Mission Statement

Cyber Sabbath's goal is to begin to mend the division between Christ and the world (society) that Church has created through reflections, sermons and devotionals

Cyber Sabbath is a place for the stifled Christian voice to be heard. Media gives way to much time to the extremist - over looking the theologically educated and/or the moderates in favor of what sells their view point. Here, politics aside, a pastor reflects on God's voice in every day life.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas

So, although the stores have put all the Christmas stuff on clearance and many of you have bought Christmas gifts for next year - the Church is technically still celebrating Christmas.  For Christmas is a season...not just a day.  But enough with technicalities.  

So what is Christmas all about?  Well for one - the "religion" behind Christmas is not what we have come to know as the Christmas story and is far from the nativity scene we all display proudly this time of year.  I believe for most of us, celebrating Christmas is not about being authentic to Christ but is instead what the oral traditions have made it.

Yup the early Church fathers established this holiday to compete with the popular pagan holiday and in order to encourage more people to convert - is this a bad thing? No, many missionaries did and do the same thing - they help cultures understand how an already established celebration can in fact be religious - or Christian in nature.  We can think of the Church fathers as we will, but the bottom line is that by moving Christ's birthday (for we all know through scholarly understanding that it was probably closer to May) they were blending a new understanding into an common tradition in order to evangelize. 

Therefore, I am very confused about those who are campaigning to put Christ back in Christmas or for those who are upset that we have "lost" Jesus out of this holiday...for I wonder every year if Jesus was ever truly a part of this "holy day."  Let us face the Biblical facts...Christ birth narrative is pretty much a skeleton compared to the oral tradition we hold.  Did you know that in the Bible there is no Inn Keeper - only the words "for there was no room in the inn"  WOW!  And there are in more mind-bending facts that we have only in our oral tradition of this birth.  Also, back to the Bible for a moment - only Matthew and Luke have any reference to Jesus birth.  And their details don't always add up.  Now, am I saying this to debunk Christ? NO NOT AT ALL but what I am saying is that, as the story of Christ began to spread and as people began to wrap their mind around the whirl wind of his death, resurrection and ascension clearly the murkiness around his birth became an issue - how could he be both divine and human?  When did he become divine? 

With that said...do I believe that Jesus was born to Mary - conceived by the Holy Spirit? Yes I do! Do I believe that Jesus was born in a manger? Shepherds were the first to hear? Well, that part, I'm undecided on.  Was Jesus born to a humble family and born into poverty? Yup.

Do saying any of this make Christ less meaningful? NOPE...at least not to me. For my faith isn't in the actuality of the events that took place but in the actuality of who Jesus is, for I know the end of the story - God Incarnate - Emmanuel - God with us.  And it doesn't down play the generosity of our Creator who through Jesus' death on the cross made us all worthy (despite ourselves) of forgiveness and grace. 

AS FOR CHRISTMAS?  At least today - Christmas is a time of year when more people then ever seem to be open to the Spirit of God working - when more then ever people are willing to experience the God winks in their lives and see them for what they are...more then ever Christmas is a time when all are OPEN to the generosity of God - the forgiveness and grace that Jesus teaches and the Love that the Spirit spreads. 

Thus Christmas - in all its secular definition should be celebrated by all believers, by all seekers and those who just don't know. The purpose of Christmas day isn't to give Jesus a birthday cake and present celebrating his 2000+ birthday; but is instead about spreading all that Jesus gave to us - through love, generosity and peace.  Christmas is about celebrating the Christ who dwells with in us and who works through us throughout the year OR perhaps for the seekers out there it is a time of year for you to feel the God you seek working within your own life.  

Christmas isn't found in the details of the Bible or even in the truth behind Jesus' life but instead is found in the hearts and minds of Christians hopefully throughout the year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

advant 4 is a little late..

So last Sunday and thus this week we mark the 4th Sunday/ week in Advent.  This Sunday is marked with the craziness that is usually life - last minute Christmas shopping and tons of house preparations - cleaning, organizing, making beds, doing laundry, ect... 
For us as Christians I can't help but think of journey this week.  For each "character," if you will, takes a journey - Mary and Joseph journey to Bethlehem, the Shepherds journey to see the infant Jesus and the Magi journey trusting in their faith and following the stars.  And this is so true to each of us - for life is one big journey.  We take many paths along the way and there are many celebrations to mark those but in the end, it is all one big journey.
On this journey is our relationship with the Divine or our Spiritual journey.  We are given plenty of opportunities to renew and strengthen this relationship - plenty of times to begin even. 
Christmas / Advent is one of the few times a year when we truly open ourselves to the Spirit working in the world and allow ourselves to follow and be used by said Spirit - often referred to as the Christmas Magic.

So let us let this Christmas magic and wonder open for us a new path for our Spirit to trod.  A new place for us to find the Holy in our every day. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ramblings On why baby Jesus and Why a pink candle on the third Sunday...

Now as a Christian I realize that some of our language is a bit confusing and I also understand that as we "celebrate" our calendar year and highlight the "makers" of our faith to someone new it might seem a bit weird.  Like why do we talk about Jesus' birth as if he hasn't yet been born?  When we celebrate anyone else' birthday we count the years of their life not re-enact them as if they were just born.  So why continue to each year, celebrate the birth of a baby who happen to one day become our savior?


Well that is a loaded question with probably more then one answer.  But here is my answer.  Because, we as Christians celebrate our calendar not just as a calendar of dates but as a Spiritual journey.  The whole of the calendar year is a Spiritual practice - a walk if you will.  That begins now, with the expected birth of Christ.  During this phase of this Spiritual walk, we are in quite anticipation opening ourselves up to a new relationship with God and our community.  Christmas season brings people together and Advent reminds us of the importance of relationships.  So we are opening ourselves up to God - hopefully each year as we continue to grow and realizes the changes that are happening in our own lives we take some time during advent to truly ask ourselves what does it mean for Jesus to be my savior and how can I continue to make room for Jesus in my life?  What can I do today to be a better Christian?


So usually* on the third Sunday in advent we light the pink candle.  This candle represents Joy - depending on the litany can also be the Mary candle, but either way it breaks into the Advent season a simple reminder.

I really relate Advent season and the expecting coming of Jesus to an actual pregnancy.  Emotionally, much of advent is the sum total of the expected excitement that usually takes 9 months.  During pregnancy parents begin to formulate a new relationship with each other and this new being growing inside.  There is a lot of expectations of who this baby will turn out to be and what that will mean for the parents/family.  But there is also, worry that everything will be OK.  There is an underlying understanding that although this miracle is growing and will soon be here until the actual day of birth there is something still a bit surreal about it.  For anyone who has suffered the loss of a pregnancy knows that the emotions during a second only mere the emotions of advent even more...still anticipation.

We have been talking about building up our relationships with God and others - that by working on our relationships with others we are building up our relationship with God and that by trusting God a bit more, we are releasing control and hopefully creating new relationships with others - it is a two way path.  Advent is a time for this, a time for us to reflect on and prepare for the birth of Christ and all that Christ means to us.  This is a time for us to truly look at our lives and ask ourselves where God is and how God fits.  Just as new parents adjust where the new child fits into their lives, we are in quite anticipation preparing ourselves for Jesus arrival.

Granted we already know how the story ends and who Jesus becomes.  And for some of us we have already made this room for Jesus in our lives.  And that is what is behind the pink candle.  That amongst this advent season we are reminded of how the story ends - Jesus' Birth, Life, Death, Resurrection.  We are reminded of the Joy that comes on that Christmas morning when there with his parents Jesus came into this world. A baby.

Probably enough for now and I might reword this later this week....

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My voice, My story, My Christian Faith

 So, I am always struggling with the Christian voice that is heard throughout the world.  Media does a great job showing the extremist or the bold sides...but what about those of us who are somewhere in the middle?  The other reason we lost our voice is that we have failed at teaching people how to communicate and speak on their faith. We have relied on this idea that by "living" a good and moral life those around us will "know" we are Christians; but that is wrong, for many live out a good and moral life but are not followers of Christ. 

And so the time has come, when people don't realize we exist.  People don't realize that their are sensible, educated, loving and genuine Christians out there doing God's work in their community.  And so, here is my "advertisement" if you will for all of us who find our voices lost...

