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Monday Meditation

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Eternal fountain of light and truth,
enlighten our minds,
enliven our souls,
and invigorate our bodies.
Transform us
into the likeness of Jesus,filled with the living Christ,
in order to serve you
and all the life
of which you are
the prime element.

We look to Jesus
to understand
a more honest
and effective
way to live
as reflections
of your glorious being.

Help us continuously strive,God of endless energy,
to sense your presence.
You make us feelmore beautiful--
not in some superficial,
Monday night television sort of way;
but more filled--
more FULL-filled
with a beauty
that transcends description
and becomes the center of our being.

In those moments with you
we clearly see
we are not in competition
with each other.
Filled with your splendor,
we are elated; elevated,
excited to share you
with everyone on the planet,
so they too can
feel joy;
so they might
once again have hope;
so they might see
there is lightin the darkness.

We confess, Lord,
that we have trouble seeing the light.
We are berated for being too this
or not-en…

Active Waiting, part 3

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Throughout Advent, our congregation is studying the concept of Active Waiting. Specifically, we’re consciously attempting to practice Lee Raffel’s Active Waiting Guidelines found here: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Raffel1.html. I’m using Intersect to work through my own processes, an online spiritual diary of sorts. I’m also writing with as little editing as possible.

We left DeKalb just as I was to enter my last year of Middle School (8th grade back then). We landed in Dallas, Texas, for a year, then Austin, before finally settling in Moss Bluff, Louisiana. Moss Bluff is a sleepy little borough, all haunted swamps and mossy Cypress, about 20 minutes outside of Lake Charles proper. In the late 1970s the primary industry was petroleum, so much of the population was white working class. Even though I only lived there a few years, Lake Charles is the place I most think of as “home,” at least in some wistful way.

It was at Sam Houston High in Moss Bluff my innate love for music blosso…

Active Waiting, part 2

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Throughout Advent, our congregation is studying the concept of Active Waiting. Specifically, we’re consciously attempting to practice Lee Raffel’s Active Waiting Guidelines found here: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Raffel1.html.I’m using Intersect to work through my own processes, an online spiritual diary of sorts. I’m also writing with as little editing as possible.

When I was seven-ish years old, we lived in a little white house surrounded by a little white picket fence in the not-so-little town of DeKalb, Illinois. DeKalb had two (TWO!) claims to fame: A hybrid corn made famous by its deliciousness and “flying ear of corn” logo, and Northern Illinois University, home of the underwhelming Huskies. Yes, my early, formative years were lived in a Midwestern cliché.

Memories of that era play on my mind’s eye through cloudy puffs of nostalgia. In the winter, sunlight danced on a glistening white carpet of snow. Snow makes the world seem more magical, don’t you think? Perhaps it simp…

Active Waiting, part 1

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Throughout Advent, our congregation is studying the concept of Active Waiting. Specifically, we’re consciously attempting to practice Lee Raffel’s Active Waiting Guidelines found here: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Raffel1.html. I’m going to use Intersect to work through my own processes, an online spiritual diary of sorts. I’m also going to attempt to write with as little editing as possible. Therefore, my thoughts may seem scattered. I suspect most of us think this way as we begin to formulate an opinion or belief. That is the unfiltered process at work, and that is the essence of Raffel’s first guideline about process.

I’ve been meditating on Raffel’s suggestion to “Hold to your vision and accept that your life is in process.”  I love the idea of process, but I’m impatient. This whole waiting until Christmas thing to give and receive gifts is killing me. But it’s not that I’m just waiting for the Christmas party. We spend so much time building up to this one day and, for better…

The Raggedy Man

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SCENE 1: Detroit, Winter, 1943


A raggedy man slowly shuffles toward the lunch counter. It is apparent to Emma, working behind the counter, that every move this man makes is a struggle. Either his clothes are several sizes too large, or he is several sizes too small. His coat swallows him whole, mostly covering him in darkness and shadows, except his face.

She can see his face, shaggy, a little overgrown, unkempt and covered in dirt and muck, but she glimpses a welcoming, forlorn twinkle in his eye.

Seeing his struggle, Emma gently moves toward the stranger. As she approaches, the raggedy man is taken aback, as if he hasn't been touched--or even spoken to--by another human in a very long time.

