Sunday, August 11, 2019

τας αρετάς μου διηγείσθαι

My Professors

"My people. . . the ones fully relating my virtues" (Isaiah 43:21)

living that relates
my virtues from the
knowing that describes
my virtues to the
hearing that instills
my virtues to the

discerning that perceives
my virtue of loving
love that encompasses
my virtue of freeing
freedom that champions
my virtue of serving

Friday, August 2, 2019

Dawning Discernment of Weeks 5 & 6

Image by The Reverend Anna Blaedel at UM Forward
  1. August 8th is going to be an awful day
  2. I wish someone would open a safe space on that day
    • A place where I could pray and weep
    • A sacred sanctuary where I would pour out my ire at the other side,
      • and then perceive God's grace minister in that brokenness
  3. I bet others feel the same way I do
    • That Thursday will be unbearably painful as old wounds are opened,
      • and they wish they had a haven where they would find divine aid
  4. I wish someone would plan something like that for me and all the people out there like me
  5. Wait.  Maybe I'm supposed to be that person
After an early AM one-sided conversation with God (and a check-in to make sure my idea would be appropriate) I created a virtual vigil.

August 8th is the date of the church hearing regarding the complaint against The Reverend Anna Blaedel for being honest about who they are and who they love.  A collective action of witness will take place outside the hearing location.  The virtual vigil symbolizes the cloud of witnesses who will surround Anna that day in absentia.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Call to Fast, Pray, Read: Week Four


The praise band led us in singing Indescribable today.  The lyrics brought to mind Isaiah's description of God, the one who extends the sky, stabilizes the earth, and brings forth the cosmos.  Some part of me is certain that this perspective is true. We do worship an awesome, indescribable God, and we should resist the tendency to domesticate or diminish the divine into something more comforting.

After this praise song, the guest preacher shared a story of his brother's ministry in a maximum-security prison in the Congo.  The brother was a political prisoner; a dissident whose only crime was his opinion that no one is above the law not even the President of the DRC.

Hearing a positive example of the UMC in Congo was an important counterpoint to the accusation that African UMs are the primary reason why the denomination continues to discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community.  Love of enemy includes replacing a one-dimensional caricature with a more nuanced representation.  God is beginning that work in me.

After the story, the preacher issued a call for unity that focused on two points:
1)  We are filled with the power of God
2)  We should use that power to speak faith, hope, and joy into the lives of others

While he preached, I thought of John Wesley's understand of grace.  In his writings, Wesley equated grace with the power of God's love.  By faith, we can perceive that power and our perception evokes a response.  Typically, that response takes one of three forms: our faith is strengthened, we are convicted of sin, or we grow in love of God and neighbor.

The guest preacher taught a unity based on faith and love, which are the comforting sides of God's power.  However, to be true to UM doctrine the sermon should have included an example of bringing people together by rebuking, disturbing false peace, and calling for confession.

Isaiah rebuked the worship of the small gods represented by idols.  I am rebuking a form of church unity that is comfortable with discrimination.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Call to Fast, Pray, Read: Week Three

From http://lifemessenger.org/lifemessage/publications/the-blind-servant/

God of the Blind and the Deaf

The lessons of Isaiah 41 & 42 were feeling Other.
Prophecies directed at exiles of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob.
Jewish tribes indebted to Cyrus and his Gentile liberality.
No me. Not mine. Not our historical conundrum.

Scriptural misappropriation would complicate discernment
I feared.

Until I found the ground of my faith in the words of Isaiah 42: 16-19.
The seeing and the hearing who confidently proclaim forward possibilities
Are not dependant on Isaiah's God, who is followed by the desperate and humbled.

I will glory in my lack of insight.
I will celebrate my failure to discern.
I will work with those similarly afflicted
Stumbling and hesitant
Yet expecting to be oriented
In God's time and manner

All of us-- leaders, members, disaffiliated, those who rule over them
We can not see or hear the way we should go.
Our only hope is in the God who guides those willing to admit their blindness and deafness
to the future.