Monthly Archives: June 2006

A Change of Poilcy and Polity

     Six years ago, the mantra of the conservative agenda was to return the taxes to the people. The candidate for president then stated that tax dollars belonged to the American people and we should be able to keep more of our money. I agree. However, what has actually happened?
     Most of us in the low to middle class received a “rebate” check taken out of the surplus from the Clinton Budget of about $300.00. We were all immediately elated that there was an extra few hundred notes to spend, and we did. Taxes reduce a bit, and so the surplus, turned quickly back into a budget deficit that is now compounding upon an already enormous national debt at home and one owed abroad. Then there is the enormous spending on the war, driving up the debt into the billions, billions that we do not have.
     They tell us the economy is strong and Americans can keep more of their money because they have kept taxes low. That is not really the case for the poor, lower class, and the middle class.
Natural gas prices have raised so much, that our own person budget with Columbia gas rose from $90.00 per month $184.00 per month. Our electric budget with Kentucky Utilities has risen from $44.00 per month to $90.00 per month. Both of these bills went up 100%. Then, there is the cost of gasoline for the autos. The price of a gallon of milk has risen also, as many other essential items in the grocery store. Meat has risen, for example. Mr. Bush, the average American IS NOT keeping more of their money in their pockets, they are paying much more for essentials that were under control in the last administration. In addition, our incomes are not going up, they are staying the same. So, we are getting poorer, only the top 4% wealthiest Americans are getting wealthier.
     True religion undefiled has become the religious pride of the self-righteous privileged upper class of the right wing. At the urging of the conservative forces bent on their own interpretation of moral principal, America has forsaken the cause of social justice, the plight of the poor, and the security of the elderly and disabled; with congress taking steps to ensure the demise of social security. They certainly have not done anything to bolster its own fluency.
     As a Franciscan brother, I find it unconscionable for our society to be in neglect of its own people and future, and the legacy of its children. I find it to be unchristian and morally reprehensible for one party to politicize a moral agenda against the social rights of any particular group to gain votes and at the same time ignore the demoralized and needy. No, faith based groups, Mr. Bush, are not big enough to handle all of the poor, needy, starving, orphaned, and disabled. That is why Lady Liberty shines the light in New York Harbor and says, “Give me your’ tired, your’ poor, your hungry…” and that is why Christ said, “If you have done it unto the least one of these, you have done it unto me.” A change of policy and polity is certainly a need of America.

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One day people were

     One day, people were standing around talking about the Temple, remarking how beautiful it was, the splendor of its stonework and memorial gifts. Jesus said, “All this you’re admiring so much–the time is coming when every stone in that building will end up in a heap of rubble.” They asked him, “Teacher, when is this going to happen? What clue will we get that it’s about to take place?” He said, “Watch out for the doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities claiming, ‘I’m the One,’ or, ‘The end is near.’ Don’t fall for any of that. When you hear of wars and uprisings, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history and no sign of the end.” He went on, “Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Huge earthquakes will occur in various places. There will be famines. You will think at times that the very sky is falling. “But before any of this happens, they’ll arrest you, hunt you down, and drag you to court and jail. It will go from bad to worse, dog-eat-dog, everyone at your throat because you carry my name.  You will end up on the witness stand, called to testify.   Make up your mind right now not to worry about it.  I’ll give you the words and wisdom that will reduce all your accusers to stammers and stutters.   “You’ll even be turned in by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. Some of you will be killed.  There’s no telling who will hate you because of me.  Even so, every detail of your body and soul–even the hairs of your head!–is in my care; nothing of you will be lost.  Staying with it–that’s what is required. Stay with it to the end. You will not be sorry; you will be saved. “When you see soldiers camped all around Jerusalem, then you’ll know that she is about to be devastated. If you’re living in Judea at the time, run for the hills. If you are in the city, get out quickly. If you are out in the fields, do not go home to get your coat.  This is Vengeance Day–everything written about it will come to a head. Pregnant and nursing mothers will have it especially hard. Incredible misery! Torrential rage! People dropping like flies; people dragged off to prisons; Jerusalem under the boot of barbarians until the nations finish what was given them to do. “It will seem like all hell has broken loose–sun, moon, stars, earth, sea, in an uproar and everyone all over the world in a panic, the wind knocked out of them by the threat of doom, the powers-that-be quaking. “And then–then!–they’ll see the Son of Man welcomed in grand style–a glorious welcome!  When all this starts to happen, up on your feet. Stand tall with your heads high. Help is on the way!”  Luke 21:6-27 the Message


