Saturday, July 30, 2005

Convocation Prayer, Graduation class, New Officers, County Detention Center, Lexington, Ky

Yesterday I was asked to give the Invocation at the graduation ceremony for the 16 new correctional officers at the Fayette County Detention Center, Lexington, Ky. It was well attended by family and friends, probably about 100 persons including staff. Here are my words:

Holy Mystery, God of Life and Death,
God of justice and mercy, of good and evil,
This day, this moment we pause before you.
The mystery of good and evil challenges our own lives
Now We face an awesome work:
to care for our fellow humans in trouble,
to even guard our society from them
without forgetting our common humanness with them.
Holy God, could any task, any stretching be more demanding?
Yet we know you will never ask of us more than we can do.
What else can we say?
You speak to us here in the silence of our souls.
Speak now to our hearts and tell us we can do it,
we can do our work and do it well.
--keep our balance between respect and firmness
remembering rules and policies designed for security sake.
Let us hear your voice within us.
If ever we fail in mercy or in justice -- and we will fail--
forgive us our failings -- on this basis: that we have forgiven first.
Guard us against the occupational hazard in security work of
becoming discouraged, cynical, and hardhearted.
Yes, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Keep us linked to each other and safe from every danger and injury,
You can heal us all,
Please do so Holy One, in your own way --
Let us be your worthy agents in the work before us. Amen.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

On the occasion of my 76th birthday anniversary

July, 2005, on the occasion of my 76th birthday anniversary.

I am truly blessed to continue in the health and energy to share my gifts with others, still. This fall I shall teach three classes at Midway College in Ethics and World Religions. I explain to my students the good news and bad news about having me as their next instructor. First the good news is that I do not lecture and will not require a comprehensive final exam. The bad news is that I do require a lot of written work and class involvement. The adult students seem to love it, tho they still complain about the amount of writing required. We turn each class into an interactive workshop.

I will witness this year about forty to fifty weddings, both here in our Amazing Grace Chapel in the Cathedral of Nature and elsewhere. Our "Fierce Landscape" program for inmates at the County Detention Center (population often reaching one thousand), continues with volunteers presenting lessons weekly and positive outcomes. We are also part of an Effective Transitions Task Force appointed by the Lexington Mayor to better facilitate effective in-house programs to re-connection with the community, job, work and housing upon leaving.

I am still privileged to serve the Urban County Government in fire recruit screening and the Public Schools in screening for bus drivers. Our Spiritual Growth Network of Kentucky continues now in its 16 th year, meeting often in the conference room here on Winchester Road Sunday afternoons. I will lead a workshop on Celtic Spirituality for Ohio Psychologists and the Annual retreat Union of Psychology and Spirituality, Mohican State Park, and join Rick Reckman in another on Dreams, this fall.

Best of all, my wife of 36 plus years continues healthy, wise and generous, with family and friends. We have close contact with two precious grandkids who live in Lexington.

Paschal

"My Soul magnifies the Lord..." Song of Mary in Luke 1.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A New Meanness in the World

There is a new meanness in the world
fueled by a literal interpretation of God’s Word.

Car Bombs humanly guided to kill children.
Spies among us willing to kill the innocent.
Politicians and preachers willing to stereotype
those who believe differently,
to divide the country
for the sake of power and prestige.
Presidents and Governors willing to
jump into private family pain
to take sides for the sake of
political gain.

