Thursday, March 29, 2007


I had to post about my amazing grandfather and the other Tuskegee airmen. Today they were awarded the Congressional medal of Honor ( as a group). After 65 years their service was finally recognized. They fought for a country that didn't even give them their respect. These men are the definition of hero!
I love you Grandpa!

check out these links
Times Union
Saratogian number 2

what I am pondering

So I love it when a class just really shakes me up. And no, I'm not being sarcastic, i do because it makes me think. It makes me think about the world,the church, and importantly about me and about what my beliefs are. I am not typically a me centered person. In fact sometimes I feel like I give so much to my friends that i don't allow them to give and sometimes that gets me in trouble ( but that is for another post)

So yesterday in systematic theology we were talking about process theology, which I truly enjoy. I enjoy it because a lot of it is how i have always felt but i just couldn't put a name to it yet. There is one thing that I am hung up on though... That is doesn't God really have a path for us does God know what is going to happen before it happens. Obviously before i went to school believe that god had a path for each of us, I mean it is the name of my blog, but I don't think I was ever a believer in this all controlling God who knows everything we are going to do before we do it. I mean that takes away the whole concept of free will. Yet I really feel like God does have some kind direction for us and influence over those choices. Of course it is our free will to accept that influence. I really like the idea of a God of possibilities... I'm just not quite sure what that means for my believes, my theology, or my life.

Yes I love it when a class gets me thinking and shakes things up...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Plugging away

We just had spring break two weeks ago and then we are off for holy week next and for some reason I really need it. And it sounds like I am not the only one.. my classmates are saying the same thing. Maybe it's spring fever, maybe it's something else... who knows. I have two more days of classes three more days till I head upstate for the week and I'm just going to keep plugging away until then!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday Five

I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19, NRSV

As we near the end of the long journey toward Easter, a busy time for pastors and layfolk alike, I ponder the words of Isaiah and the relief and refreshment of a river in the desert.

For this Friday Five, name five practices, activities, people or _____ (feel free to fill in something I may be forgetting) that for you are rivers in the desert.

so this one was hard for me cause i do have some great rivers in the dessert

1. My friends... i have the most wonderful group of friends i easily take up all five spots with names of my friends but it would mean leaving people out.

2. Music... my mood determines the music i turn on and normally i feel much better

3. Worship... being in community to worship God 9 times out of 10 leaves me feeling renewed and refreshed

4. Cooking... i really enjoy it. some times i even enjoy doing it for myself but it is much more fun to cook for friends

5. Grey's Anatomy... ok this one is a little superficial but that one hour of TV a week when i forget about school and the world is just a great release

Editors Note: There are two big ones that I missed, writting both this blog and in my journal, and giving and getting hugs!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

reflections on year 23

Well it is official I am 24 years old today. 23 was a good year. It was the year where I really started coming into my own. It was much better then 22 when spent the first part still in college and the second half confused. This year has been great. I decided to go to seminary, applied, got in and started. I preached my first sermon. I struggle some days with my decision to go into ordained ministry, but I am loving theology school. I have been more honest with myself and those around in the past year than I have ever been. I have real goals and dreams. I am surround by a great support system. The people in my life right now are amazing. The experiences I have had this year will profoundly. My relationship with God is ever changing , yet ever present. 23 has been a great year... I'm hoping 24 is even better!

Monday, March 19, 2007

fun stuff

My latest sermon

I thought i would post my latest sermon. I was pretty proud of this one. I got some positive feedback from the congrgation and I thought it ( and others did too) it was my best deilvery of a sermon yet. Let me know what you think....

John 12:1-8 March 18, 2007

The last two verses of that scripture sound a lot like Jesus is saying pay attention to me the poor do not matter. “Let her alone… You always have the poor with you. You don’t always have me.” The sentiment certainly contradicts the teachings of Jesus found in the other Gospels. A Jesus who asks a man to sell all his possessions and give the profits to the poor (Luke 18:22). A Jesus asking his companions to ignore the poor is simply not a Jesus who comes to our mind. This statement taken at face value or out of context seems out of character.

