We're kidless for another day or so before the little ones return from Camp Grandma, so we're watching movies and eating out like newlyweds again. Great fun!
Last night, because we could get it instantly instead of ordering ahead: A Few Good Men. We had both forgotten that Aaron Sorkin wrote it, and OMG, the writing is unmistakable -- just like our old standby West Wing, only in a military courtroom. And the cast! Whoa! Noah Wyle, Cuba Gooding, even Joshua Malina -- all before they were really famous.
And the fact that the whole thing starts with bad behavior in Gitmo seems oddly prescient, just as many of the early episodes of West Wing were. Who knew that and 80's movie would seem so contemporary.
I just returned from a week taking our high school youth to the ELCA Youth Gathering in New Orleans. For a girl who hates both crowds and heat, it was remarkably tolerable. I was alternately proud of my church and a wee bit embarrassed that we are trying Oh-so-hard to be hip.
On the subject of trying too hard, I loved the honesty of Cheesehead's post on excuses given for not coming to church. (Those of you who are not clergy, do not be offended. We would never say these things to someone's face -- and you can't blame us for thinking them).
But her conclusion: right on. It's not about you. I will say this -- this may be one youth event that successfully got that message across, which is really a giant leap forward.
I don't often preach more than one text, but this week I can't resist:
I've been reading Barbara Brown Taylor's An Altar in the World, and she has a lovely chapter on 'getting lost,' so I'm pondering how much we made need to be more lost than we usually are.
In the Gospel a few weeks ago Jesus was in his hometown,
among people who thought they knew all too well who he was. They had Jesus stashed away in
box" – we know his family, we know his vocation – and they would not let him out.
And Mark tells us, he could do
no work of power there
today’s Gospel amidst all this moving around and crowds following Jesus even
though he’s tired and just trying to rest, he heals and heals and heals.
amidst all these hurting people, who are like sheep without a shepherd, he heals them even if they touch
the hem of his garment.
Jesus’ power is amazing – but maybe it needs us to be a
little lost. It works best in the cracked and broken places in our lives.
If, as Ephesians says, God has broken down walls and is building a new dwelling place, it's no wonder the church is messy and full of debris. Maybe
it needs the spaces within us and between us to let it in.
Maybe the cracks in our economy are exactly what God needs
right now. Maybe the broken places in your life – whether your retirement plans, your
career, even your health – maybe those are exactly the places where Jesus can
do some water damage – so before you go sealing it up, ask yourself if that
wall belongs there in the first place.
Ephesians says that the Spirit is creating a dwelling place in us – not just in
me, but in us – in the space between us –
this is the the spiritual dwelling place. Perhaps it’s exactly in these cracks that God
comes to dwell.
As a California transplant to Minnesota, I frequently hear from friends and relatives about how hard it must be to stay active in the winter. Implied, often, is the idea that we couldn't possibly value the outdoors as much as they do in a place where it hovers between 50 and 70 all year round.
Well, this month the national rankings on childhood obesity came out, and it's clear that weather has nothing to do with it. The worst states are those that typically rate the worst for education and child poverty levels as well: Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas. The sunshine states out West fare well, but not as well as Minnesota. How can this be?
Obviously, getting outside and exercising is a good thing to prevent obesity, especially in kids. And I'm sure there are many families that do not enjoy winter sports as fully as ours does. But still. Minnesotans -- especially children -- would not rank this well if we were simply eating our vegetables and going to the gym for seven months of the year.
We get out. We savor sunshine, even when it's below freezing (we also get more of it than many other northern states. . .). We savor the lakes even when they are frozen. And -- most importantly -- we invest in public parks, public schools and public recreation facilities that are available to everyone, not just those who can purchase a membership at a club.
I'm not one of those people who think we'll solve childhood obesity by preaching. Most of us would get fat if the options for food (junk) and activity (TV) available to us are limited, as is usually the case for people living in poverty. Public investment that makes healthy lifestyle EASIER is critical.