Sunday, August 30, 2015

BENEDICTION

WE CAME INTO THE WORLD NAKED. WE CARRIED NO GUNS, WISHED NO ONE ILL WILL. WE THREW OURSELVES AT THE MERCY OF HUMANITY AND GOT WHAT WE NEEDED TO TO SURVIVE AND THRIVE. NO, NOT EVERYONE MADE IT, NOR DID ALL THRIVE. THIS TIME WHEN WE WALK OUT, MAY WE HAVE MERCY AND UNDERSTANDING FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT AS FORTUNATE AS OURSELVES, AND GRANT EVERYONE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND STATUS. AMEN

SUNDAY MORNING HYMN: Gimme Shelter | Playing For Change

SUNDAY MORNING SERMON

The journey must be taken again and again, lest we submit to the kingdom of scarcity, join the rat race, and imagine that living in a national security state is a normal environment for humanness. Such captivity of the human spirit must be again and again challenged, for it is that captivity that makes it possible
  • to commit aggressive brutalizing war in the name of democratic freedom;
  • to tolerate acute poverty in an economy of affluence, most especially without an adequate health-care policy;
  • to sustain policies of abuse of the environment, all in the name of nurturing the economy.
Captivation by the kingdom of scarcity requires us to live with unbearable contradictions, and we, except in our better moments, do not take much notice of the contradiction.

Journey to the Common Good, Walter Brueggemann

SUNDAY MORNING PRAYER

We pray to the great Spiritual Power in which
we live and move and have our being.
We pray that we may at all times
keep our minds open to new ideas and shun dogma;
that we may grow in our understanding of the nature of all living beings
and our connectedness with the natural world;
that we may become ever more filled with
generosity of spirit and true compassion and love for all life;
that we may strive to heal the hurts that we have inflicted on nature
and control our greed for material things, knowing that
our actions are harming our natural world and the future of our children;
that we may value each and every human being
for who he is, for who she is,
reaching to the spirit that is within,
knowing the power of each individual to change the world.
We pray for social justice,
for the alleviation of the crippling poverty
that condemns millions of people around the world
to lives of misery - hungry, sick, and utterly without hope.
We pray for the children who are starving,
who are condemned to homelessness, slave labor, and prostitution,
and especially for those forced to fight, to kill and torture
even members of their own family.
We pray for the victims of violence and war,
for those wounded in body and for those wounded in mind.
We pray for the multitudes of refugees, forced from their homes to alien places
through war or through the utter destruction of their environment.
We pray for suffering animals everywhere,
for an end to the pain caused by scientific experimentation,
intensive farming, fur farming, shooting, trapping,
training for entertainment, abusive pet owners,
and all other forms of exploitation
such as overloading and overworking pack animals,
bull fighting, badger baiting, dog and cock fighting and so many more.
We pray for an end to cruelty,
whether to humans or other animals,
for an end to bullying, and torture in all its forms.
We pray that we may learn the peace that comes with forgiving
and the strength we gain in loving;
that we may learn to take nothing for granted in this life;
that we may learn to see and understand with our hearts;
that we may learn to rejoice in our being.
We pray for these things with humility;
We pray because of the hope that is within us,
and because of a faith in the ultimate triumph of the human spirit;
We pray because of our love for Creation, and because of our trust in God.
We pray, above all, for peace throughout the world.
 Dr. Jane Goodall

