Category: BLOG

This is the final entry in Still Faith-FULL

A Special Report

Still Faith-FULL’s ‘Final Day’

 

Ecclesiastes 3

There is a time for everything, and a
season for every activity under the heavens.

 

Kathy and I have discerned that it is ‘time’ to discontinue the Still Faith-FULL ‘family’ of e-releases. This has not been the easiest of the many decisions we have made as a couple, but it is one that we both feel is truly ‘timely.’
 
Although we finalized our planning a couple of weeks ago, unanticipated though welcomed conversations have transpired since that time which have confirmed the wisdom of such a decision. Said conversations include an invitation to serve as the transitional pastor for Mount Vernon First Presbyterian Church. Given that Mt. Vernon is relatively close to Mansfield, the good news is that there is no need for us to move to cover the responsibilities of such an appointment.
 
At this time we anticipate that as of the first of the year we will close the Constant Contact distribution link, but we will continue to keep the www.stillfaith-full.com  website open for access to Kathy’s e-book One Woman’s Journey: From Abuse to Empowerment. I may also post copies of the sermons I’ll be giving at Mt. Vernon First.
 
A hearty and sincere ‘Thank You!’ to all who have followed this blog through the years, as well as to those who are just discovering it.
 
Bill 

This is the final entry in Still Faith-FULL

A Special Report

Still Faith-FULL’s ‘Final Day’

Ecclesiastes 3

There is a time for everything, and a

season for every activity under the heavens.

 

Kathy and I have discerned that it is ‘time’ to discontinue the Still Faith-FULL ‘family’ of e-releases. This has not been the easiest of the many decisions we have made as a couple, but it is one that we both feel is truly ‘timely.’
 
Although we finalized our planning a couple of weeks ago, unanticipated though welcomed conversations have transpired since that time which have confirmed the wisdom of such a decision. Said conversations include an invitation to serve as the transitional pastor for Mount Vernon First Presbyterian Church. Given that Mt. Vernon is relatively close to Mansfield, the good news is that there is no need for us to move to cover the responsibilities of such an appointment.
 
At this time we anticipate that as of the first of the year we will close the Constant Contact distribution link, but we will continue to keep the www.stillfaith-full.com  website open for access to Kathy’s e-book One Woman’s Journey: From Abuse to Empowerment. I may also post copies of the sermons I’ll be giving at Mt. Vernon First.
 
A hearty and sincere ‘Thank You!’ to all who have followed this blog through the years, as well as to those who are just discovering it.
 
Bill  

 

Enveloped, Sheltered, and Embraced

Enveloped in Your Light, may I be
a beacon to those in search of light.
Sheltered in Your Peace, may I offer
shelter to those in need of peace.
Embraced by Your Presence, so
may I be present to others.

 

RABBI RAMI SHAPIRO

Rami M. Shapiro, commonly called “Rabbi Rami”, is an award-winning author,
teacher, and speaker on the subjects of liberal Judaism and contemporary
spirituality. He served for ten years as Adjunct Professor of Religion at
Middle Tennessee State University.

Sallie McFague – Where Faith Is Practiced

Sallie McFague on
Where Faith is Practiced

 
How can my life be a reflection of divine love
in this time and place? The classic Christian
phrase for discipleship – the image of Christ –
means that we were made by God to become
like God, loving all others, loving universally.
 
 
– Sallie McFague
Blessed Are the Consumers:
Climate Change and the Practice of Restraint
Fortress Press: 2013 

Sallie McFague

 

Sallie McFague is an American feminist Christian theologian, best known for her analysis of how metaphor lies at the heart of how we may speak about God.
She has applied this approach in particular to ecological issues, writing
extensively on care for the earth as if it were God’s ‘body’.

Kent Ira Groff – Mindfulness

What Makes for Mindfulness?

 
Rabbis have said the miracle was not the burning bush — but
rather that Moses turned aside to look!  (Exodus 3:1-3).
In other words,

 Mindfulness.

