Category Archives: Life As Prayer update

News about the project or book by Lisa Colón DeLay that move to integrate Christian Spirituality, bridging the sacred and the secular.

This Blog is moving!

Moving a house, LA

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FYI This is my blog site’s QR code! whoot.

(part 1) The Living God vs. our dead idols

 

The Holy Fire did not consume the bush

 

Fire:

1. Normally destructive

2. A consuming chemical reaction

3. In art, symbolism, movies, and maybe in the human psyche, fire is seen as a living being, of sorts.

For example, witness lines of the film, Backdraft, 1991.

Robert De Niro’s character- Donald ‘Shadow’ Rimgale: It’s a living thing, Brian. It breathes, it eats, and it hates. The only way to beat it is to think like it. To know that this flame will spread this way across the door and up across the ceiling, not because of the physics of flammable liquids, but because it wants to. Some guys on this job, the fire owns them, makes ’em fight it on it’s level, but the only way to truly kill it is to love it a little. Just like Ronald.

Many times we function in life as if God is an idea. God may be getting frozen in our mind. Static. Stiff. Or maybe we think of God in relationship to things past: Bible stories, fixed doctrinal positions, the holy and immovable One.

Yet God is the only Living God. The Highest. All the other things we worship are dead, or they can make us numb, dead-like. Getting our fix of whatever…people, gossip, technology, gadgets, velocity, power, status, (etc. maybe you can think of others) are all tertiary distractions, fool’s gold. They don’t bring life, or growth, but instead more craving.

Let’s share a bit, shall we? Please list a dead god you’ve worshiped. (If you can, include some adjectives about it.)

Thank you for reading. 🙂

Turning my blog into a (christian) ‘The Oatmeal’

I just went to the website called “The Oatmeal,” and now I realize what I want to do with my life.

I want to author a Christian “The Oatmeal”. Actually I don’t, because that’s lame. Although the Oatmeal humor may be vulgar (at times), and often mildly to very offensive, the Oatmeal guy is brilliantly comedic, sort of. Well, he has his moments.

So, in homage to that level of funny, he sometimes achieves, I give you, my own “The Oatmeal style post.” It is my response to something I highly dislike, Chain facebook status causes. (And yes, this is a real example I plunked over here. These chain “post this to your fb status” are ploys to manipulate us, and I’m turning lemons into lemonade.)

I finally had to write what I was thinking

Your responses are encouraged.

Like A Virgin Soap (No Shame)

OKAY-It’s possible something was lost in translation on this cosmetic.

Perhaps white or pure was translated as “virginity”. Maybe the English word “virginal” threw off the dictionary. You might have a better guess than me.

This so-called “skin-whitening” soap is supposed to make the skin inviting to touch, so it actually, um. maybe it could end virginity.

But I wonder if the idea of purity, cleansing, and ridding us of our shame is so wrapped up together, that longing for a kind of “virginity soap” isn’t all that big of a stretch.

On some level, doesn’t everyone want a second chance?

Doesn’t everyone want their sin to be “washed away”?

Do you have a memory you wish you didn’t have, or a past sin that plagues you?

Christianity has promised this same thing with “Jesus Soap” for quite a while now. But is it that simple? And, do we co-opt with the renewing power of the Holy Spirit enough to live in a “washed clean” kind of way?

The spiritual discipline of confession works a bit like “virginity soap”. It is an imperative to confess and turn away from sins. And we are told to confess to each other. It gives us a real life engagement with grace, via the willing and trusting ear of another.

Do you have a confessor to whom you can confess your shame? If not, why? Do you think it would help you?

Thanks for you thoughts on this.

Friendly vs. Hospitable

80s hospitality

A lot of people claim to have friendly churches. But we have to ask, “Friendly…compared to what?”

Most would avoid saying, “our church is unfriendly.”

Yet, friendliness is distinctly different from hospitality.

• A friendly church might–by policy or administration–greet newcomers

• A friendly church may staff a church information center

• A friendly church might include a greeting time within the order of the worship.

But, this is surface-level hospitality.

Friendliness involves a, “Hello, how are you?” But, hospitality waits for the real answer, and offers an invitation to break bread together… Really, to do life together.

• After church, are folks staying afterwards to visit, or do they rush off to their kids’ soccer matches, NFL games, or other obligations?

• Are spiritual siblings, sort of, shooed out so the Sexton can lock up the building?

• Can congregants make and share a meal at church, a snack, or put on a pot of coffee, without the deacons getting nervous about clean up and carpet stains?

• Does the building, and the programs and schedules therein eclipse the human beings for whom the church exists?

Shouldn’t church feel (be) comfortable–like an inviting hearth and home? Should it not have the kitchen and the living room vibe, where people feel a bit saddened to leave, at the end, because they have enjoyed a time with people who love them. A place where people don’t look at their watch, but instead comment on the pity it is that time went so quickly. A. hospitable. place.

What is the culture of your church?

If you could change something, what would it be?

What does hospitality look and behave like, [to you]?

Thanks for your ideas.

Yes, I have a fan page.

Welcome Schuylkill & Berks News readers (SBN- Facebook link). (Related to my column: If you have good traveling tips, please leave them in the comments section.)

Some of you have been wondering if you can “LIKE” me.

This is perfectly understandable.

You have a battle raging within…or maybe you don’t know what I’m talking about…or both…

Um. So.

We all like to be well-liked, but in this case, if you haven’t figured, I’m speaking about Facebook. It’s a so-called fan page. Even though I’m not my biggest fan, in a desperate attempt at self-actualization, I created my own fan page. Pathetic. I know. But wait.

