Archive for February, 2008

Living Locally in Gainesville

Posted: February 26, 2008 in Environment

There is a new blog up about how to “live locally” here in Gainesville. Kelli from the Gainesville Catholic Worker recently started it. It has information intended to help people shop locally, grow locally, etc.

check it out!

The Zen Wisdom of Jesus and Buddha

Posted: February 17, 2008 in spirituality

I just read a really interesting sermon about the similarities of Jesus and Siddhartha (the Buddha). But it’s not one of those cheesy parallel sayings things. Gary Cagle, who originally delivered this piece to his Unitarian Universalist congregation, goes a little into the history of Buddhism and how it may have influenced Jesus’ thought. The sermon is really well done and very interesting. It really touches on the heart of Christianity and of Zen Buddhism.
Give it a read:

The Zen Wisdom of Jesus and Buddha

Sodom and Gomorra

Posted: February 16, 2008 in theology

The story of Sodom and Gomorra in the Hebrew Bible is one of the passages most used to condemn homosexuality. When I first began to research this topic, and specifically what the Bible has to say about it, I read this story. I had just started going to the Presbyterian and Disciples Student Center at UF, and they were beginning a bible study series on homosexuality and the Bible. As we read through the story on that day, I was shocked, as were a few others, to find that the story is just not about homosexuality. It’s about a town who would not welcome traveling guests. In fact, they were brutally unwelcoming so much so that they raped the guests to humiliate them. Sodom was a town of abundance. It was a town that didn’t feel the need to live in the world as brothers and sisters. It was a town that felt all it’s needs were already met, so to them, relying on strangers was a weakness. I’ve been wanting to post this for a while. A passage out of Ezekiel tells about the “sin of Sodom.,” and it seems that the Sodom story reveals more about America’s sin, than the sin of “the homosexuals.”

Listen to what Ezekiel 16:48–49 says:
“This is the sin of Sodom; she and her suburbs had pride, excess of food, and pros-
perous ease, but did not help or encourage the poor and needy.
They were arrogant and this was abominable in God’s eyes.”

Debts and Debtors

Posted: February 12, 2008 in theology

It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged anything. I get burnt out on the same routine sometimes and need to spice things up. This time around it meant staying away from this life-sucking machine (my computer) for a couple weeks.

Random thought for today:

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray, “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” For those who understand Jesus’ message to be primarily political, as I do, this comes across as an economic prayer- not as one about sins and moral shortcomings, but one about financial shortcomings. “Oh God, these financial burdens imposed on us by the political elites are killing us! Take them away. We promise to not treat our neighbors with same ferocity that they are treating us with.” It echos the parable about the landowner who, once his debts were forgiven, demanded that his servants pay all theirs immediately. The gospel is political. Right after Jesus scolded the Pharisees for devouring widows by their financial demands, a widow came to Jesus to offer her last coin. Perhaps the new testament writers penned these stories side by side to prove Jesus’ point. My challenge to you and to myself is to read the gospels with political and economic eyes. It’s a whole different story when we do. It’s a gospel of liberation from that which oppresses. It’s Jesus plea to the Jewish people to serve the God of compassion, not the lords of Rome. It’s the story of Jesus freeing the slaves, setting the prisoners free, clothing the naked, feeding the poor, and by doing so, creating a just society in the midst of oppression- the kingdom on God.