I looked at how the other gospels handled this story and the other three have him saying very similar things there will always be poor people, but I will not always be here. It makes him seem downright conceited as if he should be the center of attention. As if the poor simply do not matter. When in reality the opposite is true the poor do matter. Sharing with the poor is one of the corner stones of Jesus’ ministry. So how can we see this statement in a better light?

Steve Khul a member and one time president of the (a website designed to help people connect the bible with their daily life) examined the passage in this way:

One of our enduring problems is deciding what we should do about the poor among us. We agonize (and rightly so) about political, economic and social strategies that will truly help the poor. But the text identifies a deeper problem of the poor among us. It identifies the way Judas (and we) hides behind the poor, giving the illusion of concern, but only to betray them and advance our own self-interest (v. 6). Health care reform, welfare reform, are all undertaken to help the poor, or so the rhetoric goes. But whose pockets get lined in the process? The fact that "the poor are always with us" gives us the answer: not the poor, but we would-be helpers, the Judas' of the world. As such, the persistent presence of the poor in our midst represents more than failed economic and political systems. They represent our thievery, our greed, our moral poverty, though always well-hidden.

It is not that our well meaning social programs aren’t exactly that; well meaning but are they really helping the issue of poverty? This is true in our own country and I found this to be very true in Guatemala. Guatemala is a beautiful country. It’s a country with beautiful landscapes and a country where the people are warm and welcoming. It is a country where minimum wage is $5 dollars a day and 75% of the people live at or below the poverty line. A country where for some families their one meal a day may come from table scrapes or possibly what they scrounge from a dump. It is staggering to see the devastation that the government caused to their own people, especially the native people.

For thirty years Guatemala raged in a violent civil war. People were disappeared (kidnapped and killed), or simply murdered for no reason other than the government wanted to. The peace accords were signed 1996. Yet, sadly the Guatemalan government is hiding behind their poor. For example, Guatemala has a 70% literacy rate which is low in itself, but it is even more tragic when you hear the truth behind it. It is true that 70% of the population who is registered with government is literate. However, it is impossible to register with the government if you do not have the money to do so.

Another staggering problem in Guatemala is health care. When we were in Guatemala we visited several medical clinics that were mostly supported by United Methodist Churches here in the states. They were not supported by the government at all. In fact they where set up in response to the poor health care provided by the government. In each department (more like a country then a state) there is a hospital. And in communities that the central government deems large enough there is a clinic. Not bad for a nation recovering from a war that lasted over 30 years. What they don’t tell you is often the walk to a clinic is hours. They don’t tell you that the public hospitals and clinics are often closed because the doctors refuse to work because the conditions are unsafe for both the doctors and the patients. Now of course there are private hospitals that serve those who can afford them. Unfortunately most of the people suffering are the poor. At the clinic we visited the cases they treated the most was dehydration due to diarrhea because if lack of clean drinking water.

Now if we take this scripture at face value than according to Jesus it is ok we can forget those suffering with illness and disease mostly because they are poor. That is what he is saying. Right? Somehow I don’t think so. I think what he is saying here is stop fussing over them and making a show of it. He is asking is companions not to let Mary alone, not because he thinks she is less of her as a person due to her economic status. He is asking them to let her alone because their comments are not about taking action to change the situation. Jesus is not about words, he is about action. Jesus is about taking real steps to create positive change. He would much prefer his companions to look at their own lives, instead of judging Mary. It would be more productive if they took steps to live more simply. He encourages simple living for a variety of reasons. First, we can not worship two gods. We can not worship our things and God. Secondly, the more simply we live the more there is to share. Just think if we cut back on the resources we used. Think of the amount of waste we produce and the resources we abuse.

