Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jesus Rifles?

Just when you think you've heard it all...

New Testament references embedded into the sites/scopes of the rifles that are being shipped to the Middle East for the Army and Marines to use.  How freaking appauling is that?   on a multitude of levels.  This makes me sick and outraged, utterly outraged!

It's probably going to be a big boost for Trijjicon, Inc--the morons who are manufactoring these scopes.  Is this a joke to them?  Or do they somehow beleive that this is evangelism?  How in the world does anyone read the New Testament and think that Jesus is all about war and killing? 

I'm not stupid.  I know this is nothing new, but it still churns my stomach. 

In addition to the theological issues there is the issue of these morons actually trying to start WWIII!  What about the US American men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan?  Are they trying to put their lives in even more danger?  How can they possibly be seen as anything other than enemies to Muslims when they are carrying weapons replete with Christian scripture verses on them?  (Yes, I know...not all people in Iraq/Afghanistan/Middle East are Muslim)

These idiots at Trijjicon, Inc. should be put on the United States terrorist lists as their ridiculous schemes are sure to create even more tension and danger for the men and women serving the USA, as well as our country.  I hope that the US government doesn't turn a blind eye to this and revokes Trijjicon's contract. 

It's one thing to be theologically unstable and dangerous as an individual and selling products with your "message" to those who are aware of it but to put them in the hands of men and women who are in charge of keeping order and peace, placing their lives upon the line for their country is atrocious.  But I can't imagine that they care.

That doesn't even cover the men and men of a different faith carrying these weapons and using them.  Ugh!  This just gets worse the more I think about it!

It is actions like these that cause people to think Christianity is nothing but a joke.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Avatar


This weekend we braved the cold winds and went to see Avatar.  It is a gorgeous movie!  I would love to know the people who created the creatures and plants--they have amazing imaginations.  I was  in awe much of the time by the sheer beauty of the effects and unusual creatures.  It was spectacular!

The storyline is very familiar.  White folks (mostly anyway)  find a new land that has a mineral, unobtainium (ok, couldn't they have gotten a bit more creative here?), and seek to destroy all the people, creatures, and land that could prevent them from getting to it.  Then one of the white men falls in love with the chief's daughter, becomes a better Navii than any of the actual Naviis and leads them in fighting off the other whites.  Can we ever move beyond this plotline?   Could the indigienous peoples ever save themselves?  Could the whites ever learn or incorporate the widsom of the indigienous peoples? 

One thing that was a bit unusual and nice to see, was that the Navii did not seem to discriminate between men and women--they did not follow male vs. female roles, both males and females were hunters and warriors (we didn't really get to see other roles but I trust they would be consistent). 

I look forward to it coming out on video and hopefully using clips for sermons or youth group/Sunday School.  It is rich with religous themes of baptism, being born again, our interconnectedness and relation to God.  I'm sure somone is writing the official book about it as I write.

The storylines are familiar, as are the characters, and even their religous portrayals.  The cinematography makes it all worth watching. 

PS.
Over at Jesus Manifesto there is an article about people who are struggling with depression (some sounds pretty severe) after watching Avatar!  These folks were so drawn in by the beauty that their reality no longer meets their own needs and some even feel suicidal.  I never imagined that sort of reaction! 

What does this say about the state of our culture and society? 

Friday, January 8, 2010

RevGal Friday 5: Dream Edition

1. Do you tend to daydream?
Yeah, I'm guilty. i'm a very visual person.

2. Do you usually remember your night dreams? Do you find them symbolic and meaningful or just quirky?
It's probably 50/50. When remember them I do consider what they might mean, what my sleeping brain is trying to process.

3. Have you ever had a life changing dream which you'll never forget?
I've had lots of dreams that I'll never forget...lots. Howver, I don't think I'd classify any of them as life changing.
4. Share a long term dream for one or more aspects of your life and work.
Writing a book, my first is a memoir and I already have the title. I've started writing it but I think I have more life to live before it's truly ready to be written.

5. Share a dream for 2010....How can we support you in prayer on both the short and long term dreams?
I long to find my voice in leading the churches I serve. I've been listening, thinking, and I've been discerning what we need to do, what God is leading us to do and now I've got to lead us there. I pray that I can help our churches to follow God's will. Long term? That I too will have the courage and strength to follow God's will.

