Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Thanks and keep praying for Mr. Tiersma.

My father in-law is in recovery from surgery that Removed cancerous Kidney.

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jaw reads A Hym of St. Patric's Breast Plate

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I find celtic forms of prayers helpful. It affirms our creaturehood, our connection with creation, and our connection to God.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Spinning... Daniel Amos... Again...

There are a few likes that have been with me thorugh the years. the Music of Terry Scott Taylor and the Group Daniel Amos. They feed my poetic essoteric side of my soul. I know it is not for everyone...

It is More Blessed to give...

The dominant theme of the last few weeks for me is the privelege and responsibility of distributing some small scholarships for school books to a number of college students who are willing and able to be mentors to younger youth in our neighborhood. This is by far high on the fun factor. It multiplies the freedom to love when people are both honored and encouraged to love all in the same motion as long as they maintain the vision for the big picture. It is never just about me, myself, and I. Love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength... and neighbor as self is soooo much biggerrrrr!!!! Thanks to all that help make my life an extended blessing to others.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Friday Spiritual Retreat with Fuller Class & LA InnerChange Team

We arrived at the Mater Dolorosa Passionate Retreat center about 8:45am. The whole grounds visually resonated with the story of the Passion of Christ. Their Mission Statement being:

We are a Passionist Retreat Center,
Preaching the Passion of Jesus Christ. We
Seek to welcome all who wish to hear the
Message of the Passion, through our
Traditions of preaching, hospitality, and
Compassion. We resolve to place our
Focus on the Passion of Jesus Christ and
Its relevance to the lives of people today.
We also resolve to foster and promote
Spiritual growth and renewal through
Passionist retreat programs and by
Providing a peaceful environment of
Prayer and reflection.

I am usually more tuned into the resurrection than the crucifixion. I brought to the retreat the intention of facing my inner sorrow over the twenty plus deaths of people I have known. (Only 2 of these deaths are because of violence.) This retreat context was more than appropriate for processing this sorrow. The first sense I got during the retreat after the morning prayers was the sense that this was just a beginning for me and that this is going to be an important season to pay attention to lent -- the death and resurection of Jesus Christ. I also think that Mel Gipson’s Passion of Christ is going to play a large role in this journey. Being thirsty the first opportunity we got I sought and found a coffee dispenser. All while my mind was rushing to how I could pursue using this film to reach out to others. It became clear that I was facing the first of several walls in my soul to being still.

I paced around the outside of the main building. Soon I found a strange sort of comfort on the back steps that led to the main buildings cooling & heating system. There was an empty cross, worked into the masonry. I was happier with a more "Protestant" Cross. I also found comfort in the concrete steps and the white noise made by the mechanical systems. I started to pray and the call to “Be still and acknowledge God as God” was still burning in my chest. I could not be still so I got up to wander again. Arriving at the Northwest corner of the building I was reminded again of my intention by a Raven who started cawing and would not stop.

I literally retreated to the room where we were going to have the centering prayer exercise. I got myself a second and third cup of coffee. Then I finally settled down into praying my expanded version of the Jesus, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me a sinner. Father I ask for strength, Jesus I ask for your heart, Holy Spirit I ask for power and inspiration. This focused on for about 30 minutes calmed me down to begin to be still. I was surprised by my desire to read which has been numbed out for several months began to come back to me with surprising force. Also I was glad to discover that I could read academic material. My concentration for reading has been so disrupted that I have been listening to scripture more often than reading it. I brought with me Wendy Beckett's book, "The Mystical Now Art and The Sacred". Its pages nourished my heart and mind.

I joined the optional centering prayer exercise. The image of letting any ideas, other than my prayer focused on Christ himself, flow down river like a drifting boat was freeing and liberating. Soon I began to be still and the twenty minutes set aside for this was over.

I was drawn outside and found the fifteenth station of the cross -- the empty tomb. I found comfort in this affirmation that Christ is raised for the Passionists as well as for us Protestants. Then I wandered to the station of Mary holding the dead body of Christ. It drew me. I was temporarily distracted by some coins that someone had placed in the hands of Jesus. Then it hit me. I did not get to see the body of Barbara Brown, or Dr. Loder. There were others that I did not get to say good by to. I want to grow in my capacity to acknowledge the lives that I have loved that are now gone from us. The statue proclaimed engagement. I somehow had grown detached. I am reminded that God wants to meet me in the realities that I want to distance myself from the most. I rested in this space resonating with the symbols of loss and realizing God’s kindness to me in this time. Then I noticed that a stone in the base of the statue setting was cracked and loose. I followed an impulse to touch it. Part of it fell off and landed in my hands. There I sat next to “Mary holding Jesus” while holding a piece of their statue in my hands. I am still trying to understand the power of this moment for me. All I can say is that I took a piece of that stone home and it was as if I could both embrace and accept that the body of my friend Dr. James Loder has been committed to the ground.

