31 December 2012

By-tor, the snow dog (with apologies to Rush)

While shoveling our walk—notice the orange blade in the corner of the photo—I heard a “chomp.”

 Aidan, our Shetland Sheepdog, was leaping into the shower of tossed snow, mouth fully open. 

Summoning my wife and our camera, we documented his behavior on this New Year’s Eve afternoon.

15 December 2012

the dark side of Christmas

Newtown, Connecticut (14 Dec 2012).  Bethlehem, Judea (Matthew 2:16).  Christmas has not yet arrived.  Still, our proximity to it prompts an observation.  The dark, and usually overlooked, reality is that the Christmas story carries within it the slaughter of little children.  Two weeks from yesterday, we observe the feast of the Holy Innocents. 

Pointing out the reality of the massacre of young ones doesn’t explain or excuse it.  How could anything?  But what it does do is to show how Jesus was born into a world with the same hatred and insanity that still plague us.  Our challenge is to work for the “peace on earth” that the angels proclaim—to ask for and use that courage.

10 December 2012

living it, believing it

In his Daily Meditation for today, Richard Rohr says, “The Scriptures very clearly teach what we call today a ‘bias toward action.’  It is not just belief systems or dogmas and doctrines, as we have often made it.  The Word of God is telling us very clearly that if you do not do it, you, in fact, do not believe it and have not heard it.

I find that relevant in a particular way today, since this is Human Rights Day.  As I mentioned in a sermon yesterday, this is the date in 1948 when the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  That document has had a foundational role in international law regarding the protection of human rights.

I’m forced to ask myself, “How important is promoting human rights to me?”  Is simply talking or blogging about it enough?  Rohr says something that has been attested to in many times and places:  “We do not think ourselves into a new way of living as much as we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.  Lifestyle issues ask much more of us than mere belief systems.” 

That, of course, applies to the entire range of life.  I suppose we each have to ask ourselves how much we live what we think we do.  How much do we welcome the good Holy Spirit to lead us in action?  And being in the season of Advent, do we embrace the Advent call to turn around and to be our best selves?