You’ve got to be kidding … (Transfiguration)

President’s Day Quote “God always answers prayers. Sometimes it’s ‘yes.’ Sometimes the answer is ‘no.’ Sometimes it’s ‘you gotta be kidding.’” Jimmy Carter

“You’ve got to be kidding,”
says Elijah to Moses, “pick him?
His beard doesn’t grow at the same rate
on both sides,
he’s a sucker for whores,
loves enemies,
waits too long to help friends.

He has those clueless followers,
then favoritism, choosing only three
to bring up here.”

“You’ve got to be kidding,”
says Moses to Elijah — “a cross?

Mount Nebo gave me
some perspective on it all
and with sweet chariots you had
a media event.
Even three booths is not a bad idea —
better than temporary shine,
no one knows about

on a failed carpenter,
a stuttering leader,
most of whose commandments
are longer than a tweet,
a prophet famous for running away
and eating bird food,
some fishers on dry land,

a peanut farmer,
refugees, water protectors,
also you and me.

You’ve got to be kidding.

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A Prayer for the Oroville Dam

and people I love who never knew there could be such cracks220px-orovilledam

When the rains come
after the long drought and the emptiness
of reservoirs,
may the walls hold,
may the spillways tame the floods,
may those who welcome
the evacuees do so like the wedding-givers
of Leotta and Henry
at the Placer County fairgrounds
on valentine’s day,
and may there be a returning home.

Whatever the crisis– cancer
or grief, the too early birth of a child,
a diagnosis of dementia,
the flight of refugees from the drones of war,
or the immigrant from ICE,
the loss of a job or a house,
a friendship or sobriety.

Whatever the crisis —
a college rejection
or a diamond ring unwanted,
being bullied,
or your child being bullied,
rape or blaming the survivor,
narcan too late,
or simply
the loneliness of the ninth decade.

When the rains come
may somebody
find you a wedding gown and a suit,
and people work all night long,
to lower the water levels
and save the life you have
on your own Feather River.


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Warnings … why we need to break the silence

My thanks to Moira Finley for allowing me to print the poem written last week called “Warnings” but also my thanks for her ministry to each of us and all of our culture about violence against women. Has your community of faith had “Break the Silence Sunday … Saturday … Friday?” Moira gives this as her biography.

Moira Finley is a the pastor of two U.C.C. congregations in rural northern Wisconsin, a poet, and a rape survivor.Originally from New Mexico, she attended seminary at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA. She believes that each person’s story matters, that there is great healing in having our stories heard with listening and compassionate hearts, and that we are each called to work together to integrate our stories with our faith journey. She is passionate about working for justice, and helping the church respond to the needs of survivors of sexual violence.She loves to garden, read (mostly British mysteries), spend time with friends, snuggle her kittens, and paint. You can contact Moira at and learn more about her work on behalf of survivors of sexual violence here

“Warnings” by Moira Finley, 10 February 2017

On Tuesday February 7th, 2017 the U.S. Senate was debating the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions (R – AL)for the position of Attorney General. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D – MA) attempted to read a letter from Coretta Scott King into the senate record. The letter, written when Senator Sessions was being considered for a position as a federal judge in the U.S. District Court of Southern Alabama in 1986. Senator Warren was silenced under Senate Rule 19, and barred from speaking further during the debate on Senator Sessions’ confirmation. During the remainder of the debate Senator Bernie Sanders (I – VT), Senator Tom Udall (D – NM), Senator Sherrod Brown (D – OH), and Senator Jeff Merkley (D – OR) were all able to read the letter, or portions thereof, into the senate record without interruption. They are all men. In responding to the silencing of Senator Warren, Senator Mitch McConnell (R – KY), who is Senate Majority Leader, said “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” Senator Sessions was later confirmed by a vote of 52-47.

I warned you, he said,
throwing her against the wall,
the children were being too loud;

I warned you, he said,
breaking her favourite things,
dinner was five minutes late;

I warned you, he said,
drawing a knife across her throat,
it’s your fault I lost my job;

I warned you, he said,
taking all her money,
don’t talk to strangers at the grocery.

We warned you, the judge said,
he couldn’t help it,
you led him on,
what did you think would happen,
why are you trying to ruin his life,
boys will be boys.

We warned you…
don’t talk about it;
don’t go out after dark;
good girls don’t drink;
keep your legs closed.

We warned you…
lose weight;
wear makeup,
but not that much;
wait until you’re married;
real women don’t do that.

We warned you…
you have no rights here,
it’s a man’s world,
you’re just decoration,
no matter your brains.

We warned you…
keep quiet,
don’t embarrass us,
don’t speak out of turn,
know your place.

We warned you,
and you didn’t listen,
so you suffer at our hands,
and still you don’t learn,
your daughters,
and sisters,
your nieces,
and friends,
keep raising their voices,
petitioning for the rights
they were born with,
a self-evident equality
from men
whose hearts are full of fear,
too scared
to open their hands,
and share.

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Taking it seriously – Matthew 5: 38-47

Love your enemies and pray for them,
and I want to start by saying –
I love Muslims and immigrants and
black lives and folks who are gender queer.
Of course, I do –
and I am trying to get credit
loving someone else’s named enemies,
when I am pretty sure Jesus
is asking me to do a hard thing.

