Xenophobia or Hospitality?

Xenophobia 02The Greek word, xenos, gets a different spin in the New Testament than it does from the lips of Donald Trump or his British mini-me, Nigel Farage.

Xenos is the root of the word, xenophobia, which means fear of anything strange.  It could be a strange food, a strange practice, but in today’s useage it most often refers to a fear of people who are strange to us. Continue reading

Les and Henrietta

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ChauvenistLes was an old river rat who learned how to craft a life out of little wealth or conventional experience.

Henrietta, his wife, was a good partner because she was just as tough and creative as Les was. Sadly, Les did not treat Henrietta with the respect she was due. Like when she called up to Les while he was roofing a house, asking for some money to purchase shoes for herself. Not wanting to leave his perch, Les wadded up dollar bills and threw them down at her making her look like a bird hunting for worms. Continue reading

The Gargoyle

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GargoyleA gargoyle looks down menacingly from its perch on the top of my book shelves.  It’s easy to notice in the little 11.5 by 10 feet room.

My office was larger when it lived in a church building. In those days it had room for my 2000 book library and an area large enough for a small meeting. But now my office will hold only 1000 books, a desk, and a small couch.

But that’s enough.

A friend of mine once came into my Lodi office and asked, “Why do you have those evil-looking things in your office,” gesturing toward the ever-vigilant gargoyles.  I explained that gargoyles used to be ornaments on ancient church buildings, meant to both act as a rain gutter to direct water away from the church’s walls and also to frighten away evil spirits.  But that didn’t comfort her much. Continue reading

Triptych

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Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

triptych-7-638Glory be to God – Father, Son, and Spirit.
Not a pantheon or god aloof
But purest love and divinest secret.

Glory be to God – Father of the Earth.
Source of all mind. Infinitely loving.
Origin of Creation. Giving life its birth. Continue reading

Living As An Exile

BurkaIt was a Farmer’s Market in a large Central Valley city.  A full block of fruits and vegetables, hand made baskets, dog treats, nuts, and cheese.  An adjacent parking lot was completely full of cars on this Saturday morning.  Shorts, tee shirts, jeans, and other casual attire were the dress code.

And there!  She stood out.  You couldn’t see her face or form.  Black burka covering her from head to toe. Continue reading

Getting What You Pray For

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imagesSamuel was a prophet in Israel and came to this role in the eleventh century B.C. He was the last leader of the nation before the first king, Saul, was appointed.

The times during which Samuel acted as national leader were not good times. Fraught with idolatry and rebellion, the nation repeatedly lost her way and suffered horrible consequences as a result. Continue reading

Does God Allow Evil?

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dictionaryallow \uh-lou\  vt  1 : to give permission to or for; permit: to allow a student to be absent; No swimming allowed 2 : to let have; give as one’s share; grant as one’s right: to allow a person $100 for expenses 3 : to permit by neglect, oversight, or the like: to allow a door to remain open 4 : to admit; acknowledge; concede: to allow a claim 5 : to take into consideration, as by adding or subtracting; set apart: to allow an hour for changing trains 6 : Older Use. to say; think 7 : Archaic. to approve; sanction.
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