Category Archives: Religion

7 sprinkles


…he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover.

-Moses (Leviticus 16:14)

The Sunday morning after my father died I visited this statue of Holy Moses.

The Sunday morning after my father died I visited this statue of Holy Moses.


Sprinkle 1

The blood from my forehead that I sweated in the garden the night before. I was praying hard and my disciples were sleeping. I was concerned about tomorrow.

Sprinkle 2

The blood from my face where the Roman Soldiers wacked me. I just turned the other cheek. They wacked me there too, with a rod.

Sprinkle 3

The blood from my back when they flogged me hard with a Roman whip 39 times.

Sprinkle 4

When they pulled out my beard. They didn’t even put little pieces of Kleenexes to stop it from bleeding extra.

Sprinkle 5

When they shoved a crown of Thorns deeply into my scalp. Father forgive them please!

Sprinkle 6

My hands and feet bled when they hammered them to the cross so they would stick. They wanted to make sure I wouldn’t walk away.

Sprinkle 7

When they pierced my side. I didn’t feel that one, but it still counts as a sprinkle. I was in a temporary state of being dead.


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Nancy Pelosi has secret meeting with Pope Benedict XVI

UPDATE: I googled this and there are over 900 news hits. Apparently it wasn’t that secret.  I believe that both Pelosi and Benedict showed a lot of moral courage in discussing this issue together. It doesn’t appear that Pelosi is going to change her mind on abortion unless a higher authority than the pope tells her to. I am sure God loves both Pelosi and the Pope, and understands where each one is coming from.


Nancy Pelosi,  the first woman Speaker of the House of Representives, and second in line for successsion to the presidency (after Biden),  just had a secret meeting with Pope Benedict XVI and her arch-bishop George Niederauer (February 8, 2009), to discuss the abortion issue. Pelosi is Roman Catholic.

Last August, she told Tom Brocaw that the doctors of the Church had not decided whether life begins at conception.  Her archbishop wrote a long response saying that Pelosi’s comment was mistaken and inviting her to meet with him. She accepted!

Keep praying for the Democratic Leadership in America!


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Rick Warren’s Prayer and Gene Robinson’s Prayer

At the Inauguration of President Obama.

Rick Warren:

Let us pray.

Almighty God, our Father, everything we see and everything we can’t see exists because of you alone. It all comes from you. It all belongs to you. It all exists for your glory.

History is your story. The Scripture tells us, “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God. The Lord is One.” And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.

Now, today, we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time. We celebrate a hingepoint of history with the inauguration of our first African American president of the United States. We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where the son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven.

Give to our new President, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the cabinet, and every one of our freely elected leaders.

Help us, O God, to remember that we are Americans, united not by race, or religion, or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all. When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us. When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us. And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ.

Help us to share, to serve and to seek the common good of all. May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day all nations and all people will stand accountable before you. We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.

I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus [Spanish pronunciation], Jesus, who taught us to pray:

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

Gene Robinson:

By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire

Opening Inaugural Event
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC
January 18, 2009

Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to ask God’s blessing upon our nation and our next president.

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…

Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.


And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.


Links that I am posting from:

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Kingdom of God Priorities

Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners,  is encouraging people to send President Elect Obama an email to put kingdom priorities first. These priorities are:

  • Overcome poverty, both here in our rich nation and globally. Your efforts to resolve the economic crisis must include those at the bottom, the poorest among us. You pledged during the campaign to mobilize the nation to cut domestic poverty in half in ten years and to implement the Millennium Development Goals to cut extreme global poverty in half.
  • Find better ways than war to resolve the inevitable conflicts in the world. It is time to end the war in Iraq and emphasize diplomacy over military action in resolving problems in Iran and Afghanistan. We need better and smarter foreign policy that is more consistent with our best national values.
  • Promote a consistent ethic of life that addresses all threats to life and dignity. We must end genocide in Darfur, the use of torture, and the death penalty. I urge you to pursue common ground policies which can dramatically reduce abortions in America, and help bring us together on this divisive issue.
  • Reverse the effects of climate change on God’s creation. We must learn a new way of living in America to end our dangerous dependence on Middle East oil. We need a spiritual commitment to stewardship and national policies that promote safe, clean, and renewable energy. You spoke of job creation and economic renewal with a new “green economy.”

We need your presidential leadership for this type of societal transformation, but I promise also to do my part.

I really, really hope that Obama will do everything in his power to encourage mothers of unwanted children to put them up for adoption rather than to abort them. I also hope that all people of good will, both conservatives and liberals, black and white, in unity, will help girls and women to make the right choices regarding abortion so that we can lower the number of abortions performed in the United States and support those babies who cannot speak for themselves. Let’s build bridges people!

Here is a link if you would like to send this letter to Obama:

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Desert Wisdom

In the fourth and fifth century, Christianity was becoming considered “normal” and many Christians decided that the best way to escape “compromise, adaption, and a lukewarm spirituality” to follow the radical call of Christ was to chose “solitude, silence, and prayer” in the desert. Here are some of their sayings and stories of the Desert Fathers and Mothers:

 On seeking God

Abba Sisoes said: Seek God, and not where God lives.

