Friday, May 12, 2006

First amendment applies: Save the Internet 2

Save the Internet: Click here

Just updating this post, on July 21 -- I cannot believe the phone companies are still being supported in this! It's bad enough that major news outlets are too lazy to listen beyond the daily White House press briefings (or their investors too greedy to shell out the money for actual reporting). But that Senators would support phone companies trying to increase their profits by charging for (and thereby selecting) "free speech" -- it says to me that our Congress has finally and completely sold itself to corporate interest.

Maybe I'll just write Halliburton my charity checks from now on.

So much for Matthew 6:24. Forget God: you cannot serve people and money.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Like rats off sinking ships

Is it just me, or is anyone else looking at the Goss departure as part of the wisdom of rodents?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Boss vs. Ground of Being

Had times and lives been different, I would have been a monastic. I crave the rhythms of fulltime devotion -- of a life formatted to center around Christ. My bowels (for it is bowels in ancient writings, rather than the romantic heart) hunger for communal life, guided by a rule. I've long wanted to create that life in this life by finding kindred souls to eat, live, worship, pray, rear children together, ideally in cohousing, less ideally within easy walking distance.

That isn't how it's happened, obviously.

The last few days I've had spiritual indigestion: I realize that lately my job (being a field rep for the Big CEO) has far outstripped my relationship with my savior/friend/lover Jesus Christ. The very things I coach, preach, cajole, and warn others on -- that time on the job too easily overtakes time spent with Christ -- are afflicting me. My pride (and, let's be honest, my enjoyment) is invested in the work of being Pastor. And the gift of being Disciple is left behind.

One of our leadership team members, Hollie, has remarked that we in Silicon Valley tend to boast in our busyness; we need to learn to boast in the Lord. The tricky bit is when your busy-ness is for the Lord, at least in theory. It's the same old temptation of idolatry: idolizing busyness, role, ability, rather than God. Following the job description, instead of following Jesus.

So for the last few days I've been praying about this, and asking others to pray about it on my behalf.

Today I attended a time of prayer with local colleagues. The focus was on learning to use the Jesus prayer as meditation, leading into contemplation. So we spent the day in conversation and very quiet prayer, which is a very good thing for me (see "craving for monastic life", first paragraph). Here's the point of this whole entry: When we were done, and sat considering the value of praying this way morning and evening, with some directed scripture study (known as lectio divina), my first feeling was "yes!" My second was guilt, as in "This would be time just for me, which would be selfish, because it would take time away from my work."

Spending time in prayer and study would be time just for me, which would be selfish. How "boastful in my busyness" is that? I'm a pastor. It's a big part of my job to model living with Christ as the center, edge, and ground of my being, and to teach others how to do that. And my gut-level (not to say bowel) reaction is that doing this would be selfish, not in aid of my Work. Does that seem good?

Yet the realest, most deeply found reason I do this is because I love God, and God's people, so much it hurts.

See the lightbulb? Hear the angel choir?

It isn't just engineers, loan officers, and construction workers who find it difficult to live with Christ as the Ground of Being. It's this wanna-be abbess, too.

I thank God for the whack across the head (suddenly I'm channeling Nic Cage in Moonstruck, when Cher slaps him and says "Snap out of it!").

So now I'm going to figure out what to do next, and try to find others to do it with, who will slap me upside the head when I get all "unselfish" and betray my bowels.

Monday, May 01, 2006

A part of the main

As I type this, two youngish people I know are dying. One is a man, here in California. The other a woman, in New Hampshire. Both I know through my husband -- the man is a former congregant, the woman is my sister-in-law's spouse of 27 years. 
I know neither well, and might not recognize them on the street. Yet, it seems as if the coasts of the continent are dissipating slightly, rising like steam. Or like dry ice when water is poured on it, the breathable gasses lifting up toward heaven, the solid materials just fading away.
Can it be that the land mass of the United States is growing smaller, its edges fraying with the loss?  And that heaven is expanding, beyond proportionately, as their souls are celebrated in?
"No man is an island, entire of itself
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind."
John Donne
We are diminishing, even as they grow greater into eternity. 
Our blessings upon you, Lisa and Leonard, and Godspeed.