Bonus: a poem, song, artwork, etc. that deals with dreams in general or one of your dreams.
Ok, so I've mentioned the writing thing, my longing to write a book.   The one I've been waiting to write, the one that I haven't lived enough yet there have been times I've laid it aside.  One day I thought a seminary memoir would be fun to read and to write.  This is the intro that I have written for it...perhaps posting it will inspire me to actually do more with it.
Let’s get this straight from the outset. I do not believe myself to have been some outstanding seminarian. No, I know some of them, am honored to call a few friends but I am not one of them. I am one of many called by God (at least we believe to be, while I’d guess there are a few straight up charlatans in the bunch) to attend seminary and then find a way to serve the church, to serve God’s people both inside and outside of the the church. Despite what you might be thinking, despite what some professors, fellow students, preachers, and ministers might tell you, this is not a prestigious call. It shouldn’t be anyway, if you are going into the ministry in search of personal validation and victories, please do everyone a favor and go elsewhere!


“But you, you dear one are writing this book, why are you writing this book if you are not held in higher regard than the rest of us? Why bother with any of this?” I’ve asked myself these questions as well. It’s more of a compulsion, one of my own madadjustments to living this human life. I’ve fancied myself a writer since I could write, since I began to string words into sentences, since my very first poem that didn’t rhyme. It’s been my dream, so perhaps I am seeking validation from you the reader, that my dream is not dead. That I have not grown into a failure according to my 10 year old self. No, I do not dare disappoint her—she had enough disappointments, the least I can do is fulfill this one dream of hers, it’s too late for the rest.

The other reason why I write this book is because I am not  the person one would expect to be called into ministry. I am not alone, there are many of us. Religious outcasts, we are more comfortable with agnosticism than evangelism. I’ve seen books (but have not read them—not at this writing anyway) that I believe are directed toward us—“They Like Jesus, But Not the Church.” We have lived lives not of holiness and serenity but full of mess and muck, dirt, grime, and lots of swearing. We do not want a pristine church. We want a church that Jesus would have gone to, we want a church where no one cringes when the F-bomb is dropped. We want our lives and the church to have real meaning, not being simply comprised of words, nice clothes, and some crazy wonderful hats. Nor do we want praise music and hymns to be all that we sing. We live in the world. We know we are sinners, some of us might even suggest that Jesus sinned on occasion as well. So if you prefer a nice clean church and a Jesus who never made any mistakes, let alone sin, then put this book back on the shelf and walk away—make a coalition to ban the book (I could use the sales increase and it would certainly be self validating) if you’d like, but at least be intelligent about it and read the damn thing first! I think that’s enough for now, I might as well get started on the rest.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

See you later, dear Mary Daly


Mary, I can't really say good-bye. It's hard to believe that you've passed into the great BEyond. It makes me sad to think that we no longer have you with us, but I'm sure you're shaking things up and having more fun than ever before.

Mary Daly is one of my favorite theologians and writers. She wrote with delight and joy, letting the pen loose. She was fearless and an inspiration for many, especially me.

A few years back, my friend Rick and I drove 2.5 hours to go see and hear her speak in Emporia, KS. It was strange to think of her in Emporia, KS but she was fabulous! She looked grandmotherly but let the F-bomb fly.

We met her afterwards and she was lovely. She signed my book, I shall take even more care of it now. She asked me if I was a writer, I naively said yes, and she told me to never give up and write with courage.

She changed our world. Even if you don't know her, she changed your world. Thank you Mary!

I'll always love you!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monday MeMe from Homebrewed Christianity

If you're not aware of Homebrewed Christianity please check it out, it's pretty awesome.  Each week they host a podcast featuring a variety of theologians, writers, etc.  You can also listen to previous podcasts--right now I'm listening to the amazing and wonderful emile townes! 

The MeMe asks what other 3 religions besides Christianity are you interested in and why.  You should check out Deacon Hall's 3 religions of interest.; I found it very interesting and enlightening.

