Wednesday evening, I saw the movie An Act of Love. It is the story of Rev. Frank Schaefer and how he was brought up on charges, defrocked, and un-defrocked. His son is gay and he performed the same-gender wedding of his son and his partner. Six years after the fact, after Rev. Schaefer fired the organist, the organist's son brought Rev. Schaeffer up on charges in the United Methodist Church.
¶2702 of the United Methodist Book of Discipline states that the following are chargeable offenses:
(a) immorality including but not limited to, not being celibate in singleness or not faithful in a heterosexual marriage;** (b) practices declared by The United Methodist Church to be incompatible with Christian teachings, 15 including but not limited to: being a self-avowed practicing homosexual; or conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions; or performing same-sex wedding ceremonies;** (c) crime; (d) disobedience to the order and discipline of The United Methodist Church; (e) dissemination of doctrines contrary to the established standards of doctrine of The United Methodist Church; (f) relationships and/ or behavior that undermines the ministry of another pastor; 16 (g) child abuse;*** (h) sexual abuse; 17 (i) sexual misconduct*** or (j) harassment, including, but not limited to racial and/ or sexual harassment; or (k) racial or gender discrimination.
Rev. Schaefer was charged in Pennsylvania. The solution of the trial was essentially, "You will either submit to this language or you will turn in your credentials--your choice." Rev. Schaefer chose neither so then they had to take a second option and remove his credentials. But, before they could, he was swooped up by the Western Jurisdiction of the UMC and given a church in Santa Barbara. That commenced his defrocking. He is now frocked again!
I think there is an inherent contradiction within this paragraph. point (f) that states that another pastor's behavior is a chargeable offense held up to point (b) which is all about homosexuality. If a pastor's ministry is with the LGBTQIA community, then someone who brings charges against that pastor could conceivably have charges brought against them!
This is what happens when our relationship with the divine is transactional. "If I do this, then God will do that." God only has enough love for the "in group." We fail to see that God doesn't play that game. #itstime to make a change and include everyone.
Market-Share to Mind-Share. From scarcity and control to sharing and freedom.
Today's practice is inspired by music from MC Yogi, a poem from Ann Weems, and sacred wisdom from John O'Donohue along with readings from the Jewish and Christian lectionaries, the Qur'an, and the Bhagavad Gita. The photo is from Theo Lagendijk.
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--humm
Dancing in the Sun by MC Yogi
The Way, Ann Weems
The way to Jerusalem
looks suspiciously like Highway 40,
and the pilgrims
look suspiciously like you and me.
I expected the road to Jerusalem
to be crowded with holy people…
clerics and saints…
people who have kindness wrinkled in their faces
and comfort lingering in their voices,
but this is more like rush hour…
horns blowing, people pushing, voices cursing.…
This is not what I envisioned!
O God, I’ve only begun and already
I feel I’ve lost my way.
Surely this is not the road
and surely these
are not the ones
to travel with me.
This journey calls for
Instead of holiness
the highway is crammed
with the cacophony
Is there no back road
No quiet path
where angels tend
to weary travelers?
from the noise of the world?
Can this hectic highway
be the highway to heaven?
Weems, Ann (1993-09-01). Kneeling in Jerusalem (Kindle Locations 261-287). Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. Kindle Edition.
1 Peter 2:13-17
Qur'an Surah 3.135-144
Bhagavad Gita 4.22-26
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, let me know! The readings are from the Daily Torah Study, the Christian Lectionary, and reading the Qur'an and Bhagavad Gita straight through.
“If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times. In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have.” ― John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
For the oppressed and weary
Especially for #blacklivesmatter and
for the LGBTQIAP community.
For signs of despair and violence,
for the increase in refugees fleeing Libya
for the earthquake in Japan and the search for survivors
for Sheikha al-Jassem, Kuwaiti scholar, charged with blasphemy
for US victims of gun violence in the last 72, hours,
215 incidents, 53 killed, 106 injured
For signs of hope and peace,
for the recovery of stolen Dutch paintings
for the recapturing of Hit, Syria, from IS
for the Democracy Spring in Washington DC happening now
for the increase in wild tiger populations
For East Timor, Indonesia, and the Philippines
For those who suffer, are homeless, or are sick
For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to
For the transformation from ME to WE
Let peace prevail on earth.
