Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mud Everywhere ... a Memory of Beginnings!

The end of 1969, D and I left Holland, MI in our light green ‘66 VW Beetle and drove down to Charleston, West Virginia to begin a two-year stated supply with the West Virginia Mountain Project.

It had rained a lot, and West Virginia south of Charleston was flooded, so we holed up in Charleston motel for a few days. We arrived at night, so it was only in the morning, with cloudy skies and barren trees, that we saw the “hills of West Virginia” and the swollen Kanawha River, in what would be our first home after seminary, an experience that would come to shape the remainder of my ministry and political values.

We finally got to our home, a new little manse, off the main road, over the railroad tracks, up the holler, next to the white clapboard church, on a little rise at the foot of a mountain, the mining town of Ridgeview - everything there high and dry, and so we moved in, without furniture, as it would be a few days until the moving van arrived.

My first task, hurriedly arranged, an agent for FEMA, and my “office,” a dingy bar beneath a railroad trestle, beside Brush Creek, Nellis, West Virginia, to fill out reports for people claiming flood damage.

I remember: mud everywhere.

Cold, damp, grey, and the tired, tired, faces of those who had lost so much.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Is There a God?

Is there a God?
Perhaps ... maybe not.
Whether there is or isn't doesn't seem to make a lot of difference ... as folks seem to make of it whatever they darn well please ...
A god of hate?
A god of love?
A god of damnation?
A god of welcome?
And a little of this and a little of that.
We all know the tired and dangerous claims: god spoke to me ... god said to me ... it's in the revealed word of god ... god's spirit convinced me ...

And, yes, a lot of goodness comes from that ... but so does a lot of evil.
Hospitals and schools built ...
and slaves to farm the cotton and cane ...
and prisons for those who would make trouble for those who own the cotton and cane ...
and visions of social justice in the likes of a Martin Luther King, Jr. ...
and the healing hands of Mother Teresa ...
and the gun-slinging patriots who believe that Jesus favors open-carry ...
and every form of nobility and love ...
and every form of bigotry and hate.

This pretty much leaves the question open.
I guess its up to you and me to chose.
And like the Knight said to Indiana Jones, "Choose wisely."

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday it is ...
A time for deep and dark things.

For some, anguish and mourning.

For others, an unspecified, "I'm sorry."

Maybe a time to think of Christ:

His journey.
His pain.


None of which is easy, of course.

So, maybe Ash Wednesday shouldn't be easy either.