God is a mighty roaring VERB

I loved hearing Annika read this poem to me as we talked the other evening. It’s so DYNAMIC. You can feel the energy of the encounter.

I presume it harks back to the Hebrew Scriptures, Exodus 3:13-14

“But Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your ancestors has sent me to you”, and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”

If you listen to some of the Anglican/Episcopalian debate about gays in ministry, and the blessing of same-sex unions, one could be forgiven for thinking that God had said, “I am who I was.” I hear some people talk about being Traditional, or claiming to be advocating Orthodox Faith, and somehow it all sounds so static. As though Tradition never changes, and Orthodoxy means being set in concrete.

People, God is Alive and Active. God is a doing word, a living WORD. If you’re looking for something that’s true for all time, you’re probably better off studying Physics, or Pure Mathematics. But if you want Life, seek God . . . preferably within yourself, not in something external.

When I share the Eucharist, I like to use the words, “Food for the journey” as I pass the bread around, and “The cup of community” as I share the wine. That’s what it means for me to make communion: it’s about being on a journey – a journey with companions, people who together (com) share bread (pane). Wherever I do this, in the Cathedral, at the beach, at home with Annika, it’s an Active thing, recognizing the God who is a Mighty Roaring Verb. The God who is between us, among us, WITHIN us. The God who energizes us for ministry. The God who is Love.

As I reflected on what it might mean to live with integrity, I dug out my rather battered copy of the Shorter Oxford Dictionary, and was reminded that the first definition of integrity is “the condition of having no part or element wanting.” Wholeness, completeness, and entirety! I was struck by the synchronicity of Annika reading to me the 23rd Psalm, and focussing on the second part of the first verse: “I shall not want.” Integrity here is the result of having the Lord as my Shepherd. This language may be more at home in the earlier paradigm of Christianity, but that doesn’t mean it has nothing to say to us. In its broadest and most inclusive form, I believe that we will never be fully human, we will never realize our potential, until we acknowledge the spiritual dimension of reality, until we Embrace it, until we Cherish it. Now there are some mighty roaring verbs for you.

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God is a mighty roaring VERB

One-ness

I am still in Canada. This afternoon we went to the Lethbridge Buddhist Church and were shown around by the Reverend. It is called a Buddhist _Church_ more for historic reasons (as it was easier for the Canadians to get their head around the concept of a church). The Reverend/Sensei pointed out how it was “being like water” and taking the shape of the receptacle but not changing who you truly are. He promoted open language, like “The Enlightened One” instead of Buddha, that gives people access to an idea without the hurdle of an unfamiliar term. Finding the words that show how similar the various religions and denominations are instead of focusing on the differences. It was so good to hear a Buddhist talk about the need for interfaith communication.

Listening to the Sensei I felt unreal and very much there at the same time. The things he said were on one hand so much like my picture-book understanding of Buddhism; I guess he tried to make it easy for us. At the same time it made perfect sense. He definitely succeeded in using open and inclusive language that makes the understanding easier. He emphasized the concept of one-ness: in you looking at the mountain the mountain and you become one (compared to the idea of ‘conquering’ a mountain).

I am currently reading about theories of ‘revelation’ (revelation as doctrine, revelation as presence, revelation as experience, revelation as history) and find “revelation as experience” certainly appealing. Experiencing God, become one with God in your moving, your being.

‘Being’ not as static but as flow and experience. Not (passively) seeing God but moving towards a unity. Dancing faith. Breathing God. I like that. I found a book today by Alla Renee Bozarth, one of the first women to be ordained in the Anglican/Episcopal Church in Canada in 1974. She writes in one poem: “God is a mighty roaring verb” and “God is in me now, being new, stretch strike lightning, soar sound. Godlike”

One-ness

Living with Passion

A good long walk in the cool of the morning gave me time to reflect on life. It’s not enough to live with Integrity, one must also live with Passion. Integrity provides a framework, but Passion is the driving force to one’s life. I see life as more like a journey than a destination, there’s no one point of “arriving”; so Integrity is not like the underlying structure of a house, but more like the chassis of a car, and Passion is its engine.

At present I am struggling to find my passion in life. This is a serious issue as I am currently unemployed and trying to resist drifting into some job that simply pays the bills. A dozen or so years ago, I became a Franciscan Friar. At the time, I wanted to make my life and my faith to be one. I didn’t just want to be a Sunday Christian. I was also inspired by the Franciscan mission of promoting Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation. I still am, very much so. However, after struggling for some years, I found the life unacceptably lonely, and now I need to find a new expression of those same values that attracted me in the first place. Once I have been formally released from the First Order (the Friars) I will be considering the possibility of joining the Third Order (http://www.franciscanthirdorder.godzone.net.nz/) , a group of “secular” Franciscans who live by the same values but find an expression (Rule of Life) that fits their individual circumstances.

