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.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A blogger's prayer

I found this and thought this was great! Since I am busy this week with VBS and today with a horrible migraine, writing a blog seemed like a daunting task.  So thanks to ANDREW JONES and the http://www.orucc.org/wp-content/uploads/Alternative-Lords-prayers.pdf website for posting this great "blogger's prayer" which rings so true!  Enjoy this and I'll be back posting my own words later this week!

Our Father
who lives above and beyond the dimension of the internet
Give us this day a life worth blogging,
The access to words and images that express our journey with passion and integrity,
And a secure connection to publish your daily mercies.
Your Kingdom come into new spaces today,
As we make known your mysteries,
Posting by posting,
Blog by blog.
Give this day,
The same ability to those less privileged,
Whose lives speak louder than ours,
Whose sacrifice is greater,
Whose stories will last longer.
Forgive us our sins,
For blog-rolling strangers and pretending they are friends,
For counting unique visitors but not noticing unique people,
For delighting in the thousands of hits but ignoring the ONE who returns,
For luring viewers but sending them away empty handed,
For updating daily but repenting weekly.
As we forgive those who trespass on our sites to appropriate our thoughts without reference,
Our images without approval,
Our ideas without linking back to us.
Lead us not into the temptation to sell out our congregation,
To see people as links and not as lives,
To make our blogs look better than our actual story.
But deliver us from the evil of pimping ourselves instead of pointing to you,
From turning our guests into consumers of someone else's products,
From infatuation over the toys of technology,
From idolatry over technology
From fame before our time has come.
For Yours is the power to guide the destinies behind the web logs,
To bring hurting people into the sanctuaries of our sites,
To give us the stickiness to follow you, no matter who is watching or reading.
Yours is the glory that makes people second look our sites and our lives,
Yours is the heavy ambiance,
For ever and ever,

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Gospel According To _________

I have been thinking lately about one concept - the departing of the Christian faith from the Jewish faith.  The relationship between what the first followers of Jesus thought of for themselves and how we see ourselves today. 

One of the things that I am "stuck" on is the concept of how the imagine of God changed through the Old Testament to the New.  How a God who chosen the Israelite as "his chosen people" and went so far as to send plaques to Egypt to prove his power and his people's place...who brought the walls of Jericho down without a fight and who favored one ethnicity in the early days of the Old Testament morphed into a God who gave to all who believe grace.  Who humble walked amongst us to make all those who chose, chosen people.  To me, it isn't surprising that the Hebrews were confused with Jesus and believed him to be speaking not of God's authority for although there world-view and view of God was expanding, Jesus was taking them to new levels. 

If you look at the Bible, however as an evolving expression of the human experience of God, you begin to see how this change wasn't really so surprising.  For as we as humans continue to live and experience the Holy, we are changed and forever shaped.  For each of us the Holy is a bit different and some of us may be able to describe our God in beautiful language while others might only be able to describe a feeling.  We all experience the divine in our own way and in our own time.  If we were to write our own Gospel - or Good News about how God works in our lives, they would all be very different.  Some vivid like dreams and others short poems...much like the Bible.

The other important lesson here is just how much the imagine of God changed as the perspectives changed - not only the individual human experience but as the human's world-view grew.  I am thus struck to remember that there has been 2000 years since us and Christ.

That is right...a few thousand years separates us and the New Testament...this doesn't mean the New Testament isn't still the Word of God or worth anything but it does mean that imagine of God is most likely not the same imagine as those who wrote the Good News.  Our experiences aren't even close to the life experiences of those who wrote the Testaments and further our world-view is ever changing.

We live in an area were we are using the internet to communicate instantly with people. We have portable phones that can fit in our pockets and do more then ever thought imaginable.  We experience God in new ways every day and in our own individual lives vastly differently.  So we need to recognize this and begin to lift up - the Good News According to ______ fill in the black with name. 

In a way this blog, is my Good News how I experience God in my life.  Think about that as you experience God, what would your Gospel look like? 

In order to have true theological debate, in order to truly hash out some of the important topics of our times, we need to first recognize the Gospels of those around us and begin to listen to their own experiences and how they define God.  We can't just throw Scripture at each other and expect that we are all on the "same page" when we are reading from different Gospels.