 

In the poem below, for us “plucking blackberries”
might mean checking our electronic devices or
Smart Phones instead of paying attention to a
sunset or another person’s countenance!
* * * * *
Earth’s crammed with heaven
And every common bush aflame with God.
Only those who see take off their shoes.
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.
 Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was an English poet of the Victorian era,
popular in Britain and the United States during her lifetime. Born in
County Durham, the eldest of 12 children, Elizabeth Barrett wrote poetry
from about the age of six. Her mother’s collection of her poems forms one of the largest extant collections of juvenilia by any English writer.
At 15 she became ill, suffering intense head and spinal pain for the rest of her life. Later in life she also developed lung problems, possibly tuberculosis. She took laudanum for the pain from an early age, which
is likely to have contributed to her frail health.

America’s Party of God doubles down on Trump

America’s Party of God doubles down on Trump

By Mary Sanchez, Tribune Content Agency
Dec 17, 2017

 

Mary Sanchez
 

Is God a Democrat or a Republican?

To the adherents to the American Renewal Project, there is no doubt that the Creator is on board with the party of Trump, and that in return that party must do more to live up to its godly mandate. That’s why it is encouraging more conservative preachers to stretch beyond the pulpit and campaign for GOP seats.

The evangelical Christian group has organized a road show traveling across the country to encourage and train clergy for public office — a big push that began in 2015, aimed at the 2016 races.

In my hometown, Kansas City, an upcoming event will feature Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley as a special guest. He is running in 2018 to unseat Missouri’s senior U.S. senator, Democrat Claire McCaskill.

To get an idea of what the American Renewal Project (and, presumably, Hawley) stands for, consider the road show participants. One is the British expat social critic Os Guinness. In August, Guinness told CBN News that the American church has lost its “saltiness” and professed to be scandalized that Christians, though “a huge majority of Americans,” have “less cultural influence than tiny minorities” such as the LGBTQ population.

American Renewal Project sends a siren call to Republicans who view modernism as an apocalyptic peril. It appeals to religious conservatives who cannot reconcile themselves to marriage equality and are convinced that political correctness has struck down their rights of free speech. Central to the group’s doctrine is the belief that Christianity is under siege in the U.S.

Sen. Ted Cruz, former presidential contender Mike Huckabee and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal are also adherents of the group’s programs, called “Issachar Training,” which takes its inspiration from scripture, 1 Chronicles 12:32: “Men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.”

Among the American Renewal Project’s fellow travelers is the highly debunked evangelical author and activist David Barton of the Texas-based WallBuilders. Barton pushes the theory that the Founding Fathers were deeply religious Christian men and that Congress initially intended for the Bible to be used in public schools, along with other quaint notions meant to displace the ideals of a secular society.

American Renewal’s founder, David Lane, has been called out for years by the Southern Poverty Law Center, mainly for his anti-LGBTQ stances and goal of “restoring a Judeo-Christian culture to the country.”

It seems like evangelical conservatives have been saying this for years, but it continues to work. In 2016, evangelicals played a key role in delivering the nation Donald Trump as president. He’s their guy. More than 80 percent of white evangelicals cast their ballots supporting Trump, according to exit polling.

That very fact raises interesting questions about the status of their so-called godliness. Evangelicals (white ones, anyway) apparently felt permitted to ignore Trump’s history as an admitted groper of women, along with other patent indications of personal corruption. They rationalized Trump’s race-baiting birther attacks on Barack Obama’s legitimacy as a U.S.-born citizen. And they’ve managed to convince themselves that fears of terrorism legitimize unconstitutional restraints on Muslim travelers and hordes of Mexicans and other undesirables that supposedly are swarming the border to cause mayhem.

But now Trump is descending into meltdown mode, huffing and puffing in most un-Christian terms on the world stage.

Will evangelicals continue to stand by him?

Even Chad Connelly, the head of faith outreach for the Republican National Committee, threw in the towel. He quit recently, citing an atmosphere that was “disrespectful, antagonistic and unacceptable.”

