Thursday, January 8, 2009

Generational Blessings

While we hear a lot about "generational curses" in pop theology, we rarely hear much about "generational blessings". It seems to me that Scripture has much more to say about the latter! While the ultimate act of blessing is the work of God, it is a fact that the patriarchs (and I would say matriarchs as well) made much of blessing the next generation and therefore the generations to come.

Though I have some room in my theology for generational curses which are supernatural by nature (demonic in origin), I have more room for "curses" which are brought on the the next generation through bad choices, poor modeling and sinful lifestyles of the elders, mostly the works of the flesh or worldly aspirations. In a similar way, the next generation, and those after can be blessed through right choices, good and intentional modeling and godly (and healthy) lifestyles.

I recently read a quote from "The Great Law of The Iroquois Confederacy" ((oddly enough, I read it on a detergent bottle!): "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations."

If I consider the impact of my decisions with that kind of sobriety, not only will my children be blessed but so will theirs and those for at least seven generations to come.

Is this not something of what it means to live a life of holiness?

Monday, November 24, 2008

So...I'm Still Alive

Okay. I realize it's been forever. Actually, I didn't realize just how long it had been till I took a look today! There's a lot of water under the bridge since I posted last: a national election, a Seminary board meeting, many, many meetings at school, horse shows, Eddie James' services, preaching and singing in Crab Orchard and...I've been to Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Helsinki, Finland! No wonder I haven't posted!!

The last post ("Guess Where I've Been") was of pictures from my reconnaissance mission for the Society for Pentecostal Studies. The 2010 meeting (for which I will be Program Chair) will be hosted by North Central University in Minneapolis, MN. So, yes, the pix are of Minneapolis. David Roebuck (Dixon Pentecostal Research Center and SPS Director) and I traveled to Minneapolis at the end of September in order to see the North Central facilities and to secure a conference hotel. North Central is a very nice campus and we were warmly welcomed. The president, Gordon Anderson, is actually a blues guitarist so we were off to the races! Dr. Glen Menzies, New Testament prof there, is the on-sight coordinator for the 2010 meeting. He had done lots of legwork and made the trip fairly easy. Long story short (as Groucho would say, "Too late!"), the facilities at North Central are great and we secured The Radisson Hotel for the conference. It is their flagship hotel and is really beautiful. And, yes, we went to a Twins game! (That was David's idea.)

The Pittsburgh trip was for an Association of Theological Schools meeting for Women in Leadership. I thoroughly enjoyed it and gained a lot of valuable insights into how theological education is functioning in the US and Canada. In addition, the conference was very helpful for women who are becoming leaders in what is traditionally a "man's world" (and where isn't that the case??)

Every Fall, I attend a meeting of scholars and pastors from the Wesleyan-Pentecostal traditions in Kansas City. This meeting is funded by the Louisville Institute and meets at Nazarene Theological Seminary. It is organized and nurtured by the man who first had the vision for it, Hal Knight. Next year is our final year meeting and I will miss the conversation.

And I just got back from Helsinki! I left November 14 and arrived home on this past Saturday (the 22nd). This was a meeting called the Joint Consultative Group sponsored by the World Council of Churches. It is a week-long conversation between representatives from WCC churches (Lutheran, Orthodox, Baptist, Reformed, etc) and representatives from Pentecostal non-member churches. We stayed at an Orthodox conference center called Sofia on the Baltic Sea. It was a lovely place and reminded me very much of Maine. The fellowship was really good and I enjoyed getting to know these pastors and teachers from various traditions. The Pentecostal team was made up of theologians and academics from the US, Finland, Holland, Zambia, South Africa, Malaysia and India. The Body of Christ is so diverse, yet there is an essential unity in the Spirit.

So...that's the catching up post! I've been so busy that the holiday season might even be a real relaxing time for me!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Fruit of Our Lips

For several weeks I have been contemplating the idea of Christian speech. I mean here the character of the Christian's speech. (For an excellent, and long, discussion written over fifty years ago by a Mennonite follow this link)

A few months ago I listened to a person speak on pacifism. I greatly admire this person, and agreed with virtually everything he said. However, the more adamant he became about peace, the angrier he became and the more violent his epithets became. Unfortunately, in many ways, his violence was more remembered than his pacifism. (Fortunately, I took notes on the rest of what he said!) It occurred to me then that in a moment one's words could undo a lot of good said otherwise.

Perhaps I am particularly sensitive to this issue because angry, sarcastic speech can be a besetting sin for me. As Corky has said often, the angrier I get the more lucid my speech! It's exhilarating! I am logical, and have a great memory, so I can be murderous in an argument! And that is just the point: I can kill with my tongue.

If I am to bear witness, then a large part of my public personae is my speech. And as the saying goes, "my speech betrays me". Jesus said, "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." My Nigerian friend, Ayo, told me about an African proverb which says that you can't blame the ugly speech of a drunk man on the drink; the drink only brings out what is inside. So, if my speech is unfruitful, I am not bearing witness to Jesus.

I am bothered by my brothers and sisters in the Religious Right who have adopted the rhetoric (both in content and style) of the Extreme Republican Right. There should be a marked difference between the speech of the Christian Conservative and the non-Christian Conservative. The Christian's speech, it seems to me, should be marked by truth and grace. It is possible to be prophetic, to rebuke and to challenge in a way that bears witness to Jesus or reflects Him. In a graceless age, my first obligation is to point the way to grace.

"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Emma Singing at "The Call", Washington, D.C.

So exciting! Emma sang with Eddie James on stage at The Call in D.C. on Saturday, August 16.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D

Of course we wanted to see Batman, a.k.a. The Dark Knight. And we plan to. But that's the problem. We didn't plan ahead. Somehow that takes the spontaneity out of the whole thing! Buying tickets way in advance. Anyway. We are getting old and it's not the priority it used to be. I fondly remember going to see the first Batman movie (appropriately titled "Batman") at a midnight "pre-showing", on Thursday before it opened on Friday while we lived in Atlanta. And I've seen all the others. And will see this one...probably soon.

Anyway, we went to see the new "Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D" at the Imax because we figured the crowds would be down and everyone would be waiting in line for "The Dark Knight". We were right.

"Journey" is great fun. It builds on the original but with great special effects and those in 3D! Lots of prehistoric dangerous plants and animals, cave experiences, and a reasonable and non-embarrassing romance.

Happily, one element that was left out was the "greedy old-man load" character. This archetype is best remembered as the terribly annoying professor in "Lost in Space". They are selfish, generally older men, who look out for themselves and then get into scrapes or have heart attacks which require the rest of the team to put themselves in jeapordy in order to save "The Load". (I am indebted to MST3K for this nomenclature utilized in their commentary on "The Mole People".) I believe the original "Journey" had one of these figures who loaded up with jewels, thus increasing his weight, etc. Anyway, that element is handled differently in this one and I'm thankful for it. Though, come to think of it, inclusion of "The Load" probably makes the whole thing more realistic and believable. Alas, "The Load" is a cultural universal (and a church universal). Can you name "Loads" in literature, movies, etc?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008