In The Year …

One of the things that I love about Tapestry, the community of Christ that I am a part of, is the diversity of political thought that is a part of us. One of the members of the Leadership Team will summarize this thought with a statement that I love. He says:

If you are going to be a part of Tapestry you need to be okay being ticked off every now and then by something someone has said.

What this means today is that quite possibly half of my friends in Tapestry are very excited about the results of last night’s elections and the other near half might be in mourning and worried for the future of our country.

For those that are excited about last night’s elections, I hope that your thoughts and dreams that led you to vote the way you did turn out to be correct. I hope the next four years actually do increase the greatness of America. I would be very pleased to look back and end up believing this was a great choice.

For my friends who are mourning the results of last night I hurt for and with you. I always hesitate to say “well God is still on His throne” (even though it is true) because I feel like it can seem to dismiss someone’s pain and worse can lead to a mindset of doing nothing. I do however love the passage of scripture that I believe the saying comes from. In fact, I mentioned this past Sunday at the Tapestry Sunday morning gathering.

I believe the saying comes from Isaiah 6:1-9 which is written during a time of great mourning for God’s people. The popular king Uzziah had died and God’s people were disheartened. I led to some feeling a loss of control and uncertainty about the future. The passage’s context fits for me right now. Let me quote it with a little change of my own.

In the year that [Donald Trump was elected President of the United States of America], I saw the Lord, high and exalted,seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips,and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

One of the things I love about this passage is that while it brings comfort, it also brings discomfort. God’s comfort to Isaiah during a troubling time also brought trouble to who Isaiah recognized himself to be and that led to Isaiah going to do the work of God because of the comfort he received from God being on His throne. God being on His throne is a call to action as well as a source of comfort.

May all of us, both those who are glad and those who mourn, see examples of God on His throne this week and respond by being challenged and sent to do the work of His kingdom. May we hear the voices shout “Holy, Holy, Holy” and so vividly recognize that the whole earth is full of His glory that we can’t help but desire and act to be a part of extending that glory. May God being on His throne cause His people to fight for the weak and marginalized.

God is on His throne so be comforted … and let’s get our butts in gear and start doing the works of His kingdom.

I’ll Bring My Decoys

The above photo is why the correct answer almost always is “YES” when someone asks if you would like them to bring their decoys for duck hunting. If you bring your decoys then you are typically the one carrying them. Walking in decoys can be a bit of a pain on a normal outing, but add fog and up to 20″ of muck and it becomes a royal pain in the butt.

Still fun hunting with Marc (If not seeing any ducks to even consider shooting at still counts as hunting). You are welcome to bring your decoys anytime we go hunting. :)

Bonhoeffer Quote – Listening

There is a kind of listening with half an ear that presumes already to know what the other person has to say. It is an impatient, inattentive listening, that despises the brother and is only waiting for a chance to speak and thus get rid of the other person. This is no fulfillment of our obligation, and it is certain that here too our attitude toward our brother only reflects our relationship to God. It is little wonder that we are no longer capable of the greatest service of listening that God has committed to us, that of hearing our brother’s confession, if we refuse to give ear to our brother on lesser subjects. Secular education today is aware that often a person can be helped merely by having someone who will listen to him seriously, and upon this insight it has constructed its own soul therapy, which has attracted great numbers of people, including Christians. But Christians have forgotten that the ministry of listening has been committed to them by Him who is Himself the great listener and whose work they should share. We should listen with the ears of God that we may speak the Word of God.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community, p. 98-99

Wrestling Pigs

NOTE – This brief post isn’t from something that happened today. Every now and then I want to post something that relates to a conversation I had during the day but if I post it during the actual day I feel will unintentionally hurt that person’s feelings. Therefore, I randomly pick a date in the future on which it will post. This could be one day or one year. Doesn’t matter. It just isn’t the day on which the post was published.

Every now and then I have to remind myself of the old saying.1

Never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.

Today is one of those times where I need this reminder.

  1. I believe George Bernard Shaw first published it but I am not sure 

The Apostle’s Creed

This past Sunday I asked all the “threads” to consider praying the Apostle’s Creed during the day. Just in case you didn’t know where to look for it I thought I would post it here.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the church universal,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.


Zombie Media & The Imago Dei

I love media about zombies. I feel like the zombie craze is getting close to its last legs and I am ok with that because I don’t like zombie media because of it having been hot for the past few years. I like media about zombies because it is almost always not about the zombies. Good zombie literature and film is actually about what it means to be human. It looks at how the humans respond to the overwhelming, tide of (usually) thoughtless destruction that the zombies represent. Do our heroes maintain their humanity in the face of such fear or do they sink to subhuman. There are a few books and films that explore the possible humanity of the zombies (the movie “Fido” and the book I finished last night, “The Girl with All the Gifts“,  for example), but these are still generally about the humans because the media is exploring how the humans react to the possible humanity of the zombies.

