Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Clarity for thoughts.....

 Dear friends,

It's been a long time since I have felt 'inspired' to write. Sometimes I have felt it was due to the lack of the Holy Spirit in my thoughts.. and sometimes from sheer lack of anything "witty" or of importance to write about.

 Not so this time, not so.

 The picture to the left pretty much says it all in a nutshell. 

These words attributed to St. Francis, can be added to all walks of life, from the petty politicians we are currently having to endure, to many of us in the ISM/ Independent catholic movement.

 With that said, in this take it with me now gimme, gimme world we live in, what indeed do we leave behind us as a legacy? Where is our Love, sacrifice and courage? How do or can we show it to others? How can we if we do not first find it within ourselves? Do we stand up verbally for those who can not seem to do so for themselves? All three come into play when you do stand up for those who are unable to do so.

What bout those others deem 'crazy' or weird? How can we show our love for our fellow human beings who are out of work/homeless? Will a passing kind smile mean you have wonderfully done your part? Really??

Allow and empower yourselves with the love and courage to GET involved, on whatever level, but GET involved. BE a presence for those who are seeking. I'm on Facebook, admittedly too much maybe, :-)

and while on there.. I see many of us clergy types bellyaching and whining over the most petty and negative stuff! I mean it's great to be able to ask your far flung friends on there for prayer for this or that.. but the 

whining, from clerics, in public...OMG! lol It does in a very real way though, that we are, no matter who, human to a fault. As the Holidays come nearer.. let's see if we can help turn those with a gimme gimme attitude, into a givvie givie one. When the season of gift giving arrives, lets ask the Holy Spirit for gifts for ourselves... the gift of courage to love others we might never have the normal chance to do so. For in obtaining that courage, we find the bonus gift of love.  For with in that bonus gift, lies the other (but wait, there's more!) even better gift of sacrifice.

 God's richest blessings be with each and every one of you!



Friday, November 5, 2010

Random musings on "Hope"

Dear Sisters and brothers,
it's yet again been a while since I've posted, now our elections have come and gone, and are now but an almost distant memory. even though the uber right-tea partiers claim to have "taken back America", My question is what have they taken it back to?
To a time where kids and young adults kill themselves because of being bullied by others because of their sexuality? To a time where fear is used as control to those who do not agree with them, and it's ok for a (now ex) school official to encourage gay kids to commit suicide? This is what the tea partiers and those who brainlessly follow them have as part of their list of things to bring America "back"?
Nevertheless...there is hope... NOT necessarily in politics nor politicians,
however, but in real hope...hope in that which we know to be God's Holy Spirit. Hope that opens doors,eyes and hearts to the hat mongering that is passing for Republican Agenda.
The Holy Spirit opening hearts and minds to see those using fear to manipulate the ignorance of those unwilling to learn and grow.
Hope is what encourages us to go on..knowing that there is or will be something better out there for us as GLBT people of faith. It's this faith, that we desperately need to pass on to our GLBT youth. In fact, we need to be that face of hope. For Hope.. real hope not political, not democratic nor republican, Hope that is Jesus himself,this is what people are searching for...this is who we need to be and show. WE are the face hands voice and HOPE of Jesus to others, especially those in pain and hurt and searching and confused. We need to be in direct contact with that Kingdom of God within us in order to show others they too can be a part of that kingdom. Where hate, or fear mongering or bigotry. Can you step up and say yes to hope? Say yes to the kingdom of God within? Others are dying for you to do so!

Monday, July 26, 2010

    Dear all,
It's been a while since I posted, but then again I never felt the need to post my every thought, only just what the Spirit compels me to write.
I was writing to a face book friend today, and had the need to add the word Baraka (blessings) at the end of my note. (he's Muslim).
I then looked up the word.. just to get a full sense of it's meaning.. and what I found was a wonderful surprise.
Not only does the word mean blessing, like Barak Obama's first name means..he was indeed a blessing to his parents..as all children are.
It also has a Sufi connotation...meaning breath of God! As in the Hebrew word Ruach. Which is a feminine word describing an aspect of God. It is comforting to know that our loving God breathes down blessings upon us, whether we ask or not.
Just one of those nice to know things in life that gives us an unexpected
uplift to our day and our spirit.
 I pray that these words have given you too that unexpected uplift of spirit, to help keep you focused on what's important.
Blessings all,

