Wednesday, November 9, 2016

My Daughter

This morning when I walked out the door was the first time since I was 13 years old that I was afraid for my safety simply because I am a woman. The man who regularly goes for his early morning jog terrified me because yesterday as a nation, we said to the world that we believe a woman's worth to be inconsequential. We told the world that we are a sex to be dominated. We told the world that only some are made in the image of God. We have failed the world. We have failed our God who made us all in God's image. Where were the Christian women of faith who thought this was ok.
The simple fact that you voted for a man who doesn't consider you of any sacred worth breaks my heart. You didn't need to vote for Hillary, but you could have voted for someone else. Anyone else.

Today as my daughter and I left for work and daycare, she reached out to me to bring her down the stairs. Usually she wants to do it alone, but today was different. I realized in that moment that it will be my responsibility to assure of her worth. It will be my responsibility to protect her from the savagery of dehumanization that we just approved of.

Today, one of my Korean friends sat next to me. I could feel his anxiousness and I stopped writing. He asked me as he broke into tears, "Do you want me to leave?"

Today, my ethics professor shared a story about her elementary school teacher friend. The children of the school chanted around a Muslim child as they left for the day, TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP!

Now imagine children surrounding a child in a German town in 1933 at the end of a school day chanting: Jude, Jude, Jude.

Tell me America? Is this what it means to be great again? Or is this the beginning of a horrific nightmare that doesn't need to repeat itself.

I pray for our entire country. I pray that this is not the beginning of a deep darkness.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Systems and the Deceiver

This summer has been dedicated to developing the spiritual disciplines of devotion and Scripture reading. One would think that if one is a pastor, then one would being doing this on a regular basis.

     Yes, one would think.

However, finding time to just be with God is often difficult. One June 7, 2016 I began reading and writing out the Psalms. As of today I have made it to Psalm 18! I know, there are more than 18 days between June 7 and July 21. I could give you all the excuses for my slacking, and there are good ones, but I'm just going to "give it to God" and ask for forgiveness and continue to try my best to continue this discipline. 30 minutes every day to start my day! When I've got Ripley, things are harder, but life is hard sometimes and making room for God on a daily basis should be number one on the list. I'm working on it God, I promise! You see me!

It has taken me two days to write out Psalm 18. It is 50 verses long! I know, I know Psalm 119 has 176 verses, but I'll tackle that when I get to it. Hopefully the next one hundred Psalms will prepare me!

These first 18 Psalms have really been about being delivered from one's enemies. Enemies? Do I have any enemies. I am a white woman, living in twenty-first century America. I have never been to war. My country is not technically on the verge of violent war, maybe ideological, (and my husband would probably suggest otherwise), but there is relative peace here. I think there is a deep desire in this nation to want to work together for real peace, but we are trapped by our systems where the deceiver dwells.

The deceiver? Yes, satan, the devil, the tempter, whatever your name for that presence, that's the one I'm speaking of. The deceiver is so blinding, so sneaky, so devious. Sometimes even within our churches, the deceiver is crawling around dismantling the work that we are trying to do for Jesus Christ. The deceiver lurks in our attempts to make mission statements, visions for the church, discipleship pathways, mission partners, ministry opportunities, condolence meals... you name it. Anytime there is an exertion of control and power, then the deceiver scores another point on the scoreboard. This happens in every church, and our jobs as pastors and leaders is to recognize when it is happening. However, so often we see only our successes and tend to dismiss anything that doesn't fit in with OUR vision.

See that, OUR vision. OUR control.

That, my friends, is the enemy.

Psalm 18 is all about the victory over the enemy. Yes, VICTORY over the enemy. And what is the victory, God's reign not only on earth, but in our hearts and lives.

In those moments when the enemy seems to be winning. When our lives seem to be consumed by the drama of our lives, God will be there to deliver us. We have to be able to recognize within the systems of our churches where the enemy is ensconced and shine the bright light of Christ on it to eradicate it from its nesting place. When we do that, then we will be better equipped to call out the enemy in our societal systems.

Psalm 18: 30-32
Everything God does is perfect;
    the promise of the Eternal rings true;
    He stands as a shield for all who hide in Him.

 Who is the True God except the Eternal?
    Who stands like a rock except our God? 
 The True God who encircled me with strength
    and made my pathway straight.

From the Voice translation of the Bible

Peace my friends.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Things and happenings...

So I love that when I sign in for the first time from my new computer on blogspot, I was not asked for a sign in id or password. That is curious. Maybe I need to find a new blog provider? Anybody could post as me apparently and that would not be ideal!

For tonight though, this is me. Angie, Cap't Coco...

Over the past couple of days I've been reading from an assigned book in my preaching class, The Fully Alive Preacher by Mike Graves, my preaching professor. Most reading for seminary (and school in general) is taxing. I can always think of a million things to do instead of reading my assignments. But this book is great. The chapters are long, but they divided up into one to two page vignettes that offer insights into the discipline of being a preacher ...Of being a preacher. Who knew I would ever enter into this world of being a preacher... but here I am.

The title of my blog is Coco's Drama Free World.

Coco is a nickname derived from my maiden name that my lead at Worlds of Fun called me by. I was Coco for 5 years. It waned, but I picked it up again when I entering into the cyclist world of Kansas City. I called myself Captain Coco because, obviously, I am a pirate!

Drama, because life tends to be thoroughly dramatic. I don't think we can escape it. Drama just happens and it is apart of being human. This does NOT mean that I embrace drama; it simply means that I try to tackle it head on when it rears its ugly head. And boy does it ever rear.

What I've learned though is that you have to take things in stride (Apparently I'm channeling my inner horse tonight). 

Squirrel! So my professor's book has been invigorating. It reminded me of how much I really enjoy writing. As a preacher, my task is to find the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ, as it is lived out in society. In heartache, in joy, through the tears, through the laughter, in the mundane, in the whirlwinds... in the drama of life.

Life is about living into each moment and figuring out where God is speaking to us.

My prayer, my hope tonight is to embrace those moments of awe and even those moments of torpor and find the ru'ach of God. The wind, the breath, the Spirit of God. 

 Genesis 1:2 - 
וְהָאָרֶץ הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְחֹשֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵי תְהֹום וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים מְרַחֶפֶת עַל־פְּנֵי הַמָּֽיִם
The Tree of Life version has the closest translation... my opinion

"Now the earth was chaos and waste, darkness was on the surface of the deep, and the Breath of God was hovering upon the surface of the water."

Ah... God is the one who brings order and peace to the chaos. It makes you breath in deep the refreshing life that comes though that commanding surge that first said, let there be light!