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A BROKEN MIRROR MEMOIR



     The mirror never lies. Not even a broken one relegated to the garage. The face of Bruce Weik is older. The hair thin and gray, the wrinkles deep, and the aging spots are getting darker as I look. Those things really do not bother me. They are better than the alternative, which almost became a reality fifteen years ago when I had a heart attack, bypass surgery, and a subsequent sternal staph infection. I was lucky to make it. I am glad to see that face staring back at me, however old he may look. He reminds me of things yet to be.
     I come from a small, rural, community in Southern Illinois. My childhood and adolescent days were dominated with school, sports, and working on local farms for spending money. My father was a plumber, making a good, middle-class living, and my mother a housewife. I was an only child, which had its advantages and disadvantages. There was no sibling rivalry, but as time passed, I missed having brothers or sisters. Ends up today, there is only me. My mother and father have both passed. My father died suddenly when I was eighteen, two weeks before my high school graduation. My life after that was altered in ways I would have never thought likely.
     I was the first from my family to graduate from college. The most significant thing about college was not the knowledge I gained from books, but the exposure I had to different people and diverse ideas. I became a Midwest hippie, which was considerably different from a San Francisco hippie. A lot more subdued. By my junior year, I was spending most of my time protesting the Vietnam War, and less time studying, which took its toll on my GPA. Looking back, I would probably still do the same thing.
     I graduated in the fall of 1970, and my wife and I were married on March 6, 1971. We were childhood sweethearts. I may have been a little bit sweeter on her than she on me, but she said yes. I got the better deal. We immediately moved to Bethany Theological Seminary, in Oak Brook, Illinois. My wife worked as a nurse at Hinsdale Hospital, and I as a student. Being so close to Chicago, protesting the war again became my main subject. We moved back to our hometown in 1973. My time at Bethany was productive, but again not according to my grades. Dr. Dale Brown helped me apply for conscientious objector status, which I eventually received from my local draft board.
I went back to graduate school in 1979, earning a degree in family therapy. Two kids and seven dogs later, I retired after a twenty-five year career. My wife and I now live in Arkansas.
     The face in the mirror has had a good, and lucky life. If given the chance, I am not so na├»ve to say I would not do anything different. There would be plenty of room for improvement.  But I’m basically happy with what I see, however blurry that face might appear between those cracks in the mirror.


FULL MOON RISING

Full moon tonight. My right-wing, Republican neighbors (that's about all of Hot Springs Village), are getting goofy. They think Trump is a good candidate. These are people who are mostly educated and rich, which goes to show you, the two aren't related. Although in Arkansas, they could all be related.

Monday, August 24, 2015

SERIOUSLY MYSTERIOUS

  • Looking up at the stars is a mystery to me. I just can't believe the endless expanse. It seems to go on forever. I'm sure there are other places like Earth. The odds are just too good. I hope they are smarter than we are, and some day find us, although we would likely kill them.
  • When I see a baby, it is a total mystery to me. What a fascinating combination of events required to make a human being. I am kind of glad it worked out the woman does most of the work. There are many things to be thankful for. For males, that is one of them.
  • The worshiping of guns is a mystery to me. I just can't understand the mass hysteria and insecurity involved in almost everyone wanting to possess, not just one, but multiple guns, many capable of shooting multiple bullets per second. I don't think history will be kind to us regarding this craziness. With each shot taken at a human, we all die a little bit.
  • God is the ultimate mystery. No one will ever solve this one. Not scientists, philosophers, theologians, psychologists, or politicians. Maybe poets. Poets have the best chance. I look out at the sky, or at a newborn child, and it doesn't make sense to me that it all happens by chance. Some kind of power seems to be the architect of it all. I believe that. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

BENEDICTION

WE ARE GATHERED TOGETHER TO PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS:
WE CAN OVERCOME OUR INSECURITIES;
WE CAN TURN OUR BACKS ON DEATH AND LIVE;
WE CAN GIVE UP OUR LUXURIES IN THE SERVICE OF THE POOR;
I MIGHT HAVE DONE WRONG, BUT I CAN DO BETTER;
I MIGHT HAVE WONDERED AND AM LOST, BUT I'LL LOOK FOR YOUR GUIDANCE;
TAKE MY HAND AND LEAD ME TO THE PROMISED LAND.


SUNDAY MORNING HYMN: Amos Lee - Street Corner Preacher (Live From The Artists Den)

SUNDAY MORNING PRAYER

SUNDAY MORNING PRAYER: DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES

Last night as I lay sleeping,
   I had a dream so fair...
   I dreamed of the Holy City, well ordered and just.
   I dreamed of a garden of paradise,
       well-being all around and a good water supply.
   I dreamed of disarmament and forgiveness,
       and caring embrace for all those in need.
   I dreamed of a coming time when death is no more.

Last night as I lay sleeping...
   I had a nightmare of sins unforgiven.
   I had a nightmare of land mines still exploding
            and maimed children.
   I had a nightmare of the poor left unloved,
                                of the homeless left unnoticed,
                                of the dead left ungrieved.
   I had a nightmare of quarrels and rages
             and wars great and small.

