Tag Archives: charter_for_compassion_

Tikkun Olam

 Shalom Shabbat, y’all.

Coming from an interfaith family– I am a huge fam of both Christmas & Hanukkah. Naturally Christmas means more to me, but my Jewish heritage is a gift–and one that I have never taken for granted.

Anyhow, I came across a Hebrew term this evening that I had not known until now. It is : ” Tikkun Olam” & it is { very loosely} translated as ” to fix what is broken”.

As Christ-followers, we have a responsibility to fix what is broken in our world.  The Advent/Hanukkah/Christmas season is the perfect time to reach out to our sister & fellow humans who are suffering in mind, body or spirit.  Instead of focusing on materialism, we should take time to help another person { or people} who are needy.

Although helping to provide basic needs is a great way to start, sometimes people who ” seem” to not need help are the neediest.  There are many lonely souls in the world : & I know from experience that the loneliness amplifies itself tenfold during the holidays. Reach out to someone who is struggling emotionally or spiritually this Advent. Give to your local food bank. Visit an elderly person who might not get may visitors. Donate toys to a shelter for homeless families.

 

Spread shalom this holiday season.

WWJD?{ there is truth to that cliche}

What would Jesus do?

Now clichés & pat phrases such as ” WWJD” usually annoys me. Recently a friend of mine reminded me that this acronym is at its heart what we are supposed to act like as Christ-followers. We are all charged with bringing Christ’s message of love , forgiveness & acceptance to the world. he did not command us to be in fellowship with only folks who are ” JUST LIKE US”.

Christ calls every one of us to follow Him out of our cozy ” safety nets” of people who at & think{ and even believe or not believe} as we do into the world. This is a lofty tasks to try to attain & I admit that I often fall short of totally accepting Christians who are not as socially progressive as I am.

One of my favorite quotes from our Presiding Bishop is:

” Look for the blessings in the people who drive you crazy.”

I try, but when people’s social views are opposite of what I believe I tend to become defensive.
While I know we Christ-bearers are to ” love our neighbors as ourselves” it is hard for me to show agape love towards a sister or brother Christian when they act in manners that offend me. Remaining rational & loving towards someone who is on the “wrong” side of any sociopolitical issue is not easy.

Amen.

Advent with ++KJS Day 12 ” A Cup of Starbucks”

I like a good cup of coffee.

Best Dude & often I frequent coffee joints. One of our favorite coffee stops is a family owned place in our beach town. He thinks that this little place serves ” the best biscuits & gravy ever” I think the fare at this coffee place is good.

Once again, today’s reading from ++ Katharine convicts me. Darn it!

Thee are people in other parts of the world who, for the price of a cup of a specialty latte here in America, could eat for one week. In this economy right now in The United States, there are people who are literally wondering where their next meal will come from. The gap between the ” haves” & the ” have-nots” is growing around the world & right here in or own nation.

While I do not think that more government programs are the solution to feeding { and tending to other basic needs} of our country’s & the world’s hungry , as Christians we *do* have a responsibility to tend to the poor. Our responsibility is to reach out to those in need…without passing judgement upon hem or their choices which my or may not have contributed to poverty.

Admittedly I am guilty of this sort of judgement…I often ask myself questions such as ” Well, if that teen mom would have been more careful, she wouldn’t struggle with buying clothes & toys for her baby”. Or ” if that person would stop drinking I wouldn’t mid giving him money. I don’t know where my money goes when I give it to him.” Like many others, I am much more comfortable helping those in need who share my values. Its easier to help those whom we understand or with whom we agree.

This time of year, especially, I am reminded that all humans are created equal. In spite of our inequality, we are ALL God’s children.

What some well-meaning Christians do not realize is that our baptismal covenant calls each of us to ” Seek Christ in ALL persons”. Yes, ALL PERSONS, not just those whose lifestyles we deem ” worthy” of our assistance.

Advent with ++KJS: Day 11 “Doing Is Believing”

I do not buy into ” works theology” , the idea that one can earn points with God by performing certain works. To subscribe to such an exclusive theology would totally discount that thing we know as God’s grace. { Martin Luther had it correct in his 99 theses against the Roman Catholic Church regarding selling & buying of ” indulgences”}

Because know about the grace of our loving God, my faith compels me to want to help others. because God is so good to me{ and even in these dire economic times, can safely say that everyone I know has enough to eat, a place to live,& adequate clothing. I’m also blessed by a loving family, many friends, a parish in which I am comfortable, & the most wonderful Best Dude ever! Indeed, I am blessed.

