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 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

 

 

 

Meeting People where they are!

My dear friend and Mentor asked me my thoughts on how the Church is doing meeting us where they are, here is my response:

PB asked me to comment on how the modern church is meeting people where they are at in their lives. I would say the Church is not doing as good of job as he is and has been throughout his life. Reference his Caring Bridge post from 1-26-16.
To many of us “church” people get caught up in being right, having the only way to God, I have heard that there are 30,000 Christian religions, 30,000. I think that stat alone tells us how we are doing on meeting people where there are.
If your church believes in 7 points , and we only have 5, of course we are right and you are wrong, let’s start a church! We as Christians, can’t even agree with each other! Let alone have a meaningful dialog with people of other religions!
We hold onto things to tightly, we have the need to be right.Religion at its best is a support group of like believers gathering strength with each other, trying to understand this crazy world we live in, through Christ’s eyes. Jesus only real judgments of people were calling out the injustices he saw being committed in God’s name by the ruling body of his own religion! I am often struck by how we have turned the church( or have allowed it to continue) into many of the things he railed against. I wonder what he thinks about us, probably shakes his head and says not yet, not quite yet Dad.
I have noticed for years how Pastor B has included everyone, when I went to visit him, I asked him how many people had been to visit him, he said if I had to guess, 150 or so! 150, and that was 2 weeks ago! I was struck by that, but I guess it should not be a surprise, he is a lover. I still remember the day he said that during one of his sermons( he prefers messages), I still remember the look on his face as he said it, priceless!
I think we can see in a life lived as he lived his a model for how we all can live our lives, lose yourself in loving others, putting others ahead of yourself, meeting people where they are. Everything fits or nothing fits.

All work on the world starts with the individual, the only person you can change is you, you need to be the change you want to see in the world. There is No other way to create lasting change.
People are leaving the church in large numbers, the church seems out dated, out of touch with people of today. I think it’s in large part due to its reluctance to move beyond 4th century creeds and dogma, or literal-ism, it doesn’t speak to a modern ear, its jamming a square peg into a round hole.

People don’t need saved, they need to know they belong to something, something larger than themselves.
I was driving to church last Sunday and I passed 3 Amish Buggies, and I was struck with the thought that that’s much of the modern church today. We are stuck in the past, just as they are, most of us “English” look at the Amish as a novelty, outdated, interesting, but outdated. Is that how GOD see’s us?
I believe that God’s presence is a divine unfolding, it’s always a verb , an action word. God’s call to us is to move the story forward, always on the move, just like the universe, always expanding.
I think we hold onto the wrong stuff all the time, I think once the church got around to the 4 century and the Roman Emperor Constantine made Christianity the “state” religion, things changed. Christianity was much more inclusive before that, had room for people at the edges of the faith.
We lost the Love and Forgiveness part of the equation, I think that’s Christianity boiled down to its core, is radical Love and radical Forgiveness. I think that’s most of what Jesus says.
I think we need to get back to our core, which is very inclusive, and we need to jettison the baggage many of us bring to our Religions! ITS NOT YOUR COUNTRY CLUB, YOU DON’T GET TO PICK THE MEMBERS!

God does, my mentor as says “Everything is going God’s way? The interesting thing is that God lets the children run the circus!
From a Pod Cast I saw with Pastor Rob Bell: “We were raised in a culture and a time where the primary energies were spent looking for differences….if we don’t start using our energies looking for similarities, we are in trouble.”
The Buddhist have this saying , when the hand points to the moon(God), don’t fall in love with the hand(religion).
I think we need to find the moon again in our religion. We need to keep the best of it, and find new ways to reach out to others!
Don’t get caught up in dogma, or being right or wrong, be authentic, follow your path, it probably won’t look like anybody Else’s path, and that OK.
We are all loved children of the ONE GOD, it has to be….
It all has to fit….
It’s a LOVE story, keep it simple.

Doug

Suddenly this God, that I had been trying hard to fathom, was there, right there! – a sermon for Advent 2C

When I hear about Climate Change, I kind of shut down, I think many of us do. What’s one person going to do, its to big, I cant help, its to scary!
But then I start thinking about what i would tell my kids if they said that about voting, I do believe one person can make a difference, I think we are all connected somehow, God is the ground of all being!
We need to be the change we want to see in the world!

pastordawn

jokulsarlon-glacier-lakeAs the world turns expectantly for news from the United Nations Climate Conference in Paris, we hope that leaders everywhere can find the courage to commit us all to change our ways. Prophets have been warning us for decades of the dangers of climate change. The figure of John the Baptist looms large during the first half of Advent. This angry misfit shouts and us, convicting us of hastening the end. This sermon from three years ago, asks questions which ring true today: Do we have the courage to join John the Baptist? Do we have the stamina to become a prophet of doom? Our planet may be depending on us! You can listen to the sermon here or read the text below. 

I didn’t know it at the time, but I actually met John the Baptist when I was fifteen years old. She didn’t look much like you’d imagine…

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