The results of this retreat are still in process for me. I have learned that silence can help me make the transition into academic work and study. This is a timely insight for me. I have not had such concentration for a couple years now because of some issues with Post Traumatic Stress. I will see if this is a more permanent closure to this chapter in my life. For now I can read again; if I take some time for silence. We also decided as a team to set 1 Friday morning a month for a similar time of prayer and retreat. I am looking forward to all this season of lent will offer. I am thankful for the gift of the space, time, and intentional silence.

Monday, February 16, 2004

What's been up...

Monday late afternoons at our pad, Monday Evenings at Cambria, and Wednesday late afternoons at Kathy's pad, we have toutoring for some of the youth in our neighborhhod going on. What is exciting to us is that some of the college age folks from our neighborhood are toutoring and mentoring some of the younger youth in our neighborhood.

"Each one Teach one," a saying adopted by the HipHop community was started by the famous Christain educator Frank Laubach.

This past Friday I went with the LA InnerChange team and my Christian Spirituality class to the retreat center Mater Dolorosa. We enjoyed a 6 hour silent retreat... (well actually 3 hours and then lunch and then 2 hours). The retreat center is about the passion of Christ... a good context to prepare for lent and for Mel Gipson's film
The Passion of Christ. God spoke to my heart that this lent will be another step towards understanding that "Even death rightly understood and embraced can become a form of grace" (the late Dr. James Loder). I hope to write more about this time later.

Saturday I felt compelled to stay and work while Jude went to celebrate her dad's 80th birthday with Roxy. This was a very difficult decision. There were numerous happenings that came together that confirmed that maybe I was hearing from God on this one. Jude's dad goes into surgery on Febuary 24th to have one of his kidney's removed because of cancer...

Lunch became an oportunity to gather Kathy, Miriam, and three other teens from the neighborhood for lunch. One guy who had been depressed for about a month came out of his depression. One guy who longs to belong now feels included. Afterwards we went to the public library... and the downtown LA Public library has now become a destination for us -- Cool.

Sunday I spent a significant amount of time with Miriam and Norma. Two compassionate souls that have lived the struggle of the imigrant journey so common to my neighborhood. I am glad to participate and encourage with their desire to share their faith and all that they have learned from their journey.

Monday I had a significant mentoring time with Rikkell. Then had the privelege of toutoring Chris, Tony's brother and helping them move towards knowing how to help Chris grow in his reading capacity.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Poem for the month ; ) "A jaw Psalm... to the Lord"

Hidden are your wonders
Deep within the sea
deep within the quazars
Dancing in a million snowflakes -- All of them are different.

Loving, Wrestless, Creative beauty -- are you.

I am struck in silence
So far beyound my comprehension
are your works O' Lord.

I have heard the rumour of Angels
I have heard the praises of heaven
I have been told that without your grace...
No one can see your face and live.

I long to see your face -- and live...

How long O' Lord will we foolishly imagine that this is just for us and our use.

Awaken my soul
Awaken my soul to awe
Awaken my soul to wonder

Shudder in the beauty of our Holy God
and anounce His Claim on all creation.

JAW1 '04

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

A Paper written by Jorge Meza for a Religion class

Jorge Meza


Catholic Christianity

Resurrection of the body of Jesus Christ

What do we mean by the resurrection of Christ? Jesus Christ came into this world to die as our replacement for our sins. The sinless Son of God came to give his life as a payoff for many. On that first Good Friday, Jesus was crucified. We know he died because one of the Roman soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear to ensure his death. Some of his disciples then buried his body in a new tomb.

While Jesus was alive, he had predicted that he would rise from the dead. He challenged his enemies: "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days. He was speaking about his body. Jesus also told his disciples many times that he would be killed by the leaders in Jerusalem, but be raised to life on the third day. The leaders who killed Jesus were aware of this prediction that he would rise from the dead. Although they did not believe it, they wanted to ensure that it would not happen, so they set a guard around the tomb. Pilot gave the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body, and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.' 'Take a guard,' Pilate answered. 'Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.' So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

The strategy of the chief priests and Pharisees did not succeed. Even with their efforts, Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus brought a number of people to life from the dead, including Martha's brother Lazarus, who had been dead for four days. But the resurrection of Jesus Christ was different. It was not just revival, as was the case with Lazarus, who later died again. On the third day Jesus was raised from the dead with a transformed body that was clothed with immortality and glory. His resurrection body could appear and disappear, go through material objects, and ascend to and descend from heaven.

On Easter morning some women and apostles went to Jesus' tomb expecting to find his body. But the tomb was empty, and the angel at the tomb told them, "He is not here he has risen!" Later they saw their risen Lord face to face.

