Good News, 10.02.2008

Friends,

In honor of Saint Francis, Pete Seeger recently composed a new song – “If It Can’t Be Reduced.” It has a verse taken directly from the minutes of the City Council of Berkeley, “If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled, or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned, or removed from production.” Seeger has also recently taken to playing Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” on his banjo.

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Francis. Due to the major Pet Festival and Animal Blessing from 12 – 3 we won’t have a separate blessing for the animals in worship.

Your efforts are needed to help ensure a joyful success for this great event and lift some of the pressure from Kersti and Susanna. 1500 email flyers have gone out to publicize the event; Gary Bogue mentioned it in his column in the CC/San Ramon Times; ARF has sent out 500 emails and will be co-sponsoring this event with us; Stratford School families are in the know; calls are coming into the church requesting details. SO – invite your friends and join the Junior High and High School youth from Peace who are helping put some muscle into the afternoon. It promises to be a great occasion for the furry, feathered, scaly four-legged among us!

Our friend Bob Haines died this past Tuesday. His Memorial Service will be on Saturday, October 18 at 2 pm. Please keep Annie in your prayers.

Several of you requested a copy of the theological reflection I shared from my father during the homily last Sunday. These comments address the financial crisis facing our nation and the spiritual crisis which underlies it. Blessings, Pr. Steve

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I invite you to do some theological reflection on the current national and international “belly-up,” of the financial structure, which has been our national and international pride, now exposed for the hubris (arrogance/greed) at its core; a hubris so pervasive and yet at the same time so hidden to so many, that it continued its cannibalistic ways until it is now devouring the very ones, who gave it birth. Without embarrassment the kings and princes of high finance are now asking their victims to bail them out while at the same time trying to avoid giving an accounting (worthy of the name) to the victims who are bailing them out; thus making them victims twice over, hoping their chicanery and hubris will not be exposed in all its nakedness.

This is no time for rejoicing over the brutal comeuppance of the fiscal lords of the universe, nor should we ignore that “they were hoist on their own petard.” Their fall reminds me of the general who approached the Oracle at Delphi with a question. He was about to embark on a military campaign. He enquired as to how his expedition would turn out. You may remember that the Oracle answered, “You will destroy a great empire.” He did. It was his own empire!

Humanity in general has rejected the notion that our interrelationship is a given at birth; and for us Christians the givenness of our interrelationship is intensified through our baptism into the suffering, the crucifixion, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That brotherhood/sisterhood relationship is jammed into our lives now by the hubristic action, not of the free marketplace, but a marketplace spinning out of control and beyond control, like an automobile driven by a drunken driver. Imagine how we would respond if we could lay this disaster at the feet of one such reckless person. So interconnected are we in our time that mismanagement in a bank in San Francisco, means hardship for a family in Taiwan.

Remember the ancient question from Genesis: Am I my brother/sister’s keeper? Those devasted by this economic disaster know the answer they need to hear. Christ lived the answer into the Economy of Grace.” – Dr. Paul Harms