Here is my voice, my story:

http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/ExAxxB7Qxu138ETedkU6TYESnGphAZZS/revmj-1273657-advertise/

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

John the Baptist

Mark 1:1-8 (go to bible.crossswalk.com or biblegateway.com for the verses)

I have always been struck by John the Baptist for two reasons:
 The first reason is I am amazed at John's ability to take the back seat to Jesus.  During the time of John B (for short) and Jesus there were others trying to claim the messiah title and others "Jewish" sects popping up. The people following John B were very loyal to him and many were following him as if he were the savior / the messiah.  Many confused him as such and YET he continued to point them into the direction of Jesus and did not take credit for himself.  He not only followed his faith and trust in God but he didn't let others get so caught up in him that they forgot that he was not the END point but instead the POINTER to Jesus.  Today, many Pastors and Jesus followers often fall into this trap - that they on their mission for Christ become the center of their story instead of pointing to God.  That the Church becomes more about the Pastor and less about Jesus.  Often this happens because the people push it to happen and some times because the Pastor lets it happen.  This is very wrong - I am not just saying this for those of you who go to churches out there but also for those of you who are still searching for you don't want to get trapped by this.  John the B was loyal not only to his relationship with God and his mission but also to who he was as a person - his role.  His role was to prepare the way for Christ, his role was to be a marker.  As we are waiting once again for the birth of Christ what is it that helps us to be loyal to his season as oppose to loyalty to the presents? or material goods?

Second:
John B would have been considered to be a bit odd - maybe "crazy" in today's world - but eccentric at the least.  How would we have reacted to him today?  In our building up of our relationship with the Holy his HOLIday season, how do we show our trust in God when our judgment and secular thoughts get in our way?  How do we pick out those people around us who are pointing us to a stronger relationship with God? Or maybe more importantly to a deeper understanding of the Holy around us?


Just some food for thought this week. As we are preparing for our Christmas day - however we celebrate the birth of our savoir...As we are exploring our new relationship with God.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A *new way of looking at Advent

So if you are new to understanding advent or you need a new way of looking at it...here are my thoughts..

Much of how I see and interact with the Bible is based on relationships.  The Old Testament, especially everything before the prophets, is a combination of a bunch of different tribes expression of their relationship with the Divine.  What I mean by that is not in any way taking the "Holy" out.  What I do mean is that in our attempt as Humans to have a relationship with the great Creator we have been forced at one point or another to put into words (first verbally and then written) a relationship that is so powerful, so deep and personal that words usually don't give it justice.

And that is where the dilemma as Christians began as well...for to spread the Good News we have to do just that - spread it.  But that requires words and well we haven't done the best job learning, teaching and perhaps figuring out words.  That is why, when those of you who are seeking come into our space, we often worry or become stand off-ish...it isn't you it is that we are afraid you will ask a question we don't have the answer to or worse, won't be able to explain.
Most of us can't explain how we know that God is actually hearing our prayers - especially during a time when it seems no one is listening, but we can give you an example or two - and perhaps that is enough for your faith...

So back to my advent thoughts...Advent is a time for us to explore this relationship with God - our relationship with God as we anticipate the coming of that Baby Jesus.  For Jesus changes everything! Jesus birth marks the beginning of a new relationship with God that culminates at his death.  A relationship that is much more personal for God has now experienced humanity; a relationship that is based on grace and forgiveness instead of fear and awe.  This new chapter in humanities relationship with God, begins on Christmas morning and if that isn't something to celebrate, I don't know what is!

We mark this with a advent season that is full of anticipation and reflection.  The first Sunday in advent we hear the prophets begin to pave the way for this new relationship.  Perhaps this is the time that we begin to wonder what the season is really about.  Perhaps we are struggling with an emptiness that can't be filled or looking for the Divine presence around us.  This is the acknowledgment of the more that is to come - the realization that there is more to life then the material, more to Christmas then just giving gifts. 

And I leave you here...waiting for the next Sunday.  In contemplation over where your relationship with the Holy is at and hopeful that this is the prophetic voice reminding you that there is more for someday soon a savior will be born! Amen

Friday, November 25, 2011

Stewartship of the Earth

"This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God." 1 Corinthians 4:1

So, what does it mean in today's society to be green? Or maybe the better question is what SHOULD it mean to be green.  Today's blog is much more like a rant, for I am just truly confused by our ability as humans beings to let others do our thinking.  Our mob mentality (*mob as in going with what the other majority are doing and saying and not mob as in the mafia), so Our mob mentality has led us to jumping on the bang wagon of some trendy and expensive "green" changes. 

I feel as a Christian, I am called to be the keeper of God's creation and as such am called to truly take care of this beautiful world.  I do believe that it matters how we treat this land and all its living creatures.  I hope that the beautiful landscapes will be seen by my children and theirs, as long as we occupy Earth.  And as long as I occupy Earth, I try to keep it in the best condition I know how.  First, I use cloth diapers and don't buy paper towels.  I try to use cloth napkins when possible and we have some cloth wipes as well.  Besides that I try to keep our water usage down and I am conscience when I buy and use products.

But here is what I don't understand:

1. Reusable Grocery Bags - First some are 15 dollars or more! Which makes me wonder where the money is going since it isn't going to the people who work in the factory!  Why use reusable grocery bags when you then BUY plastic garbage bags??  We use our grocery store bags (which is made from recycled plastic) as our garbage bags, that way we are putting less into the dump.

2. Light bulbs - the move to the energy efficient bulbs is great, and especially a nice IDEA but these bulbs require special disposal and it is NOT good for the environment if people are just trowing them away!!  Does everyone know this? I don't think so!!

3. New Appliances - Just because your old appliances aren't necessary energy efficient I don't understand buying NEW APPLIANCES if your old ones still work.  The carbon foot print that the "new" appliance made during production, deliver to store and then again to your house seems like it could be equal to using what you already had. 

So my advice is that if you want to be more green - start by recycling.  Turn of lights, unplug things that aren't in use or check your facets to make sure they aren't leaking.  Much of being green is common sense...and think twice when you throw something out.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

stone soup blessings!

So recently well looking around the internet, I stumbled on a reference to the book "Stone Soup."  I loved that book as a kid - the concept of two men - strangers - in a town making soup with nothing but water and stone and yet after each encounter with the towns people they manage to get a new ingredient.  And Voila!  They have just made an amazing soup and more importantly a soup that can be shared and feed the rest of the towns people.

These two men could have gone hunger that night.  Those two men could've been con-artist and after cleverly getting the ingredients taken the soup to go - but NOPE...instead they fed the whole of the village.  Everyone feasted and no one went hunger.

What a great reminder for us on Thanksgiving - that it was in celebration of the Native Americas sharing with our ancestors food so that the winter wasn't as harsh.  Thanksgiving isn't just about our blessings and remembering them but it is about sharing - sharing our blessings, sharing our love, sharing our time.  Thanksgiving is about feast in joy and hopes that for one night, one day, everyone can be feed. 

As a teenager, my mom, sister and I lived far away from family and so we "made" family each thanksgiving.  Finding new and different people to invite to our table.  Inviting random strangers, foreigners in this country and displaced people who like us lived far from family.  You never knew who was coming, you never knew if food would be done on time, but you always knew that for one night we could feast and have fellowship together a group of strangers.  And that is what thanksgiving is about...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Christ the King

So this Sunday marks the end of the church calendar year. The beginning is of course Advent (the weeks leading up to Christmas).  On this Sunday we celebrate "Christ the King."
You see the calendar year of the church is set up so that we celebrate in fullness the cycle of the Christian faith - we remember the anticipation and waiting of the early Hebrews as they heard from their prophets that one day things would be better and the concept of a Messiah took shape.  We remember the birth, life, death, resurrection, the period following his resurrection, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the ascension of Christ.into Heaven and finally the idea that Christ will reign again at his second coming. This cycle is broken up by "ordinary time" which is, my friends, anything but ordinary.  Although this "ordinary time" is free from any "holidays" it is an especially important time for it is during these Sundays that we are called to respond.  It is in these Sundays that our story gets intertwined with the story of Christ.  It is on these Sundays that our faith is called out. 
The summer / autumn months have the most of these "ordinary" days with Christ the King being the buffer between these "ordinary" days and the advent season.  Christ the King brings the cycle to full circle: the totality of our Christian story ending with the idea of the end of days when our Lord will one day take a throne.  However, this day (Christ the King Sunday) is also asking us to respond to the here and now.


For, it is asking us to proclaim Christ as our King - not only our King in the realm of Heaven but more importantly our King in the here and now - our King today!  For we are called in this life to serve God - we are called as Christians to live out a faithful life in the here and now! We are called not to live by the standards set forth by the secular world but the standards set forth by the God whose love and grace should be available to all.

