Politics

Well, I guess I can’t ignore it forever… politics. Not that I’ve ever been ignoring it! But I’ve been keeping a check on my tongue for the past few months. Not because I don’t care about all that has been happening but because I care so much that I’m a little afraid of what might come out if I let the tongue (or fingers!) loose.

You know what I mean…. that mean-spirited aunt that makes your teeth grind every time she comes to visit? If you ever once start to tell her what you think of her… well, family holidays will never be the same again! Or the arrogant boss who, honestly, is rarely right? If you ever once start to say what you think of him… unemployment line, here you come!

It’s like that in the political arena, too! No one can just say, “You know, I don’t like what you are (saying/doing/believing/supporting/etc.)!” Instead we roll out the vindictive, miserable stuff we’ve been bottling up for years. Like Jean Luc Picard’s quote from Moby Dick: And he piled upon the whale’s white hump, the sum of all the rage and hate felt by his whole race. If his chest had been a cannon, he would have shot his heart upon it.  (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117731/quotes)

That’s what we are doing politically and socially, isn’t it? Hurling the rage and hate of our human race on each other. And I’m not a bit different so I’m keeping my rage and hate clamped down to keep my hurling at a minimum. My close family and friends hear a bit of it – and my list of Facebook friends is getting smaller and smaller.

But, mostly, it is what is driving my thinking these days. I know what I don’t want to say or do or be: I don’t want to be hateful and shallow – or indifferent and blind – or ignorant and unthinking! So how do I respond to the wrongs of the world in a way that isn’t just shooting a cannon at some hapless whale? How do I adjust my life so that I’m part of a solution instead of part of the problem? How do I reexamine the basic beliefs of my life in ways that will make them more effective? more honorable? more caring and empowering?

They are good questions to be asking and I believe it will be rewarding thinking, at some point in time, so I recommend them for your pondering, as well. Preferably before November.

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Risky Business

Quite a few years ago, Tony and I decided to try a CSA – Community Supported Agriculture. We ordered two shares of vegetables – yes, double the usual amount for a family! And then he went out of town to work all summer!

That CSA had Sunday morning pickup at Judson Memorial Church and I remember dragging all those late summer vegetables from the West Village to Queens, thinking I would never make it the last few blocks home!

The following year, we ordered a single share – and a fruit share. The fruit had looked so good the previous year – surely it would be just as good now, right?

And then the risk of the CSA came home to roost. Pay up front and hope for the best – that’s the business model. The farmer has his/her upfront money for seeds and workers, and we, the investors, reap the bounty as time goes by. But if it doesn’t rain, if the sun doesn’t shine, if there’s a weather disaster of some sort…. well, let’s just say, our fruit share was pitiful!

It took me many years to get over that bad year. We hadn’t bought a fruit share again, until this year. And it was an even bigger risk than ever: last year’s lack of rain brought in a small return on the veggie share and there was no guarantee that this year would be any better!

But we took a step out in faith and bought both veggies and fruit… It’s a picture of the first week’s fruit share that you’re seeing at the top of this page: 2 quarts of very ripe strawberries (and almost a pound of rhubarb)! It’s much too early for that to be any indication of whether it will be a good or bad year for the farmer – or for us! But I do think it is good to take a risk now and again….

Think about the risks God takes with us: just look around, there’s no evidence that God is ever going to get a good return on investment! We have the seeds, we have the energy, we have the sun and rain and earth – we could be producing so much that God could barely lug it home! Instead we hoard our resources, waste the investment, and God goes wishing for some good fruit.

There’s a lot of mixed metaphors in this post! It’s not my literary best! But you know what I’m talking about. Where’s the great big fat shiny strawberry that the farm of your life should be producing? And how are you going to cultivate it, strengthen it, harvest it, and deliver it to the One who risks giving your life its start-up capital over and over and over again?

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Summer Newsletter

My seasonal newsletter goes out this week – Monday, June 27th, to be exact. If you don’t receive it, please email me at RevBethPerry@gmail.com to make sure you are on the list!

