Friday, July 16, 2021

The Hatchling: Day 3

There are others.

There was evening. There was morning. And in the morning there were others. In the morning, the universe changed again.

There was the usual taking up into the heavens. The Mamas held us. The Mamas stroked our heads. But when we returned to earth, the land had changed. 

It was a vast land. Too vast. Too much emptiness. One of my sisters began to cry out and cry out and cry out incessantly. I think she was saying, "Why? Oh, why? Oh why, Mama? Won't you hold me, Mama? Won't you give me what I need, Mama? I don't know what I need, Mama?" 

Far be it from me to question the Great Ones. Why have they brought us to this vast land where we feel so alone and apart?

And there are others. They are not mean. They just aren't interested. I don't know where they came from. They are bigger than me, though not much bigger. They know what they are doing. They know where the water is. They know where the food is. We learned quickly enough.

They look different from us. I did not know it before, but we are all black-feathered. They have different colors. There are some with a yellowish-white color. There are others who have coats of many colors, with an orangish-red hue. Some have interesting colorings on their heads. Others are gray. How much more is there to the world than I had dreamt of!

I wandered around the vast land. As time passed, it seemed less and less vast to me. Still, my sister cried out incessantly. "Why? Oh, why? Oh why, Mama? Won't you hold me, Mama? Won't you give me what I need, Mama? I don't know what I need, Mama?"

"Can't you help her, Mama?" I cried out too, finally. "She needs you, Mama?"

It was then that one of the Giants paused from the heavens and looked down at me, and I looked at him. Why he talked to me, I don't know. Why I heard and the others did not, I don't know.

"You think the universe has just begun," he said. "But it has been here a long time."

"Did you hear that?" I asked the chirper. But she just kept crying out, "Why? Oh, why? Oh why, Mama? Won't you hold me, Mama? Won't you give me what I need, Mama? I don't know what I need, Mama?"

Thursday, July 15, 2021

The Hatchling: Day 2

There are five of us now. Not that I can count.

We are in the same box, our universe. I can make out the blurry figures of Giants outside the universe, peering in. We sense Mama and yearn for her.

It is warm and cozy, although we know nothing else. It is a happiness we do not as yet know we have. But we long for touch. We long to snuggle under Mama.

We sleep a lot. One moment I will be bumping into the remaining ovals and then plop down asleep on the hard surface below. Then I will wake up and bump into more ovals.

About half of the ovals are now fragments, the mother-ships from which the five of us emerged. I wonder what is in the other ovals. Are there others like me in them? Why have they not come out? I have not yet asked where we all came from.

I want to ask questions of the others, but we cannot communicate. We all make these chirping sounds, but I don't know what they mean. I assume we are expressing the same things--"Where is Mama?" "Why can't we get out of this box to see Mama?" "What is all this?" 

I have desires for other things, but I don't know what they are.

Suddenly the box lifted. The universe expanded beyond my comprehension. For the first time, I sensed cold. I had been warm but had not known it until I felt intermittent blasts of cold.

I see the Giants more clearly than I did before, the gods. I am jolted by their hold. I am accelerated beyond my imagination. My head hurts. Still, I cannot deny how good touch feels. I feel my head stroked and feel a strange mixture of ecstasy and fear.

Then I am in another universe with walls again. I cannot see through the walls of this universe, but the sky goes up forever. I look to the heavens, from whence comes my help.

I discovered water. This is something for which I have longed, but I didn't know what to call it. I drink. I drink. 

There is also something harder. I call it food. It is so wonderful!! I can't get enough of it. Sometimes the hand of the gods will descend to earth, and I eat and eat. I stand on their warm, heavenly earth and eat. The heavenly ground is warmer than my other earth.

There is a sun that gives us warmth. There is a house that gives us warmth. It is the gods that have given us all this. How I long for the touch of Mama. Sometimes I cry out for Her. Would that She were with me at all times.

Still, I have so much delight. Sometimes I cry out for joy. When I am hungry I am fed. When I am thirsty I drink. I have the fellowship of my sisters. And I return to the earth some portion of that which has filled me.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The Hatchling, Day 1

All was dark.

I had this unquenchable urge to get out. I didn't know out of what. My every movement just seemed to knock into something.

At first, it was just me. Then I began to hear sounds from beyond. I did not know what they were. What they told me was that there was more. I was not alone in the universe after all. There was more. I didn't know what it was, but there was more.

At some point, a sense of "outside" began to stir. There seemed to be another side to the wall I kept bumping into. There were increasing rumblings. There was movement. There was the beginning of the "other."

