I Need To Be Found (Luke 15:1-10)

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Gracious God,
We do not know we are lost.
Nor are we aware of a need to be found.
Our existence,
Defined by our soul’s incapacity to see,
Being marked only by our presence.
This cannot last.
I cannot remain unfound as
One wandering among nothing.
Yet, I am,
Lost and do not know.
Now,
A self-misplaced,
Single-separated,
Detached,
Joy ripped from Grace,
Waiting to be found,
Reunited with the forgotten,
By someone who cares enough,
To look.
Amen.

–Richard Bryant

Food for Thought-5 Ideas for the Church and Christians to Consider

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1. When the church is on the side of the status quo, it will fail to be prophetic.  When the church becomes the status quo, it will collapse.

2. If you want the ends to justify the means (in church or other issue), do you find yourself siding with Pontius Pilate during Holy Week readings?  If so, doesn’t that seem strange?

3. If you’re not shocked by the Beatitudes read them again.  If these words don’t blow your mind, read them until they do.  Jesus is turning the world upside down.  Given the entrenched nature of our world (and if you take Jesus’ words seriously), the challenge of living up to what Jesus asks of us should be unsettling at best and frightening at worst.

4. It’s a mystery that we keep referring to God as mysterious. To say God works in mysterious ways borders on a cop out.  This is a way of saying, “We’d rather not talk about God”.  People work in ways aligned in their self-interests; this too is not mysterious.  We simply choose not to understand Jesus.  By this time, we should be starting to get Jesus.  I can spot Jesus’ actions from well over a mile away.  Jesus is so predictable he’s not allowed to play blackjack in Las Vegas.

5. God has a strong distaste for organized religion and ritualized religious practices.  To God, religion is a pretty miserable thing.  How do I know? Re-read Amos 5 and 1 Kings 18. In 1 Kings, God swallows whole, with fire, the sum total of accepted religious practice.  God will not be defined, even by our well-meaning, hand stitched, Cokesbury purchased idolatry.   Churches continue to create practices and traditions despite God’s open disgust and condemnation of our efforts.  We are doing things in God’s name God never said to do.  We are ignoring God’s desire to emphasize relationships and mercy over ritual and religious practice.    Why?  Relationships are hard.  Religion is easy.  Make relationships more important than religion.

If They Don’t Have Hot Sauce in Heaven Then I’m Probably in Hell

Richard's Food for Thought

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I love to eat. When I die, I want eternal life to include home grown tomatoes, cucumbers, Neese’s Sausage and hot sauce. If it doesn’t, I’ll know I’ve gone to Hell.  (Is it wrong to want biscuits and gravy in eternity?) Food is important to me. If I’m going to eat, whether at home in a restaurant, I want to enjoy the experience. Who doesn’t? I choose my covered dish dinners by the churches and their resident cooks. Why go if you know they use inferior green beans and French onion soup mix?

So how do I best describe my culinary experiences? Over many years and countless meals, I’ve developed a complex system of responses to rate a meals and dining experiences. Granted, I’m not a professional food critic. I’m a redneck with refined tastes. Here’s my scale of rating meals:

1.  Not too bad. (translation: I’ve died and gone…

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Food for Thought-Common Prayer for Common Places Number 2

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Common Prayers for Common Places

place: water fountain

Amigo, compadre, my friend from Nazareth; You talk a great deal about water. I’m riding on a massive boat across water. Our planet is covered in water. But do we ever take water for granted. I can just go to a machine and drink clean water-even in the middle of the sea. How many people can’t do that on land? Forgive me for taking the basics of my life for granted. I know it is so easy to do but shouldn’t helping others be easy as well? Float some Amen my way.

Food for Thought-Common Prayer for Common Places

 

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Common Prayers for Common Places

Place: a ferry

We are on this boat, O God. The water around us is way cold. Divine creator bro, amigo, and compadre; I like the warm comfort of this lounge.  Be with us when we park tightly, breathe air rightly, and smell the sea air which moves us spritely. So, Amen me up some long term flotation love. On my best days, I’m sinking when I’m walking. You are the best.