Certainly, faith and has guided many fine elected officials. But a great many scoundrels have shrouded their iniquity with the cloak of faith. That may fool their coreligionists, but it doesn’t fool others.

It is difficult for many Americans to understand how evangelicals can possibly believe that Trump is standing up for Christian morality and principles. It appears, rather, that he has used them just as he has used and abused so many suckers before in his reckless career.

If people of faith insist that their political favorites uphold their values and interests, that is fine. But they should not be surprised by the reaction of those whose rights and interests their faith would trample.

Nor should they be surprised when, after their candidates are found morally reprobate, the rest of us hold them accountable.

Evangelicals own Trump. Now, knowing what we all know, will they disown him?


Mary Sanchez is a reporter who examines the cultural changes sweeping across America. The daughter of a Mexican immigrant, Sanchez believes that “true culture is so much deeper” than language or location. Sanchez is more than the Latina voice you’ve been seeking for your readers; she’s the compelling columnist who will shine a new light on a whole range of issues, from gender equity and education to church and state, which continue to shape the nation’s politics.

Reflections by a Now-Deceased Mentor from Christmas Day 2016

A Reflection from Christmas Day 2016,
by Dr. Edward K. DeJean, an Individual I
considered to be a Friend, an ‘Elder of the
Tribe’, and One of the “Most Unforgettable
People” I’ve had the privilege of meeting.

Ed DeJean portraying Mark Twain

Each Saturday when his health and life circumstances permitted, Ed would circulate to his beloved extended family and a wide circle of friends what he labeled as ‘The Report.’ While his spouse Elinor was still living he would refer to her as the ELitor, and to himself as the Editor. Following Elinor’s death, and when his own health permitted him to send out a Saturday Report, he came to refer to himself as ‘Dr. Droll.’

Ed and Elinor had six children – the oldest being a male, and the other five being female. Although none of the six remained in their small Southern Indiana home town once they reached adult status, their ‘home town’ and their distinctive and beloved parents, stayed with them no matter how far they traveled or ultimately resided. The youngest DeJean child, Stacy, also lived the furthest away geographically, namely having married an Australian of Greek origin. Tragically, she was not only the first sibling to die (of cancer), but also predeceased both parents.

Ed was what is called a ‘layman’ in Presbyterian lingo. but he wrote more books about his own evolving faith than all but a few ordained ministers, and there was no doubt that he was the ‘patriarch’, and Elinor the ‘matriarch’ of Salem Presbyterian Church. In terms of his family status and role, Ed referred to himself as the “Paytriach”, and Elinor as the “Maytriarch.”

Ed died on Tuesday, August 15, 2017.


This Saturday Report from
one year ago, represents quite
possibly his final attempt to put
into words his conclusions
about faith and religion.


Bill


“Saturday” Report 12-25-16

 

Dear Readers:

 

Today the Christmas Season comes to a resting point interval. The years of 2015 and 2016 have not been the best years of my life. They have not been the worst. They have been the two in which I thus far have learned more about my mortality. Life is not structured of “better” and “worse” years. It is composed of “less” and “more” awareness years. The next two? or fraction thereof, will give me an even greater awareness of mortality.

My claim is not uniquely Christian, although I subscribe to those sound principles put forth by that religion. My Spirit is “Universal Possibilitist” that existing within All humans (not the specific characters contained in the narratives of an ancient religious book).

I am loyal to a certain nation when it practices justice but my citizenship is a speck in The Just Universe that the Arc bends toward!

This Arc does not bend through religions (creeds, dogmas, or books) it bends through existential human Spirits and Practices.

In looking for a succinct quote more easily understood than the stuffy rhetoric above, I would offer the following –

“The easy confidence with which I know another man’s religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also. I would not interfere with any one’s religion, either to strengthen it or to weaken it. I am not able to believe one’s religion can affect his hereafter one way or the other, no matter what that religion may be. But it may easily be a great comfort to him in this life–hence it is a valuable possession to him.”


