Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’

Searching for Freedom

May 19, 2017

TruDee had told me she heard noises for several nights. Noises like the wind blowing an open door or window. When she would investigate, there was nothing to be found. One evening we were sitting in the living room and I heard it as well. My thought was it must have been a bird hit a window, it was just a short, “Thump.”

I had gone to bed early one night later and when she came to bed she said she thought something was in the basement probably in one of our window wells. She had heard the thump again and then scratching. We have had bunnies fall through the wooden slates that cover the opening to the window wells in the backyard before. I did not check it that night.

The next morning, I went downstairs to check out what kind of creature we had in the basement thumping and scratching around. The window well in the bedroom seemed to be clear as near as I could tell with the flashlight on my phone. When I checked the larger well in the family room it appeared there was nothing there either. That is, until I final saw movement, a dark gray rounded creature burrowed in the corner under some leaves and yard debris that had blown into the well. It was an armadillo. I suspect the cornered creature found itself in this predicament after being chased across the yard by our two dogs, I don’t know that for sure… but, well, it is highly likely.

After researching online and doing a Facebook Hivemind request I was still unsure what to do. Armadillos are not easily captured. To try and catch one by hand is difficult as they can jump, they have sharp teeth, a hard shell, and an attitude. All of this and the fact they can carry rabies as well as possibly Hansen’s Disease, i.e. leprosy. After learning government animal control only deals with domestic animals, I knew this was not going to be an easily resolved problem. The last thing I wanted to do was be in an eight foot deep, five by four foot hole with a jumping, armored, sharp toothed, possibly disease toting, armadillo with an attitude.

TruDee gave me the idea when she suggested a large tub with some food to coax it in and put a lid on it, it had to be hungry after being in a hole for several days. That got me to thinking, it was confined, armadillos are nocturnal, it had nothing to eat or drink for at least three or four days… surely it would be lethargic. I went home, retrieved a large plastic tub, threw in some dog food for good measure, opened the large window for access to the well, and sat the tub on end opposite our guest. I took a four-pronged rake and just nudged it gently to see how it would react. It stood up and turned aroDillound in the corner and just looked at me. I reached beyond it with the prongs of the rake and pulled it just a few inches toward the tub to see what it would do. Nothing…just sat there and looked at me. So, I placed the prongs of the rake firmly against its side and gave it a quick more forceful jerk and pull… it basically rolled right into the tub, I sat the tub up, snapped the lid on, taped it shut, loaded it in the car and drove our guest armadillo several miles south of town and set it free. The armadillo, I imagined, and I were very pleased with the outcome.

Sometimes I tell stories because they have taught me a deeply profound lesson about life and faith. Sometimes I tell stories because they are simply good stories and they make me smile and feed my soul.

This story I think was as much just about the story as it was anything else. And at the same time, it might have something to say to me, to those for whom it resonates, there are times in our lives we might find ourselves trapped, unable to see our way to freedom, and sometime through no fault of our own, it can just happen. It can be lonely in those places, dark, body and soul sucking places and spaces that drain us and leave us huddled in a corner wondering what more could possibly go wrong.

And then something happens, someone happens along the way to coax us out of our corner with a little nudge, and little shove, a little nourishment, and a reminder that this hole we have found ourselves in is not where we belong. It is the truth of who we are that sets us free. Free to be our authentic self, just as we are, unconfined and unrestricted by society or even the church, but rather acknowledged for the wondrous creature we are, remembering whose we are as children of the Divine with a crucial and irreplaceable place in this community, in this world, in this humankind.

May the walls and holes you encounter be few. May there always be a little nourishment for your body and soul. May you always have community close by who are willing to risk themselves to help set you free. May there always be community nearby willing to give you a little nudge or even a firm shove to remind you to be who you are.

You Are Beautiful! You Are Enough! You Are Not Alone!

Peace and Light for Your Journey!

Pastor Kent.

A Clergy’s Pondering of Politics and Elections

November 8, 2012

I think over this last year or so I have been on information overload, and especially over the last couple of months. I am referring to the Presidential campaigns and other political offices that were vying for our votes through print, email, internet, television, and even door to door volunteers. One of the struggles of course is sorting out and discerning for oneself what is true what is not, what is partly true, and what is just silly, mean, and even evil.

I researched as best I could and voted like many or all of you based on my best opinion of who I thought represented the ideas and ideals I hold to be important for my city, state, and our nation. TruDee and I sat nervously watching Tuesday evening as the returns came in and some of those I voted for won election and some of those I voted for did not. I stayed up late that night intending to hear the two Presidential candidates speak and was only able to keep my eyes open through one. I watched the other the next day via video on one of the news channel’s websites. I thought both candidates were gracious to one another and did our nation proud in the way they conceded and/or accepted the election paying honor and tribute to one another and encouraging us all to work together in moving our nation in the right direction.