When I awoke, I found you still to be God,
   presiding over the day and the night
      with serene sovereignty,
   for dark and light are both alike to you.

At the break of day we submit to you
   our best dreams
   and our worst nightmares,
 asking that your healing mercy should override threats,
    that your goodness will make our
          nightmares less toxic
          and our dreams more real.

Thank you for visiting us with newness
     that overrides what is old and deathly among us.
Come among us this day; dream us toward
     health and peace,
we pray in the real name of Jesus
     who exposes our fantasies.

Walter Brueggemann

SUNDAY MORNING HYMN: Amos Lee w The Roots Jesus


SUNDAY MORNING SERMON


      The sects of Jesus’ time:

A.       Revolutionaries or Zealots:  The Zealots advocated the overthrow of the Roman Empire. They were not adverse to using violence. Their devotion to God was total and unwavering. They would do what was necessary to establish God as sole ruler.

B.       The Essenes: The Essenes were one of the three major sects of the Second Temple Judaism. (2nd century BCE to first century CE). They were a communal group, with no private ownership of any possessions. They would seem like a group of hippies from the sixties, with an infusion of religiosity and a bit of mysticism.  They saw themselves as the faithful, who would join with God to overcome evil. The passion and goal was to strive for righteousness.

C.       The Sadducees: The Sadducees were another of the prominent sects of the Second Temple period. Members were from the upper social and economic echelon of Judean society. They were the council and maintainers of The Temple. The Priests, who were held in high esteem by the citizens. The Torah was the sole source of divine authority. They believed in one God, but not in the afterlife. They were an Aristocratic, wealthy, traditional elite.

D.       The Pharisees were another major sect. Their beliefs would become the basis for Judaism. They regarded the Torah as the law. They were concerned with the interpretation of the scriptures. The Pharisees were not revolutionary, paying little attention to Roman rule. They believed in one God and in the resurrection of the dead. Being located in mainly rural villages, the Temple was less assessable, so out of necessity, they spread Judaism outside of the Temple.

E.       Jesus: There seems little doubt that Jesus was Jewish. He was of the Second Temple Judaism period. A charismatic leader, healer, apocalyptic prophet who questioned the authority of all the major sects, the scribes, and the Roman government. He clearly stood out from the contemporary Jewish community, but was not considered The Messiah. He did not fit in well with any of the sects or seem to be your average Jewish citizen. He lived his life in a revolutionary way, demonstrating faith in God in an action oriented manner, with little concern or interest in the rules and laws made by the government or Jewish hierarchy. He did not appear interested in what was, but only in what could be.

Friday, August 21, 2015

PEEVER LAW #11

CAPITALISM HAS NOTING TO DO WITH DEMOCRACY AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH PROFIT AND EXPLOITATION.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Martin Luther King Jr.
“A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. ... A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

Jim Hightower | Peeking behind Walmart's promise to invest in American jobs

Jim Hightower | Peeking behind Walmart's promise to invest in American jobs



MORE CAPITALIST TOMFOOLERY.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession...Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer

SOME DAYS YOU JUST CAN'T GET AWAY FROM THIS: Tom Waits - Bottom Of The World

Sunday, August 16, 2015

BENEDICTION

"WE'RE GONNA USE OUR VOICES TO SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER...WE'RE GONNA USE OUR FEET TO MARCH FOR JUSTICE...WE'RE GONNA USE OUR HANDS TO VOTE AT THE BALLOT BOX...WE'RE GONNA PRAY FOR YOU WHILE WE FIGHT YOU, BUT WE'RE GONNA WIN!

Rev. William Barber

SUNDAY MORNING SERMON

SUNDAY MORNING HYMN: Amos Lee - Jesus (Live)

SUNDAY MORNING PRAYER

Dear God,
Help us to follow your example,
by looking out for those who each day feel that they are marginalized,
who cannot find hope,
who believe that they have little to offer,
who are overcome by the challenges of poverty.
Help us to widen our horizons,
to make space for the stranger,
to watch out for those who feel invisible,
to give time to the outsider,
to talk to the person facing silence,
to restore justice and value.