If we are living with Christ as our King - then we living fully into Christ. We should be blind not to the people around us, not to the injustices that our society creates but instead blind to judgment.  Living into loving each other truly and with a full heart.  We are called as Christians to transcend the pettiness of this life.  So I challenge you this Holiday season to LIVE into Christ's Lordship.  Allowing your Spirit to be transformed by love and grace - not by money and presents.  Be thankful of your blessings but don't count your blessings by your material possessions but instead by the love and memories you share with those around you.  Don't allow the material needs of this season get you down or fill you up but instead walk outside the boundaries of the Earthly realm and all the secular needs that you bow down before and instead declare Christ as your King bringing to all you meet a joyful heart and a season full of hope. 

Today too many of us have allowed other rulers to get in the way of our King.  Today we have even lost the concept of Christ as our true King.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Finding Hope in the loss of Bobby

On Friday, we lost a family member and wonderful man to a tragic accident.  This unexpected, one might say un-timely, death has left many of us without words to console for there are no words that can express the deep sadness that we feel let alone that his wife, parents and close friends feel.  It is in times like this that our hearts in rage ask "why?" and it is in times like this that we have two reactions - either we turn to God in complete trust believing that there must be a reason and holding on to this faith so tightly or we turn away from God angry at a God who "let this happen."

I feel that there is another alternative.  Much like the first, we should be turning to God to find encouragement, hope, trust but most of all understanding, compassion and love. 

You see, in God's humbled walk amongst us, Jesus lived fully into humanity.  This fully human Jesus walked, ate, drank, loved and died with us in order to save humanity; but in doing so brought a deeper understanding of humanity to the divine.  God surely does know our pain and our sorrow.  God surely knows our struggles and our prayers.  God also knows our anger and our shock.  And God grieves with us when our hearts are heavy and our burdens too great. We can allow God to sit with us and cry, for God knows our tears.

In Genesis, Jacob wrestles on the banks with an unnamed stranger until morning.  This stranger is God.  After Jacob's wrestling with God, Jacob wouldn't give in, but the stranger wounded him, blessed him and then disappeared. When we are in our darkest moments* struggling with life, struggling to understand the big "why?" we should be comforted with the fact that God is not going to leave us; that though we might be scared, forever changed by these moments, we walk away from them a better, bigger and a stronger person.  We walk away from those moments with God by our side and with more love to share.  We are no longer afraid, angry or even sad but we have found the place of comfort.

Sure, we might be in shock right now - this may be our Jacob moment struggling with God at the river bank.  But we should know that there is hope that we will one day see the dawn and be able to move on.  That this struggle which seems so great right now will diminish.  We will forever carry this loss with us, as Jacob was forever scared, but light will creep into our lives again and we will bask in the sunlight once again - ready for a new day.

As always with the loss of a loved one, the memories will flash in and out.  There will be good days and bad and even years later we will find ourselves missing them.  But despite this grief we have for the loss we suffer, we trust in our faith in Jesus Christ that the dead shall rise.  That through his death and resurrection, all may live in the Kingdom of God.  That one day this Kingdom will be made available to all.  Until then, we must strive to make our here and now the Kingdom - loving one another, showing compassion and understanding and most of all trusting in our God who created the heavens and the earth and with whom all shall live again.

But today, we are still wresting with God on the river banks - wrestling to understand - why?  But let me assure you that God did not point a finger down on Friday morning and will Bobby's death.  Nor did he will the driver to feel blamed.  God was not the accident - God was not the cause nor the determinate of that tragic moment but instead God was found in the responders, the love that has been poured out on the family, the support that everyone feels.  God is in those prayers that people are sending and in the hearts of all those who mourn.  Although Milo doesn't understand now, I do believe he will.  His father will live on through him, through the love that Bobby showed to everyone and through the shared memories we all have.  Bobby was a quiet, calming presence with a kind heart and a welcoming smile who will always be remembered by those blessed lives he touched. 

My prayers are with Melanie as she struggles to find a way to make it through the next few days.  Know that we all love you! That God hasn't left you and that Bobby who didn't have to suffer is now living in peace.  And that one day the light of the dawn will shine and there is hope.  But today, find the hope in the love that surrounds you!





*Gen 32 (as Jacob thought he was: he was returning to a brother he thought was anger with him and running from a father-in-law who was anger with him.  He had been sly, a bit hot tempered and most of all cunning.  He had not been acting righteous or what we would consider God-fearing)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

finding the Holy

so as I was preparing for Sunday's sermon on Joshua I was touched by Joshua 24:26 in which Joshua placed a rock in order to mark the place where they made their new covenant and the place where they sat in God's presence.  And this isn't the first time.  Countless times in the OT our fore-parents (although mostly fathers) placed stones/rocks to signify places they encountered God.  It was these rock alters the signify where the Holy and humanity met. 
This was before temples and churches and thus were the foundations of them and the building blocks of our faith

Today, we have taken a step back - maybe because of the buildings - and we have forgotten about the Holy in all of creation!

So, I encourage you - or perhaps it is challenge you - to find a rock and mark the place you in your life where you encounter God. - at the kitchen table, in your car, in your favorite chair, at your bed side table...wherever you greet the Holy. 

And if you are just beginning to greet the Holy place it as a reminder to yourself to settle yourself enough to be in God's presence...evoking the Holy!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Matt 25:1-13

So I have always had a bit of a problem with this text because of my interfaith work, my preaching on us loving one another and trying to treat others how we would like to be treated and of course for my view that salvation is available to all.  This passage seems to do away with a lot of that...and so, I am here to deconstruct this difficult to sallow passage.
First: let us look at who Matthew is preaching to.  Matthew is preaching to a Jewish community - Hebrews.  He is teaching those who understand the Old Testament and to those who have been circumcised. Matthew is preaching to a community that is some-what wealthy.  Matthew is always trying to prove that Jesus is legit, authentic and worth following.  We see much of that in today's passage.
So it shouldn't be disturbing or even shocking to us that the wise bridesmaids do not help the foolish ones.  For Matthew is trying to drive the point home: we are each responsibly for our own Salvation and we have to take personal responsibility for our relationship with God. Just as the bridesmaids who didn't bring extra oil had to take responsibility.  You see, it was the bridesmaid who traditional led the bride and groom into the banquet, lighting the way.
Now wait a minute there is no mention of a Bride in this story. That is because Jesus here is the groom and the bride is the church - the body of Christ - all of us!
Here comes the difficult part for me - Christ says he doesn't know the foolish bridesmaid when they come back.  First this could be a reminder that our faith has to be real.  It isn't about just going to church on Sunday mornings but living out our faith.  Earlier Jesus says that if we proclaim his name, he will know ours...when death comes we can't con anyone - our true relationship with the divine will be made known.
And since we don't know when death or the end times will come, we must live into Christ at every moment.

I have another thought on this. God has called us to bring Christ to the world. Christ is often called the light of the world.  We are to let the light of Christ shine through us so that all may know Christ through us.  This means that as Christians we must always remember that we are ambassadors for God. And further we should be letting people know this! If we fail to keep our light shinning then we fail God.  We shouldn't be too pushy or try to run other people's faith for faith is truly a personal thing.  However, we must remember to give credit where credit is due and because God is in our lives, our lives are changed.  We can't forget to share that. 

Now what about those who don't know Christ?  Or what about those who haven't proclaimed Christ name?  OR what about those who still haven't accepted the salvation that Christ has to offer because they are wrestling with their self worth?  Isn't this passage a passage of doom for them??
NO!  And this is where we as Christians haven't to stop making the damming jumps!  For just we must read the passages as a whole - not just the words here in the Bible but looking at the context of it that is what makes it the Word of God.

Matthew here is preaching to a crowd of Jews - he is trying to once again convince them or perhaps just encouraging them to keep their faith in Christ.  Meanwhile they are living in two worlds the world of the Hebrews who are Jewish and the world of the Hebrews who believe in Christ.

We can look at Paul for help on this one, for Paul reminds us that those who live by Christ shall be judged by Christ and those who live through the law shall be judged by the law  leaving room for all the seekers in the world to fear not we do not damn you for your curiosity. keep on exploring!

Monday, October 24, 2011

My first post on my "new and improved" blog

It is interesting that this weeks reading is on hypocrites (Matt 23: 1-12). It is for this reason that I feel so passionate about starting this blog.  For I fear that somewhere in the trying to live like Christ, somewhere in the hope that we go to heaven and are not damned to hell, somewhere in the last 2000 years we have lost the message that Christ worked so hard to spread.  THE MESSAGE OF LOVE.  Just as the Pharisees had lost sight of the God for the average person so too have we as Christians lost sight of the God of grace.  We are so involved with trying to control our own destiny, that we have lost sight of the fact that God is in control. This need to know, this need for control and this fear of the unknown has led us to make huge generalizations, take the bible out of context and corrupt the Word.  The Word is suppose to be Living.  But it cannot live if we do not engage the Word in conversation - authentic and real conversation.  We have created black and white rules for following a religious leader who lived beyond the rules and who turned them upside down.  We have created a saved versus the damned scenario in which we have become the judges and at times placing ourselves before Christ.  This has to stop - Jesus is today calling us out!  Saying we have let ourselves fall into the very same hypocritical place that the Pharisees were.  Yet, there is still time to change! So let us begin to live today with a new purpose - a purpose meant to spread love. Amen

Thursday, October 13, 2011

changes

So, I am changing up my blog. I am feeling the need to truly bring God's word to the world and find a voice against the conservative Christians.

