Spilling out of garages

Each day I leave my development traveling past hundreds of homes with cars parked in driveways and not in garages. 

Sometimes, when the garage doors are open, you can see tiny little pathways wandering through the "stuff" piled floor to ceiling.  And, this is happening in houses with full basements and 3-4 bedrooms.


At this time of year, with commercialism running amok and the government asking us to bail out the economy again by going deeper into debt, I wonder where all this new junk is going to go.

Fifty years ago, the idea that a family would have a storage POD sitting next to their house filled with stuff they no longer use, would have been ridiculous.  The dump or collectors would have made off with most of it.  Toys and clothes and furniture were handed down.

I struggle with this side of America daily after living in Sudan, a country where what one owns is really minimal.  Consumerism may be there, but it is not for everyone.

I have signed up for two minute readings during Advent, something offered by CREDO.

Saturday's reading follows below:

One of the advantages of age, at least as I am experiencing it, is that stuff doesn't matter nearly so much as I once thought, indeed, as I was reared to value it. Perhaps the great sin of
relative affluence is the urge to hoard, to hold on tight if not to acquire more, telling ourselves that prudence like ours could never be greed.  I haven't achieved Jesus' standard of material austerity yet, but I'm working on it.

A few years ago it was a real pleasure to dump my grandmother's twelve-place setting of elegant china on my elder daughter. She got more than she bargained for, but she hasn't realized it yet. I'd dragged it around for fifty years without realizing what a burden it was. It couldn't go in the dishwasher, and when would I ever have twelve people trying to sit down at a table, which comfortably seats four?

Harder still is letting go of the invisible, intangible impedimenta like envy, arrogance, neediness, and fear. Some of them are troubling, some of them feed my ego, some of are there just because that's where they have always been. If you drag them with you long enough, you forget how heavy they are. You forget how to run, how to skip, even to walk briskly. Eventually you even forget what it might be like to walk unimpeded.  I comfort myself with the imperfection of the twelve. Like the rest of us, they too remained works in progress to the very end. Maybe I have just one more walk. Everything has been practice up to now.  
--Margaret Guenther
Walking Home: From Eden to Emmaus


I have left Facebook, a community that I never really embraced.

I was electronically attacked by someone in Minnesota who entered my Facebook space and sent damaging emails and videos.

Who needs these headaches.  Not me.

In fact, I realized that when so many of you informed me of what you were doing you were not telling me.  I have not heard the sound of some of your voices, nor you mine, in years.

So I suggest this.  Let's reconnect.  If there is something exciting going on in your life, pick up the phone and call me.  Let's laugh and cry together.  Whine and celebrate to the sound of our voices connecting.

I never thought that pulling this plug would be so much fun.

Yahoo.  I am rebel, hear me roar.


I guess it is never too early

I must tell you up front.

Seeing Christmas appear in stores before Halloween, or the end of October really riles me up.  In fact, I choose not to enter a shopping center that has already succumbed to decorating tables, walls, doors, walkways.

However, today an associate sent me a really feel good video set in Macy's in Philadelphia.  Here is the link.



The Third Letter of the Alphabet

A good friend gave me a gift this weekend.  She probably did not intend on giving me this gift, when we parted last week, but nevertheless, she did.

Sometimes gifts come when least expected.  Not on birthdays, or Christmas, or one of the other myriad of Hallmark holidays.

They come quietly, in the morning, from out of town.

I took a trip back in time this past Saturday, and that was part of the gift.

Leaving Delaware and traveling north, I turned onto Route 452 and continued north for about 10 miles.

I had forgotten how "close" communities and roads could be outside of Delaware.  Delaware County Pennsylvania is so different from northern Delaware, though they share a border.

Here I was traveling past the apartment where I used to live, the church where my daughter was baptized, the first apartment next to the firehouse, past the road to Linville Orchards, up to Granite Run Mall, Weathers Motors, Riddle Hospital, Lima, Aston and Media. 

This past was the early part of my adult life.  When I was first married, going to college, having a child.  The time when my faith was growing, slowly, steadily.

Growing but still not preparing me for everything to come down the road.

That is where the second part of the gift comes in.  I was given the chance to re-learn the alphabet.

A, B,C.


Three C's.

Cause, Control, Cure.

I did not cause it.

I cannot control it.

And, I cannot cure it.

The gift of my lifetime.

Of all the letters in the alphabet, I have determined that C is my favorite.

It has provided me with a lifeline. 

And, it was the gift that came quietly, and unexpectedly this Saturday.

Thank you my friend.


Back but here to stay?

The last writing I did was on September 12.

I would like to say that I have been circling the globe without my laptop but that would be untrue.

The truth?   I hate writing.  Actually, I hate my laptop.

It seems that my fingers have a mind of their own on this laptop.  My writing is much better at work.  My fingers like that keyboard.  The workstation is set up for efficiency.

The solution would probably be to purchase another laptop.  One that understands where my fingers want to go.  One that  I might actually like.   Also, possibly a table where I could sit down and type.  However, my finances are not going along with these ideas.

In fact, my Finances and I are not on a first name basis anymore.

My Finances have moved out and established a life of her own and changed her name to Gone.

Finances R Gone would rather spend her time repairing cars, or replacing cell phones, or installing new walls and flooring after plumbing leaks rather than buy me a replacement laptop and workstation.

That said, since Sudan I have learned that life can be a struggle and you must persevere.  One never knows around what corner Hope is waiting for you.  Or, Redemption, or Forgiveness.