– Quote from  Mark Twain, a Biography
Newsletter contents by
Edgar K DeJean, aka Dr. Droll

Frederick Buechner – Search for a Face

Frederick Buechner
‘Search for a Face
 
Originally published in
The Hungering Dark

_______________

MANY YEARS AGO I was in Rome at Christmastime, and on Christmas Eve I went to St. Peter’s to see the Pope celebrate mass. It happened also to be the end of Holy Year, and there were thousands of pilgrims from all over Europe who started arriving hours ahead of when the mass was supposed to begin so that they would be sure to find a good place to watch from, and it was not long before the whole enormous church was filled. I am sure that we did not look like a particularly religious crowd. We were milling around, thousands of us, elbowing each other out of the way to get as near as possible to the papal altar with its huge canopy of gilded bronze and to the aisle that was roped off for the Pope to come down. Some had brought food to sustain them through the long wait, and every once in a while singing would break out like brush fire – “Adeste Fidelis” and “Heilige Nacht” I remember especially because everybody seemed to know the Latin words to one and the German words to the other – and the singing would billow up into the great Michelangelo dome and then fade away until somebody somewhere started it up again. Whatever sense anybody might have had of its being a holy time and a holy place was swallowed up by the sheer spectacle of it – the countless voices and candles, and the marble faces of saints and apostles, and the hiss and shuffle of feet on the acres of mosaic.

Then finally, after several hours of waiting, there was suddenly a hush, and way off in the flickering distance I could see that the Swiss Guard had entered with the golden throne on their shoulders, and the crowds pressed in toward the aisle, and in a burst of cheering the procession began to work its slow way forward.

What I remember most clearly, of course, is the Pope himself, Pius XII as
he was then. In all that Renaissance of splendor with the Swiss Guard in their scarlet and gold, the Pope himself was vested in plainest white with only a white skullcap on the back of his head. I can still see his face as he was carried by me on his throne – that lean, ascetic face, gray – skinned, with the high-bridged beak of a nose, his glasses glittering in the candle-light. And as he passed by me he was leaning slightly forward and peering into the crowd with extraordinary intensity.

Through the thick lenses of his glasses his eyes were larger than life, and he peered into my face and into all the faces around me and behind me
with a look so keen and so charged that I could not escape the feeling
that he must be looking for someone in particular. He was not a potentate nodding and smiling to acknowledge the enthusiasm of the multitudes.

He was a man whose face seemed gray with waiting, whose eyes seemed huge and exhausted with searching, for someone, some one, who he
thought might be there that night or any night, anywhere, but whom he
had never found, and yet he kept looking. Face after face he searched for
the face that he knew he would know – was it this one? was it this one?
or this one? – and then he passed on out of my sight. It was a powerful moment for me, a moment that many other things have crystallized
about since, and I felt that I knew whom he was looking for. I felt that anyone else who was really watching must also have known.

And the cry of Isaiah, “O that thou wouldst rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would quake at thy presence… that the nations might tremble at thy presence! . . . There is no one that calls upon thy name, that bestirs himself to take hold of thee, for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast delivered us into the hands of our iniquities.”

In one sense, of course, the face was not hidden, and as the old Pope surely knew, the one he was looking for so hard was at that very moment crouched in some doorway against the night or leading home some raging Roman drunk or waiting for the mass to be over so he could come in with his pail and his mop to start cleaning up that holy mess. The old Pope surely knew that the one he was looking for was all around him there in St. Peter’s. The face that he was looking for was visible, however dimly, in the faces of all of us who had come there that night mostly, perhaps, because it was the biggest show in Rome just then and did not cost a cent but also because we were looking for the same one he was looking for, even though, as Isaiah said, there were few of us with wit enough to call upon his name. The one we were looking for was there then as he is here now because he haunts the world, and as the years have gone by since that Christmas Eve, I think he has come to haunt us more and more until there is scarcely a place any longer where, recognized or unrecognized, his ghost has not been seen. It may well be a post-Christian age that we are living in, but I cannot think of an age that in its own way has looked with more wistfulness and fervor toward the ghost at least of Christ.

 

frederick buecherFrederick Buechner