Wednesday, March 26, 2008

By a thread...

It's already begun people. I don't care what you think about Al Gore or his rhetoric. No issue has ever been more agreed upon by scientists and it is scary.

Whenever my representatives call me or poll me to ask about my top "concern" for america, it's the environment. I hate the war and I worry about the poor. I'm troubled by our lack of empathy with regard toward immigration issues and as for health care - well, that's just a given. But unless we can find ways to creatively and resourcefully and responsibly live on this earth, the rest isn't going to matter anyway. So I tell them, "please work to help the environment."

An amazing new (to me) person who illustrates this is Van Jones check him out in this interview from this month's issue of my favorite Magazine.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maundy Thursday Noonday Sermon

Scripture: Isaiah 116; John 13...

You have one life.


“I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my supplications. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on God as long as I live.”

You have one life.


“What shall I return to the LORD for all his bounty to me?”

You have one life.


I asked the youth several weeks ago at Encounter on a Wednesday night what they would choose to do vocationally if they had a million dollars but were required to work a job nonetheless.

I received a spectrum of answers.

“I’d be a trash man.” No you wouldn’t. “Alright, I’d be a carney!” Fine.
“I’d sell Dr. Pepper.”
“I’d be a fortune teller.”

Interesting answers. Some of the responses were a little more believable though, and actually inspiring.

“I’d be a teacher.” Isn’t that what you want to be now? “Yes, it’s what I want to do.” Good for you.
“I’d be a zoologist.” Really!
“I’d still be a youth minister,” said Kevin.

The community writing the Psalms responded to a similar defining question. They described God as the one who loosed their bonds. God untied the cords binding them, and set them free. Once set free, the community in the Psalms chose to give back. They chose to drink from the cup of salvation, publicly declare their devotion to God and offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving.

You have one life. One. What will you do with it?

When we turn to the gospel, to the night Jesus took his cup and gave it to his disciples to drink, took his bread and gave it to them to eat, he did something else. He washed their feet.

He bent low to the ground, crawling off his comfy cushion. On all fours he crawled one by one to the disciples and sitting back on his haunches, he dipped the cleansing cloth into the water basin. He held it to their dirty, cracked, calloused, dust-painted feet and wiped, scrubbed, washed their feet. He performed a servant’s job. Out of his devotion for his disciples, he chose to serve them, do the dirty work so they would be clean.

The foot washing was symbolic of Jesus’ whole ministry. He spent most of his time healing and affirming and loving the children of God, but this foot washing was literal too. As if touching their leprous sores and feeding their crying children and healing their contagious parents and hearing out their ego-centric questions and loving the obnoxiously unlovable people of this world that you and I encounter on a daily basis - people that you and I go to work with or worse yet, for, and sit beside at PTA meetings and sit behind in rush hour traffic, all these obnoxiously unlovable people of which each of us is one… as if that were not enough, he washed his disciples’ feet too.

He gave his life, and he also washed their feet. That’s what Jesus chose to do with his one life here on earth.

And I wonder if perhaps we couldn’t see the worth in each other the way Jesus saw the worth in us. I wonder if we couldn’t spend a little time improving our world for the greater good. I wonder if we couldn’t do what we really want to in life – fully be the children of God we are called to be – unique and beautiful and gifted and flawed and God’s.

You have one life.


I read the other day the letter that the man who gunned down the people at New Life Church in Colorado Springs wrote and left in his car. Angry, confused and frustrated by hypocritical Christians and a quiet God, he took out his angst on a church and killed four people in the process.

He wrote, “I’ve heard good things about what Jesus can do, yet everywhere I go in Christianity, all the Christians I meet or see are miserable, angry, selfish, hypocritical, proud, power-hungry, abusive, uncaring, confused, lustful.”

These are not words I would use to describe my Christ, and truthfully they are not words I’d like to describe his followers, his disciples, his people, me and my community, the community of the Saints.

But that’s what Matthew Murray wrote.

I hope that when I discover that I have been set free by God, that I have one life to live fully and abundantly, I won’t choose to embody any of the repulsive qualities Matthew Murray ascribes to followers of Christ.

And yet, I will. I’m human. I screw up. All those Christians he observed and learned to distrust were humans. He was human when he opened fire on a church ending four lives and then killed himself.

Only human.

“I call upon God…. I lift up the cup of salvation… I become God’s servant… I pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all the people… I offer a thanksgiving sacrifice.”

“I wash your feet and you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”

You have one life. One. What will you choose to do with it?

See, your life goes far beyond what job you have, what vocation you choose - million dollars or not. Your one life and my one life include the jobs we have but more importantly, our life really is how we do those jobs. Life is about attitudes and worldviews. It’s about how we treat the people we love and how we treat the people we hate. It’s about eliminating a vocabulary of hate.

Maybe it’s because I’m turning thirty in May or maybe it’s because my ex-boyfriend died last month from cancer, or maybe it’s because I work in a church with humans, you and your friends and me and mine, who experience great pain and make mistakes, or maybe it’s just the change in weather, but recently I have been impressed by the realization that we get one life. One. And I have been reminded that Jesus Christ came to earth not to toss us a rulebook and give a good luck nod, he came so that we may have life and have it more abundantly.