Friday, July 20, 2012

When bad things happen

I find it most interesting that although I usually don't blog on Fridays, today there was a huge spike in the number of people who "checked out" my blog according to my stats.  I am sure this is in direct relationship to the shootings that happened earlier this AM at a movie theater in Colorado.  When bad things happen, all of a sudden us "religious" folks are looked at for sage advice or perhaps the answer to this age old question of "why do these things happen?"  Often this question is worded more like "why does God let this happen?" 

When horrible and tragic events take place and we are reminded that our world just isn't as safe as we thought - especially when something hits us in a place that gives way to "innocence" like movie theaters or schools - we begin to question the bigger pictures of life.  It is in these dark moments when answers seem difficult to find that we often fall into the trap of releasing too much control to God.  We begin to blame God for "letting" this or worse "ordaining" this to happen.  And we often feel anger at God.  We seek out "religious" leaders to give us answers and when their answers fall short and our anger is too much we turn away from God.

Bad things happen, evil is working in this world and God does not ordain any of it.  Tragic events shake us at our core but shouldn't push us to anger towards God.  Instead we should take hold of the Holy who is grieving with us and who is walking along side us. The Holy who is offering us strength and wisdom.  The divine who worked in all the emergency responders who I'm sure saved lives and more important brought order to a situation in which chaos was abound.  God is in all the prayers who have been offered on behalf of those suffering today and is helping us as a nation understand. 

Although we have a clear "bad guy" in this horrible rampage, God is with his family and Jesus' forgiveness is available to him.  For we do not know what led up to this.  If anything the shooter's family needs our prayers as they are as much a victim in this as those shot. 

Unfortunately, in order to have an all good God, we must know and experience the opposite - evil.  For as Humans are knowledge is limited by opposites...to know hot we must know cold, to know big we must know small and to know good we must know evil.  We can hope that good continues to out weight evil...we can each do our best daily to spread more love and good to world in hopes that evil ceases but as Humans our hearts are easily turned. 

Let us come together, not to be angry with God - a feeling that only pushes more evil.  Let us instead spread good through our prayers.  Let us take some time to spend quality time with our family - remembering that time can be cut short.  Let us take some time to realize and be grateful for all that we have and all the love we can spread in God's Holy Name.  

Check out my latest sermon

Listen to my latest sermon: Serving Up Heads...a taken on the beheading of John the Baptist.   Enjoy!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Burning Spirit

So as the temperature rises both in the heat of the summer and in the passion I have for changing something about church - I always begin to think about the Spirit and how it makes my life - or our lives as Christian - different.  At Pentecost this year, I talked about each of us being like a kernel of corn - hard and pretty tough; but when we get heated up by the Spirit of God in us we can pop open and become not only something very good and a source of nutrition to others but in doing so we become vulnerable.  It is that vulnerability that keeps us from truly letting the Spirit fire us up, especially in our white-European churches.

Lately we have been having a visitor from Jamaica worship with us.  In a discussion about the differences of worship services, I told him that we are the "frozen chosen" a term often used to describe the many "mainline" churches in which proper white folks sit together silently praying or offering a loud pre-written prayers.  We don't do much outside the "order" of things and God forbid we ask people to stand and move around - heck most of us even pass out communion in mini-glasses that resemble shots and cubes of bread.  This is how we "do" worship and there is Holy and Sacred within this frozen and motionless service.  For many of us, this is the only time during our busy and chaotic week that we have time to just breath and just be with God.  There is a spiritual flare to the stillness and there is a sense of Holy in the quiet and there is a wonderful sense of comfort in the fact that we aren't taken out of our zone of vulnerability - our kernel although popped into popcorn through the heat of the Spirit doesn't have to worry about being broken.  We don't have to worry about opening ourselves up to each other for we are all there for a different purpose - to worship our God in our private and yet collective way.   For us our connectional church is one based on private understandings and private faith.  And there is nothing wrong with this.

Except that those who are searching, those who are seeking to feel the Spirit in their lives want something MORE.  People are claiming to be "spiritual and not religious" because at the end of the day to many people what happens in "religion" isn't real because they don't feel it.

