Thursday, November 15, 2007


I started drinking coffee at 6:00am this morning. It's now 11:30 and I've graced three different coffee shops as I have worked my way through this morning's appointments. I've had two expresso drinks, approx. 48 ounces of brewed coffee, and a "Vine Swinger" (black coffee with a few shots of expresso thrown in). I'm buzzin'
I think I'm OK - no heart palpatations so far, although I just saw a housefly land on my table and was able to count its wingbeats as it took off, and my computer seems to be running incredibly slowly. Perhaps I'll wait to do my comtemplative prayer until later. Sermons on a variety of topics are whipping through my mind at several times the speed of light but the only thing I see on my Palm Pilot screen is the word Dueteronomy and I have no idea why or even who wrote it. I'm really happy though.

I meet with a very small group on Wednesday morning to share devotions. We meet in my office. Two of us drink coffee from my trusty thermos. Right now we are reading through Ben Richmond's "Signs of Salvation." Its pretty dense but we are learning a bit as we read. It's nice to read biblical stuff written by a Quaker, especially by someone like Ben, who I greatly respect.

Still, reading this stuff always makes me wonder about the purpose of the Bible. It makes me nervous that our so-called basic text for Christianity 101 can only be understood deeply by scholars. And when are they going to finally say, "Well that's it! Looks like we've got this bugger figured out at last." Could the authors have anticipated the multi-layers of meaning assigned to these texts? At least John 3:16 is clear enough for at least football fans (who are not known for their superior intellect) to understand.

When anyone says, "The Bible says so and so," I always whisper under my breath, "No that's what YOU say after reading the Bible." I once spoke at a conference and pointed out that the Bible doesn't really SAY anything. It's always people saying things about the Bible based on their understanding to the text. I think its possible to learn what the Bible teaches, but we should refrain from claiming we know what the Bible says. Even worse is the inclination to speak for God after reading the Bible.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Feverish Ramblings

I've got the flu today...second day. I get sick very rarely and I really hate it when I do. I'm sitting in my living room with my computer on a TV tray, papers scattered all over the floor with "all over" being the operative concept. I've started at least 10 projects and its still early. Like the papers, I'm scattered. I need to be in my office to finish most of these, I've got a sermon coming up that Lynn, Cherice, and I have been working on together...we need to talk further. I missed a meeting for worship for business last evening. Haven't heard what happened. I stood up a friend with whom I had worked hard to find a lunch appointment for yesterday. Bleah. I hate this.

OK, its now 9:00am I read Scot, Gregg, and Amy's blogs and doing so greatly relieved my anxiety. I am so grateful to them and others who go to the work of blogging. It really is work. It's such a generous thing to do. They are being generous with their time, reputation, and with their lives. Gratitude is a centering thing, isn't it?

Coincidentally the sermon series we are working on is about generosity. Go figure.
We're thinking of preparing a couple of questions to contemplate during silent worship: "When does generosity come with difficulty?" and, "When does generosity come easily?" The question that haunts me this morning is the difficulty with generosity one. I'm least generous with my patience, particularly with the community. It ironic. I see myself as a champion for decision making based in waiting, listening, and discernment, but struggle when the community seems slow to catch on or catch up to some new idea I've thrown into the mix. I think that once I feel I have a sense of God's leading, I'm impatient to move to the action stage. When I complain, the rest of the Team and/or Elders usually remind me that I've had the luxury of time to reach clearness so shouldn't be surprised that others(especially others who are trying to squeeze church stuff into already overtaxed lives)need time as well. That's true. Then I am reminded that its also true that I present ideas in language that is usually way too abstract. Okay, that is a problem, too. Then I'm reminded that some of my ideas are way beyond realistic for our community. Yeah, there's that, too. OK.

Those reminders temper my impatience but really don't help me with its source. Maybe its fear of stagnancy, or a misunderstanding about leadership. Maybe its because I sometimes lose energy when an idea gets to the nuts and bolts of implementation. Maybe because I'm 60 and feel like time is of the essence. Whatever the reason, I need to take time to put voice to the gratitude I feel for the community and their generosity with their time and energy and resources. I am often moved nearly to tears at the wonderful faithfulness of so many people who give time to the community in worship, planning, ministry, fellowship, and outreach. I probably need to focus more on the process than the outcome, too. Or, maybe I should shut up, take a couple of Advil, forget all these projects and go back to bed.
Now there's an idea with my name on it. Later.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

More on being hospitable to God

I read Paul L and Cherice's posts with a good deal of interest. The whole concept of "the present teacher" is one I cherish but really don't understand.