Grandma, Blessing, and My Children

One of my earliest memories of spirituality practiced comes from my Grandma Mary.  Before my family would leave for a trip she would bless my brother and I in Spanish.

When she said the blessing she would first trace a small cross on my forehead, my mouth, and then give me the sign of the cross that Catholics normal do to themselves; forehead, chest and each shoulder. I would then have to kiss the hand that she was blessing me with. I remember my parents blessing me as well as my aunts and uncles.

So, here’s the blessing.

Por la Senal de la Santa Cruz de nuestro enimigos libranos Senor, Dios nuestro. En el nombre del Padre, y del Hijo, y  del Spiritu Santu.

Here it is in English

By the sign of the holy cross deliver us from our enemies Lord, our God. In the name of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Blessing is a tradition that I have done with my children.

When I put my children to bed I trace the cross on their forehead and say, “Remember that you are beloved child of God.”  I then ask my children to bless me.  My youngest usually traces two crosses on my forehead and says says, “You are a beloved daddy of God.” My old traces one cross and says, “I love you daddy.”  These are blessings I carry with me to bed.

Andy Root writes about prayer, “Prayer forces us to see others as persons; it unleashes the metal claw of individualism to see personhood.” I would say that this goes for blessing as well.

Blessing forces me to see my children not as objects but as subjects. It forces me to recognize their personhood.  During the day when have I sinned against my children, I must apologize to them before I can bless them. I must acknowledge that I acted out of line. I have to acknowledge that the sacred space between us has been violated. I have to acknowledge it and restore it before I bless them.  And, then, we are able to share that sacred space again in a blessing.

Even if you are not spiritual or religious, it might be a good idea to bless your children. Tell them that they matter each night, not only to you, but to the divine, and the universe.

 

 

 

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Filed under Ministry Reflections, Parenting, Personal, Uncategorized, Youth Ministry

Mexican Repatriation

The more you know…

Campaigns of mass deportations took place of many Mexicans and Mexican Americans during the 1930s.

After 1931, government agencies undertook well planned deportation campaigns, feeling it was more economical to deport people than have them drain relief sources indefinitely. Coordinators for such initiatives used a variety of approaches. Locally, relief agencies might offer to subsidize the return home for those willing to accept repatriation (or they might threaten others with deportation if they resided in the country illegally; if agreed, officials organized train convoys and escorted the repatriates to the border. Church groups, associations such as the Red Cross, Mexican-American mutual aid societies, and pro-repatriation committees having as the object the humane expulsion of Mexican nationals under their own campaigns, underwrote the cost of the trek to Mexico.

Castillo and De Leon, North To Aztlan (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1996), pg 87.

Unfortunately, what this quotes does not tell you is that legal residents of this country were “repatriated” due to the color of their skin. Some think that up to 60% of those who were deported where American citizens.

Here is a more info to read.

America’s forgotten History of Mexican-American ‘Repatriation’

Here is a scene from a movie I love called Mi Familia/My Family that describes what happened.

 

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CWOB: Reimaging and Revisting

A few years ago I posted a few blogs about Communion with out Baptism (CWOB).  In those posts I took a stance against it. You can read earlier posts in the categories section on the right hand side.

I have been rethinking this position lately. Epistemological humility should be paramount to the pastor/theologian. So, I have decided to reevaluate previously held positions and ask some questions.

Questions I have to answer.

  1. Have the sacraments always been viewed in the same way? We do have two thousand years of history of theological development that has come from the church.
  2. Once Lutheran theology developed it’s understanding of the sacraments, does that mean it can’t be further analyzed and readjusted according to culture, context, and history?  When I think of the atonement and how much we have moved from certain models to the current ones, it makes me think that this could be the case for the sacraments.
  3. Could the church, being led by the Spirit, be moved to re-imagine the connections between the sacraments?
  4. Can all of these questions be answered that is faithful to the witness of the scriptures?

So there…

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Sermon Mark 12:28-44

Mark 12:28-44

One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’ —this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.

While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared,

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet.”’

David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?” And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

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Shared Humanity-Different Faiths

Last month the congregation I serve hosted a lecture series on different faith traditions. It was our contention that with the current political climate and with people not knowing much about different faith traditions, it would be good to hear about them.  So we invited spiritual leaders and/or academics in that religious tradition to come and lecture for a while and take questions.  We hosted 5 traditions: Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Eastern Orthodox, and Lutheran.

This event was a huge success!  We had from 60-100 people attend each event with half of those people being from the wider community.




 

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New Year’s Resolution: Old Fashioned

I thought tonight would be a good night to start my resolution of learning to make cocktails.

When I originally posted my intent of this resolution there was much discussion over how to make an Old Fashioned. So I decided to go with that one first! I have to thank Stacey Cullen for this recipe and instructions! Here are her instructions.

1 sugar cube
2 dashes Angostura orange bitters
2 ounces quality bourbon (I used Rye Whiskey. A suggestion from my friend Zac Stengel)
1 expressed strip of orange rind

Place your sugar cube in your glass, and dash your bitters onto the cube. Muddle until well combined. Pour bourbon on top of muddled sugar and bitters. Add one large ice cube, and give it a stir. Express your orange rind over the surface of the drink, run the rind around the rim of the glass, and place the rind in the drink for aromatics.

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I thought it was pretty nice tasting!

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Cuts, Band Aides, and Rehearsing Pain

A couple of days ago my oldest son cut his back while playing outside.  It seemed deep enough to warrant the cut being cleaned out and a band aide.  Now, my son doesn’t deal too well with the thought of pain.  He freaks out if he knows pain might be coming.  He asked if it would hurt when I cleaned it. I told him that it was only water but that it might hurt a little.  He started to freak out and kept on saying, “This is going to hurt. This is going to hurt.”  This seemed like an opportune time for some wisdom.  I said to him, “Don’t feel the pain before it happens. Maybe instead of telling yourself how much this is going to hurt, you should tell yourself that you can do this.”  He started repeating, “I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.”  After we had finished he told me that it didn’t hurt at all.  Funny how that goes. He built up the pain in his head for no reason.

How many times do we feel the pain before it happens?

It’s not just physical pain, but emotional pain as well.  Have you ever just kept on telling yourself something bad is going to happen in a relationship? Have you ever preemptively pushed someone away because you believed they were going to hurt you? Or, pushed someone away because you believed you were going to hurt them? Have you ever avoided potential conflict because you rehearsed how bad it could go?  Have you ever not enjoyed a moment because you didn’t want to be disappointed later? Are you always waiting for the other shoe to drop?

I believe this is a way of feeling pain before it happens.

Brené Brown in her book, Daring Greatly, writes, ““We’re trying to beat vulnerability to the punch. We don’t want to be blindsided by hurt. We don’t want to be caught off guard, so we literally practice being devastated or never move from self-elected disappointment.”

So, while I try to pass wisdom to my children, I have to remember to listen myself.

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