It is especially important that we figure out how to address the poor seeing how we live in the richest country in the world. Our poor would be considered wealthy in other countries. We live very comfortable lives. What do we do for the poor? What do we do for the poor in our country and in other countries? I recently watched the Diane Sawyer special Waiting on the world to change. The special focused on those struck by poverty in Camden, NJ. There was this one little boy who was so excited about starting school in the fall. He worked very hard all summer learning his numbers while he moved from temporary housing to temporary housing. By the time he went to kindergarten he could count to 10, yet he could not name the three meals of the day. He never had eaten three meals a day. So poverty is a problem in our own country. It is the actions of our own country and other developed countries that have perpetuated the problem of poverty around the world. 20% of the world’s population live in developed nations and consume 86% of the world’s goods. In the US 40-50% of all food ready for harvest never gets eaten. The wealthiest 20 % of nations in the world consume 58% of total energy, while the poorest fifth consume less than 4% , the wealthiest 20% of nations in the world have 74% of all telephone lines, the poorest 20% have 1.5%, the wealthiest 20% of nations consume 84% of all paper, while the poorest 20% consume 1.1% the wealthiest 20% of nations own 87% of the world’s vehicle fleet, the poorest 20% own less than 1%. These numbers are staggering. Yet, while these numbers are staggering there are actions we can take to change this. First, we can volunteer in mission. I think experiencing poverty first hand is the best way to learn about it. To live with out hot water for a week or with out constant electricity can be an eye opening experience. Now I know not everyone feels they have the time to go out of the country in mission. There are plenty of opportunities for mission in our own country. There are depressed areas all over the country and even in our immediate area. How about volunteering at a soup kitchen or mentoring a student. Well, then that would take away from family time, what better way to spend family time then to volunteer together? Volunteering not your thing, what about making an effort at cutting back on consumption? Using high efficient light bulbs, eating a vegetarian meal once a week, making sure plastic gets recycled.

It is actions such as those then can help create change. It is in taking these actions and making changes that we can live out our Christianity. In the scripture Jesus asks his companions to stop judging Mary because they are simply talking and not doing anything. Not only are his companions not doing anything, but Mary is honoring him. She is taking action to demonstrate her faith. In the last verse Jesus says “She’s anticipating and honoring the day of my burial." Anticipating and honoring. Honoring. Yes his guests have invited him to a banquet, but it is Mary who showed her reverence for him. The actions of the poor and oppressed Guatemalans remind me of the actions of Mary. In their pain and in their poverty they still reach out to each other. They share with each other. They share with complete strangers. I was absolutely amazed at their hospitality and warmth. Everyplace we went the people welcomed us. I can’t count the number times I was hugged, the number of times that I was told I was family. These people were absolutely serious. At first we thought it was simply because we were Americans, but it had nothing to do with that. Two of the three medical clinics we visited were started by men in their homes. The men who started these clinics and the men and women who staffed these clinics often get very little in return. Many of them have jobs beside the medical clinics. The medical clinic was their offering to their community. They just as easily could have only helped their own family. One if the men actually donated the land that the clinic was on. Not only did he donate the land for a Medical clinic but also for a church as well because the nearest church was a two hour walk that the majority of the community actually made. That was valuable farm land. Farmland that his family used to make their money. Now they work in another farmer’s field or find other means of a job for income. It just shows those with the least sharing the most.

So how is it that Jesus can so easily say leave the poor alone because they are always with you? Especially when it seems that there is so much that we can learn from them. Yet if all we do are going to do is chastise them then maybe it would be better to “let them alone” and follow Jesus. Of course in following the example of the life of Jesus there seems no way it is possible to ignore the poor. Jesus knew that He really wanted to people to live out his teachings. He never asked anyone to worship him, he called them to action. He called them to spend time in prayer, to give up their positions, to love one another as they love themselves. All that involved action, involved change, often hard changes. Yet, those changes are necessary to live a life closer to God.

I would like to share a portion of a poem by Calvin Miller with you

My easy Christ has left the church.

Who can say why?

Maybe it’s because His video-logged apostles all

read diet-books, travel agency brochures

and Christian fiction thrillers

on how the world should end

But none read books on what the starving ignorant

should do until it does.

He left the church so disappointed that Americans

could all spell “user friendly”

but none of them could spell “Gethsemane

Can we say for sure he’s quit?

Oh yes, it’s definite, I’m afraid:

He’s canceled his pledge card.

I passed him on the way out of the recreation building

near the incinerator where we burn

the leftover religious quarterlies

and the stained paper doilies

from our Valentine banquets.

“Quo Vadis, Domine?” I asked him.

“Somewhere else,” he said.

My easy Christ has left the church,

walking out of town past seminaries where

student scholars could all parse the ancient verbs

but few of them were sure why they had learned the art.

He shook his head counfounded that many

had studied all his ancient words

without much caring why he said them.