"It's okay,” Emma says. "What can I do for you? What’s your name?" He looks at her with misty eyes and whispers with all the strength he can muster, "Thank you.”

Emma brings the man some soup and a hot cup of coffee. He nods appreciation and tentatively grasps the coffee m…

Monday Meditation

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God of all things graceful and gracious,
use me to technicolor the day.
Help me paint reality
with oversaturated love.
Amen.

Monday Meditation

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There is a place called by many names:
Shangri-La,
Nirvana,
Enlightenment,
Transcendence,
Heaven.
And while people have searched for it
since memories began,
it does not exist
at the top of an ancient mountain,
or just beyond a hidden valley.

Nirvana lives deep within our souls,
and it is discovered
not by traveling great distances
around the globe,
but by taking the first small steps
toward self-realization.

Do not be fooled!
The path is difficult,
and most of us will spend
many lifetimes before
we take even those first small steps.

But at some point,
we will hear a voice
whispering gently
with a tone so melodious
we weep uncontrollably—
for we recognize the sound
as perfect love.

At some point,
if we are seeking even cursorily,
we will feel a tap on our shoulder,
and turning to see who is there,
we suddenly realize we have been
tapped by God, awakened,
and the world will never look the same.

These are our first intimate moments
with you, our God,
whose sweet, compassionate voice
wells up from
the center of our being.
Your …

What a Magnificent Mess We've Made

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It seems to me that one of the major storylines weaving throughout the Bible is about just how often we human beings mess up. The book has even been assembled so that, pretty much as soon as humans enter the scene, we manage to screw up our perfect existence in paradise with God completely. Temptation rears its ugly head and, well, it's pretty much all downhill from there.

Consequently, we’re told we’ve been “forced” to leave what is described as a place of calm and beauty, where all creatures live in harmony, where there is no shame, no fear.

Humans. Give us something beautiful and we’ll do our best to obliterate it. Am I right?

As the stories in the Bible progress, we’re introduced to character after character who has, in one way or another, made a total mess of their lives. Moses kills an Egyptian taskmaster, then covers up the murder and leaves Egypt under an assumed identity to begin an entirely new life. Moses messed up.

There’s King David who, while God constantly leans on him …

Monday Meditation

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Holy and Eternal  God of endless and unrestricted affection, I want you to know that I am astonished by your presence.
When I stop to think about how deeply you have dived into my human being, I weep tears of joyful thanks. I lift my arms to the sun and let you wash over me, bathing me in the electric light of endless energy that renews my spirit and cleanses my soul.
You provide me comfort, O God, in my times of deepest pain and unbearable suffering. You encourage me when my too many fears paralyze me into  apathy and inaction. You embrace my tears, my joy, my best attempts and my most heinous failures.
My every imperfection and blemish is eradicated when you enfold me. And here, safe in your loving arms, I realize you’ve been holding me all along. You never leave me— it is I who forget to find you where you always are and always will be: the very center of my soul. My fits of rage and  blinding frustrations overwhelm me, and I curse you for leaving my side, for giving me too few mo…

The Razor's Edge

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Scripture: Ecclesiastes 4:4And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

From the Katha Upanishad: Sharp like a razor's edge is the path,
The sages say, difficult to traverse.


Thought for the Day: In the Hindu Katha Upanishad it is written, “The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to salvation is hard.” The spiritual path is narrow and requires balance. Ecclesiastes reminds us that relentless pursuit of wealth (or any material gain, for that matter) is a shallow goal that ultimately has no spiritual payoff. In the verses just before this, we are admonished for being lazy. So it seems that in Ecclesiastes, as in the Upanishad, we are being instructed that the middle ground is often the wisest spiritual path.

We have many opportunities to find the middle ground in this country (and throughout the world). Yet, we remain polarized in ideologies and dogmas that…

Monday Meditation

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God of everlasting light,
we praise your loving nature
and embrace your invisible presence.

Your energy touches our hearts.
Your Holy Spirit shapes our souls.
We come to you
in humble service
and infinite gratitude
for all the ways,
both known and unknown,
you act in our lives
and throughout the universe.
We thank you
for moments of stillness and calm—
too few in a world of constant motion.

