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Retired archaeologist and governmental tree-hugger. I'm a: United Methodist lay pulpit supply preacher; semi-professional photographer; and poet.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Hail and Farewell to the Chief

Throughout these eight long years
of cancerous hate, and racist venom,
of machiavellian machinations, and
sabotage by partisan obstructionism, 
     you stood before us,
     you stood up for us,
     you stood beside us!

Throughout these eight short years
of thoughtful, responsible governance,
of unselfish, selfless servant-leadership,
of spiritually discerning aforethought,
     you held and lifted us,
     you wiped our tears,
     you were the grownup!

Thank you for being the better man.
Thank you for being a faithful man.
Thank you for your grace and dignity.
Thank you for your respect and care.

I'll miss your smiles and your twinkle.
I'll miss your crooning and bad dad-jokes.
I'll miss your humility and bad mom-jeans.
I'll miss Michelle so very (VERY) much,
as I'll miss our Sasha and miss our Malia,
and everyone's Uncle Joe, the living meme.

Well done good and faithful servant:

~ Tiwago

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Come Together!

"Come together, right now, over me." (Saints John of Lennon and Paul the McCartney)

It is written in First Corinthians, Chapter One, Verses Ten to Eighteen (aka One Corinthian):

I beg you! My divided brothers and sisters (my fellow Americans, Christians, people of the world...), I beg you in the name the Lord (the Prince of Peace, the Lord of the Dance, the Son of Man / the Son of God, etc.) to come together (be united, one nation, the Bride, we the People, we are the World - us) by having a common vision (mission, focus, purpose, hope, dream, and more).

I've heard from Chloe's friends (disciples, students, followers, congregation, etc.) that there is division / divisiveness among your family / congregation (between sisters and brothers or members or citizens or...) - each claiming a different leader (mentor, teacher, spiritual parent, political party, denomination, or whoever you idolize). I thank God that none of you contentious quarreling children are mine!

I was sent to you by Christ, not to create factions or personal followers, but to give you the greatest news EVER - to God, you are: precious; beloved; unique; and important. Not because of who (how, where, when, why, or what) you follow, but because of who you are! If you followed me (or them) just for our sharing news (that was meant for you to begin with) then you make the cross a cheap and worthless false idol. The message of the cross is precious to fools like us, but foolish to the self-righteous.

"Got to be a Joker, he just do what he please... Come together. Come together. Come together. Come together." (John and Paul)

Thursday, January 12, 2017


The windows are encrusted in a crystal coat of ice, 
     and I can not see outside.
The steps are glazed, the sidewalk is made treacherous, 
     the cars are encased, the roads are unsafe.
Before I go out to deal with it, to cope with it, to address it
     I meditate on warm and vital things.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Lectionary Pondering - John 1:29-42

The reading that I am preaching from this Sunday starts: "The next day...". We are dropped into the middle of a story, and instantly want to know more - like someone following the trail of a wild animal, we backtrack to get a more complete picture. What happened yesterday?

John B. was confronted by clergy and lay leaders. "Who are you?" it is written, but can be read as "Who ARE you?" He was a popular (if controversial) public figure; they knew his name, rank, and serial number. "By whose authority?" is what they were really asking: do you have a permit to feed the poor?; do you have a license to use the Jordan River?; do have a Masters of Divinity?

"Do you claim to be Elijah returned?" No.
"Do you call yourself a latter-day Prophet?" No.
"I'm just a dude standing in the middle of nowhere. If you're worried about me, just wait for the next guy!"

So, "the next day". John is standing there watching. He is talking to someone. His disciples? The crowd? The clergy and lay leaders? Himself? "Look! That's who I was telling you about yesterday! I did not recognize him then, so God showed me who he was." None of us know who Jesus is unless God shows us - not even John B. recognized him! He did not recognize his own cousin? He knew who he was, but not WHO he was. He grew up hearing his mother's stories of the day she and Mary compared pregnancy stories (I throw up every morning. I have the strangest cravings. How much bigger am I going to get? Have you decorated a room yet?), and how fetal Johnny B. did a touchdown dance in Elizabeth's womb at the mere presence of fetal Jesus / embryonic God! Recognition is wisdom, discernment, and grace; the clergy and the lay leaders did not recognize John B.

So, "the next day". Day three, and John B. is standing beside the road; he must be looking for someone. There! He points out a man to two of his disciples. Were they his best students? Were they his inner circle? Why did he chose them? I have so many questions! "There he is!", (in other words "Go after him!). Jesus turned to ask them the question that we should ask all seekers: "What are you looking for?" Knowledge? Faith? Entertainment? Community? 

"We want to know you, be with you, follow you!"

"Come and see." 

When one of my grandchildren is very proud of something they did or made, they run up to me and say "come and see!" Jesus did not say "My church has great programs", "We have a dynamic preacher", "We are a Bible-based congregation", "We have great cookies"; just "come and see". A previous pastor had asked my family to discontinue going to church, we were too disruptive for the sanctity of their worshipfulness! But later, a neighbor stopped by and said that there was a new pastor, "come and see" she said.

It is written that one of the transfer student was Andrew, but why is the other not named? Was he one of the less famous apostles? Did he drop out? Was he John A. who had a funky way of talking and not talking about himself at the same time? Like I said, I have lots of questions. But we know that John A.'s gospel was contrary and yet complimentary to the others, focusing on catalysts and chains of events. John B. recommended Jesus to Andrew who invited Simon Peter who did a whole bunch of inviting. "The next day", Jesus invited Philip who invited Nathanael who no doubt invited others. 

We are part of this apostolic chain of title - we do not need to argue with eloquence and conviction, to be persuasive and convincing, to be super-holy saints. We just need to quietly say to those who show an interest: "come and see"; "come with me this Sunday, I'll drive"; "come with me and join some friends in a small group"; "come and see"; "come."

Monday, January 9, 2017

On a Cold Dark Morning