He seemed confused that so many

studied to be smart, but so few prayed to be holy.

Some say he left the church

because the part-time missionaries were mostly tourists

on short-term camera safaris,

photographing destitution to show the

pictures to their missionary clubs back home.

I cannot say what all his motives were.

I only know I saw him rummaging through dumpsters

in Djakarta looking for a scrap of bread

that he could multiply.

“Quo vadis, Domine?” I asked him.

“Somewhere else,” he said.

He’s gone - the melancholy Messiah’s gone.

I saw him passing by the beltway mega-temple

circled by its multi-acred asphalt lawn,

blanketed with imports and huge fat vehicles

nourished on the hydrocarbons of distant oil fields

where the poor dry rice on public roads

and die without a requiem, in unmarked graves.

Is it certain he is gone?

It is.

There are issues in this poem that I struggle with. I went on a mission trip and I’m sharing my pictures with you after this sermon. There in lies my struggle in that by sharing these pictures that I took with my digital camera I want to share my experience, but while I am really am sharing my experience I am also demonstrating my privilege. Jesus did not start his ministry in order to start a new faith tradition. His ministry focused on the way people lived in relationship to God and to each other. We as present day Christians especially United States have a lot of work to do. Everyday feel like I struggle with tough questions and choices the same way you do. Most days I don’t know if I get it right. They are tough choices and decisions. It is my prayer for each of us we can make these decisions thinking about the example Jesus has given us.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Spring Break

It is officially Thursday of spring break... where did the time Go? My spring break has been pretty good. Filled with Church stuff and school work. I did take one day all to myself so spend time with My friend's new baby. He turns one month old today. There is no better way to spend an entire day holding a baby! I've been busy writing, and re-writing a sermon, and trying to finish two mid terms and some papers. I have a feeling when I get back to school there maybe one long night. I do not have nearly as much work done at this point of the week as I should, but it will get done. I really needed this break. I had lunch with a good friend today, we had a great discussion, but it added to my state of confusion. Right now I'm wishing God wrote in the sky with Neon lights.

Anyway I just wanted get a blog post in the is week, back to my social process Mid term I go!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday Five

Friday Five: Matters of Taste

My mother loved figs.

I only like them in a Newton.

It's all a matter of taste.

Name five things you like a lot that some close relative or significant other did/does not like. This could be food, movies, hobbies, music, sports or whatever springs to mind.

Here are mine:
1. Bette Midler.. I LOVE her, some of my friends and certainly my father not so much
2. Brussel Sprouts
3. Disco Music. ( ok so most of my friends don't like any of my music)
4. Sushi.. i am the only one in my family who eats it
5. Onions cooked or uncooked i enjoy them

Thursday, March 08, 2007

One liners

i got this forward from my Godmother. I thought there were some good one there some of my favorites and some I haven't seen before

Don't let your worries get the best of you; remember, Moses started out as a basket case.


Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited until you try to sit in their pews.


Many folks want to serve God, but only as advisors.


It is easier to preach ten sermons than it is to live one.


The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.


When you get to your wit's end, you'll find God lives there.


Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on your front door forever.


Quit griping about your church; if it wa s perfect, you couldn't belong.


If the church wants a better preacher, it only needs to pray for the one it has.


God Himself does not propose to judge a man until he is dead. So why should you?


Some minds are like concrete thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.


Peace starts with a smile.


I don't know why some people change churches; what difference does it make which one they stay home from?!


A lot of church members who are singing "Standing on the Promises" are just sitting on the premises.


Be ye fishers of men. You catch them - He'll clean them.


Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ *

Don't put a question mark where God put a period.


Don't wait for 6 strong men to take you to church.

*+*+*+*+*+*+* +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

Forbidden fruits create many jams.


God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.


God grades on the cross, not the curve.


God loves everyone, but probably prefers "fruits of the spirit" over "religious nuts!"


God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.


He who angers you, controls you!


If God is your Co-pilot - swap seats!


Prayer: Don't give God instructions -- just report for duty!


The task ahead of us is never as great as the Power behind us.


The Will of God never takes you to where the Grace of God will not protect you.


We don't change the message, the message changes us.


You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to.........discourage him.


