"Universalist Sundays"

Richard Hurst one of UNMC’s deacons and liturgists has this blog recording the items he prepares as liturgist. He’s quite talented, and I’m glad he’s done this.

(You can also get an idea of what some of our services look like, in part.)

See all at Universalist Sundays.

[2009. Long gone.]

Gatheringwater's experience

Matthew Gatheringwater doesn’t have TrackBack, so this will have to do to respond to his rather harrowing tale, entitled, “My bus fare and Jesus.” That, and it has been four days since I’ve made an entry, and don’t want to seem to have gone AWOL.

In short, our writer, in south Chicago at night (like ER?) explained that three young men were fit to rob him. Gatheringwater writes his response, “‘I’m sorry,’ I said, with surprising confidence, ‘All I’ve got is my bus fare and Jesus.'”

Then his coda: “Where did that come from?” He says . . . well, go read it, and come back.

Welcome back.

Wow, yes (like the other commenters said) and now what to do with it? I doubt the “welcoming party” backed off because with no apologies to John Wesley of their hearts were “strangely warmed.” After all, Pharoah had a hard heart but was forced to act when he saw the signs Moses worked woth God’s power. And a minister has God’s power, bidden or not, like it or not. If the ministerial formation process fails to impress this, it hasn’t worked. I do admit I’m not sure how this works for non-theists, but that’s for them to work out.

But let’s press this a bit farther. If you will excuse a small vulgarity, God can be a bad-ass sometimes, and perhaps more often than our usual liberal church image of God as the Heavenly Park Service Officer. You know, “I find God in beauty.” “I find God in nature.” and so forth.

Now how did they know M.G. was, if not ordained, then at least moving in that direction? A white guy in the south side? Perhaps, but I’d like to put out there that the “Jesus and bus fare” comment unleashed a power that demanded recognition. I’ll leave that there, and may pick it up some other day.

But this demand and responsibilty of power cuts both ways. I can’t help but think that the clerical sex scandals are due in part to receiving the power granted by God and (sometimes) recognized in society, but not respecting God and the persons God had made. These priests not only betrayed the people, but they betrayed God, and I cannot begin to comprehend the depth of that alienation. But, I’ll also lay that aside for the moment, and hope that readers here and at Gatheringwater will continue writing, thinking, and praying on these things.

Two more for the blogosphere

Everyone welcome the two new bloggers new in that they have their own private blogs at UUChristian.net

Watch and Pray, a.k.a. Derek Parker, and

Humble Parson, a.k.a. Steve Cook.

1/1/2005 Neither are active any more.

Victory?

A colleague — he doesn’t use his name on the blog that I saw; perhaps that’s an emerging blog convention — linked to me, and I’ll point you to his, too: Across, Beyond, Thought.
I wonder if there are more of us sharing online.

Of course, I’m thinking about the Sunday sermon; it is entitled, “The Victory that Conquers the World.” Or, as I promoted it in the church newsletter:

Memorial Day reminds us of the sacrifices others have made in the field of battle. But what do we make of the “conquest of faith,” where the battlefield is our own soul?

The principle reading
— I follow the Revised Common Lectionary — is 1 John 5:1-6, focusing, of course, on verse four:
“for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith.” (NRSV)

There is an understandable aversion to conquest language. Need I mention the Crusades? the Latin American conquest?
I think a sharp line needs to be made between conquests of human beings against one another, and our victory in God in Christ against that threat against every person: personal death, and by extension, the end of existence, even the love we have. Victory (to use one military concept) comes through participating in God’s army (another military concept.) Except here the fight is participation in God’s living, loving, and responsive Spirit. This creates for the person
a second life which is not destroyed with the body. But what about “those who don’t choose”? It would overstate the power
of the atomistic view of freedom for one to opt out of creation as an act of will. At a foundational level, to be alive is to participate with God. Faith, as John Murray understood, is the confirmation of this second life, and with it, comfort and confidence in the face of personal death. In life, too, this is the sense that “I’m not alone,” all indications of malice, oppression, or hatred notwithstanding.

Victory?

A colleague — he doesn’t use his name on the blog that I saw; perhaps that’s an emerging blog convention — linked to me, and I’ll point you to his, too: Across, Beyond, Thought.
I wonder if there are more of us sharing online.

Of course, I’m thinking about the Sunday sermon; it is entitled, “The Victory that Conquers the World.” Or, as I promoted it in the church newsletter:

Memorial Day reminds us of the sacrifices others have made in the field of battle. But what do we make of the “conquest of faith,” where the battlefield is our own soul?

The principle reading
— I follow the Revised Common Lectionary — is 1 John 5:1-6, focusing, of course, on verse four:
“for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith.” (NRSV)

There is an understandable aversion to conquest language. Need I mention the Crusades? the Latin American conquest?
I think a sharp line needs to be made between conquests of human beings against one another, and our victory in God in Christ against that threat against every person: personal death, and by extension, the end of existence, even the love we have. Victory (to use one military concept) comes through participating in God’s army (another military concept.) Except here the fight is participation in God’s living, loving, and responsive Spirit. This creates for the person
a second life which is not destroyed with the body. But what about “those who don’t choose”? It would overstate the power
of the atomistic view of freedom for one to opt out of creation as an act of will. At a foundational level, to be alive is to participate with God. Faith, as John Murray understood, is the confirmation of this second life, and with it, comfort and confidence in the face of personal death. In life, too, this is the sense that “I’m not alone,” all indications of malice, oppression, or hatred notwithstanding.