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Sunday, October 8, 2017

1 Corinthians 12: 12 - 20 with Necessary Additions


For as it is with the human body, which is a whole thing although it has many different parts - all the parts make up one body - so it is with the body of Christ.  … The body consists not of one member, but of many. And if the foot were to say, “I’m not a hand - so I don’t belong,” it doesn’t belong to the body any less. Or if the ear said, “I’m not an eye and so I can’t belong to the body,” it would not stop being part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye how would it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell?

As it is, God has put all the different parts into the body just as he chose. If they were all the same, how could it be a whole body? As it is, the parts are many, yet the body is one.

But for the love of Christ, don’t be another asshole. The body of Christ has enough of those already.



Sunday, October 1, 2017

Philippians 2 as American Foreign Policy


Recently, I’ve been reading Bob Woodward’s 1987 book, Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981 - 1987 in which Woodward describes the way that the Central Intelligence Agency expanded its covert and extra-legal activities during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, exerting influence, and power, and supplying weapons and money around the world in the aid of of American interests, and American profits.


Then this morning, I was struck (again) by Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians and I began to wonder what it might look like if an ostensibly, nominally Christian nation used Philippians 2: 3 - 4 as the guiding principle for its foreign policy.


Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. (NRSV)


Or in the the KJV - Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory…


Would we wage secret wars and fund and arm militant right-wing dictators to benefit the Coca-Cola Company or The Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa). Would we depose government officials, topple democratically elected leaders, crash world economies, and stir up war and revolution around the world if we thought of the interests of others as important as our own, if we thought of the people of Chile, Lebanon, Argentina, Cuba, Iran, Korea, etc… as more important than ourselves?


If we want to “make America great again” we should look to the needs of others and not to our own profits.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Tachyon Delivery Systems



“Receiving, do you copy?” The voice of my supervisor, the Materials Manager squawked in the radio unit I wore clipped to my fluorescent, safety vest.

“This is receiving, go ahead.”

“I need you to go upstairs to the office and speak to Account Supervisor June. She has a question for you.”

“Ten-four,” I replied. “I’m on my way.”  I trekked across the factory floor, avoiding moving forklifts, and cranes, and then bounded up the flight of stairs that took me to the air-conditioned office area. The air in the office was cool and odorless – at least compared to the air in the factory which was hot and fetid, smelling of paint fumes and steel dust.

“The computer says that we have received four Recyclon Max12 units. Where are they?” June said in lieu of a personable greeting. And though it may be a non-standard punctuation mark, her question definitely needed an interrobang; it was part question, part accusation.

“I’m pretty sure we haven’t received any Recyclon units, at least not in the last few months. Those are pretty big units; I’m sure I’d remember seeing them if any had come in.”

June just stared at me, waiting for me to respond. Daring me to respond.“When does the computer say that we received these Recyclon units?” I asked.

She clacked away on her keyboard. “It says they were delivered on October fourteenth.”

I checked the calendar hanging on the wall to confirm what I already knew. “Read that back to me one more time,” I said.

“It says,” June harrumphed, “that they were delivered on October fourteenth.”

“One more time, please,” I said gently. June glowered.

“October” she said, punctuating each successive syllable, “fourteenth…” Then she paused. The realization came slowly. “Oh… Today is only September 27th.”

“Yeah.” I nodded. “Unless they’ve shipped them via Tachyon Delivery Systems, they’re not here yet.”


***

“Tachyon Delivery Systems: We get it there yesterday.”

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Lord, I Don’t Think You Understand How this Game Is Played


And the people brought their little ones to Jesus, for him to lay his hands on them and pray, and to give them a break for a few hours.  The disciples scolded them, but Jesus said, “Let the little children alone, and do not stop them from coming to me; I will teach them one of the games that we play in the Kingdom of God.”

“First he said we put out a circle of chairs – one fewer than our number – and then we play some music.” Jesus winked to the kids. “Perhaps Simon Peter will sing a song for us, one of the fishing songs.” The children giggled. They knew that Peter did not like to sing.


“Then, as Peter sings, we will walk around the chairs. And when he stops singing we will all scramble for a chair…”

Andrew interrupted. “Jesus. We know this game too. It’s Musical Chairs.”

“Of course,” Jesus said. “So let’s play.”

Jesus and the children made a circle of chairs and Peter sang for them as they walked around the circle (though he sang like a distressed mule).  And when he stopped, Jesus and children all clambered for a seat. One boy missed out and ended up sitting in the dust. Everyone laughed.

“Great. Great.” Jesus said. “Now round two, we add another chair.”

Andrew interrupted again, “No, Jesus. You mean we remove a chair.” 

And Jesus said to him, “In the Kingdom of Heaven we always add a chair and another player with each new round. There’s always room for one more.”

But Andrew said, “Lord, I don’t think you understand how this game is played…”

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Earth Is Patient


The Earth is as patient as it is old, but it is tired. It is worn.
An involuntary subject of another’s will,
the Earth knows futility.
The Earth knows frustration.


With ineffable, tectonic groans
and tidal sighs
it waits for liberation,
for salvation.

It was said once that
The day will come when the vines will grow with ten thousand shoots
and each shoot will have ten thousand branches
and each branch will have ten thousand twigs
and each twig will have ten thousand clusters
and each cluster will have ten thousand grapes.

And in that day humankind will be pressed out.
Make no mistake – the natural world is not neutral. 

(See Romans 8: 18 - 27 and II Baruch 29: 5)

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