So may it be.
Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi
O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold
of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.
May Peace Prevail on Earth. Amen. So mote it be.
"Amen" means "may it be so."
"May peace prevail on earth." is an addition inspired by Michael Dickel
BIBOLove is an addition attributed to the work of Soyinka Rahim, InterPlay practice, BIBOLove
The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
16 A man from whom there is a discharge of semen, shall immerse all his flesh in water, and he shall remain unclean until evening.
17 And any garment or any leather [object] which has semen on it, shall be immersed in water, and shall remain unclean until evening.
18 A woman with whom a man cohabits, whereby there was [a discharge of] semen, they shall immerse in water, and they shall remain unclean until evening.
19 If a woman has a discharge, her flesh discharging blood, she shall remain in her state of menstrual separation for seven days, and whoever touches her shall become unclean until evening.
20 And whatever she lies on during her menstrual separation, shall become unclean, and whatever she sits on, shall become unclean.
21 And anyone who touches her bedding, shall immerse his garments and immerse [himself] in water, and he shall remain unclean until evening.
22 And anyone who touches any object upon which she will sit, shall immerse his garments and immerse himself in water, and he shall remain unclean until evening.
23 And if he is on the bedding or on the object, upon which she is sitting, when he touches it, he becomes unclean until evening.
24 If a man cohabits with her, [the uncleanness of] her menstruation shall be upon him, and he shall be unclean for seven days, and any bedding he lies upon, shall become unclean.
25 And a woman whose flow of blood flows for many days, outside of the time of her menstrual separation, or she has a discharge after her menstrual separation, then all the days she has her unclean discharge, she shall be unclean just like the days of her menstrual separation.
26 Any bedding upon which she lies during all the time of her discharge, will have the same [uncleanness] for her, as the bedding of her menstruation. And any object upon which she will sit, shall become unclean. like her menstrual uncleanness.
27 And anyone who touches them shall become unclean; he shall immerse his garments and immerse [himself] in water, and he shall remain unclean until evening.
28 And if she becomes clean of her discharge, she shall count for herself seven days, and after this, she may be cleansed.
The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
David's prayer bewailing his suffering. But it is not suffering itself that pains him, rather he is saddened by its disturbing his Torah study. For man's days are few, "and if not now, when (will he study)?" for he may die, today or tomorrow. He therefore requests that his suffering be removed, to enable him to study Torah and acquire a place in the World to Come.
1. For the Conductor, for yedutun, a psalm by David.
2. I said that I would guard my ways from sinning with my tongue; I would guard my mouth with a muzzle, [even] while the wicked one is before me.
3. I became mute with stillness, I was silent [even] from the good, though my pain was crippling.
4. My heart grew hot within me, a fire blazed in my utterance, as I spoke with my tongue.
5. O Lord, let me know my end and what is the measure of my days, that I may know when I will cease.
6. Behold, like handbreadths You set my days; my lifetime is as naught before You. But all is futility, all mankind's existence, Selah.
7. Only in darkness does man walk, seeking only futility; he amasses riches and knows not who will reap them.
8. And now, what is my hope, my Lord? My longing is to You.
9. Rescue me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of the degenerate.
10. I am mute, I do not open my mouth, for You have caused [my suffering].
11. Remove Your affliction from me; I am devastated by the attack of Your hand.
12. In reproach for sin You chastened man; like a moth, You wore away that which is precious to him. All mankind is nothing but futility, forever.
13. Hear my prayer, O Lord, listen to my cry; do not be silent to my tears, for I am a stranger with You, a sojourner like all my forefathers.
14. Turn from me, that I may recover my strength, before I depart and I am no more.
The psalmist speaks of the numerous wonders that God wrought for the Jewish people, asking: "Who can articulate His might? I would relate and speak of them, but they are too numerous to recount!" He created the world and split the sea for the sake of Israel, [yet] He desires no sacrifices, only that we listen to His voice.
