Monthly Archives: March 2015

Wiggle and Jiggle

As a United Methodist preacher, this blog of my brother’s had me in stitches! I hope it brings a smile to your face and gives you joy as well!

The Kansas Expatriate

It all seems innocent enough.  Some nameless investment company, called “3G”, buys a couple of things that are pretty American and we discount it as just business.  Plus, its not like “3G” stands for “Godless, Goofy, and Geriatric.”  The Koch brothers have the corner on that slogan.  So I didn’t worry too much about this three gee buying Burger King or even Heinz.  I realize, of course, that ketchup is pretty near and dear to all of our hearts but it isn’t really American.  It has roots in Chinese duck sauce.  3G is headed by a Brazilian Bazillionaire but who cares.  Warren Buffett is part of the deal and he’s from Nebraska.


However, it might be time to get worried.  First, this 3G snapped up Tim Horton’s, or as I like to call it, the Coffee of the Almighty, and moved Burger King’s headquarters to Canada.  It was a…

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Saint Patrick’s Day

I love this day, but not for the reasons most people do. Corned beef and cabbage are okay, beer and most certainly green beer is not on my menu. I like the story of Saint Patrick AND it means the beginning of garden season.

There is not much known definitively about Saint Patrick. He was active in Ireland in the fifth century. What I appreciate most about the story that is known, is that Patrick having been kidnapped from home as a teenager, forced into slavery, embraced faith. Went home, offered himself to God and ended up back among those who had abused him. There is some evidence that he disliked the Irish (and why wouldn’t he since they had kidnapped and enslaved him) and then his heart was changed and he grew to love the people he served in Ireland.

For the non-Irish, or the non-partiers, this is the day set aside to plant potatoes. Now you just can’t plant potatoes, they have to be cut at least a couple of days in advance so that the they can harden up a bit before they are put in the soil. Mine looked like this before I put them in the ground.


There are a few pink, some russet and yukon gold and they went in the ground this afternoon. Now there isn’t anything really sacred about planting potatoes on or before Saint Patrick’s Day, it is an old tradition. Sometimes, if the truth be told, my potatoes don’t get in the ground before mid April. But the weather has been lovely and garden has been calling me to dig in the dirt. So after work today, we spent a few minutes putting the potatoes in the ground.

For supper, we didn’t have corned beef and cabbage, but we did have potatoes in honor of the day. Saint Patrick had nothing to say about potatoes or gardens in his writing, but what little he did leave behind included a lovely prayer called St. Patrick’s Breastplate. It’s one of my favorite prayers. It has been put to music and I share it here.

I Arise Today

A portion of that prayer :

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.
I bind to myself today
God’s Power to guide me,
God’s Might to uphold me,
God’s Wisdom to teach me,
God’s Eye to watch over me,
God’s Ear to hear me,
God’s Word to give me speech,
God’s Hand to guide me,
God’s Way to lie before me,
God’s Shield to shelter me,
God’s Host to secure me,
+ + + + + + +
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + 
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

On this night, I am grateful for the One who is on my right, my left, before me and behind. I am graced to serve.


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Giving Up for Lent: Lack of Counsel and Impurity

I decided to put these two together because I was behind from last week and it just made sense to me.  The list come from the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherds list of forty things to give up for Lent.  These two are related because it seems obvious to me that “impurity” however one defines it often comes from a lack of counsel.


As I look at the “lack of counsel” this points to the tendency to be a Lone Ranger and to not seek advice for both personal and business decisions. More often, I have observed, that when people are hiding for lack of a better word “impure” parts of their life, they often withdraw from any wise counsel might receive. They no longer hang out with friends and self isolate in order not to be questioned or to be caught.

It becomes a vicious circle. Isolation, lack of counsel and then one stumbles and falls into ones own weakness: whether is be an affair, lack of financial integrity, addiction issues.  Much of this is driven by fear, fear of not being perfect, fear of being found out, fear of not being enough.

In my Christian tradition, John Wesley wanted everyone involved in a “class.” This group of people met regularly and had a covenant for their personal Christian walk and how they lived their faith out in the world. “How is it with your soul?” was a question everyone was required to answer. With a committed group it was harder to go one’s own way and certainly one was not without “lack of counsel.” Probably one had more counsel than one wanted!

Yet, having close friends, close community makes it more difficult to live a life of impurity however you want to define it. Being “accountable” helps spiritual growth and helps keep one’s integrity intact. So this challenge is to be more connected and vulnerable with people one trusts. In trusting others, it helps keeps us true to ourselves, to our relationships and to our faith.

I am grateful to have a couple of groups where I can be honest and open, be supported and challenged. It means I can have the counsel I need to continue to grow into who God has created me to be. With that community that loves me and challenges me I am graced to serve.

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Giving Up for Lent: Overcommitment

In the forty days of Lent the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd has suggested forty things to give up for Lent. For number ten the author suggests giving up Overcommitment. To quote the author, “Do less better and accomplish more.”


Many of us, certainly I need help with this one. Slowing down and not having a long “to do” list is just plain hard for me. When my children were small and growing up, I was juggling being a full time pastor, mom and wife. Plus there were all the other church and community demands. Days off were few and far between. I tried so hard to be all things to all people. I was multi-tasking, juggling commitments and just trying to keep my head above the water. This was before the 24/7 of the internet and cell phones.


I had not work life balance. Almost everything was work, work, work. I found myself with an office that was more homey than my home. The time came when I realized my children were growing up and I was missing it.

Now even with my mindfulness, I still have issues with overcommitment. Our culture and certainly the church often values what we do by how busy we are. Balance isn’t necessarily considered a value. Yet, we can not do what we do well, when we are so overcommitted we can not get things done. It is truly better to do less better.


How do we do that? By saying no, more than we say yes. Know who and what we are saying yes to in our lives. God, family, self care. When those things are our priority, everything else falls into place. Lent of all seasons make this a little bit more dicey. Yet, the challenge to give up overcommitment is ours today. So, I will continue to check my calendar and commit to less, that I might live faithfully in all that I do. I am truly, graced to serve.

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