Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Language of God

There is so much dissension and confusion in our world today.  It seems like you can't pick up the newspaper, watch the evening news on TV, or check out the news feed on your computer without seeing that some group is fighting with another group.  The political scene is down right depressing.  It seems nobody wants to work with the other side to make things better - they just want to fight.

The same seems to be true in the Christian community.  It seems Christians are clashing over the smallest of differences and we miss how much we see alike.    I found this ad from the United Church of Christ that reminds us that God is still speaking.

I hope that we can listen.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Some Flooded Homes are Coming Down

Spring has arrived to middle America and the work crews are out in full force. The road crews are fixing the streets, new homes are being started, and it is now time to bring down those homes that will not survive the flood. It has taken almost 2 years of negotiations and I'm not sure that they are really done with all of that - but some of the houses in Time Check are going away.

I went out today to see the action. For some this is a relief. It marks the end of that episode in life and frees the person to move on and start anew. For others, this is very sad as they watch their home for decades laid to rest. For all it will bring closure to an ugly time.

Yes, it has been almost 2 years but there is still a great deal of work. Our church still has work mission teams coming. In fact, we have had teams for almost a month now and the schedule is full through mid-summer. There is still a great deal of work to do. Block-by-Block is back in full swing and Habitat for Humanity has scheduled a blitz build for June. Of course, our church is by no means the only one involved in the effort - probably not even one of the largest. I just speak of my church because that is what I know.

With so much happening in the world - earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, Mexico - a volcano in Iceland, and all of the other natural disasters that occurred, it is hard to keep a focus on our recovery. But this will be a long term project, 5 to 10 years is what we were told 2 summers ago. I can see they were correct.

Well, I'm off to fix dinner - the Rev will be joining me tonight.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Emanicpation Act - 1819

One of my favorite blogs is the Times Archive blog. Rose Wild goes through the archives of The Times (this is London, folks) and finds interesting, sometimes topical news reports from the past. Today the topic is - the emancipation act of 1819. This act of Parliament emancipated the Catholics. Here is what the Times had to say:

" The people of England - the intelligent, the reflecting, the mind-gifted majority of the people of England - have, through their representatives in Parliament, passed the great Bill for Catholic emancipation."

So began The Times's leading article on April 1, 1829. The historic vote had gone through Parliament on the Bill's third reading, with a majority of 320 to 142.

The Times went on to describe the dissenters in Parliament and in the general population.

"The out-of-doors resistance to this masterpiece of state policy may be resolved into two descriptions of men - whatever was least conversant with the living world, among the clergy; and of the laity, whatever was most ignorant, low, and brutal."

This seems to be so odd for us because we in the US think of emancipation as a slavery issue.We see that word - emancipation - and think of our own Civil War and the social struggles that we continue to battle today. Unfortunately this emancipation did not come in time to circumvent the strife this land still battles with between Catholic and Protestant believers.

Is it just the nature of the human existence that we must feel superior to those who do not look like us, or think like us, or believe like us? We see this on so many levels. In politics, our newspapers are full of the battles going on right now between those who sit on the left side of the aisle and those on the right - those who are trying to do something and those whose only response is "No". In our churches, we hear of division about so many issues. Those who like the traditional service and those who want a service more relevant to today's world. Those who struggle with beliefs that aren't exactly like their own.

All over the globe we have one local group trying to overcome their neighbor. I started to list some examples but there are so many and in every corner. In the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans, South and Central America, Asia, Indonesia - it doesn't matter where you look. Sure, you might say that Europe and North America are exempt today because there is not open "warfare" going on but anyone living in these regions knows that the battles are just suppressed - under the surface.

Enough of this rant. I don't know the answers, I just wish it didn't have to be this way.

Spring has arrived to the heartland. I'm going out today to enjoy the sun and warmth. And to all, I bid you

Saturday, April 10, 2010

This is for you Coca-Cola fans

Okay, I don't do this very often - posting a link like this. But this was just way too cool not to share.

Does this remind anyone of Candid Camera?