Elijah and his sitter’s text

Grandpa, my babysitter was crying today.

IMG_1779 E 5 months

Elijah (five months old)

I’m sorry, Elijah. Why was she crying?

Marissa’s cousin in Puerto Rico sent a text five days ago but Marissa didn’t get it until this morning. She was crying hard, Grandpa! It was really sad.

What did the text say, Elijah?

I thought you’d ask, so I asked Marissa to print it out ’cause you’re old. You don’t text so good.

‘Well’, Elijah, I want you to learn to speak proper English. You should say, “You don’t text so well” — not “you don’t text so good.”

Yeah, well, you say ‘well’ a lot. That’s not good. Well, here’s what Marissa’s text from Puerto Rico said. It’s not good.

Month 2. Day 1.

No power

We have running water

Telecommunications are fair on the best of days. I consider it successful if I can consistently get 2mb down. Today it’s about 0.13mb.

Traffic is insane

Fuel lines are better

Shopping takes hours

We are the lucky ones, the privileged ones. It’s not better, progress is slow, medical care is impossible for many.

We are here. We need your help. Keep pressure on news organizations, on elected officials, and aid organizations. Use your voice for people who have been silenced.

Grandpa! We’re gonna help, right? Are we ‘privileged’?

  • Grandpa Gordon, Chaska, MN, October 24, 2017

Question for readers of Views from the Edge

I need your help. I’m taking a refresher course called Blogging 101.

Views from the Edge is the name of this site. Fine. I’m sticking with it.  But what about a “tag line”?

Since “Views from the Edge” doesn’t say what the blog is about, the tag line is important to give the reader a better clue to the nature of the site.

One member of the webinar suggested something like “Looking at public life and the assumptions that shape it”.

I’ve also thought about using the Amish rocking chair as a tag line to indicate a slower, more thoughtful look at the world. Or adapting Kosuke Koyama’s observation that God is a three-mile-an-hour God – walking at the normal speed of a human walking. I confess! I’m stumped!!!

ALL SUGGESTIONS ARE WELCOME.

Thanks for considering,

Gordon

 

 

 

 

Sermon – Robin Williams and the Loving God

This sermon from last Sunday addressed the suicide of Robin Williams through sacred scripture – “The call of God is irrevocable” – and Robin Williams’ dear friend Anne Lamott’s reflection on their journeys with depression, mental illness, addiction, faith, and help. FYI, the title was chosen earlier in the week. By Sunday morning I had discovered Anne Lamott’s lovely reflection following Robin’s death.

 

 

When help doesn’t come

“If you believe in GOD’s powers and you ask for help and he doesn’t help you right away, it means he believes in you!

It only takes 20 seconds of insane courage to do the impossible.”

– Ruth J., 9 yrs. old.

After worship at Shepherd of the Hill in Chaska, Ruth and Lily hand me their reflections on the sermon – either in words or in drawings and symbols printed on the backs of yellow visitor/prayer request cards. Their insights blow me away. I look at their cards and ask myself, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Ruth is a young Paul Tillich:

“Faith is the courage to be. Courage can show us what being is, and being can show us what courage is.” – Terry Lectures delivered at Yale University, The Courage To Be, Yale University Press, 1952.

A Song for each kind of day

Scheduling Calendar - differrent kinds of days

Scheduling Calendar - different kinds of days

Two years ago during my step-daughter’s final months with terminal cancer, I spent three days in quiet reflecton at Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville, MN.Worshiping with the Benedictines was part of the structure of my day, the chants and readings opening space for fresh air to enter my angry soul…except for…the Psalms. Outrageously violent, vindictive, intolerant, self-righteous…horrible expressions of emotions I had gone there to revoke.

One day following morning prayer, I asked my Benedictine spiritual guide “Why do you read them aloud? Over and over again. They’re horrible.”

“Yes,” he replied, “because they’re real.” And words to this effect: “All those emotions are in us. Every one. Only if we recognize and remember can hate be transformed into love, fear into trust, self-centeredness into compassion. The gospel makes no sense unless it is a word spoken directly into these parts of ourselves we wish weren’t there, the sides of us we deny or from which we take flight into illusions of perfection.”

The words of another Benedictine, Dom Sebastian Moore of Downside Abbey in England, had hit the mark once before during the greatest personal crisis of my life – a time filled with the greatest joy and the greatest sorrow at the very same time. The words are heavily underlined in my copy of Moore’s The Crucified Jesus Is No Stranger. They were a lifeline to a drowning man.

“We have to think of a God closer to our evil than we ever dare to be. We have to think of God not as standing at the end of the way we take when we run away from our evil in the search for good, but as taking hold of us in our evil, at the sore point which the whole idealistic thrust of man is concerned to avoid.”

Or, as Steve concludes his poem, “there is a Psalm for each one of our days.”  Here’s the poem.

“A Song for Each Kind of Day”

Steve Shoemaker, April 12, 2012

 

One Hebrew word for “god” was “jah.”

(It was a time of many words

for god–and many gods.)  To say

“hallel” was for all to sing praise,

so HALLELUJAH meant “Praise God!”

(or “Thanks to you, oh God!”– for some

words could be truly translated

more than one way.

 

And so, a Psalm, or Song, that offered thanks or praise

might well be paired with a lament:

a cry of pain from one who prays

for help, relief, from gods who sent

disaster.  (But, of course, some Psalms

wisely acknowledged that some wrongs

 

were caused by those who sang the songs!)

There is a Psalm for each one of our days…