Monday, August 30, 2010

New Understanding of The Eucharist

     Taking Communion at Trinity Church, Bangalore, India radically changed my relationship with the Eucharist and my understanding of how the sacrament truly defines the Church. Trinity Church is an Anglican Church built by the British in the mid 1800’s. I was in India on a business trip and was lucky enough to have Sunday off. The entire service was in Tamil, a southern Indian language that is absolutely beautiful. Because it was an Anglican service, and I’m a Methodist, I was able to keep up with the order of worship. Several of the hymns sung that day were familiar as well, so I sang along in English to “The Old Rugged Cross,” and “Just as I am.” In fact, we sang “Just as I am” as we took Communion. I never realized how perfect that song is for Communion!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

You Might be a Samaritan if.......

I was making some notes on the characters in the parable of the Good Samaritan and had a weird idea as to how ancient Hebrews viewed Samaritans. I’m guessing Hebrews saw Samaritans as backward and rough around the edges, much like our cultural view of Rednecks. That naturally led to the thought of an ancient Hebrew Jeff Foxworthy telling “You might be a Samaritan if…” jokes.

I wrote a few, help me out with some more.

“You might be a Samaritan if …you read the Torah left to right instead of right to left”
“You might be a Samaritan if… Passover is just a polite way to ask for more fried chicken during a meal. 'Hey bubba, Passover dat fried chicken'.”
“You might be a Samaritan if…you go bass fishing on Saturday and to Temple on Sunday.”

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Masai Version of the Apostles' Creed

      This version of the Apostles' Creed was created by Fr.Vincent Donovan. Fr.Donovan was a Catholic missionary to Africa, working mostly with the Masai people in Tanzania from 1955-1973. Fr. Donovan was also a member of the Holy Ghost Fathers, a Catholic Missionary group with a rich history of serving the poor and marginalized.
      Fr.Donovan worked to incorporate Christianity into the Masai culture rather than transform Masai culture, making it Christian.  I highly recommend his book Christianity Rediscovered.

Masai Apostles' Creed

We believe in the one High God, who out of love created the beautiful world and everything good in it. He created man and wanted man to be happy in the world. God loves the world and every nation and tribe on the earth. We have known this High God in the darkness, and now we know him in the light. God promised in the book of his word, the Bible, that he would save the world and all nations and tribes.

We believe that God made good his promise by sending his son, Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left his home and was always on safari doing good, curing people by the power of God, teaching about God and man, showing that the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died. He was buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him, and on the third day, he rose from that grave. He ascended to the skies. He is the Lord.

We believe that all our sins are forgiven through him. All who have faith in him must be sorry for their sins, be baptized in the Holy Spirit of God, live the rules of love, and share the bread together in love, to announce the good news to others until Jesus comes again. We are waiting for him. He is alive. He lives. This we believe.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Where is the U.S Going?

The 14th Amendment was written to protect children born in the US to parents who could never become citizens. Specifically, it was an answer to Dread Scott, a Supreme Court decision which held that people of African dissent, brought to this country against their will and their children, even if they were not slaves, were not protected by the constitution and could never become citizens of the US. Additionally, the 14th amendment protected the children of Chinese immigrants born in this country. Cheap Chinese labor, some say slave labor, was responsible for the growth and prosperity of this country from the end of the civil war well into the 20th century. Despite that contribution, neither legal Chinese immigrants nor their children, born on US soil, could become citizens.

In 1868, Racism and jingoism were quickly turning the US into an oppressive country. The 14th amendment was written to remind future generations of the importance of the Declaration of Independence in shaping laws affecting the lives of all human beings. That Declaration proclaimed all men were created equal, period.

It is interesting the repeal of an amendment which has been part of the Constitution for over 2/3’s of this nation’s history is put forward by those who vehemently oppose our first African American President, and question his citizenship based on his birth.

No, this is not interesting; it is frightening. Some in our country have learned nothing from our hate filled past and propel us toward a hate filed future. Angry people who proclaim patriotism seek to rewrite the constitution because of hate and fear. The goal of those who attacked this country 9/11/2001 was to morally and financially bankrupt this nation. It appears many self-proclaimed patriots support that effort.