Saturday, November 15, 2008

Give Her Four Stars

This has been in the works since July, but it was made official on Friday.

Congratulations to General Ann E. Dunwoody on becoming the first woman promoted to four star general. Have an excellent 10 years in grade.

And may you never see five stars.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Global Warming or SeaLab

It seems that TIME is trying to get back into journalism. They've recently reported on a study that suggests a reason for storms causing more and more damage.

No...it's not climate change.

No...it's not governmental incompetence.

It's our mastery of land capture.

We are seeing more damage from natural disasters because we are able to successfully live in more dangerous places.
"There has been no trend in the number or intensity of storms at landfall since 1900," says Pielke, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado. "The storms themselves haven't changed."
Wait...didn't the Goracle predict worse and worse storms because of American SUVs?

Look, if someone were to build Sealab 2020 and then there were a sudden uptick in people dying from compression sickness or shark attacks, you wouldn't blame deep zone water pressure. Or if SkyLab started experiencing routine lung decompressions, you wouldn't blame atmospheric loss. So why are so many ideologues ready to say "global warming" for every disaster?

There are some elements of human culpability that needs to be addressed: land use and unfair insurance practices.

Before we become hopelessly lost in despair, however, there is good news: we can do something about this problem. We can enact meaningful building codes and stop keeping insurance premiums artificially low in flood zones.

But first we need to understand that disasters aren't just caused by FEMA and greenhouse gases. Says Tierney: "I don't think that people have an understanding of questions they should be asking — about where they live, about design and construction, about building inspection, fire protection. These just aren't things that are on people's minds."

In real estate, the old mantra is Location, location, location. It should be. Some plots are naturally good for building. Others have to have a lot of preparation, then maintenance. It is a poor use of our resources to continually try to fight against natural consequences. It ties up capital and man-power in maintenance rather than expansion.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Heresy Helper


Yeah...I know. It's not really a meaty "Theology Thursday" post. But I'm low on time and have surgery coming up next week. Whattayawant?

Thanks, Sacred Sandwich!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday Ministry Musing

I know lots of people going through the ordination process in the PCUSA. Someone from the presbytery that oversaw my own process is facing some of the same challenges of being stuck. This individual wrote a poem that got me thinking about my own process. I didn't ask permission to post it, but I used it as a reflection piece - for myself and for those who are stalled out in the process. I changed the wording, but kept the structure and the overall theme. This is like an epistle - if you listen to this end of the conversation, you can probably hear what's going on in the original poem.
What happens if I focus on the ordination process,
becoming callous (non-reverent) from the handling of holy things?
Or, in a desire to be called “Reverend,”
ignore the adjective when it doesn't come from a committee?
What if I miss the everyday chances
to live into my own baptism
because I'm focused on someone else
as a child of the covenant?
What if I never break the bread of hospitality
and pour the cup of tea at my own table,
or if I don't recognize them as “the gifts of God for the people of God”?
What if my voice is never heard (in a choir)?
What if I don't listen to those who set foot in a pulpit?

What if I made seminary about a piece of paper,
Whether a diploma,
or an ordination certificate,
and therefore wasted my time
and all our resources?

What if I believe that my usefulness to God
is equivalent to my usefulness to a denomination,
a local governing body,
a committee,
or a single congregation?

What if I think I'm not good enough,
even though the Lord of the Universe
took on flesh and died in my place,
then sent His Spirit to reassure me
of my place at His table?

What if I used seminary
as a buffer against following God's call?
What if I missed growing during that time
because I was waiting on something at the end...
...instead of waiting on God?

What if I lost sight of the glorious
ministry of the covenant people of God
because I wanted to be in the lead?

What if I missed out on the call to serve
a congregation from out of the midst of them
because I would only listen to a call if it
were duly authorized and passed through
paper channels.

What if I passed over the garment of praise,
the garment of salvation,
and the robe of Christ's righteousness
,
because it didn't look like a Geneva gown?

What if I made the mistake of taking a good thing
and missing out on the best thing.

Lord, I believe.
Help my unbelief.

Lord, You have called.
Help me follow You wherever You call.
Here's Martin Luther's prayer for his own ordination:
Oh, Lord God, Thou hast made me a pastor and teacher in the Church. Thou seest how unfit I am to administer rightly this great and responsible Office; and had I been without Thy aid and counsel I would surely have ruined it all long ago. Therefore, do I invoke Thee. How gladly do I desire to yield and consecrate my heart and mouth to this ministry! I desire to teach the congregation. I, too, desire ever to learn and keep Thy Word my constant companion, and to meditate thereupon earnestly. Use me as Thy instrument in Thy service, Only do not Thou forsake me, for if I am left to myself, I will certainly bring it all to destruction. AMEN.
May all who seek leadership among God's covenant people say Amen!