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ST080612

“Maroney’s two vaults on Sunday were supposed to the kind of coronation reserved for the Duchess of Cambridge, who was watching from the front row.” But therein lies the problem. Read More

 

 

Posted in Thoughts in August 6, 2012 by | No Comments »

The Fall.

The Fall.
Sunday night I watched with millions as McKayla Maroney warmed up for her Olympic performance in the vault. NBC commentators described her jumps as a formality given her unapproachable superiority in the event.
 
After her trademark “Amanar, a tricky twisting, turning maneuver that only a handful of gymnasts in the world even attempt.” The same commentators said to be assured of the gold, all she needed to do was land on her feet in the next vault.
 
As one ABC report announced, “Maroney’s two vaults on Sunday were supposed to the kind of coronation reserved for the Duchess of Cambridge, who was watching from the front row.”
 
But therein lies the problem. The reigning world champion, nearly flawless, almost perfect gymnast did something she almost never does, she missed her landing and as she said in her own words, “I landed on my butt.”
 
It was heartbreaking, totally unexpected, and very real.
 
The ancients of my faith had a saying, “take heed lest ye fall,” or in more contemporary language, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”
 
The lesson is clear. The person who least expects to fall may be most vulnerable to falling. Pride goes before the fall.
 
Walk carefully today. It can happen to anybody! (But not likely to be seen by millions!)
 

Posted in Staublog in August 6, 2012 by | 1 Comment »

ST080312

Young and old alike seem to be saying the same thing. I would summarize it as follows. “I want to be seen by, heard by, loved by and understood by you.” DS reflects on K-Fest 2012. Read More.

Posted in Thoughts in August 3, 2012 by | No Comments »

K-Fest 2012 to earth, “We’ve got contact…Crabbed Age and Youth Can Live Together.”

K-Fest 2012 to earth, “We’ve got contact…Crabbed Age and Youth Can Live Together.”
K-Fest 2012 to earth, “We’ve got contact…Crabbed Age and Youth Can Live Together.”
Shakespeare (or allegedly Shakespeare) wrote a Sonnet titled “Crabbed Age and Youth Cannot Live Together.”   We got our theme for KindlingsFest 2012 by adding a question mark, “Crabbed Age and Youth Cannot Live Together?” and then tagging the question with a sub-title, Towards Creating an Intergenerational Future.  
The theme grew out of my conviction that the academy, church and arts all have a long tradition of intergenerational synergy that served us well for centuries, and I think it would be good to break out of our recently contrived demographic segmentation and rediscover our need of each other and dare I say, our need of God.
Guest lecturers Dr. Malcolm Guite (Cambridge University)  and Jeff Keuss (Seattle Pacific University) took us on an amazing journey around that theme, and as always, my dear 75 year-old friend, Nigel Goodwin, brought his wit, poetry, irrepressible love and exuberant personality (along with multi-colored socks) to make it a party.
Musically we mixed the mellow sounds of Bob Bennett and classically trained guitarist Jason Carter with a young singer songwriter Eric Miller and a wildly enthusiastic, energetic, loud, talented indie band Friends and Family.
The Sundance films we screened were chosen because they represent the generational divide on issues like Israel and the Palestinians (5 Broken Cameras), young gay Christians (For the Bible Tells Me So) and global warming (Chasing Ice.)
The first night we offered a chance for the various generations to learn about each other. 3×5 cards were distributed and each registrant was instructed to ask a question getting at “anything you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask” about the generation older or younger than them. Thursday night we built a Kindlings Muse podcast around that subject with panelists ranging from mid 20’s to their 80’s.
Numerous friends, young and old, took me aside and told me privately how bold and brave I was to take on the important issue of the generational divide in church and culture and to do so in provocative and risky ways. I guess it did not really occur to me to do anything other than what we did, take an important subject and explore it intelligently, spiritually and artistically.
The dust is still settling on K-Fest 2012, but I’ve skimmed the surveys and the results are most interesting.
Young and old alike seem to be saying the same thing. I would summarize it as follows. “I want to be seen by, heard by, loved by and understood by you.”
Isn’t that delightful?  Doesn’t it seem hopeful? What can we do in our lcal settings to make that happen?

Posted in Staublog in August 3, 2012 by | 2 Comments »

One must study the world, love it and serve it. Pope John Paul VI.

