Sunday, March 27, 2016

Triduum 2016

Maundy Thursday evening two churches that are geographical neighbors and also official ecumenical partners via A Formula of Agreement enjoyed Soup, Bread, and Conversation followed by Homily, Eucharist, and Hand-Washing as a variant of the foot-washing some churches observe.

westwood hills church sign westwood hills flower St Francis
westwood hills God is Love window westwood hills church bldg with bell

No photos from Good Friday...
my camera does well with available light, and I can do a lot with Photoshop,
but clicking, snapping, and looking around for photo opps didn't fit the somber sense of the day.

Holy Saturday...
the day nothing happens is the day everything happens



Easter Vigil featured New Fire, Baptisms and a Street Eucharist.

St Marks church sign table setting
new fire prep glowing fire
table on the street street eucharist


Easter Morning Festival Eucharist with Organ, Brass, Choir—and Brunch.

LCM church sign LCM Easter flowers

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

World Water Day 2016

United Nations World Water Day site with info and resources.

world water day 2016 logo

Theme for this year? Water and jobs.

Water works for us and our needs. Water works to help keep us employed. We need to work to keep water alive. Close to half the workers in the world depend upon water for their employment. As a artist-designer I know water is an input in the manufacture of papers, paints, inks, solvents. But rather then writing more specifically to the suggested topic, I'm blogging some of the pictures I captured at the judicatory's World Water Day event earlier today. First Lutheran Glendale where we gathered has a splendid building and glorious stained glass! Happily and surprisingly I got involved in activities since I was more participant than journalist and didn't even try to get a photo of everything in sight; also, because of rights and permissions I consider every day as a designer, although I got a few pics that include people I won't post any. After the event opened with prayer, scripture, and a reflection on violence, holy week, baptism, and water, they moved the font close to the labyrinth most of us walked. Some of us had brought water from our living space or work place, so we poured a little into the font, watered courtyard plants with the rest. For lunch we enjoyed three kinds of sandwich wraps, veggies and dip, cinnamon tortilla chips, and fruit salsa. All vegetarian—you know how much water that saves? Yes it does!

Southwest Synod and 1st Lutheran sic world water day 2016 1st Lutheran Glendale entryway world water day 2016
come and take it world water day 2016 baptismal font world water day 2016
labyrinth world water day 2016 event table world water day 2016
1st Lutheran Glendale steeple world water day 2016
stained glass world water day 2016
church sign and stained glass world water day 2016

Friday, March 18, 2016

Five Minute Friday: Surprise!

five minute friday news five minute friday button

Five Minute Friday time! Every Friday Kate Motaung hosts a 5-minute free write or type at her home in cyberspace. Today's prompt is... Surprise!!!!!

witnesses to his resurrection
Surprises come in a literally countless superabundance of shapes, forms, and means. We excitedly welcome some surprises, cannot welcome others. Then there are those surprises we actually expect to happen—though how is that a real astonishment? We've been journeying through the liturgical season of Lent; this coming Sunday is Lent 6, typically observed as both Palm and Passion Sunday. Palm/Passion Sunday again signals Jesus and the church approaching the Holy City Jerusalem, drawing nearer to the cross that ultimately replaces the Jerusalem Temple as the axis mundi between earth and heaven. If Friday's coming, Sunday's not far behind! It still surprises me that as Christians we think we know the "rest of the story." We firmly trust we've been to the ninth hour of Friday, grieved through the abandonment of Saturday, and been surprised at the empty grave of resurrection Sunday dawn. We know how tides that always return to the lone bare shore, flowers that burst into bloom from the ashes of a wildfire form valid models of resurrection without quite approaching the real thing—yet... new life always surprises us. We haven't exactly been to that new dawn before; God hasn't done that particular surprise in our life at any other time. At all. Easter's on the way! Another surprise coming soon!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Burning Bush 2.0: Paul Asay

Burning Bush 2.0: how pop culture replaced the prophet by Paul Asay, who works for plugged in, "...an entertainment guide full of the reviews you need to make wise personal and family-friendly decisions about movies, videos, music, TV, games and books."

burning bush 2.0 book coverLively writing, at least one or more of the topics will appeal to almost everyone, plus encouragement to explore on your own and maybe write your own observations and insights. Scripture shows us the role and calling of prophet – the person who speaks truth to power – happened because God's people insisted on having human kings like all those other nations, all those everyone elses. Some of us remember Simon & Garfunkel telling us the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls―but that was so very local, right here in this 'hood, on this street! With the power and prevalence of the internet "Pop Culture" in the subtitle has reached and stretched much further than it had even at the end of the last century. Author Paul Asay brings micro overviews of cinema, TV cartoons, video games, music, etc. from the perspective of a mature adult who like most of his readers – and like this reviewer – lived on planet earth before the internet invasion.

