Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday April 22, 2011

What would I do?
This Holy Week, after hearing the Passion and pondering the story, I had a thought.  What if Jesus' arrest, trial and crucifixion happened now?  What if it happened in my small town in North Central Kansas?  Whose side would I take in the great argument between the rebel and the establishment?
Sure, I can stick my chest out and say I would stand side by side with Jesus of Nazareth, but would I really?  Would I listened to the little voice in my heart saying this indeed is the Messiah or would I listen to the logic and reason in my head and turn my back on Him.
A pious, honest, devout religious Jew in the time of the Passion, one who did all the right things, went to the right ceremonies, paid the right sacrifices would have done what?  Probably the "right" thing and stood side by side with the church leaders against the blasphemer.
It is all very confusing. Hopefully, I would stand with the Lord, but I imagine my best case scenario would be to do what Peter did.  Deny I knew Him to save my butt then run and hide.
Curious, what do you think you would do?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Shame On Me

"If we, as Kansans and as religious communities, who are committed by our core values to look out for the marginalized and most vulnerable in our society, if we are not paying attention to this, what are we about?  If this doesn't matter to us, what does?"    
"What happens to these folks when nobody is looking?  We need to, as citizens of Kansas, hold ourselves accountable to the value of taking care of these people.  Not just today, but tomorrow and the day after tomorrow."
-Pastor Tobias Schlingensiepen
Topeka First Congressional United Church of Christ.

This time of the year (tax time) finds me moaning and groaning quite a bit about the money the governments take from me.  This year was even worse than usual, with all the Tea Party Limbaugh Fiscal Conservative-ness floating around nowadays. 
I am driving home the other night and listening to Kansas Public Radio.  They ran a locally produced piece from a series they are doing on health care.  This particular piece was a response to the Kansas governor's proposal to close the Kansas Neurological Institute in Topeka, one of the last facilities for the severely disabled in Kansas.  As Pastor Tobias Schlingensiepen began to talk (Listen at link below) about a sermon he gave, which has taken like wildfire throughout the Topeka clergy community, the lightbulb began to go off inside my head.  Pastor Tobias nailed the very essence of what it means to be a HUMAN BEING, what it means to be a faith-filled member of society.  After several minutes of self-reflection, a shadow of shame crept in and dimmed the light bulb in my head.  I realized I had failed, I had placed my own selfishness in front of those who "marginalized and most vulnerable" people out there who need me to care.  I should be willing to pay, not complaining to pay, the meager tax amount to help provide these citizens and their families a safety net.  I should be doing more.  I should be more Matthew 6. Shame on me.

Clergy Question KNI Closure 

For more background

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Whose name is written on YOUR foot?

Whose name is written on YOUR foot?
by Coach Hays
I sat down in my man-chair.  It was comfortable. It was quiet. It was peaceful.  I was reading some Sherlock Holmes. Life was good.  In comes offspring #2, who plops down on the sofa and turns on the TV.  Toy Story followed by Toy Story 2.  I cough.  Then I loudly clear my throat, but to no avail.  And wanting to avoid an international incident requiring mediators and negotiators, I let the intrusion slide.   I ignored Offspring #2 and went back to reading.
But pretty soon...well, you all know what happened.  The giggling and laughing from the sofa caught my attention and before you know it, the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is safely closed on the end table with me and Offspring #2 both laughing and reciting lines by heart.  (Admit it.  "Positive is positive and negative is negative!" is one of the greatest quotations ever recorded on the intricacies of battery polarity engineering and placement.) 
Well, the following morning, in that magical mental place between the alarm ringing and full consciousness wrestling back the proper mental faculties, I had a thought flash into my head with the vivid mental image of Woody looking at the faded name of ANDY written on the bottom of his boot. ANDY.  The name that represents belonging to and being a part of.  ANDY. The name that gives Woody purpose.  Looks what happens to Woody in Toy Story 2 when the cleaner wipes those four letters off his boot.  He gives up trying to get back to Andy and the others. Gives up and floats away from all that is important to him.  When the name disappears, so does the very core of who he is.  Eventually, it takes a monumental effort by his friends to bring him back.


Then came the big question.  Whose name do I have written on the bottom of my foot in permanent marker?  Who do I choose belong to? Who do I choose to give myself up to?  What is the purpose, what is the driving force I stand on?  Is it a name to provide solid footing or is it one that will cause me to slip and fall?  I know now.  After some mistakes and some trial and error (see here), I now know.  
God on the right foot.
Faith on the left.
Family on the toes.