Bishop Katharine says: ” Good, healthy & holy ministry involves seeing the healing of one person or situation as part of the larger whole.”

No one person or a single charitable organization or government-funded social program can heal ALL of the world’s ills. Yet if we work together, healing & reconciliation is possible.

How shall we acheve such a lofty goal? I do not have the answer, but I do know that my response to God’s grace is to lend a helping hand & do whatever I can{ however insignificant it seems to me at the time} to help one person or situation.

Advent is a good time of year to think about the gift of grace that we are given & engage in creative ways to show or appreciation for what Christ did for us on the Cross by acting as agents of healing & change inour own corners of Creation.

Amen.

Advent with ++KJS Day 10 ” God Bless the Whole World, No Exceptions”

God loves ALL, No Exceptions

I am proud to be Irish-American. Dad’s people came to western Pennsylvania in the early 1800’s. I’ve grown up among my Irish American kin & identify strongly as an Irish-American.

But there is also some English on Dad’s Mom’s side of the family, relatives about whom my brother & I did not know about until I was 9 years of age. The woman I still call ” Grandma” is actually my father’s stepmother.

Pap’s first wife & mother of my dad & his older brother, died of polio when my father was a baby. My brother & I still do not know our English kin {they live in upstate New York}. I recall that at first it disturbed me that the woman I know as ” Grandma” isn’t my blood-relative. I felt betrayed by Dad for his withholding this vital piece of my genealogy from me. When I went through three weeks of two back surgeries at Pittsburgh’s Childrens’ Hospital & saw Grandma tend to my medcial & emotional needs I knew she loves me regardless of our lack of a DNA connection. Anne IS my grandmother. She raised Dad like a biological son. She loves me.

Mom’s kin came to America from Russia & are Jewish. Her parents moved to south Florida hen I was very young & we only sw them but for once per year. However, Mom did make a point to teach us about the feasts & fasts { along with a bit of storytelling from the Hebrew Scriptures} of her Ashkenazic Jewish heritage.

My mixed heritage has been a gift : I can appreciate diversities within even our own Christian faith . Sometimes it is hard for me to understand other people’s point of view, but my unique heritage is a constant reminder that God loves EVERYONE. God isn’t partial to any one part of humanity…and Christ died for the sins of humanity. God loves those whom we can’t like & even those groups or individuas who ate us simply for being whowe are & our way of life.

It is not right for those of us in the majority to target certain ethnic groups as ” outiders’. This can mean ethnic or religious groups, but the poor, the disabled, { occasionally the elderly} & homosexuals.

Bishop Katharine says” God’s presence among us in human flesh is a Gift to all the nations.” May we remember this as we wait for Immanuel, **God with us** to arrive.

In the Name of The Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Amen.

Feast of St John of The Cross
2011

Advent with ++KJS Day 6″ Whose Got A Hold on You”

Bishop Katharine uses the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman to ask you and me a simple question. Who it is who as, as did the Samaritan woman, reached out to us for assistance?

My challenge to myself is to look around me this upcoming week for an encounter with someone hom God just might use to remind me that ALL Christians are called to be active God-bearers.

Who has a hold on you?

Advent with ++KJS Day 2: “Collective Memory”

I should have read this sermonette during Thanksgiving week. But the Holy Spirit had other plans for my Advent study time!

Bishop Katharine talks about he proverbial family meal where ALL the relatives come together around one table to share food & drink. This calls to mind many a Christmas supper at my grandparents’ house in PA when my brother & I were little. It was the ONE time during the calendar year when all the petty family drama{ most of which occurs between certain sister-in-laws on Dad’s side of the family} ceases & everyone comes to the table as members of the same familiar body.

Bishop Katharine draws a parallel between the family meal & the Meal that we Anglican Catholic Christians share every Sunday. We gather at the altar with members of the parish family who were baptized into OUR family, the family with God the Father & Christ at the head. No matter what our petty differences, we are all welcomed, as baptized members of the Christian family, to partake of the Feast of God/for the People of God.

Our Episcopal Church is a big branch of the Anglican family. Like all families, we are sure to not always agree on matters pertaining to our life together. Some of us wish to exclude baptized Christians from partaking in the discernment process because said people were born differently than most of us in some ways or another. Some Anglican Catholic provinces in oher parts of the world wish to withhold Holy Orders from duly called individuals based solely  on gender. But at the end of the day, we are a family & we love each other.