If I could have changed the name to “Fun page” I would have. It’s really all Facebook’s fault. It’s not vanity. You would do the same thing, if you were backed into a corner. And what a corner…

What if, you’re Not on Facebook?
very bad. Your punishment is to leave a comment explaining why. 🙂

OKAY! I just snapped, a little. Sorry ’bout that. (See why spiritual practices are indispensable? Imagine if I didn’t do them. Yes. We’d all be sorry.) Um. Yes. Where were we?

Right. The Page Facebook page called “Triple Dog Dare” is my way to connect with friends, fans, and the random person who likes to read something humorous.

(Image yourself holding a full pail of funny…See, you’ll love it.)

Click a photo below to get there; and remember, I love you, more than cheddar cheese, despite its power, and I mean that!

If you “Like” and “Share” to your FB page, I’ll leave you a witty quip on your Wall, and you’ll actually like it, (Help me know who you are, and/or confirm you did this, right here, or on my Facebook wall).

Happy Autumn, ya’ll.

-Lisa

Clementi, bullying, and ethics

It would be easy to say the case of Tyler Clementi–the talented violinist, who recently killed himself after an intimate encounter, and streamed online by his roommate–was about Tyler’s homosexuality, or just technology run amuck. It would be easy to focus on a bullying issue, or a sexually based hate crime.

Even though those factors surround the incident, a root problem is overlooked if these aspects get the most attention.

Why did it happen? Because people didn’t act according to proper ethics. They had no understanding or appreciation to act ethically. It was an easy laugh to embarrass a roommate, and technology made it so simple. The choice to record and stream this video was possible, and that–to the perpetrators–made it acceptable to do. But there is more:

The obvious question is “why”? The simple answer is “a blatant lack of respect for another.” Selfishness.

Ethics teach to do right by another, not because we like it, or because we benefit from it, but instead because every human being has this unalienable right. Because we are human, we are endowed these quality, and must act accordingly.

Some people think sensitivity training will stop bullying. It’s just not enough. It calls attention to those who are different, but it does not provide a satisfying reason to treat them well. Treating a special education student, an immigrant, or a homosexual young adult in a “tolerant” way, or with unique deference, alone, misses the most important point:

We don’t respect others, be kind, because this makes us nice people. We don’t do it, simply because we wish to be treated that way. We don’t do it because people will like us more. We engage as we ought because it is right in itself. And that’s enough.

Ought is the word one cannot skip. The fact that we all comprehend an ought, points to a source outside ourselves as the barometer of ethical standards.

Who determines this? Who are the rule makers?

Sometimes it’s special interest groups; sometimes religious groups, sometimes it’s educated experts; sometimes it’s the presidence of laws. All arbitrary starting points, in and of themselves, that can be expected to fold, like a house of cards.

The bullies continue. The “good citizen” character building taught often in schools falls flat, or is soon overshadowed by self-interest.

Rather, it is a birthright to be treated properly, even before one is born. It’s a non negotiable imperative to which we must all abide. As a basic feature of our makeup and purpose, it is a meta-edict for humankind. A dialectic of grace.

Nathan is a child who attracts peer ridicule. My son speaks and moves in odd ways. He’s sensitive, and obsessed with trains. Recently, he was punched repeatedly in the crotch and taunted by 3 boys who were screaming a train song in his ear.

I could envision a similar fate for Nathan which happened to Tyler. Both were exploited for sport.

Share you comments about this case, or bullying.

Have you ever been bullied

What in the Hell?

fires of hell?

Scot McKnight has an intriguing post regarding Sharon Baker’s book Razing Hell: Rethinking Everything You’ve Been Taught About God’s Wrath and Judgment. His article here.

After you read these 7 considerations (from Scot’s post), will you please comment here?

1. Theodicy: how does God deal with evil if it, in effect, exists for ever in a hell-state? Does evil not continue to exist, even in spite of the statement in Revelation 21:1-4 that death and suffering will be no more? So, the issue here is squaring God’s goodness with eternal evil.

2. Eternal hopelessness: a traditional hell does not permit any hope after death for anyone, including those who have never heard. Is there a law that says God’s grace can only be active in the temporal sphere — that is, during our physical lifetime?

3. Eternal evil: does not the traditional view entail the view that God never really does purge his world of evil?

4. Justice vs. Love: the issue here is an old one. If God is love, how does justice fit in with that love. Is God ambivalent or split? An image of God that emerges for many is a cruel father who guides people to think of eternal punishment as an act of love.

5. Eternal divine violence: assumptions are that punishment is an act of violence and eternal punishment would mean God is eternally violent. She connects this view of God with acts of violence in history. She thinks God’s violence contradicts God’s love.

6. Retributive justice: again, a major issue is that God’s justice in the Bible — in Christ — is restorative but hell is a belief in a retributive justice that never becomes restorative.

7. Eternal punishment for temporal sin: how can it be just to punish a human being, who sinned temporally — that is over a life time (and no more), for an eternity for that temporal sin?

Prayer: Benediction

photo/link by Rolf Potts. (St. Petersburg, Russia Midnight sunset near Nevskii Prospect)

(I’ll be a professorial substitute on Thursday, and I’m really looking forward to it. Below is the prayer from Dr. Laurie Mellinger’s lesson plan for that night. It’s the Benediction Prayer.)

I post it today for your personal reflection. Sometimes we don’t make the time to collect ourselves this way. Here’s a our chance today. Maybe it’s also something you’d like to share with someone else.

Let us receive Your words

and treasure up Your commandments within us;

Make our ears attentive to wisdom

and incline our hearts to understanding;

yes, may we call out for insight

and raise our voices for understanding.

Let us seek it like silver

and search for it as for hidden treasures,

that we may understand the fear of the Lord

and find the knowledge of God.

For You, Lord, give wisdom;

from Your mouth come knowledge and understanding.

(Share your comments and reflections)