"Precious in the sight of the Lord"

is the death of his saints

Charlotte Macy (left, above) and Dorothy Barratt (R) were recorded and released ministers.  Charlotte died in January 1977. Dorothy was reunited with her on Sunday night this week. They pastored churches in Oregon and Iowa individually and together. They literally built Silverton Friends Church. They lived in Rockaway Beach and were instrumental in the building of Twin Rocks Camp. Dorothy had a life long dedication to Christian Education. Dorothy was a member of Newberg Friends Church, and her memorial will be there on April 9.

This reporter did a series of interviews with Dorothy in 2001 and 2002. I was impressed with Dorothy's single minded devotion to her understanding of building God's Kingdom. She had holy boldness and the stamina to back it up.

I wonder if we are making young ministers at the rate we are losing them. I wonder if any of us have the strength of these early pioneers.



And Fit Us For Heaven...

A  Review of “Love Wins” by Rob Bell.

He told CNN the other day that he wasn’t a universalist. He was quibbling.

He probably meant that he believes that Jesus Christ is the only way to Eternal Life, which makes him a Christian. He also believes that Jesus will grant/has granted eternal life to all who want it, now or at any time in the ages to come, without conditions, and that all eventually will. That makes him a Christian Universalist. Quibbler. Fortunately there is no quibbling in his new book.  No hairs are split, no pin-angels counted. It is a straight forward, compelling exposition of a generous, optimistic, realistic, sane view of God and God’s people.

It is not going to convince anyone who is already opposed to it.  If you like the idea of eternal conscious torment, it won’t do. If you like the door to Grace being slammed shut with your last breath, don’t bother. If you need Jesus to save you from His pissed off Father who happens to be His alter ego, then don’t waste your money on this book.

What this book will do is embolden many who have already rejected those ideas but have not had the nerve to say so. And it will open doors and windows to others who “Like your Jesus but can’t stand Christians, thank you very much.” 

This message and this messenger have the potential to divide the evangelicals from the fundamentalists. It may be a tipping point.

If you can’t tell an evangelical from a fundamentalist you might want to read this book. He is the first, he is not the latter. He continually makes room for people who see it differently from him. He acknowledges all the other metaphors even when he has a favorite. He knows what a metaphor is. My favorite sentence in the book is, speaking of the book of Revelation,    “... it’s important that we don’t get too hung up on details and specific images because it’s possible to treat something so literally that it becomes less true in the process.” (pg 114)

If you have never met an evangelical Christian that you liked, and don’t intend to start liking them now, move along. He’s accessible and likable and he probably will not win you over.

If you liked his videos, you will love the book. If the videos annoyed you with their slick hipsterness, you can read the book without seeing the glasses and hearing the background music. If you are a font geek or a book design geek, you may want to have someone read it to you. Serious academics may not be impressed - I wouldn’t know.

Don’t really wanna give you the Cliff Notes, I want you to read it, but

  • ·       His Jesus is divine
  • ·       His eschatology is realizing
  • ·       Here and now is more important than the sweet by and by
  • ·       The purpose of being good in this life is goodness
  • ·       Heaven is a restoration
  •           Hell is an optional way station that is not about punishment
  • ·       Good Friday and Easter morning matter
  • ·       He doesn’t mollycoddle or ignore the reality of sin
  • ·       He’s done his Bible homework
  • ·       He reads his Bible like T. Vail Palmer reads his Bible

    But my personal favorite thing about his book is something that he ignores. 
    With intention - I believe.

    He is an evangelical preacher talking about Life and Death and Heaven and Hell and he never once even alludes to any “End Times.”  He completely ignores John Darby and all his made-up dispensationalist nonsense. He talks about getting people clean water, not preparing for a rapture. He talks about the hell of sex-trafficking not when a great tribulation will happen. It’s like he doesn’t even care. Hallelujah. If he doesn’t care then maybe his multitudes of church goers won’t care. Maybe the younger generation of evangelicals will stop caring. Maybe they will fund clean water not Christian Zionist schemes. Maybe if they stop expecting Armageddons they won’t make one. Maybe they will see that the only Antichrists are the oppressors of the poor. Maybe we can leave the end of the world malarkey to Harold Camping and Fred Phelps and the other loonies and haters. Where it belongs.

    Bell’s view of God is supernatural and optimistic. His view of humanity is realistic and optimistic.

    I like it.

    All of it.



    WOW - Rob Bell actually is a heretic!

    I have his book right here in my hands.

    It is completely set in a non-serif font.
    Which I was told you could NEVER do in the body of the text.

    And he doesn't write in paragraph form.
    Not even sentences.

    And  HarperOne let him do it.
    So they are probably going to book design Hell too.
    And me.

    I'm ruined.
    Never gonna touch a serif again.



    So There I Was ...

    Being irradiated. It was pretty impressive. I entered the room with the yellow triangle warning signs. I waited for the tech. When he entered he was wearing a lead apron and carrying a lead box. I asked “How come I don’t get a lead apron?” “Wouldn’t do much good since we are injecting the stuff into you.” He put on lead lined gloves and opened the box. He took out a syringe. I was wondering how good of an idea this was as he injected me with radio isotopes. “Okay, sit a while and I will come back and check you.” He said as he put the syringe carefully back into the lead box and walked carefully out of the room.

    He came back after a while with a Geiger-counter. A regular old Geiger-counter. He held it up to my chest - nothing. He held it up to my neck. Man, don’t we all know that fast ticka-ticka-ticka sound from old sci-fi movies. He wrote down his readings.