Keep on trucking, as we used to say.

I have picked up finishing this on Friday, November 12th.  The keyboard won.

Last night I watched the "new" Karate Kid featuring Jackie Chan and the newest actor from the Smith clan, Jaden. Movie Link This remake was filmed in China, the visuals are phenomenal, and as such gave a new perspective to the original film.   However, it is this from both films that I remember and have taken to heart:

"You have taught me very important lesson, Xiao Dre. Life will knock us down, but we can choose whether or not to stand back up."

So, what I do is to keep standing up, walking along, looking and listening for the changes that will allow me to stand a little taller.


Prayers of God's People

Lord God, you come and seek us out, you call us and empower us to live to your glory, you are our Shepherd and guide, you are our God.  We pray for all who have  strayed from the faith, all who have gotten lost in various ways, especially any who lives are in danger.

God our protector, we remember before you all who work or live in dangerous places or a hostile environment, all who are suffering at this time from storms and disasters, all who are caught up in stife and warfare.  We pray for all who are seeking peace and well being for the world:  we remember the United Nations and peace-keepings forces.

Lord we give thanks for all who have sought us out in times of troubles, who have been a strength and a joy to us.  We pray that you will guide all who teach and influence others.  Let us know your presence in our homes and with our loved ones.  Guide us in our friendships.

We ask you to be with all who walk in darkness; may your love and light protect the depressed and despairing; may your strength and hope be known to the discouraged.  We ask your blessing upon all who are ill at home or in the hospital.

We pray for all who are entering the shadow of death and for their loved ones in their time of anxiety.  Bless all who are in hospice and all who have the care of the terminally ill.  We pray for all who have passed through death and entered life eternal.

Good and faithful Shepherd,
guide us into the ways of life and peace.


An I-95 Perspective

For the first part of the summer I tended to travel to work in Wilmington along I-95. It is usually fast since the roads are not filled with school buses, teachers in cars, kids and parents in cars resulting in making the interstate as clogged as some people's arteries.  In Delaware, to hasten integration between the races within the schools, busing was instituted.  Being from New York, this was a situation that I did not understand. So for me it is a matter of perspective based not on busing. 

We are a long way from the 1970's and I tend to focus more on the environmental affects of these policies.

Of course, this was at a time when gasoline was around 50 cents a gallon and there were fewer Delaware residents.  Given the resulting cost of gas now, and the fact that "rush" hour isn't, might these be two good reasons to stop busing and focus on greater better schools?  Or, better yet, make school three months of the year and summer the remaining nine.  

However, this discussion can wait, since I am merely venting and this topic never reaches a conclusion in Delaware.

Each day, I pass two bill boards with messages from two local banking institutions, Wilmington Trust and Wilmington Savings Fund Society (WSFS), and their messages could not be more different.

Wilmington Trust:  It really is all about you..... OWN YOUR WORLD.

WSFS:  Fans of Small Business.

It was while reading Jim Wallis book Rediscovering Values that these two advertising signs appeared alongside the road.  Since Wallis's writings challenge us to remember that our decisions should take into account seven generations into the future, the slogan "It really is all about you" was offensive.

And, Own Your World?

Please aren't we temporarily renting space?

To counteract my negativity about the WilmingtonTrust Co. sign, I brought up this topic with the book group.

By the end of the night amid our discussions about personal responsibility, another perspective was offered about the sign's language.

It really is all about you ...and the choices you make. Your responsibility for your choices.

You do not need to make choices that are counter intuitive toward the greater good.

You can use your personal wealth to benefit you and others for generations to come.
Own Your World and make better choices. It is your own world that you are responsible for, only you can change what you do in it.


With others mine changes all the time.


The Tenth Parallel

This Sunday's NY Times book review section had an article and review of Eliza Griswold's, daughter of Frank, new book.  She writes about the interaction of Christian and Jews and does it really well.

Since I have lived in Sudan, she captures the relationships extremely well.  I recommend this book.

The 10th Parallel - Eliza Griswold  


Dispatches From the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam
By Eliza Griswold
317 pp. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $27


Prayers for People

Lord, move us, move our wills and direct us by your Spirit.  Help us and your whole church to know when to pull down and when to rebuild; give us discernment and courage to do what you would have us do.  We pray for churches and communities caught up in constant change, for those who have become restless and cannot settle at all.  We pray for builders-up of communities and confidence, for our own pastors and leaders. 

We pray for all who seek to provide good housing and places of beauty, for city planners, architects and builders, for all who maintain parks and gardens.  We remember all who live in areas of poverty and deprivation, for all who lives are in danger through not having clean water or proper health care.  God bless all who give their lives in the building up of communities.

Lord, teach us to reverence the earth, to have respect and awe towards each other, to keep holy days,that we may be aware of you.  We pray for all who have been humiliated and have lost respect for themselves or others.  We ask you to make our homes places of light and love, of grace and goodness.

We remember all who live in fear through war, oppression or violence, all who have suffered from abuse or contempt.  We pray for all who have a poor opinion of themselves.  We ask your blessing upon all whose lives are darkened by crippling illness, all who are afraid to venture, all who are unable to venture.

We give thanks that you are the God who makes all things new, you heal and restore your people.

Lord, let your light shine upon us
and dispel our darkness.

These were the Prayers of the People at SsAM's, Sunday August 22, 2010.


