Soil, Seeds, and Harvest

Gregg Koskela

(Our Thanksgiving service for Newberg Friends Church was at Bauman Auditorium on the George Fox University campus on November 23, 2014. We love sharing community with fresh pressed apple cider and pumpkin donuts, and then worshiping all together instead of in separate services. This year, two of our farmers–David Brown and Lisa McMinn–shared their experience and wisdom to help us think about the connections to giving thanks.)

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Peace Part 5: Peace and Quakerism.

Michael's 'Deep Thoughts'

Quakers are likely best known for embracing the peace testimony.  My Theological response was my own, but it has much in common with Robert Barclay’s response in his Apology.  The language that Friends have used in expressing their official opposition to war has been strong, both historically and currently.  Yearly meetings throughout the world have their official statements against all wars, and many yearly meetings write minutes condemning current wars. Meetings ranging from theologically liberal to fundamentalist offer ‘counter-recruitment’ advice, recommending against military life.  There can be no doubt of the official position.

There is a rather strong streak of individualism among Friends.  Even when there is consensus to oppose all wars and discourage military service, military enlistment among Friends is fairly common.  American Friends have fought  in every war, and with the exception of the revolutionary war, returning soldiers were welcomed back into their meetings.

This confusing relationship with…

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Uganda: A Draft of “the Prohibition of Promotion of Unnatural Sexual Practices Bill” – 29th October 2014

MinBane

PPUSP

Today I will release a draft of a law called:‘the Prohibition of Promotion of Unnatural Sexual Practices Bill 2014’. This draft was 29th October. It must be seen as a continuation of the 2009 “Anti-Gay bill” that became Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014. Not that I have cared much about it, because I see the bigger picture. By all means no prosecution of any person is right or deemed fair, unless your proven guilty by rule of law. This law in the end didn’t get passed because of the Criminal Court of Uganda ruled the law invalid. Even though this happen. Still a few donor countries have sent fewer aid-dollars to government of Uganda. This is the governments of Norway, Netherlands and United Kingdom.

I haven’t been vocal about that law like all the rest of the western hemisphere. For the simple reason: I don’t see the big…

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A STORY FOR INTERNATIONAL COMING OUT DAY

god is not elsewhere / some conversation about movies, art, politics and spirituality with gareth higgins

A Story for International Coming Out Day

This is a long post, but it comes from the heart. I welcome your comments.

I’ve waited a long time to write this, and I’m still not sure.

I have been afraid all my life.  Afraid that you might find out about me. I have sustained insults, devoted myself to other people’s plans for me, avoided people that I used to know because I’m scared of what they might ask me, hidden who I am from myself, been interrupted every day with thoughts that I am hateful and broken and deserve punishment.

I have felt this way, not because I have done anything wrong, or anything more wrong than the rest of us, but because I love men. And I, myself am a man. I also love women, but that never invited persecution. I identify as bisexual, and since I started to think…

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Psalm 151, a spoken word poem. By Zachary Page.

extend your ear, Mother of the circle, of all creation

behold your peculiar people, now talking madly around your blessed revelation

how immaculate our process, how simple how, pure

if only, yes then, wait minute that, are you sure?

that this is what you intended when you sent your Spirit out?

some days I’m just not so sure what it’s all about

see how we go along, picking and choosing with such care

but consider the cross, the prison cell, is this not our history to share?

Peace-check, Simplicity-yes, well relatively, Integrity-sounds good to me

but when does all this just shroud us in the blanket of liberal complacency

all of this sounds good on paper, so lets minute that:umpteen dash one

what else could we do, well out of time today, let’s be silent now we’re done

and yes quiet is good sometime, but so is preaching from the trees

forgive me if all this minuting seems a little like a tease

what do we have left if we lose our tongue to preach?

look out-it’s First Day School, these beautiful young faces and us with little to teach

maybe we could begin by speaking of the living water that springs from a rock

but if we did that, we might have to relinquish a worship style governed         by a clock

our young people may well demand some changes to our style and pace

perhaps more dangerously, they often call us to be faithful, face to face

is this why we separate ourselves, telling them that they’re not ready? better to keep them out if we hope to keep this little boat steady

and I keep thinking about that boat and this here storming

all these wars and injustices swarming

and there He comes, walking out across the water, the raging storm all around

but we look away, hoping for something that makes sense by way of dry

ground

surrounded now we try desperately to cover our head

but He calls out: get up and get out of this boat, leave your fear and              dread

He called then, as he calls now:step away from the boat

then again, perhaps He’d understand our position better if we minuted

that we can’t float

it’s just to much to take in, that she will provide,

so we just keep to the clock, and keep on sitting side by side

but I kept on reading, this time skipping a few chapters back

and here’s another story of God’s people complaining of what they lack

a captured people scared to be faithful, the story reads the same

then and now, Pharaoh’s slaves-frightened divided and tame

but the message is clear-She will give us the manna we need

plenty to go around, if we choose this feed

but how would we know, that yes, now we had enough

when all our consideration revolves around our stuff

locked into that liberal narrative that says you can straddle both sides of       the line

loving your brothers and sisters on one side, and on the other keeping        all that is mine

you could look at all this and say it is our luxury or privilege to choose

or you could see that it is those with everything that have everything to lose

this is the eye of the needle standing before us

and from every corner, the rebellious house sings its chorus

ino our language, our mind-think, our TV

“not now, not this, not me”

but the blood is on our hands-this is our stain

you cannot be neutral on a moving train

but oh, when we hop off-the possibilities we might see

perhaps then we would hear the Truth in Her child’s decree

Listen

no longer are you servants, passive and incomplete

now called Friends, from this moment, from this seat

stand up, quake as you rise

the Power lies inside of you, Love is the prize

bearing, believing, hoping, enduring-all

this is the still, small voice of Her child’s call

so stand out, speak up, stepp off the curb

away from the way of life that has built ‘burb after ‘burb

let us begin as that change without the burden of guilt or doubt

she is calling to us again, Pharaoh’s slaves-exodus out!

out into the desert, out into her care

faith is a choice and I for one am dog-tired of despair

so I pray

here I am Lord, there are some of us yet, willing to risk it all, to suffer,             and take a chance

willing to hear, willing to be transformed, willing to do the time, willing

to advance

in the name of the Covenant, in the name of the Beloved Community, in your blessed name,

these feet were made for walking, get up and walk, cured by Truth,                behold the lame,

how freed from Cain’s mark, released from our task of domination and toil,

the desert may bloom, a new harvest bursting forth from rich soil.

I raise this prayer up to God and up through each of you

it is up to us now, in our hands to know what to do

Jesus dared to call us his Friends in John’s gospel 15:15

will we take this opportunity and be baptized in the prophetic stream?

the servant pleads “not now, not this, not me”

but we’re Friends, now and forever-let’s get free!