Spiritual Life

All posts in the Spiritual Life category

Smack Me with a Ping Pong Paddle and Call Me Sally

Published June 28, 2013 by sojournerkat

PGS2Smack Me with a Ping Pong Paddle and Call Me Sally…

I can’t believe it. One of the biggest “Pray Away the Gay” groups, Exodus, has up and abandoned the practice, ceasing and desisting and apologizing as well.

Others might follow.

Wow.

I’m flabbergasted.

At a loss for words.

Tonight, I will toast God’s divine intervention! Huzzah!

The Newfounders

Published March 31, 2013 by sojournerjorgenssen

panstarrs_cook_960Once upon a time there was a spacefaring race called the Newfounders. After five generations on board their star vessel, they finally arrived at the planet that would become their home.

Alas, not all was well. Sickness and the unforeseen issues that come with spending a hundred years in space had left them frail and vulnerable. Most of the Newfounders only lived long enough to see their children reach adulthood, but never long enough to meet their own grandchildren. The elders did their best to teach their young everything they needed to know, but the youth, being young, believed they knew everything they needed.

The new planet was everything they’d hoped it would be. Not a single Newfounder had ever set foot on a planet, but from the descriptions of their forebearers, the new land was a paradise.

Growing seeds for food crops came naturally. They’d done that on board ship. Yet there were many other seeds stored away that were labeled as food, but no one had ever tried growing them. The elders said they were kinds that should thrive on the new planet, but would not grow well in space.

Bathing on board ship had been a simple matter of sonics. But the level of filth produced by actual dirt and rocks and who knows what blowing in the wind required a more thorough cleaning process involving immersion in water. The children rebelled against this, and in the end their parents had to simply demand “Do it because I tell you to do it!” because so many of the children refused to believe there could possibly be any benefit from immersing themselves in water.

The oldest Newfounder, knowing he would soon die, took in all the data he possibly could about the new world. There was a river that had a certain contaminant that needed to be avoided, but within a few generations they could probably make it usable. There were many aspects of the land that were completely strange and unexpected, but he did his best to figure out a way for his children to deal with them. He wrote out a book that was a guide he was certain would lead them into a way that would keep them and their descendants safe and healthy, and he died hoping that they had enough tools to learn for themselves how to make their new world a thriving environment for them to live.

There was much to do on the new world, so much that within a generation, much of the reasoning behind the things they did were lost. Most still bathed by immersion, but they were laughed at by those who used a new form of sonic that seemed to produce the same result. The contaminated river was labeled off-limits, even after a hundred years of running clean.

Some Newfounders had only one or two children each, as had been the custom of their ship-bound ancestors for a hundred years. Others had many children, citing the fact that the planet had more than enough room for dozens of children from each parent.

Many Newfounders followed the writings of the last elder, although they each interpreted his words in different ways. It was hard to understand someone whose choice of words and life experience were so different from their own.

And they fought.

A thousand years went by, and they were able to reach the stars again. They found the star vessel their ancestors had arrived in, even though many had ceased to believe it had ever existed at all. To their surprise, they were unable to prove any one group wrong in any way. Certainly, there were misconceptions along the way, and a few fringe groups with made-up ideas that had nothing to do with anything they’d either been taught or learned on their own, but the descendants of the original Newfounders were all doing what they were supposed to do… growing and learning and making the world a better place. Some did it in vastly different ways, even contrary ways, but in the end, they all had the same goal.

And they stopped fighting.

And they continued to go their separate ways, but they respected each other, and they learned from each other, and they were able to reach not only the stars, but beyond.

We Have a New Pope!

Published March 13, 2013 by sojournerkat

Pope Francis smallYes, “we.” As is “We Catholics” and “We the World.”

I usually find a Catholic church to visit at least a few times a year. It’s not my home anymore, but there are some traditions that are still dear to my heart. I have family in the Catholic church. I have friends there. And if you ask me if I’m Catholic, I’ll still say “yes” even though I choose to worship at a Protestant church.

I’m not the only one. I have Catholic friends who haven’t set foot in a church since they turned eighteen, but they still identify as Catholics. It’s more than a religion. It’s an identity. Some of these friends still believe and practice their faith privately. Others believe in God and love Christ and they find other churches to worship in, but, like me, they still consider themselves to be Catholic. Some no longer have faith at all, yet they still call themselves Catholics.

Then again, some of them include the word “recovering” in that description…

I’m also Jewish. My father was never big on tradition, especially of the religious kind, but my grandparents lovingly reminded me of my heritage even as they mourned my Catholicism. Judaism is as much a part of me as being a brunette…I can cover it up if I choose, but why?

Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love

Published December 16, 2012 by sojournerjorgenssen

800px-Adventkranz_andrea

On this, the third Sunday in advent, many churches are lighting the candle of joy.