    “Okay you can go now; the doctor will call you in a day or so.”
     “Um, how long am I going to be radioactive?”
    “Ah, you’ll pee it out in a day or two.”
    “So I’m not a danger to my babies or anything, right?”
    “Oh, heck, no”
    “Then why did you need a lead apron?”
    “Cause I handle this stuff all day long every day, and hope to do so for a long career - over caution - don’t sweat it - ok?”

    Oooo - kay.

    See, I have thyroid disease. They were checking me for Thyroid cancer. Ironically with exactly the thing that most likely causes Thyroid cancer. Radiation.

    Hair of the Dog. If dogs glow in the dark.

    Although no one can prove it in the specific, I probably came to need that test due to the fact that I was female, born in 1957 and lived through my childhood in the US Midwest consuming copious quantities of cow’s milk. Cow’s milk that came from cows that ate grass contaminated by a series of open air Nuke tests in Nevada. My mother would not have approved, but she didn’t know. The cases of thyroid disease among my peers is dose-correlated to childhood milk consumption. Thanks.

    It turned out that I did not have cancer, just hypothyroidism, and I take a little blue pill of synthetic thyroid hormone every day for the rest of my life.

    And you know what. I am ok with that.

    I could be pissed off, paranoid, radicalized. But I’m not. I want them to do better for my kids than they did for me, and I think they mostly do. I want them to do better for my grand kids, and I think they will. Because in my experience, people learn. It is our Charism. We screw up, and run ahead of ourselves and our Guide, and we cut corners, and we cover up, and we suffer for all that. Sometimes we suffer terribly. But we learn. And we do better.

    And I trust scientists, and engineers, and nuke plant workers with kids. Greed trumps conscience sometimes, maybe often. But sometimes it doesn’t. I trust whistler-blowers. I trust activists, even though I am not one. Some people have a call.

    Yesterday, in Portland, when they got a Federal Official and a State Official and a City Official and the local Sheriff all up for the TV’s and they all said “Chill, people - we’re ok for now - and if that changes we will tell you.”  I believed them. Because I don’t think you could get them all to lie at the same time in the same way. And if something so God-awful happened that they couldn’t save any of us, and they decided not to scare us, then I would be OK with that too. Cause in that case, I would not want to know.

    There are things that I do want to know. Like how much radiation was in that Thyroid test. It was certainly the scariest test I ever had. But I looked it up - .03 millisieverts. Turns out the four years I lived in Santa Fe at 7,000 feet gave me 6 milliseiverts per year. The other 47 years of my life I have gotten at least 3 mSv per year. My yearly Mammogram .7 mSv. I have had two CAT scans at 2 mSv each - much higher than the injection. It takes 400 mSv per hour to acutely affect your health and acute radiation sickness starts at a 1,000 mSv burst. The people of Japan aren’t getting anything like that - yet - God save them. The workers volunteering to go into that plant might be, God bless them. 

    I want to know about these things because some of them I can control, and some I can’t. But as much as possible, I want to be an informed volunteer of my own life.

    I also want to know what they learned from Chernobyl and Three-mile Island, and what they will learn from Fukushima. And I want them to apply it right now, and into the future to Diablo Canyon, and all the others. But I don’t need them to shut them all down. ‘Cause radiation in itself does not scare me.  Radiation happens. I’ve also had a small skin cancer removed. Probably from those sunny days in Santa Fe - perfectly natural and organic. Risks happen. We are all going to die of something, and I may die of cancer, but I may not. And the scientists may save me from my  natural or unnatural radiation-caused cancer with a dose of Hair of the Dog radiation therapy. Or I might not let them. And I am ok with that too.

    Because my life today is good. And Love is a strong power, and cannot be stopped by lead shields or pools of water. And I am not my body.  And God is over all. And people are glorious. And when our old scary plate-tectonic Earth shakes us all to heck, we help each other. And when our science trips us up, we learn. And some of us risk all to try and save others. And I believe in that. I choose to trust.


    Annual Clivia Report

    Father's Clivia bloomed for Ash Wednesday, or maybe it was Mardi Gras - they do look like a party!

    These are the first three blooms, I say that because both the mother plant and the twin pups have a second bloom stalk coming along. That is SIX blooms.

    The earliest they have ever bloomed was Valentines Day in 07 - I was in Africa at the time.

    Three years they have bloomed for holy week 06, 08, 09.  The last two years they have bloomed for Ash Wednesday.

    The blooms are fairly long lasting, so I am wondering how long during Lent they will bloom this year. The entire Holy Season?




    One of the things that is true about Freedom Friends, and most Quaker meetings is that Visitors always change a meeting for Worship. In a MegaChurch or even the Catholic Mass, what happens up front is not much changed by who is sitting int he pews on any Sunday. This is not true with us. This morning we were rich in visitors. Vail and Izzy welcomed friends Jim and Marilyn from the Portland area. And Joe Synder and Pepper attended.

     Pepper is a Canine Friend. She is not our first Canine visitor nor likely to be our last. Her Friend and Master Joe is a animal caretaker and healer. Pepper is a working dog. She helps Joe.

    She is a fine Quaker. She parked herself under a bench, just under my feet, actually. She rested attentively. She was more able to be physically still than most of the human Friends in the room. Joe says she usually sleeps when she is not working but that she always has one ear cocked to hear her name called. She is always ready and excited to work.  She is, I believe as God made her to be. She is also the genetic product of a few millenia of cooperation with humanity.  She is a very healthy and centered pup. There seems to be nothing neurotic about her.

    She is not the shepherd, but she knows his voice. She knows her work. She is happiest when she is about her work, although she is pretty content just to hang with the Shepherd. She had to be trained to her work, although it agrees with her nature.

    She has a lot to teach us.