Thursday, August 28, 2014

Consumer Culture. . . Dealing with Our Aloneness

"Family function and community competence lie at the heart of the distinction between aloneness and hollowness. Hollowness is produced by the way we deal with being alone. We are alone in the world, and that is immutable. The question is how we deal with the loneliness. Hollowness is the lack of resources or competence to deal with the aloneness. We then turn to the consumer culture to fill it with purchased experience."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Community Competence

". . . in too many cases, we are disconnected from our neighbors and isolated from our communities. Consequently, the community and neighborhood are no longer competent. When we use the term community competence, we mean the capacity of the place where we live to be useful to us, to support us in creating those things that can be produced only in the surroundings of a connected community."

Friday, August 22, 2014

An Open Letter to Richard Dawkins

This letter makes me proud to have spent fifteen years in Nebraska. I do not know personally the one who wrote the letter, but he is from Lincoln, and I held back the tears as I read. If you did not catch it, recently, Richard Dawkins advocated that it was a moral imperative to abort Down's Syndrome babies. Ugh- to call such evil good hurts my heart. During my early years in youth ministry, I drove a school bus to supplement my income. I drove a bus for mentally and developmentally disabled kids; and it was one of the most joyous times of my life. I think of one boy in particular named Jeff. Jeff had Down's Syndrome and greeted me each morning with a hug and a smile. I learned about a year later after I had moved on to attend seminary that Jeff had passed away because of a heart condition. I often think of Jeff and the joy he brought during his short life.

Also, here was a post from a while back about Tim Harris, a young man with Down's who owns a restaurant! It's an awesome clip and worth your time.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Community, A Living Organism

"A community is not something you have, like a pizza. Nor is it something you can buy, as visitors to Disneyland . . . . It is a living organism based on a web of interdependencies- which is to say, a local economy."

- James Howard Kunstler, The Geography of Nowhere

The Error of Pantheism

"But this is where the error (of pantheism) lies: everything is not God; God is everything. God does not manifest himself to an equal degree in everything. On the contrary, he manifests himself to a varying extent in different things, . . ." 

-Heinrich Heine

God and Our Solidarity with Creation

"In his Spirit he sighs with the enslaved creation for redemption and liberty. What is true of the Shekinah which dwells in Israel and wanders with Israel into exile, is in its own way true also of the Shekinah of the Creator in his creation. Through his Spirit the Creator is himself involved in his creation. The Spirit is capable of suffering. He can be 'quenched' and 'grieved' (1 Thess. 5:19; Eph. 4:30). For he is the power of the love from which creation has issued and through which it is sustained."

"He (Paul) finds it ('longing', or 'yearning') first of all among believers, who 'have the first-fruits of the Spirit' (Rom 8:23). They long to be the children of God and wait for the redemption of the body. Secondly, he finds it in the whole anxiously waiting creation (Rom. 8.19ff.). Creation waits for 'the revealing of the sons of God' and therefore longs together 'with us' (Rom. 8.22). Finally, he perceives in the Holy Spirit himself 'an inexpressible sighing' (Rom. 8.26). So what believers experience and perceive in the Holy Spirit reveals the structure of the Spirit of creation, the human spirit, and the Spirit in the whole non-human creation; because it is to this that their experience corresponds. What believers experience in the Holy Spirit leads them into solidarity with all other created things. They suffer with nature under the power of transience, and they hope for nature, waiting for the manifestation of liberty."

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Praise of Creation

"The human being does not merely live in the world like other living things. He does not merely dominate the world and use it. He is also able to discern the world in full awareness as God's creation, to understand it as a sacrament of God's hidden presence, and to apprehend it as a communication of God's fellowship. That is why the human being is able consciously to accept creation in thanksgiving, and consciously to bring creation before God again in praise."

Moltmann reflecting on Psalms 8, 19 and 104 in God in Creation, pp. 70-1

Monday, August 4, 2014

The New Parish

"Once you believe that the Spirit is at play in the neighborhood, that wisdom is calling out in the streets, that God was at work before you got there, your task is listening- listening to join in with all the redemptive hopes of the people in your neighborhood. Imagine that every person who has meaningful hopes for some aspect of the new commons (social, economic, environmental, educational or civic well-being) is a potential partner in the reconciliation and renewal of the parish.

If you develop a sacred imagination for all of life and all of the people and systems living out the drama of their lives in the setting of your parish, then this everyday rooting process reveals astounding possibilities. But there is an adjustment that needs to be made, one that we are finding ultimately quite powerful. It requires even more humility; it's fair to say that when we change our imaginations to being in relationship with all that God is doing in a particular place, we become co-caretakers alongside our neighbors for the whole of the parish."

The New Parishpp.143-44