Love Betsy Vos,
and pray that she sits down
among public school teachers and children
and truly listens to them.
Love Rick Perry,
and pray that his dancing with the stars
will teach him to walk faithfully
on the warming earth.
Love Mike Pompeo,
and pray that Christ hold out to him
the very print of the nails
and he turn away from torture.
Love Steven Mnuchin,
and pray that all the foreclosures
of his past teach him to
be secretary of a life-giving treasure.
Love Ben Carson,
and pray that he listen to
experts on housing
and memories of childhood.
Love Scott Pruitt,
and pray for his environment
inside and out.
Love James Mattis,
and pray that he never take pleasure
in shooting anyone.

Love Jeffrey Sessions and Steve Bannon,
Rex Tillerson, Jared Kushner,
and Donald Trump,
who feel to me
very much like enemies.

These are the ones who strike the face
of my grandchildren’s future.

Jesus says,
pray for them a cloak’s worth,
pray for them a second mile’s worth.
Pray for all of us
(for I don’t have a clue how to be perfect) —
a new heart.

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Walls or Hugs — A message to the United States from Argentina

A poem for the United States posted originally in Red Crearte by Gerardo Oberman. It makes me weep. It also makes me hope.This is a new translation by Muftiah Martin Kimiti.

Walls or hugs

Build your wall.
We will climb over it
and embrace you like a brother, like a sister.

Dig your moat.
We will cross somehow
and share with you our bread and our wine.

Lock yourself inside your little world of privileges.
We will open the bars and we will teach you the happiness that generates coexistence.

Widen the crack.
We will learn to build bridges and speak to you of diversity.

Get drunk on your fears.
We will not drink from that cup, but from one which overflows with solidarity.

Drug yourself with more consumerism.
Perhaps someday you will discover that mere accumulation is not sufficient to achieve abundance.

Justify yourself in your religion.
We will invite you to sing songs of encounter, of freedom, of life, of justice, of peace.

Build a temple for your exclusive faith.
And we will tell you of the God of Jesus, of open paths and broad horizons.

Spit your xenophobic venom.
We will continue to believe in the richness of colors and nuances.

Build your wall.
Use your power, your strength, your money.
Make transparent your rancor, your fears, your soul empty of compassion.
Make evident your intentions of a world for few people.

Your hate won’t transform us,
We will not justify your violence,
We will not make your speech ours,
We will not return insult for insult,
We will not become like you…

Build your wall.
One, two, three. As many as you want.
And we will climb those walls, all the walls, every wall.
Over and over again.
And we will come to meet you and embrace you.
We will look for cracks and will persist in sowing in them
seeds of love and tenderness,
those able to make new worlds bloom,
where there is room for all of us.Gerardo Carlos C. Oberman, 2017

La Crearte Network is an open, ecumenical, independent and non-profit space, born in 2004 based on the concerns of a distinguished group of people with extensive experience and experience in the subject. It contributes to the creation and socialization of contextual liturgical and musical resources from a Latin American and ecumenical perspective. It also offers advice, training and accompaniment to churches and ecumenical organizations in the world.

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The depth of love

Larry Trent has shared this poem written by. Yosimar Reyes, a graduate of San Francisco State Univ. in creative writing and a person without documents for legal citizenship in the United States. I asked Larry whether it was safe to post this blog with that information and he replied, “Yes you can say he is undocumented. He is undocumented and unafraid.”

Mami prays for me every night
That god might change the hearts and minds
Of people that hate me
Because I was born in a skin
A country
A place
They in their own paranoia
Have deemed developing
Mami prays that besides all adversities
I will triumph
I want to tell Mami
That she is my god
For she has taught me about
All that the human spirit can endure
She has taught me
That law after law
Heartbreak after heartbreak
I can still laugh
I can still love
I can remain human
Mami prays for me
So this country could love me
But who needs a country
When all the home I need is her.



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A Valentine’s Message by LL Kroouze DuBreuil

LL Kroouze DuBreuil shared this meditation when handing out hearts with the safety pins so many of us wear to quietly name that we are safe people for those who may feel vulnerable because of race, faith, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation.


There Is No Such Thing as a “Safe Heart”

When I was a teen, my heart was broken for the first time. No, not by some unrequited crush, but when my beloved cat died. I wept bitterly and was inconsolable for some time.
Friends gave me advice, simple advice: If it hurts so much to lose a cat, don’t get another cat! A few weeks later I went to my uncle’s barn, saw a sweet ginger kitten, and fell in love again. Turns out that the balm for a broken heart is to open it again to love. There is no such thing as a safe heart. Taking a chance and loving leads to a pain in my heart. Lesson learned. But loving with all my heart is worth it. Better lesson learned.

God opens God’s heart and loves us. We have broken that sacred heart time and time again. Yet God renews love for us time and time again. Even when we nailed God’s love to a cross, we were loved. Even when we turned away people seeking refuge, we were loved. Even when we idolize the profane and reject the sacred, we are loved.

I have loved too well and too foolishly. I have given my heart only to have it given back pierced and torn. I have loved and lost. Yet I choose to love again. I choose to love even when there is no such thing as a “safe heart.”


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