I had a conversation with my father-in-law about the meaning of Christ's death on the Cross for our sins.  He couldn't understand the concept.  After a lengthy conversation with me, he informed me that what I just said must be very controversial and I shouldn't say that to everyone for "what would the church say" and further suggested I would be in a heap of trouble if some of my church members heard me say that!

What he doesn't understand, nor do many, is that what I said to him, I've said from the pulpit.  There isn't so much that shocks the world of Church.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bike rides, fleas and more!

So this weekend RW and I finally were able to go on a bike ride together. This was my first one in TWO years (mostly because of the birth of L) So, we decided to start off with a 40+ mile ride and dropped L off at her grandparents. First I want to say how proud I am of myself and my ability to not only ride the WHOLE 43 miles but I am proud that my butt didn't hurt at ALL! YEAH for great seats.  I am so happy that we got to do this, I love biking and it was bugging me that all summer I hadn't gone. I am happy to have been able to make it!

Meanwhile L did amazing with Nonnie and Opa! For the first time she was melt down free which was so nice for me to hear :)

Meanwhile back home, Leo and Roxie were, well, finding mischief. Which included...fleas!  Fleas have been all over the town this summer and even people without animals have been having some difficulties, so it was bound that at some point we would find a flea or two within our house but WOW - 10 on Roxie and several on Leo.  We even treat them monthly!! So the cat and dog got a flea bath and will hopefully remain flea free - I on the other hand have been having nightmares about the fleas.  I had a dream that the flea infestation was so bad that fleas eat my feet off while I slept - I assure you that when I woke there were NO flea bites on my feet, or anywhere else.  So, here I am freaking out - believing we need to bomb the entire house - because I just can't live with the thought of fleas.  I am so ashamed about this.  I know there isn't much rational behind the shame but still!  I haven't seen any today, so maybe I will sleep tight tonight.

L is amazing, she is walking and starting to talk and most importantly enjoying herself.  She is such a silly girl and I love to see her walk around crazy and laugh.  It is truly amazing to see the amount of joy kids can get out of the tiniest of things.  She is truly teaching me more then I thought she would about the world!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Last few days! - OH the Crazyiness!

So Sunday was as per usual a crazy busy day.  We had church people here for dessert and although I got my down stairs looking respectable the upstairs was a different story and of course someone had to go up stairs! Gotta-love life!  Oh and for the 4 days leading up to Sunday we were watching 3 untrained poodles who were quite the extra bit of work!

Monday started off normal...RW headed to work and I and L headed to the city to help someone clean out her parents house. Oh boy did that go bad.  Did I know this person was a hoarder? NO! But she needed more then just my help she need professional help.  For every item I put in the garbage she would need a reminder several times as to why she could not have nor try to sell it.  One of the "favorites" was a broken (the cord was cut in half and it didn't close right) George Forman which also happen to be scratched up.  I did my best to be firm, understanding and yet pastoral. It took all I had to not scream that the George was in fact never coming out of that garbage can again!  Thank God that I had God with me that day.  Meanwhile, my Aunt was in the hospital waiting for the OK to leave.  Her sister was suppose to pick her up but was overwhelmed with all the stuff she was trying to throw away. So I eventually told her I would pick her up.  RW, L and I stopped at the wegmans for some food and then picked up my Aunt.  Finally getting my Aunt home around 9 and we still had a 1 hour drive home. We got home late and beat!

Tuesday morning we awoke to our ding-dong ditch just before 8...stayed in bed until we couldn't any longer (about 9) and came down stairs.  Leo was as per normal acting crazy (I think I forgot to mention that we almost lost him on Sunday night with all our guests).  RW left with his father for the house in the city to finish fixing it up around 10 and by 10:30 his sister was here ready to help me cook and prepare a dinner for their parents and their 40th wedding anniversary. We had a lovely dinner, dessert and they went for a walk while I taught Bible Study and then we woke up early this AM...too many full days!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More on Leo

So the kitty Leo has a new Kitty Jungle-Jim. This one is a real one not the laundry drying rack he likes to use. Russ put this together with carpet and wood. It is great! Mr. Leo has found out that if he leaps onto the top about 5 feet from the ground, he can HANG from his back paws and dangle over the lower bed scratching away at the carpet - it is just SOOOO FUNNY....that kitty!

Marathon goals

So we all have them right (I'm talking about goals).  I am one of those people who sets goals over and over and yet continually fails to met them. Of course not all of them, but some.  Part of this is because I set my sights often way to high and at some point I realize there is no way I'm gonna reach them. Take running for example: I have set my sights on several marathons.  Yet, each time I don't even come close to being ready to do one.  Not because I don't run but because I don't run that far!  Who am I kidding when I say I want to do a WHOLE marathon? Did you know that true marathon runners often wear depends so they don't have to stop and pee?! That isn't me!  Really, when I set my goal at the marathon level, what I am really saying is that I want to be dedicated enough to running that I don't miss my runs during the week and so should I need to run (in an extreme emergency) a marathon I could do so without dying.

I love to set such goals...goals in which at the moment seem really impressive and maybe even amazing and yet never are accomplished - or should I refrain that and say come up short from being accomplished? For you see, I also met the goal to some extent.  I still go out running 3-4 times a week, just never more then a 2-4 miles.  Never quite to marathon level but I still do it.

Right now my marathon goal is solving the big church problem - how do we reach and spread Christ' message in a secular world.  This might seem like an attempt at the crazy...it might seem like too big for one person and I don't think I am gonna solve it overnight or that I might solve it at all but I do believe that I will take little steps towards this goal :) And I can't wait to see what God is gonna reveal to me next :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

trying to solve religious problems

My Spirit burns with passion over the problems with religion - established, institutionalized. 

I am moved so deeply by the number of people I know personally who although believe in God and I would say are Spiritual (in tuned with God and the everyday interactions within their life) don't go to church or belong to a church family.  For many reasons people have moved beyond the church.  I claim, a lot, that it has to do with the fact that mainline church has lost its voice to the major conservatives.  But I think it is more then that, I believe that it is not just that our voice has become lost to the public but that we don't have voices.  Many mainline churches don't have voices because in believing that beliefs are personal matters - they don't take sides.  In being warm and welcoming excepting all - beliefs don't get discussed.  We have become clubs not places for spiritual renewal.  When fresh people come through our doors, we are signing them up to be one of us - part of this family of people without a sense of who we are - and yet we expect them to feel as if they belong.  How can a new person feel as if they belong to a place when they don't have history? When they don't know or understand what you believe? How can we prove to them that we are a different church, that we aren't stereotypical or we aren't hypocrites if we can't tell what we do believe?

When a seeker enters a church, they are looking for something. When they find nothing - no voice, no authenticity, no Spirit moving - they aren't going to stay.  This isn't to say that there is nothing for I assure you that at the core of every congregation there is something.  And even at the most club-like church there is a true Spirit of God moving. For those who are there believe.  The problem isn't that the Spirit has left or isn't there but that we have never learned how to give that Spirit voice.  In trying to be politically correct, in trying to be a place where all are welcome we have failed at one thing and that is defining our image of God beyond the European Male that wasn't Christ.  

As a new mother, raising a strong independent minded child, I am grateful to the church and all the advice I get from the ladies (and gentleman of course!).  I am also mindful of the support that I have and truly believe each of them when they offer to watch Livia if I ever needed them.  Although I haven't, and probably won't, take many of them up on their offer, knowing that they care that much to do that is enough.  I know that Sunday's is often the only day that parents have free, but I wish we could do something that would encourage them to come to church.  To be a part of the worship experience.  I wish that all those with children could feel the same level of support and true love that I feel knowing that my child truly has a family who loves her.  I know that these same church ladies have offered to other young parents advice and babysitting opportunities.  I just hope that they realize the true essence of which these ladies offer and the love that they are willing to spread and give to the children of the church.