Wow, I know that is a long passage! It is the gospel reading from the daily office yesterday.  Yet, as I read it, with all that is happening in the world on my mind, it really sparked some reflection in my mind’s eye. CNN has been reporting the story on North Korea preparing to launch their new intercontinental ballistic missile, which may be able to reach main land USA. Some military experts are urging the president to take another preemptive strike, and blow the missile up on the launch pad with one of our cruise missiles, or we may shoot it down with our missile defense system. Then, there is the arrest of the seven in Miami yesterday for plotting to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago. During all of this hysteria, there are the TV evangelists and preachers who are capitalizing on the news to grab the attention of people.  That brings me to the text of discussion.
     Jesus warns us to avoid distraction by all of this stuff. Listen to the text of the paraphrase from the Message:      
     He said, “Watch out for the doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities claiming, ‘I’m the One,’ or, ‘The end is near.’ Don’t fall for any of that. When you hear of wars and uprisings, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history and no sign of the end.”
This is no sign of the end, it says, and, watches out for the doomsday deceivers. People living in the time of Jesus expected the end of the world to come soon after His ascension. The early Christians thought His return was eminent. The Millerites in the 1800’s packed their bags because they the return of Christ was on an exact date. When He did not come, that day is now called “day of great disappointment” and the Seventh day Adventist church was born. This has happened repeatedly throughout history.
     What really bothers me the most, however, is how some “theologians” influence world leaders to make decisions because of their biblical view points on the end times (eschatology). Some leaders may choose to actually go to war, thinking that it is fulfilling bible prophesy. NEVERTHELESS, Jesus told us to ignore all of these prognostications. He told us to live our lives as though every day he would come, and in fact, the Kingdom is already with us living in us; we should are to be prepared for anything!

     “I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world, you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”  John 16:33 Message

     When you here disheartening world news, and scary prediction from evangelist who sound as thought they are happy that bad things are coming on us, remember the words of Jesus Christ as recorded by our friend Luke:

     “…keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history and no sign of the end.Lk 21:9 Message

It is my prayer for you that you have peace, light, and much love this coming week and that health and well-being may shroud your life. Keep your faith strong, your heart pure, and your feet planted firmly in God’s good earth!

     


Health Update For June 2006

Greetings and sorry for being away so long…

The good news: the therapy seems to be kicking in, with a big drop in my viral load. I can’t publish the numbers from Virxsys, but as soon as my Doctor runs some labs in the fall, I will tell you all about it. I CAN say that I am getting very good results.

Now, about the fatigue and the itching. First, the itching. I found out by taking a trip to a conference in St. Louis for 4 days that the itching may be due to my new pet dog, “Koko”. I may have an allergy. However, since I returned, I only itched for a few days, and now it has cleared up. It may be seasonal as well.

I still run out of steam in the energy department, however, with good meals, enough sleep ( about 9 -10 hours a night ) and a nap as needed, I am doing fine. So fine, in fact, that if things keep going this well over the next 6 months, ( the 1 year mark in the study), I plan to return to college to pursue a degree in Religious studies. I am now a Franciscan Postulate to the brotherhood, and already have an associated degree in bible. I plan to pursue an undergrad degree here in Lexington and then possibly a Masters of Divinity either online or elseswhere. This all depends on how I can tolerate the neuropathy and if I can get a pell grant and good student loans.
Things look much better than they did a year ago. Praise the Almighty and Virxsys too!!!
Peace,
Tim

Health Update For June 2006

Greetings and sorry for being away so long…

The good news: the therapy seems to be kicking in, with a big drop in my viral load. I can’t publish the numbers from Virxsys, but as soon as my Doctor runs some labs in the fall, I will tell you all about it. I CAN say that I am getting very good results.

Now, about the fatigue and the itching. First, the itching. I found out by taking a trip to a conference in St. Loius for 4 days that the itching may be due to my new pet dog, “Koko”. I may have an alergy. However, since I returned, I only itched for a few days, and now it has cleared up. It may be seasonal as well.

