In doing mission work in the appalachain mountains of Kentucky last week I entered into a whole new world, and not the romantic Aladin kind either.  Every where we went there was something about Jesus keeping us from burning hanging up somewhere.  This was one of the most challanging parts of my trip.  I am big on doing mission work with people not for people, there is no power differential there.  I am also a person who often claims “don’t judge me!”  Well friends I was being judgmental, I looked at multiple signs that read “Stand in the SON so God won’t Burn you”…ok so that is really bad theology, but it is something that someon holds dear enough to write on a sign and put it in the road.  I find myself falling into the trap of being a close minded liberal sometimes.  I mock things that I see as less intellegent and not very liberal, I refuse to see what beauty is there.  In laughing at these signs, I still think of them as ridiculous by the way, I I didn’t take the time to see that yes maybe they were going about it in the wrong way, but at least these people were having enough courage to do what they see as sharing their faith with others…yes that faith involves fear of God punishing you for not holding specific beliefs, but I hope you get my drift.  I get frustrated with myself and others for being close minded liberals.  Something similar is wrapping conservativisim in liberalism and then patting yourself on the back for it.  “I love the (blacks, gays, any group in particular) they have such an interesting way of living” Yes you said that you love that group of people, but then you forgot to mention that they are people and then you decided that they all act the same and that you love that about them…come on people!  I feel as though this 1 a.m. ramble is complete…nighty night.

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1) If you find anything at all redeeming about the Tyra Banks show…I hate that about you

2)If you call Chuck Norris an actor…I hate that about you

3)If you have ever quoted John 3:16 to another person in order to make them “love the lord”…I hate that about you.

4)If you drive an SUV…I hate that about you.

5)If you find nothing humorous about the concept of a unicorn…I hate that about you.

6)If you use the word naughty, in any context…I hate that about you

7)If you pine for the next J-Lo album, scent, movie, clothing line, child, marriage to come out…I hate that about you.

8)If your idea of a good time involves a gun and your “buddies”…I hate that about you.

9)If you dare to openly mock the sanctity that is “Full House”, “The Golden Girls”,”Little House On The Prairie”…I hate that about you.

10)If you wear one of those shirts that changes a brand name into something about Jesus…I hate that about you.

Note that I don’t hate you…I just hate that about you.  I am fully into the concept of love the idiot hate the stupidity.  Ok not really, but if I did offend you…get over it.  Now for your amusment the love poem at the end of that 90’s teen classic film “10 things I hate about you”…what ever happened to Julia Stiles, I hope she eventually ate something.

 I hate the way you talk to me

and the way you cut your hair.

I hate the way you drive my car;

I hate it when you stare.

I hate your big dumb combat boots;

and the way you read my mind.

I hate you so much it makes me sick.

It even makes me rhyme.  

I hate it — I hate the way you’re always right;

I hate it when you lie.

I hate it when you make me laugh;

even worse when you make me cry.

 

 

 

I hate it when you’re not around

and the fact that you didn’t call.

 

 

But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you –

 

 

not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.

justy wayne

this weekend my older brother got married…and I had the privilidge of supporting him.  Ok, Ok, so sometimes I don’t fully support the whole concept of marriage  all in all I don’t really know how I feel about marriage…but I am a sucker for love.  My brother is now married to a woman who I feel is the perfect balance to him.  I don’t know If I could have picked a better sister-in-law then Ann.  This is my dilema, I think that a majority of my friends who are getting married or are married are in the right relationship for them…but marriage I don’t really get it, and as a person who is going to be asked to perform a lot of ceremonies I need to know what I think.  So here is why I am not all that keen about how we see marriage in our society and I am going to ask you to respond..

1) It’s often sexist supporting the fact that men and women have defined roles that they must play often leaving the woman to a submissive role.  I know lots of couples that are in very equal relationships, but on a whole I think that marriage is often a throw back and supports a mentality of very defined gender roles, in our society while the woman is expected to care for the house hold duties..often she is also expected to work outside of the home creating a huge amount of work.  The man also has roles that he is to fill and if not he is not seen as a good husband. 

2) The fact that not all people are allowed to be married…plain and simple it is exclusionary.

3) The fact that law and religion are so intertwined that sometimes you can’t tell the difference.  I don’t think I am alone in saying I find it weird that as a person who is in ministry that I have the right to sign legal documentation for a religous ceremony.  I am a strong believer that if it is going to be a religous ceremony let it be that and have a legal matters handled by a state offical not clergy.

4) Marriage is seen as the only way to have a sanctified relationship.  I am sorry if you are committed you are committed, why does one need to be married.

While I say all of this, I can’t imagine a world without marriage.  After being a part of my brother and sister-in-laws ceremony I know that it is beautiful and I know that it is sacred to them…but I still have feelings that it needs to change drastically in our society…  or maybe not…ok it’s your turn.

