Wednesday, April 25, 2007

And A Little Child Shall Lead Them

I received this forwarded to me in an e-mail today, and just had to share it with you! (Ok, it didn't come with the picture, it's just a stock photo, but it's just precious, isn't it?)

I think sometimes we all lose site of what being a parent is all about. Sometimes when life moves fast we all too often expect our children to keep up with us, not remembering that they are small and just need to learn or want to learn about life. I myself have found it hard to take my time when I "need" to be someplace and I often get frustrated with my children because they just don't seem to think that the "need" to be some place is really all that important...they are right! I am learning that I must slow down to look at the flower and try to see life from the eyes of my children...with that perspective life is incredible! I found this on a website and I thought it was a great reminder...slow down, love life and cherish every moment with your children before you know it they will be doing it with children of their own!

Love to all


10 Child Commandments To Parents

1. My hands are small; please don't expect perfection whenever I make a bed, draw a picture or throw a ball. My legs are short; please slow down so that I can keep up with you.

2. My eyes have not seen the world as yours have; please let me explore safely. Don't restrict me unnecessarily.

3. Housework will always be there. I'm only little for a short time, please take time to explain things to me about this wonderful world and do so willingly.

4. My feelings are tender; please be sensitive to my needs. Don't nag me all day long. (You wouldn't want to be nagged for your inquisitiveness. Treat me as you would like to be treated.

5. I am a special gift from God; please treasure me as God intended you to do, holding me accountable for my actions, giving me guidelines to live by and disciplining me in a loving manner.

6. I need your encouragement to grow. Please go easy on the criticism; remember, you can criticize the things I do without criticizing me.

7. Please give me the freedom to make decisions concerning myself. Permit me to fail, so that I can learn from my mistakes. Then someday I'll be prepared to make the kinds of decisions that life requires of me.

8. Please don't do things over for me. Somehow that makes me feel that my efforts didn't quite measure up to your expectations. I know it's hard, but please don't try to compare me to my brother or sister.

9. Please don't be afraid to leave for a weekend together. Kids need vacations from parents, just as parents need vacations from kids. Besides, it's a great way to show us kids that your marriage is very special.

10. Please take me to Sunday School and church regularly, setting a good example for me to follow. I enjoy learning more about God.

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Buzz Kill

Some days it is more difficult to hold on to the promise of Eastertide than others. This Monday, April 16th, at 7pm at the Unitarian Universalist church, the Clergy Association is presenting, "The Holocaust: An Interfaith Service." I want to share with you the real testimonial of a Holocaust survivor which I will be reading aloud at the service. (When I get the information myself, I will post the title and editor of the collection this testimonial comes from.)

We began to feel more distinctly how the ghetto was being emptied. We realized our turn would be coming soon. All the lovely things we did in the lovely Terezin. It was done all under pressure, to retain our own dignity. That's what they wanted to take away from us, our dignity. That we had to fight for. And in that respect, we succeeded.

Not that we all of a sudden felt superior, but we insisted on being ourselves, no matter how hard it was, how hard the circumstances were. Each block elder had to supply the Jewish administration every morning with a number of people they selected for deportation. A miserable job, but it had to be done—there was no way out, we just accepted it, because we were completely powerless in this situation.

But we continued conducting our services. The services were held during the summer in the open, in the courtyard. Masses of people came there every Friday night, and we sang with a choir and the real music they remembered from their homes, whether Berlin or Vienna. Basically the same melodies so they could join, and they're praying. If anybody had reason to pray, it was us.

In the wintertime, because we couldn't do it outside, we went to the attic, a very, very small area, with all these beams going every which way. We squeezed in there and I haven't prayed like this in the United States, with that intensity, not one single time. Not that I want to wish for having to pray this way. And so we did this, and this was very successful. It gave people hope and faith in the midst of all things that were happening.

Kurt M.

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Easter! tide...