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Charter for Compassion

 This is something that as a Franciscan, I have to put on my blog to spread the word.
 Now I know there are some out there that read my blog, and will disagree with me adding this on here. The Gospel commands us to comfort the afflicted... and in doing so, afflict the comfortable.
Pax et Bonum,

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.
It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.
We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.
We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Donkey's Tale

 This is a story by my friend Deborah Beach Giordano.

 She's been a friend since my days of living in San Francisco.

This story sums up pretty well the 'tale' of Christmas.

A blessed Christmas to you all.


The Donkey's Tale

Upozugion the donkey
There was nothing usual, to begin with. That day my master and I had traveled a long distance on the muddy roads. We had been caught in a rainstorm and some of the rugs I was carrying got quite wet. My master, always quick of temper, was outraged, "Damnable weather! These will have to be sold at half-price, now!" Hurrying along toward the town, I stumbled under the heavy load and my master began to beat me with that hateful stick. He carried it always, and used it often — as the scars on my flanks attest.
We were fortunate to find an inn on the outskirts of town. As I recall, it was here that things began to change. First, my master paid extra that I might be sheltered in the stable — a thing he rarely did. My burdens were lifted: all of the merchandise I carried was removed, and the reins that held me were loosed. I was truly free for the first time in many weeks. A blanket was laid across my back to keep me warm, water had been brought in from the nearby well, and there was a whole manger-ful of sweet hay — it was a heavenly place!
manger full of hayI was comfortable in the cozy stable, surrounded by the nose-twitching fragrance of the other animals — a cow, two horses, a ewe and her lamb, some pigs in a pen on the far corner, and a flock of chickens. It was peaceful there; the only sounds the soft cooing of a pair of doves in the rafters, and the rustle of mice as they gathered seeds from within the hay. Before long I began to doze in the warming silence.
The silent night was disturbed by the innkeeper, carrying a lamp. I was surprised to see that he was leading a young couple out to share our quarters. So little room here! Someone will need to be cast out into the cold. I turned my eyes away, so that I would not be noticed and so become the sacrifice. But nothing happened. No harsh words were uttered, and no creature was sent away.
Ears itching with curiosity, I looked again, and my heart leapt within me. The man had the kindest eyes I had ever seen, and such a gentle way about him. His attention was focused on the young woman, who moved slowly and carefully, as though carrying a heavy burden.
The innkeeper looked anxiously at the woman, and then shrugged his shoulders, "It's all I have..." Joseph gave the man a reassuring nod, "We will be well looked-after, I am certain," and he raised his hands toward the heavens.
Humans hold a fascination for animals: with your gift of language, your strong and clever fingers, and brains ever-busy with plans and schemes. And so we watched, to see what these people would do. Joseph gathered together some of the straw, and covered it with two blankets from his pack.
a doveOne of the doves swooped down with a feather in her mouth, and dropped it nearby. The gentle man smiled, "Are you helping me build a nest, my friend?" He handed the feather to Mary, who blessed the bird: "Peaceful one, peace be with you."
That is how it began: gently, and peacefully. And it was during that holy night that The Baby was born. I've been present at a couple of other human births, and this one was very much the same. Except: there was a strange noise — musical, like the chanting of many voices, but it appeared to come from the roof of the stable!
Mary and Joseph did not seem to notice — busy, as they were, with the newborn Child. They wrapped him in soft cloths, and laid him in the manger. But that was not enough! Surely there ought to be gifts for the Baby.
As the beautiful Mother knelt adoringly over her child, I pushed my way forward and tossed my head. "Look at that donkey," said Joseph, "I believe he wants something. What is it, old fellow?" Stretching my neck, I reached back and grabbed the blanket from my back in my teeth.
Upozugion's blanketJoseph stood still for a moment, and then took it from my mouth. "Thank you, my friend, for this blanket for the baby Jesus." Old as I am, I have never forgotten that moment, nor joy that swelled my heart as I watched him gently drape my blanket over the tiny child.
Then there came the contingent of shepherds: ill-smelling — even to an unwashed donkey's nose, poorly dressed, with dirty feet. They arrived with a flapping of their raggedy clothes, in much excitement over a wild story about angels. I paid no attention, remembering the time I ate some peculiar-tasting thistles that made me behave like that. But the gentle man and compassionate Lady — with the newborn Child at her breast, listened patiently, and blessed them as they departed.


Christmas star
In the morning my master rose early; the skies had cleared during the night and the sun shone brightly. The little family had moved outside and were warming themselves at a fire.
Preparing to load me down with his wares, my master noticed the missing blanket. "What have you done with your blanket, you vile creature?!" he demanded, kicking at my heels. Joseph arose at once, and bowed to my master, "Sir, please do not beat this animal for my sin. Our child was born in the stable, and I borrowed the donkey's blanket to keep him warm."
His voice seemed to calm my master who said, "Never mind. It is not important. I have other blankets." Joseph bowed again and said, "Thank you." Although my master was the one who answered — "It is nothing," I am nearly certain Joseph was talking to me.
There was something about that place: even my master, ever-anxious to set out on a journey, seemed unwilling to depart. He returned to the inn twice: once for a skein of wine, and again for a bit of rope to fasten the already-secure packages on my back.
We needed to arrive early to get a good location at the market in the center of the town, still a mile or so distant. And so we set out, leaving the family behind. As we departed, Mary gently patted my neck, and the child — the astonishing child — looked at me with wise and gentle eyes.
muddy roadThe lightness of my spirit was not enough to overcome the heaviness of the rugs — some still weighted down with rainwater. This weight, combined with the sticky mud of the roads made lifting each foot a struggle. Before long I was exhausted: sweating and thirsty.
Then I noticed a fragrance in the air: somewhere, quite nearby was water. I turned off the main road and toward the refreshing promise. At once my master began shouting and running after me. I knew what would happen next: he would begin beating me, and I would bite at him, and shake off what part of the burden I could. We would both be filled with violence and hatred.
In an instant, something changed. I saw again the faces of that dear family: gentle Joseph, kind Mary, and the precious baby. I turned toward my master, remembering the Child. Our eyes met, and he stepped back — the evil stick dropped from his hand. There was stillness for a moment — a holy peace seemed to descend upon us.
My master shook his head, as though awaking from a dream. Then he said, "There's a well not far from here, it will only take a moment from our journey, and we could both use a drink of water."
Later, as we sat by the well, a woman came collect some water. Bowing to my master, she asked, "Do you bring any news? The shepherds are saying that the Messiah has been born!"
An odd expression came over my master's face and he looked at me, as though seeing me for the first time. He said, "We've seen a lot together, haven't we, old friend?"
Things have been very different between us, since that day. The vile stick is gone — never to be replaced, my loads are lighter, my heart is gentler. And, as for my master — he often says that there is no question as to which of us is the bigger donkey.
Perhaps we'll see the family again some day. My master has heard that they live in Nazareth. I'd like to go there, and give the little boy a ride on my back. It would be such a joy to carry him with me, even for a little way — although, as my master says, we carry Him in our hearts wherever we go.
blessings from
Upozugion the donkey

A Christmas Blessing

May this donkey's tale bring you joy,
and may you carry
the beauty and peace of Christ
in your heart
today and always!
Merry Christmas!
Deborah +

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Advent, Jesus as a child.

Advent, Jesus as a child.

 I have worked in retail almost all my life. Mostly in Jewelry for the last 30 years.

