Saturday, January 31, 2015

Immigration: a Lutheran Perspective

Immigration reform continues to be a hot-button issue in many
segments of our society, so I was particularly gratified to find
an article on the subject in the latest issue of our denominational
publication, The Lutheran. Written by Jose David Rodriquez, a
professor of global mission and world Christianity at the Lutheran
School of theology in Chicago, the article includes the following
information (which I quote):

On Nov.14, 2009, the ELCA Church Council approved a social
policy resolution regarding immigration, "Toward Compassionate,
Just, and Wise Immigration Reform". The text reflects the rich
legacy of the Lutheran church's concern for the neighbor, 
particularly the uprooted, the alien, and the stranger. The biblical
and theological donations for the resolution lie in core
commitments based on hospitality for the displaced as a means
to practice the gospel's call to live our neighbor in response to 
God's love in Christ.

Rodriquez goes on to say that, following President Barack
Obama's address to the nation on immigration in Nov. 2014,
the ELCA Conference of Bishops stated: "As people of faith and
leaders of the church, we support public policy that protects
children, reunites families, and cares for the most vulnerable,
regardless of their place of birth."

And then he includes these prophetic words of Bishop Wayne
Miller of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod which, Rodriquez affirms,
capture "in a significant way the relevance of solid theological
foundations for addressing the challenge of immigration reform
today from a Lutheran perspective":
     I believe the time has come, perhaps in a special way for us 
as Lutheran Christians, to reassert the fact that our attitudes
toward the stranger, and toward all who are vulnerable or
marginalized, are a matter of primary confessional theology
rather than being a question elective etiquette...In a growing 
number of states, anti-immigration legislation...and the way
[laws] are being enforced, have created a condition of persecution...
These laws now represent a denial of the Cross and the gospel 
of universal freedom for vocation, and, thereby, drive the issue, 
for Lutherans, toward Status Confessionis (be in a state of confession),
meaning that silence, compliance, and indifference become apostasy.

All of which is saying that, for those of us who sit at the table
marked "Lutheran", the failure to speak out on issues of justice is
simply- and uncomfortably- not acceptable, is a denial of our
professed commitment to LIVING OUT the welcoming, accepting,
grace-filled love of God shown to us in Jesus the Christ.

And, in spite of my lengthy love-hate relationship with organized
religion, this is one of the reasons I am still a Lutheran. Here I stand.
I  cannot do otherwise.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cheap Gas-at What Price?

I must confess that purchasing gas at $2.04 per gallon has been
giving me a frisson of delight lately, helping to stretch my Social
Security monthly "raise" of $29 for 2015 just a little bit further.
And as I'm trying to be truly and deliberately frugal this year in
order to save for a 2016 trip to Africa, most likely my last to that
beautiful and much loved but far-away place. So one part of me
is rejoicing, truly relishing the money saved.

But another part of me- the responsible, environmentally-
concerned part, the part that cares deeply about the care of this
benighted planet which is our home- can't help but ask what
the price of these low prices really is. The proposed Keystone
pipeline, fracking, expanded off-shore drilling all have or will
have a detrimental effect on our "home", yours and mine. And
what is even more important to me is the question of what kind
of environmental legacy we will be leaving to our grandchildren
and future generations. When they look back at what we have
done, at the collective decisions for which we have been
responsible, will they be grateful- or will they be forced to
wallow in the mess and muck we have bequeathed to them?

The lower prices at the pump are nice; indeed, they are. But I
for one am willing to pay more if it means the protection of
our fragile environment, if it means that my grandchildren and
their children-and yours- will have a place of beauty and safety
with clean water and clean air in which to live and grow and thrive.
I believe that is my responsibility. I believe it is our collective
responsibility as citizens of this amazing world...which will
remain amazing only if we take its care and stewardship as both
a responsibility and a privilege. I'm willing to do my part. And you?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Morning Meditation...

Morning blessing...
Attention rides on the breath
In   Out   Slowly   Deeply
Opening as the petals of a flower
To receive the dew-filled blessing
     of the day  
In   Out   Slowly   Deeply
Sinking deeper, ever deeper, into the earth
Rooted, firm, connected
In   Out   Slowly   Deeply
Arms spread wide, reaching high
     toward the sky
Perhaps to fly, at least to dare
In   Out   Slowly   Deeply
Settling into the peacefulness of
     being fully at rest
Here     Now    At this moment