Don’t Call Us

There’s a bit from my book over at my care giving blog. A publisher’s page ran an excerpt. The book expresses our reliance on a greater caregiver,

“Jesus, the good gardener, teaches us that, as insufficient as we might feel, his care for our lives and the lives placed in our care is sufficient. He tends fruitless trees and gives them new seasons in which to flourish.”

Sometimes Care Giving Stinks

Our publisher’s site features a bit from our book today.

If you are grappling with frustration, especially if it’s born of perfectionism and the constant setbacks of care giving, you might find this little selection useful.

pathetic-7If our efforts to raise houseplants have been hit and miss, imagine some of the misadventures of raising a son with autism. Caregiving provides instant and constant experiences of inadequacy. Just as we’ve tried various strategies to keep the plants growing, we’ve sought out an array of therapies, settings, medications, specialists, diets and more to bring out the best in Joey’s life. And even with all that help, there are plenty of withered efforts to report.

It’s not all gloom and doom.  Some of the spiritual uplift (we hope) of the book comes in as well.

Hoping you have some good growth and blooming amid all your fails and weeds today.

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Praying through the Rubble of Wickedness

Source: Praying through the Rubble of Wickedness

Thing is, it’s really bad out there, in the world, and in here, in my own self. Crying out in desperation to the one who holds the cosmos together in his own hand would be such a sensible thing to do, if only I would do it, and the grieving woman in the bookshop would do it, and everybody on the internet would do it, and the people who are picking up the rubble of such a violent wickedness would do it. Because when you call upon the name of the Lord, whoever you are, whatever you’ve done, whatever you’ve endured, he will hear you. He will come and save you, most of all from yourself. He will even save you from your own thoughts, from being his enemy.

The Martyrs of Sudan

Honored to serve with a Dinka (South Sudan) congregation here in South Dakota.

For All the Saints

The Church Missionary Society began work in 1899 in the Sudan in Omdurman, and the Christian faith spread rapidly among Africans of the southern region of the country. Until 1974, the Diocese of Sudan was part of the (Anglican) Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East.  The Church in the Sudan reverted to the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury until the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, consisting of four new dioceses, was established in 1976.

In 1983 the government of Sudan was seized by Islamicists who declared sharia, requiring all Sudanese to convert to Islam on pain of death.  On May 16 a small group of Anglican and Roman Catholic chiefs in southern Sudan, together with their bishops, clergy, and laity, declared that they “would not abandon God as [they] knew him”.  With that declaration the second cycle of the Sudanese civil war began.  (The first cycle of…

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Taking Myself Out of the Picture 

She’s not writing as a “theologian” but she’s doing some darn good theology. Doing the word that she is hearing and giving place in her heart.

BeautyBeyondBones

Well, here we are, trudging through May.

Somehow, we’re already on the second week, and if you’re feeling like time is traveling at breakneck speed, then get in line.

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I’ve received a lot of messages from thoughtful, lovely humans asking how my mom is doing in her stroke recovery. And, honestly, she’s doing amazing. She is my hero, and has made a remarkable recovery so far.

But reflecting on her journey, since that fateful evening, December 27, I’ve also done some reflecting on my own journey.

I’ve learned a lot of things. Some pretty important – like relearning how to drive a car. Because yes, the stereotype is true that New Yorkers don’t know how to drive. Some trivial, like never to take an Aspirin on an empty stomach.

But if I were to boil down the biggest thing I’ve learned from this journey so far, besides the…

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An Officer Struck Him

The arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane lifts an inmate’s gaze above his own immediate grievances.

God in the Max

“R” needed to talk. It had been a rough couple of weeks for him. He’d gotten a write-up for an interaction/altercation with one of the COs (correctional officers). He’d tried to appeal it, but that failed and he was told he’d be on lock-down for 10 days. He was angry and thought the system was treating him unfairly. I gave him the time and space he needed to talk things out.

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After he had talked things through he was ready for our study. I had us first look at this scripture:

Hebrews 4:15-16 (NKJV)

15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I asked “R” to describe what it was…

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Dante, Minos, and a Challenge for Our Time

A brave piece drawn from reflection upon a literary masterpiece.

We might also consider Paul’s warning in Romans 1:18 and following, in which sexual sin is not just a bit of questionable but ultimately justifiable “love”; it is symptomatic of conscious rebellion against God.

the theological beard

Early in his pilgrimage through Hell, Dante (the character) is given a warning. It is a warning he does not heed and consequently a lesson he does not learn. If commentary on canto V of Inferno is any indication, it is also a lesson that we, the audience, have not learned and the consequences of this lesson-not-learned are reverberating throughout both the city of the world and of God.

Making his way from the first circle to the second, Dante and Virgil must pass by Minos, the infernal judge who determines which circle of Hell (and, consequently, which infernal punishment) the condemned will eternally suffer. He is Satan’s sorting hat.

Minos, infernal judge - Michelangelo Michelangelo’s “Minos”

Minos gives a warning to Dante: “O thou! who to this residence of woe approachest!… Look how thou enter here; beware in whom thou place thy trust. Let not the entrance broad deceive thee to thy harm.” Being…

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Preparing for the Journey

Great thoughts on what, for this year, might be missed opportunity. In Anglicanism, there were/are “Gesima Sundays” in the weeks preceding Lent, a time to get ready for the season.

the theological beard

dark-journey

Ash Wednesday, 2017, Lent has begun. Some people have not yet decided what they are doing for Lent. To people in this situation, I heard someone say, “Don’t worry about preparing for Lent because Lent is a preparation.” The implication being that one does not prepare for preparing. This way of looking at Lent – a preparation – is rather common today. The thought is that as we progress through Lent we are preparing for Easter. So ingrained has this thought become that some are genuinely puzzled by the idea of preparing for Lent. This was once expressed to me by a priest when I had mentioned to him that Lent is preceded by weeks of preparation (both liturgical and practical) in the Byzantine churches. It sounded strange to the priest that there would be a preparation for the preparation.

Is Lent a preparation? Is being a preparation the best…

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