Ok, so I didn't have the umph to post on Easter proper, but it's still Eastertide! And a couple of people have told me that they enjoyed my post on Chocolate Jesus, so I guess it's ok that I left that up. As you can see, I've changed my background again... an ivy-covered grave seems to be a not bad metaphor for the Resurrection, right? Speaking of which, here's on more pic from Eva. It usually makes me think of the Resurrection of Lazarus, not Jesus, but the one points to the other...

This is one of the pilots of the giant robots (not the one from my Good Friday post, though) and she's just been through a traumatic experience. The robot went berserk with her inside! In desperation, the folk monitering the 'bot ejected her cockpit and waited for the robot to run out of power. Gendo Ikari, man in charge and general father figure, rushes onto the scene and opens the red-hot cockpit with his bare hands. The amniotic-like fluid that fills the cockpit pours out, and Ikari peers inside... and Rei lifts her head to meet his gaze. Birth, womb, death, tomb, father, child, resurrection... I see them all in this moment.

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

Friday, April 06, 2007

My Sweet Lord (Good Friday, pt II)

A thought on the controversy. As near as I can tell, what has the Catholic League up in arms is not that this statue of Jesus was crafted from chocolate. (After all, who doesn't like chocolate?) The issue, apparently, is that this statue of Jesus is naked and anatomically correct. The Catholic League sees this as "demeaning our holiest time."

Holy Week is, indeed, our holiest time--it is when we confront and celibrate the events which are the very core of who we are as Christians. Holy Week is a solemn time of celebration. It is a time to consider the horrifying degredation, beating, whipping, stabbing, and final suffocating torturous death of the Messiah... and somehow find there our own hope and salvation. It is a time to be loved and to be disturbed. Holy Week is a poetic paradox indicating the divine. As Christians, we believe that Jesus was both human and divine, nothing less than the Incarnation of God. To believe that is to know in your heart that God, in the flesh, was stripped (see John 19:23-25) and died an agonizing death. I believe that a chocolate statue of the crucified Jesus is a beautiful and brutal way to enact this holy paradox. And I believe that if we can consider the utter humiliation and ruthless execuation of any man, let alone the Son of God, as "our holiest time," then we have no business becoming offended by the idea that Jesus had a penis.

To get hung up on his genitals seems to miss the point entirely, doesn't it?

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

A Pregnant Moment (Good Friday)

The background today comes from Neon Genesis Evangelion. I posted about it in the beginning of Lent. There is a place in the story where a good 10 or 15 seconds look exactly like this:

Here we have two people locked in a life or death decision: the pilot of the giant robot and the incredibly powerful being caught up in the robot's fist. The powerful being has let himself be caught and has in fact asked the pilot to kill him. And by this point in the story, we should believe that his death is for the best, really. In fact, the powerful being has forced the issue, the only question is: Will the pilot kill be able to bring himself to do it? It has always reminded me of Pilate, with Jesus before him. Pilate does not want to kill Jesus, he believes him to be innocent. But despite everything he does and says to try to spare Jesus, his hand is forced.

Pilate hands Jesus over to be crucified, and the pilot of the giant robot simply squeezes.

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday marks the transition from the sweet hosannas of the Triumphal Entry we just reinacted on Palm Sunday into the horror of the Crucifixion. It's worth pointing out that the word Maundy is traced back to the Latin translation of the new commandment Jesus gave the disciples immediately after washing their feet... to love one another. And as John 15:13 tells us, no one has greater love than this, to lay one's life down for one's friends. Jesus knows that he is about to do just this. Maundy Thursday is when we celebrate Jesus' washing of his disciples' feet, the institution of the Lord's Supper, and the betrayal and arrest of Jesus. Tonight there will be a Tenebrae service. Tenebrae means "shadows," and the shadows will certainly be closing in as, one by one, we snuff our candles tonight. Enjoy the candle flames in the background of the blog today. Tomorrow they will be gone.

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh