Friday, October 28, 2005

the never ending story

the tele got shipped today and should arrive next Thursday...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

the continuing saga

Payment arrived for the natural finish tele style guitar that I agreed to purchase so in the next few days it will be shipped and should arrive towards the end of next week... I'm excited

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

another test

yet another test...

and I came out a folkie.

You are a Folkie. Good for you.

What kind of Sixties Person are you?
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Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks died on Monday at age 92. The obituaries say that she was shy and quiet... an ordinary woman... who did an extraordinary thing and changed the world. In 1955 she refused to give up her seat. My guess is that she was tired and her feet hurt and she was tired of deferring.
She shows me that an ordinary person with courage to do what is right can make a difference. A little black woman on a bus in 1955 changed the world. So can you. So can I. So must you. So must I.
Thank you for your courage Sister Rosa. You are an inspiration.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


today the death toll of US soldiers hit 2000 in Iraq. Add to that the numbers whose lives have been ripped apart with horrendous injuries: physical, mental, and spiritual. Add to that at least 30,000 Iraqi's killed...
There is an old Jewish aphorism that says that killing one person is like destroying a world... because the entire future of that individual and of everything they would contribute to the future is gone.
George Bush, in his arrogance and stubborness and faithlessness has led us to destroy universes. I am ashamed.
As of today 2000 mothers, fathers, wives, husbands have seen their lives shattered in the US. More in Iraq. Stop the insanity. End the war. Bring home the troups.

Monday, October 24, 2005

GAS redux

Well... the pretty red guitar sold on Friday (for less than I hoped but still enough for me to break even on everything.) I made a deal on another guitar this morning that is pretty much exactly what I was hoping for. The only change might be that the neck is too large for me but that is easily changed if need be. It should be here sometime next week.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

3 pieces

3 things came together in the news today... it was confirmed that US forces have gone over the border into Syria and engaged Syrian troups, Congress begins as early as Wednesday to decide how much to cut from domestic programs for the poor to fund the rebuilding of the Gulf coast, and Bono had lunch with the president...
Before meeting with Bush, Bono was interviewed by Rolling Stone. This is what he said when he was asked if he was afraid to meet world leaders: "They should be afraid because they will be held accountable for what happened on their watch." He went on to say that he was there representing the poor and the moral force that they represent is way beyond anything the politicians wield.
The politicians should be afraid. We must hold them accountable for what has happened on their watch. It must begin with the upcoming elections.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Future Church

I'm on the e-list for Thomas Hohstadt's Future Church. His articles always get me thinking. Today's asks the question of whether we will even call it "church" in the future. Of all of the folk I read in the emerging church, he is perhaps the most radical and evisions the most radical changes. Indeed, he calls it a metamorphosis. "So it's no surprise that a new "Body of Christ" quickly emerges in this epic moment. Yet, this "Body" is not an organization, it's an organism. It's not an institution, it's a living system. It's not a structure, it's a spontaneous response to the hastening of history." It is about people and mission. Sounds good to me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

survival - success - significance

today was my clergy-cluster group. 5 clergy types (4 pastors and a resource minister) get together once a month. We're studying a great book Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning. (It really wrestles with the difficult questions of faith.) We talk, we laugh, we share, we pray, we are honest with one another as we share our journeys of faith. I am really coming to depend upon these guys. It is a wonderful model of caring and working togeher in spite of theological differences.
Today as we shared, a phrase came up - "moving from survival to success to significance." We weren't sure that it is an accurate path but spent very little time talking about it.
I've been thinking about it this evening... For me, I hope it is not an accurate assessment of the journey of faith. If I have to be "successful" before what I do can be significant, then much of my time in ministry, much of my life, has been wasted. Perhaps one could even say that much of Jesus' ministry was wasted if that is the path. He was not successful by most standards... he didn't have a huge following of committed people. He didn't have political clout. He didn't have money or stuff. Instead, he did significant things - touched people's lives, gave of himself, offered a new paradigm in which success and significance are not even remotely related. One can have either... or both, but not having success does not preclude significance. I pray that at least some of my time has been significant.

Monday, October 17, 2005

on being independently poor

Alexis went to a training through Santa Barbara City College adult ed on compassionate communication led by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg on Saturday and was pretty taken by the whole thing. As she was sharing the experience with the family, she quoted the presenter who said that he is "independently poor." By that he meant that he had chosen to not chase the gods of materialism (consequently the presentation was free). She talks a bit more about it here: Team Equipped: Compassionate Communication - HUH?!?!">
I taken by the term too although, I'm not sure that I embrace the concept with the same independence that he does (see GAS below). It is something I strive for...

Friday, October 14, 2005


the pretty red guitar is now on e-bay

GAS revisted

well... I've played the guitar and tweaked it a bit... and it just ain't me. So, it will go to e-bay. And then I'll build another parts guitar... this time a tele style I think, and get what I want.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Guitars arrived

The guitars arrived at their appointed places safely and on time and we're both satisfied with the trade. The one I got really is a beautiful instrument. The color is a bit darker than it looks in the photo but still very beautiful.
I'll have to play the guitar that I got a bit... it is a very different style of guitar than I'm accustomed to so I'll give it some time to decide whether I like it... if not, it will go up for sale.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

end of gas

the guitar arrived... and it is very nice. Hopefully my trading partner will feel equally content. more later as I'm going to play it now.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Ministerial ethics and accountability

I had a discussion with a friend today who reminded me that there is a clause in the code of ethics that every clergy person in my denomination is expected to sign that says "I will not accept a position in the American Baptist family unless I am in accord with those traditions and practices; nor will I use my influence to alienate my congregation/constituents or any part thereof from its relationship and support of the denomination. If my convictions change, I will resign my position."
If an individual has signed this document, should they not be held accountable for any actions that encourage a church to leave the denomination? And shouldn't this clause be applicable to executive ministers and region boards who begin a process to pull an entire region from the family?
Obviously, there are those who would say that the denomination has strayed from its traditions and practices but does that negate an ethical commitment that has been made and signed? It seems to me that the ethical action for those who feel that the denomination has lost its moorings would be to quietly resign and leave.