People want to FEEL the power of the Spirit moving, and they want to experience God as Abraham experienced God - they want to walk along side the Holy, feeling the Holy's presence and they want to converse with the Holy.  The want to feel the Divine Spirit like the Prophets of Old giving them messages and helping them see the light.  People want the heat of the Spirit to truly transform them from a kernel to a piece of popcorn and to LIVE into that popcorn...to let their vulnerability be seen by others and to have that help create community.

For community doesn't happen when we keep our lives private or when we protect ourselves from pain.  Community happens when we open ourselves up to each other - excepting help and excepting prayers.  Excepting love and loving those around us.  Community happens when we let ourselves me a popped corn in a huge bowl resting on the frailness of the corn below us, knowing that together we are uplifting and strengthening each other. 

Somehow, we have lost this sense of the Spirit - perhaps in our desire to protect ourselves.  Perhaps over time as the church has burnt bridges or caused hurt, we have silently gone to private worship.  Maybe perhaps out of trying to control the Spirit we have lost understanding that the Spirit can't be controlled.  For those who are seeking God anew, they understand this, they are looking forward to finding a place that they can let their Spirit go and feel empowered by the Holy around them.  They are seeking a church home in which each person acknowledges their vulnerability and yet at the same time uplifts what they can do with the Spirit of God heating up their souls. 

The good  news?  Not only is that there are churches burning with the Spirit out there but there are plenty of people whose Spirit is on fire - both within and outside the bounds of the "Church."  There is a lot of movement of this wonderful heat and there is plenty of popcorn looking for a community for support.  Let us help each other, let us find each other and let us uplift each other.  Excepting each other vulnerabilities only  to love each other and spread the will of God.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

debate within the church

I have been struggling for some time, as many of you know or have gleaned, with the way the secular society continues to portray and see the "Church."   The often one-sided misrepresentation of religious folks has led to a lot of ignorance of what it means to be Christian and has also led to a lot of barriers between religious folks and the general population.  My blog has been set up as my way of trying to set the record straight for my corner of the world.

But this year especially, I have been bombarded with examples of Christians living into the very image that the secular world has - which according to a study is that we are: bigots, narrow minded and ignorant.  And for every step I try to make in changing peoples minds, I feel like I am pushed by the wind backwards three.

A perfect example of this was the most recent PC (USA) general assembly meeting.  This meeting which happens once every two years is a council meeting in which lay elders and clergy work together to bring polity and mission issues back to the local churches.  Things that happen at this meeting are not by any stretch of the imagination final however, words and actions that were spread there are.

First, in full disclosure I would like to state that I did not attend - although I watch much of it on live stream.  But second, I was struck with how large the margin was between the young adult delegates / seminary delegates "votes" and the actual votes.  You see, we poll our young adult and seminary delegates, asking for their advice / thoughts and yet we rarely vote with them - the future of our church.  In our largest and most heated debate we discussed at length the changing of the definition of marriage within our polity.

The definition of marriage has already changed within the secular world - like it or not.  And like it or not we need to have these conversations.  But I just can't believe how these conversations end up going down.  (and they do go down!)   For these young people who our congregations sent with pride to the GA meeting, excited that someone in high school or early college cared enough about their church / faith, we did a huge injustice.

For no matter what, after witnessing those debates and seeing the flaws that we, as all humans, have - yes even ordained and lay elders - their view of the church is forever changed. The secular world, perhaps even their friends and family, was proven right; for in our debating our Christianity was lost.  Our self-righteous need to be right was taken over and our drive to "win" at any cost put Christ right back up on the cross.

The sad part is, we are trying to encouraging young people in an unchurched / post-denominational time to come to church.  We are trying to help those who are lost find the divine that is within them.  We are trying to help our society, our communities and our families have the same type of relationship with the Redeemer that we have: lively, filled and amazing.  And yet, despite this drive of good intentions, we are driving people away from our buildings, away from the house of God and away from the relationship that they seek.

I have read some arguments that it was good for these young people to witness this and that it will inspire them to strive for change - perhaps even ignite them to continue to want to push for the much needed change within our denomination.  and to that I say - I hope so; but I fear that is not what happened.  You see if the margins were the same; but the debate was done with compassion, with love, with Christ then I would agree.  They would have witnessed something empowering and would want to strive to be a part of it, even if they don't agree with it.  But when they witness something so difficult filled with tension and hateful undertones; filled with anger not passion, filled with people unwilling to actually communicate and instead just talk at - the question that is left to ask: why would I want to be a part of that?

