Thursday, May 27, 2004

A Friend's Creative Humor

A friend of mine posted this on his blog. I thought it is hilarious and wanted to share it with you:

Please pray for me. My scalp is going through a messy church split - and I don't mean a part. They seem to be fighting over the color of the carpet. The traditionalists want to stay a sandy blonde because, well, that's they way things have always been. The others are arguing for white because I guess it looks more sophisticated or something.

Many have left altogether. I suspect they've become non-denominational. Others have begun congregating in my ears and they must be quite evangelistic because they seem to be multiplying at a rather healthy pace.

So far I've been able to keep them off my back.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Unexpected Surprises

Well it happened, my pastor made her announcement official on Sunday, she has accepted a call (a new church position) at a church in upstate New York. After 20 years at Broadway Church, she will be leaving to continue her ministry in an old and faithful parish.

Church on Sunday was bittersweet. We are happy for her that she is following God's lead to a new pastorship and we are incredibly sad that she will be leaving us. During the evening prayers that I led, it was tough to concentrate on the prayers and not break down in tears as we prayed for her and thanked God for her ministry among us. We thanked God for all her gifts and the gifts of peace and certainty she instills.

The Psalmist has said,
How wonderful it is, how pleasant,
when brothers and sisters live
together in harmony! (Ps 133:1)

Thank you Pastor Bonnie for the harmony you bring to us; may your new parish experience the profound joy and peace you have brought to us.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Them Republicans better watch out when they come to NYC.
Posted by Hello

Do you know what you believe?

For those of us in the United Church of Christ, asking us exactly what we believe is not only a challenge, but often humorous too. Being non-creedal yet affirming the creeds of ages past, gives us the permission and "go-ahead gumption" to pick and choose at random (which is a good thing, don't get me wrong). If however, you have discovered that you have forgotten what you believe or, are too confused to put it all together, then go to this fun link to help decipher all the "theological-gobbledygook" that comes along with the free membership into the Christian faith.

What Really Is Going On

We like to think that what happened to Berg and the torture of prisoners in Iraq is the worst sort of nastiness that our troops are facing when in reality is only a part of a whole bunch of other nastiness that is happening.

One way to think about the nastiness of this war is to contemplate what would happen if America were invaded and what would we do. Remember that teen movie that came out in the early 80s called Red Dawn? It was about how a bunch of teenagers reacted to an invasion in America. I loved the movie then and it makes me think again, how would we feel about war if is was happening on our soil. What would be the Christian response if we were taken captive or if fighting on the streets and bombs blew up our houses and killed our children? Would we still shrug off the idea that collateral damage is a natural result of war? Or would we be outraged?

Here is a good article to help you remember what exactly is going on and it gives us something to think about.

Friday, May 21, 2004

People respond so differently..

My sermon this past Sunday got mixed reviews. Some people really liked it, others were furious. Leave it to me to specifically name Donald Rumsfeld and this administration as people who pursue peace the wrong way- who knew there would be sympathetic Republicans actually visiting Broadway Church.

One couple (I heard this info from a member who overheard the conversation), a man and woman, got up after the service. Turning to his wife (or partner or friend, this is NYC so one never really knows for sure), the man said, "Come on, lets get the h*ll out of this place!" And they did just that.

But then, I heard from so many others how much they enjoyed the service. A couple of older members said it was one of my best sermons and liturgies. Another friend of the church said, "Bo, you gave me so much to think about- so much good things to think about."

Admittedly, I wrote the sermon based on a brief conversation with a very good friend and a guy I really respect back in Oklahoma. While we have a different understanding about the nature of war, our conversation initially began questioning how God's good news could be proclaimed in the Iraq situation. My friend got me thinking about the nature of peace- so, my sermon is indebted to my friend who inspired me to think more.

I guess a person, who speaks the truth they believe is important, must also be prepared for others who don't look at it their way. I hope I didn't offend that couple who left in a huff but I also hoped I presented them with God's good news too.

You can read my sermon at the church were I serve by going to the sermons section of the church's website at

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Neiman-Marcus Bars

Here is a receipe for the best treats that you can imagine- and they are so easy to make. I made this for a church dinner one night and they were inhaled in 5 minutes. If you want your friends and family to love you even more than they already do, then this treat is for you. :)

Here is what you'll need:

1 box of any yellow cake mix
1 stick of butter
1 egg
Mix these ingredients (I use my mixer for a long time, until the batter looks like playdough) and pat into a 13x9-inch pan


1 8oz package of cream cheese
1 lb of powdered sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup of nuts
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
Mix these ingredients and spread over first layer in pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Cut into squares after removing from oven. Makes 24 squares.

If you use this receipe, write back and let me know how it turned out.

Friday, May 14, 2004

God's peace is different

This Sunday's lectionary reading is taken from the Gospel of John where Jesus tells his disciples, "The peace I give you is not the the peace the world gives." One might think that peace is the same everywhere but its not.

The kind of peace Jesus was talking about is indeed very different. Taken from the Hebrew word for peace, shalom, God's peace is about wholeness, completeness, and security. To have God's peace is to be full in God- integrating the goodness of God into our whole selves. As 1 Corinthians says, it is about loving (remember peace is a definition of love).

The world offers a different kind of peace- to the world, peace is the absence of war brought about by justice, threat, controlling resources, and intimidation. Ironically, when we seek peace through justice and intimidation, we will never be able to bring about peace this way because violence, even when used with honorable (is this really possible) intentions, violence breeds violence. After reading about Nicholas Berg and the horrible things of war, is it possible to think that striking back against Iraq will bring out peace via revenge and intimidation?