My former pastor and friend who died several years ago used to close our Sunday morning service with the same benediction every week: Love God, embrace beauty and live life to the fullest.” That was what he reminded us to do, who he reminded us to be every week. And if you haven’t experienced the deliverance that comes when you encounter the divine, if you don’t feel the freedom that comes in a connectedness to Christ, if living life to the fullest isn’t even on your radar screen, the I have a message for you:

You have one life.


And God came to earth to make sure you get to live that one life abundantly.

When the psalmist figured that out, he took the cup that Christ offered to the disciples 900 years later (and still offers to us today), he took that cup of salvation and drank from it. He publicly declared his affection for God, just as 6 people here at FBC will do when they are baptized this upcoming Easter Sunday. And he lived a life of Thanksgiving.

We have the same opportunity. We too can become servants not to money or alcohol or bitterness or sex or our jobs or anything else that lures us to the edge of self-loathing or a self-destructing life. Rather, we can become servants to the Life Giver. To the one who lived and died and washed our feet.

“I call upon God…. I lift up the cup of salvation… I become God’s servant… I pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all the people… I offer a thanksgiving sacrifice.”

“I wash your feet and you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”

You have one life.


Love God. Embrace Beauty. And live life to the fullest.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Where We Went Wrong

This makes me sad...

It Happened To My Cat

So everyone's received those funny emails of cats who are wet or have horrible haircuts, etc. I always kind of wondered if they were photoshopped or something. Well, last week I discovered they were real.

Poor Zorba had mats on her two hindquarters. When I took him to the vet just to have them check to make sure Zorba didn't have some major, awful, horrible disease, they said that I could try and cut them out myself, but knowing Zorba's history (I got bit, four incision marks on my wrist trying to cut one mat out earlier in the week), they offered to cut them out for me. Except that some of the mats were so bad that they would need to shave them off. "Zorba will look really bad if we do this though," Dr. B said. "Have you ever heard of a Lion Cut?"

Well, I hadn't but I could imagine.

Suggesting that he would look much "better" with a Lion Cut than with huge bald spots, I conceeded to the shave.

When we got home, Potter puffed up all his fur and hissed and spat. Janie began jumping and racing and chasing Zorba. They thought I had brought home a new cat...

Truthfully, Zorba is really soft now, and one can't help but try and pet him. My new roommate has been trying to refrain, knowing the potential ramifications. but it's hard. He's just so cute...

Saturday, March 08, 2008

RIP Mike Rudd

My ex-boyfriend died.

I feel bad writing this because I'm not seeking sympathy or attention. There are people hurting more than me and i know that. I just need to process.


I deleted pictures of him off my computer last year, so I have nothing to look at.

Except two pieces of art. He was a photographer. I have one of his pictures framed in the back bedroom. A picture he printed and gave to me. Another one was buried underneath a pile of papers that I sorted through today.

Mike is buried underground.

With Kyle, and Radley and my grandparents. And everyone else who's died.

I keep thinking, "But I didn't get to say good-bye!" It's quite frustrating. I wish he had called and told me he was sick. I understand it happened very quickly, but I still wish he would have called.

I've thought of him several times over the past year. Should I send him a Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year's text? No, it might give him the wrong impression.

Might give him the wrong impression.

The impression that I didn't care anymore?

God, this sucks. I didn't get to say good-bye.

He said he believed in God, but he didn't go to church. He said he would go with me on Sundays if I wanted him to, but not to Wednesday nights or any during the week stuff...

He broke up with me because he thought I had argued with his brother about politics. He accused me of being mean. It wasn't true though. We had talked politics, but we hadn't argued. His brother was high and I was probably just being my bold little know-it-all self. But we hadn't argued. I hadn't been mean.

I cried when we broke up even though I knew it was for the best.

My friends said, "Good riddance." And it made me sad.

Just because he wasn't right for me doesn't mean he wasn't right.

He made me laugh. I loved watching movies with him on the couch: Kill Bill and Kill Bill 2. I loved his asparagus speghetti. And his art.

I've always ignored heaven and hell. I don't think they really exist. I hate scare tactics used to make people "love/choose" God. I hate identifying God with something evil: hell. I hate how primitive and human it sounds: if you're good, you get this; if you're bad, you get this. Please. How much more reductionistic can we get? But after I found out about Mike's death, I felt uneasy that I didn't know if he "knew" Christ. Did he say he believed in God, or did he just pacify me? I can't remember. Was he really a Christian? He didn't exactly remind me of one...

Isn't that awful? I judged his lifestyle. I gave into fear. I reduced him to nothing but a decision.

I reduced him to a spirit. A spiritual being.

Are we more than that though? Are we only that?

I can't think anymore. All I can think about is him. How I didn't get to say good-bye. And how I think I'm going to cry...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Texas Two-Step

I voted. After much deliberation, I chose one. And I'm not telling you who. :) It was a hard decision, but this morning before I flew out of Austin, I had my new roommate drive me to the polls so my small little voice would be heard.

Except that because I'm in Abilene now and nowhere near my caucus location, it appears I will only get to vote once for this election.

I really don't understand the Texas Two-Step.