The Least, First

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When atheists come to church (sermon of July 5)

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C Vonaesch - Femme Touchant Jesus

C Vonaesch - Femme Touchant Jesus

Last week, Jesus, pushing through a crowd, was secretly touched by a woman who’ d been bleeding for 12 years; her bleeding stopped.  She who’d been untouchable by the rules of the day touched him; she was then well, and he became untouchable.  She gets well. He takes on her “uncleanness.”

And then he touched a 12 year old girl who had recently died. He was now “unclean” twice-over (touching a dead body made him so a second time), but the girl was alive.   She gets life. He takes on her “uncleanness.”

Magnificent.

And the next thing that happens is that Jesus, the now-famous, compassionate, but scandalously irreligious traveling teacher, goes home to Nazareth. And while he’s been amazing everyone, at Nazareth, Jesus is amazed.

What could possibly amaze Jesus? Read the rest of this entry »

London Times pokes “unreconstructed underbelly” of GOP

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photo by wonkette.com

photo by wonkette.com

Racism in “sections” of the GOP grabs international attention. Examples accumulate, highlighted here by the London Times:
clipped from www.timesonline.co.uk
An e-mail sent by a Republican aide, entitled Historical Keepsake Photo, features portraits of the first 43 American presidents in a variety of dignified and statesmanlike poses … the final and 44th panel … displays just a pair of cartoon eyeballs set against an entirely dark background [..]

Diann Jones, a vice-chairman of the Collin County Republican Party in Texas … denounced [bogus] plans for a tax on guns as “another terrific idea from the black house and its minions” […]

Dean Grose, the mayor of Los Alamitos … sent an e-mail to a black businesswoman depicting the White House lawn planted with watermelons […]

[A] member of Florida’s state Republican committee … said. “How can 2,000,000 blacks get into Washington, DC in one day in sub zero temps when 200,000 couldn’t get out of New Orleans in 85 degree temps with four days notice?”

Chip Saltsman, the former Tennessee Republican chairman [and candidate for the RNC chair]  sent friends a Christmas gift of songs by the satirist Paul Shanklin, including the track: “Barack the Magic Negro”.

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The Times goes on to quote Michael Steele, the recently-elected RNC chairman, who sees the problem as GOP officials who “don’t give a damn”.

To them, he said, “outreach means let’s throw a cocktail party, find some black folks and Hispanics and women, wrap our arms around them — ‘See, look at us’. And then we go back to the same old, same old.”

And “same old, same old” means “these things don’t really matter:” Read the rest of this entry »

Not even the enemy of HIS enemies!

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Third Sunday of Easter • April 26, 2009

Acts 3:12-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 3:1-7; Luke 24:36b-48

Spring 09 home 014I’ve been thinking a lot about why we come here.

We need a sense of that – a sense of what we’re here for. Just making a church bigger – that doesn’t do it for me. We’ve been down that road. It isn’t enough to satisfy my hunger.

Why do I come here?

I think I want one thing more than anything else: I want to bring love into my world. I want to bring it to my family. I want to bring it to you. I want to bring it to people on the street. I want to bring it to political decisions. I want to bring it to unloved people. I want to bring it to people on the internet. I want to bring it to the nations of the world.

I want love to change this world. I want it to smother tragedy. I want it to expose selfishness. I want it to change the way my family lives, my workplace operates, my government thinks.

What I want to do here is to re-capture that source of love – and share it in such a way that you do, too – so that love will make everything you touch as you walk through your week just a little different than it was before.

But my world doesn’t get that. It thinks love is a wimpy thing, not the way of heroes. So all week long I talk and visit and write to people who are convinced the Kingdom of God is not enough, and it cannot bring what the world needs. And sometimes their arguments wear me down.

And that’s why I come here. It’s because we’re doing something together. We’re believers that the love of God is stronger than anything that’s wrong in the world. We’re determined to bring it to the places we live and work and vote and write. You’re doing something. Read the rest of this entry »

Dumbstruck by “Did You Know?” Version 4

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Giant waves at Half Moon Bay in Calif.

Image by robertg6n1 via Flickr

Rarely am I as awed by the impending world tsunami of change —as dumbstruck— as I have been by this nine-minute video.

These are giant waves we’re about to surf; the change we’ve noticed in the last three years is merely the swell before cresting the breaker, when the water ahead collapses, and we find ourselves hurtling down a massive, vertical wave-face.

The video was first made for teachers: Its message is that the world for which they prepare students is not only unlike today – it will only be like tomorrow for a flash.

So much to think about!

clipped from www.youtube.com
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Written by Monte

November 24, 2008 at 6:44 pm

Posted in Politics

Web-surfing helps brain; may fight Alzheimer’s!

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“What’s that, my sweet? No, sorry! Can’t help right now. Taking care of the old brain, you know.'”

clipped from www.msnbc.msn.com

For middle-aged and older adults, searching the Internet could be a boost to the brain, a new study suggests.

[Researchers studied] volunteers between the ages of 55 and 76 as they searched the Internet. Half of the participants had experience surfing the Web, while the others did not […]
All the study participants showed significant brain activity during the book-reading task […]
But Internet searches revealed differences between the two groups. While all the participants showed the same activity as during the book-reading, the Web-savvy group also registered activity in the frontal, temporal and cingulate areas of the brain, whereas those new to the net did not. (These areas of the brain control decision-making and complex reasoning.) […]
“Our most striking finding was that Internet searching appears to engage a greater extent of neural circuitry that is not activated during reading — but only in those with prior Internet experience,” […]

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Written by Monte

October 16, 2008 at 11:45 am