 This is the first season in all those years I will not be dealing with the greed and over commercialism of this time of year.
 Now I can say to whomever I meet, 'Merry Christmas' and not have to worry if the bosses will over hear me NOT saying "happy holidays".
  Not that it's bad to say it in this religious pluralistic world.
 But for me as a Christian, and a bishop in Christ's church, The deep meaning that Christmas has for me just flows out of me during this time of year.
  Now having said all that.... Lets get back to Advent. The reenactment of the coming of the Christ Child that we take 4 weeks to observe. Unlike the lenten season, there is nothing to 'give up'...or is there? The coming of this gentle child of peace, on a quiet and cold night, needs to be taken seriously. Set aside all the parties, the dinners, the shop till you drop days, the presents, and let us focus on the birthing of Jesus into our hearts. I realize it's for our loved ones that we do all the cooking and shopping..but.. taking some silent time to prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of the little one puts all the other stuff into a better perspective.
  Can we give up the stress? Can we give up the greed and the 'I wants'? To hear the cry of the small babe of Bethlehem? Can we prepare the rough and dusty mangers in our hearts to accept such a one as He? Yes! By simply asking with meaning for the Christ Child to come into our hearts.  As each candle of the Advent wreath is lit,let us figuratively light a matching one on the wreaths of our minds and hearts to dispel the darkness and clouds of worry and uncertainty life brings us.
  Sounds simplistic I know..but it's sometimes in the simple things that more profound things happen! 
 We all know that God is ever around us, with us and in us, yet at the vespers for Christmas eve in the Eastern Church, we sing S'namy Boh, or God is with us! It's on that eve that we awaken from our yearly slumber and declare God is with us (once again).
 Let us this season of Advent not only allow the Child Born in a Manger be born anew in us JUST for this season.. but for the whole year. Let that Child in the manger of our hearts GROW in us so that we can be the face of Christ for those who are lost and hurting who are so desperately seeking Him.
 Shhhhhh..... He's coming!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Calling all Saints.....

 This Sunday, Nov. 1st, is the feast of All Saints.
I remember in the Episcopal church, there is a hymn named I sing a song of the saints of God.
One line says Patient and brave and true.
Funny things about this feast.. and commemoration,
 Is that the Gospel compels us to become those saints.
Not by heroic deaths...but by every day living of the Gospel, i.e. the words of Jesus. By claiming to be followers of the Anointed one, the Christ, we have begun the journey to become saints.
So, what does this mean? Good question, no one has ever come up with a definitive answer.
 We must walk this journey in our own way,in our own time..yeah right.... who am I kidding.. it's in God's own way and time..So.. the point of all this?? Good question ...see a pattern here? Questions! Seeking!
These are the workings of a journey..step by questioning step. However for the heroic ones, not much in the way of questions but a definitive active step. In this past Sunday's Gospel reading,we see a blind man,who on hearing that it was Jesus coming to the area, called out to have mercy on him. Now there was no thought that well... MAYBE... if I call he might listen...no. He called out much to the consternation to his friends and on lookers. Jesus came right up to him and said,What can I do for you?
'I want my sight' the blind man said .
 Ok, ok, so why am I mentioning it this way?  Events coming up are trying times for us saints.
Our everyday lives, with health problems,financial worries, all these try to block our journey     on the way to become saints. Saints not to prove anything to ourselves, but saints for others. To even be maybe that onetime saint for someone who is so desperately seeking.
There is a group of young men who are trying to live the Gospel life in such an abandoning way, that it makes this old bishop sit up and take notice. They want to create intentional community,and in that word is the smaller word 'unity'.
 On this saintly road,they have already come upon spiritual obstacles. Doubt, fear, all tools of the Evil one to try and take us off the track of our journey to sainthood.
Now I'm not trying to swell heads here..I am couching what I say here in more of a honest clean faced way like the protestant writers, and writers of the New Testament. They used the word saint like we use the word faith or Jesus. As I have said above we all are called to be saints. Just today,as I was getting my prescriptions filled at Hannaford, with my new insurance plan, my co pay for all meds is 1.00 one dollar. I did not have the money,and the woman behind the counter was going to allow me to take my meds and pay later. A charming lady who loves cats,heard all this and immediately paid the 5.00 total foe my meds. i did not as..she freely gave to a total stranger. It brought me to tears. how good is our God??!! This saint,helped me bolster my own faith,not only in God,but in one another.
  Let us then,like the ones who walked before us, help one another on this journey. Let us be the nameless person like that lady today to help keep each other on the life long road to sainthood. Bumps and potholes included.
 Blessings one and all,