Thursday, July 30, 2009

Every Morning

Every morning
when Jesus gets out of bed, so to speak,
the scars are there …
big scars and little scars;
every scar a story.

© Tom Eggebeen, July, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Transitions - a personal poem ...

Transitions …

I'm in a spiritual transition of some sort ...
Hard to put into words ...

Wright's latest book, "Justification" impacted me deeply ...
The anxious Middle Ages shaped the Reformation ...
A "get saved" sort of deal - to put the conscience at ease
Not by works, that's good, I suppose.
But by faith, that's good, too.

Bring peace of mind to the soul.

But where's the Abrahamic covenant? Wright's question!
It's as if we traded covenant life for religious jargon, mumbo jumbo.
The salvation churches - all about going to heaven,
And personal purity, whatever that may mean.
But no covenant living.
No care for the garden.
No blessings to the world.
Dirty water, who cares, as long as I can buy bottled.
Terrible working conditions, who cares, as long as I have my office and my SUV.
Health care denied to millions, who cares, because I can afford it.
And besides, I have Jesus.
My soul brims with Jesus joy.
Jesus love.
Jesus life.

Just self.

For me,
The whole Christian thing seems increasingly corrupt.

I've become a universalist.
So let's relax on the heaven thing.
Let's get serious about earth.


Don't tell that to the wealthy, the powerful.
Tell them how good they are.
They're chosen.
Believe in Jesus.
Write a check now and then.
Go on a mission trip.
My, ain't you good!

We need to be Jews who believe in the Messiah.
To have become "christian" - gentile religion - we lost the world
And gained a whole new dimension of self-interest.
And it feels good.
So, preach on preacher.
Tell me about heaven.
And how I'm chosen.
And it's good to be charitable.
But let's not change how the money really flows.
Let's keep it the way it is.
The poor are poor.
The rich grow richer.
God be praised.

Oh well ...

So it goes.

© Tom Eggebeen

Monday, July 13, 2009

I Believe ...

I believe that God’s love is the foundation of my life and the world around me.
I believe that evil, ever so real, will never have the last word.
I believe that Jesus the Messiah is the gift of God to the world, a world so loved by God.
I believe that Jesus the Messiah wrought a new pathway for humankind,
By going to the cross and into the tomb.

A great love at work for all of humankind,
and for the whole of creation,
every creature great and small,
unto the farthest star.

I believe that God’s love is here and now in the person of the Holy Spirit,
Bringing me into the fellowship of faith,
Conforming my life to that of Jesus my LORD,
Enabling me to let my light shine,
So that others may see my good works,
And give glory to my Father in heaven.

I believe that life is greater than death.
And I believe that in death, God’s hand will have me.
And in time, all will be made new.
To the glory of God and to the praise of Jesus,
In the company of the Holy Spirit.

Amen and Amen!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Evangelical Christians Oppose Hate Crimes Legislation

A letter written to the Presbyterian Layman, a newspaper funded and published by hyper-conservatives in the Presbyterian family. They, of course, oppose the Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes Bill. But hats to the Rev. Dr. Mark Achtemeir, an evangelical Presbyterian, who testified before Congress on behalf of the bill.

Dear Friends,

It is a mistake of incredible proportions for evangelical Christians to oppose hate crimes legislation.

Our track record on hatred has been less than stellar, since we seem to have a penchant for "righteous hatred" which we love to dress up in the robes of Scriptural authority and carefully chosen verses.

Whatever one may personally feel about homosexuality, crimes against such persons, if and when motivated by their lifestyle, as any crime motivated by race, color, religion or national origin, is a hate crime. Period.

To suggest, however, that pastors would be punishable under this law is the worst kind of yellow journalism imaginable. To claim, as some have, that such legislation is part and parcel of an effort to silence the church is childish babbling, but part of strange "persecuted" mentality that has crept into certain parts of the evangelical community.

But let's be clear - pastors of the far right flirt far too often with hatred and delight in fanning the flames of prejudice. Hatred spewed from American pulpits seems to be a part of our heritage, and though this law wouldn't touch this freedom, it behooves Christians of every persuasion to examine their hearts and their pulpits.

Hats off to the Rev. Dr. Mark Achtemeier for testifying to Congress on behalf of the Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes Bill. He's a wise and faithful evangelical Christian, and I salute him for his effort to help evangelical Christianity come to grips with an elephant in the living room - namely a tolerance for righteous hatred when properly aligned with evangelical sensibilities.

Christians need to join with Dr. Achtemeir in helping our great nation create a climate of freedom and justice for all.

In Christ, for Christ and with Christ,

Tom Eggebeen, Interim Pastor
Covenant Presbyterian Church
6323 W. 80th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90045

310 670 5750