  1. Taoism--Not all folks consider Taoism a religion, many consider it a philosophy.  Either way, I really "digg" it.  I would characterize it as looking to the rhythms of life and attempting to align one's self with it in a natural sort of way. Natural meaning non-coercively, not trying to make oneself bend and fit to it so much as finding one's place.  Tao is the life energy, or energy of life, it is the nameless boundless energy that IS.  Mind you that is a very poor definition or characterization but currently the best I can offer without having the Tao te Ching in front of me.  You can check it out online here.
  2. Green Wicca/Nature based pagan/Celtic stuff.  I differentiate between some of the "green wicca" and nature pagan/Celtic stuff and "traditional witchcraft."  I'm not interested in the spells and stuff like that but do find the way they approach nature very interesting.  I tend to be "process-oriented" which has the idea of panentheism--not that material things/nature is God but all exists within and is permeated with God.  Sort of God as pregnant mother and creation as the child within her womb.  Hence I am interested in this sort of thought in wicca and Celtic beliefs as well.
  3. Lastly, I'm interested in  a variety of American Indian religions.  We, non-American Indians, tend to lump all the tribes' beliefs into a pan-Indian belief system but they can be very different from one another.  I especially love the story-telling and trickster stories.  I feel as though I'm grossly overgeneralizing but it seems to me that American Indian story telling and belief systems understand how to use, how important story-telling is to our faith.  The mystery of life and religion is accepted and embraced rather than thinking that if we figure out the facts and "truth" of science, etc. we can become like mini-gods or something crazy.  There seems to be less need for control in the American Indian belief systems than in Western beliefs whether Christian or Pagan.
What about you?  What 3 religions other than your own interest you and why?  If you decide to play at your place, please let me know so I can read your thoughts too.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Revgals Friday 5: 2010 Edition

Sally writes:
As I prepare this post I am aware that it will be posted on New Years Day. We stand at the beginning of 2010 looking not only at a New Year, but at a new decade full of promise and possibilities. For some of us this will be exciting, but others will approach it with trepidation and probably most of us stand on this threshold with a mix of emotions and reactions.
It is at this time of year that many (British) Methodist Churches celebrate their Annual Covenant Service, a service that will include this prayer:

I am no longer my own but yours,
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full, let me be empty,
let me have all things, let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.
And now glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours.
May it be so forever.
Let this covenant now made on earth be fulfilled in heaven. AMEN

This prayer is said every year, and offers every member an opportunity to renew their covenant with God. This is no soft or easy prayer, it states in the company of others our willingness to worship God come what may, not that we should become doormats, but that we place God above all else. ( And every year if we are honest we have to acknowledge that we fail).

With this prayer in mind I bring you this Friday Five:
1. What will you gladly leave behind in 2009?

I gladly leave behind my mistakes and failures of 20009 in hopes that I have learned what I needed from them.

2. What is the biggest challenge of 2010 for you?

My biggest challenge of 2010 is to honor this body as a gift from God.  I have not treated it well and I want to live well, for God, for myself, for my family and friends.  I want to be around as LONG as possible so I can shake things up for God!

3. Is there anything that you simply need to hand to God and say "all will be well, for you are with me"?

Everything!  Specifically, the commissioning process.  I keep saying that I trust God, just not the church but perhaps God is asking me to stop being rude and cynical and to trust the churh, trust the process.
4. If you could only achieve one thing in 2010 what would it be?

Hmmm....ONE thing?  Lead the churches I serve to be missional churches, that it becomes part of our church DNA.

5. Post a picture, poem or song that sums up your prayer for the year ahead.... 
Sally never makes things easy!  ;) 



PS.  We prayed our Wesleyan Covenant Prayer this past Sunday and here is the revision/modern translation I wrote,
 
A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition, Revised
                          (updated language by Rev. Crystal Karr)

I belong not only to myself but to You, Holy One.
I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll befriend whoever you ask.
Give me a good life, give me a hard life.
Let me work and earn all that I need for me and my family,
or let me struggle to provide for myself and my family.
Never let me experience hunger or let me starve.
Give me all kinds of stuff or give me nothing.
I will take everything that you give me—wealth or poverty and I will dedicate my life and livelihood to You.
Wondrous and amazing God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, You belong to me, and I belong to You.
Let us always belong to one another.
Let this prayer and promise I’ve made this day be blessed and sealed by You and all of heaven, as an everlasting contract between us.
Amen.