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that you aren't even sure you really believe. I just love comments.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Poetic Evaluation of Our New Building

On the right you will find a link to Desert Moon Review. Jim Corner is the founder of that poetry site and the author of this work, which is a reaction to Chalice's blessing of its new building.

Progressive Place of Worship

We're missionaries, a thinking quarter
with the audacity to challenge a mixture
of traditional and mega-cathedrals;
constructing our way armed with reason
and faith in Jesus and Locke, in a simpler,
more hospitable message. An inclusive
embrace is offered to all, humbly,
without prejudice or judgement;
an intention of unconditional love.

Our goal calls forth: disciples bearing
social justice, racial resolution, theological
integrity and inclusive reception. Given
our yoke of geological distance, eventful
personal schedules and sacrificial sharing,
Chalice Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
is raised and now unbolted to serve all people.

May we as a faithful flock, in this new
sanctuary, follow God to find a growing
perceptive, a new wisdom: "questions
are as important as answers"
and "we can't be human alone."

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Promised Land

Chalice Christian Church, a place where questions are as important as answers, has spent almost a decade wandering in the desert. In her time as a sojourner, Chalice has resettled refugees from Viet Nam, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Iraq. She has held discussions on process theology and the authorship of the Bible. She has served hundreds of people at Paz de Cristo. She has brought water to the border for other wanderers. She has taken a stand against the discrimination of gays, lesbians, bisexuals & transgender persons. I love this church; it is a place where I have found salvation from an ordinary and unexamined existence. It is a place where I have found the fresh air and cool water of the Gospel.

This Sunday, for the first time, Chalice Christian Church will bless a building of its own at 15303 S. Gilbert Road, Gilbert, AZ 85299. This building will be a tool for us. We will use it for ministries that we could not do in borrowed and rented space. It will provide a central point, a launching pad. We have our footing, and I look forward to the new possibilities.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Healing the sick

The sick were a special concern for Jesus and his disciples. Half of the first chapter of the first gospel, Mark, is devoted to healing and casting out unclean spirits. Also, caring for those who can't care for themselves is an important response to our faith for many of us.

For that reason, it is natural for us to be concerned about the condition of our healthcare system, particularly the number of people in our country without access to healthcare. Just like everything else, the tough stuff comes in putting those values into the form of policy. Shadowfax at Movin' Meat nicely addresses the problem of innovation here. Movin' Meat: The Death of Innovation?

Consider two systems, one in which all person are cared for equally and another in which about 1/2 or 1/3 of people get much, much better care than the rest. Is unequal system moral if in the unequal system the members of society getting the worst care are getting better care than everyone in the first system?

I don't believe that is necessarily the case with broader access to healthcare. I think it is very likely that by 1/2 to 1/3 of the population getting what it wants, the overall health of the society is in worse shape. But the way I set it up above is a more interesting case.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sermon on the Mount, Eighth

Alternative Title: Thou Shalt Be Push Overs

From Matthew 5:38-48,
An Eye for an Eye
"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Love for Enemies
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Finally! Some favorites of the lefties. We can use this to oppose war and capital punishment and vigilantism and, well, and just about our entire penal code and certainly our tort system. I think these sections of the Sermon on the Mount get thrown around pretty flippantly.

Let's not even try to extrapolate these personal admonitions to national policy. Does this passage prohibit Christians from being plaintiffs in law suits? Does it require a Christian who is told to walk a mile to the "Black" restrooms to tolerate the indignity? What does it mean when Jesus commands us to be perfect, just like God?

The Moral Test of Government

[T]he moral test of a government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life—the children; the twilight of life—the elderly; and the shadows of life—the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.

Hubert H. Humphrey, at the 1977 dedication of the Health and Human Services Building*

This is not a universal truth. It is not what everyone thinks government should do. But it is what I think government should do.

Similarly, there a many reasons why one could think this way, including personal revelation. But, the reason I think this should be the role of government is that I am a Christian.

* I hate to quote people without authority. I couldn't find a speech transcript from 1977, but if Donna Shalala says he said it, that is good enough for me.