Thursday, May 31, 2012

In this first grade, knitting and stories are the focus, not phonics

In this first grade, knitting and stories are the focus, not phonics

Come Holy Spirit, Come!

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”
To span the infinite gap between the Divine and the human, God’s agenda is to plant a little bit of God, the Holy Spirit, right inside of us! (Jeremiah 31:31-34, John 14:16ff).
This is the very meaning of the “new” covenant, and the replacing of our “heart of stone with a heart of flesh” that Ezekiel promised (36:25-26). Isn’t that wonderful? It is God doing the loving, in and through us, back to God, toward our neighbor and enemy alike, and even toward the sad and broken parts of ourselves.
Break through my closed door, O God.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

homegrown, local, sustainable....

Applesauce Chocolate Chip Cookies here.
check out the site Farmgirl Gourmet for tasty family friendly recipes!!

june 2, 3 sat: 11-6 sun: 10-5

Filled with the Holy Spirit

God has grown accustomed to our small and cowardly ways of waiting behind closed doors of fear and self-doubt. God knows that we settle for easy certitudes instead of Gospel freedom, for a small god instead of a Big Mystery. Yet God seems surely determined to break through.
The Spirit eventually overcomes the obstacles that we present and surrounds us with enough peace so that we can accept the “wounds in His hands and His side”—which, I hope you know, is really to accept our own. - Richard Rohr

For Beauty

Monday, May 28, 2012

God of all humankind, make the roof of our house wide enough for all opinions. Oil the door of our house so it opens easily to friend and stranger and set such a table in our house that our whole family may speak kindly and freely around it. Amen.
Adapted from A prayer from Hawaii, 1000 World Prayers

Ruach, Holy Spirit, Pneuma....

We are always waiting for the Holy Spirit—somehow forgetting that the Spirit was given to us from the very beginning. In fact, She was “hovering over the chaos” in the very first lines of Genesis (1:2), turning the “formless void” into a Garden of Eden.
We are threatened by anything that we cannot control, that part of God “which blows where It will” (John 3:8) and which our theologies and churches can neither predict nor inhibit. The Holy Spirit has rightly been called the forgotten or denied Person of the Blessed Trinity. We cannot sense the Spirit, like we cannot see air, silence, and the space between everything. We look for God “out there” and the Spirit is always “in here” and “in between” everything.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Social Change and Christ

