Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Lectionary Blog for September 30th 2007

1 Timothy 6:6-19

6Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; 7for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; 8but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. 11But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

13In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. 16It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. 17As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 19thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

This goes along with the gospel reading for the week rather well. I think the Gospel is pretty clear about money and how we should not let it be too important to us. I don't think there is much of a contextual difference on this issue between the times that this was written and today. Money is what money was: security, status and comfort. If we are counting on our wealth to give us these things than we are not depending on God. It is difficult because we can easily use this as an excuse for poor stewardship because if money isn't important to us we can just blow it on whatever and then wonder why God isn't providing. We must be good stewards with what we have as well as depend on God for security, status and comfort.

We have many other idols besides money that we get these three things from and this is just as problematic. Just because we aren't rich, doesn't mean we aren't idolaters. When we fight about worship, it is an issue of comfort and security in a different way. It is so interesting to me how songs people are used to mean the most to them and touch them the most. I think sometimes we desire comfort so badly that we confuse it with being touched in a way that leads to progress. Being comfortable is important but it isn't going to make you better unless you use such comfort to be uncomfortable in new ways. Discomfort can lead to progress in many ways and we have a choice when we are uncomfortable... we can move forward into new comfort or back into old comfort. The more we do uncomfortable things the less uncomfortable they become and this allows us to "get out of the box" in different ways.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

who' wants to get dirty with me?

Some things have been happening lately that have put me in a certain frame of mind. On Mondays they have all of the coaches press conferences on TV talking about Sundays game. This coupled with the fact that I've been playing basketball with the coaches and high school team during the off season has made me realize something. You know in the movies, when a coach takes some pitiful team and drives them to do better? This is what if feels like sometimes for Methodist Ministers recently. What struck me, is what the coaches in these movies do on a consistent basis: they recruit!

I recently preached from Luke where Jesus talks about God needing to know who's on God's team and that you can't do this thing halfway. Now we visit people... don't get me wrong, I'm sure all pastors visit people when they are sick and when they are in need of something, but what if we made "recruiting visits?" I don't mean bringing a coffee cup with the church's picture on it to somebody that visits, but to really find out who's gonna be on the team and who's not. Here's what I'm gonna do: I'm gonna start visiting "key" people in the church and taking the "new member" packet with me and finding out who's really on board. Then I'm gonna have a game plan for the week, just like the coaches do. I've always wanted to be a coach, so here's my chance... no more office work, no more fluff, it's time to get down and dirty!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Forgetting our opinions

I am sitting in a coffee shop and there is an older lady sitting at a table next to me talking to what I am guessing is her mother. One or both of them have a hard time hearing so they talk fairly loud... so I am overhearing more than I probably want. I am just about to jam out to some tunes, but before I do, I heard something very funny that turned profound. The older lady, (I'm guessing mother) said, "I forgot my opinion about that..." I laughed to myself at first and then felt bad for her. But as I sit her thinking, maybe that is a really good idea! What if we just forgot our opinions and reconstructed them over and over again! We stick to what we think so much, we miss a lot! I'm going to work on forgetting my opinion!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

An organic lectionary Blog

Jeremiah 18:1-11

18The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2“Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. 5Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. 7At one moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8but if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will change my mind about the disaster that I intended to bring on it. 9And at another moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10but if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will change my mind about the good that I had intended to do to it.

11Now, therefore, say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the Lord: Look, I am a potter shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Turn now, all of you from your evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.

so my new thing is to try to read scripture organically! This is going to be slow going for a bit, but bear with me as I try to exegete the text in a post-rational way!

Potters- what do they do? They form, they create, they mold, they shape, they spin a pot they transform clay into a pot

clay- what does it feel like? mushy, soft, flexible, potential, gross, messy, dirty, stains your hands, pretty worthless, controlled, helpless

sight- lump into beautiful, useful pot

sound - hmmm?

touch - formation

smell - kinda gross, then smell goes away

taste - don't think this is applicable

The main sense I am getting at the moment is how we are like clay and we are easily manipulated by whatever hands are on us. The difference is that as human beings, we have a choice of who our potter is going to be. We can be molded and shaped and transformed by God, or we can be shaped by something else, or we can just sit there like a lump of clay!