The question isn't just how we make a more meaningful worship experience - that isn't how we get people to come to our church.  It is who do we create our voice and let our voice be heard.  How do we go out into the community, teaching about Christ and encouraging people to worship with us.

In the aftermath of Irene, the reality of social media and how much it has become a community is just remarkable.  Phyllis Tickle once said that there are 4 pleasures and during the 50's church was the 4th -- it was the "other" that people sought for everything.  Today the "other" is social media.  How does church compete?

enough ramblings for now...


Monday, August 29, 2011

Vacation!

We just had two fun filled weeks of vacation! And man, is it hard to be back! So I have found myself, day-dreaming of vacation all year long and yet I know that if I had one more day of vacation, I probably won't have liked it - I did re-arrange the house 3 times in two weeks!  I moved couches, tables, chairs and beds around :) It was fun!

I am amazed at my daughter and how L truly has no fear of anything! 
We went to the beach and she loved the ocean and the waves, we went into a pool and out of no where she got it into her head to jump in! She isn't even 1 and she wanted to JUMP in! Craziness.  I truly don't understand how children can have no fear.  There is a sermon in that somewhere I am sure.  This also gives her great confidence to climb stairs, to climb onto the couch and most of all to try to stand on her pint size chairs.  I am going to be thankful when she makes it to school without any broken bones.

But that was the best thing about vacation - having all that time to do whatever with the family.  L really enjoyed having mommy and daddy with her - which was somewhat problematic when we needed a babysitter one of those days and she screamed for 3 hours!

We will work on that :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cyber Community for Christ

Should this be my next church venture? Ministering to a group of on-line church goers?  Is this even right?

With the amount of time we all spend on-line these days, would it be right or fitting for there to be a church community - perhaps even a church - who could meet through live chats, bring up difficult questions in the forum - discuss and challenge each other and God. But more importantly feel spiritually fulfilled in a world where cyber space has replaced couch space?

Isn't that life?!

So yesterday morning, a beloved member of our church died.  Of course this was also the start of our vacation and we weren't even home.  The funny thing about this is that this is one of the lessons I learned from her.  She was a very strong lady with a quick mind, even up till the end.  She had her head on straight so to speak.  She was truly a joy to visit with and always made me laugh.  One of my many lessons that I took away from her was that life wasn't always easy and plans rarely came out as planned but life was what happened when you were going with the flow, riding the ride of life and not complaining.  So rest in peace Louella :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Blueberries!

So my child LOVES blueberries.  She wouldn't stop eating them, if it wasn't for us stopping her. So in search for a good place to pick some...I have discovered a few things:
1. The place on 370 Abbots Farm is $2.75 a pound! Yes, cheaper then in the store but last year I paid $1.50 so way more then that!
2. Blueberry farms are open one day and closed the next - waiting for more blueberries to come in :-P
3. There are NO FARMS on 31 between Savannah and Sodus
4. There is a place that has u-pick for $3.00 a quart!!!! Crazy!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Having faith

So last Sunday, I preached on the concept that in our darkest moments, in our greatest struggles God is with us. That it is through these struggles that we emerge stronger and with more faith.  We might emerge with a few scars - but that is life and they only serve as a reminder of what we are capable of -- or maybe more importantly what we are able to do WITH God. 
I have also always felt that doubting is OK - for without a doubter there isn't someone to question our faith / why we do things / and challenge us.  We need those things to be able to embark on a true journey with Christ.  So why then when Jesus was walking on the water did he tease and get angry with Peter from doubting??  Why did Jesus say to Peter - You of little faith?  Why didn't he go over to Peter stretch out his hands and help Peter get up and continue walking on water?  Peter wanted so badly to be like Jesus and yet time and again he falls short.  Is this a metaphor for the fact that we humans will time and time again fall short but Jesus will still be there?  Or was Peter really lacking in such faith that Jesus had to call him out on it?
Or is there a third possibility? For it was the FEAR - it was the waves and the storm that arose and gave way to fear that caused Peter to fall.  It wasn't that he didn't have enough faith but that he let the fear of what could happen get in his way of faithfully following Christ - of staying on the path that God lead before him.  And doesn't this happen in our own lives that we just can't always stay on that path - that we deny the path that God has for us in FEAR - fear of failing, fear of falling, fear of God himself?

So this week, think over that keeps you from having fear.  For God is not fear, or storms, or pain but God can be found in them.  God is the calm with the storm - God is the silence that we let still our presence long enough to take in our surroundings.  God is the breath we breathe.

And that is why the Palms put it so nicely - Be Sill and Know that I'm God. AMEN

Monday, August 1, 2011

FULL OF IDEAS

So, I have sooo many ideas!  Ideas of things I can make - paint, sew or even glue.  Ideas for our church - and of course tons of other churches!  Ideas for furniture R can make me for our house.... I'm an IDEA kind of person....

With that said, I am working on getting these ideas into some sort of working categories or at least out of my head...

I would love to start a cloth diaper business, not because I have time, but because I believe that cloth is the best way to go.  But if you are starting out poor, cloth is not the most affordable (although it saves in the end!).  I live in a community in which people can't afford the diapers and could benefit from cloth, but there aren't affordable cloth (unless you use prefolds).  Gdaipers are GREAT but the start up can be pretty costly.  I figured out that I could make and sell diapers for $11.00 and still make a bit of a profit.  But I haven't started to make them yet.

I would love to continue to paint...but I just find it so time consuming when I take lessons during the day, however, I need the lessons since it has been so long :(

I would love to get a masters in Family Therapy - I feel like I could do so much more to help people then.

I truly want to be more environmental then I am...and sometimes I just don't understand why I don't take the extra time to save the plant!  This bothers me, but I have TONS of ideas on how I could change...starting with owing some chickens for my own chicken eggs....could be interesting!

I would love to help train dogs - but I don't have a degree and don't know where to start helping people...I am however, pretty good at such things.

I have sooo many ideas for churches - for our own church and community I am working on an outreach for parents, should be fun.

So those are some ideas I have for now....

Mommy Confession # ???

So this AM Livia eat a bug!  It was dead (luckily?) and not very big (luckily) but she eat it.  I am always amazed by what she gets into but a BUG?! Gross! 

As a new parent, I often find my self ashamed or at the very least guilty over things Livia has gotten into or done (or things I've done or forgotten to do) but so far this one tops the cake.  She was on the floor in our bedroom this AM exploring as usual - although usually the worst she gets into is a cup (that had water in it the night before) or she pulls things out of daddy's pockets (wallet, keys, ect...)  Today as she was exploring she must of come across a bug, she shouted her "DATT" which usually means she has something she thinks is cool and she holds it up to R, R said "NO!" but before he got to her, the bug was in her mouth. 

Oh, how nice!  Should I say extra protein? I'm not sure I'll ever forget this one.  Although I have been told that I eat cat food once as a baby and I survived...so a little bug should be a big deal....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kitty is now a cat?

So this morning we awoke to a dead mouse just outside our bedroom door.  Luckily it was my husband and not I that discovered that pretty prize. So our kitty of two years who up until now has been anything but a hunter has finally mastered the skills.  A part of me is horrified that he would do that and a part of me is glad that there is now one less mouse in my house!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Living WORD

One of the things that makes John my favorite Gospel is the wonderful language that John uses.  His language reminds me of the poetic verses found in much of the Old Testament but especially the psalms.  And as a true fan of the psalms it is no wonder, that I enjoy reading John.  

But John’s language can be deceiving.  For there a many levels to Johns writings - and John begins with a creation story.  All of the Gospel begin by telling about Jesus and how he came to be on earth.  But the other three Gospel tell the story of how Jesus the human was born into existence.  John however, beings his differently - and poetically.  He begins by bringing in two concepts - not necessary new but concepts non-the-less that needed to be stated.

The first concept is the “Word of God”
    Now, John means Jesus when he is referring to the Word.  John is saying that the WORD is God’s manifestation on Earth.  God’s manifestation on Earth.  John is also giving authority to Jesus by saying that he is the WORD.   For words have power - during this time, leaders - kings, people of power and importance would set decrees - laws that must be followed and they would inscribe their laws and have their laws read out loud.  Those who control the written word - the scribes - had much more power and influence then the average Joe who couldn’t read or write.  So by saying that Jesus is THE WORD - he was making a statement about God’s law, God’s rule, God’s way being above all else, especially above the Earthly laws set in place.  Jesus’ teachings thus are of a higher power then any other’s.

The second, and important concept is that Jesus was around at the beginning of Creation
    This might seem like a duh moment to us, but this was a huge controversy and revelation for those during this time.  The connectional relationship between God, Jesus and the Spirit was just beginning to be understood.  The divinity of Jesus now fully being understand would mean that Jesus was with God in the beginning and be of God.  So John is expressing this new understanding that the early Christians were developing.  

