I got a phone call a little while ago from someone desperately wanting to meet with me.
“Fine,” I said, “How’s next Tuesday at Starbucks?”
“That works. See you then and there.”
I arrived and sat down. Then I waited. And waited. And waited…and waited.
He never showed up.
This happens to me at least 2-3 times a month. People either forget or something comes up and they neglect to tell me they can’t make it to our visit. So I end up waiting for someone who isn’t coming.
This didn’t used to get me so frustrated. But now it feels like people don’t value my time. Of course, not ALL people, but enough to make me notice it.
Maybe I should start charging folks for the time I spend waiting. An inconvenience tax.
That's what I think I'll do. Should provide enough beer money to get me through the winter.
UPDATE: This post disappeared for a while, and the cause of which remains a mystery. Well, Halloween is around the corner.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
...Suddenly the life-long chain of liturgy was broken into pieces. The priest--the priest who had just joined with us in the prayer of the Rosary was now red-faced shouting. I thought. Talking about me. I had cooperated with evil. I had? I had killed babies? My heart was black. I was giving scandal to the entire church. I had once been a leader but now I forfeited any semblance of respectability or leadership. The good father grasped tightly the edges of the ambo, the unusual name given to the lectern in the Catholic Church. No faithful Catholic would ever contemplate doing what I had done. I was dead to the Holy Mother Church.
My wife held my hand tightly. We looked at each other in disbelief. Here was someone in the vestments of the priesthood who had called us to have our prayers be heard, who recited the Kyrie with us, asking the Lord's mercy upon us, now seemingly merciless, telling me and the many there assembled that I was unworthy. I was to be publicly shunned and humiliated. My offense? Endorsing Senator Barak Obama for President of the United States....(whole shameful episode here)
Incredible. I don't know if I could ever deny anyone communion. Especially not for their political beliefs.
Four years ago a high-profile Roman Catholic Bishop said he'd deny John Kerry communion because of his views on abortion (but was strangely silent on pro-choice Republicans running for office), but didn't see the war in Iraq, the death penalty, divorce, or any other 'Catholic' issue as important enough to "punish" communicants by withholding the sacrament from those GOP members who contravened such issues.
You also may remember Chan Chandler, the Baptist preacher who ex-communicated a bunch of parishioners for voting for Kerry. But lost his job shortly thereafter.
I have my own political views, and occasionally hint at them in sermons (taking the odd light-hearted jab at the "other side." After all, my political viewpoint is a minority opinion here in Alberta). And my faith influences my politics. The Sermon on the Mount, for example is a highly political document, and informs what the priorities I think our governments should have.
I think we need a spirited discussion as to how faith and politics collide. We all can learn from folks who disagree with us. That's how we stretch and grow.
But, problems arise when ideology and dogmatism replace faith and debate. Withholding the sacrament is withholding God's grace. When folks reach out their hands to receive Christ's body and blood, they reach out, as we all do, as sinners in need of forgiveness.
No matter who they vote for.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
“How many times should I forgive?” Peter asked, “Seven times?”
“Not seven,” Jesus replied, “But seventy times seven.”
I’ve told you this story before, but it bears repeating.
The Sunday after the US attack on Iraq, Global National News came to Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Halifax to get a faith perspective on the war.
We’d been leading prayer services for peace the months leading up to the war, services which had been covered by the media, and so a reporter came to interview me about how some Christians were responding.
He was known for his confrontational interview style. And it was clear he had an axe to grind.
He knew that I and most of the congregation were opposed to the war and he tried to get me to say on camera that any Christian who supported the war was going to hell. Saying that high profile Christians were destined for damnation would have sounded great on TV.
I tried to convince him that...(whole thing here)
Friday, September 12, 2008
Two years ago, I moved to the suburbs. It was the most unlikely of destinations for someone who loves the unique neighbourhoods of our city, public transportation, and the diversity of our downtown. God willing, this will be our last move.
We do live in a suburb that is unique. All of the homes are built with different designs, we have plenty of woods (an acre of trees separates most of our houses), we are very close to a major shopping centre, and soon an Express bus will be available to take us downtown.
I am surprised how much I love it here. I have no handy skills, every plant I touch dies, and I have no ambitions to add value or turn my home into some Martha Stewart vineyard. I love the rabbits that appear on our lawn, the birds that appear in our trees, and especially the wild flowers that grow in our ditches. I love the fact that for the first time in my daughter’s life she has access to friends her own age in close proximity. I love that it is quiet, peaceful, and beautiful here every day.
There are things I miss. It takes me...(rest here)
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Monday, September 08, 2008
I’ve been knocked to the sidelines with either a stomach virus or food poisoning. It’s been almost a week. When I checked my email I had over 250 messages waiting for me, so I thought I’d procrastinate by typing away on this humble blog.
I missed church yesterday. Someone else read my sermon. Haven’t yet listened to the tape.
The wife was preaching in Nanton, and the kids went to church with another family (Thanks Karen and Ian!) leaving me at home to watch football.
Food is staying down. Headaches have disappeared. I’m hungry again.
It’s good to be back. Procrastination over.
Today’s gospel reading is about how to get along in the church. Practical advice for dealing with those who get under our skin, or give us stomach cramps.
We often have this image of the early Church as a love-fest where miracles were as common as a cold, and no one raised their voice to another. All congregational votes were unanimous and people greeted each other like long lost French lovers. Like Woodstock with clothes on, and everyone was high on Jesus.
But Matthew didn’t include these Jesus’ sayings because early church life lacked the spice of controversy. If we think a disagreement over an elevator can become a problem, you should’ve seen the tantrums these baby Christians could throw. Brawling believers might get attention of some bloggers typing away in their parents’ basements, but most people would need to scrap the dust off this old newspaper. A church fight? Christians clawing at each other again? Yawn. What else is new?
I don’t know why that is. Do you?
Maybe, it’s because...(the whole thing here)