Why do any of us want to be a part of that?  I can't imagine that anyone who left last weeks meeting, no matter your "side" felt good about the debate (I dare not say conversation).  Let alone looks forward to further discussion of this within their presbytery or churches.

I just continue to pray for our churches but most of all those young people who are trying to understand their own role in a denomination that for now feeds into everything the secular world proclaims is "wrong" with the churches. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

we are too familiar

There are two texts that are coming together for this blog post today the first is a quote I found on another blog:
"Christians in the west have largely neglected what it means to be a disciple of Christ. The vast majority of Western Christians are church members, pew fillers, hymn singers, sermon tasters, Bible readers, even born again believers or spirit filled charismatics - but not true disciples of Jesus". Found in Discipleship by David Watson, page 16
And the other is Psalm 37 from the Psalm Now book (which you can find on the side of this blog).
What my blog is coming down to today is the idea that Christ has become to “known” in our world.  That people think they know what it means to be “Christian” or a “follower of Christ” and in their assumptions we have come to be a country far less Christian then we think.  Basically what I’m saying is that in being American we have created our own religion that I am not sure Christ would recognize even his own cornerstones.
That might seem harsh.  But I am really struck by the amount of unholy behavior that those in every aspects of the Christian faith do in the name of God. But more so, as a liberal-ish, progressive-ish, female pastor I really dislike the box that I get placed in and the awkward conversations that I have.
Just recently, I met a woman whom I had to share a common space with – so of course we began talking.  At first, she openly talked about this other woman whom I assumed was a partner/spouse.  As soon as she found out that I was a pastor, she began to talk about other things.  When I tried to revert the conversation back to her partner, she denied the relationship.   In some awkward moments of expressing my views on homosexuality, we sort-of moved beyond this and began open dialogue again.  I was frustrated in that our conversation was impeded by her perception of “Christianity.”
It isn’t just that there are more progressive people out there.  It isn’t just that there are people open to different types of worship – and yet still follow Christ.  The problem isn’t that these people don’t exist.  The problem is that people believe they know what it means to be Christian. 
I was reading some study somewhere on the internet about the perceptions that people have about people who follow different faiths – Buddhist are seen as more enlightened, without them even opening their month.  But Christians are seen as bigamists, closed minded and ignorant. 
And the problem isn’t that these perceptions are OUT there – the problem is that time and time again they get proven right.  That in our attempt to be the Holiest – we have failed to actually be Holy.  In our attempt to fully and with our whole beings worship and follow Christ, we have failed to actually hear God’s voice. 
As a Christian and as part of the world of Christians, we need to start truly examining ourselves and Christ.  We need to request that people forget what they think they know and come to the Bible anew, with open minds and hearts to truly experience Christ.  And to become familiar not with what Christianity has done to Christ’s message but to get to know Jesus, the man, who came to save humanity!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Larry Boy and the Rumor Weed (thanks Veggie Taless)!

I am once again deeply sadden lately at the shear lack of regard for the other.  If Jesus taught us one thing it was about the OTHER...looking and treating people for who they are and not judging them.  But I believe it is more then not just judging them - it is more - it is about loving the other. 

At least the Abrahamic faiths, and many other faith traditions have a saying like it, believe in Love thy neighbor as thy self. 

What happen to that?  When the other isn't acting like we think they should or if they are following a different path that God has set before them, we react not just without love but with hate.  We do hurtful things?

And it is at every level of the church.  No matter what your feelings are on the issues of homosexuality, we do not need to response to each other through slander or through spreading rumors - it is just not loving thy neighbor, or we have a serious problem with how we treat ourselves!

Below is a link to another blog, which discusses in short and brief some things happening at the general assembly meeting this week for the PC (USA) denomination.  It demonstrates that even at the highest levels of the church and by some of the *most* holy people, rumor weeds and slander continue to plaque us. 

Who wants to be a part of a church in which this happens?  How do you reach out to those who are seeking if you can't say anything in defense of what the church has done nor assure them that within your congregation this doesn't happen? 

This is what churches should be focusing on.  Maybe everyone should watch the Veggie Tales Rumor Weed.