Scripture reveals Divine self-revelation in many many people, in a whole lot of physical material "stuff" that in the popular sense is anything but other-worldly, not at all conventionally religious. Especially because Good Friday and Easter 2016 are on the way, I'm preparing to discuss some theology of the cross and theology of glory with my adult Sunday School class these next two weeks, Lent 5 and Lent 6. Most likely I'll quote myself from a few years ago from the class I taught at a different church in a different town:

"Theologians of glory build their theology in the light of what they expect God to be like, inventing God to look something like themselves. Theologians of the cross build their theology in the light of God's own revelation of himself, particularly God's self-revelation in Christ crucified. In addition, the cross of Calvary forms a paradigm and model for God's characteristically hidden and paradoxical, sacramental presence in the commonest things, situations and people."

But has Pop Culture Replaced the Prophet? The Hebrew scriptures distinguish the prophet – nabi – and the seer (into future happens and events) or roeh. Literally in-spired by the Spirit of Life, a prophet calls people out of complacency, points out transgressions, and presents God's life-giving alternatives. But in movies, TV shoes, video games, rap and ballads, does God reveal Godself, show us where and how established political, educational, environmental; and economic powers that be have failed us and what we can do to change the world around us? In this time and place? Are some aspects of popular culture also vehicles of God's current self-revelation? Think about it!

Your own experiences and mine along with Paul Asay's make clear that no, we do not get to interpret everything in every cartoon or film as a message from heaven. Asay also cautions us to avoid aspects of pop culture we know negatively could affect us, possibly lead us into temptation and then into active sin. I appreciate that the author doesn't analyze much of anything in a whole lot of detail, but instead models what each of us might look for next time we watch a movie, listen to the lyrics of a song, play a video game. It also would be perfect for a confirmation or HS Sunday School class project so the students maybe could tell us How Pop Culture Has Replaced the Prophet or ask If Pop Culture Has Replaced the Prophet.

Amazon Vine sent me an ARC uncorrected proof that lacked any back matter, images, indices, etc. the final book might include.

my Amazon review: but has pop culture replaced the biblical-style prophet?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Five Minute Friday: Share

five minute friday share five minute friday button

Time for another Five Minute Friday free unedited write or type hosted by Kate Motaung on Heading Home. Word of this week is Share.

Twelve Step groups and church gatherings don't quite corner the market on the word share along with its variants sharing and shared, but I don't know of any other settings where you hear share so often. Myself? I don't say share expect sometimes to mention I currently live in shared housing, which at least to me implies more than one or maybe two housemates. But for me, where share really shines and comes into its own is at mealtime! Whether food is ample or sketchy, two people or twenty people, let's trust the multiplication factor of loaves and fishes, the surprisingly bountiful sufficiency of stone soup. Bringing a big bowlful of salad to the table. Slicing a pie into enough pieces for all comers. You don't have enough of whatever dish or whichever ingredient? I can share some of mine with you. You're sharing your tangerines again? Thanks again!

green salad apple pie

Friday, March 04, 2016

Five Minute Friday: News

five minute friday news five minute friday button

"Blogging Flash Mob" fairly describes the 5 minute free write Kate Motaung hosts every Friday on Heading Home, her home in cyberspace. This time we get to write about News!


Add a trailing letter "s" to the adjective new, and you get the noun news. Newspapers and news journals offer recent information that might interest their particular readers. The εὐαγγέλιον – good news, good message – of the gospel started as an upside-down version of the gospel of the returning Roman general's victory announcement of the death and vanquishment of his enemies. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the victorious proclamation of resurrection from the dead, the primacy of life over death. But in a broader sense the gospel is almost any reversal that God enacts, subverting, challenging, and nullifying society's generally accepted and expected.

In response to an actual invitation in response to my many many emails, during early August 2014 I rode the AmTrak up the California coast from Previous City to what's become Current City. I remember taking the short bus trip from Union Station to the subway station on 7th, the number of perfection in Hebrew numerology – 7th surrounded by Flower and Hope. I knew the outcome of this week finally would be a full response to the hope I'd held for a couple of decades. Whether five minutes' worth or fifty, it's too long a narrative to write more here, but like dozens of other situations I knew would work, my hope, expectation (I've previously explained that in Spanish, hope and expect are the same word), for that week-long visit evaporated. Imploded.

Yesterday evening I made my way downtown and had an overwhelming sense of déjà vu—vujà dé as some would say. Here was the same subway station. 7th, Flower, and Hope Streets. When I arrived at the gathering place – a meeting of the professional design organization I belong to – I immediately knew this was good news, a resurrection from the death of my dreams and hopes and expectations the outcome of my summer 2014 excursion had become. Friendly, welcoming, fun, hospitable, conversational—even free food and free drinks! Last Sunday in Sunday School as we discussed Isaiah 55:1-9 I explained,
We live in a world of economic exchanges where we expect to pay something (legal tender, labor, in-kind) for everything we receive. We don’t believe in free lunches; God does believe in free lunches and provides them, too!
Thursday evening was such gospeled good news, an exceedingly good message for me, without any cost to me, or payment from me. Newspapers and news mags offer content their readers might like. Thursday evening so was the reversal of countless past experiences of bad news. Content I might like? A resurrection to new life from all those deaths along the way.

AIGA / WeWork event layout AIGA / WeWork event food