Silent Servants...

... of the Used, Abused, and Utterly Screwed Up.

A Secular Franciscan looks at the world... with a more jaundiced eye than ever... and lots of ellipses for you to fill in the missing text...
(with thanks to Thomas S. Klise for the title)

Sunday, May 26, 2019

It may be time... renew my interest in blogging.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

R.I.P. - Alice Herz-Sommer

Alice Herz-Sommer, believed to be world's oldest Holocaust survivor, dies at 110

Go straight to G-D, Mrs. Herz-Sommer, and truly enjoy eternal peace and comfort...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

R.I.P. - Harold Ramis

Harold Ramis, Chicago actor, writer and director, dead at 69

"Best-known as an actor for 'Ghostbusters', 'Stripes', writer/director for 'Caddyshack', 'Groundhog Day'"

I really enjoyed his work, and he made a lot of people laugh. Godspeed, Mr. Ramis. Rest In Peace.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I had to post this article

in case it disappears from the 'net. My apologies to the author. Some things said need to be preserved...

COMMENTARY: Church shouldn’t be this hard

(RNS) After 36 years of serving churches as a pastor and consultant, I came to a startling conclusion the other day.

Not startling to you, perhaps. I might be the last person to get the memo. But the conclusion drew me up short.

My conclusion: Religion shouldn’t be this hard.

An assembly that exists to help people shouldn’t be so willing to hurt people — by declaring them worthless, unacceptable, undesirable or strangers at the gate.

An assembly that should relax into the serenity of God’s unconditional love shouldn’t be so filled with hatred and fear.

An assembly that should do what Jesus did shouldn’t be so inwardly focused, so determined to be right, so eager for comfort, so fearful of failing.

An assembly that follows an itinerant rabbi shouldn’t be chasing permanence, stability and property.

An assembly whose call is to oneness and to serving the least shouldn’t be perpetuating hierarchies of power and systems of preference.

Faith should be difficult, yes, because it inevitably entails self-sacrifice and renewal. Life, too, is difficult. Dealing with Mammon is difficult. Speaking truth to power is difficult. Confronting our own weakness and capacity for sin is difficult.

But the institution whose sole justifiable purpose is to help us deal with those difficulties shouldn’t be making matters worse.

When we bring our burdens to church, we shouldn’t find ourselves feeling intimidated by the in crowds, caught up in conflicts about who is running things, budget anxieties, jousting over opinion or doctrine, or relentless demonizing of whoever is trying to lead.

Yes, I understand that church is a human institution and therefore it will participate in humanity’s brokenness. But church should be seeking to redeem that humanity, to heal that brokenness, to show better ways to live. Instead, we celebrate our own cruelty and bigotry. We fight against the very transformation that God seeks.

Maybe I’m the last one to see this dilemma. The millions who are fleeing institutional Christianity in America aren’t escaping bad doctrine, shoddy performance values or inconvenient calls to mission. They are escaping the institution itself.

It doesn’t have to be this way. God certainly doesn’t want it this way.

I think, for example, of the performance anxiety that infects most churches. We needn’t worry so much about pleasing constituents on Sunday. Worship isn’t a Broadway show; it’s a glimpse of God, not a celebration of style, excellence and self.

I think of our leadership conflicts. Pastors aren’t CEOs hired to maximize shareholder returns. They aren’t impresarios rewarded for putting on great shows. Pastors are flawed creatures called to help other flawed creatures bring their neediness to God.

Church should be a safe place — safe to be oneself, safe to make one’s confession, safe to love whoever one feels called to love, safe to imagine more, safe to fail. Instead, church often is a dangerous place, where people feel guarded, self-protective, hemmed in by tradition and expectation, required to obey rules.

Church should be different from society. Instead, it plays by the same rules: get mine, be first, be right, punish the weak, exclude the different, reward the wealthy.

Our society needs healthy faith communities. But neither society nor God has much need for religious institutions grounded in right-opinion, self-serving and systemic danger.

(Tom Ehrich is a writer, church consultant and Episcopal priest based in New York. He is the author of “Just Wondering, Jesus” and founder of the Church Wellness Project. His website is Follow Tom on Twitter @tomehrich.)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The world

is a much darker and sadder place today.

Pete Seeger, folk singer and activist, dead at 94

I had a dream of meeting him one day, which I never realized. He was always an amazing man to me, and I hope to meet him in Heaven one day.

So very sad, but he lived his life in hope of a better world and worked all his days toward that goal. Goodnight, Mr. Seeger, and go swiftly to God...

Monday, January 13, 2014

This is one of those...

...'I couldn't have made this up' news items...

Pimp suing Nike for $100M over lack of warning label after beating man with Jordans

I wonder who is behind this, the client or the lawyer. As is usual in this disintegrating world, this is just crazy. But normal.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I don't think

that Neil Young has lived in Canada for many years, has he?

Neil Young blasts oilsands expansion, launches fundraising tour

"4 concerts to fund First Nations legal fight against oilsands projects"

His politics still seem to be okay, though, and he got this right:

""I see a government completely out of control, and money is number one. Integrity isn't even on the map," he said."

Thanks, Neil. Your observation seems spot on...

He is

such a down-to-earth person...

Pope Francis encourages breastfeeding in Sistine Chapel

"'If they are hungry, mothers, feed them,' he says during annual baptism ceremony"

If you read down to the bottom you'll see that he's given up the Papal limousine and travels around Rome in a Ford Focus, sometimes sitting beside the driver in the front. Of course, that's just a practical point because a person of his size would have trouble even getting into the back seat of a Focus. The back seats are built for children, and small ones at that! (We own a Ford Focus, so I have first-hand experience.)

I fear for him. Not just a fear of terrorists and criminals because of his policies regarding justice and peace, but fear of hard-line traditional Catholics who will do what they want to get their way (killing doctors of abortion clinics comes to mind). He is making many friends by his decisions and his actions, and that makes me very happy, but I fear he's also making enemies, and that frightens me. I guess I'm not as good at relying on the Lord and trusting Him as the Pope is. Or most other Christians, I guess. But I digress. Bless him and keep him safe, Heavenly Father.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

A reminder of holy folk

And how they're no different than us, really. The end on earth is still the end. It's what you do with your life that is important for what happens after it.

Heavenly Bodies: Relics of Catholic Saints - in pictures

If you're at all queasy about dead folk you may want to be careful. Just a warning.