20 March, 2009

What was Christ Thinking?

Jesus Cleanses the Temple


'And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast our all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthreww the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them: "It is written that my house shall be called a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves!" ' -Matt., 2112-13

Its a scene of action, played out as Jesus the Christ, filled with righteous anger boiling in his sinless veins, twists a whip chord out of strands of string. He proceeds to toss out money-changers, souvenir mongers, purveyors of "Kosher" sacrificial animals.

Where were they? - Out in the public square, descreet and separate from the holy of holys...the house of God....the very real and earthly presence of Y*W*H, Lord Creator of the Universe?

No, they were in the sacred place, inside the hallowed hall, desecrating that holy place, hawking their wares, hollering, jostling for clients.

-- " Git your turtle doves here!!! " a raspy voice rises above the subtle, roaring din... " Today's special, buy two, get the third one free!!!! "

How did this come to be? That the Holy of Holies had turned from a place of prayer and sacrifice and worship into a bazaar, where commerce overshadowed even God!

Knowing the nature of man...it probably took long years, possibly generations to reach this point. One dove salesman married a head pharisee's daughter and was able to move his stall from the dusty street up onto a landing....preferential treatment.

For a few shekels in kickback, his grandson moved to the portico near the main door. So it goes, that which is holy and right is not killed in one glorious battle...it is the death of a thousand cuts...little by little.

So it is with the deity and manhood of Christ himself. Orthodoxy and conservatism are backward, laden with guilt and shame and blame and..."racist,bigot,homophobe".

Or- as one ex-community organizer once said: ..." They are just a bunch of bitter people clinging to their guns and bibles. "

Sound familiar?

What do you think? Did Christ do this in a fit of anger and righteous rage?

I suspect that he was filled with anger...and he was hurt. There were tears in his eyes. His Father's house of prayer and worship turned into a den of theivery and callous, worldly commerce.
Just as it was then, so it is now....God's house has been desecrated. Take that for what you will...on whatever level you wish.

The Road to Jerusalem continues to wind into a known and certain future. Where do you stand?

Which Action Hero would you be?

'Tis a fun time, and not much in the way of a suprise to me:


You Scored as William Wallace

The great Scottish warrior William Wallace led his people against their English oppressors in a campaign that won independence for Scotland and immortalized him in the hearts of his countrymen. With his warrior's heart, tactician's mind, and poet's soul, Wallace was a brilliant leader. He just wanted to live a simple life on his farm, but he gave it up to help his country in its time of need.

William Wallace ---------83%
Maximus -------71%
Neo, the "One" ------63%
El Zorro ------63%
The Amazing Spider-Man -----50%
Batman, the Dark Knight -----50%
Indiana Jones -----50%
Lara Croft -----46%
James Bond, Agent 007 ----38%
The Terminator --- 33%
Captain Jack Sparrow --- 33%

Its too bad that they didn't include Stephen, the crazy Irishman who saved William's bacon more than once.
"What's that you say Father? I dunno, I'll ask him......
- He wants me to ask ye, if I fight with you, will I get to kill the English?"
(Or some such whoot....'tis I'm certain, a paraphrase of the dialogue.)
H/T to Brigid over at http://mausersandmuffins.blogspot.com/

17 March, 2009

The Road to Jerusalem Runs through Ireland

" ...and a fine soft evenin' it 'tis. I think I join with me friends down at the pub and talk a little tre-e-eason. "
~ Barry Fitzgerald in John Ford's: "The Quiet Man"


Catholic/Irish I am, and Swedish/Baptist....and the Anglican Methodist~Bradford/Ripley English I am. Over arching all, I am God's own child, adopted brother of Christ and an American citizen.

Its not been an easy road. There were drugs involved.

I recall being "drug" to the kitchen to explain the cookie dough flung upon the newly papered walls.......and the Irish fire in Mum's eyes. "Who started this?" she asked, voice crackling with anger.
- I was the eldest, after all....tanned fannies.

I recall being "drug" to the open gate in the backyard where there used to be chicks and ducklings in an enclosure...yanno, the ones we had to have for easter?
- I was the eldest, after all...tanned fannies.

I recall being "drug" into the garage where Dads tools were scattered about and an unfinished "go-cart" lay in pieces. He could not put the Crown Vic in the garage!
- That damn near ended in a fist fight.

