Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Psycho Kitty

Now, for a bit of levity . . . this is (was) our cat . . . Awww, wasn't he cute. He was a gift to myself for my 30th birthday, which completely sucked . . .
Now, meet our cat, Vegas.

That's right, Psycho Kitty. People wonder why we don't have children. Because I'm afraid they will turn out like him.

Anybody who has met him knows that he is a bit . . . well, eccentric. We just want to say, on record, that he does love US -- maybe not anyone else -- but he can be very sweet. I think he would be perfect as an lolcat (see slideshow). Add your own captions as needed.

LiLo Kitty . . .

Fraidy Cat

Kitty Socks . . .


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Today my heart broke. I heard of a pastor in Gig Harbor, Washington state who has allegedly raped and molested a little girl (a member of his own family). I used to pastor this little girl and serve with the so-called pastor. My heart lies in the street, broken, lifeless. I am left with the epistemic questions of faith. What sort of God would allow this to happen? What sort of God, in whom all power and majesty and honor are bestowed, could stand by allow a seven year old to be raped and molested by a pastor and her father. He was to be the very presence of Christ and the very form of the Father to her, but he chose to blaspheme God by heinously violating her. Today, I cry for this little girl and her family. I have not spoken to them in almost three years, but my heart broke today.

The Church of the Nazarene and its leaders submit a report full of statistics lamenting the fact that we've only grown by .6% in the US and that there is a leadership vacuum in the church. I say there is a theology vacuum in the church today. This church, the Church of the Nazarene, seems to be more interested in theories of leadership and growth than theodicy (answers to the problem of evil) and doctrine of God (whether or not Jesus really was resurrected). Woe to you, Church of the Nazarene, when you hear of victims of your pastors and hurt not. Woe to to you, Church of the Nazarene, when you concentrate on the Maxwellian leadership and not the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. When a church is more interested in the skill set for leadership of its pastor, in the numerical growth of its churches, in whether or not its seminarians and its college graduate pastors know how to lead a board meeting than in how it handles the epistemic questions, the questions of faith, like how to deal with the problem of evil or the Holy Spirit and her charisms and how they might inform how the church is run, then that church might as well lie down because it has already died!

Tonight, after I (seriously questioning my faith) taught my kids at church about the power of God, I prayed a prayer of protection for them. I raised my hands and said, "May the God of creation, redemption, and resurrection protect you. May the Holy Spirit fill you and surround you that no evil on earth my touch you. I pray these things in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen."

It is not leadership that will change this church, it is theology. Our pastors must be able to answer serious epistemic questions of theology before they can run a good board meeting (I don't even know what a good board meeting is anyway). I pray now that the Church of the Nazarene will stop trying to look like Coca-Cola co. and Wal-Mart and start looking like the Kingdom of God. I pray this in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Problem of Evil

DOB: Jul 22, 1998Missing: Aug 24, 2006Age Now: 8Sex: FemaleRace: White/HispHair: BlackEyes: BrownHeight: 4'3" (130 cm)Weight: 55 lbs (25 kg)Missing From:GUYMONOKUnited States
Llesenia (Llesi) is a little girl we knew once . We tried to be her pastors. We visited her in the hospital when she was sick. She came to VBS. She worshiped with us on Sunday morning.
But apparently, Llesenia is forgotten. She is missing. We don't know now whether she is dead or alive. As if we didn't really know where she was already. . .
All because the people -- the lawyers, the judges, the parent, the social workers who were supposed to protect this little one's life -- have valued their own time, careers and concerns over hers.
Llesenia suffers (or suffered) from the washing of hands. An entire nation of Pontius Pilate's.
"It's not our fault!" says the faceless system organized to disperse guilt.
"Who is to blame?" they ask incredulously throwing up their fists of paperwork.
Is it the perverse pedophile from whom she may have contracted a deadly disease upon her return to her mother's home?
Or some other violent boyfried who gave her scars on her head and her knee?
Or the arrogantly pious mother who only showed affection at the child's hospital bedside?
Or is it the Texas County, OK judge who tossed this child dismissively from chaos to love and back to a terrorized existence once again?
Or was it the State of Oklahoma's social worker who preserved the biological "family" at any cost?
I feel the guilt of this child's life and, perhaps, death, because at some level she needed salvation. Not merely the salvation of her soul -- but the salvation of her very life. And maybe I didn't pray enough for it. For I know I never fought hard enough or spoken loud enough or preached long enough to ever make a difference.
I knew her and I knew what was going wrong. What could I have done?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Vacation Musings

Julia and I returned last night from the District. We took a true vacation to Washington DC to visit some friends of ours. We also saw some extra-typical District stuff. Thanks to our wonderful friends the Kazees, Rob, Jane, Abby, and Lilly, we stayed just off of Georgia Ave in the heart of the District. We parked the car and road the Metro for the entire week (except when we went to visit Julia's cousin). DC has an amazing public transit system. We only waited long for a bus twice and both times were off hours.

Here are a couple of highlights of our trip. 1) We got to see and visit one of our favorite families in all the world, the Kazees. Rob Kazee is pastoring at National Church of the Nazarene and they live only a few blocks from the church in a beautiful parsonage there in the District. I taught the girls to stack and we had fun with that all week. We all went to the National Zoo on Friday. 2) The evening we spent with Rob and Brian Postlewait at a German restaurant downtown. We enjoyed an evening of our favorite kind of conversation: God, Church, and friends. 3) We got to see Julia's cousin Lenora and her family. They live on a dairy farm (her husband Richard is a dairy farmer) in Mt. Airy, MD. That was fun. 4) We visited another of our favorite families, the Freys. Eric and Antonina pastor Toronto Church of the Nazarene in Toronto, OH. They took us out on the river in his boat. What fun! 5) I ate 19 crabs at the Dancing Crab, a little shack off of Wisconsin Dr. in the District. 6) We visited the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, a Basilica at Catholic University of America, again in DC. The Basilica was a kick back to Byzantine architecture with small prayer shrines off of the main Cathedral dedicated to churches around the world. Very beautiful.

I think those were my favorite things. Julia will probably post some more details.