Saturday, September 12, 2009

My Baltimore Baptism

Well, when I realized I was coming to B’more I prayed to God that I would be shaped and changed by my experience here. Prayers are being answered I suppose.
So far I’ve seen the aftereffects of a shooting and the massive show of force by the police that followed (including what nearly was the wrongful arrest of a youngster), and the further alienation of the neighborhood toward the cops that followed. I’ve turned a man away from the church doors who was asking for money. And now I’ve been mugged less than 12 feet from my apartment.
One of my parishners said it best, “this is your Baltimore Baptism.”

I just got mugged

About all I know right now. Kinda sucks.

a correlation a cause does not make

Map A: A map of American vices
Map B: A Map of what denomination holds sway where.

Friday, September 11, 2009

When the personal is political the people perish

So we've got some nut jobs out there...
Tiller was killed because of abortion, Pouillon was likely killed for the same reason just on the opposite side of the issue.
Rep. Wilson acted like a twelve year old at a middle school assembly, people send out political "humor" and rumor that could be construed as hate speech.
I don't know, but one guess would be that it involves the way Americans have come to perceive themselves. They perceive some part of their self as a political thing. Our partisan identity and our personal identity have merged. What our party affiliation is impacts the soul. The personal is political and the political personal.
It would be downright stupid to kill someone because of an opinion they hold that is different than my opinion, but if this opinion is more than an opinion, if it is a shard of one's soul, then that's a different story. If I am a child of the light because I'm "blue" then those who are "red" are children of darkness.
Its like we've knocked apart the door between cosmology and ideology.
I don't know. I'm sure its always been like this and I'm just showing my naive youth, but seeing people killing and hating other people for any reason just digs into me in a bad way... and you all know I'm fairly partisan.

Apparently it is the parents who are smoking pot

More Americans over age 50 are smoking marijuana than ever before. Are my parents among them?
By Daniel Engber
At the time, Mom's question caught me by surprise: "Have you ever tried marijuana?" she asked, sloshing her coffee around in a mug as we stood together in the kitchen. My mind went blank. Could this be the fabled "drug talk" that parents are supposed to give to their teenage children? If so, why was I getting it at 30?
It turned out my mother was less interested in my drug use than her own. When I told her I'd smoked pot in college, and a bunch of times since, she took the news in stride. The thing was, she and my father were hoping to score some weed. Did I know anybody?
... and it goes on, ending...
My parents didn't seem perturbed by this doctor's warning. Nor were they put off by my cautionary tale about the 65-year-old grandma who'd recently been caught with 33 pounds of premium marijuana in the trunk of her car. I tried to nag them, but they were pretty mellow about the whole thing.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

What do you do with the Sob Story?

This evening a man came to the door of the church with a sob story and asking for 7 bucks for bus fare. He sounded legit, but I’ve heard a lot of people looking for certain amounts of money for bus fare, especially back in Eugene the homeless (and anarchist… coincidence? I think not) capital of the US.
Well, firstly I didn’t have 7 bucks on me, but secondly I wasn’t sure if he was legit. So I went in and explained the situation to the church musician. He saw the number one concern in that situation to be my safety (which is good sense).
So we went back out and all we could offer the man was a prayer.
Seems like weak sauce to me.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

My first prayers at St. John's

With the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, let us pray for the Church, those in need, and all of God’s creation.
Gracious Father, we pray for the Church universal. Fill it with all truth and peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it; where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in need, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it.
We pray especially for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as we struggle to remain faithful to you and to one another despite our clashes of conscience regarding the ordination of homosexuals in chaste and publically accountable relationships. Speak to us Lord your words Ephetha, that our ears may hear where those we disagree with are coming from and open our mouths that we may speak gracious and meaningful words to one another.
Lord in your mercy—Hear our prayer
Caster of creation, sculptor of worlds, we thank you for this planet and all living things on it, fish and fauna, creeping things and all kinds of creatures. For forests and plains, cities and barren places. We pray that we might be better stewards of our home here.
Lord in your mercy—Hear our prayer
King of Kings, we thank you for our elected leaders and we pray for them as they discuss sickness and health. May they act wisely and justly.
Lord in your mercy—Hear our prayer
Healer of our every ill we hear the magnificent images of wholeness in Isaiah’s description of his people’s return to the Promised Land. Yet so many in this city, this country, and this world can only say to you, “Even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” And so we lift up their cries to you.
The cries of those victims of violence, of shootings and arsons. The cries of the unemployed, the homeless, the imprisoned, the sick, depressed, lonely, shut in, addicted, and mentally ill. The cries of those trapped by social and economic forces—the cries of folk whose countries are war zones and their governments repress and even kill them. Lord we lift to you all those in need.
Lord in your mercy—Hear our prayer
And Lord, at this time I ask this assembly to raise any concerns to you either aloud or in silence.
Into your hands, gracious God, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy; through Jesus Christ, our Savior.