We must fight the urge to be violent- our natures, I believe, were accustomed to war and intimidation as our ancestors hunted for food and created clans to claim the best resources. Jesus however, was the epitome of non-violence and calls us to peace. The only way we can achieve that sort of peace, is through right-relations with God and one another.

Since we not only have peace in God, we are required to seek peace and pursue it. Pursuing peace means forming right-relations based on love- not threat or intimidation. Pursing peace means sharing ourselves and what we have; it means respecting other people, their land, and their resources. It means not hording our wealth but treating everyone as if we were one large family.

Sadly, our greed keeps us from sharing and giving- and this only incites more jealousy and anger.

Misplaced anger and revenge also contributes to an antithetical pursuit of peace. When our World Trade Centers were bombed by terrorists, seeking a War on Terror with another country to redirect our anger on a tangible target was not a way to bring peace (nor an end to terrorism). It only incites it further.

Our belief in a justified torture of detainees in military prisons to force confessions to end terrorism to end the fighting to bring democracy to Iraq only begets more violence. There is no way that violence can ever beget lasting peace.

You see, God's peace is very different indeed. The world bases its peace on resources, while God's peace depends on relationships. To be right with God means to enjoy the peace of God. The world depends on personal ability, but the Christian depends on spiritual adequacy in Christ.

May we look for ways to bring true peace rather than allow our pride and greed to force a peace that will never take hold or prosper.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

One of my Life Tricks-

A friend once asked me, "Bo, how come you're always so danged annoyingly cheerful?" I responded, "Because I have a good internal filter that keeps bad news and energy away from me." Perhaps my attitude has a dose of fatalism (or Calvinism, depending on how you look at it) or maybe escapism (not wanting to know so I won't have to deal with it), either way, I tend to be blissfully ignorant (at times) of really bad things.

Well- I am wondering if this is such a good idea after all. I was talking with another friend about a month ago and we were discussing my refusal to watch horror movies. I told him that I didn't like being scared and I do not like scary dreams (which happens when I watch scary movies). He said that I have other issues that need to be explored. I told him he's spending too much time in therapy and to stop analyzing me. He said that he may be in therapy a lot but that analyzing me was too much fun to quit. I had no idea what to say.

So, this morning- I have been thinking its time I get more involved in things I have no control over, to stress out more, and to "think this world is going to hell in a handbasket." It's time I quit avoiding conspiracy theories and blaming our country for all the world's evils, such as pollution and foreign disdain (okay, so I have always done this a little).

Want to know what I did? I subscribed to Let my maturity and eye-opening begin! Whether I'll long for the day in which I "should've taken the blue pill" is irrelevant at this point.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Joe Kort's Chapter Headings

I am reading, "10 Smart Things Gay Men can do to Improve their Lives" by Joe Kort. It is a book I picked up over the weekend. It is written by an openly gay psychotherapist in private practice in a Detroit suburb. The book is a great read because it is very inspiring and offers good advice without being condescending or trite.

I have noticed that the book begins each chapter with a revelant quote to what each chapter is about. Here are a few of the chapter headings and related quotes:

Take Responsibility for your own life
It is hard to love yourself more than you have been loved. -Charlotte Kasl

Affirming Yourself by Coming Out
It is better to be hated for what you are, than to be loved for who you are not.
-Andre Gide

Resolve Issues with Your Family
A man can't make a place for himself in the sun if he keeps taking refuge under the family tree. -Helen Keller

Graduate from Eternal Adolescence
Would the small boy you once were look up to the man you have become? -unknown

Take Advantage of Therapy
We see the world as we are, not as it is. -the Talmud

What do you think about any of these quotes? Does any particular one speak to you?
I like the one, 'if the boy I was would respect the man I've become' quote. It's gotten me thinking about how much I've grown and changed in my life. In many respects, I am a completely different person now than I was when I was younger: my eyes have opened to new peoples and cultures; I am not as close-minded as I once was; and I enjoy being around people (something I did not enjoy when I was a kid). I don't know if the kid I was would 'approve' of the man I've become but he would surely admit I am much more fun and kind hearted.

A New Week

Being back to normal is pretty cool- however, the downside to it is that it tends to be a bit boring. Not that I am bored, mind you... only that, I can see boredom peeking its head around the corner, wondering what I am up to nowadays. I have to be careful and evade it lest we meet up and I get into all sorts of trouble.

For me, when I have less to do I am more prone to find other things to get into. I'll stay up later than normal, I'll hang out with my friends on a worknight, or I'll fiddle my time away postponing that something special because I am always thinking, "I have plenty of time to get it done."

I remember my grandma used to say, "Idleness is the devil's playground," of which I really didn't understand what she meant until I grew up. Now I know exactly what she means.

I am really not all that idle- I have some pretty big stuff coming up soon- I just have a lull in my hecticness which I find pretty cool. During this lull, I've been checking out my friends' blogs, writing emails to old friends, calling grandma and generally reconnecting with old hobbies, friends, and favorite websites. Heck, I've even watched television for awhile. This Thursday is the last show of Friends- which, I really haven't followed but I am going over to a friend's apartment to watch the final episode. It is sure to be fun.

This is my update- were you bored to tears reading it? LOL- watch out, boredom might be sneaking a peak around YOUR corner. (smile)