1. For the Conductor, a psalm by David.
2. I put my hope in the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.
3. He raised me from the turbulent pit, from the slimy mud, and set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps.
4. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn to our God; multitudes will see and fear, and will trust in the Lord.
5. Fortunate is the man who has made the Lord his trust, and did not turn to the haughty, nor to those who stray after falsehood.
6. You have done much, O You, Lord my God-Your wonders and thoughts are for us; none can compare to You; should I relate or speak of them, they are too numerous to recount!
7. You desired neither sacrifice nor meal-offering, but [obedient] ears You opened for me; You requested neither burnt-offering nor sin-offering.
8. Then I said, "Behold, I come with a Scroll of the Book written for me."
9. I desire to fulfill Your will, my God; and Your Torah is in my innards.
10. I proclaimed [Your] righteousness in a vast congregation; behold I will not restrain my lips-O Lord, You know!
11. I did not conceal Your righteousness within my heart; I declared Your faithfulness and deliverance; I did not hide Your kindness and truth from the vast congregation.
12. May You, Lord, not withhold Your mercies from me; may Your kindness and truth constantly guard me.
13. For countless evils surround me; my sins have overtaken me and I cannot see; they outnumber the hairs of my head, and my heart has abandoned me.
14. May it please You, Lord, to save me; O Lord, hurry to my aid.
15. Let those who seek my life, to end it, be shamed and humiliated together; let those who desire my harm retreat and be disgraced.
16. Let those who say about me, "Aha! Aha!" be desolate, in return for their shaming [me].
17. Let all those who seek You exult and rejoice in You; let those who love Your deliverance always say, "Be exalted, O Lord!”
18. As for me, I am poor and needy; my Lord will think of me. You are my help and my rescuer; my God, do not delay!
This psalm teaches many good character traits, and inspires one to be thoughtful and conscientious in giving charity-knowing to whom to give first. Fortunate is he who is thoughtful of the sick one, providing him with his needs.
1. For the Conductor, a psalm by David.
2. Fortunate is he who is thoughtful of the poor, [for] the Lord will save him on the day of evil.
3. The Lord will guard him and keep him alive; he will be praised throughout the land; You will not deliver him to the desires of his enemies.
4. The Lord will support him on the bed of illness; You will turn him over in his bed all throughout his sickness.
5. I said, "Lord, be gracious to me! Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You!”
6. My foes say that evil [awaits] me: "When will he die, and his name perish?”
7. And if one comes to see [me], he speaks insincerely, for his heart gathers iniquity for himself, and when he goes out he speaks of it.
8. Together they whisper against me-all my enemies; against me they devise my harm, [saying]:
9. "Let his wickedness pour into him; now that he lies down, he shall rise no more.”
10. Even my ally in whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has raised his heel over me.
11. But you, Lord, be gracious to me and raise me up, and I will repay them.
12. With this I shall know that You desire me, when my enemies will not shout gleefully over me.
13. And I, because of my integrity, You upheld me; You set me before You forever.
14. Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel, to all eternity, Amen and Amen.
This psalm awakens the hearts of the Children of Israel who do not feel the immense ruin, loss, and bad fortune in their being exiled from their Father's table. Were they wise, they would appreciate their past good fortune in coming thrice yearly, with joy and great awe, to behold God during the festivals, free of adversary and harm. May God place mercy before us from now to eternity, Amen Selah.
1. For the Conductor, a maskil by the sons of Korach.
2. As the deer cries longingly for brooks of water, so my soul cries longingly for You, O God!
3. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When will I come and behold the countenance of God?
4. My tears have been my bread day and night, when they say to me all day, "Where is your God?”
5. These do I recall, and pour out my soul from within me: how I traveled [to Jerusalem] in covered wagons; I would walk leisurely with them up to the House of God, amid the sound of rejoicing and thanksgiving, the celebrating multitude.
6. Why are you downcast, my soul, and why do you wail within me? Hope to God, for I will yet thank Him for the deliverances of His countenance.