You see, although Jesus taught much of this, although Jesus told his disciples time and time again about things - these were such new concepts a took awhile for some of them to sink in - for people to get it.

Today the Bible is the Word of God.  Why? Because the Bible is the manifestation of God on Earth.  For it is through the Bible that our relationship with the Holy can be developed, unpacked and strengthened.  Today, this is a very controversial subject, some believe that the Word is complete and flawless and should be followed to the T; while others believe the WORD was inspired by God but ultimately it was a human with free will who wrote it.  Today, I am not going into that controversy not because I am afraid of offending people or causing a stir but because to me that isn’t the true question behind the WORD of God - we shouldn’t be asking if it is literal or through the spirit what we should be asking is how is the WORD is living and working within our lives - and how do we approach the Bible willing and able coming into conversation with that WORD.

And this is where the idea of the Living WORD comes into play.  But what is this idea?  Living WORD? No, I don’t actually believe that the Bible eats and breaths - and I do hope you don’t either.  No, I don’t believe that the Bible is in fact alive - but what I mean, what John means, what the Christian community general means by Living WORD is that as it is the manifestation of God here on Earth, it is not only still relevant but that it invites us into conversation.  We say that the word is living because the Word is still acting in our lives and in the world today.  It is living because of our interaction with it and the fact that God’s will can still be understood through the Words.  More amazingly is that God’s self can be manifested through the reading of the Bible and presence felt.

Yup, the Bible invites us into conversation.  The Bible invites us to NOT just read it’s passages, NOT to just memorize a saying here or there, NOT just to quote the 23 palms.  The Bible invites each of us into conversation so that God’s will can be understood and felt.

The WORD is living - so long as we continue to enter into conversation - a two sided conversation of not just reading and memorizing but of study, of interpretation and most importantly of listening to God’s response.  

But the WORD is dying...the WORD is dying... Wait?! What?  I say this because today, too many people are failing the integrity of the Bible - failing the authenticity of God. Let me explain...

When the different books of the Bible were written and eventually put together, they were not read and/or understood by all.  You see for the Hebrews Rabbis - the Priestly people were the only ones who read the Bible and understood it.  In fact, today, the Jewish faith continues to keep the scared books in the Hebrew language and it is through education that the Jewish people can learn to read this scared text.  When the New Testament was put together, it was done in Greek and only the Church leaders, or well educated people, had access to be able to read the Bible.  During the reformation, Calvin and Luther pushed for the Bible to be written in common languages and be available to all God’s people - the idea of the Priesthood of all Believers.  And thus began a mad dash to translate.  Some translators were better then others and years later we still have thousands of different translations of God’s word today.  
   But the Word was written within a context - the Word was written to people with a certain understanding of every day cultural norms.  And this context has changed - this context is in no way the same today as it was.  And this is were the Word’s relevance gets mucky.  
    For you see - for the Word to truly be relevant we need to be able to have a conversation with that Word - we need to understand completely what that Word is telling us - not just in today’s context but in it’s own context.  For there might be more revelation there.  Studying the Bible is more then just reading and being able to quote it.  It is truly looking at the WHOLE picture and coming out with a new understanding. And when the WORD is read with authenticity in sight then our eyes are opened to the amazing understanding of God - but when we read the bible for our own gain and with the self centered idea that context doesn’t matter then the revelations we glean are not of God’s will but of humans.  
  I am not saying that one has to be a Biblical scholar to read the bible and I am grateful to our forefathers who paved the way to make God’s word available to all.  But today, we have lost sight of what true Biblical study means and this has lead to a great corruption in our religious community.  One is which the will of God is being mangled with the will of people.  One in which more evil then love is being spread in God’s name.  One is which many people don’t want to be a part of, heck the Campus Crusaders of Christ just took Christ out of their name for fearing that the name of Christ prevented them from being able to spread his message!


Many people of Jesus’ time thought he was just another crazy man going around preaching about things - until they met Jesus - until the witnessed Jesus in action and felt his Spirit.  People thought he wasn’t much - until his death and resurrection!  Until he fulfilled the Old Testament.
And that is the same with the WORD of God - you have to get to know it.  Not just the words, not just memorizing the lines or what the English translator decided to use...but you need to study the bible...study the context, question the word choice, look up words - investigate common items Jesus time.  What did an actual shepherd do?  What did a mustard seed turn into?  what was a lepar?
The other day I was listening to a Christian Radio station and the DJ asked people if you were stuck in an elevator for 1 hour with Jesus what would you ask him?  He wanted real and honest answers.  Someone called in and said that he would ask Jesus if he was upholding his message.  That like a child seeks assurance from their parents he would seek assurance from Jesus that he is indeed teaching Jesus’ way and spreading God’s message.  
I enjoyed this person honesty for this is my own struggle.  Am I upholding Jesus’ message? Am I doing right by God - isn’t that all of our struggle?  But I do know that when we enter into conversation, willing and able to listen to God’s response.  We are coming with integrity.  
But too many are coming with agendas.  Too many are using Christ’s name to puff up their own ego.  And this is all over - it is on both sides of the theological spectrum and more shameful is throughout our political world.  The media coverage is bias towards radical theological perceptives.  There are several seminaries throughout the US with Biblical scholars still writing great books on the character of God and the manifestation of God in our lives and YET when the media need to have a special guest to talk about the Christan perspective, they don’t ask one of them...
Calvin and Luther didn’t bring the WORD of God to the common people so that the WORD would become a dead grouping of verses but instead brought it to the common people so that the conversation with God could expand and the Spirit could move even further, reaching more people and allowing God’s salvation to come to all.  
Let us break the cycle.  Let us begin to truly enter into conversation with God through the Word. For only when you are truly in conversation with the text - understanding and studying the historical, contextual, translational aspects - then God’s revelation happen.  Only then can the Word become living and relevant.  

cloth diapers

Well, I am writing a blog on cloth diapers - there are tons of blog topics out there on this subject but I am writing because I truly feel that they are the way to go.  I know that this might mean that you get closer to some of those nasty diapers then you would like (and believe me I KNOW this).  But the reality is diapers not only spend WAY too much time decomposing, they also take up a TON of our garbage space.  I don't know if you took a hard look at how many diapers you personal use each day and then multiplied by how many children their are in diapers across the country (or world)! 
Not only that look at the money you spend...cloth is a savings.  Yes, they cost a bit more up front but in the end they not only save you thousands but they help save the planet.

If you have questions or need more information - especially on washing I would be willing to post again!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Festival of FAITH

This Saturday we are coming together for a FESTIVAL OF FAITH

July 23, 2011

I do believe that all those who are suppose to be there will be there!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Spiritually Healthy

What does this mean? More importantly what does it mean to be Spiritual but not religious?  For how can you fill your Spirit without being religious? 

I have been thinking and pondering about this lately.  When Jesus is tempted after his 40 day fast in the wilderness (or during it, depending on how you translate the Greek), the first temptation is to make food.  Satan tells Jesus to make rocks into bread so that Jesus would have something to eat.  Throughout the Bible there are references to times when food (real food) through prayer feed everyone.  There are instances of manna during the exodus led by Moses; there is the famous or infamous feeding of the 10,000 with the bread and fishes.  And yet, Jesus hungry from not eating doesn't break down to Satan's temptation.  In fact, we have quite a few mystics 1500-1600s who use fasting as a way to get in touch with their Spiritual side.  Even today, during lent many Christians "give up something" in order to "get closer" to God.  So what does this ramble mean?  Satan wasn't tempting Jesus to make bread out of the rocks to feed Jesus actual hungry - Satan was trying to break down the relationship Jesus had to God (the Spiritual).  Satan was trying to break down Jesus' Spiritual health.  Jesus went into the wilderness to be with God - to take a break and refresh his own Spirit and soul. 

I know that this is such an important lesson.  As we are all crazy busy this summer and running around trying to get family day trips packed into busy work weeks it is easy to let ourselves and especially our relationship with God get put on the back burner.  It is easier to turn the rocks into bread then to spend time sitting and listening to God's word for us in our lives.  But if we aren't in balance - if your whole being isn't in balance then we aren't our best. We just ARE NOT.  We would not expect an star runner to run a race with oout stretching their  hamstring or a pulled muscle yet we don't take care of our Spiritual health.

