Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Directly from a friend's blog...

To Set at Liberty Those who are Oppressed...with Liberty and Justice for All.

Fighting for justice and against oppression is what we're SUPPOSED to do, right? As Christians, as Americans, as Humans. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, right? Is there anybody who doesn't agree with that?

Liberating the oppressed, reaching out and responding to the marginalized, showing hospitality and kindness to the outcast, is how Jesus defined his own ministry and the kind of ministry to which he called the disciples.

Instead, certain people in certain churches in certain contexts have decided, and continually decide, to be the oppressers. I'm trying not to generalize. I recognize and affirm the individualilty and particularity of each human person.

But there are A LOT of people who seem content with their oppression, even comfortable with it, even proud of it. Building fences, building fences to bolster the fences, denying people communion, denying people the right to worship where, when, how, to whom/what, they please.

Here it is, folks. I have to say it. It might trouble some of you, it might get me in trouble. But right now, I have to say it:

1. Saying that women don't have the right to preach is oppression.
2. Saying that homosexual persons don't have the right to preach or marry or even become members of a church is oppression. And a church, say the United Methodist Church, that does not allow ANYONE to preach and proclaim the gospel is a participant in oppression.
3. Denying anyone communion EVER is oppression.
4. Thinking your tradition's baptism is better or, um, more official, is oppression.
5. Building fortified fences on our borders is oppression.
6. Calling to claim English as America's official language is oppression.

The ultimate oppression is the idea that one person, one group of people, one tradition, one nation can have complete and sole ownership of truth (or of God, which might be six and one). If you (I) ever, in any way, think you (I) are (am) better than anyone else or have a clearer understanding of the mysteries of life than anyone else, you are (I am) wrong and you are (I am) oppressing.

The questions:
1. Knowing this, saying this, believing this, how do we claim Jesus Christ as the way to salvation?
2. How do we show tolerance to the intolerant? Kindness to the unkind? Love to the hateful? Are we supposed to? Aren't we supposed to hate what it is evil and cling to what is good?
3. How do we teach "liberty and justice for all" to the affluent, the liberated, the powerful?
4. How are we, individually and collectively, participating in oppression and what are we doing, individually and collectively, to set at liberty ALL those who are oppressed?

The answer, always: grace.

Your friend, brother, partner, collaborator, Brad-owner of one microscopic atom in one grain of sand of the vastness of the truth of God.

An unexamined life is not worth living.

(Courtesy of Brad Bryan: http://zepplinrules.blogspot.com/)

Friday, October 3, 2008

to the lands of cafes & bicycles

in just a few short weeks, julie & i are making our trip to paris & amsterdam. i am exploding with excitement. which may make those weeks seem to take longer. this is going to be my 1st international trip, so it's perfect that part of it involves going to the country of my ancestry (the netherlands).

we're in the process of narrowing down what we want to do while we're there, how we're going to get around, along with all the other details that go with international travel. there are things we're definitely doing. in paris, things like the louvre and the eiffel tower are among the places to experience on our list. in amsterdam, we plan on going to an ajax match (1 of the biggest soccer clubs in the netherlands) and the rijksmuseum...among other things. one other thing that i'm excited about is the opportunity to go into buildings that have been around since medieval times. i can't wait to experience history like that.