Such deep stuff for supposed horror. Some of the best theological thought comes out of fiction. To quote Alan Moore from his work V for Vendetta “Artists use lies to tell the truth.” Zombie literature is fiction but it address what is really important to us when our existence is on the line. Are we just concerned about existing , or are we concerned about things that are more important than just existing.

I believe that the Christian scripture teaches that to be human is to bear, however poorly, some semblance of the image of God (Imago Dei). I mention the Imago Dei pretty often on my blog and in the messages I deliver during Tapestry gatherings. I also preached about the Imago Dei this past week at the UWSP InterVarsity Large Group Meeting – you can listen to it here if you desire. It is kind of a big deal and I believe that we humans do the worst things when we forget to live out that image and even worse when we forget that others bear that image.. When, I read zombie literature I see discussions of the Imago Dei all over it. Christ has a great deal to offer discussions of what it means to be human. Jesus’s ideas work in the marketplace of ideas and those of us who are Christians should enter into debates concerning those ideas. Of course, we need to be focused first on living out the image and seeing the image in others.

This is why I recommend that everyone go out and read some zombie literature. Enter the discussion of what it means to be human and then consider what the old & New Testaments have to say about the subject that relates to the discussion that is going on all around us. So go out and read some now. May I suggest Robert Matheson’s “I Am Legend” as a starting point? It is a great work on thinking you are the hero only to find out that you are actually the boogeyman.

Fighting EOG At The Moment

At the moment I am fighting very hard not to display my EOG (Early Onset Grumpiness – You can watch the video above for a description from Portlandia – please forgiving the cursing at the end).

At the moment I am sitting 20′ away from a youngish man who is listening to his music with what appear to be sealed earbuds (i.e. they should seal in the ear canal and keep him from hearing external noise and thereby also hopefully keep others from hearing his music). His music is so loud that I can hear his music from all the way across Emy J’s, with the Emy J’s background music going on. In fact, when I put my earphones in my ears in order to hear the video above I could still hear parts of the guys music. Seriously!

ARGH!!!!! EOG rant developing. I want to avoid this so I will leave Emy J’s and work on the next thing on my agenda for the day. Next thing on the agenda? Going to the DMV to register Buddy the Mustang. That should help, right?

Convertible Problems

Just a quick post to say that today I learned a problem of having a convertible that as a previous non-owner of convertibles I didn’t realize was an issue. Apparently it is important to look above where ever you are considering parking to see if there are prime roosting areas above the parking spot you are considering. Why is this important? Well because if you don’t consider any possible roosting locations above the parking spot you choose then there is a good chance that birds will roost above you car and do what birds do. In a normal car this just means a car wash. In a convertible it means that the bird poop goes into you car and needs to be cleaned before you are able to drive anywhere. Thankfully it was only a few birds so it wasn’t a huge clean up job.

I have leaned my lesson and will look up from now on before I choose a parking spot for the Mustang.

Gloriously Noisy

I am sitting in our den watching “The Dirty Dozen” (such a good movie) while Pam is doing some work for tomorrow and I am thinking about what a wonderful Sunday it was. A few weeks ago Erc G asked what I thought about one Sunday setting up various percussion instruments for the kids to play during the music at Tapestry. I told him that I thought it was a wonderful idea. So today he made sure there were various percussion instruments setup in the back of the room for our little ones to play as a part of our gathering today.

To quote Pam it wasn’t “‘children’s church’ or a special kids Sunday. Just letting little ones participate fully in the regular service with bongos, maracas, djembe, and cajon.” Yeah the beat was sometimes interesting. Yep it got a little noisy sometimes. There were more smiles during the singing than I have ever seen at a Tapestry gathering and that is saying something because smiles are VERY common at Tapestry gatherings. Our kids did a great job of helping us to declare the worth of our God. They weren’t a distraction. They were joy leaders.

It was a really good Sunday. I am very thankful for Eric and our smallest “threads”.

SIDE NOTE – 7 years ago today Jürgen and I became BFFs.


Presidential Parrots

While Pam and I were watching the West Wing last night I went on a Google search of various subjects tangentially related to what we are watching. Pam and I do this a lot. We see something on the show, search it out, and then end up talking about the subject and have to rewind the show. Makes for a more enjoyable watching experience for us. Last night this involved learning about the role of the Acting President, in the few situation were there is an Acting President, and the many different types of pets our presidents have had with them as companions.

The number of parrots that have been presidential pets is quite surprising. I really would have never expected one presidential parrot, let alone five.

Also, while I like Teddy Roosevelt every now and then I  think he had to be compensating for some serious feelings of inadequacy. I mean come on. He own bears, kangaroos, a coyote, a lion, a hyena, and a zebra?!?!?!? Sometimes, it feels like he was just trying to hard.

Anyhow here’s the link to the list that brought me a great deal of entertainment.