Give us the courage to undertake this, the determination to join with others in seeing grace in every human face,
and the faith to embrace the opportunity in your name. Amen.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Albert Einstein
“I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.”
Albert Einstein

ON A BUSINESS TRIP TO TENNESSEE-CIRCA 1997

It was hot, like 105 degrees hot. I pulled into a Dairy Queen in Dickson, Tennessee, to get some relief. I was headed for Murfreesboro. The girl that waited on me had "HATE" tattooed across her fingers. She must have been around 25 years old or so. I figured she had a pretty rough life. She was really thin, appeared to have been born with a cleft palate, and had several other non-professional tattoos on her arm. When she handed me my order, I asked if her fingers were getting any better. Maybe someone had asked her that before, I don't know. Anyway, she seemed to understand. She said yes, thanks. I'm sure the "HATE" went on those fingers hard and it will come off slow. A young woman in Dickson, Tennessee. I don't know her name or her exact circumstance, but I sure hope she has good luck in the years ahead.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"WE'RE GONNA USE OUR VOICES TO SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER...WE'RE GONNA USE OUR FEET TO MARCH FOR JUSTICE...WE'RE GONNA USE OUR HANDS TO VOTE AT THE BALLOT BOX...WE'RE GONNA PRAY FOR YOU WHILE WE FIGHT YOU, BUT WE'RE GONNA WIN!"

Rev. William Barber, addressing right-wing legislators in North Carolina

5 Ways Congress Disposes of Poor Minorities

5 Ways Congress Disposes of Poor Minorities

PEEVER LAW #85

DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU THINK.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

BENEDICTION

WE GO FORWARD, HOPING TO SOMEHOW GET IT RIGHT.
GOD, HELP ME TO NOTICE THE HUNGRY, THE HOMELESS, THE INJURED, THOSE ALONE.
HELP ME TO TREAT ALL WITH RESPECT AND DIGNITY.
INTO YOUR HANDS I PUT MINE.
TAKE THEM AND GUIDE ME TOWARD FULLNESS, COMPASSION, AND UNDERSTANDING.

SUNDAY MORNING SERMON

"I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."

Sister Joan Chittister

SUNDAY MORNING HYMN: Big & Rich - Holy Water [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

SUNDAY MORNING PRAYER: PRAISE IN THE GREAT CONGREGATION

We are bold, as your creatures, to praise you.
We praise you for the gift of life,
    and for the gift of new life in Easter.
We praise you for the mystery of creation,
    as we stand in awe alongside
        all your creatures---
                   zebras,
                   cabbages,
                   sharks,
                   all the birds of the air,
                   all the fish of the sea,
                   all the beasts of the field.
We praise you alongside all our human cousins
        of the single family of humanity:
            Hispanics and Koreans,
            homeboys and immigrants,
            our good friends, our fearful enemies.
We praise you with full throat and glad hearts.
We praise you on this glad day.

Around the edge of our doxology are other brothers and sisters
     with whom we stand in solidarity.
      So we name them for your attention:
            the war-wounded and amputees;
            the mothers whose sons are gone but not forgotten;
            the dying who lack health care;
            the poor who eat less than we eat;
            the prisoners who have not had smart lawyers.
We look up to your in exuberance.
We look around at them and our praise is muted,
    because we wonder some about your mercy;
         we are not completely sure of your generosity.
    Our praise turns to plea:
          look upon us in our common need
             and give us life again.
             give new life and we will recover
                   our voice of praise.

Until then, we will watch with eager longing
   and voice muted, hopeful but with those in need;
   we pray toward you but are marked by hints of absence...
           and we wait.

Walter Brueggemann

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Jim Hightower | Banksters: A Story of crime and punishment

Jim Hightower | Banksters: A Story of crime and punishment



MORE OF THE SAME FROM OUR BANKS. THEY WON'T THINK ANYTHING OF A $5 BILLION DOLLAR FINE. THEY PROBABLY MADE $50 BILLION. FINES WILL NOT STOP BANKS FROM SCAMMING US. PRISON MAY.

Jim Hightower | Little Caesars' bacon bomb

Jim Hightower | Little Caesars' bacon bomb



THE OPEN HEART SURGERY SLAMMER. THE WIDOW MAKERS PIE. PIG'S BE DAMNED PIZZA SLICES. OR HOW ABOUT, AN AMBULANCE RIDE AWAY FROM HEAVEN. Just trying to help.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

PEEVER LAW #38

IF A NUCLEAR BOMB GOES OFF, DON'T BOTHER DUCKING AND HIDING UNDER YOUR DESK.

