Thursday, June 27, 2013

Post from Conrad

Hey Friends!  The following was written by a wonderful woman at St. Thomas named Conrad.  For some reason I couldn't get her post uploaded to the comment section.  But I wanted you all to read it.  I really like her thoughts about staying thankful ALL the time for the many daily blessings, in part, so that the days when things don't seem so "blessed" you have some reserve upon which to draw!

I find throughout the day, I forget to be thankful for my many blessings.

When sufferings happen in my life or deeply within others, it feels like a sucker punch, and I pause to remember to breathe and then I pray.

The sucker punch reference is that you see it coming and you concede that there isnt anything to be done because no matter what there will be impact.

I think sometimes we forget that God is not just in our anger or our sadness from suffering.

He envelopes our all, within the limitless heavens to the corners of quartz, to the embrace we believe as air.

Translation: Breakdown of the imagery from The Footprints poem

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

So what ARE your questions?

Hello Friends!  We've been having some really interesting discussions in the "real world" on Sunday mornings about this book.  A few folks have said, that the questions addressed in this book aren't really their questions.  Totally fair!

The overall question this book seems to be addressing, in my opinion is one of theodicy:  where is God in suffering? Why does God allow suffering?  The ol' "why do bad things happen to good people?'

And some folks feel like they have put that question to rest in their worldview.  I'm not saying that some folks have found THE answer!  I'm just saying that some folks either have just quit wrestling with that particular family of questions, or they have made peace with not having an answer that works in every situation.

 In my own life I can be fairly comforted by the notion that God is IN the suffering....especially when we're talking about something somewhat removed from me (disaster in another city or town).  I'm not sure I'll be comforted by that if something happens  to my beloved husband!

So...what are YOUR questions?  What's the "least" you can believe and still consider yourself a Christian?

Peace!  Rhoda

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

All prayed out?

A priest friend of mine will often add the line "Lawd have mercy" on her various blog and Facebook posts when she's really trying to make the point, or if she is especially tired or REALLY
 exasperated by something.  "Lawd" is different from "Lord"...if only for some of us Southern folks!

I think the author of this book, Martin Thielen would certainly use the word "Lawd" to describe how tired he is of folks disparaging Christianity because of the hurtful, closed minded way many Jesus followers have portrayed, used, and abused the words of Jesus.  I am shouting Amen through much of the first few chapters of this book. 

I'm especially enjoying pondering the question "Are you all prayed out?" (page 10)  I don't think you can be a sentient being and not get "prayed out".  Just reading the newspaper (online or the kind that gets ink on your hands) can be an exercise in exhaustion and heartache.

But of course as I have said in other settings (including my original blog which I update
 about twice a year!) prayer has GOT to be seen as something other than asking God for stuff.  Like God is the giant ATM in the sky.  (Or as I heard outstanding preacher Otis Moss once say, "Jesus is not your cosmic bellhop just waiting to get you stuff"  LAWD I love that!)

Part of what Dr. Thielen is saying in this book...has of course been said by many other thoughtful folks over the years, but it bears repeating.  Faith is HARD.  Prayer doesn't work like a magic dispensary, people in churches are humans who let you down sometimes.  And Christianity cannot be boiled down to a few bumper sticker slogans.  Lawd have mercy!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Away we go!  (Sorry, Oprah!  I'm going to borrow the phrase you use in your Magazine!)

I hope this book will spark some great conversation and thinking.  So...let's begin.

Have YOU ever felt the way "Danny" describes feeling at the beginning of the book?  Turned off not so much by Christianity, but by the way it is "packaged?"

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Starting June 2nd!

Join the St. Thomas Community this summer from any locaiton near or far
as we read and discuss together
"What's the Least I Can Believe and Still Be A Christian: A Guide to What Matters Most"
Books available at the Parish office