Must get out. Must get out. At some point, there was a crack. Let there be light. Before I had only known darkness, but I could not call it that for I had nothing else with which to contrast it. Now the outside was reaching in to me. A part of me became aware of direction. Before there had only been the wall. Now there was a place on the wall.

I had this unquenchable urge to move the wall. I attacked it. Then I attacked it again. I don't know how long it took for I had no sense of time, but soon the sliver of light engulfed me. All was light, or so I thought.

There was another. At the time I thought it was part of me. It was moving around a lot. So was I, and I moved into it often as it moved into me. Around us were all these hard, round objects. We stepped on and around them.

There was still a wall, only it was bigger. It was more rectangular. And it was warm. We craved the warmth.

There was a new beyond. There was no cracking this wall, although we tried. Outside there were figures. Were they my mother? I had a deep craving to go to them. They were making sounds from the outside too. Sometimes they were warm sounds, inviting sounds that made me want to go to them. There were many other sounds too that I did not understand.

This was existence. Existence was moving around in a confined space with a sense of those on the inside and beyond. It was filled with unquenchable urges without names.

Sunday, July 04, 2021

Sermon Starters: Dual Citizenship

Location: North Collins Wesleyan Church
Date: July 4, 2021
Text: Philippians 3:17-21


  • Joke about the man who was always telling the story of how he survived the Johnstown flood. He gets to heaven and starts to tell the story there but is warned that Noah might not be too impressed.
  • Paul in Philippians 3 -- he gives his impressive earthly resume, but it is nothing when compared to Christ and the power of resurrection.
  • Today we celebrate the founding of the USA. For me, it is an incredible privilege to live here. This is a place where every person is supposed to have equal rights and freedoms. This is a place where in theory everyone can prosper. But also have to keep in mind that all these earthly goods are minuscule when you put them next to Jesus and the kingdom of God.
1. "All created equal."

  • A great line from the Declaration of Independence voted on 245 years ago today "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
  • In practice, of course, it is not always true. The rich and the powerful almost always have an advantage over the rest of us.
  • Illustration--an acquaintance from Missouri who had a good lawyer, celebrities
  • Illustration--the fact that slaves were counted as 3/5 of a person, redlining, Langston Hughes poem, "America."
  • It is true in the kingdom of God. Galatians 3:28. Women will not be "given" in marriage. There will be no poor. There will be no immigrant. There will be no "in-group." We will all be in the in-group.
  • philosophy class -- what is a human being? roadkill? 
  • The DoI was a reflection of the trajectory of Judeo-Christian values. Thomas Jefferson the Deist. It wasn't a perfect image. The equality of the kingdom will be beyond our comprehension. Some "Christians" today might not like it if they could catch a glimpse of it.
2. A Bill of Rights

  • right to a trial, habeas corpus, face accusers
  • In practice, of course, doesn't always lead to justice. People on death row wrongly convicted. Disproportionate number of people of color in our penal system. Penalties for drugs typically used by white people less severe than those used by black people.
  • "The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice." Martin Luther King Jr.
  • True because God gets it right every time. 
  • "Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." -- includes you and me, includes presidents and kings

3. Freedoms

  • religion, speech, vote, defend ourselves
  • The "theology" of America here fits very well with the Wesleyan-Arminian God. In this age, God gives us the freedom to obey or disobey. I would argue that there is an impulse by other traditions to try to force the rest of the world to conform to Christ. That day will come but it is not now.
  • Christians live a little differently within this context. We do not live as a community focused on our freedom but on true freedom. We do not live for ourselves but as servants of others.
  • I am free to try to bend my leg forward rather than backward, but it wouldn't feel too good. The freedom of the Lord is a freedom and empowerment to "bend" the way God made humanity to bend.

4. Prosperity

  • Free Enterprise system -- Adam Smith designed it to be the great equalizer, to empower the poor to become rich. My first visit to Berlin
  • It has not worked perfectly to that end. Anti-trust laws. 
  • Avoiding the emergency room because of cost. Avoiding doctor because of expense.
  • 55% of world's wealth in US, only 17% of population. The Sierra Leone pastor who used the US as an illustration of heaven.
  • Nothing compared to the kingdom of God -- 1 Corinthians 2:9 in an extended sense. The old songs, "I've got a mansion..." probably some misinterpretation going on there, but the sentiment isn't wrong.

5. A King

  • Thor, Captain America listening to War Machine in Avengers
  • Jesus is the king of the universe
  • Roman Empire must have seemed incredibly powerful. Citizens of Philippi were citizens of Rome. Paul says, your citizenship in heaven dwarfs any privileges you have with Rome.