Because of the miracle of Christ's resurrection, Jesus' depressed and disappointed disciples were instantly transformed. They began to preach the gospel with power. Without the resurrection, there is no Christianity. These disciples of Jesus willingly suffered for their faith. They could not produce the body of Jesus Christ and put a stop to Christianity. The Jewish believers, meanwhile, were so impressed by this miracle that they began to worship on the day of Christ's resurrection, Sunday.

My references The Bible, and the Resurrection Stories by Jerome Neyrey

I do believe in the resurrection of the body. Jesus is my savior.

My role in this was simply a trip to the library and the encouragemnet that the resurection of Christ might be a good doctrine to explore. Influence for the good is so often about just being there for others.

Monday, February 09, 2004

My Mix for this Tues. on KR

Wrestle Mix

1. This Present Darkness 2:40 Deliverance Live in the Studio
2. When I Flow 4:18 Cross Movement
3. The Hurricane 8:34 Bob Dylan
4. Track 06 3:14 KRS ONE Kristyles
5. The Trouble with Normal 3:37 Bruce Cockburn
6. Track 01 3:52 Stained
7. They All Fall Down 5:23 Grits
8. Thank You For the Cross 4:48
9. Never Give Up 3:17 KRS ONE Spiritual Minded
10. Track 03 2:26 Blackalicious Arrow
11. Track 08 2:36 Larea Raine Garretson
12. Burn Hollywood Burn 2:47 Public Enemy Fear of a Black Planet
13. Resplendent 5:02 Bill Mallonee & Vigilantes of Love Audible Sigh
14. Track 03 3:24 5 Blind Boys of Alabama
15. peacemaker 4:28 Marie Brennan Whisper to the Wild Water
16. Alienated 2:17 Rez XX
17. Mommentum 3:23 Tobby Mac
18. I'm Gonna Live the Life 2:37 Mahalia Jackson The Greatest Gospel singer In the World
19. Track 02 0:46 Scratch

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Memory Fragments from the last week

I went to visit Tribe this past weekend with Christy of Drybonesdance Blog. A neat home Church that meets at Rev. Rverstraten - Mcsparran's house. At first it was a stretch for me... but in time I kind of like having a drummer lead worship...and being able to beat my own drum at the same time... The reflective sharing integrated into the sermon, communion, Lectio Davina reading of scripture, and pot-luck dinner... all this helps build quite an intimate time of fellowship. If you could reproduce the depth of leadership and commitment of the leaders quickly enough... you could have the beginnings of a new house church movement.

Class last night featured Richard Fosters book on Prayer. We also wrote our own psalm.

Today I am going with Roxy to pick up her dad from the hospital in the PM...

Yesterday I referred a friend to Chrysalis... a group that helps people become more employable... Other stressors are making it hard for my friend to stay out of the madness mix... without mentioning any names can you say a prayer.

This Monday we are stating a new initiative of getting some of our college age friends from the neighborhood to mentor younger youth in our neighborhood.

Monday One of our neighboring families dropped in for dinner. I got to share my first attempt at cooking Collard Greens. It was received with mixed reviews. Either you like them greens or you don't.

Finished listening to Genesis and Matthew on CD... I am listening to the whole Bible on CD as a way of getting a sense of the big picture.


I got to witness the ceremony with over 3,000 people taking that big step at one time together... He already is teacher here in LA... but the wheels of inclusion turn slowly... I am glad and grateful that they do turn.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Show Mix Feb. 3, 2003

This show is going to get some public air time at Wheaton College. Thanks to Darren P.

1. Zombie 5:06 Cranberries No Need To Argue
2. Track 01 3:52 Stained
3. All the Lonely People 2:38 Aretha Franklin Best of Aretha Franklin
4. Track 16 3:10 JAW Poetry
5. Track 03 2:26 Blackalicious Arrow
6. Big Brother 4:12 AD - SEG
7. Fatherless Child 5:44 Mystic Cuts for Love Scars for Freedom
8. They All Fall Down 5:23 Grits
9. Track 10 3:15 Isaiah 58
10. Track 03 3:24 5 Blind Boys of Alabama
11. Never Give Up 3:17 KRS ONE Spiritual Minded
12. He Don't Mind 4:00 Barry Taylor Love Songs for Underdogs
13. Hero 3:25 SuperChic[k] Last One Picked
14. Believe It 3:59 KRS ONE Prophets Vs. Profits
15. God Nos Llama 3:51 Zehnder Breathing
16. Track 03 4:12
17. Track 02 0:46 Scratch

One of the realities that I wrestle with daily is how the human condition presses us either to God or towards despair. The more honest and truthful we can be about life... The more amazing love, joy, forgiveness and grace can be... living out of the center of this joy is one of the most attractive witness of faith I have encountered and seek to immitate (Thank you Dr. Loder)... don't just argue "Truth"... Be a demonstration of it...