Showing posts from September, 2010

Misery, Money & Me

Luke 16:19-31 On Thursday I went to drop Maisy off at daycare, which is located in the student housing area of Luther Seminary.  Thirty children line up under the awning near the front door to catch the bus every morning.  This particular morning it was raining, and there were two police cars pulled up to the sidewalk, the officers talking to someone in the middle of the swirling, noisy crowd of children.  I took Maisy inside and when I came out I heard from a parent that the police were trying to “move someone along.”  This man had been storing his bike near the dumpsters, and had been spotted earlier that morning in the seminary library – conspicuously not reading , which raised suspicion, and someone called the police.  So while the children waited for their bus, they witnessed the police intervening on this vagrant who had been seeking somewhere dry to pass the time. Now, this sort of thing really messes with us Christians.  On the one hand, we don’t want homeless people hanging

Keeping the Faith

Today we gathered for a special service, a very different kind of get-together.  There were packs of Kleenex in all the pews, a basket to drop notes into at the door, and candles around the space.  The communion table was left conspicuously open, the cup and platter in one back corner, a couple of candles in the other.  In the center of the space was a big, soft chair, with a homemade quilt over it and a puffy footrest. It was flanked by rocking chairs and pews extending from there – forming an intimate circle, bracketed on either end by the baptismal font and the communion table. People came in with more tissues in their pockets or purses; some couldn’t bring themselves to come at all.  They mostly entered timidly, quietly, apprehensively.  Then she came in, walker slowly pushed in front of her. She was guided to the special seat, her feet propped up on the plush cushion. “Welcome to our ‘ Keeping the Faith Ceremony’” I said.  And we proceeded to acknowledge that our dear sister is d

Responsible Remembering: 9/11 & Now

A friend of mine who is Muslim (and 9 months pregnant!) lives near the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, and every year, like everyone else with enough yard space close to the gates, she and her husband use their grass for State Fair Parking.  She recently shared on Facebook how, as she was cheerfully sweating and directing cars into spots, she was suddenly verbally accosted by a couple of guys yelling racially charged jokes at her on their way into the "great Minnesota get-together."  This opened up a discussion where others began sharing their grief at similar, painful experiences. I have shared a few thoughts here about the jarring experience of returning from South Africa- where I was given an anecdotal and broad crash course in their history, work for reconciliation, and striving to build a "rainbow nation" unified in their diversity, where all are respected.   (The poignant and powerful   South African Constitution   is worth a read!)   The horrors

When you don't have a year off to eat, pray and love...

Over at Patheos, they've asked a few folks to share, in 100 words or less, how they seek spiritual renewal in times of personal crisis.   I was one of the responders, and I invite you to read the lovely and poignant responses they received here:  Spirtual Renewal in times of crisis From Patheos: With the recent release of the movie   Eat, Pray, Love , about one woman's spiritual quest after a bitter divorce, we've been thinking about the ways each of us seeks renewal, specifically in times of crisis. And while author Elizabeth Gilbert's journey led her on an extended pilgrimage far from her home in NYC, we couldn't help but wonder:  How do you seek spiritual renewal when you   can't   leave your family, your job, your mortgage payment? We reached out to some of our favorite bloggers to share their thoughts on the question:    When you can't drop everything for a year-long spiritual pilgrimage, how/where do you seek spiritual renewal in times of

old letters and new life

A few months after we bought our house, Andy was re-insulating, standing on a ladder underneath the floor of our family room – pulling out the very sparse filling which was mostly made of ancient shredded newspapers, when he discovered a stash of old letters tucked in up inside a gap.  These letters were dated in the 1930s.  There were twenty or thirty of them, from the same person, hidden all together over a time span of a several years, in the eves of what was once the garage.  What led the man who lived here to hide the letters? we wondered.  What was the tale behind these short, terse, often sad notes?  There is story here, one that has taken us years to piece together, a little at a time, and we still only know parts of it.  Reading between the lines, guessing at the sender and the recipient, the motivation of the letter, what it was like to get it, what happened as a result of it... this is a fascinating game. There is nothing like an ordinary and mysterious letter to open peeph