Posted in Thoughts in August 3, 2012 by | No Comments »

One must study the world, love it and serve it

Pope Paul VI

Posted in Quotes in August 3, 2012 by | No Comments »

ST062312

Sometimes, as I read the news, I awaken to the fact that the only reason I can maintain sanity and hope, is Jesus, the crucified, buried and resurrected Jesus, who lives and is the way to God the Father. Read more.

 

 

Posted in Thoughts in June 23, 2012 by | No Comments »

The Overwhelming Weight of Sin

The Overwhelming Weight of Sin
When I read the news I am sometimes overwhelmed at the sin described there.
The Sandusky trial and the conviction of a 38 year-old man who raped an 11 year old in Shoreline are two stories I read today that reminded me how the fall of humans rolls on and even gains momentum in history.
As a pastor, privy to stories about the unraveling of folks lives in our little community, I feel weighed down by sin and its powerful effects on our daily lives.
I wear a Greek Orthodox prayer bracelet to remind me to pray the Jesus prayer for my own sin and sinfulness: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”
I just noticed the little wooden cross hanging from a lamp in my office. It was hand carved by an 80+ year old woman in Kunming, China, who gave it to me as a gift after telling me about the brutal beatings she suffered for refusing to deny Jesus Christ.
Neither this little stick of wood, nor the first-century rough-hewn Roman cross on which Jesus was crucified, can bear the weight of human sin past and future, but Jesus Christ who was nailed to that cross could and did bear the weight.
Sometimes I awaken to the fact that the only reason I can maintain sanity and hope, in light of my sin, the sin I know about in my friend’s lives, and the sin I read about in the newspapers and history books, is Jesus, the crucified, buried and resurrected Jesus, who lives and is the way to God the Father.

Posted in Staublog in June 23, 2012 by | 1 Comment »

ST060612

So I awoke in the middle of the night again, anxious. With me, anxiety is almost always related to a need for me to return to my grounding in the ground of all being (AKA the transcendent God).  Read More:  

Posted in Thoughts in June 6, 2012 by | No Comments »

Rest for Your Weary Anxious Soul

Rest for Your Weary Anxious Soul
So I awoke in the middle of the night again, anxious.  With KindlingsFest 2012 coming in July, too much to do, a lot of spinning plates, many falling to the ground, and a recently mailed donor request yielding less than needed results so far, I held onto my worries tightly, refusing to loosen the grip.
This angst is ironic since Sunday I bore witness to the truth of the wisdom literature. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And lean not on your own understanding; Delight yourself in the LORD & he will give you the desires of your heart.
My anxiety is almost always related to a need for me to return to my grounding in the ground of all being (AKA the transcendent God).
So I turned on my Kindle, careful to not awake sleeping beauty (aka Kathy my wife) and found a yet unread book Lyle Dorsett recommended at WinterFest, “The Complete Christian Mystic: A Practical, Step-By-Step Guide for Awakening to the Presence of God” by Evelyn Underhill.
It was a tonic to my soul. Here are few highlights for those needing rest for your weary anxious soul.
1) Mysticism defined: “Mysticism is the art of union with Reality. The mystic is a person who has attained that union in greater or less degree, or who aims at and believes in such attainment.”
2) Union with God requires a conscious uniting with, surrendering to, God. “Because he has surrendered himself to it, ‘united’ with it, the patriot knows his country, the artist knows the subject of his art, the lover his beloved, the saint his God, in a manner which is inconceivable as well as unattainable by the looker-on.”
3) Mystical union with God is essential and possible for all humans. “This amount of mystical perception—this ‘ordinary contemplation,’ as the specialists call it—is possible to all men, without it, they are not wholly conscious, nor wholly alive. It is a natural human activity, no more involving the great powers and sublime experiences of the mystical saints and philosophers than the ordinary enjoyment of music involves the special creative powers of the great musician… As the beautiful does not exist for the artist and poet alone—though these can find in it more poignant depths of meaning than other men—so the world of Reality exists for all, and all may participate in it, unite with it, according to their measure and to the strength and purity of their desire.”
I surrendered to communion with God. I yielded all to God. I unclasped my fists from the anxieties I had held so tenaciously. I floated into God’s presence, literally smiling, verging on giggling. I felt weight lifted and an easy yoke slipped onto my shoulders, replacing the yoke of my own making that had weighed me down).
So at ease with God and the world, so aware of the greater underlying reality, trust high, confidence properly located in God, I drifted into deep slumber and awoke this morning rested with a smile in my face and joy in my heart…

Posted in Staublog in June 6, 2012 by | 2 Comments »