I recall being drug out of bed on a fine, hot July morning after a long night with Timothy O'Brien....driving the empty canyon roads drinking whiskey.
- Dad was way too pissed......Mom drug us out into the yard, under the apples and elms and pointed the way to the lawnmower and the edge-trimmer, the rakes and....and the stink and the noise!

She said only this:

"If you are going to drink like an adult....you have to take responsibility like an adult."

THEN....beloved, I recall being "drug" out of bed, or out of the office, or off the factory floor to answer the dreaded phone when death came to call. First in 1988, another in 1991, then 1997, then 2005, two in 2007, grief became familiar.

Death stalks us all....and wins, for a short breath in Kronos time. And then beloved, God's will and promise calls us home.

And then and there, we must choose.

The promise of God intervenes and we all stand on a bright and distant shore........in a quickening sunrise...and the songs that once resonated in our youthful hearts rise again to sing the unsullied songs of promise and of Spring.

There..... there on a sweet grass knoll, soft breezes blow under a spreading oak, or stately elm, or fig, or rowan, or birch, or larch....There sits the figure of our brother, our Lord, our Saviour...the word of God manifest into flesh: Jesus the Christ.

His arms are open wide, wounded hands beckoning, his eye glistening with welcoming tears.

What will you do? Oh yes, "...and a river run's through it."
Happy St. Paddy's DAY!

15 March, 2009

The Road to Jerusalem

Watery Notes
On Sunday Afternoon


"A River Runs Through It"

Norman McClean came to writing late in life. His novelette about a Presbyterian minister and his two boys and their interwoven lives, all connected through a love of flyfishing the Big Blackfoot River in Montana is continues to be a touchstone in my life, and in the lives of other Christian outdoorsmen.

The last three paragraphs bear repeating, given my rambling thoughts on this, the 3rd Sunday in Lent:

"Now nearly all those I loved and did not understand when I was young are dead, but I still reach out to them.

Of course, now I am too old to be much of a fisherman, and now of course I usually fish the big waters alone, although some friends think I shouldn't. Like many fly fisherman in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not stare fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a fourt-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise.

Eventually, all things merge into one and a river runs through it, The river was cut by the world's great flood and runns over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

I am haunted by waters."


It is the universal solvent and that simple, chemical compound without which life would not be possible on earth is an enigmatic compound, serving man in all of it varied states of being. It covers seventy-some-odd percent of our planet. I makes up seventy-some-odd percent of our body mass.

And sometimes, if flows hot and salty from our eyes in the form of tears. We experience pain and grief. Death comes unbidden, sometimes unexpected and we grieve. Separation from God, from a beloved human, from the core of one's own being...a soul wrenching, heart rending tearing apart of relationship burns deep...and we weep!

A Celtic Death Prayer:

"O God, give me of Thy wisdom,
O God, give me of Thy mercy,
O God, give me of Thy fullness,
And of Thy guidance in the face of every strait.

O God, give me of Thy holiness,
O God, give me of Thy shielding,
O God, give me of Thy surrounding,
And of Thy peace in the knot of my death.

Oh God, give me of Thy surrounding,
And of Thy peace at the hour of my death!"

- The Celtic Vision, ed.~ Esther de Waal


The Woman at the Well:

OK, She's been "married" what, five times? She is openly living with a man who is not her husband. -AND- She's an unclean, pig-eating, dog -runnin Samaritan. She went to the well in the heat of the day when she would not be derided, spat upon and possibly taken to be stoned by the Pharasic Jews.

- How did that midday, public interaction conclude? The Samaritan woman was thirsty for water...the water of life. She could use it to fix food, to cleanse herself and to slake her thirst. Her physical being thirsted for water, for fulfillment, for completion. What was manifest in her physical was a deeper longing in her spirit. Her spiritual being also thirsted for completion.

Let me say that again... Her spiritual being thirsted for completion.
What Jesus promised her was the water of life everlasting.
" The water that I shall give will be like a spring welling up with eternal life. "

Then Jesus went on his way, down that inevitable road that led him to Jerusalem, to the culmination of his ministry. He walked, resolute, a narrow road to certain death. He healed by using water: rivers and spittle and tears. Always ~ It was the connection of earthly water with the true water of eternal life.