Friday, June 22, 2007

Everything You Need to Know About Sex...

Everything You Need to Know About Sex
In Order to Get to Heaven
Paul B. Bresnahan

Here is a light hearted, whimsical, satire that is dead serious and downright poignant too. This is a book whose eye catching title suggests that it is time for the church and the culture around it to grow up a bit and recognize the facts for what they are. Gay folks are here to stay and they are right smack dab in the middle of our families, workplaces, and yes, even in our churches. Using his own family and his own church as a microcosm, “Fr. Paul”, as he likes to be called, argues that human sexuality is a sacrament that gives all of us an exquisite way to express our love for one another. It is in the nature of things that our sexuality becomes a God given grace for human love to be expressed. For most of us, we’ll do that in a male/female configuration. But not always! From the beginning, there have been LGBT folk in our midst. They have often faced persecution, violence, vilification and marginalization yet they are still very much with us. One of them is now a Bishop in the Episcopal Church. His life has been threatened too (by Christians, of course). Come on folks, let’s get over this one. Let’s embrace yet another minority with the milk of human kindness and in a “kinder gentler” way. Open the book and discover with a Priest of the Church, how we are becoming “A House of Prayer for ALL People”.

Fr. Paul Bresnahan has been a Priest of the Episcopal Church for 35 years. He serves now at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Salem, Massachusetts, a remarkable congregation that cares very much for the poor, the hungry, the homeless and the marginalized. He has served churches in West Virginia, Ohio, and South Carolina, and now Massachusetts. His lifetime struggle against racism, economic disparity, homelessness now culminates in taking up the cudgels for yet another great group of outcasts. He was raised by a gay uncle, and now has two gay sons. He has a lot to say about this controversy. After all there’s a lot at stake. Best of all, he’s still smiling, because he’s convinced that there’s room in God’s heart for the love of EVERYONE!

available at, Barnes and and autographed from the author at

Holy Rage

Holy Rage

Kaj Munk

What is, therefore, our task today? Shall I answer: "Faith, hope and love"? That sounds beautiful. But I would say - courage. No, even that is not challenging enough to be the whole truth. Our task today is recklessness. For what we Christians lack is not psychology or literature...we lack a holy rage - the recklessness which comes from the knowledge of God and humanity. The ability to rage when justice lies prostrate on the streets, and when the lie rages across the face of the earth...a holy anger about the things that are wrong in the world. To rage against the ravaging of God's earth, and the destruction of God's world. To rage when little children must die of hunger when the tables of the rich are sagging with food. To rage at the senseless killing of so many, and against the madness of militaries. To rage at the lie that calls the threat of death and the strategy of destruction peace. To rage against complacency. To restlessly seek that recklessness that will challenge and seek to change human history until it conforms to the norms of the Kingdom of God.

Source: Danish pastor killed by the Gestapo in 1944, via The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne

Monday, June 04, 2007

God's Healing Touch

The Healing Touch of God


Elijah, like Jesus in another encounter with a woman this time one who was gathering sticks, asks for a cup of water. Water is essential to health. We are advised to drink plenty of it to maintain ourselves in our well being. It is said that our bodies are composed of anywhere from 55-60% water. An old Arab saying answers the question of God's race by saying that the color of God is the color of water!
We are created in the image of God. Perhaps the three states of water teach us something about God and ourselves. Water is fluid, like God. It is all in all, it is the Alpha and the Omega of life itself. God is the Creator of life, its Author. Water can be solid, like ice. God can be flesh and blood as God becomes in the person of Jesus. God can touch us, heal us and teach us. God can be our Redeemer even as God suffers dies and rises again on the Cross for my sins. Water can be a gas like steam. In the way that steam can play with wisps of vapors over the slightest currents of the air, so too the Spirit can come from we not not where and continue on in amazing and unpredictable ways. Thus God becomes our Sanctifier, giving us gifts for ministry to make the ordinary holy. If that is the case, then indeed, give me a cup of water too, if you please!


The healing touch is a sensitive but essential component part of Christian healing. We practice the laying-on-of-hands in our church with the anointing of oil of unction to intercede on behalf of the faithful for healing. The Gospels refer to touching at least 30 times. That physical touch between Jesus and the people often becomes the vehicle that becomes the occasion for healing. Be careful how you touch someone! Healing is one thing...abuse is something so utterly different.
How often does a child of God need something as simple and as innocent as a hug, the wiping away of a tear, or a kindly pat on the shoulder to give reassurance in time of need.
Remember that to reclaim our place as "a safe church" will not come easily anymore. We must earn the trust of our people...but it is worth doing so, because at the center of that trust is the power of Christ to heal.


"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advise, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand"
Henri Nouwen (Dutch Christian writer: 1932-1996)