Slipping into Simplicity

Each week I receive the email newsletter from Good Shepherd Episcopal Church.  A couple of weeks ago this article was included.  Since the theme of the upcoming Parish Life Day is Simplifying your life, I was intrigued.  After reading the article, I am not sure I am truly reading for this idea.

explorefaith.org - Slipping into Simplicity


With new ears

This came to me from a co-worker as we make use of the new Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints.  This major revision to the Book of Lesser Feasts and Fasts was approved by the 2009 General Convention.  It is a remarkable work and a significant addition to the life of our church.

Bishop Wayne Wright says "In the new book’s Foreword, former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold writes: ”Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints seeks to expand the worshiping communities awareness of the communion of the saints, and to give increased expression to the many and diverse ways in which Christ, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, has been present in the lives of men and women through the ages, just as Christ continues to be present in our own day.

Holy Women, Holy Men greatly expands upon the witness to the Holy Spirit’s working.  The example of these holy lives is inspiring and impressive.  The book will be a valuable addition to worship.  It will also be a great aid to teaching."

My co-worker is passing along some thoughts by a priest about the abundance of women that seem to be honored this week.  Here is what she wrote:

This past week I have been meditating on the witness of women in our faith.  On Sunday, we reflected on Martha and Mary—two women who remind us of the importance of hospitality, discipleship, and our intentional focus on God in all that we do.  At the Wednesday Eucharist, we celebrated the lives of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Ross Tubman.  All four of these women lived in the 1800s, at a time when women did not have many rights and slavery was still ever present.  Yet, these women teach us about how anyone can be a witness against injustice and oppression.  Finally, today is the feast day of Mary Magdalene.  Mary Magdalene was a faithful disciple of Christ, and is regarded as the first witness to the risen Lord—or as I like to say, the first preacher of the Good News.  Mary Magdalene, who was a faithful pastor to Christ, became a faithful witness of the power and meaning of Christ’s resurrection.
As a female leader in the Church, I am very aware of how little “face time” women get in Scripture and Tradition.  Some feminist theologians would argue that women expose us to a different experience of God and should therefore receive more attention and meditation.  In many ways, I agree with that perspective.  As a people whose Scripture is dominated by males, I am always eager to see what and how I will learn differently through women in our Scripture and Tradition.
What I have been contemplating this week, however, is how much the message of Christ touches me regardless of gender differences.  Martha and Mary, Elizabeth, Amelia, Sojourner, Harriet, and Mary Magdalene teach us how to be faithful disciples of Christ.  They teach us to be Christ-centered in our work, to take time to listen to God, to be bold in our struggle for justice and in fighting against oppression, and to witness to the risen Lord in the world.  These lessons have nothing to do with the gender of the teachers.  Many men in our tradition have taught us the same lessons.  My hope is that hearing the message from a feminine voice might allow us to hear that message with fresh ears.  How might a different voice renew your energy to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?”


A Special Pentecost Sunday

This past Pentecost, the Episcopal Church of Sts. Andrew and Matthew had the opportunity to hear some wonderful preaching from the Rev. Jennifer Baskerville Burrows for the Celebration of  New Ministry welcoming The Rev. David Andrews.  Here is the link.



What the????????

OK, here are two headlines making news yesterday.

1.  Church of England advances plans for women bishops

 2.  The Vatican issued revisions to its internal laws on Thursday making it easier to discipline sex-abuser priests, but caused confusion by also stating that ordaining women as priests was as grave an offense as pedophilia.

Now, I understand that being a woman causes some concern among non-women.  Therefore, I can with love, accept those Church of England priests being upset.  After all, it has happened here.

HOWEVER, to be a woman priest in the Roman Catholic Church is as GRAVE a sin as pedophilia?

OK, I am speechless.

Ok, maybe not speechless as dumbfounded.

What the heck is the correlation between a sexual predator and a woman giving the sacraments?

The fact that the Roman Catholic church can make such a connection is in fact what is wrong with the CHURCH.

As written about earlier, it now comes really clear to me.

I am a follower of Jesus, which has no real connection to the CHURCH.

I think a new bumper sticker is in order.




Good Intentions

Last week I had decided to utilize my lunch time to write.  There is so much that is happening around me that I felt the need to "share."  It would be my prayer time.  However, good intentions or not, it did not happen.

Everyday some task or some one would present itself to me and my need to set aside the time evaporated.  Taking time away from the office to write is not possible.  I could of course lug my laptop with me and type away in my car.  However, any one residing on the east coast of the U.S. knows that with triple digit temperatures, sitting in a car and typing away was not a logical step.

I could defer writing until the evening, but once I set foot in the house my steps take me to the garden and the pool.  No laptop in sight.

So, I have decided to write early in the morning when I get in.

I have already opened the mail, posted deposits, answered email queries and prepared for my first meeting at 9:30 AM.

What is on my mind this am?  Well, it is the onerous question posed by our news media last week about the building of houses of worship.  OK, a mosque.  Can you believe that Diane Sawyer actually asked people to call in and state whether or not a worshiping Muslim community should be able to build near your neighborhood?

OK, I get the 911 thing.  I get fear.  It was said that "people" are afraid of what people learn in mosques.  "War mongering".

Well, if that is the criteria of whether or not a house of worship stands, than prepare the dozers because a lot of Christian Churches are going to tumble down.

We Christians are big on going to war with "God on our side". 

How many of our pulpits ring out with the exclamation that war is not what Jesus was and is about?

How many times do Christians learn to distrust and hate in the name of Jesus?