Young Pastor at the Forefront of Social Change in Australia
by Bron Sibree 05-18-2012
He’s been arrested more times than he cares to mention, but that’s life when you typify the new generation of Christian leaders who are seeking to not just preach Christ’s gospel, but live it. Young pastor Jarrod McKenna describes it as “rolling up our sleeves and just getting on with the practical work of loving our neighbors.”
A regular at anti-war protests, Jarrod is no stranger to the handcuffs of authority. But he’s also highly sought-after at home and abroad as a social change facilitator and speaker.
“There’s been a real cultural shift in Australia, with many Gen Y-ers wanting to engage issues differently,” says the 31-year-old. “I get to mentor a lot of people from all around Australia who are coming from across the board – from the Hillsong type mega-churches to Sydney Anglican conservatism, from Charismatics to Baptists and Pentecostals. All of them are saying, ‘We don’t want to walk away from faith, we want to share in a faith that’s more authentic than we’ve been offered before’.”
Jarrod is the youngest person ever to win the prestigious Quaker Peace Award, the Donald Groom Peace Fellowship. It was bestowed on him in 2006 for his work as director of Empowering Peacemakers in Your Community (EPYC), a nonviolence education program he founded in Perth in 2004. Last year alone he trained over 8000 young people through EPYC, and engaged thousands more in talks across the country.
His ability to inspire the next generation to live out the radical implications of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount prompted Tim Costello to appoint Jarrod as National Advisor for Youth, Faith and Activism for World Vision Australia last year. Since then he’s been familiarizing himself with World Vision’s diverse programs in Africa, India, Albania and in the Middle East.
“World Vision’s emphasis is on children’s rights, and seeing children lifted out of situations of poverty and exploitation,” he said. “So much of its work is about empowerment, and it’s really humbling to be part of it. I’ve seen some incredible work that’s about more than charity, it’s about a restorative justice.”
Balcatta-born, Hale-educated Jarrod credits his parents’ belief – “in serving the poor, you serve God” – with kick-starting his own spiritual journey by the age of 14. He studied Fine Arts at Curtin University then landed a scholarship to study theology at Lipscomb University in the U.S. There he was mentored by his professor, Biblical ethicist Lee Camp, who introduced him to the radical peace traditions of groups like the Quakers, Anabaptists and Mennonites, who embrace a Christianity that says “following Jesus means rejecting violence and making God’s love practical”.
Living in the US during 9/11, Jarrod had friends who lost family members both in New York and at the Pentagon, and in the aftermath began seeing a very sentimentalized Christianity that had more to do with patriotism, militarism, race and privilege than it had to do with Christ.
“That was really confronting for me,” he said. “I had to make a choice, ‘Am I going to opt out of this?’ because frankly, I was horrified by a lot of what passed for Christianity. But, ironically, it was that year I started reading Gandhi for the first time – a Hindu who spent two hours each day meditating on Christ’s teachings and encouraged his followers to do the same. Gandhi had this challenge that we must be the change we wish to see in the world, and I realize if this Hindu can take Jesus that seriously why not the church! That gave me the courage to seek be part of this brilliant, untold story of a Christianity that does look like Christ.”
Terrorism’s brutal effects hit even closer to home in 2002 when, as a newly minted pastor back in Perth, he learned that a friend who’d celebrated his 18th birthday with him had been murdered in the Bali bombing. Five years later, while helping train young Indonesians in “the practicalities of what it is to practice nonviolence,” he sat across the table from the leader of a militia group that once celebrated the Bali bombing.
“What we saw in this work was this group starting to disarm, because brave Indonesians were reaching out and changing the narrative that said ‘The West or Christians are the enemy’. I met Indonesian Christians who had family members murdered by terrorists who were actually paying for people from this militia to do a peace-building course. And it’s taught me what forgiveness means.”
Forgiveness, he insists, isn’t ever about saying what someone has done is okay, and it’s not about forgetting. “It’s about remembering in a way that you will not become what Martin Luther King called ‘a victim of bitterness’, instead resolving to respond with the only thing that transforms, love.
“That’s a hard journey for all of us,” said Jarrod, who wants to invite people into a new narrative. “For me, that’s everything. All of us understand our lives in terms of a story, in terms of a narrative, and most of the narratives that animate our lives aren’t about love of others, but are often about ‘me’ and the ‘market’. I think we need to tell better, more beautiful and life-giving stories. And ultimately for me the Gospel is that. My prayer is that my life and my actions will tell that story, not merely my words.”

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Communion - At the Table

Wonderful Sojourner article here on the Eucharist....any time, any place....

Blog Heaven

some more fun browsing for you:
show and tell
design curiosities
we three zweigs
hello from the natos
the mom creative
the tiny twig

road trip??:


Great post from (in)courage on the purpose of

The Water Will Flow

Just an opinion.....
Editor's Note: Mark Osler is a Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
By Mark Osler, Special to CNN
I am a Christian, and I am in favor of gay marriage. The reason I am for gay marriage is because of my faith.
What I see in the Bible’s accounts of Jesus and his followers is an insistence that we don’t have the moral authority to deny others the blessing of holy institutions like baptism, communion, and marriage. God, through the Holy Spirit, infuses those moments with life, and it is not ours to either give or deny to others.
A clear instruction on this comes from Simon Peter, the “rock” on whom the church is built. Peter is a captivating figure in the Christian story. Jesus plucks him out of a fishing boat to become a disciple, and time and again he represents us all in learning at the feet of Christ.
During their time together, Peter is often na├»ve and clueless – he is a follower, constantly learning.
After Jesus is crucified, though, a different Peter emerges, one who is forceful and bold. This is the Peter we see in the Acts of the Apostles, during a fevered debate over whether or not Gentiles should be baptized. Peter was harshly criticized for even eating a meal with those who were uncircumcised; that is, those who did not follow the commands of the Old Testament.
Peter, though, is strong in confronting those who would deny the sacrament of baptism to the Gentiles, and argues for an acceptance of believers who do not follow the circumcision rules of Leviticus (which is also where we find a condemnation of homosexuality).
His challenge is stark and stunning: Before ordering that the Gentiles be baptized Peter asks “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”
None of us, Peter says, has the moral authority to deny baptism to those who seek it, even if they do not follow the ancient laws. It is the flooding love of the Holy Spirit, which fell over that entire crowd, sinners and saints alike, that directs otherwise.
It is not our place, it seems, to sort out who should be denied a bond with God and the Holy Spirit of the kind that we find through baptism, communion, and marriage. The water will flow where it will.
Intriguingly, this rule will apply whether we see homosexuality as a sin or not. The water is for all of us. We see the same thing at the Last Supper, as Jesus gives the bread and wine to all who are there—even to Peter, who Jesus said would deny him, and to Judas, who would betray him.
The question before us now is not whether homosexuality is a sin, but whether being gay should be a bar to baptism or communion or marriage.
The answer is in the Bible. Peter and Jesus offer a strikingly inclusive form of love and engagement. They hold out the symbols of Gods’ love to all. How arrogant that we think it is ours to parse out stingily!
I worship at St. Stephens, an Episcopal church in Edina, Minnesota. There is a river that flows around the back and side of that church with a delightful name: Minnehaha Creek. That is where we do baptisms.
The Rector stands in the creek in his robes, the cool water coursing by his feet, and takes an infant into his arms and baptizes her with that same cool water. The congregation sits on the grassy bank and watches, a gentle army.
At the bottom of the creek, in exactly that spot, is a floor of smooth pebbles. The water rushing by has rubbed off the rough edges, bit by bit, day by day. The pebbles have been transformed by that water into something new.
I suppose that, as Peter put it, someone could try to withhold the waters of baptism there. They could try to stop the river, to keep the water from some of the stones, like a child in the gutter building a barrier against the stream.
It won’t last, though. I would say this to those who would withhold the water of baptism, the joy of worship, or the bonds of marriage: You are less strong than the water, which will flow around you, find its path, and gently erode each wall you try to erect.
The redeeming power of that creek, and of the Holy Spirit, is relentless, making us all into something better and new.


clothing here

the perfect place to have a conversation and meal in NYC:
for pretty little girl toes in sandals: (non-toxic!)
fun blogs:
the william brown project
the stuff to remember
pia jane bijkerk
little brown pen
the glamorous housewife
iowa girl eats
somethings hiding in here

I know, I know, how do we go from topics of war to summer fashions and cute blogs?! We need joy in our lives and perhaps like you I like pretty things that make me smile and for a moment let me forget about the wars and the sorrow. Just for a moment. I need to be reminded that there is beauty, real beauty, courage, creativity and joy in our world. We keep going.....Alice Walker says in the Color Purple that God gets mad when we walk by the color take note of the lovely things in life.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Good Book

What's your perfect day? Mine always involves something tastey, some time in nature and magic. These pictures look like magic to me. It would be fun to document some perfect days with a camera this summer and have the photos made into a book. We could all share our perfect days with our families when we come together again in the fall.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

O Lord, I praise you for your great faithfulness! Thank you for being faithful even when I am faithless! Thank you for allowing me into your everlasting kingdom. Keep my wandering heart close to you. Amen. from the blue letter Bible

Oh my wandering heart. I don't know if you find your heart wanders away from God and from priorities, love and kindness but mine does. I get confused some days about what is important and what gives meaning in my life. Some days it feels as if God has left my heart or maybe it's just I've stopped listening. Maybe that's it.
Keep my wandering heart close to you, God.
"For [Jesus] is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us."
- Ephesians 2:14

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Don't Have Love

Words for You

"Mysteriously hidden within each of us are the seeds that can germinate into a new society, a new planet. Like the corn, we have hidden deep within our living process a wisdom that reaches back to all knowledge and beyond all possibilities.... We have the wisdom of the ancestors reaching back to the mighty power of all creation... within us."
- Anne Wilson Schaef

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Creation Care

Environmentalism, Going Green.....for our private lives but also for our community, our church. Article here on caring for God's Creation with our church in mind.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Organizations and individuals around the world have worked tirelessly to amplify the voices of survivors and stop rape. The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict unites us into a powerful and coordinated effort for change.
We are the first ever global collaboration between Nobel Peace Laureates, international advocacy organizations, and groups working at the regional and community levels in conflict.
The Campaign will demand urgent and bold political leadership to prevent rape in conflict, to protect civilians and rape survivors, and call for justice for all—including effective prosecution of those responsible. These three pillars of the Campaign—PREVENT, PROTECT, PROSECUTE—signal a comprehensive effort to stop rape in conflict.
Our first four focus countries—Burma, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya—represent places where immediate, coordinated action is needed. Within these four countries we know that our united efforts can make the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time.
We are excited to announce our launch on May 6 with a Week of Action. Join us and Take the Pledge.
Don’t forget that this is your Campaign – every member and every action counts!

