God’s Favor

GraceDoes anyone here really understand bitcoin? It is a mystery to most of us, we really don’t know what it is or how it works – we sort of know – it’s like electronic money, right? In any case, we can figure out how to use it. I think it’s theological parallel is grace; the grace that St. Paul talks about in our second reading. “My grace is sufficient for you.” It’s short, sweet and to the point. Three times St Paul asked and the answer was essentially “No.” But grace is sufficient…. If he can figure out how to use it.

In Bible studies this passage always raises lots of questions. In the course of the dialogue I have always been struck by language we use surrounding the topic: sanctifying grace, actual grace, habitual grace, prevenient grace, sacramental grace, get grace, lose grace, fall from grace, a state of grace and more. Grace is part of the mystery of God and so we humans will ever want to describe it, categorize it, tame it, corral it – all in hopes we can discreetly and definitively understand grace. But it is a mystery. Continue reading


letter-homeThe world is a much smaller, more connected place.  Times change, technology changes, and it unfolds in different experiences. In an earlier post, A Persistent Memory, I mentioned that back in 1960 or so the Maryknoll missioners relied on letters and a trip home every 10 years or so. Today the Franciscan Lay Missioners live among the poor and disenfranchised – but that does not mean there is no internet or cell phones. The missioners report and communicate on social media, email, and so are able to connect the people where they live with people back at home in the United States. I served in the between times. Transportation was more easily facilitated, there was the possibility of telephone communications (most days only the possibility), and there were not any internet cafes. One communicated by hand written letters. The “turnaround time” between posting a letter to home and receiving a reply was 5 to 6 weeks. One adjusts to that schedule in ebb and flow of the everyday, but there are times when you want to reply immediately. There are times when you need information, decisions, and advice. Then 5-6 weeks is an eternity. Continue reading

Freedom and Choice

freedom-pastor-col-0705OK, pop quiz time. Who were the “Freedom Riders?” My random (and quite small) sample yielded some interesting answers. The most common was a speculation that it was an organized motorcycle ride akin to the “Rolling Thunder” ride in Washington D.C. around Memorial Day. As it turns out the initial “Rolling Thunder” ride was officially titled “Ride for Freedom.” These rides are a way to bring full accountability for prisoners of war (POWs) and missing in action (MIA) service members of all U.S. wars. It was a good guess and in their way, the Rolling Thunder rides honor those who struggled to preserve our freedom. But they are not the “Freedom Riders.”

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