BUT, and this is a big BUT, as a follower of Jesus, we are taught that LOVE is to be behind, within, and guiding all of our actions.

How is this negative reaction governed by LOVE?

This past Sunday, in our Adult Forum gathering the question was "Is Jesus worth saving?"


But, is it possible that Jesus and his teachings need to be saved from the Christian Church?



This Sunday morning, we had a great conversation about courage, speaking out, following the video on atonement in the Saving Jesus series. The following summons up where we were heading.

Spiritual Courage

Courage is connected with taking risks. Jumping the Grand Canyon on a motorbike, coming over Niagara Falls in a barrel, or crossing the ocean in a rowboat are called courageous acts because people risk their lives by doing these things. But none of these daredevil acts comes from the centre of our being. They all come from the desire to test our physical limits and to become famous and popular.

Spiritual courage is something completely different. It is following the deepest desires of our hearts at the risk of losing fame and popularity. It asks of us the willingness to lose our temporal lives in order to gain eternal life.

Henri J.M. Nouwen'sBread for the Journey.


Handbook Part II

Do not compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

Invest your energy in the positive, present moment.

Do no over do, try to set or keep limits.

Do not take yourself seriously, no one else does.

Do not waste energy on gossiping.

Dream more when you are awake.

Envy is a waster of time. You already have all that you need.

Forget issues of the past or you will ruin your present happiness.

Life is too short for hating. Smile and laugh more.

Realize that life is a school and that you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like your algebra class, but the lessons learned will last a lifetime.

Agree to disagree.

Funeral Service for Manute Bol

Sudan Sunrise
June 23, 2010
The family of Manute Bol has announced that his funeral will be held on Tuesday, June 29, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
The public is invited to join his family and friends in giving thanks to God for the life of this extraordinary man.
"Well done, good and faithful servant".
Tom Prichard
Executive Director
Sudan Sunrise


World Refugee Day

Today is observed worldwide as World Refugee Day. This day, strange
as it may seem, can be a cause for celebration if we reflect upon the
courage and resilience of the millions who have escaped oppression and
near annihilation to rebuild their lives. We can all look around us
and find evidence of the incredible spirit of those who, facing
seemingly formidable odds, started their lives anew and are now
offering their gifts to their adopted communities. At the same time,
this would be a good time to remind ourselves of the loss that even
those who appear to be successfully resettled experience as they
confront the pain of being separated from family and friends with
little prospect of being reunited with them. It is also a good time
to think of the struggles that continue in places such as Sudan and
recommit to preventing the tragedies which lead to displacement and
new refugee crises. Possibly, most tragic of all for whom we still
must plead are those internally displaced who cannot readily escape
oppression and await an uncertain future as armies and politicians
negotiate their fate. On this day, special prayers are requested for
refugees everywhere. For members and friends of AFRECS, we give
thanks for the many friendships that we enjoy because we have welcomed
our Sudanese sisters and brothers into our lives and thus been
enriched by their love and faithfulness. At the same time, fervent
prayers for the end of violence in Sudan and a peaceful and fair
referendum that will usher in a new era of peace are needed. World
Refugee Day is a good occasion for reminding ourselves that especially
for our Sudanese friends, the journey toward peace continues. We are
called to participate in that journey with our prayers and with our
advocacy for an end to the suffering which has been the plight of
millions of Sudanese.

Executive Director
American Friends of the Episcopal Church of Sudan


Danny's Prayer

The colors call, but who will interpret?
My neighbor talks and finds my ear.
Our enemies rail and find an echo
but not from us, God willing.

Photo of Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
by Danny N. Schweers (www.photoprayer.com), photo copyright 2009, prayer 2010.

The Power of Witnessing

Everyday, except Sunday, the Rev. Jim Bimbi sends out a bible reading and reflection. Since I have just completed a nine month study of being a disciple, this spoke to me. Enjoy

Psalm 27:1

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom then shall I fear? *

the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid?

Letter to the Hebrews 12:1-3, 12-14

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,* and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of* the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners,* so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. 4. .12Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. 1Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.


When Jesus sent the disciples out it was never alone, but always with at least one other companion. Our witness to Christ’s redeeming love is most joyful when we have others to encourage and guide us through those times when our human limitations of energy and emotion catch up with us. Ask yourself: “Who is making this journey of faith with me?” “How do we support each other?” “Is there someone who encourages me that I should pray for or personally thank today?”

Concluding Prayer (Of a Saint 3, BCP p. 250)

Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made us one with your saints in heaven and on earth: Grant that in our earthly pilgrimage we may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know ourselves to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whom all our intercessions are acceptable through the Spirit, and who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.


Question: What are your thoughts on Memorial Day, 2010?

"Today, I shall wince if I hear some orator say our fallen warriors “died to keep us free.” Why? Because, since WW II, I’ve not seen a single war fought for our freedom. “Freedom” is just another word to justify U.S. hegemony in the world. The dead—some of my friends—were tragically misguided, their courage exploited, their blood wasted. And they will have died in vain, if we refuse to study war no more." The Rev. James E. Lewis

I apologize for sharing my thoughts about Memorial Day late. I had the best of intentions to write yesterday, but life interrupted.

My friend Jim shared those thoughts on his blog, Fig Tree Notes.

Growing up, I marched in many parades as a Girl Scout or Brownie. Being part of the Color Guard was a tremendous honor. Then came the Vietnam War. I stopped going to parades, and I was not one of those that honored our fallen.