Jesus asks us to remember the least of love one another, to have mercy and compassion that transforms our hardened hearts.
God of mercy and compassion, please pour peace into our hearts and give us the courage and the knowledge to take action so that all of your people may live abundant lives, free from fear and violence.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Surrendering Outcomes

"You can absolutely rip your heart out and put it on a plate for them week after week after week … and you cannot control whetherh they will be your friend, whether they will listen, whether they will walk away, whether they will stab you in the back. It’s simply not possible. But it is possible to live with the great illusion that if you do certain things you will achieve a certain result — and that’s simply not true. The sooner you come to terms with this, with our powerlessness, the more joy you will have.” r.bell

This is part of an article written by former Pastor and radical Christian, Rob Bell, who speaks such truth. I need to hear this message that no matter what you do and how you behave and look, act etc. you can't control how people will percieve you or if they will love or find great fault with you. We don't have control over that. We don't have control. 
Love anyway.
article here.

t.s. eliot

from little gidding....

You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel . . . .

Bread for You

“When I have money, I get rid of it quickly, least it find a way into my heart.”
- John Wesley

Happy Mother's Day

Article here from Sojourners.
I think mothers are like trees. Branches are our arms for hugging, leaves for shelter, roots for wisdom and strength. Think of yourself like a tree. Holy.

Bread for You

"So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!"
- 2 Corinthians 5:17
God of healing, we pray for those who are in pain -- physical or emotional, real or imagined. Lord, only you know the depths of their suffering. You alone know the path to healing and recovery. In your mercy, wipe away their aches and pains, their headaches and heartaches. Amen.

prayer from Sojourners

Sunday, May 6, 2012

New Adult Ed Series

Reverend Lillian Daniel is just up the "street" from us in Glen Ellyn, at First Congregational Church. Check out this new series for those who want to dig deeper into their faith, their theology, their love of God.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


As Christians we must use our minds as well as our hearts to come to know God. Keep searching. Keep asking questions. 
Religion News Service here.

Generative Christianity

this is a wonderful quote by theologian Diana Butler Bass. What does Generative Christianity mean in your life?

Generative Christianity
Whereas militant Christianity triumphs over all, generative Christianity transforms the world through humble service to all. It is not about victory; it is about following Christ in order to seed human community with grace.
Diana Butler Bass
from Friar Richard Rohr - on the Spiral of Violence:

I hope that this short introduction to the three sources of evil as the spiral of violence—1) the world's agreed-upon systems, 2) individual sin, and 3) the demonic legitimization of oppressive and destructive power—can be a primary tool for the rest of your life, to help you discern what is truly good and what is often evil. And remember, the proper sequencing is important: if you nip the disguise of evil in the first stage, the next two largely lose most of their power to fool you.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Good Sisters

This is an article written by a Jesuit Priest who has been deeply impacted by nuns and is frustrated with the Vatican's message about the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Article here.


"As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share."
- 1 Timothy 6:17-18

Love God, Love Your Neighbor

How are we doing on the greatest of all Commandments? Article here.

Words for You

“We have to think of a God closer to our evil than we ever dare to be. We have to think of God not as standing at the end of the way we take when we run away from our evil in the search for good, but as taking hold of us in our evil, at the sore point which the whole idealistic thrust of man is concerned to avoid.” D.S. Moore

Kennedy column: A need for prison ministry

Kennedy column: A need for prison ministry

Domestic Violence Addressed

An interfaith group of women are joining together today to discuss how domestic violence is not unique to any one race, class or faith tradition. It's an evil that's present amongst all groups. Article here.

Born Again

I want to read Almost Amish. Here's an article about it from Sojourners:

Good book for a bookgroup? Have you read it?


"See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

- 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18