7. My God! My soul is downcast upon me, because I remember You from the land of Jordan and Hermon's peaks, from Mount Mitzar.
8. Deep calls to deep at the roar of Your channels; all Your breakers and waves have swept over me.
9. By day the Lord ordains His kindness, and at night His song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
10. I say to God, my rock, "Why have You forgotten me? Why must I walk in gloom under the oppression of the enemy?”
11. Like a sword in my bones, my adversaries disgrace me, when they say to me all day, "Where is your God?”
12. Why are you downcast, my soul, and why do you wail within me? Hope to God, for I will yet thank Him; He is my deliverance, [the light of] my countenance, and my God.
A significant prayer concerning the magnitude of the troubles we have suffered at the hands of the impious nations. May it be God's will to send Moshiach and Elijah the Prophet, who will lead us to the Holy Temple to offer sacrifices as in days of old.
1. Avenge me, O God, and champion my cause against an impious nation; rescue me from the man of deceit and iniquity.
2. For You are the God of my strength; why have You abandoned me? Why must I walk in gloom under the oppression of the enemy?
3. Send Your light and Your truth, they will guide me; they will bring me to Your holy mountain and to your sanctuaries.
4. Then I will come to the altar of God-to God, the joy of my delight-and praise You on the lyre, O God, my God.
5. Why are you downcast, my soul, and why do you wail within me? Hope to God, for I will yet thank Him; He is my deliverance, [the light of] my countenance, and my God.
1 Peter 2:13-17
The Voice version
13 For the Lord’s sake, accept the decrees and laws of all the various human institutions, whether they come from the highest human ruler 14 or agents he sends to punish those who do wrong and to reward those who do well. 15 You see, it is God’s will that by doing what is right and good you should hush the gabbing ignorance of the foolish. 16 Live as those who are free and not as those who use their freedom as a pretext for evil, but live as God’s servants. 17 Respect everyone. Love the community of believers. Reverence God. Honor your ruler.
Quran Surah 3.121-127
Quran: A Simple English Translation
135 And who, when they have committed an indecency or have wronged their souls, remember God and pray that their sins be forgiven— for who but God can forgive sins?— and do not knowingly persist in their misdeeds, 136 their recompense is forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing through them, where they will abide forever. How excellent will be the reward of those who do good works.
137 There are many examples [of the communities] that have passed away before you: travel through the land, and see what was the end of those who rejected the Truth.
138 This Quran is an exposition for the people and a guidance and admonition for those who fear God.
139 And do not become faint of heart, nor grieve— you will have the upper hand, if you are believers— 140 if you have suffered a wound, they too have suffered a similar wound. We bring these days to men by turns, so that God may know those who believe, and choose witnesses from among you; and God does not love the unjust, 141 so that God may purge those who believe and wipe out those who deny the truth.
142 Do you suppose that you would enter the Garden, without God knowing those among you who would strive hard for His cause and endure with fortitude?
143 You were longing for death, before you met it. Now you have seen it with your own eyes.
144 Muhammad is only a messenger. Messengers have passed away before him. If he should die, or be killed, will you turn back on your heels? Those who turn on their heels do not harm the Lord in the least. God will reward the grateful.
Khan, Maulana Wahiduddin; Goodword (2013-12-11). Quran: A Simple English Translation (Goodword ! Koran) (Kindle Locations 1070-1083). Goodword Books. Kindle Edition.
Bhagavad Gita 4.22-26
content with whatever happens,
unattached to pleasure or pain,
success or failure, he acts
and is never bound by his action.
When a man has let go of attachments,
when his mind is rooted in wisdom,
everything he does is worship
and his actions all melt away.
God is the offering, God
is the offered, poured out by God;
God is attained by all those
who see God in every action.
Some men of yoga pray
to the gods, and make this their worship;
some offer worship by worship
itself, in the fire of God;
others offer their senses
in the fire of self-abnegation;
others offer the senses’ objects,
in the fire of the senses
Mitchell, Stephen (2007-12-18). Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation (Kindle Locations 577-591). Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony. Kindle Edition.