The bible was never meant to be
an Infallible message, without error.
Those who maintain that are deliberately
blind to facts, and to the deeper meaning
of God’s message, and they are likely to
get it wrong
as did Christians who believed slavery
was (it is) justified by the Bible,
as did males who believed women must
be subordinate to men, because “The Bible
says so.�
As did religious leaders who punished
scientists who disagreed with the “facts�
in the Bible.
The Bible is full of historical errors,
and was never meant to be Infallible.
The two accounts of creation in Genesis
chapters one and two disagree.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
all quote the Bible wrongly.
Jesus quoted the Bible wrongly when
he said
“Scriptures declare that rivers of living water
shall flow from the inmost being (heart, belly
in various translations) of anyone who
believes in me. . .� in John 7:38.
There is no such scripture anywhere in the
Bible. Did Jesus make it up?
Did the early Christians make it up and
put it in Jesus mouth?
Jesus predicted that he would return before
this generation had passed away. Matthew,
Mark and Luke all have this passage. All the
Christian community, included Paul, expected
Jesus’ return within their lifetimes.
It did not happen.
How come?
How did the entire early Christian community
misunderstand the prediction of Jesus
that he would return in their lifetime?
If Jesus said it that way, was that
not a false prophecy?
Hundreds of other discrepancies.
We cannot and are not intended to
take every word in the Bible literally.
We are bound to read in our
own assumptions and prejudices
as did Christians til our time
and even doing so now,
to judge some of us as further
from God as they are.
None of these prevent us from
accepting this Bible as the
authoritative Word of God to guide
us today, by the stories, life and
preaching of Jesus and the incomparable
Wisdom to be found, in both
Testaments.
But we must ask ourselves what was the
intention of the author. All were human
beings, and every passage had a context
and an intention.

To use God’s word, Allah’s words,
Mohammed’s words to harm others
is the greatest of evils.

See. Dr. Margaret Nutting Ralph
And God Said What
on the literary forms of the Bible
for your introduction.

Paschal Baute.
July 14, 2005

Sunday, July 10, 2005

CELTIC SPIRITUALITY

CELTIC SPIRITUALITY

The term Celtic Spirituality is a modern phrase for an ancient reality: a stream of Christian spirituality that characterized Celtic Britain and Ireland in the first few centuries of Christianity. Its birth before Christianity, like other indigenous cultures, welcomed nature as the thin veil of the Supernatural, the Divine and the Holy already present among and around us. It is now enjoying a rebirth of some dimensions.

Distinctive of Celtic spirituality is a keen awareness that we are already spiritual–already immersed in God while living in the material world. Thus we see the holiness of all creation around us, already in our relationships and take seriously our role as stewards.

Apostolic faith and charity, simplicity, hospitality, honor given to family kinship and spiritual friendships, sacramental life, prayer, and a profound respect for all of God's creation--all these mark and form the Celtic Christian life.

Two Themes of
Celtic Spirituality

Celtic spirituality has two distinctive themes. The first is the belief that what is deepest in every human being is the very image of God. This means that God’s passion for love, beauty and justice is already at core of our being. God’s yearning for creativity and new beginnings, for beauty and love, is already deep within the mystery of our souls. Well-being, therefore, is not becoming somebody else but becoming truly ourselves. We are sacred not because we are baptized, or because we have passed through some religious ritual. Rather, we are sacred because we are born. Our spiritual journey is about becoming authentic, from inside out.

The second theme of Celtic spirituality is the belief in the essential goodness of creation. Not only is creation good, it is theophany-a flowering of the mystery of God. Where do we look for God?" In life and love, in our relationships. We look to the heart of all that God has expressed in nature and through us. We simply find the heartbeat of God everywhere.

"That leads the Celtic tradition to say, as one of its modern Scottish teachers, George MacLeod, used to like to say, that matter matters. What we do to matter is at the heart of our spirituality, whether that be the matter of our bodies, the matter of creation or the matter of the body politic and how we handle the resources of our nation and world, because at the heart of the material is the spiritual." --Introduction of Rev. Dr. J. Philip Newell to Scottish Parliament, June 26, 2002.

Two popular writers are John O’Donohue, etc. J. Philip Newell, Anam Cara, Beauty, The Inner Landscape,Listening to the Heartbeat of God, etc. I recommend all of these books and tapes highly.

ere in our SGN meetings in Lexington, Kentucky, we have been studying this approach via several books and tapes. We hope to expand our conversations.