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.
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.
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.
Deer hunting with Jesus
Every Buck we shot
Came back to life
1. Speaking as a holder of a driver’s license
2. Speaking as a human being
3. Speaking as a someone who once voted
4. Speaking as a professional crocodile wrangler
5. Speaking as consumer of paper products
If you’re going to serve me a “home cooked pie”, tell me the home where it was cooked. Your health certificate is plain for all to see. Who will vouch for this “home”?
I prefer menus written on paper and chalkboards to those on touchscreens.
If you would like me to order something, tell me it is, “fresh, tender, mouth watering, succulent, served on a bed of, tangy, topped with, hearty, or luscious.” These words will get me every time. Topped with onions and mushrooms are great items with which to crown any dish. Have plenty available. I’m not particularly interested in how fresh a piece of lettuce or fish might be. I’ll trust you. Why would you serve anything other than fresh food? Spare the room on the menu or the speech by the wait person to include more pertinent information such as; where I might wash my hands.
Nowhere should you say I can enjoy the above mentioned qualities in food with cheese or olives. I hate cheese. I despise olives.
Restaurants which bear the name or names of the owners seem to continually draw me back. I like to feel I am on a first name basis with the establishment where I am dining.
I prefer glasses without writing, printing, or other artwork. I’m there to drink water, iced tea, or Tab. Looking at pictures or advertisements while I am trying to drink my Tab distracts me.
Places which are cash only are classy places. I have eaten some of the best meals of my life in cash only restaurants.