get Jesus off the “wall paper,” then we need to change the way most of us think about him, we need to find a way to bring him into our lives every day. Maybe start by reflecting on how you see Jesus. Know that we can have our own resurrections, everyday, we get to start over every minute if need be, God does not hold grudges.

Jesus showed us a new way to see God, most of us got lost in the shuffle of first half of life thinking. We need to see Jesus with those “new eyes” that they talk about in scripture. If not I am afraid he will stay on the “wall paper” at best, at worst religion will continue to fuel the rampant separation we see in the world today by religious fundamentalists of all stripes ( this doesn’t come from Jesus, rather from our myopic way of looking at his radical message). We need to realize that there are no them’s, just a world full of different looking “us’s”. We are all one with God.

Careful what you wish for, or Doug looks at 50.

So I was told last Sunday 3-22-15, that my last 3 sermons were some of my best. So here is the first of those 3 sermon’s from 3-8-2015. I was glad to hear that they were well received. As the guy doing the talking, you always try to do your best, but I know that sometimes they are workman like at best. I did, in fact feel on my “A” game these last few weeks, maybe channeling the energy from the upcoming Easter Holiday.

In this one I get into the ideas of my new “man crush”, Richard Rohr and his idea that we have 2 distinct half’s of our lives. The first half, the less mature half, is necessary for growth and if we are lucky enough we can progress into the more “mature” second half of life. I love his thought that for most of us, this second half of life “maturity” comes to most of us at a cost. To most of us,while living through it, it seems to be a very high cost indeed. That cost is usually what we think of as pain, and our natural reaction is to distance ourselves from pain.

Pain, that with time, can become the growth we need, but in today’s world we don’t sit in the pain, we try to numb it in some way, move away from it. With addiction, attachments of all kinds, rampant consumerism, and the distancing of ourselves from those close to us. How about our total addiction to “gadgets”, or the need to fill every waking moment with “something”, like soccer or football or dance or texting or Facebook or the new TV show. The list goes on and on. Its not all bad but we need some perspective.

We don’t know how to “be” anymore. We need to learn to shut “it” off; the noise of the world.

Be careful what you let into you life! We don’t even think about that at all. You can control  to a large degree the ” noise” you allow into your world. Look around most of what we deal with on a daily bases is noise.

I read somewhere that God’s only language is silence.

See I think we have tried to fill every waking moment with something, so we don’t have to face ourselves, or answer the big questions. We hide from ourselves and God. We fill our lives with “stuff” because most of us have a hole in our heart’s where GOD use to be. We have lost something, our connection to God.

We all long for that connection with “source.” That longing comes from the way we are told that we are separate from God, and what we are told we need to do to get back in good graces with the “man.” What makes us think we could do anything to separate ourselves from God? We separate ourselves from him\her, never the other way around.

Most of us know a punitive God that’s out for punishment and pain. That’s first half of life thinking at it best. My God doesn’t demand blood, she just ask us to love her back. That’s second half thinking. That moves the story forward. 10 Commandants’ are first half of life stuff; the beatitudes are second half beauty.

Neither is wrong but they serve a different purpose in our lives. Rohr helps us to understand we need them both, but we need to work through first half issues to mature (hopefully) into the second half of our lives, with more “vision and grace.” You have to have a strong foundation in the basics especially early in life, so you can be comfortable to move beyond them, into second half thinking. The world needs more second half type thinkers. Jesus was a second half of life thinker!

As we get older absolutes should dissolve into, I can see your point! The problem is many of us don’t progress into second half of life thinking. I can see that as the major problem of our country and the world, including the church. We are ruled by first half of life thinkers that live their lives with absolutes, we have lost the middle ground- just take a look around. Rohr says something like “literalism isn’t wrong, it’s just the most basic form of understanding.”

I get into my thoughts about finding what you look for, I think we do get what we look for far more often than we believe. The problem is we tend to think in first half of life thinking. Know the commercial where the guy rubs the lamp and asks for a million bucks, and the yard is full of deer. Careful what you wish for, you might just get it. If you want to see a world filled with pain and misery, there is plenty to “see” out there. From Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; search and you will find.”

I also get into how nothing is wasted if you can learn to see it with new eyes, my biggest “problems” of the past are the only times I have really ever grown. It takes time and distance but I would not trade them, how about you?

Take a look at your life; can you see that many if not most times you got what you went looking for, good or bad? Or will it have to wait until your done watching “your favorite show.”

The Audio from 3-8-2015