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Showing posts from June, 2013

A Grand Promise -- Chapter 1 - Part II: Rescue Mission

As we saw last time, everything that G-d1 created was “supremely good.” We know, though, the “supreme goodness” of creation isn’t the end of the story. Not by a long shot. In fact, that’s just the beginning of the story.
“Sometime”2 after the creation of humanity and G-d’s stamp of approval, everything starts to spin way out of control. G-d gave a rule to the first humans, “Eat your fill from all of the garden’s trees; but don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because on the day you eat from it, you will die!” Well, the first humans ate from that tree and there were dire consequences. Before this, men and women were equals -- both genders were given the same privileges, honor, and responsibilities. But as a consequence of their decision to “eat from the tree,” women were now placed in a “subordinate” place -- they were now “beneath” men. Furthermore, instead of them falling down dead, they suffered a worse fate -- exile. They were driven from their home and their c…

2013 Lindisfarne Community Retreat -- A Reflection

Here is my reflection on this year’s retreat. I’ll break this down into three sections. General, People, and Ordination.

General The focus of this year’s retreat was Serving Others: Seeking Wellbeing. In our first session, we discussed where the Lindisfarne Community (LC from here forward) started, where it is now, and where it is going -- at least in one area. And it’s to that bit I will focus on.

The LC’s “Mother House” (the building overseen by the Abbess and Abbett) is in Ithaca, New York. It’s where LC started and continues to be a place of ministry and support. Over the last year, one of our priests has been cultivating a “Daughter House” (the building overseen by a Prioress or Prior). This is kind of like a “local chapter” of the Mother House, where the Prior follows closely to the model of the Mother House. In this instance, however, New Seeds Priory also adds a Zen Buddhist element. It’s an inter-spiritual, contemplative practice community. This is an exciting new chapter for ou…

A Grand Promise -- Chapter 1, Part I: Once Upon A Time

“Once upon a time . . .”
Or, if you prefer . . .
“In the beginning . . .”
That’s how the story starts. It’s a familiar story. One that we’ve heard time and time again in the Christian household. I opened with the line, “Once upon a time,” not to offend anyone but to show that we should think about the Genesis story as that, a story. And by “story,” I don’t mean to suggest that it’s not real or truthful. What I’m suggesting is that we shouldn’t get too hung up on what follows the opening lines -- if those were really 24 hour days or if the serpent could really talk or if the first people had belly buttons.1
The point of the story is that the G-d of Israel, YHWH2, created all that is, visible and invisible. Not only did the Jewish people tell this story in this way, they told it with a particular thought in mind -- that their G-d not only created everything but that the people G-d created were the best of all creation. They were given the highest place of honor -- to be G-d’s representative…

A Grand Promise -- Introduction

This series is about something lost. Something hidden. Something that has been staring us in the face for quite a while and we’ve been taught not to see it. We can catch glimpses of it out of the corner of our eye. Sometimes we see it in the faces of our coworkers, local shop owners, bank tellers, mail carriers, neighbors. Occasionally we see it on television. From time to time we glance quick flashes of it in the great stories and poems throughout the history of the common era (CE).
For many of us, though, that’s all that it is -- a story.
A fairy tale.
A crutch for simple people in desperate times.
But actually, that last bit has been the fairy tale. More like the slight of hand from a very impressive illusionist, we get so caught up in watching what the illusionist wants us to see, that we don’t perceive what’s really going on. And if we do sense it, we’re told just to ignore it. Taught to ignore it. That it’s nothing more than our imagination.
I’m here to tell you, though, that those f…

The Feast Day of Columcille -- 2013

Today marks the Feast Day of Columcille (or Columba as he’s more widely known). He’s another one of my favorite Celtic Saints. Unbeknownst to a lot of people, he’s one of the patron saint of Ireland (along with Brigid and Patrick). He’s also one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland.

He’s an Irish monk who lived in the 6th century and started the most important monastery in the world -- Iona (Scotland). In my estimation, he’s responsible for the rise of civilization throughout Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire (see the great book How the Irish Saved Civilization, by Cahill).

There’s a story about how he founded a church in Derry (also known as Londonderry) in the midst of a Druidic sacred oak grove. The story goes that he changed to original plans of the oratory so that none of the trees would be cut down. This should not be seen as a sign of fear on Colmcille’s behalf. On the contrary. It should be seen as a sign of respect and tolerance. In fact, in a poem attributed to Columcille…