Tag Archives: family

Lent 2017, day 3

lenten-reflections-on-the-confession-of-belhar“After his resurrection, Jesus commissioned the creation of a family originating not from a common human ancestor, but a divine calling. This family transcends national borders, cultures, and languages. Jesus called for disciples to be made of all nations–indeed, as Belhar says, the ‘entire human family.’ That does not mean that we reject or erase our differences, for a family made from all nations will necessarily have variety. We can, however, reject the lie that such variety cancels out unity. The vision, after all, has always been that this family would be different.”
T. Denise Anderson,
Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar

With thanks for the wonderful variety God creates within the family, with repentance for the ways family members have been excluded and marginalized and homogenized and for the ways I have participated in such exclusion, marginalization, and homogenization, and with commitment to disrupt exclusion, marginalization, and homogenization and to work for justice and equity, I journey toward Lent.

This Lenten season I am using a new resource to explore the Belhar Confession: Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar, edited by Kerri N. Allen and Donald K. McKim. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in which I serve as a teaching elder (pastor), added the Confession of Belhar to our Book of Confessions in 2016. This confession came from the Dutch Reformed Mission Church during its historic struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

See you along the Trail.

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Hug longer

Yesterday the community gathered to celebrate the life of the Rev. Bert Tom. A number of my friends attended. Being on the opposite coast, I did not. 

Bert TomI knew Bert. My friends knew him better. But our paths crossed from time to time.

At the time of Bert’s death, my friend Laura Mariko Cheifetz wrote about Bert and Satoru Nishita, her grandfather who died at about the same time. Her reflections led me to ponder what I had learned from my mentors and family members.

My friend, and another person mentored by Bert, Irene Pak (she blogs at Abiding in Hope) attended the celebration of Bert’s life. She reflects on the celebration in a post from today. It is a warm, touching reflection about what Bert meant to her and to so many. 

Irene frames her thoughts around her last meeting with Bert. A sentence near the end jumped out at me:

I wish I would have known that was going to be the last time I saw you–I probably would have hugged you longer.

Of course we rarely know when the last time we see anyone else will be. I have known with certainty on a few occasions. Sometimes I have had a pretty good idea because of the health of the other person. But over the past week, I have recalled  how fragile life is and how quickly it can end – by illness or by accident or by factors unseen. Quickly let me add that no one died. But events of the week reinforced that lesson.

Not knowing makes Irene’s invitation and challenge more poignant and profound. It also makes it more relevant in every relationship. In response to Irene, it seems that we would do well to ponder if, at all times and all places, we should:

  • hug our family, friends, and mentors longer (or at all in the case of any non-huggers out there – not sure who that might be)’
  • enjoy our family, friends, and mentors  more fully;
  • listen to our family, friends, and mentors more carefully;
  • tell our family, friends, and mentors what they mean to us more regularly; and
  • make time for family, friends, and mentors more often.

Will I?

See you along the Trail.

The photo is shared with permission from Abiding in Hope by Irene Pak.

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Of life and death; of family and mentors

My friend Laura Mariko Cheifetz has created a blog. Her intelligence, creativity, imagination, love, and passion for justice will make this worth reading.

Her recent post on the death of Satoru Nishita, her grandfather, and Bert Tom, one of her mentors, provides an introduction to her work and an example of what to expect when you subscribe. Here are a couple of excerpts:

My grandfather, Satoru Nishita, and my mentor Bert Tom died last week. I sent a text to a Korean American pastor friend of mine saying, “All these old guys are leaving us.”
This, of course, was not meant to be a theological statement.
This was a statement that was perfectly me: a bit dramatic. I am struggling with the passing of a generation of Asian Americans who faced racism and the assorted foibles of their professions with dignity. The generation of my grandparents, born in the U.S. but imprisoned by its own government for being of Japanese descent during World War II, is a generation that left a profound imprint on my generation and my mother’s generation, and it is slipping away before we get a chance to hear all the stories.

She concludes:

These old guys. While death claimed my grandfather and my mentor, in very different ways their lives taught me to struggle against Death, against powers and principalities, against environmental destruction and racism. They leave us with a legacy of commitment to justice, and a desire that the beauty of the world be revealed.

As she celebrates her family in the post  Laura invites me to remember and give thanks for family members and mentors who taught and shaped me through the years. As I read, I saw Bert’s face (I knew him) and imagined the face of Satoru – I met him through Laura and her mother. As I read, I also saw the faces of those who have been and who now are part of my life. I give thanks for the life of Satoru and Bert. I give thanks for my family and mentors. And I realize I have some calls to make and letters to write.

Check out In Life & In Death, We Belong to God. Remember. Give thanks.

See you along the Trail.

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Not quite the same

Wandering through the Half-Price Bookstore on Thursday evening, I came across several versions of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. I decided that watching the trilogy – or at least as much of the trilogy as I could – would prove fitting entertainment for what could be my last night in the Shire.

I own the extended versions – they reside in Cleveland and serve as the basis for a family Christmas tradition. I pondered buying another set but, to save some bucks, opted for the original releases. They only cost $2.00 each.

I have enjoyed watching them – about half at the Shire and half at the Shire on the Hudson. Good, good stuff, just not the same as the extended versions.

It has been a good ride. I am glad I got them. I can’t wait to see the extended versions again.

See you along the Trail.

 

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K is for Kin

A generational tradition

an intergenerational experience

families of all sizes and styles

visit the ranch together;

even part of mine

12 July 2011

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T is for Thistle


This one has posted before. I have tried to avoid repeats, but it continues to intrigue me. It grew outside of Tumbleweed where Tricia and I were staying this past summer. What struck me then and what has remains with me is how much this one plant  – not there by design but simply because of its tenacity – reveals. I wrote the following last summer and repost it here.

Unbidden,
a thistle grows in the yard,
a sturdy, prickly weed.
Unasked,
its green and purple hues
reveal
a simple mystery:
life,
death,
life to be,
triangle of eternity.

16 July 2011 (date of picture)
Ghost Ranch, New Mexico (location where poem was written)

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Christmas Day 2011

Christmas Day brought our usual visit to Solon where we ate way too much great food, exchanged gifts, and played games. The New Castle contingent arrived on December 24 and stayed through lunch. The Grove City folks arrived a bit before noon. We pulled in about the same time.

Before leaving, “the children” (and one of their college roommates) posed for a picture.

Tradition.

See you along the Trail.

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