The best mathematical equation I have ever seen:
1 cross + 3 nails= 4 given.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Reflection on my previous post

So after sleeping on it and a few hours of reflection. I realize that the language of my last post is pretty harsh. I apologize to anyone I may have offended. My feelings are simply very strong. I am not going to apologize for those feelings.

Right now I feel like my faith, my call to ministry, my concept of self, what my role in the church will be, etc are all caught up in a funnel cloud. The difference in my funnel cloud is that instead of causing damage everything is going to settle out and be fine.

For all those unsettled feelings I have I still feel the presence of God in my life. For once I am really really trying to take comfort in the discomfort.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Inside or outside

To stay and fight from within the church or to fight the injustices of the church from the outside is the question. We talked about heterosexism in Social process today and it just sends me into a state of confusion. How do I become a part of an institution that for so many years on this issue and so many other issues has done nothing but perpetuate stereotypes and encourage discrimination against a minority? I want to serve God not simply serve a denomination. However I really like Wesleyan theology, and therefore like a lot of the teachings of the United Methodist church, but their stance on LGBTQ community is just insane. It is just was insane as there being a central conference for Blacks.

I have known from the beginning that this issue was going to be a struggle for me. I have known the question form the beginning has been fight from the inside or the out? And it used to be very clear to me that the answer was fight from the inside. But is that being hypocritical? I can't think of a better example but I feel in some ways that it is the equivalent of me joining the KKK. And I realize the Church is not the KKK, but we are doing similar damage. Even if we aren't doing our members are doing it in the Name of God.

I want change. I want not to feel angry with the church or with God. I just don't get it. Do we see the hurt and pain that we have caused. People argue and argue that in the eyes of God this is a sin. That their actions are justified by God. Well supposedly as Christians we are supposed live as Jesus lived... can someone please show me somewhere in the Bible where Jesus oppresses the oppressed? The only time Jesus comes close to oppressing anybody is the money changers in the Temple. The money changers who were taking advantage of people.

Maybe this is me letting myself off the hook. But last i checked it was only up to God to decide who is sinning, not me, not a pastor, not the pope, not a bishop, but God. God makes that decision. Hey folks wake up! We want our lives to be simpler well you can take this burden off your back. Stop trying to judge other people's sin.

So where does this leave me? It leaves me still loving theology school. Still struggling with hard questions. Knowing for dang sure that God has called me to this. Still questing what I got myself into when I accepted this call. Wondering what exactly I am supposed to do with this call. Wondering if with this thoughts and opinions like these if I will ever get ordained?

I really believe God loves us ALL I just wish I could get the Church to spread that message and mean it.

(editor's Note: I do not feel that the church is close to being the KKK this post with written with a lot of emotion. I just feel as though it my be hypocritical for me to become a leader in an organization that openly discriminates against a group of people)

Monday, March 05, 2007

To many thoughts

I have this urge to post but really nothing to post about I have tons of ideas floating around in my head of what I would like to Post but none of them are really in full fleshed out postable things... so hopefully soon there will be some post that are somewhat interesting and insightful or neither but at least full posts.

But there is exciting news. Congress has finally set the Date for the Tuskegee airmen to receive their congressional medal of honor! Looks like I'll be heading to DC at the end of this month to support grandpa!Yay!

Thursday, March 01, 2007


So my two favorite classes this summer are systematic theology and religion and the social process. The great thing is that often they intersect. Here is something that i never really thought about. The way we divide ourselves is the reason why really important issues get stifled. In stead of all of those being oppressed getting together and working on each others issues, we stand around saying well they don't care about MY issue. We need to stop! We need to come together.

In systematic yesterday we had a discussion about ecotheogoy. Some of my classmates were getting bogged down in the fact that by focusing on the environment we lose sight of environmental issues. That with all the hooopla surrounding The Inconvenient Truth we have forgotten about poverty issues or issues in urban settings. What they seem to forget is that environmental issues often negatively effect the poor the most. What they didn't seem to glean from the reading is the Ecotheology is not only about caring for the physical planet ( although that is VERY important) it is also about caring for the creatures on the planet, including us humans.

People and environment are not separate issues. Anyone who tries to tell that they are are simply worried that if there are no poor people or cleaning up the environment will hurt their pocketbook.