Monday, April 20, 2015

Life in Meekdom (Devotional) By Ron Shackelford

“The meek and lowly are fortunate, for the whole wide world belongs to them.”     Mt. 5:5 L.B.

Our culture says the world belongs to aggressive types who possess things, like stock certificates. How is it possible for the non-aggressive folks, whom Jesus calls “lowly” and gentle, to authentically claim ownership of “the whole wide world?”      

The lowly meek are not weak,
It’s a different world they seek.            


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Tomorrow's Troubles (Devotional) By Ron Shackelford

She: What does the phrase 'tomorrow's troubles' suggest to you? 
He: No water. No electricity. Food shortages. Gas lines. Over-population. 

In other words, a pretty bleak world. Fear, anxiety, despair, anger, selfishness, greed are common reactions to thoughts about tomorrow. How do you react when you think about tomorrow? Ron, in his devotional, suggests a different way of looking at our time on earth.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Artichokes: A Metaphor for Religion

 The Garden of Grace is ablaze with color, flowers, fruits and vegetables, birds and lizards! I'm especially enamored by the artichokes. While I enjoy artichoke hearts, I am not one who eats them roasted whole. This artichoke plant was planted as an experiment. It struggled for a few years in  a shady spot and was transplanted to the 'Veggie Room' - raised vegetable beds in the garden - last summer. This spring it burst into glorious, abundant bloom. I got six artichokes from the early harvests and there's a lot more coming. One part of the plant even fell down because of the weight of the artichokes atop it! 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Moved by Joy (Devotional) By Ron Shackelford

The daffodils are blooming in the Garden of Grace and The Unknowns continue strong; moving into our third year, I find it incredible that we welcomed a new member and have another waiting in the wings! At our recent meeting we were all inspired by the latest reflection from Ron Shackelford, HR. Here it is for your enjoyment, this fifth week of Lent.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tulip Thursday and Brother Toby on To Lent or Not Lent?

Tulip Thursday, that's what I am calling today. I received these gorgeous #tulips as a thank you gift a couple of weeks ago. Feb. 7th to be exact. The tulip flowers died last week but I took the picture and am meditating on them as metaphors for life, love, and death. The flowers bloomed in what passes for winter in sunny California. The bright red tulips were full of life, glorious and radiant in their beauty. Still, I remembered why I don't like to grow tulips; they need a lot of care and I don't have that luxury to give, I often think to myself. The bulbs have to be dug out of the ground and kept chilled during rest of the year if the plants are to bloom again. Even then they don't bloom with human care only but need the divine spark of life too.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Great Metropolitan Library

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Marcus Tullius Cicero

… Where there is no vision, people perish. Proverbs 29:18

I recently spoke with Mayor Steven S. Choi, Ph.D., about his vision of a ‘great metropolitan library’ in the Orange County Great Park (this link, btw, will take you to my blog as a Great Park Ambassador in the summer of 2008). Needless to say, I am very excited by the idea of a Great Metropolitan Library in Irvine, for Orange County. While the word "library" may seem anachronistic to many in this day of Google and digital libraries, the age-old functions of public libraries as "apostles of culture" will always be needed. Time has proved that and 'libraries' have become very good at adapting themselves to society's needs. I saw this for myself in 2005 when I visited libraries in Norway and other Scandinavian countries. History also reminds us that the great metropolitan libraries have not always been just about book learning; they were archives, museums, cultural centers, and meeting places; active forums which facilitated a vibrant and energetic society, that was alive and well, flourishing in the arts, sciences and all sorts of sports (not just the big stadium kind) because of these libraries. The iconic Tonsberg and Notteroy Bibliotek (Public Library of Tonsberg et Notteroy) captured it for me. The ruins of an old monastery and an old public library of just books was completely redone. A coffee shop, colorful spaces for children included story telling, a theater, hi-tech computer stations and wi-fi capabilities set behind gleaming black glass that reflected back the blue skies and buildings around were stunning to say the least. They inspired imagination and drew the crowds in. I will look for those photos to share with you all soon. Meanwhile, you can look at the library building here in 1001 libraries to see before you die :).

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Chelsea's Ordination

Days like this are hard to come by but when they do, they make me realize that this is what it means to be a blessing. That these sorts of friendships and relationships are what are worthwhile. I've known Chelsea since she came as a freshman to UCI 10 years ago.  Now, I am honored to have had the privilege of being a vital part of her ordination and installation service to the office of Teaching Elder, PC (USA). Here's her presentation, which we, Presbytery of Los Ranchos, did, on behalf of the Presbytery of Santa Barbara