Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Keep Moving!

In a letter to his son, the genius wrote; Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you have to keep moving.
Life is about movement and growth, adventure and anticipation, faithfully moving forward. Einstein belived in a Deity that created a world guided by rhythyms and patterns. To stand still is to resist that creative force. Einstein's image is a reminder to yes, move; but move at the pace of a bicycle. Look around, breathe, enjoy the sights, feel the breeze on your skin, propel yourself forward using your God given power, strength, and creativity. Look at the picture again and notice how happy this brilliant man looks as he enjoys one of the simple pleasures of life.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Monday Morning!

On a Monday morning in April we hopefully anticipate a spring day. The reality is cold and gray with no warmth or sunshine in the foreseeable forecast. It is a morning made for a black and white video of the Mamas and the Papas singing "Monday. Monday". Click here.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Holy Fools!

Sarah Dylan Breuer begins her Easter weekend blog entry with the following;

There's a Franciscan fourfold blessing that I have long loved, the fourth blessing of which is this:
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really can make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God's grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

Her words got me thinking about the Holy Fools who first stumbled upon that empty tomb. I am grateful for the fool hardiness of those throughout history since that first century who have courageously proclaimed that Christ's life and death has made a profound difference in their lives. I am grateful for the foolish proclamation of Easter; "He is Risen!" Risen, Alive, Making a Difference, Today, Right Now, Right Here, in the chaos of the world and in the messiness of my life and yours. Happy Easter! May we all be blessed to be foolish enough to make a difference.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Maundy Thursday

I just returned from attending Maundy Thursday service. It was the first time in 24 years that I was not the one officiating, speaking, inviting, distributing, and blessing. It was the first time in 24 years that I did not celebrate this night with others sitting around candlelit tables. It was the first time in over two decades that I did not spend this night surrounded by those I know well. I sat in a pew amongst strangers; the person up front did things differently. Yet, when I took the bread in my hands, when I sipped from the cup, I felt connected. Connected to the Divine, connected to Christ, connected to the strangers in that room, and connected to those whom I have served with in the past. It is a mystery how that happens. I am grateful for that mystery.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Hurt of Holy Week

On this cold and gray Maundy Thursday, I have been listening to and watching Johnny Cash's music video of "Hurt". His voice echoes with the same loneliness and longing that I hear in Jesus' words at the Garden of Gethsemane. In both cases, the words come from men not afraid to ask themselves and God the hard questions. "Has my life been worthwhile?" "Have I done what was expected of me?" You can watch this powerful video by clicking this link. here.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Put on a Happy Face!

Here's two of the happiest faces I know. Oldest granddaughter, Kaylyn, 14, with youngest grandchild, Jena, 4 months. The photo reminds me of the old saying; "Smile and the whole world will smile with you". The joy reflected in these faces sure make me smile.

Wilkepedia identifies the following two kinds of smiles.
The "Duchenne smile", after the researcher
Guillaume Duchenne, is the most studied, and involves the movement of both the zygomaticus major muscle near the mouth and the orbicularis oculi muscle near the eyes. It is believed that the Duchenne smile is only produced as an involuntary response to genuine emotion, and is therefore what one could call the "genuine" smile. Due to the involvement of the muscle near the eyes, it is sometimes said that one can tell whether or not a smile is "real" by whether or not it "reaches the eyes". (Notice Kaylyn and Jenna's eyes.)

The "Pan American smile", on the other hand, is the voluntary smile involving only the
zygomaticus major muscle to show politeness; for example, by a flight attendant on the former airline of the same name. Considered "insincere", this type of smile has also been called the "Professional Smile" by David Foster Wallace in his comedic short story A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again".

Judas, Jesus, and Holy Week

The following is a response I wrote to a post on "Westcoast Chuck's Blog" regarding an article by Elaine Pagel in Salon.
I’ve always appreciated Elaine Pagel’s work because she raises important questions that are challenging and thought provoking. Author and Pastor Frederick Buechner has written that “doubts are the ants in the pants of faith, they keep it alive and moving”. I believe the same can be said of questions about Jesus and the Gospels. What I have always found appealing about the Christian faith is that the story of Jesus is not neat, simple, and without contradictions. The four Gospels differ quite significantly in their telling of the events leading up to Jesus’ death and the aftermath. Each gospel was written by a different author, at a different time in history, to a unique audience in unique circumstances. Therefore the focus and approach to the telling of the story varies. What is convincing, for me, is the common theme and conclusions that the writers share. Biblical scholars and creative minds alike have pondered Judas’ motives and relationship with Jesus. The telling of the events leave plenty of room for this kind of supposition. Did Judas do it for the money? Was he a member of the Zealot party, committed to overthrowing the Romans, and was he impatient with Jesus’ methods and message? Was he Jesus' closest friend and simply following Jesus’ instructions? Look at how the relationship between Jesus and Judas is portrayed in “Jesus Christ, Superstar”. Human relationships and events are complicated and messy. Jesus, fully human and fully divine, carried out his mission in the midst of that same messiness. The message of Holy Week and Easter that resonates in the four Gospels is that Jesus represents a God who cares, who is willing to suffer in the same ways that we suffer, who forgives, and who promises something beyond this earthly life. For over 2000 years this message has been studied, critiqued, attacked, and laughed at but continues to bring hope to those of us who choose to believe.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

At the end of the Rainbow!

Follow the rainbow to the pot of gold. April Fools, it turns out to be beer.