However, as I have aged I am able to separate a decision by our government from those asked to carry out that decision.

"Peace work means crossing boundaries to meet even with the so-called enemies of our nation. Furthermore, at the heart of all civil disobedience is a passion for justice that demands a disobedience to laws in pursuit of a higher imperative." The Rev. James E. Lewis.

I protest American involvement in "wars". Once I was struggling with possibility of civil disobedience involving Pacem en Terris. Jim counseled me about this decision. Instead, I was found myself standing on the side of streets carrying the sign It's the oil, stupid.

I have met many men and women who have served, when asked, and returned in some part changed forever, some damaged. I have a cousin who is a Marine stationed in harms way. I honor his and his comrades bravery.

Still, I do not attend parades. Like Jim, I do not link these wars with keeping us free.

However, for the past several years, each Memorial Day finds me riding through the Delaware Vets Memorial Cemetery off of Route 71 north of the Canal.

It is very sobering sight arriving to a sea of small American Flags, blowing in the wind. The setting is so tranquil.

Family members stop at the Administration Office and get a map to assist in locating a particular grave.
I took pictures to put on the blog, however, it was set to record and when played back showed only my walking feet. Francis Ford Copula I am not.

As I rode through, another car was keeping pace with me. Two women, one carrying an umbrella, parked, walked a little ways, spoke to an individual and returned to their car.

At my last stop, they approached me and handed me pamphlet about handling grief.

Not wanting to give them a false impression, I explained what I was doing. They belong to the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witnesses located on Route 71. Each Memorial Day, their congregation sends people to the cemetery to offer emotional support to those who are visiting.

What a wonderful ministry.

Next year, I am hoping to organize a group from SsAM's to do the same.


Life's Handbook Part One

I wish I had written this, I have not, so I will be passing these along to you in parts.


1. Drink plenty of water

2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.

3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy

5. Make time to pray.

6. Play more games

7. Read more books than you did in 2009

8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day

9. Sleep for 7 hours

10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

Round One

Our Bibles vs. Our Cells Phones

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we flipped through it several times a day?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?

What if we gave it to Kids as gifts?

What if we used it when we traveled?

What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go....hmm...where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing.

Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being
disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.

Makes you stop and think 'where are my priorities? And no dropped calls!

When Jesus died on the cross, he was thinking of you!

If you are one of the 7% who will stand up for
Him, forward this.

93% of the people won't forward this.


Windshield Wonders

Hey There. I am adding a new blog to my favorites. My friends are traveling through out the US in an RV. Please check out their activities and pictures.


Gaddafi's Egg and Nile Islands

Here is a link to great pictures from Sudan and an interesting article at BBC's internet paper. It speaks to the struggles between old and new, Arab and African, poor and not-so poor.



Episcopal Relief and Development

Episcopalians have a lot to be proud of and one of them is the work of Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD).

Here is the link to the article letting us know that ERD has received its third 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. Enjoy then pass it along.



He's Available, Are You?

My friend and I were discussing a question from my discipleship group yesterday. It centered around forgiveness and grace. What would I say to someone who didn't really buy into the concept that God forgives us all, through Jesus, even if he did not think he was worthy.

That led us through other discussions about faith, working for the diocese and its people, strengthening our own faith.

My friends mother receives a copy of the weekly sermon from Concord Presbyterian Church in Delaware. The sermon from April 25, 2010 seemed to address some of the issues we were discussing. The Rev. Fritz Ackerman wrote the following:

John 10:22-30
A t that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly." Jesus answered, ' I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice' I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out or my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Fathcr's hand. The Father and I are one'"

In my former life,I was sitting in my office one day when the bank president called to say he needed me to come to a meeting in an hour to discuss a fast breaking opportunity to acquire another bank. What do you think my response was? Did I say "Gee Bob, I am really booked today, I do not think I can make it?"

You get a call from your friend telling you that her son has had a terrible accident and is being rushed to the emergency room. She asks if you will take her to the hospital and sit with her. Do you say, "I'd really like to help,but you know Tuesdays are cleaning days and the house is really a mess. "

Without question, the response to each of these circumstances is to make yourself available.

In our story from John's gospel this morning, the Jewish leaders who confront Jesus are guilty of failing to make themselves available to the compelling truth of Jesus Christ, God incarnate. They are angry and frustrated because Jesus' claims do not line up with their expectations. They are fearful that the beliefs and practices that are the source of their own power are being called into question. It's not so much that they don't want Jesus to be the Messiah; but they want him to be the Messiah of their own definition.

Jesus doesn't answer their demand for a straight answer to their question about his identity. He tells them their unbelief is not because he hasn't given them a clear answer, but because they haven't made themselves available to it.

Knowing the Messiah involves more than analyzing the answers to questions and arriving at a reasoned conclusion. Knowledge of the Messiah has to do with a reorientation of the knower.

Henri Nouwen suggests that "Most questions people ask of Jesus are questions from below..."1 He goes on to say, "We have to keep looking for the spiritual questions if we want spiritual answers."

Do you remember the story of Nicodemus, another leader of the Jews, found earlier in John's gospel? He approaches Jesus with what sounds like some pretty good knowledge __"Rabbi," he says, "we know that you are a teacher who has come from God" (3:2). But he bases this conclusion on the signs Jesus has been performing; and he comes to Jesus under the cover of darkness.