In my opinion, disagreement is natural yet it is NOT. At the Mass, we re-member that Christ made the ultimate sacrifice, His early life, so that those who believe in Him shall have eternal life . We re-member that ALL of us are sinners yet our amazing God loves us so much that he sent His Son, first to be born of a woman live His life as an earthly human & the die a hideous death so that WE may have access to the Kingdom beyond this life.

When we participate in Mass, we -re-member that we are one holy , catholic Church. When you find yourself at the altar during Mass this Advent, perhaps make a point to stand/kneel beside a brother or sister Christian with whom you might disagree with on some subjects. Recall that at the communion altar we re-member{ gather together} the complete Body of Christ on Earth.

Amen.

Tending the Wounded….++KJS meditation 1

Today I read the first chapter in ++ Katharine Jefferts-Schori’sboo_ A Wing & A Prayer. She titled it ” Tending the Body of Christ”.

Most of us agree with her when she says that we live in a world that seems to lack hope. But, for we Christians, where do we find our hope?

Our God is a loving God, a God, Who led the people of Israel out of bondage.

We all are in some sort of bondage. Some of us might eat to much, drink too much, act sexually promiscuous, lie, cheat, embezzlers. There is a general malaise that is falling upon our society & our world. While one person cannot fix the problems humanity faces now, we CAN work together to heal the most broken members of the human race. Regardless of our circumstances, God loves us & it is part of our baptismal duty to help those who are hurting. Hurting can come in physical, mental, or spiritual or financial & all pain is real.

This Advent, reach out to someone who is in pain & offer them a healing touch. Pray about how the Holy Spirit can help you be the Light of Christ in a world full of pain

Although we cannot control what happens to us, we Christians have a calling & responsiblity to tend to society’s most ” wounded”.

Taking action means making choices

Ok, I have choices & I like choices. But these choices are not all about me…I am choosing what national & world issues will be ” mine”. I do believe that everyone can & should make a difference in our local regional, national & global & international issues.

For now, my main passions in each of these categories are:

Local : saving our precious ecosystem. The beaches & other Gulf Coast ecosystems are not only the basis of the economy here, but a God-given gift.

Regional: improving public education. It is true that I live in a county with perhaps the best public school system in Florida, the rest of the counties in this state lag far behind. Not everyone can afford to send their children to private or parochial schools & an investment in the next generationby everyone in the state is paramount in order to compete with the national & international world of commerce.

National: Rights for minorities. It’s true that we’ve come a long way in civil rights for women & people of color since the 1960’s yet our GLBT citizens are still treated like pariahs & are not granted the same civil rights as we straight Americans. As are womens’ rights, the civil rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual & transgendered persons are about EQUALITY for ALL persons. I’ll say it again… I am prod to be Straight Against Hate”.

International: Somehow, some way I want to work to see the end of genocides. It happens, folks & the key to obliterating the societal evil of genocide is awareness raising & education.

Let’s talk. What are your pet issues?

Equality is everyone’s buisness…

I am straight & also a PROUD supporter of equal rights for GLBT persons .

We have a long way to go in this country with regards to full inclusion of our GLBT citizens. It is still, in this country, perfectly acceptable for folks to discriminate against people just because they might be born with an attraction to the same sex. While I totally don’t understand how someone could be attracted to a person of their same gender, I do understand that attraction is attraction . Heck, most women I know cannot understand why I am attracted to the men I find myself drawn to most of the time! But my personal preference of the sort of men I am drawn to does not preclude me from acceptance into all of society. Because I am straight, I can enjoy living without fear that my personal life will result in my being banned from organizations, jobs school, ect. My straightness was never an issue just as my Caucasian race was not an issue. I’m white & straight but there are folks who are not just like me & their innate differences are the cause of unfair discrimination.

Where I live now my gender can be an issue with some folks.They think strong, intelligent women are somewhat ” unfeminine”{ Ummm have ya MET ME? Ya can’t call me unfeminine! :O) } I’m naturally introverted, but when the subject of equality arises I am fearless. however, I wish I had more of a public venue for my ideals. Lisa Bloom, lawyer & justice advocate extraordinaire, is inspiring to me. Even when I don’t agree with her 100 percent on everything, I have such a respect for someone who uses her visibility to raise awareness on issues such as equality.

Even my otherwise open-minded parents still { albeit very discreetly} balk at the notion that people with homosexual tendencies re just like we straight people. Mom asked me once if I thought that an acquaintance of mine was a lesbian & I said” I dunno I don’t care.”

People are people.Deal with it! Amen