Thank you, President Bush

I don’t plan on this blog having a lot of political stuff in it. But today I’m making an exception. I went to Wal-Mart today to pick up the stuff I need to go back to school. Usually a trip like this costs me $80ish. Today’s tab: $105 … and our friends at Wal-Mart didn’t even have everything I needed.

It feels like our economy today is worse than it felt under President Reagan, which I remember as not being particularly good. Well, except for those with money to burn. This is making me yearn for the days of the elder President Bush, and that just freaks me out.

Who Would Jesus Assassinate?

On the other hand, this scares the hell out of me. Pat Robertson encouraging the assassination of anyone seems a little out of place for a religious leader. We don’t have to condone Chavez’s politics or actions, but calling for assassination is unconscienable:

From the August 22 broadcast of The 700 Club:

ROBERTSON: There was a popular coup that overthrew him [Chavez]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but we had a chance to move in. He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he’s going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.

You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don’t think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United … This is in our sphere of influence, so we can’t let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don’t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.

From Media Matters via Holy Weblog.

21st Sunday of Ordinary Time

Who do people say that the Son of Man is?

This is probably every bit as pertinent a question in our time as it was when Jesus walked the earth. Who do people say that the Son of Man is?

For many, the question seems surprising. Of course he is Christ, the Son of the Living God. Peter had it right. But does our behavior match what we would really say about that? Who is the Son of Man to us? What difference does it make that he is our God? It can often seem like the Son of Man is irrelevant in our world, and if we look deeply, sometimes in our lives too.

Because if we really knew that he is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, then maybe our lives would be more Gospel-centered. Maybe our words would be more healing and our actions more loving. Maybe we would take more time with our families than at our jobs. Maybe we would relentlessly pursue relationships with our God rather than relentlessly pursue more posessions that rob the world of resources meant for all. Maybe we would look past our own wants and see the needs of the poor and the oppressed. Maybe we would preserve the resources of the world that all might have enough.

Maybe if we really knew that Jesus is the Son of the Living God we would bind all those really important things and loose all the things that take us out of relationship with God. We really must live the truth that Peter proclaimed. It is only in doing that that we can one day hear Jesus say to us, “Blessed are you!”

Dayenu: It would have been enough

This wonderful Jewish prayer has been rolling around in my spirit these days. It came up during a group discussion in CPE. I want to do my own version of the Dayenu someday soon … what are all the blessings I have received for which any one of them would have been enough?

How many levels of favors has the Omnipresent One bestowed upon us:

If He had brought us out from Egypt, and had not carried out judgments against them–Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If He had carried out judgments against them, and not against their idols–Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If He had destroyed their idols, and had not smitten their firstborn–Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If He had smitten their firstborn, and had not given us their wealth–Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If He had given us their wealth, and had not split the sea for us–Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If He had split the sea for us, and had not taken us through it on dry land–Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If He had taken us through the sea on dry land, and had not drowned our oppressors in it–Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If He had drowned our oppressors in it, and had not supplied our needs in the desert for 40 years–Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If He had supplied our needs in the desert for 40 years, and had not fed us the manna–Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If He had fed us the manna, and had not given us the Shabbat–Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If He had given us the Shabbat, and had not brought us before Mount Sinai–Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If He had brought us before Mount Sinai, and had not given us the Torah–Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If He had given us the Torah, and had not brought us into the land of Israel–Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If He had brought us into the land of Israel, and had not built for us the Beit Habechirah (Chosen House; the Beit Hamikdash)–Dayenu, it would have been enough!

In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” Luke 10:23-24

Saying goodbye is hard. If it were easier, I think the bunch of us would have been out of the hospital sooner today. But as it is, we lingered until after 4:30, and said goodbye several times. And that was just to each other.

It was a whole day of goodbyes. Goodbyes to the nurses, doctors, techs, staff chaplains, and other staff. We might not mind saying goodbye to on-calls until 2:30 in the morning or Level 1 Traumas, but saying goodbye to people you’ve come to care about and love is a way different thing. Saying goodbye is just hard.

So we will have to dwell on the many blessings:

  • The times we supported one another in prayer and in word and in deed during the intense 11 weeks.
  • The prayer and liturgical experiences we were able to do together as an ecumenical group.
  • The referrals we passed back and forth with great confidence in the rest of the group’s ability to care for the sick and their families.
  • The sharing and challenging that was done in group with real concern for the growth of the other people in the group.
  • The mentoring from the staff chaplains.
  • The mentoring from the nursing staff and other staff members.
  • And so many more…

But what makes it so hard to say goodbye is how the whole experience came together. The hospital atmosphere, the staff chaplains, our supervisor, the group … I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Out of that milieu came all the really awesome things that I got to “see” as Luke’s Gospel is saying: The times words came out of my mouth that I never would have thought of on my own; the sense of peace after sitting with a dying patient; the intimate personal stories shared so freely by patients and families alike; the really intense times of prayer; our group’s morning devotions; the incredible grace of growing with a supportive group and the incredible grace of getting to watch them grow too; the many opportunities to debrief from intense experiences with fellow students, staff chaplains, and our supervisor; all the stuff that got sorted out in weekly meetings with our supervisor; the times we were just silly and all the laughter; the many tears of joy and sorrow; the intense atmosphere of the emergency room that helped me past my fear of it.

There’s more, I know. But all I can say at this point is that I’m incredibly grateful for this experience. Truly blessed are my eyes for having seen what I have seen.