Gabriel turns Two: Happy Birthday Sweet Boy

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Steps Stone and Mustard Yellow: Beginning seminary with baby

My survival belongings (diapers, notepad, books, wipes, water bottle and Hawaiian print blanket are strewn across the steps of the seminary library, grand stone like a cathedral, old and opening to a seminary world wide, diverse, yet insular. in a permeable sort of way. Avriana, my five-month old daughter is held close to me with one arm; my other hand holds Everything Must Change, a pre-release version of Brian Mclaren's latest book. Squishy noises of poop, boldly propelled by natural gas sound explosively from my baby's bottom. I look around, to note any possible witnesses, before I align my yellow legal pad and a folder emblazoned with the Lutheran Theological Seminary logo and filled with financial information, so as to form an approximation of a changing pad. Opening Avriana's diaper, I am careful not to let her roll down the stone steps into the green seminary square below, and just as the yellow-mustard gooey stuff is revealed to Creation, appearing from the library's massive wood doors is prim-ish looking women who is walking toward me marked by a slightly raised eyebrow connoting intrugue and a predilection for disapproval from behind her nose-level bifocals. I say, "Hi."

Everyday we begin prologue with a small group discussion around a long table, which looks like a sub (or as they say in Pennsylvania, a hoagie,) and it is over this hoagi that we get to know people who will someday be ministers in the name of Christ. Prologue, in case you were wondering, is our introductory seminary course, taking up all day, every day except Sunday for two weeks, emphasizing exposure to the Other, in the form of interfaith presenters, a field trip to the local Krishna temple (where you can find delectable date peanut cookies, as well as freshly dressed deities and caucasian women and men donned in Indian Sari's serving the All Attractive One,) and intense discussion of racism and the socio-ethnic landscape of the Avenue on which sits our permeable, insular womb, in which we will become pastors, priests. Someones and somethings who will bear some responsibility for carrying out the work of Christ's God in the world.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What is love?

How do you know if you love someone?

Here's love according to me:

Love: 1.
when you could hurt someone and choose to value them instead 2. when someone you love can't meet your needs and you love them without expectation, while also loving yourself 3. when you love someone just because of the mere fact that they're here, beautiful for who they are, priceless treasures in jars of clay 4. when you love them, you feel love toward yourself, life, the Being and all beings. When you love, you are alive.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Flying Spagetti Monster

My ex was here this weekend and introduced me to something very tongue-in-cheek -- the sort of tongue-in-cheek that an ex-fundamentalist enjoys sharing with an ex-husband. It's a hilarious assault on the Kansas School Board case regarding the teaching of intelligent design as a scientific theory along with evolution:

Open Letter To Kansas School Board

I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. I think we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them. I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design.

Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.

It is for this reason that I’m writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories. In fact, I will go so far as to say, if you do not agree to do this, we will be forced to proceed with legal action. I’m sure you see where we are coming from. If the Intelligent Design theory is not based on faith, but instead another scientific theory, as is claimed, then you must also allow our theory to be taught, as it is also based on science, not on faith.

Some find that hard to believe, so it may be helpful to tell you a little more about our beliefs. We have evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. None of us, of course, were around to see it, but we have written accounts of it. We have several lengthy volumes explaining all details of His power. Also, you may be surprised to hear that there are over 10 million of us, and growing. We tend to be very secretive, as many people claim our beliefs are not substantiated by observable evidence. What these people don’t understand is that He built the world to make us think the earth is older than it really is. For example, a scientist may perform a carbon-dating process on an artifact. He finds that approximately 75% of the Carbon-14 has decayed by electron emission to Nitrogen-14, and infers that this artifact is approximately 10,000 years old, as the half-life of Carbon-14 appears to be 5,730 years. But what our scientist does not realize is that every time he makes a measurement, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is there changing the results with His Noodly Appendage. We have numerous texts that describe in detail how this can be possible and the reasons why He does this. He is of course invisible and can pass through normal matter with ease.

I’m sure you now realize how important it is that your students are taught this alternate theory. It is absolutely imperative that they realize that observable evidence is at the discretion of a Flying Spaghetti Monster. Furthermore, it is disrespectful to teach our beliefs without wearing His chosen outfit, which of course is full pirate regalia. I cannot stress the importance of this enough, and unfortunately cannot describe in detail why this must be done as I fear this letter is already becoming too long. The concise explanation is that He becomes angry if we don’t.

You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the last 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature.

In conclusion, thank you for taking the time to hear our views and beliefs. I hope I was able to convey the importance of teaching this theory to your students. We will of course be able to train the teachers in this alternate theory. I am eagerly awaiting your response, and hope dearly that no legal action will need to be taken. I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world; One third time for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence.

Sincerely Yours,

Bobby Henderson, concerned citizen.

P.S. I have included an artistic drawing of Him creating a mountain, trees, and a midget. Remember, we are all His creatures.

So what do you think? Does this make you think? Laugh? Want to cry?

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Great Physician's Rule

Physician's rule: first, do no harm.
The Great Physician's rule: Love everyone.
Religion's rule?


If God is Love, love seeks the wellbeing of another, never disregarding the interests of another for one's own gain. Ones own agenda. Or even one's own religion. Love is the positive phrasing of medicine's rule, First Do No Harm.

If we follow the Great Physician we will seek wellbeing, love, healing and life abundant for everyone on earth. The wellbeing of another person will be more important than his or her religion, sexual orientation, worldview or personal decisions and beliefs.

We are healer's in in the world, healer's in Christ's name. And the first rule of healing is do no harm. In another words, love everyone.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Knocking from the Inside: A theology of redemption in light of God's omnipresence

If God is everywhere, then s/he must be Everywhere, including within the vibrating cells unbelievers, nonbelievers, partial believers and even gay haters, gluttons and grass. Even me. Even before I was becoming a Christian, opening to an increasing awareness of God's truth, grace -- really just God's love in all its many faces, like justice and joy and the cross and being alive.

God is willing that none should perish; Jesus asked his Father to forgive those who know not what they do, and our Divine Creator sent his only begotton Son -- which could just as easily have been a her only begotton daughter -- not to condemn the world, but to save it. Grace is free, and it's already here. Grace is alive, waiting, present for everyone, anytime. All we have to do is wake up and open the Present of Christmas morning: God with us.

The Holy Spirit can't not indwell a person, whatever they do or believe, because God indwells everything. But if we are blind, our hearts are cold and our ears can't hear, we are cut off from being alive to this gift that's wrapped with longing affection and waiting within our heart. God is knocking on the door from the inside. "Open me," says Holy Spirit. "And I will open you."