 

justy wayne

I recently started working at a nameless Disciples of Christ congregation.  They actually have a name, I just really don’t like it, so I refuse to use it unless necessary.  Anywho in this denomination it is the norm to be baptized as a 6th grader after going through a class.  As a United Methodist, I am attempting to figure out…why?  Why not baptize infants, is there something that I am missing?  I brought this up at lunch with some co-workers, all lay people who have not been to seminary (usually the best kind of people to be having a theological conversation with) and I found their perspective interesting. 

One of my new co-workers had the notion that denominations who baptize infants tend to be more theologically conservative.  I had never heard that before, I was thinking the opposite to be true

“Jesus saved me…now I can dunk myself in water and I will have all the answers!”

This is not what it was to them.  To them it is a time in a person’s life where they can decide to be a part of the church, they are able to make their own decision to be a part of the life of the church.   But to me this is not what baptism is all about.  On one hand I think it doesn’t really matter.  I mean I am pretty sure that whether a child is baptized or not God loves them.  So I don’t know why I am thinking about this so much.  But on the other hand if we wait to “have a class” and then use baptism as some kind of decleration of faith what are we saying about grace.  That grace is only able to be accepted and experienced after one has some kind of cognitive knowledge of themselves, and how they and their chruch feels about God.  I think that grace is a lot bigger then that.  So why wouldn’t we baptize our infants?  What is the point in waiting.  I know that there are other points of view out there, and I need to hear them…so if you have them let them rip.

one more thing.

A couple of months ago, I, for the first time, met the man who baptized me.  We obviously didn’t recognize eachother, because the last time he saw me I was a few months old.  But I ran into him at my seminary, and when he told me his name I realized who he was.  We hugged and talked, and I realized the importance of my baptism even more.  I realized that even though this man and I had no “relationship” we shared something that is very intimate.  He was one of the first people to lift me up to a church and tell them that I was loved, and accepted by God.  This baptism, while, I don’t remember it has shaped who I am to this point.   My baptism was not a time that I cognitivley celebrated God’s presence in my life, it was an event of grace where God was uniquley present to claim my identity, and let me know that I am loved.  Sot that I can look to the event to remember how to live my life, and what I am called to be. 

So baptism…what do you think?

justy wayne

For all of you people out there with that special someone…I am very excited for you, and in case you didn’t know I am not one of you.  Today I realized that most of my friends are married/engaged/or in pretty serious relationships of some kind.  I started to wonder “where did all my single friends go?”   Or, do I like being friends with people in relationships, and that is why I don’t have a lot of single friends.   I think i like hanging out with couples, am i that weird single friend that you always see in groups of 3?  Maybe I am the only one who sees a group of 3 people and starts to try to figure out which 2 are together, and which one is their “single friend”.  But I am pretty sure other people do that too.   I am also pretty sure that I probably stick out as the single one. I like being the single friend…most of the time.  sometimes it does get awkward, and annoying when you go out to eat and you are not the 3rd or 5th wheel, but the 11th .  I can’t put my finger on it, but there is just something I enjoy about the dynamics of being friends with a couple.  For my friends out there who are in a couple, this is just an observation, I am not friends with you simply because you have a significant other, these are just observations.  This thought process led to me wondering “if I like couples so much, why could I care less that I am single?”  all in all I enjoy my own company, so haning out by myself is usually a good time.  I am in a relationship with myself currently.  I like it because I am the better looking out of the 1 of us.  I am the most fun, and of course I am the smartest person at my table for one.  I am not opposed to dating someone, but right now I could care less.  I have no problems going to a restaraunt alone (if you are sitting around me I am probably watching/judging you), I have no issues with going to a movie by myself. And I feel loved by a majority of the people in my life.  So to all of you who are in love…cheers.  To all of us who aren’t…yay too!

I have been able to be in prayer a lot lately, which has got me thinking…why am I doing this?  I feel as though I should be, but I don’t know if this is just a learned behavior that I feel good about because I am fufilling some pattern.  Or if I am actually communicating with God, and God is communicating with me.  Some people claim that there are no silly prayers…I don’t agree.  What about people who pray for the super bowl or American Idol..prety sure God doesn’t care.

does God really need or even want us to ask…scripture says yes…but why.  We talk about prayer, and usually it is thrown out there to be a cure all.  “My boyfriend is dying”…  “have you prayed” ,as if the person is being punished because not enough people are praying for them.  Does God hear some prayers and answer them, and then seemingly not others?  If God knows our needs, then why do we need to go to God in prayer, is it a humility thing.  That we need to know that it is up to God?  Is prayer humbling?

I have heard the theory that prayer is really just us getting in touch with the divine that is within, that it is really just for us and has nothing to do with God, that maybe it is a psychological need that we have.  What is prayer, and why do I feel compelled to do it?  If someone has an idea about prayer I would really like to hear it.  In the mean time I think I will keep on praying

 

peace

justy

 

 

“Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson knows he is inviting death threats by entering into a civil union with his gay partner on the eve of his church’s biggest ecclesiastical conference. And he says it is worth it, because he is doing what God asks of him.“When your life is at stake, you learn that there are things in life that are much worse than death,” Bishop Robinson told TODAY’s Matt Lauer Thursday in New York. “That’s the great reward of being a Christian. Not living your life — that’s worse than death. And if something were to happen to me, I would know that I am doing what I discern God is calling me to do.”  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24521220&GT1=43001

Adam Hamilton says in his blog:

“I feel great compassion and empathy for gay and lesbian people who are often treated by religious people as the Pharisees treated the “sinners and tax collectors” of Jesus day. “

I wonder how Gene Robinson feels when Adam Hamilton refers to religous people and glbtq people as two seperate groups?  Maybe if more people realized that those aren’t two dichotomous groups of people, then bishop Robinson wouldn’t have to fear for his life when he chose to commit himself to the man he has loved for 20 years.