I still run out of steam in the energy department, however, with good meals, enough sleep ( about 9 -10 hours a night ) and a nap as needed, I am doing fine. So fine, in fact, that if things keep going this well over the next 6 months, ( the 1 year mark in the study), I plan to return to college to pursue a degree in Religious studies. I am now a Franciscan Postulate to the brotherhood, and already have an associated degree in bible. I plan to pursue an undergrad degree here in Lexington and then possibly a Masters of Divinity either online or elseshere. This all depends on how I can tollerate the neuropathy and if I can get a pell grant and good student loans.
Things look much better than they did a year ago. Praise the Almighty and Virxsys too!!!
Peace,
Tim

Thanks To Adrian Centers

My Many thanks to Adrian, a scientist and friend of mine for writing the expose on the research I am involved in. The article is intended for my family and friends to digest in hopes that you will understand the process and theory a bit more.

Great job Adrian, I really appreciate your help!

Living In The Real World

     Now days it is common in ecclesiastical movements for self-proclaimed “doctorates” to start their own works. The same is true in other professions such as scientific investigations, medicine, and journalism. Voices everywhere make great claims to wisdom, truth, and “all the answers you need.” They all seem to lack a very important formation process that serves to validate their work and deeds. Transparency, preparation, authenticity, and credibility, these are four words is succession that I believe are most important for success in vocation, ministry, and life in general.
     Education and signs of outward growth in life is important. It allows others to see the fruitfulness in one’s life and grow comfortable with that person’s ministry or vocation. The formation process for ministry or vocation is clear by the apostolic tradition, and we sheep can gather formation principles for our lives, no matter what we do in life. We might not enter the priesthood or monastic service, yet, as Christians we are to grow and transform into the image of the Almighty. (1) I believe there is a logical and spiritually principled way on the road to Christian formation.
     First, there is Transparency. It is the first and most difficult obstacle to cross on our journey in formation. It is scary to show others and God who we really are. Fear stands at the door of our mind and heart, blocking the way to light. Yet, we are to begin to ask ourselves about ourselves, and then open our hearts to God for direction and share it with others. That is when we can begin to find the path to our future, where were headed and what we are to do in life. Only then can we effectively begin to take the next step: preparation. (2)
     Preparation can be many different things to many people. For some it may mean time in college. For some it may mean the Peace Corps or the mission fields. Others may find themselves spending time in isolation, taking time to reflect on life. At the center of it all is the process that God uses to develop character and social skills that we need in life to be successful witnesses of the Gospel “With-God life.” A transparent person who is prepared is well on the way to serve our living savior with authentic charism.
     Authenticity is the step in life when others can recognize the work and fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. (3) It is the opportunity for us to share genuine love in Christ in His power and with His gifts. It is the chance for others to really know us, recognize Christ in us, and realize the mystery of the living gospel. When these things occur, then we gain credibility with others.
     Lately, when I see T.V. “miracles” and hear the “full gospel preaching”, when I hear the prognostications and denunciations, and I realize there is no credibility available with them, my heart sinks for the millions who may have a shallow experience with Jesus Christ. Post-modern evangelism must conform to tradition of the apostolic tradition of Spiritual Discipline. We must move the Catholic Church, (our universal body), into a new movement of renewal, as the French say, “renovare.” As individual Christians, let us muster up the courage to focus our hearts on Christ first, and made like Him. This is the Divine plan from the beginning of Alpha eternity…

1. “(GW) this is true because he already knew his people and had already appointed them to have the same form as the image of his Son. Therefore, his Son is the firstborn among many children. (HNV)  For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  (ISV)  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:29
2. “(MKJV) Study earnestly to present you approved to God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. (MRC)  Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth. (MSG)  Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple.” II Timothy 2:15

3. “But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Gal 5:23 humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these. Gal 5:24 and those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires. Gal 5:25 The Spirit has given us life; he must also control our lives”

Most High
Glorious God,
Enlighten the darkness of my heart
And give me
True faith
Certain hope,
And perfect charity,
Sense and knowledge,
Lord,
That I may carry out
Your holy and true command.