In the light of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday, I’d like to switch the concentration of today’s post. I, and I’m sure most of you, are not feeling joyful today. We are saddened and horrified at the senseless and violent deaths of so many children and the adults who cared for them.

The Second Chapter of Matthew from Biblegateway:

The Magi Visit the Messiah

2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’[b]

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The Escape to Egypt

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”[c]

16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”[d]

The Return to Nazareth

19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.

Evil is not new. At Christmastime, we tend to concentrate on the wonderful parts of Jesus’ story. How miraculous that God sent his son to be among mankind! How joyous that he came to save us all! How adorable, the peaceful scene of the holy child in a stable, surrounded by animals and angels and shepherds.

The story of Jesus’ birth is so much more than the sanitized version we usually see. Not that there isn’t value in the sanitized version; that is exactly what we should present to young children. That is exactly what we should celebrate with our families.

However, as adults, we understand the greater, deeper story. How difficult it was for Joseph to take his pregnant wife on a long journey just because the powers that be decided it should be so. Arriving there, trusting in God, only to end up in a barn with the animals.

How must Joseph and Mary have felt when they escaped with their baby son, only to know that hundreds of other baby boys were dying? To know that their deaths were ordered because one fearful king was trying to kill their baby? I can not imagine the mix of relief, guilt, anger and anguish they must have experienced. I can not imagine what emotions must be coursing through the parents of students at Sandy Hook Elementary right now, the parents of those children who survived. Relief, certainly. But although their children live, they will forever carry this trauma with them. They are living victims.

No words can express the sorrow. No words can cover the grief. As humankind we mourn, whether Christian or not, whether American or not, whether we are parents or not. Together, we pray that someday humankind will, together, find a way to prevent such senseless tragedies from ever happening again.

Happy Hanukkah

Published December 9, 2012 by sojournerjorgenssen

Matthias_Stom_-_Holy_Family_-_Google_Art_ProjectWhat if Jesus Christ was around today?

I’m not talking about the second coming or Armageddon or anything like that, no…

What if he just quietly slipped down to Earth as a perfectly average Jewish-guy-next-door?

What would he think of all the holiday celebrations, or lack thereof, around the world?

Yes, I think he would be weirded out about seeing a plastic version of himself as a baby, but I think he’d understand. Athletes see themselves on cereal boxes, celebrities see themselves in tabloids. Although most great persons are celebrated as adults, that is because their greatness came upon in adulthood. Jesus was special from the moment of his conception. He also died quite young, by today’s standards. It is simply an affectation of today’s society that we have a plethora of images and other representations of the story.

I don’t think he’d be at all surprised about how inaccurate all the details are now. After all, it’s been a couple thousand years! Even the best documented events get skewed by the eyeglass of time.

What would he think of the conflict in the middle east? Horrified and saddened I’m sure. Aren’t we all?

What about the wars? So many… of course he’d be sickened and saddened by these as well.

But the people… I know he’d love the people. Even the jerks. That’s what he does, and he does it well. And he’s Jewish, so this time of year, he’d be eating oodles of latkes and celebrating Hanukkah with the community.

Happy Hanukkah, not just to my Jewish friends, but to you all.250px-Menorah_0307

Maps

Published September 29, 2012 by sojournerjorgenssen

Glory to God in the Highest!

I have a placement. Kat tells me I was supposed to blog about it when I first found out, but it’s kinda too late, I’m here.

Do you know what’s interesting about Detroit? You can go south and end up in Canada. This amuses me. And the cities in this area have all kinds of interesting names: Bad Axe, Frankenmuth, Wyoming (yes, Wyoming Michigan,) and Ypsilante. Then there are the pretty names like Ann Harbor, Brighton, and St Clair.

I’m in Dorian Bluffs, to which the usual response is “He sure does.” Not a terribly funny joke. It’s like an insider thing I don’t quite get yet.

Moving into my place here has been really smooth, actually. Dorian Bluffs Universal Unitarian is a big church. From what I understand, my main position will be to lead a mid-week bible study on… er… the Bible (the church has a large percentage of non-Christian members) and I think they’re kind of hoping I’ll coach the volleyball team.

My biggest challenges? Being a Vikings fan in Lion country, and walking up three flights of stairs to my apartment.

The Lord is My Shepherd

Published August 19, 2012 by sojournerjorgenssen

This is for Julie, who gave me crap about my profile picture.

Yes, I look like a shepherd.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalm 23, King James version

Yes, my avatar looks like a shepherd. It’s a scene from Shakespeare’s As You Like It . The scene is The Mock Marriage of Orlando and Rosalind by artist Walter Deverell. I love the term “Pastor” because it comes from the Latin for herdsman. One who feeds. One who watches over. The pastoral aspect was what attracted me to the clergy in the first place. I am called to serve.