Nouwen would say that Nicodemus approached Jesus' identity "from below;" and Jesus responds accordingly, telling Nicodemus that "no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above" (3:3). In other words, the kingdom that Jesus represents, the kingdom of God, is entered not by our reasoning or cleverness; not by our ability to ask the right questions, but by a transformation wrought by God.

I began by relating two examples of phone calls or requests to act in situations where it seems obvious what the response has to be. In those situations, and many more that I'm sure you could name, there is no need for follow-up on the part of the requestor. In those situations it's hard to imagine what the consequences of failing to make ourselves available would be. In the first instance I may have been seeking new employment, in the second a good friend would be devastated and perhaps lost to us.

In today's confrontation over his identity the Jewish leaders are not condemned or mistreated by Jesus. They are simply told that they have not grasped the answer to their question because they have not been available to the message; the message that would transform them from one flock to another; from the flock preoccupied with their own fears and self-interest, to the flock of those who hear and answer God's persistent call to a loving relationship; the call from above that seeks us out, no matter where we are.

The good news of the gospel is that we need not be in hot pursuit of God. Jesus teaches us through his life that it is indeed the other way around. Like the lost sheep, God is looking for us. We heard it earlier in Psalm 23, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."

God is seeking a close, intimate, personal replationship with each one of us. When we deny God by our sinfulness, we are not dismissed for insubordination, and we do not diminish God's love for us. When we run from God in confusion, sorrow, paid and despair we can know with confident that God has followed us into the darkness.

Simon Tugwell, a Dominican of Blackfriars in Oxford, England, says in his book entitled Prayer,2 that "Our part is not to shoulder the whole burden of our salvation, the initiative and the programme are not in our hands: our part is to consent, to learn how to love [God] in return, whose love came to us so freely while we were quite uninterested..." In other words, make yourself available.

Tugwell goes on to say that "wherever we have got to, whatever we have done, that is precisely where the road to heaven begins. However many cues we have missed, however many wrong turnings we have tsken, however unnecessarily we may have complicated our journey, the road still beckons, and the Lord still waits to be gracious to us."

Jesus did not give a straight answer to the Pharisees because their question came out of expectations that were at odds with the God revealed and embodied by him. Make no mistake, while we may tend to vilify the Pharisees, God loved them, and was pursuing them even in this moment in the temple. They needed only to make themselves available.

What questions would you ask Jesus? I suspect the answers to those from above are already there, in the stillness of your deepest self.

This I know, and this I proclaim to you with confidence-God is calling each of you right now.

Are you available?

1. Nouwen, Henri Bread for the Journey. Harper:San Francisco, 1997.

2. Tugwell, Simon Prayer, as quoted in A Guide to Prayers for Ministers and Other Servants. Rueben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck, editors. The Upper Room: Nashville, 1983, pages 161-2.


Wearing a Coat of Sorrow

This past week has been very difficult. I am surrounded by the deaths of friends, workmates and colleagues.

Included below is the link to the obituary of Chris White, a former member of my church, who was killed by a senseless act of violence. Chris' funeral service will be tomorrow at Sts. Andrew and Matthew in Wilmington. I will be a chalice bearer. Being in front of people will hopefully limit my tears. http://miva.delawareonline.com/miva/cgi-bin/miva?obits.mv+90386

Yesterday, my colleagues mother-in-law, Nora, died after a long illness. Nora had a wry sense of humor and a fighting spirit. Her son John, her daughter-in-law Judy and all of us will miss her.

On Monday, a former colleague lost her battle against cancer. Maria Picazo and I worked together at Abriendo Puertas, the shelter that she started as a haven for embattled women and children. Her spirit, determination, and sense of humor will remain with me always.

I was told that usually after a long hard winter, upon the arrival of spring there is a greater incidence of dying.

A disciple group colleague sent me an email this morning. The picture and accompanying poem can be found at Danny's website, which is linked to my blog. Here it is.

Rather than wait for the tree to fall,
we take it down and plant another.
When those we love die too early,
the future has a hole in it.
There are others to love,
but there is no replacement,
only redemption,
which is what's best,
but not what we want.


Evangelism and Blacktop

What could possibly be the connection?

Adding another level of blacktop, usually entails removing the old and adding the new. Roughing out the edges and once poured, trying to keep it clean, looking new.

Sound familiar?

One of my tasks today was to meet with a representative from a driveway paving company and obtain an estimate. Three estimates actually.

I arrived to find another work crew busy wrapping up the repair of a carport and its roof. Carpenter bees buzzing around, no help at all.

I have great respect for an insect that can actually drill a hole in wood while in mid air. I give those fat bees as much room as they need.

The gentleman that arrived to walk with me, I knew was different. Very easy going manner.

Why do this, it looks authentic, leave it alone.

Heavy machinery would damage these cobblestones, leave it alone.

Great tree, winter really damaged it. Leave it alone, for a season.

When we finally got around to the third project, I asked about removing the old driveway.

Why? It's in good condition.

Leave it alone.

Add another top layer.

So, when exchanging business cards, he comments that he has worked for the same person his entire life. This surprised me since the company has not been in business for his lifetime.

Wrong boss. Wrong company.

His boss owns a company that has been around for about 2000 years. Uh Oh.

Never laid anyone off.

Never filed for bankruptcy.

This leads us to both exclaiming how joyful we are in doing the work and ministry that we love.

And that leads to my new definition for JOY.




Evangelism and Blacktop. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Leave it alone.


Powerful Message

Everyone once in a while something comes across my world by phone, or fax, or email, or person and the surprise carries something "Awe Full."