In OUR recent decision to not ordain openly glbtq people, WE as the United Methodist church are only allowing hatred and violence to happen.   The threats and violent acts that are experienced by GLBTQ people are supported when the UMC refuses to ordain all people who are called to ordained ministry.  How much easier is it to be violent towards another, when their own denomination refuses to accept them fully?  This legislation, in my opinion, is dehumanizing…when one isn’t human, it is far easier to act in violent ways towards them.   I feel that it is time to have open conversation about this legislation, and if our denomination chooses to not ask us to do so in the discipline…then take it on yourself.  I think that it’s time that we talk to each other.  And maybe it is time that we remember that GLBTQ people and religious people aren’t two different groups!!!!  Lets have conversation…try to find where God is in this whole mess and focus on that.  The way to peace in this situation is relationship, conversation, and a whole lot of faith in God and one another.  It might be risky, but some things are worth it.

 

Justy

What happens when people don’t look like you?  What happens when someone comes in to your space and doesn’t dress the same way, act the same way, or speak the same language.  It seems that our human response is to either distrust, or make them into some kind of spectacle.  We do this in church all the time.  Look around your sanctuary, are people dressed pretty much the same?  Do they all share very serious commonalities in physical appearance, and or theology?  I went to the church Jacobs Well last Sunday night.  this church has a reputation in Kansas City for being “emergent” and people go to worship to “see how it is done.”  As I experienced worship, I was very comfortable, but then I looked around.  Most of the people were white, under the age of 30, dressed very similar to the way I normally do, and I would guess about my socio-economic status as well.  No wonder I felt comfortable, I wasn’t sticking out.  What happens when you do stick out?  People begin to respond in different ways.  I know I do it, I see a guy in a polo and think “great thats what our world needs…another guy in a polo telling everyone what to do, I bet his name is Chip!”  I immediately don’t want anthing to do “with the guy in the polo”.  On the other hand, I could see someone wearing an outfit from another country that seems distant and foreign to me and automatically make them a spectacle “they are different and unique…I love them!”  What if they are a big jerk, I don’t care they are wearing a poncho…I LOVE THEM!  I’m guitly of this behavior.   Maybe I am saying this because I have a lack of fasion sense and I want people to deal with that (I do think the tie as a belt will catch on someday!)   What is wrong with overalls and grandpa sweaters?  What is wrong with sandals or no shoes?  But then I remember that I think something is wrong with polos and ties, and denim shirts (no one should own a denim shirt…NO ONE!)  Maybe it is time that we stop worrying about what other people are wearing, and what we are wearing for that matter.  Maybe it is time that we take the example of Jesus and break bread with the denim shirt wearers of the world.  There is something behind that denim shirt, I like to call  it a person.  That person has a wealth of information about God and the world that I want to know….how am I going to find that out if I don’t talk to them and treat them like the person they are? 

 

Amen?

Justy

I know that no one listens to Jewel anymore…but

 I must take a stand.  This song is terrible!  I know

that she was homeless…that doens’t mean you

can sing songs about fat children at the pool.  Do

they even have pools in Alaska?

“Fat Boy” by Jewel

Fat boy goes to the pool
See his reflection, doesn’t know what to do
He feels little inside and filled with pride
Oh, fragile flame
No one sees the same
fat boy goes about his day
Trying to think of funny things to say
Like, “This is just a game I play”
And “I like me this way”
Oh, fragile flame
When no one feels the same
Hush, sleep, don’t think, just eat
You daddy’s little boy
You mama’s pride and joy
You know they love ya
But not because they hold ya
Fat boy says “Wouldn’t it be nice
If I could melt myself like ice
Or outrun my skin and just be pure wind”
Oh, fragile flame
Sometimes I feel the same


for all of you non-umc people general conference is our big gathering of the powers that be to decide how we live together for another 4 years.

 

Prayer 1)  my friends that are going are safe in their travels.

prayer 2) that healthy dialogue happens and politics doesn’t get in the way of people experiencing the presence and direction of God

prayer 3) that we as the UMC will do all of this work with a sense of humility.  To recognize where we have been wrong, and celebrate the ministry that we have been able to do.  In doing those things may we create ways of being us that will be life giving to all people.

prayer 4) that all this work will be done in a way that embraces creative tension.   That we realize that we have been given these fabulous imaginations that will allow us to come up with different ways to understand ourselves, other people, and God.

Prayer 5)  That people will not be used as political pawns to get something done…..people are people, not things written on a piece of paper you can negotiate!!!!!

 

amen

 

justy