Politics ad absurdum

I recently was reading the political news regarding Barack Obama’s recent international travels. The comment was about the spin that republican commentators are seeking to put on these travels. The gist of what they were saying is that because other countries and especially Europe appear to like Obama, that is precisely why we should be careful of him. That his popularity would lead him to choose other interests over our own and Rush Lunatic Limbaugh even commented that the reason that other countries like Obama is because he (Obama) these others despise America.

Maybe, just maybe, the issue isn’t whether they appreciate or despise America but rather that they, like so many of us who live here, are tired of the “America” that has developed over the last eight years of covert tyranny in the Bush Administration. So it is not so much America as it is the stupidity that has been the result of extreme conservatives like Bush, and Limbaugh.

The fact that Obama has seemingly garnered so much international appeal has more to do with the fact that we have a presidential candidate that causes people to be hopeful that the ignorance of the last eight years is finally over. He is articulate, reasonable, and appears to have an education beyond the third grade. Obama understands that we can’t go it alone, that we need others in this world. Then, and only then, are some of these huge challenges facing our world going to be genuinely and authentically wrestled out.

I recently saw a bumber sticker that said “Worst President Ever.” That is the reason so many are intrigued by Obama, they are tired of the crap shoveled out by this administration, and I believe that most can’t see the direction going in too much of a different direction under a McCain administration.

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wolves

I like to think of myself as an environmentally minded person. I am okay with efforts to control big business from raping our land, I am all in favor of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, indeed I believe that to be a moral responsibility. I am all for creating wilderness areas that are not able to be compromised so as to preserve our natural beauty. I am even okay with the re-introduction of wolves and the establishment of appropriate numbers so as to keep the balance of predator/prey. But I sure am frustrated by the resumption of federal protection for wolves in our area. Fish and Game have done a magnificent job of managing many different species (some of them predators).

I am most frustrated by these animal rights advocates who don’t live here, don’t hunt here (nor would they allow anyone, if they had their way).  These folk will never be willing to allow these animals to be managed. If there are 5000 they will still think we need to let them expand. When biologists who initiated,monitored and facilitated the re-introduction program demonstrate that numbers are at a place where they can be managed and hunted to control that management, it is frustrating to see this road block resume. I am reminded that there are environmentally minded folk who are truly out to lunch and are just fruitcakes in my estimation.

these wolves are decimating elk and deer herds. There aren’t many places were you can go now in the idaho mountains where the wolves are exploding in numbers. We need to be environmentally sound, but we also need to let the agencies that manage animals do just that. at the turn of the century, elk were on their way out, having been over hunted. The management that came through government agencies brought them back, wolves have experience the same. Now it is time to manage them locally.

A book I recommend

I am currently reading a book that I think is incredibly helpful in accessing the current state of things cultural and religious.  The Book is entitled: The Missionary Congregation, Leadership & Liminality by Alan Roxburgh.  Alan is associated with Allelon which is a north American missional church group who have one of their offices here in Eagle. 

The book addresses the current situation and experience of the Church in this late modernity setting, where the sense of being marginalized in our culture is producing a growing anxiety and uncertainty in many denominations, congregations and individuals (kind of like some of us trying to find our way in faith and mission). 

The thesis of the work denotes that our experience of feeling marginalized (no longer a central presence or influence in society), is not just a replacement of what is central to our culture but rather is somewhat of a disappearance of “a center” in our society, as modernity passes and transitions into a more postmodern expression of culture. 

That places the church in a liminal or transition stage, a stage where all the previous cultural and social identity moorings upon which the church rested have been kind of pulled out from under us and we are in “tunnel” type experience.  The natural response to such change is to find a way back into the center, of which none really exists.  Additionally tThe losses inherent to such a reality are what causes so much anxiety and are also the experiences that keep us from looking to what new social role is developing for the church in the western world.

The only real challenge to this author is he is somewhat academic in his writing style, but if you can wade through that, what he is offering in the way of perspective is and, I think, will be very helpful for us who are seeking to rediscover what church is and means in our culture.

Gone Baby gone

I just watched the movie: “Gone Baby Gone”.   What a movie!  I am torn and I am troubled at the suffering our children absorb because of our vanity, depravity and selfish bad judgments.  I, of all people would want to act justly, however the end of this movie is not the justice I prefer.  I have a daughter and I love her and treasure her.  But If I get to the place that I no longer have her best in mind, I hope that someone would care for her.  While I can appreciate the desire to render justice, I feel for that little girl whose life has been up turned and thrashed without her in the thought.  She was better off with the ones who loved her.  I know that my perspective runs against every righteous idea that we have as Christians, but it is still the way I feel.

Lars and the Real Girl

I just watched a fascinating movie called Lars and the real Girl.  It is one of the strangest movies I’ve watched in a long time but also one of the most telling and wonderful stories of what community can and probably should be like.  I want to live in the community that Lars lived in and as I and others talk in churches about community and life together, I think we should probably all watch this movie and begin with the things we learn from it.

I think that this silly but real movie has captured a good beginning ground for future discussions.  I highly recommend it to all and anyone.

things you miss

There is much about being in leadership and ministry at a church that is less than appealing.  Anyone in ministry, if they are honest will probably let you know that the frustrations of Church leadership are many.  I set out to be a pastor some years ago, because I believed that God was calling me to do that.  I have had the opportunity to minister in several different contexts (Vineyard, non-denominational, Baptist, Lutheran).  There remain things about church ministry that I dislike: budgets, offerings, administrative and organizational responsibilities, attempting to call forth people to serve in various categories of ministry.  These tasks drain me, they burn me out.  

Today, I had the opportunity to make a pastoral call to some folks in our church, death having knocked at the door of this couple.  I listened to this wife missing her husband.  I prayed with her and sought to presence God’s love.  Later this summer, I will have the opportunity to preach at our church and then a few weeks later to preach at another church, whose pastor is a good friend of mine.  I am realizing that I miss preaching and I miss caring for people in the church as their pastor.  Funerals were times to celebrate a life, weddings were a joyous occasion and a solemn one too.  Hospital visits were an opportunity to presence God’s love, mercy and goodness to folks who were in the throws of health challenges, reminding them that God is bigger than all they were facing. 

In my current position, I don’t get to do a lot of the above things I miss.  I do get to do some of those things but my main responsibilities are more of the elements that wear me out.  Realizing that is great, knowing what to do about that is another.