St. Francis, the Prayer before the Crucifix
Francis of Assisi: The Early Documents, Volume I
(New City Press, 1999), p. 40


I left for St Louis

I left for St. Louis last Thursday morning at six AM.
The evening before I left, I told my grandmother, Tony, who is 87, how fortunate we are to have each other. I also told her that I was going to the OEF convocation in expectation and with an attitude of gratefulness of what God has done and is doing for us. She concurred how she could not manage on her own, especially since her three falls last year, and with the household upkeep. We are family, and as a Franciscan at heart, I believe that my grandpa Spaulding is happy that we are taking care of each other. The US is the only culture in the world, it seems, that casts off the family these days, especially the elderly. I observe families from the mid-east and Asia especially who migrate here, and with three generations living under the same roof. The interaction of the generations is what keeps the legacy of faith alive and the respect of a culture dignified.
     Therefore, I left for St. Louis with these thoughts in mind, wondering what lie ahead. When I arrived at the Pallottine Renewal Center in Florissant, North East of downtown, I saw 83 acres of plush green pastures and woods, with a chapel in the center at the peak of the hill. The chapel is in “the round.” The steeple raises high above the center, and inside, underneath the cross is the altar. Surrounding the nave is about 3 to 4 feet of stained glass windows that wrap the area, uninterrupted except for the area of the tabernacle, where the Pascal candle and the reserve host is.
     Engraved into the stained glass with lead lettering are the seven corporal works of the body of Christ; feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, bury the dead, visit the sick, shelter the homeless, and to comfort the fatherless and widows. All of these work surrounded by the many colors of the rainbow in the glass are at any given moment illuminated by the sun shinning in. The bright rays pass through them and then on to the Altar. It serves as a beautiful pictorial and reminder of both those in need and we who are to serve them. People of all backgrounds, ethnicities, orientations, and creeds have needs and need to serve.
     It is no wonder that our first evening prayer service and then Eucharist was so inspiring to me. It further convinced me of the call to the Franciscan way of life and the identity of service it affords. As I sat with my eyes closed, listening to the message from the minister general, I was thanking God that I had found such a wonderful place full of wonderful people. From the moment I arrived, I felt as though I had know each of the 48 or so there all of my life. We are kindred spirits, that of St. Francis and Clair. As I was praying, seated next to me was a brother who is autistic. He is unique and very spiritual. He does have his idiosyncrasies, but he is delightful. As I was thanking God silently for bringing me to St. Louis and my new spiritual family, I opened my eyes to find his had stretched out in front of me, to take mine. Like I said, he is very keen to the Holy Spirit, and seems to be quite in tune when God is moving. I took his hand gratefully and continued to worship.
     The entire weekend was a blessing so when Sunday came, it was getting hard to think of departing that place. It was Pentecost. The day when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit from on high to indwell the believer and empower the church for service, (part of which are the 7 corporal works mentioned above). Our Eucharist was awesome. Something quite unexpected happened, planned, yet left me in wonder and with a renewal of spirit.
     As the newly elected minister general began to read the account of the day of Pentecost from Acts chapter two in English, simultaneously something else began to take place. One by one, our brothers and sisters from abroad began to stand and consecutively read aloud parts of the passage in their own tongue. First, Damien from Ireland began to read in Gaelic. Then our sister from China, Miranda read. Then our brother from Arizona read in the American native tongue, then our brother from Tokyo stood and read in Japanese, then others followed in their respective languages. I lost track of how many read, as I began to rejoice in excitement and awe. I looked around at the sunny stained glass illuminating the Altar, the seven corporal works of the Body of Christ written around us, listening to the sound of the many tongues. I realized how Christ has empowered us to serve. I realized the message that Peter stood and preached that day when he said, “This is that which Joel prophesied, I will pour out my Spirit on ALL flesh…..” (Acts2) ALL FLESH. I would that the Anglican global south were there with me last Sunday. I wish that the Arch Bishop of Canterbury could experience it from my perspective. I hope that the Romans will consider this message. ALL flesh. All people; your sons AND daughters shall prophesy. Dream Dreams. See Vision. Wow. I pray that the Episcopal Convention Columbus will have such a vision and yearning for Ecumenism.
     The drive back to Lexington was joyful. I am enriched and revived, and I thank the OEF for acknowledging me as a postulant to the order. Now the journey begins. This Franciscan at heart begins a new path on the journey in eternity. I thank those of you who have lifted me in prayer, your support is priceless. There is much work to do and God willing we shall prevail. If you are interested in showing future support for my work toward the Franciscan journey and wish to make a donation in my name, please do so to either St. Michael’s Parish or The Order of Ecumenical Franciscans. Just follow the links provided below. Both works are tax deductible. 
 
May God radicalize your life this week with love and power!
Timothy