The guitars have both scanned about 2 hours from their arrival destinations... so tomorrow they should both arrive.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Good Intentions and Unintended Consequences

At Soliton, Doug Pagitt got into a discussion about free trade coffee. It is a great idea - pay the growers a reasonable amount for their coffee directly so they can live reasonably off their labor. But there is often an unintended consequence. The neighbor who grows beans which are sold in the community for food sees the coffee grower suddenly doing well financially, pulls up the bean plants and begins growing coffee. Very quickly, there is no locally grown food available. The entire community is left at the whims of the coffee market and the poorest who cannot afford imported products cannot purchase food at all.
Watching the US response to Katrina makes me think of good intentions and unintended consequences. Many Americans opened their hearts and their wallets to help those whose lives were torn apart by the storms this summer. It is a good response but there are unintended consequences. The first is that giving to other charities has dropped. Feeding programs, housing for the homeless, and many other kinds of programs that help the poor and depend upon the giving of folk in their communities have seen their receipts drop. In a real sense, it is the poorest all around the country who are shouldering the bulk of the sacrifice because the programs that make life possible for them are reeling as their constituents give to Katrina victims. Foreign mission programs and other charities are suffering also.
And then there is the other consequence which may not be unintended, at least by some. Most of the funds that go to rebuilding the gulf will not benefit the poorest folk who have lost the most. We have already seen that the lion's share of the contracts for reconstruction did not go to local companies. Instead they went to companies that have ties to the present government or those that were well conected to former FEMA heads. This, while thousands are out of work in the area... And once the area is rebuilt does anyone realistically expect that the poor will be able to move back in? Once a developer has built a multi million dollar complex, will they be willing to rent out units at section 8 prices to poor folk when the opportunity is there to gentrify and welcome wealthy, white professionals? The poor will end up being pushed out or never return to New Orleans from the diaspora they now suffer.
The final consequence, this one certainly not unintended, is that the current administration has pledged to rebuild but will not retract the billions of dollars in tax cuts given to the wealthiest 1%. Instead, they plan to fund the reconstruction through budget cuts. They won't cut the military. They won't cut the Republican's pet projects. What is left? Social services for the poor, the elderly, and the very young. Again, it is the least able who will shoulder the bulk of the burden. There is a word for this in Christian theology - sin.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

the demons among us and accountability

Yesterday I had lunch with my executive minister, the leader of the region that is pulling out of the denomination I'm part of.
I like Dale. I respect his commitment and his faith. I don't agree with him about some significant issues. His theology has caused a great deal of pain for GLBT folk and those who support them. Who knows, we may even have "irreconcilable theological differences."
Two things struck me from our talk. Dale has been draw with horns and a tail by many on my side of the issue. That is not fair and it is not helpful. While one may disagree completely with his views and understand his views as being destructive of the personhood of others, we still must look for the image of God in his face and search for the heart which, in his case, sincerely loves Jesus.
Second, we talked about accountability. I am struck by those on the right who speak of accountability and want to pass judgement on others without knowing them. This is not accountability because accountability requires relationship. We are not accountable to one another unless we really know and care about one another. Without relationship, accountability becomes nothing less than judgmentalism.
So my prayer for those on the left of the conflict - that we will cease characaturing those on the right who I pray will open their hearts and sit at table, getting to know and love those on the left before calling into question their faith.

More Gas

The guitars are both in the hands of UPS now... and due to arrive next weds.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


So... this is the guitar I'm trading for. I've never owned a red guitar in over 40 years of playing. Looks pretty huh? Same company, same pickups, similar materials... it will be interesting to see how it sounds.
Both guitars will be shipped today and it should arrive in about a week...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

the price of GAS

No... not gasoline... Guitar Aquisition Syndrome. Ask Cheryl and she'll tell you I have a terminal case. I have gotten to the place where I'm more careful and don't buy guitar stuff willy nilly... but every now and then...
so this time, I'm trading one of my electrics (see the pic) with a guy across the country for one of his electrics. I'll keep you all updated as the process goes along and we'll see whether it cures my addiction.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

a risky faith

Many Sundays I include a video clip in my sermon. This week it was from Romero, the story of Oscar Romero's time as archbishop of El Salvador in the late 70's and his conversion to a faith that engaged the powers of the world... It is a powerful film. Try to check it out if you haven't seen it. It is out of print and may be difficult to find but it is worth the search.
Then in Sunday School this morning we looked at an excerpt from an article in the August edition of Harper's Magazine by Bill McKibben. In it, McKibben questions the American propensity towards a faith that emphasizes personal piety and reward above what he sees as the clear teaching of Jesus which emphasizes help for those who need it the most. He goes so far as to say that as a nation we are "simultaneously the most professedly Christian of the developed nations and the least Christian in its behavior." He builds a good case for that statement.
I think it is time that our American "Christian" leaders have a conversion like Oscar Romero had... a conversion that brings them into solidarity with the poor, a conversion to a risky faith that makes a difference rather than one that supports a status quo that is less than God's yearnings.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Gonna Party like it's my birfday

cause it is!
happy Birthday to me...