Simply Being Kind

If you’re not big on churches, read to the end of Hold to the Good‘s post re-blogged here on Views from the Edge. The author, John Buchanan, is Pastor-Emeritus of Fourth Presbyterian Church – Chicago, former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and recently retired Publisher of The Christian Century.

Hold to the Good

One of the occupational hazards of the preaching vocation is that not everyone likes, or agrees with, what we say – particularly when we push on beyond the words of scripture to the behavioral and social ramifications. On occasion, rare to be sure, listeners tell us, in no uncertain terms that they did not like what we said at all. Sometimes it happens during that hoary church custom of greeting the preacher after the worship service, standing in line, shaking hands and saying, “Good morning, Reverend. I enjoyed your sermon.” It is heartfelt sometimes and sometimes it is simply a rote part of the greeting ritual but the sad fact is that we preachers become addicted to compliments however and whenever they come. When someone chooses the occasion to let us know they didn’t like the sermon at all, it hits us like a physical blow and we think about…

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Conservative, Progressive, or….

the True Believer?

Republican and Democratic candidates for President all have the same problem. They’re focusing on one of two words.

Who’s REALLY conservative? Who’s REALLY progressive?

The buzz words, which mean little or nothing without clear definition, have become the litmus tests. No can define what they mean exactly. But on both sides of the aisle, what is at stake is a new kind of true belief, a new form of orthodoxy (i.e., right thinking) – the true believer. Or, as it is described in my tradition, ‘the righteousness.

The claim to righteousness is a soul-numbing claim. In the face of it, Micah shifts the conversation from righteousness to goodness:

“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8.

What would happen if we considered policy/program proposals and political candidates by the standards of goodness: justice, kindness, and humility?

Micah test is both conservative and progressive. It conserves a core ancient teaching of the western tradition, and it puts social justice, kindness, and humility at the center of public life.

What’s not to like about that?

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Feb. 8, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An acrostic verse: Missa Solemnis

“Missa Solemnis”

LORD HAVE MERCY begins the Mass
Under the baton of Maestro
Dean Craig Jessop. The last word: PEACE.
Wisdom and beauty from solo
Instrument, the mass choir, voice
Go to the top of Cathedral.

Vast walls of sound show pain also,
Arising from those who are cruel.
Nothing human escapes alto,

Bass and tenor and soprano.
Even a skeptic like Ludvig
Enlisted to create music,
Tries to make out of the tragic:
Hope, faith, love, kindness, and courage.
Overwhelmed by suffering, he
Values still signs of human will.
Even though stone deaf, he can be
Nurturing peace and harmony.

– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL August 7, 2013

EDITOR’S NOTE: Craig Jessop is Dean of the College of the Arts at Utah State University, and former Director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

A Mother’s Love

Katie and Kay (Mom) at Katie's graduation.

Katie and Kay (Mom) at Katie’s graduation.

Today Kay shared this at the cemetery as we laid to rest the ashes of her first-born daughter Katherine (“Katie”)

For Christ to have gone before us,
To have kept us from ultimate sadness,
To be our brother, our advocate,
The One who ushers in the Kingdom,
Here
And the One to come,

Does not keep us from our digging today.
We still gather here and throw the dirt on our sacred dust,
We take the shovel like all those gone before us
And surrender to the Unknowable—
The place where
Love and Beauty and Kindness grow wild.
Where sorrow has no needs,
Where there is all beginning and
Nothing ends.

I know this Love of hers lives on. I feel it.
I watch it in many streams of synchronicity,
Where my heart leaps from memory’s knowing,
Where I share a breath from her beyond.

And then I cry in secret,
Begging that she return

On my terms.

But if my begging is selfish,
The answer to it is not.
If I but knew the splendor of that Place where Love lives,
I would marvel in her good fortune
And ponder her grace inside a timeless waiting for us,
A begging for our good fortune
To come on her terms.

We live our lives in time.
She lives all time as Splendor.
We are bound between this stalemate
And the mystery that is our promise.

Until then we have no other luxury than
To shout her precious memories to the sky
In loud thanksgiving that Love herself lived with us awhile.

Then, because we live with fuller hearts
From knowing more than before our loss,
We turn our shovels over
As those with little other choice for now.
For now we dig.
And shed our tears
With greater Trust.

Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is
In heaven.

– Kay Stewart, Chaska, MN, May 9, 2013,
the third anniversary of loss and fuller hearts.