Blessings,

Beth

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Spring has Sprung

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What a long winter it was and what an odd spring we’re having in NYC! First, it got hot quickly, then cold again… then warm, then hot, then cool… and did I mention wet?

But it does appear like spring is fully here and all the signs of summer are settling in. This was the view shortly before Yoga in Socrates Park last weekend! Tony and I have been devouring our first watermelon of the season! He’s getting ready for a summer theater production! I’ve got dozens of free events on my calendar already – like Musical Chairs in Bryant Park!

Every spring, I start planning all the fun things I’m going to do to celebrate summer.  Somehow those long summers as a child have left a lasting imprint on me and I just want to relax and enjoy myself! But as the season wears on, my enthusiasm for crowds and transportation, my too-heavy work schedule, and my no-longer-boundless energy will win out and the deleted calendar events will begin to pile up.

But for today there’s still plenty of enthusiasm and energy for summer enjoyment – I hope to see you out there enjoying yourself, as well!

Blessings,

Beth

PS: There’s a new BeADisicple.com workshop starting Monday, June 13th called Teach Adults. If you want a little taste of what we’ll be talking about, check out this Mini Video!

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Teach Adults update

Just a quick update to say that this new workshop is now open for registration! Click here to learn more and register!

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Teach Adults approved!

I have been approved to lead the Lay Servant course Teach Adults and the first session is scheduled for June 13-24!

If you’ve ever wanted to improve your ability to guide adult learners through their faith development, this two-week interactive GBOD-approved Lay Servant course is the way to do it! Learn about Multiple Intelligences, Adult Faith Development, Learning Hooks, and more!

In the first week, we’ll explore new teaching methods and you’ll each plan a 20-minute adult teaching session.

Over the weekend, you’ll lead and record that 20-minute session – either with an adult class you already lead, a class you can “borrow” for 20 minutes, or with a few adult friends or family members who agree to be your guinea pigs!

In the second week, we will review and give feedback on those videos, learning from each other as we go!

Participants will need to order and read Start Here by Barbara Bruce – and you must have the necessary technology to record their teaching session and send a copy of it to the course leader (a smart phone, for example).

The first session will be opening for registration next week – if you aren’t on BeADisicple’s monthly mailing list, check their website on Tuesday!

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Post-Easter Sermon Lesson

I often say that I preach more to myself than anyone else… Maybe I need it more! But for whatever reason, it certainly was true yesterday (Easter Sunday)!

I preached at Chelsea Community Church’s service on, what else?, the post-resurrection experiences described in scripture. They are so varied that there’s something for everyone – from terror and confusion to companionship to mysticism. And then there’s Mary…

Mary greets the gardner and recognized Jesus – and we can recognize him, too, in the shared humanity we have with him and everyone we meet! My point was that looking for those post-resurrection encounters can give us a resurrection – a changed life!

And then, a few hours later, as I climbed wearily out of the bus near my home, I realized I’d left my bag back at the church – and my church keys were in the bag! Back onto the bus, back onto the train, back across the city blocks to the church – and then, bag in hand, back on the train.

The wrong train….

When I realized that I hopped off the train, went into a nearby store to do a little shopping, and walked to another train station.

The wrong station…

No trains going to Queens from there – “take this train south and catch a…” So two stops in the wrong direction later, I caught another train. Which took me to another stop. Where I caught yet another train. To my usual stop, where God took pity on me and supplied a quick bus!

But the oddest thing kept happening on all those rides: I kept noticing Jesus in the stranger… I kept wondering what would it be like to see or hear Jesus in the precocious child across the bus? Or in her worried mother? Or her grinning, wise-beyond his years brother? Or in the guy with his legs spread across a couple seats? Or in the old woman bent double over her cane? Or the angry workman in the station, punching a poster onto a pillar with his fist? Or any of the rest of the mass of strangers we New Yorkers encounter every time we leave the house?

How can I love them the way I would love Jesus and learn from them and give to them? I think I’ll be pondering my own sermon for a long time.

Blessings,

Beth

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