Good News, January 19, 2012

Friends:

“Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.”  (Martin Luther King)

Bible 365 concludes this Sunday and Pr. Elizabeth will be our preacher.  Her homily theme will be:  “Why I am still a devout Christian after being thoroughly deconstructed theologically and having every last shred of magical thinking wrenched from my hands by Bible instructors like….Pr. Elizabeth.” It will be a kind of Love Letter – and a joyful opportunity for people of faith who think, care, question and commit.

From our Seminarian Brenda Bos:

Tomorrow (1/12) will be the end of the first week of the PLTS cross-cultural immersion in Los Angeles.  17 of us come from PLTS, 2 from other schools in the GTU and 2 from Luther Seminary in Minnesota.  Emily Truby-Weller is also here.   We spent the first 4 days among the people of Holy Trinity Lutheran, a vibrant congregation of African descent.  We enjoyed their spirited worship service which included lots of singing and proclamation.  They have a terrific youth dance troupe and a gospel choir which several of us joined by standing up out of our pews, much to the surprise and delight of the congregation.

We are now living with Spanish-speaking families in working class neighborhoods.  We attend three hours of Spanish class every morning, and will visit various programs of local congregations and social service organizations over the next 10 days.  We are tired, but well cared for and learning so much about the different congregations in Los Angeles.

(1/16)We attended a poetry slam given by the homeless on Thursday night in a theater space downtown Los Angeles.  The poems were intense, full of talent and truth and amazing.  I learned a lot about the witness of those who have a very different life than us, including serious mental illness.  Friday we attended a hip hop church, put on by the youth of several African descent congregations.  It was spirit-filled, including a delightful “Bible Feud” game show, liturgical dance, rap and a sermon in spoken word poetry by a 15 year old which was breathtaking.  God moves in the ways each community needs.

Seminarian John Brett will begin working with us in February when Brenda returns to us as well.

Katherine Beeler reports from the Youth Group’s visit to the Open Cathedral – a church for the street people of the Tenderloin in San Francisco sponsored by the Night Ministry (with whom I worked for 10 years):  “It was a good experience for several reasons –  it was a concrete way of seeing both the need and the love that radiate from the Open Cathedral community….someone commented on the way home, ‘I’d never seen anything like that before!’;  it gave the youth a chance to connect as a group outside of church; and it tied in well with conversations about justice and mercy that we’d had earlier in the day.  The focus on ML King during the service at Peace sparked a good discussion about the current racial and economic segregation in the Bay Area and elsewhere- they’re a sharp group!)”

The ANC (African National Congress) celebrates its 100th Anniversary this year.  Did you know we have more black men in prison in the US today than South Africa had in its prisons during the height of apartheid?   What does that mean to us?

Please keep in your prayers:  BJ on the death of her mother, Lisa, Katie, April, Sheila, Diana, those with the flu, and our partners in Nicaragua and South Africa.

When shall the evening gathering of the Women of Peace happen next? If you have suggestions please let me know.

The Art and Spirituality Committee is evolving at Peace.  Here is a comment from Bill Carmel on ‘Spiritual InspirationIt is my opinion that most art comes from a personal spiritual place, something very similar to what Jung called the collective unconscious.  Many artists describe their art experience/process as spiritual, but this is a small part of what interests me.  I want to see art work where the content refers, in a cogent and accessible way, to spiritual ideas.  It is so easy for an artist who makes abstract work to say that he or she had a spiritual experience in the making of it.  While that is fine and valid, I become excited about the piece when it  actually communicates the spiritual ideas to the majority of viewers.  How does one communicate the idea of mystery?  Not so easy.

Our thanks to Lois McGee for delivering our 2nd Gathering of Giving Tree Gifts!

Keep practicing the Abba/Imma Chi Prayer.  30 days of praying/practicing and you will experience a delightful interior shift!

Listen to KCSM (91.1 FM) during the last two weeks of January and you will hear that their Premium Gift for new subscribers is our Jazz at Peace CD! They asked to use it.  We could never afford this kind of promotion throughout the Bay Area.  God is gracious, don’t you think!

Epiphany Blessings,  Pr. Steve