And to all of you who are Spiritual but not religious - if you believe in God then you are religious even if you belong to the non-religious aspect of religion.  For religion is how we act on our Spiritualism.  You might be practicing a mesh of religious practices, you might be denying all together the practice of any but the reality is, even if it is atheism, we are all practicing something.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Love the country living

So this week has been yet another exciting reminder of the fact that we live in the country.  On Tuesday morning, I came down stairs just in time to watch my cat leaping and running wildly after something which about 4 sec. after I registered that he was indeed catching something, I heard the horrible cries of said creature.  The loud screams were high pitched they sounded like a large animal and I will admit I was very worried about what I was going to find as I approached my kitchen.  I signed with relief as I realized it was a mole (or a vole? I don't know the difference).  Anyway, I screamed for Russ twice, but of course this big old house is way to sound proof for him to hear a thing.  The cat was now at this point a little freaked by the little creature - for he was close but jumped back each time the scream of terror came from it's little vocal cords.  So with cat in tote, I sought Russ.  We were able to catch him and release him back out into the world, in hopes that he will stay there!

Later that day, we headed for a hike.  This has become our Tuesday afternoon routine.  We were following the path for awhile and knew that soon there would be the turn of the path to loop around.  We took what we thought was that turn...but it turned out it wasn't right (although it did bring us back to our car!).  The bad thing was there were tons of little yellow flies (horse or sweat flies) which began attacking and stinging us.  Luckily they weren't going after Livia...but me OMG they loved me!  I have over a dozen bites in my head, plus three on one arm, two on another and two on one leg! AWFUL!

Was that enough for the week? One would think so but nope!  Our cat, who is an indoor cat, has been spending time on our enclosed porch...he loves our fresh air and the great breeze...but did I think? NOPE.  He is spending all this time in limbo between the outside and the inside world and I didn't even think that I should be treating him for fleas (or putting the flea collar back on him)....and so of course, those flies, in search for fresh blood found the fur of Mr. Leo Kitty to be a warm, welcoming and inviting home. 
UGH!  One flea path, 4 carpets treated in precaution, 2 couches treated just in case and several loads of laundry later - I hope my house is flea free!  I do believe we caught them early.  We sprayed down the porch and allowed him back out today.  I have never before had a flea problem and I hope we caught it early.

Moles (Voles?), Flies and Fleas O My!
We can't have these, Bye Bye

Friday, July 8, 2011

family

So, one thing about me is that I have a pretty huge family that is spread throughout the US but due to tons of family dynamics, I only see and have a close relationship with a dozen or so of them.  It really is unfortunate. Thanks to facebook, I have been able to begin to make connections with many more but there are still some I couldn't pick out of a line up. 
Last night, I was able to make one more connection.  It was great! One of my cousins who I haven't seen in about 8 years and before that it had been 4 years and before that about 10....you get the picture. 

He reminded me about my family tree project.  I have been working on for some time and hopefully at some point can have a website established just for my family tree.  

Mommy Confession

So lately Livia has been making bath time a little more difficult - don't get me wrong she loves the tub.  She has graduated to the 'real' tub and is having so much fun splashing around.  But she doesn't like getting any business done she just wants to play.  So she fights getting wash and especially fights the shampoo.  Recently I noticed what I thought was a small spot of skin peeling on the top of her head at the bridge of her forehead.  I figured she had a little dry skin from the shampoo I can't always get off as I think I should there...well I was half right.  The other day, I decided to investigate what it was, so I slowly took my finger nail and tried to scrap a piece off.  Turns out it isn't skin peeling at all - it is in fact shampoo that is stuck to her forehead - slimy and a bit sticky. 

So, yup.  There you have it, lesson learned and I will get all the shampoo out. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

going, going, gone to number 28

So this is how an auction made me a Swedish Red-neck

Last night my husband saw that there was an estate auction not too far away.  Seeing as we do indeed like auctions and you never know what you are going to get we decided to check it out. Some day there is going to be a sermon on stuff and estate auctions.  But more to the point this women happened to have been married to a funeral director so this was not just any estate auction this house was once a funeral home. The auction included an autopsy table and everything! What a conversation piece.  RW wouldn't let me buy it. So when we arrived we noticed these two very nice couches and in fact this one I fell in love with.  We decided to stick around and see what they went for. 

Wow did the whole thing take FOR-EVER! With that, we decided it was going on too long and we had to get our volvo if we were going to get the couch home (we only had my small toyota at that moment.)  So RW went home, dropped off L with a babysitter (how could we get the couch in the back of the wagon other wise? and left me at the auction.


This wasn't my first attend auction but it was my first bidding auction - wow do things go fast.  All of a sudden the couches were up - the auctioneer said and now on to the lot of couches - Buyers Choice - is what I thought I heard and boy did I want the white one.  So, he started the bidding - rather high,  I figured I would wait until someone bid and then I would go - $35 was the first bid and I fought my way winning at $50.00 - and then the bomb shell! I bought BOTH couches Buyers lot - paying 50 dollars a piece! I said I don't think my husband is going to be happy about that - but I had already won - I was locked into both couches.  Next thing I know they are trying to throw in a third for free - NO! I said and so there I was with a volvo wagon on it's way and two couches in my number.

Now these couches are nice - the are real Victorian couches both re-done in the late 80s.  Gorgeous couches that you would see in a number of funeral parlors. And RW arrived with me sitting upon one couch hopeful that we could get the second home.  And so one couch went into the back of the wagon and the other couch went on the roof rake.  The one sticking out of the back and the other just barely legal.

Did we lose our minds? Maybe but the couches look GREAT!  Do we have a new story to tell yes.  Will our children one day be horrible embarrassed of us - yup!   

Monday, June 27, 2011

Becoming a once-a-week blogger

I told myself that when I had a blog, I wasn't going to be one of those people who posts for a while and then forgets they have one...and yet it feels like I have.  Part of that is because our computer at home was effected by a lighting strike and doesn't quite work like it used to and well, we are trying to save our money so we haven't bought a lap-top yet.  And well part of it is that life just sometimes gets soooooo busy!

With that said. Life has been busy.  I am struck with how easy it is to forget about God when life is so busy - especially when it is full of happy things: friends, graduations, Baptisms, BBQ, ect... But what is really bothersome to me is that I am in the God business - so if it is so easy for me to forget about God what about those who don't even have God in their every day life - their job...

It is funny that in church on Sunday we spoke about the relationship change between God and God's chosen people through the sacrifice of Issac by Abraham.  And further how the relationship with the Holy and us changed through the death of Jesus on the Cross.  I can't help but also think that in our own lives, the relationship between us and God continues to grow and change.  Through life's trails, our understanding of God hopefully deepens and our love widens.  As we continue to be changed and shaped by life's events, so too is our relationship with divine. It is sad to think that we would put that relationship on hold, just because life is too busy.  So I am challenging myself and whoever reads this to not let this summer be one of spiritual limbo - but one of spiritual prosperity.  One in which you have continued your relationship with the Holy and been able to grow and develop in faith.  

Monday, June 20, 2011

Baptism

So, I am going to come right out and admit that I thought for a very long time and truly debated about getting my child baptized.  I thought for a while that I would wait and let her choose for herself as an older child - especially since as a PK (pastors kid) she wouldn't have a lot of choices when it came to religion until then. 
I also fought it because as Presbyterians, a big part of the baptism is a the community aspect - the welcome the child into community and the pledge of the community to help nourish and raise this child.  Since her parents aren't actual members of the church but in fact employees, I struggled with if this was right - if this was truly her "Church community." 
Although this isn't the same "Church community" as it would be if we were members and not their pastors this is still the community of church people in which she belongs and who adore and love her! 
As a Presbyterian, I do so love the sentence in our Book of Order that says that God can work within and through people without them even knowing or without their knowledge.  I think this is the very reason why I choose to have her baptized.  For through her baptism, I believe, the Holy Spirit was awakened.  I believe that the Holy Spirit is within all of us and that it takes the recognition of that by others and later by ourselves for the spirit to be nurtured.  Through the holy waters of baptism, we are reminded of the Spirit that flows within us and we acknowledge the essence of the Divine in each of us.  "Whatever we do to the least of these, you do to me" for the Spirit dwells within all God's people. 

L was so cute on her day.  She was dressed pretty, she was happy and ready to speak and let her voice be heard.  She was so precious as we standing there answering questions about our faith and agreeing to raise her to be a faithful follower of Christ.  But the moment of truth came with the waters of the Baptism and the amazed, quizzical and yet holy look on her face. I say Holy because she got quiet and still and claps her hands together and seemed in that moment a bit changed - like she felt the Holy Spirit running through her empowering her. WOW what a moment.

And so, I am truly happy that we made the decision to have her baptized.  For through the waters of her baptism, she is now a child of God and the Holy Spirit has been stirred within her - awakening to do amazing things throughout her life.  With God and through God we are able to do amazing things - even when we don't always know or have the understanding.