(This was a civil defense procedure that we did in grade school).

GOOD LUCK MIKE: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975) Official Trailer #1 - Jack Nichol...

QUOTE OF THE DAY-GOOD THINKING, MIKEY

Mike Huckabee
“While I hate to ever lose a supporter, I've come to realize that one who would abandon me over a single statement or decision I made is a person who would abandon me sooner or later anyway.”
Mike Huckabee, From Hope to Higher Ground: 12 Stops to Restoring America's Greatness

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

REPUBLICANS STEP OUT OF THE CLOSET

THE FIRST REPUBLICAN DEBATE IS TOMORROW NIGHT. PLEASE SEND ME AN E-MAIL IF YOU HEAR ANY OF THEM SAY ANYTHING POSITIVE. I'M NOT GOING TO WATCH, ALTHOUGH I COULD USE A GOOD LAUGH. FOX NEWS MUST HAVE FIGURED OUT WHICH OF THEM SHOULD BE IN THE DEBATE, OTHERWISE, NO ONE ELSE WOULD HAVE CHOSEN ANY OF THEM. IT WILL BE GREAT TO SEE THEM ALL TOGETHER. I BET BARNUM AND BAILEY WILL BE WATCHING. I HEAR THEY'RE RECRUITING CLOWNS. THEY COULD ALL USE A JOB.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

BENEDICTION

WELL, ANOTHER SUNDAY.
ANOTHER DAY TO GET IT RIGHT.
JUST EXACTLY HOW MANY DAYS DO I NEED?
MAYBE FOREVER.
MAYBE TODAY.

SUNDAY MORNING HYMN: Amos Lee - Jesus - Transatlantic Sessions

SUNDAY MORNING SERMON: Peace Summit with the Dalai Lama 7: Sister Joan Chittister

SUNDAY MORNING PRAYER-HOLY REGIME CHANGE

WE SPEAK EASILY AND GLIBLY OF "REGIME CHANGE."
  WE IMAGINE IT IS SOME REGIME OTHER THAN OUR OWN;
  WE IMAGINE OUR RIGHTFUL CAPACITY TO MAKE SUCH CHANGE ELSEWHERE.

BUT THEN YOU IN SCRIPTURE,
        YOU MAKING REGIME CHANGE,
        YOU OVERTHROWING LONG-ESTABLISHED PRIESTLY POWER,
        YOU MOVING AGAINST THINGS HOLY AND TREASURED AMONG US;
        YOU CAUSING ENDINGS THAT WE HAD NEVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE;
        YOU MAKING NEWNESSES BEYOND OUR CONJURING.

AND JUST BEHIND ELI AND HIS LOSS OF REGIME
   COMES THIS OTHER VOICE FROM YOU INNER CIRCLE,
         SUMMONING TO RADICAL NEWNESS,
         SUMMONING TO "REPENT," AND THEN,
         A NEW REGIME: "THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND."

AND ALL OUR OLD REGIMES---
    OF HEART AND OF MIND,
    OF MONEY AND OF POWER,
    OF PRIVILEGE AND OF ENTITLEMENT---
  ALL ARE IN ONE INSTANT PLACED IN JEOPARDY.

GIVE TO US COURAGE TO HEAR YOUR SUMMONS;
GIVE TO US FREEDOM TO RELINQUISH OLD REGIMES THAT HAVE GONE STALE
    IN HARDNESS AND IN DISOBEDIENCE;
GIVE US EASE TO RECEIVE NEW GOVERNANCE THAT RESHAPES EVERYTHING,
               EVEN OUR DEEP TREASURES.

WE LIVE BY YOUR WORD; WE AWAIT YOUR NEWS,
    BUT WE DO SO TENTATIVELY, RELUCTANTLY,
    KNOWING THE COST OF ALL THAT IS SETTLED AND OLD.
          SO COME, POWER OF NEWNESS, COME HERE, COME SOON.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

SUNDAY MORNING QUOTE ON SATURDAY

"I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there.That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."

Sister Joan Chittister