Archive for October, 2008|Monthly archive page

In Uncategorized on October 27, 2008 at 4:37 pm
being a blessing

the mission of the gathering is to “be a blessing to the city of salem.” yesterday, my friend ryan chandler and i pursued this mission by stripping down to our boxers, monking up, scrawling “blessed are the poor” on a sign, holding a wooden cross aloft and offering free blessings* to anyone and everyone who was interested.

after our first couple of times padding down essex street generated only two blessings, we decided to make our offer more overt. so we went back into the gathering space, scrawled “free blessings” on a second piece of cardboard and headed back into the streets.

the rest of the afternoon was nothing short of remarkable. we had the opportunity to bless women who had just been told they were “hexed” with negative energy, we blessed a family of asian tourists in exchange for their request for a picture, we blessed homosexuals in vampire drag, a group of seven witchy women from sweden and the street preacher who tacks horrible depictions of hell on his a-frame, wears buttons that proclaim “Jesus hates obama” and attends nearly every event of any size in the greater boston area.

if i were to venture a guess, i’d say fifty percent of the individuals really wanted to be blessed, thirty percent expected a joke but got caught up in the moment, twenty ten were merely curious and ten percent were fulfilling a dare. i didn’t keep count, but i’m pretty sure that we blessed a couple of hundred of people over the course of the the afternoon. moreover, i’m certain that ryan, pastor phil** and i were the primary beneficiaries of the blessing.

never before has Jesus command to “bless those who curse you,*** bless and do not curse” and henri’s oft stated reminder that just like Jesus we are “God’s beloved in whom he is well pleased,” meant so much to me.

i’m finding it really hard to put the power of this experience into words. if you’d like to know more about it, feel free to join me in offering “free blessings” this weekend in salem.

* each of us offered blessings in our own way. phil blessed people with words of encouragement and, what appeared to me to be, words of insight while ryan and i usually blessed people with a form of the following blessing that i wrote yesterday morning: ‘may our feet lead you to beauty, may your hands spark with creativity, may your mind be renewed. in the name of the creator, the liberator and the muse.’
** who joined me for the last hour and took the opportunity to bless visitors, ferrets and many people he already knew in salem
*** i quote this verse not because (many) people were cursing us or because i believe we were being persecuted for our faith. it’s just the scripture that i kept thinking about time and again throughout the day. the real test of whether i’ve submitted to this command will be if, and when, our friends from repent america walk our streets later this week.


In Uncategorized on October 22, 2008 at 9:35 pm

just wondering…
by: pixie

You know how all those young teen couples that find themselves pregnant and claim, “We only had sex that one time. We swear.” and a lot of us wonder at the odds of every teen couple getting impregnated the very first time.* You also know how sometimes Scripture mentions one instance as representative of multiple instances? Well, all this makes me wonder about the story of Lot & his daughters**. First, how drunk do you have to be to NOT know you’re having sex with your daughter and if you are that drunk does the equipment still work? Second, how does this happen again with the 2nd daughter? And finally, how possible is it that both girls got knocked up the very first time? I know they were scheming to get pregnant but do you really think that the ancient Israelites had the ovulation/menstruation schedule down to a medical science? I doubt they were saying to each other, “Hey, I’m ovulating today. Let’s get Dad drunk!” Maybe they did but is there also a possibility that Scripture just mentions the one time as representative of the whole? Just saying…..

*Granted recent films such as Knocked Up & Juno support this idea….
**I have to say that this Bible story perplexes me more than many others.

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2008 at 1:29 am

a quick thought

last night i told a local minister, my wife and a close friend that my tradition often uses altar calls. in fact, in my childhood a church service wouldn’t have been complete without one.

i also told the group, probably with more pride than i would like to admit, that i have never offered a traditional altar call, but i have offered opportunities for christians to react to the call of reconciliation, to bury their hatchets with their brothers and sisters and get on with the mission of Christ.

now that i think of it, i may have offered an altar call or to when i was doing supply preaching in little churches throughout central illinois. but i’m getting off point.

what i unexpectedly realized in the midst of this brief conversation with the aforementioned crew, is that if the altar call focuses solely on calling those outside the church to repent of their sin and come in, and if no corresponding imperative of equal or greater force is placed upon the confessional, cruciform community during the same service, then i think the altar call is a cowardly device that focuses attention on the perceived deficits of those outside of the community and so enables the community to ignore its own inability to walk in the way of Jesus.

that being said, i think that calls to action, altar calls and the like have a place within the confessing community. however, i think that most of these imperatives should be aimed at those of who have chosen to follow instead of those who dwell outside or on the margins of our community.

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2008 at 7:22 pm

epitaph: they went for this…political bullshit about narratives

although peggy noonan’s comment was in response to the palin selection, the same could be said about joe the plumber. you’d think that mccain would have discarded this poorly researched, dang near catastrophic illustration by now. but no, he’s still prattling on about the unlicensed, tax dodging, duplicitous plumber.

for such a smart man, mccain sure is running a stupid campaign.

In Uncategorized on October 17, 2008 at 12:36 pm

set aside your anxiety by serving others

i’m starting to suspect that during this season of economic distress the best way to fight anxiety is to serve others.

one concrete way you can serve during this season is by dedicating a small portion of your food budget to a local food pantry. beverly bootstraps, our local food pantry, has seen demand increase exponentially over the past couple of months. bootstraps receives tons of community donations, but the volume of donations has not kept pace with local need. check out the figures below:

from january to june 2007 bootstraps purchased $7,339 worth of extra food in order to meet local demand.

from january to june 2008 bootstraps had to purchase $19,647 worth of extra food in order to meet local demand.
i suspect that 95% of you can dedicate at least $10 of your food budget to purchasing bread, cereal and non-perishable goods to your local food pantry. please don’t miss this opportunity to fight anxiety by serving your neighbors.

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2008 at 12:34 pm

mid-morning time waster

palin as president.

be sure to click on everything.

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2008 at 12:20 am

plagiarize this

at last night’s cohort meeting we welcomed a pastor and first time attender named jeff. at some point in the evening he mentioned that during last sunday’s sermon he told the congregation to take a moment and take a good, long look at the people around them because:

“the people you see are your social security. in times of economic hardship and strife our real dependence is not upon the government, but upon each other.”

that really struck a cord with me. what a creative way to challenge people to set aside their fear in order to trust God and one another.

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2008 at 5:10 pm

Hijacked by Pixie

Last night it was suggested by a friend that Jeff bore a close enough resemblance to Matisyahu to shed his monk’s robes and don a beard for Halloween.

What do you think?

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2008 at 4:35 pm


today’s slate has an interesting article that explores signs of revitalization in catholic religious life. it’s good to hear of new communities such as the clear creek monastery that are able to do more than geriatric care.

in related news, this weekend as i donned a pre-fab habit in order to call, entice and cajole people to attend death by chocolate i couldn’t help but realize that i have become something i once denounced. namely, someone who embroiders his internal life on his sleeve.

i cannot tell you how many times i have ridiculed goths and punks for expressing their protest through costly fashion trends. now i eagerly wrap myself in the garb i would have liked to have lived, if marital privileges and mlb all access had been included with the bargain.

i hope that one of these days i can find a form of condemnation that does lead to retribution.

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2008 at 2:20 pm


david plotz muses on hollywood apocalyptic, n.r.a. overcompensation and the identity of latter day wolverines!

if red dawn plagued your dreams as a child or you just can’t get enough of c. thomas howell chugging blood, be sure to check out today’s slate.

* rick bennett also supports this message.

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