Just returned from a nice vacation with family out at the Flying E Ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona. If you're looking for good food, riding, and desert scenery, look no further!
I used this vacation to get centered, to do some reading, and largely not to think a whole heck of a lot. The latter part, I failed, but some good things came of it. I am reading Marcus Borg's Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary and it really has helped me come to an understanding. I came in very progressive and was labeled "fierce" by my advising committee. Some of that edge has come off, and the passion has subsided for a while, but I feel it coming back, and that is an excellent thing! Borg's book has helped with that, and I'll provide a review later on.
Another thing to note is that I will be ending this blog in June 2010. I will leave this blog up for posterity's sake, but this blog is about my journey to and through seminary. That journey ends on May 15, 2010. So i have about a month left and need to focus on all of that. I'll be wrapping this blog up and providing some insights and some favorite posts over the years. I will continue blogging, but in another guise. I am taking the good advice of Sabio and my wife. See, an atheist and a pastor's wife do have something in common! :-) i'll be anonymous but i think y'all know who i'll be. i'm not too subtle. So keep your eyes peeled in the near future.
I look forward to catching up on the bloggings that have happened since I left, and i will leave you with reflection and prayer I gave on Easter morning in the desert at the Flying ~E~ but updated for this audience and format:
What is this Sunday about?
Well, if you're a naturalist, you see that the desert is starting to bloom. The hedgehog cacti are just starting to sprout their purple flowers, the ocatillo their orange flowers, and all sorts of little ones like the Chia are sprouting up. For those of us who go back east soon, we'll find that the dogwoods are out, the tulips and crocuses are out and spring has sprung, once again reminding us that the life of spring has triumphed over the death of winter. New life has come.
If you're Jewish, you are celebrating your week long Passover. This is a reminder that your ancestors threw off the bondage of their old life and took on a new one of being free. This life involved a lot of uncertainties, and Moses didn't even live to see the Promised Land--he only glimpsed it, but it was worth it. The new life of freedom is remembered and celebrated.
If you're Christian, well, have we got a story to tell you. This is where new life has triumphed over sin and death. Christians do not have to be afraid of dying anymore but can live a life of service and radical love, free from the fear of death and dying. New life is ours to have if we are bold enough to take it.
With this in mind, let us pray:
God, we thank you for the gift of new life. We thank you for the many chances we get, the opportunities to grow and change, to learn and re-learn. We look forward to your insights as they come to us or as we figure them out after long hard hours of studying. Guide us in our conversations, help our words reflect our intent and our meaning, may they be met with grace and love. Above all, we thank you for new life, and we ask for the courage and strength to take it and live it to the fullest, to the benefit of all we meet. In your many names we pray, Amen.