I had sent out an email to my friend and colleague, Corky, and her out of office reply reminded me of that in which I am grounded.

Subject: Out of Office: A Reason or a Season

Thank you for your e-mail, I am currently out of the office in

celebration of the Resurrection. I will return to the office ...

This simple sentence invoked feelings of love and hope and inspiration and wonder and thankfulness.

How about you?


Support for Sudan Elections

Pray. Teach. Partner. Urge. Give.

As we prepare to send this update, Sudan is more than halfway through what is now a 5-day voting process in regional and national elections. Slated for April 11-13, the elections have proved too problematic to be completed in 3 days; yesterday the National Election Commission announced a 2-day extension. The problems encountered have been as expected: no ballots at poll-opening time, the wrong ballots at some polls, candidates' names missing from ballots, long waits to vote, names missing from voting registers, balloting fraud of various types, such as the easy removal of the "indelible" green ink used to mark individuals after voting or individuals caught with multiple voter registration cards. Serious accusations of widespread fraud and misconduct abound as well, along with criticism of some international monitors.

Reaction around the world ranges from excoriation of the process -- and the Western governments and NGOs that have tacitly allowed it to proceed -- to approbation of the progress Sudan has made since the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, but all agree that Omar al-Bashir and Salva Kiir will retain their positions, and few are warning that there are likely to be immediate violent consequences of the elections.


For a list of stories on the elections as they emerge: www.sudantribune.com

For another: http://www.sudaneseonline.com/


Delaware Friends of the Sudan

Peace, Shalom and Salom

I have added the website Delaware Friends of the Sudan. My friend Maureen Lyons and I are answering a call from The Mothers Union in Sudan for the need of a new vehicle.

I am not experienced in raising funds, rather I am trusting God and the inspiration that he provides.

The journey started with emails prior to Christmas to some good and long-time friends. This progressed into emails to more friends.

Now, it is mass letter writing time. I have, with the assistance of Danny Schweers, authored a letter that is being mailed in stages. Hopefully, this will be completed prior to Easter.

The nice thing about being a sponsor towards this vehicle, is that we will accept all levels of gifts. Nothing too small. If however, you are able to make a gift of $100, this will enter you into a raffle for a week's stay at a B&B in England and two airline tickets. Nice huh?

So if you want to learn about the car, the raffle and how to participate, please click on the link provided.

As always, may God bless you and yours.


The Kingdom of God

Daily Meditation Minute by The Rev. James M. Bimbi

St. James Mill Creek Hundred

Friday, March 26, 2010 – 33rd Day of Lent

Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed;

nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’

For, in fact the kingdom of God is among you.”

(Luke, Chapter 17, verse 20-21)

Much of what we experience in life can be held externally from ourselves. It happens around us but we don’t let it get too close. We speak of something that happened ‘back then’, or was once observed, or we’ve just read about in the newspaper. We insulate ourselves from any personal involvement or response. We can even go about our lives acting like nothing around us ever changes as we place our faith in our daily routines.

We can try this same approach with God, but it is folly to think that we can pull it off. God has planted Divine grace deep within ourselves and the people around us. God is in, and around, and through everything we see, and do, and think. Not that it is always easily felt or seen – but it is there, with the possibility of changing the smallest of events into life-changing moments.

God of each breath, may we know your closeness within us. Amen

Moose and Sprinkler

Enjoy and Remember the Importance of Playing

Click here: http://www.wimp.com/babymoose/


Lenten Reading Wed. March 24, 2010

Daily Meditation Minute by The Rev. James M. Bimbi

St. James Mill Creek Hundred

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 – 31st Day of Lent

Jesus said, “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much;

and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.”

(Luke, Chapter 16, verse 10)

There’s an old saying that it’s the little things in life that count the most. I would not speculate that such a saying dates to or before the time of Jesus, but he did recognize that little things can lead to big consequences. The power of faithfulness is not measured by the size or impact of the matter to which it is given. It is measured by our willingness to stay true to our beliefs and to clearly see the larger goal we long to achieve. If we skip too many “little” classroom lectures, we may end up struggling or even failing to earn our diploma. If we waste too many “little” workdays, we might be demoted or fired by our employer. If we turn away from too many “little” opportunities to worship and pray and minister to others, we may find that our faith is weak or absent when life throws something truly big at us.

Jesus knew that once we begin to excuse ourselves on the basis that what is before us is “only a little thing”, we begin to move towards darkness rather than light. Jesus, the model of faithfulness, came to call us to be children of light. One sign of that is to cast off the notion that occasional faithfulness will get us by. Sadly, such a notion has only led too many otherwise good people to merely stumble around in the dark.

Jesus, you humbled yourself by setting aside your divinity for the littleness of our humanity: pray for us to the Father that we may be faithful in things large and small, so we might be strengthened and be made worthy of your kingdom. Amen.


Week of Prayer for Sudan - March 21-28

As Sudan prepares for historic presidential and parliamentary elections, Samaritan's Purse and church leaders in Sudan are calling on believers across the nation and around the world to participate in a week of prayer March 21-27, culminating with a Sudan Global Day of Prayer on March 28.

“Churches nationwide are mobilizing prayer,” said Pastor James, a church leader in Khartoum. “We are praying that everything will run smoothly. We are praying for the nation of Sudan.”

More than 2 million people died in Sudan's civil war before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed five years ago. The 2005 accord ushered in an uneasy truce, tied to a promise that the people of southern Sudan would be allowed to participate in national elections in 2010 and vote in a referendum on independence in 2011.