On silence

It was said about Abba Agathon that for three years he carried a pebble in his mouth until he learned to be silent.

On being sane

Abba Anthony said: The time is coming when people will be insane, and when they see someone how is not insane, they will attack that person saying: Your are insane because you are not like us.

On not pinching

Some old men came to see Abba Poemen, and said to him: Tell us, when we see brothers dozing during sacred office, should we pinch them so they will stay awake? The old man said to them: Actually, if I saw a brother sleeping, I would put his head on my knees and let him rest.

On giving everything to the poor

Abba Evagrius said that there was a brother, called Serapion, who didn’t own anything except the Gospel, and this he sold to give the poor. And he said these words, which are worth remembering: I have even sold the very word which you have commanded me: Sell everything and give to the poor.

On staying at the table

Amma Sycletica said: If you happen to live in a community, do not move to another place, for it will harm you greatly. If a bird leaves her eggs, they never hatch. So also the monk and the nun grow cold and dead in faith by going from place to place.

On social justice

One day Abba Arsenius was asking an old Egyptian man for advice about what he was thinking. There was someone who saw this and said to him: Abba Arsenius, why is a person like you, who has such great knowledge of greek and Latin, asking a peasant like this about your thoughts? He replied: Indeed, I have learned the knowledge of Latin and Greek, yet I have not learned even the alphabet of this peasant.

We are all sinners (and an interesting perspective on church discipline)

A brother who had sinned was expelled by the priest from the church. But Abba Bessarion stood up and went out with him, saying: I too am a sinner.

On not wasting time

An old man said: if you have lost gold or silver, you can find something in place of what you lost. However, if you lose time you cannot replace what you lost.

Dogs compared to humans

Abba Xanthias said: A dog is better than I am because it also has love, but it does not pass judgement.

Abba Benjamin’s dying words

As he was dying, Abba Benjamin taught his sons this: Do this, and you will be saved: Rejoice always, pray constantly, and in all circumstances give thanks.

On having a tough soul when being spiritually mentored

Abba Sisoes the Theban said to his disciple: Tell me what you see in me and in turn I will tell you what I see in you. His disciple said to him: You are good in soul, but a little harsh. The old man said to him: You are good but your soul is not tough.

On 401Ks

Isidore of Pelusia said: Prize virtues, and do not care for worldly prosperity. For the former are certainly immortal, but the latter is so easily extinguished.

On Jesus’s teaching on giving

Abba Epiphanus said: God sells righteousness very cheap to those who are eager to buy: namely, for a little piece of bread, worthless clothes, a cup of cold water and one coin.

Actions are better than words

Abba James said: We do not want words alone, for there are too many words among people today. What we need is action, for that is what we are looking for, not words which do not bear fruit.

This is from a book I got from a used bookstore in Oxford England this week:  Desert Wisdom, Sayings from the Desert Fathers, by Yushi Nomura. It has wonderful illustrations for each saying and story  and encourages the reader to let each saying enter deeply into your innermost being.

Desert Wisdom: Sayings from the Desert Fathers


Filed under Christianity, Egypt, history, Religion

Philadelphia Weekly’s Cover Story on MeWithoutYou

I was surprised to see “Christ Rocks” on the cover of the Philadelphia Weekly – a free newspaper that is distributed on the streets of Center City.

Here is the article

The article is written by Steven Wells  who followed the band mewithoutYou for 10 days, a band that Gretchen likes so much that she gave me tickets to go to their show for my birthday. But then her mother got sick, so she had to go to California to be with her mom. I spent my birthday, me  without Gretchen at the MeWithoutYou concert at the Traq, and liking them more and more as I listening to what Relevant Magazine recently listed as the seventh strangest thing in Evangelical Christianity.

The article ends with Steven Wells, who is writing from a (cynical) seekers perspective, asking a young woman if what Aaron Weiss (“dumpster diving, celibate, homeless”, lead singer of the band) says makes sense. “It doesn’t have to make sense”, she says.

I believe that what Christ taught makes sense, but life itself does not always make sense. Jesus taught that there is a God who “so loves you”, and that we have a responsibility to love people simply by the fact that God made them. All of the Bible, Jesus teaches, can be summed up in loving God with all your heart and loving people. This has not always been followed by the group of people who call themselves Christians, but it revolutionizes everything when it is followed. This makes sense to me.

Life itself however does not always make sense and is full of surprises and injustices.

This article also discusses Shaine Clainborne, Grace’s Circle of Hope Church, both of Philadelphia, and the Cornerstone Christian Rock Festival that takes place in Illinois, and Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

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Dust on your iPhone


Dust is a comic book that features stories from the Bible.

The Seven Sons story featured in Dust #3 and on the iPhone and iPod is based on the seven sons of a Jewish Priest who start casting out spirits in Jesus’ name. Their story is told in Acts.

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