Happy New Year!

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At 7:00 am in Pasadena I blew “my sweetness” a kiss as it was 12:00 am in Japan, that’s the best I could do. Needless to say; my personal New Year’s Eve is off to a bittersweet beginning, but that’s the way it is!

Reflecting upon my year past, I can think of the bad and the good. I can reflect on the imbalances brought my way, and the stability. As far as I know, I can rest in the reality that I’ve done well at school, and feel as though I’ve worked hard, but enjoy it.  I can think of the challenges my work has brought, and trust in God to walk with me in strength and compassion.

As I think about my ministry, I can forgive myself for not doing as much as I feel I should, but at the same time, sit in gratitude for the work I’ve done, and realize that some have been served, fed, comforted, and shown a bit of love.

In the present, I continue to sit in amazement for the gift of love when has been cast my way, like an unexpected door opened, or a surprise found while walking down an unknown path reaching a beautiful garden. There are things which will continue to grow, and others which, I hope, will be cast off; it never ends until it ends, but how a journey is lived is what’s important.

Finally, thinking about humanity, with strong divisions, anger, threats on all fronts, may we resolve to make 2009 a year of compassion. I pray we look with favor upon each other, making each an every one of us an offering grounded in love for one another.

My wish for all of us is best reflected in the words contained within a video I found, a song which may have not been intended for New Year’s Eve, but suggests something we all should consider:

Sobriety/Relationship – Discovery

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After 6 years, my sobriety and my life pretty much grew into one aspect of my being. Sobriety is an important aspect of my reality, but I no longer spend vast amounts of time worried over my daily routine; and much to my surprise, gratitude is the feeling I have each day, and it remains paramount to my sense of serenity.

Maybe its my Austrian upbringing, but I enjoy regular habits. Over the past few years, especially since I moved to Pasadena, I had my routine centered around work, study, prayer,  and worship with an occasional chance to hang with friends, or do something fun. Read More

A Christmas Message

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Me as a wide eyed child

Your blogger as a wide eyed child

When this picture was taken, I was probably 2 years old, and I was struck by the wide eyed gaze. I cannot remember the picture being taken, but I was struck by the look of expectancy. The sense of expectancy reminds me of Christmas Eve, and the simple joys of waiting.

As a child Christmas Eve was one of busy activity as my entire extended family would be arriving for a festive dinner which consisted of many Austro-Hungarian dishes which in the span of selective memory meant homemade bratwurst. The smell of this seasoned meat infused with garlic would fill the house. Grandparents, uncles and aunts, and cousins would soon arrive that evening, and there would be much joy. There would be very little Christmas music played that night, most times my parents would play recordings of Bohemian polkas and waltzes and we would dance. At age 5 I had already mastered these dances, and I remember grandparents wanting to dance with me as I led them in dance. Read More

Obama-Warren-Genesis 32:22-32

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I recently completed a paper writing about the story from Genesis in which Jacob wrestles with God or “the man”. This story, contained within the Jacob and Esau narrative found in Genesis 32:22-32, according to my thesis, can be seen as a call for a divine ordinance from God to wrestle, and to struggle with issues. One could suggest that Jacob’s twin brother Esau represents the Gentile faction of the world, and Jacob, the people of the promise of the covenant. After the drama of the wrestling match, the twin brothers, who were once estranged, reconcile. I suggest that God is found in the struggle, but that the goal and gift from God is reconciliation.

With this paper fresh on my mind, I was confronted with the news that President Elect Obama had invited Rick Warren, a right wing, legalistic preacher from Orange County, to offer the high profile inaugural invocation. Warren, who has worked somewhat on the fringe of the “evangelical political theocracy movement” was in line with the rest of the legalistic evangelical mindset in supporting the passage of Proposition 8; the badly written, and misleadingly advertised law stripping rights from other people living in California. The inaugural invitation set off outrage from those who supported Obama with a loud and vocal call for the President-Elect to withdraw his invitation. Read More

4 Advent Collect Meditation

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Collect 4 Advent:

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The collect contains two interesting theological statements. One statement surrounds the idea of conscience, and the other hints at the meeting of the finite with the infinite. Read More

3 Advent Collect Mediation

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Collect for 3 Advent:

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

It is called “Stir Up Sunday”, and I can’t help but think of a divine dance, whirling up all sorts of things within us. I wonder what it means to be stirred up. If we have been following the readings appointed for Advent, we can admit things are starting to get stirred up. Prophets are being quoted with broad insight denoting that something was up, but they are vague; but they knew that God was up to something important. Read More

2 Advent Collect Meditation

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The Collect for 2 Advent:

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. Read More

Advent 1- Collect Meditation

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The collect for 1 Advent:

Almighty God,
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Read More

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