Free and fair elections in April could help lay a foundation for lasting peace. However, if violence erupts it could start a chain reaction that plunges the nation back into civil war.

Government and church leaders in both the North and South agree that prayer is the key for maintaining peace in Sudan. Please join us in praying daily for Sudan the week of March 21-27, concluding in the Sudan Global Day of Prayer on Palm Sunday, March 28.

Lenten Posting for Monday, March 22

Jesus said, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father

and mother, wife and children, brother and sisters, yes,

and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.”

(Luke, Chapter 14, verse 26)

To be a disciple of Jesus is to make tough choices along the way. It is to hear the Word of God amidst the chatter of the world, and then to set our hearts and minds on the pathway to God. It is not impossible – for with faith all things are possible – but it can prove to be difficult. And Jesus is not about to tell us that it will be a walk in the park. He makes no bones about the fact that you can’t say you are his follower if you are unwilling to order your life towards the Kingdom of God.

So what are we to make of his over-the-top statement with regards to ‘hating’ our parents, siblings, etc.? It is not about rejecting our relatives but in loving God first. Jesus’ could not literally mean for us to hate the people closest to us on one hand, while with the other tell us to love our enemies. He is prodding us towards the truth that God is the source of all that is, and if we do not know the pure Love of God then whatever love we think we bring to our other relationships will lack authenticity. In other words, our devotion to those with whom we live is only a reflection of the devotion we first choose to offer to God.

Jesus, pure Word and true Love, guide our choices and ease our journey. Amen

Attributed to The Rev. James Bimbi


Open Letter from Haiti

March 5, 2010] The following is the Lenten letter from the Rt. Rev. Jean Zaché Duracin, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti.
‘The earthquake has not destroyed our hope in the future’
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Seven weeks after we were hit by the 7.0 earthquake on the Richter scale, the situation is still very serious in Haiti.
As you know, many people were killed, perhaps as many as 300,000. Thousands and thousands of others have been injured. In the Church, we have lost many people. Millions of Haitians have no place to live; many are sleeping in the streets in tents, and some of them still have not found any shelter at all. All the infrastructure of the country, as well as all the key institutions of the Diocese, have been destroyed, especially in the capital of Port au Prince. The situation is very difficult.
Many of our famous churches are gone, especially Holy Trinity Cathedral, which was not only a place of worship, but a place of culture. The Cathedral was a very important institution for the whole country. Yes, it has been physically destroyed, but our faith is still here and our communities are still alive. The earthquake has not destroyed our hope in the future. Despite the difficulties we face, many of our parishes have grown larger since the earthquake, because more and more people trust our Church and are turning to us for help spiritually, socially and morally.
We are still a strong Church and we will continue to work with you in partnership to be able to build up the Kingdom of God on earth through evangelism, education, health care and our development programs. We will work together to preach a holistic Gospel so that human beings may become more fully human in the face of God.
We will have to rebuild all of our communities. We in the Diocese are working very hard to have a Master Plan to replace the physical structures of the Church, so that we may continue to serve Haitian people with the same love, the same care, and the same support that we have always shown. Our mission will not change. We pray that God will continue to give us strength to do all this work despite so many difficulties. We ask you to please be patient and wait for our guidance as we put together this plan so that we can determine how our resources can be used most effectively. Once we have made our decisions, we will announce the plan. To assist us in using all of our resources in the best possible way, and to provide the best accounting of donations, I ask all of our partners in traditional programs to resume sending donations through the Partnership Program. The fastest and safest way to do this is by wiring the money into the Partnership Program account; the Rev. Kesner Ajax, Partnership Program Coordinator, can provide that information to any who require it.
I am grateful for all of the support and assistance of the Church Center and especially of the Presiding Bishop and Primate, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori. Her visit to us in February, even though it was short, gave us great strength here in Haiti, and I am deeply thankful for our time together. We appreciate very much the willingness of the Church Center to continue to work with us in the Master Plan to rebuild the Diocese.
In addition, I give thanks for the visit of the Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon, Bishop Suffragan of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, who is visiting right now on the Presiding Bishop’s behalf. I also give thanks to all of the bishops and dioceses of The Episcopal Church for their prayers and support, and for telling our story. Some of them have been directly involved in supporting me and my wife, Edithe, during our difficult time; all of our family is especially thankful for this.
Special thanks must be given to Episcopal Relief & Development; all of us are grateful for its assistance and work in providing us food, shelter, water, medicines and all other forms of support to help us survive these difficult times.
In addition, it was very good to receive the Most Rev. Thabo Cecil Makgoba, Primate of Cape Town, and the Rt. Rev. Laish Boyd, Bishop of Nassau and The Bahamas, who are visiting at this moment. I also give thanks to all other bishops and archbishops of the Anglican Communion who have expressed their support to us.
The earthquake of Jan. 12 was our baptism; now is our new creation. In this new creation, we pray to all work together, and we ask that you give us the time we need, first to care for our people, then to rebuild the Kingdom.
In this Lenten season, the season of repentance, conversion and intense prayers, we ask you to remember our Diocese and all the people of Haiti in this difficult moment. We also ask you to continue to support us by your prayers and your gifts, so that by Eastertide, we will be able to sing together with great joy, “Alleluia! He is Risen!”
I bid you my blessings for this holy season.
Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin
Episcopal Diocese of Haiti