Glory be to God and the Baptism of all God's people! AMEN!

Thank God for FAMILY

BIG shout out to my family who helped me pull off this wonderful BBQ and still have a clean house! LOVE YA

Insane Weekend

Whenever family visits things are hectic!  The hour drive to the airport and then the hour drive back home makes it a very big deal just to pick people up.  But it is usually worth it!
Wednesday: Met water man at old house to replace part / picked up sister at airport / brought sister to friends house for a quick visit and then headed home.  Made dinner and then went to meeting!
Thursday: cleaned house for the BIG day coming up, baked for strawberry festival / finished the details for the wedding on Saturday / had two more meetings at the church / had an unexpected death
Friday: woke up early to bake more / drove 2 1/2 hours to dansville and another 2 hours home again (got lost the way down), spent time with family.  Came home, had dinner then a youth group lock-in.
Satuday: 4:15 call from sister - baby is awake. Headed home from lock-in / then worked at strawberry festival / wedding / more festival (some of that clean up) / dinner and finally a moment to relax with a movie
Sunday: up early for Church - L was baptized :)  / BBQ after church at my house :/ / then spent afternoon cleaning up from that with family / then hubby had to go to baccalaureate for graduating seniors (baby was CRAZY and wouldn't let me go) / then dinner and then early bed!
Today: Drove sister to airport and tried to recover

Throughout this my mom arrived as well!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Things I never thought I would do...

There are a few things I true believe that I will never do before I die, and most of them I am OK with.  I really don't want to go to Africa and risk diseases - although I will support and pray for you should you feel called to do so.  I really don't think I'll ever rock climb out on a real rock cliff - although I do enjoy the rock walls.
Well, when I got married, I truly believed I would never have to mow a lawn. I had gotten away with not doing so as a kid and well I was hopeful that as an adult I could get away with it as well. For you see, I am truly truly freaked out about lawn mowers and in an irrational way.  I pray for people when I see them mowing and even when I only hear a mower going.  I am just as freaked out of the push mowers as well as the riding. 


This utter fear comes from a combination of my great grandfather's lie and a summer hospital internship and perhaps my mother. My great grandfather who I called grand dad he was a WWI vet who lost his two middle fingers on his righ hand in war but as a young child he would point his stubs at me and tell me it was due to a horrible lawn mower accident.  I am sure the trauma was more in the way he would point the fingerless knuckles right into my eyes and tell me to watch out for mowers! Well watch out I did.  Then one summer I had a hospital internship and a woman came in who had been mangled by a lawn mower when she fell off a riding mower and it ran her over. It was awful!  Thus my mower fear only grew.  My mother who is a perfectionist of sorts, only enhanced this avoidance by not allowing me to mow the lawn in fear that I wouldn't do it right.

Thus, my phobia of lawn mowers began.  I happily married a man who didn't mind mowing the lawn and my problems seemed solved.  Until I began reading and leading a new Spiritual study group at church.  This weeks challenge was in trying new things and getting outside our comfort zone - of course this really meant how we talk to / share our faith with others, but it got me thinking...So when we needed our lawn mowed and my husband also needed to get several things done in the house.  I decided to attempt to mow the lawn!

IT WAS A SUCCESS (If I do say so myself!) Granted I only did like 4/5th of the yard and left the scary dangerous slopes to my husband - I did indeed take my life in my own hands and drive myself around on the riding mower.  Luckily it was the kind that if you stood up it stopped (and I tested it twice just to make sure).

So, today, I did something I thought (and maybe hoped) I would never have to do and tonight I met a lady who is in her 70s who has officially never mowed a lawn!  

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Social Media

I really set out to post something about Pentecost and the amazing church experience I had this AM, or about my family BBQ and my insights about how important family is and how blessed I am to be in mine - even if it is dysfunctional...
But I felt called to write on social media.  I am very concerned about the current generation - my generation? maybe? Is being so connected actually leading us to live more lonely lives?
I know that it has been my move to a smaller town, where I see my friends less and interact with fewer people, that has led to my desire to want to blog, even if no one is reading it.  Just putting my thoughts out there allows me to feel connected some how to the world. So for me, social media has indeed helped to me.
However, I do know that social media doesn't always act positively - especially when it comes to isolation.  I read some where that reading the happenings of others can cause depression.  I also know that once you put something out there - it is out there and as many congress-people and high power officials have found out that isn't always good. For all of us "regular" people that can be just as bad if you offend someone (even if only accidentally).  

So, I guess the purpose of this is to remind each of us that social media does not have to run or ruin our lives.  And that if we are feeling lonely, instead of turning to FB or Tweeter, call a friend up and talk.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Living in Sin?

I am struck by the number of people that are living together and not married - both those who may be engaged for several years or those who just don't and won't get married.  And I am shocked that it is still a "big deal" or seen as something so wrong.
First, in the Bible it doesn't say anywhere that a marriage is this big ceremony that it is today. Nor does it say you must go down to your local government office and get a piece of paper to be official. In fact, the Bible only takes about the agreement or the commitment when it comes to marriage.  So if that is the case isn't committing to live with one another and to be only with that one person enough?
I don't know how to answer that...part of me says there is something about the actual wedding ceremony that allows this new step - this commitment - to be recognized by God. But the other part of me knows that many weddings happen in Churches and in front of God just for the pictures and there is no real meaning behind it. And plenty of couples committing to live together have a spiritual bond that involves the Godly.
What I do know is that it seems a bit crazy to me that our divorce rate is so high.  That people are getting married more and more times.  That when the going gets tough the commitment gets gone and this is not acceptable.  I would rather marry a couple who has been together, living together, and has survived some pretty difficult times - for then I know the commitment is true.

finding common ground

So this week is Pentecost and the Biblical passage of Pentecost is the account of when all of a sudden people of different backgrounds, languages and lands could all understand each other - no they were not speaking in a new language but indeed each speaking in their own language - the miracle was that each person's ears were opened so that they could understand languages that they couldn't speak...

With this in mind, I have been thinking about how we as Christians - no matter where we lie on the spectrum of theology can still find common ground, common language to work together and spread God's message.  I am very excited that some of the other pastors in town are going to be working with me and R and together working on bringing Christ's message to the world. I realize that we don't all stand on the same theologically understanding - in fact I am sure that some of us are REALLY far apart.  But I do think that the Spirit can still work within us to respect each other and to love each other enough to work together.

I have always felt as a pastor - or maybe even just as a Christian - was to be able to discern what God looks like for the person I am speaking with. And meet them where they are at - for Jesus always met his disciples wherever they were at.  To find a common ground and use language they are comfortable with.  For God is so vast.  And I think that is what we can take away from this today.  That although we might not be blessed with understanding each other when we speak a native language.  We can find understanding as Christians - as faithful followers.  Together with each other, we can find common ground to stand on, to build on and to work together. 

I do believe that we can, with the right attitudes, love and respect each other (our brothers and sisters) in Christ. And begin to spread the Gospel (the Good News) knowing that we can find common ground - common langauge through our faith and knowledge of Christ.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mommy Lessons

So first the mommy lesson - I thought I would bath L and then let her run around a little without a diaper.  It is so hot and she has been having a small heat rash around her legs and tummy where the diapers fit.  So, I believed that she would run naked for a little while and I would put a diaper on her - I figured there may be a mess to clean up but we have hard woods and I thought that was worst case - best case would be she would be able to roam free for a little and I would have the diaper on her before anything happened! BOY WAS I WRONG - the minute I put her down to play she stood up and started peeing!  And it wasn't just a small amount of baby pee it was in fact a waterfall of mega proportions.  And before I could stop her, she sat down in the mess and began to play - :/ UGH!  So we want back up to the tub to wash up and then mommy quickly put a diaper on - lesson learned!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The NEVER ending ding dong ditch...

so the one true negative to our house?? Our wireless doorbell is some how tapped into something else (I suspect the middle school across the street) and during school days the doorbell can go off as many as 12 times! Luckily usually only 3-4 times. 
Why this is horrible:
1. We have dogs
2. We have an infant
3. WE have dogs
4. often it is really EARLY in the morning

This morning was a perfect example.  We finally had a morning when our baby was sleeping in - miracle if I do say so.  But instead of having a blissful morning of an extra 1/2 hour of sleep at 6:50 in the morning the doorbell had to wake us from our slumber...and send the dogs racing down the stairs barking as if we were under attack - I wonder which one realized it was nobody first?  Either way...the baby woke up shortly after this wonderful example our canine defense system (which by the way doesn't bark when someone enters our house without knocking or ringing the doorbell).