Today, my passions are friends, music, food and wine (a little difficult at present while we’re in the middle of the detox), and promoting the emerging church. None of this is any immediate help in finding a job. In fact, I don’t want a job so much as a ministry, a vocation – a calling. But it looks like I shall have to find a job to support my ministry.

It’s quite a journey, moving from “Brother Andrew” to a new form of the old “Andrew”. I want to live with integrity. I want to care for my body and its environment (hence the detox and the gym membership to augment the morning walks and cycling). I want to be more aware of how my behaviour as a consumer affects the producers (buying fair trade and organic). I want to enable community – to exercise a priesthood within an inclusive church. Like Annika in an earlier post, I’m encouraged by the Episcopal Church’s response to the recent Primate’s Meeting, and wish our own Province would be as brave. As the Tui billboards (a brand of NZ beer whose advertising is very tongue-in-cheek) might have proclaimed, “A Ministry without Gays? – Yeah Right!”

Living with Passion

Arguments within the Anglican/Episcopal church

I am delighted about the response of the Americal Bishops to the current debate about the ordination of homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex unions. Here is an excerpt from the full letter (emphasis in bold added by me):

We proclaim the Gospel of what God has done and is doing in Christ, of the dignity of every human being, and of justice, compassion, and peace. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female, no slave or free. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God’s children, including women, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ’s Church. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God’s children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ’s Church. We proclaim the Gospel that stands against any violence, including violence done to women and children as well as those who are persecuted because of their differences, often in the name of God. The Dar es Salaam Communiqué is distressingly silent on this subject. And, contrary to the way the Anglican Communion Network and the American Anglican Council have represented us, we proclaim a Gospel that welcomes diversity of thought and encourages free and open theological debate as a way of seeking God’s truth. If that means that others reject us and communion with us, as some have already done, we must with great regret and sorrow accept their decision.

I believe that it is time that the church is leading people to a more inclusive way of thinking; and not for us to tread behind. Should not we be the ones to lead arguments and actions for open and inclusive society?

Arguments within the Anglican/Episcopal church

Essene Bread

As an add-on and follow-up from the Essene Bread mentioned in a previous post: We finally managed to make our own, after only talking about it for a while. I also found a bit more history.

From the The Essene Gosel Of Peace, Book 1:

“Let the angels of God prepare your bread. Moisten your wheat, that the angel of water may enter it. Then set it in the air, that the angel of air also may embrace it. And leave it from morning to evening beneath the sun, that the angel of sunshine may descend upon it. And the blessing of the three angels will soon make the germ of life to sprout in your wheat. Then crush your grain, and make thin wafers, as did your forefathers when they departed out of Egypt, the house of bondage. Put them back again beneath the sun from its appearing, and when it is risen to its highest in the heavens, turn them over on the other side that they be embraced there also by the angel of sunshine, and leave them there until the sun be set. For the angels of water, of air, and of sunshine fed and ripened the wheat in the field, and they, likewise, must prepare also your bread. And the same sun which, with the fire of life, made the wheat to grow and ripen, must cook your bread with the same fire. For the fire of the sun gives life to the wheat, to the bread, and to the body. But the fire of death kills the wheat, the bread, and the body. And the living angels of the living God serve only living men. For God is the God of the living, and not the God of the dead.

Surely the brothers were not the first ones to discover the advantages of sprouted wheat and baking of flat bread in the sun. But it makes for a nice story and gives the bread a name.
Here is our result:

  • as dough, about 2 cups of sprouts and 1/6 cup currants
    (our essene bread as dough)
  • flatbread before baking (35 min at 160 Degrees Celcius)
    (our essene flat bread before baking)
  • after baking, yum. Two pieces are already missing because we started munching immediately before I could grab the camera.
    (our essene bread after baking, yum)

You can also buy it in New Zealand from Thomson food (this is the version that Andrew initially fell in love with).

Essene Bread

Detox

If You Don’t Take Care of Your Body, Where Will You Live?

Last Monday, we started a detox programme. Day-to-day accounts, meals, and other info can be found on our detox page

As I am looking around for more information about detoxing, I am finding so many interesting links. We started looking into making Essene bread – just from wheat sprounts – and I found information about Kevin and Donna, who are living their version of a life with integrity. From one of their (earlier) webpages:

We no longer have “esoterically useless” philosophies, which contribute nothing to living a life of integrity and inner peace. To quote a Native American elder named Sun Bear, “If your philosophy doesn’t grow corn, I don’t want to hear it”. We agree.

(Discovering the Primal Path, 1999)

Detox

Calling God

During the study this morning, Jason said that he would prefer if he could just ask God “are you there” and God would answer something. Then at least he knew where he was and could re-adjust his life.

In a skype tele-conference this afternoon we found out that you can indeed ask God, the question is just which one. God has a skype phone number. Several Gods/gods do. So does Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost (see screenshot). Holy Ghost and Fire are in Vancouver!

holyghost1.JPG

Calling God