[pause to sense God’s still, calming presence]

God of us all,
we know we have been called to serve
and in the quiet of these moments,
we confess our shortcomings.
In the face of worldly unrest and tragedy,
mayhem and murder,
illness and death,
we acknowledge
we sometimes feel powerless
and act with folly.

We realize how difficult it is
to be faithful servants.
We wonder if we are, indeed,
able to accomplish the task at hand:
to create a world of love,
to be loving beings.
At such times,
keep us mindful that
it is not all up to us.
The fate of the world
does not lie on
our frail human shoulders.
Remind us that
you are the source of our s…

Mark, Matthew, Luke, John & Pokémon

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Our lives are an intricate dance between faith and culture. For as long as humans have been on the planet, our existence has been a sometimes not-so-subtle mixture of belief and bureaucracy; a complex ballet between our gods and our civilizations.

As our cultures have become ever more secular, the ballet has become more difficult. How do we stay focused on the song of Christ, following the lead of God, when the accompanying culture gets more noisy and raucous all the time? How do we remember even to seek God when our culture is so distracting—often in exceptionally entertaining ways?

Paul has to consider these same questions as he begins to preach about Jesus in a world that was every bit as noisy and raucous as ours. He has an entirely new way of looking at God. No Jew, nor Greek, nor Roman before him had ever considered that God is enfleshed in all human beings, or that there is a single God who loves humanity so much, it is willing to take human form.

Of course, the Romans and Greeks…

Monday Meditation

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Holy God,
who is never hidden from view,
open our eyes,
our hearts
and our minds
to your loving presence.

We know you are here today
as you are, everyday.
We also know we are too often
blinded by the noise of society
to notice you right here,
right now,
closer to us than our own breath.

When I breathe,
you breath.
When I love,
you love.
When I hurt,
you hurt.

Because we are you in the flesh,
everything we go through in this life
you experience with us.
But more than that,
you give us a helping,
healing hand.

You wipe the tears of sorrow from our faces.
You send us a joke when we’re feeling blue.
You send us love and compassion
when every voice is yelling at us in anger and fear.

We feel you.
We hear you.
We love you.

In humility we pray for our hurting world.
We know you’re already working,
everyday, through millions of us.
So we pray
not with the intention of having you grant our wishes,
but solely to offer our living souls to you,
that you might work through us
and make us healers all,
in the manner of Jesus Christ,
who…

The Libertine

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The Libertine
By Rev. Michael Junkroski
Allow me to introduce myself
I am called the Libertine
I am the scourge of things held sacred,
I am feared by kings and queens.
I lived—by your count,
Many centuries ago
But I have returned,
For a moment,
Once more,
To speak to truth
And fight the power
And, God willing,
To inspire you to do even more.

I am the Libertine
I always speak my mind
I have nothing to lose
And nothing to fear
Because I am guided by love.
All the time.

I come to you today
My friends
To convince you of the truth
Your freedom is an illusion.
Your choices have been made.
We have all been turned into puppets
On our master’s royal stage.

And our masters are the power elite,
The 1%, the few,
Who have it all
And hoard it all,
Then give us scraps
to chew.

In my day this caused revolution.
In yours a collective yawn.
And I weep
And wonder how and when
It all could have gone so wrong.

My friends and I died fighting
For life and liberty
An effort I now realize
Was as futile as picking weeds.

For fighting is a fool’s errand

The Good Life

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Let me ask you a question: Are you living “the good life?” Most likely, for as long as humans have had time to ponder, we’ve been asking the question, “What is the good life?” That line of thinking usually leads us to even more questions. But we all want to live the good life, right?
So, what is “the good life” to you? Think about this for a moment. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? A healthy family? Money? Success? Most of us think of things that we believe will make us happy. The good life is being happy, right? Retiring on the beach fishing, traveling the world, perhaps escaping to a cabin in the mountains—it’s generally material things we associate with happiness and “the good life.”

Well, Aristotle would both agree and disagree with our conclusions. He said there is a supreme good for humanity, and that our supreme good is happiness. But happiness is so subjective, isn’t it? So of course, that must mean there is a more common definition of happiness—that there is a primar…