Go – Learn – Mercy

The United Methodist Church is gathering in Portland, OR right now for their 2016 General Conference. One of the big topics they are talking about is the role of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. At the morning worship, Bishop Sally Dyck started off by talking about Pope Francis talking about ordaining women as Deacons. She went on to talk about “The Year of Mercy” and the Pope’s call to “go and do mercy in all the places that you are”.

She spoke about Jesus sitting with the tax collectors and sinners. “He didn’t just pick up their button and banners, He sat down and ate with them.” She noted that the tax collectors being “incompatible” with good Jews in the eyes of the Pharisees.

Without knowing the context, it is easy to think of this as a good sermon, but when you think of it in terms of the General Conference, it is a very powerful message. What is incompatible with Christianity? Shouldn’t we be talking about murder or racism? Those are incompatible. Yet the point is not to write in the sand a list of things that are incompatible, until no one is left, the point is to sit down and eat with those that some people consider incompatible.

A friend of mine shared the link to this video. My friend is an Episcopal Priest who recently posted about trying to find inspiration for her Pentecost sermon. I struck me that Bishop Dyck’s sermon actually fits nicely with Pentecost. God did not send the Holy Spirit just to speak Hebrew. God sent the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel in all languages, in the languages of the people of “Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs”

What people are not hearing the Gospel in their own language today? LGBTQ people? Immigrants? People of Color? Millennials? Where are we missing the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit?

Bishop Dyck talked about Pope Francis choosing the phrase, “Go – Learn – Mercy”. Now is the time for all of us, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to go, to learn, and to show God’s mercy to all people.

The Digital Kaleidoscope

Always turning,
the social media snapshots
of people lives;
broken pieces of colored glass
with several likes
and a few comments.

For many, the glass is
all blue or all red.
For some, it is
rose colored or grey.

Some carefully pick out
any broken pieces
of colored glass
blocking
and unfriending them.

What do you see?

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The Broken Biological Clock

When life was sweet and easy,
not unlike
beneath the apple boughs
of Fern Hill,
she went
from graduation parties
to bridal showers
without the least concern
until the blister appeared
on her foot.

She knew of
her family’s history
of poor circulation
as an abstract idea
that she might have to worry about
sometime later.

The doctor said
sometime is now
and her whole world
came crashing in.

It wasn’t the advice
to stop drinking
that hurt so much,
although she could sure could have
used a drink
after the sobering news.

It was the fact that her biological clock
was broken
and not showing the accurate time.

Childbirth would be a problem
becoming more difficult over time
and the decisions from five years hence
became
a little more
immediate.

All of these thoughts
raced through her mind
as she stood in line
at the drug store
contemplating Eliot’s fear
in a handful of dust
waiting to buy
a pill cutter
like her ninety year old
grandmother
had.

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Because ...

Because there wasn’t a sign
that said Scenic Overlook
the drivers on the way home
from a rough day at the office
brooding over a boss,
coworker,
or difficult assignment
did not notice
the beauty
of the new leaves
bursting forth
on the distant hills.

Because the view
was not captured
in oil on canvas
with a nice frame
and hung in a
notable museum,
the pattern of clouds
before the sun began to set
escaped the notice
of the commuters
listening to politicians argue
on the evening news.

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Foucault in Japan

“A benefit of the NationState
was the spread of
universal compulsory education
even though it was designed
to inculcate military values.”

This started off
the morning lecture
about Foucault
but the students
already properly socialized
into their roles
as recipients of information
properly took notes
and didn’t engage
in a discussion
of the implications,
especially not
the young Japanese girls.

“How do we live counter narratives?”
I thought to myself
not wanting my questions
to be dismissed
as part of
foreign student performativity.

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