As a person of the Christian faith and as a member of the clergy I want to share a couple of observations about responses and follow up comments I have read and listened to since Tuesday evening. I have witnessed much humility on the part of both sides of the aisle which gives me hope for cooperation and willingness to work together. That being said, I have also seen much cynicism, anger, arrogance, and judgment leveled by both sides of the aisle in the aftermath.

I want to comment on some of what I have encountered and share my viewpoint. There has been comment about the idea that minorities in our society played a huge role in the outcome of the election. Some see this as good and encouraging some disparage it by belittling and judging those minorities. Reading the comment of a news person made me think about that idea, about the shift and change that he sees as a result of this election. He said, “’It’s not a traditional America anymore… the white establishment is now a minority.” Actually I see that as a good thing, truly reflective of who we are as a nation, a nation of immigrants. I believe it is our diversity that makes us strong; it is our willingness to exist differently yet work for the common good of all that should be the ground of our being.

I have also read comments that speak of God’s sure judgment of us as a nation because we have somehow turned away from God and the recent election is evidence of this turning because we are a Christian nation. There has been critique of our President when he has said we are not a Christian nation, and I agree with him, citing we are made up of a very diverse religious and non-religious landscape. There is and should be a clear and defined line of separation between church and state! I am a Christian. I serve in a Christian church. But that fact should not give me any more access to rights than my friends who are Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Atheist, Agnostic, Wiccan, and Baha’i, as well as others who I love, cherish, and respect; they have the right to be represented in our great nation just as much as I.

I have been dismayed by disparaging comments made toward democrats and republicans in the midst of this recent campaign. It is unfortunate at best and tragically unjust at worse to level words of hate, bigotry, and even violence toward those who disagree with us. Just because we disagree on what we believe is best for our nation and the candidates we support does not automatically make one lazy, bigoted, stupid, greedy, and hell bound, it does mean we disagree but sometimes it seems we have lost all ability to be civil, respectful, and engaging.

One last word regarding my opinion of the role of our representatives in local, state, and federal government; you are elected to represent all of us. I expect the people I vote for to have what is in the best interest of all of us as their clarion call. It doesn’t matter if ones country of origin is Libya, Iran, England, Mexico, India, Africa, China, or the United States. It doesn’t matter if you are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transsexual, straight, rich, poor, male, female, young, old, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Atheist, Agnostic, Wiccan …your voice deserves to be heard in these United States, and you deserve the same rights and access to freedom and liberty as anyone else. I believe that is why lady justice wears a blindfold.

Just some ponderings, observations, and opinions from one who prays our nation can once again find the courage and compassion to seek common ground for the good of all. It is my prayer we move ever forward toward a nation of freedom, liberty, and justice for all; a nation where compassion, kindness, love, humility, and respect are the rule rather than the exception.

Peace and Light, Love and Laughter…
Pastor Kent

Freedom and Justice for All

July 6, 2011

This past weekend was filled with celebration! Good food, family, singing, flag waving, and fireworks. Simeon likes a good celebration as much as the next dog though he could do without the fireworks. I think I can remember the moment he was unimpressed with loud BOOM’s, it was a lightning strike in the early hours one morning when he was little. Now he doesn’t care for thunderstorms either. I suppose the fireworks remind him of that, sometimes I think it would be interesting to know what goes on inside his head.
He doesn’t go and hide or get in his crate when the celebrating or the thunderstorms begin the show, he paces and whines. He moves from the front door to the back, back and forth with a worried look on his brow. Now and then he will lay down with our encouragement but it is short-lived. Last evening at the fireworks were going off in our neighborhood our 65 pound baby spent some snuggle time in our laps, he is a nut.
I believe it is important to celebrate our country and our freedom; it is cause to gather together and remember why we love our country. I also believe it is important to acknowledge the fact that though we live in a country founded in freedom and liberty not everyone experiences those things as fully as others. It is important to take pause and remember in the midst of our freedoms and voicing justice for all, not everyone in our country is experiencing equality. It is important to do a little pacing and speaking and working until liberty and justice for all is a reality for all of us.
While some are willing to claim and institute the freedoms we have for themselves, it causes concern when those same ones use their freedom to deny the freedom of others. Freedom is not a device to rule or to lord over those who disagree. Freedom is not a means of confrontation and control. Freedom is an inward stance that gives the other space to be. Freedom is a place to begin conversation not to stifle, it is that state of mind and soul that allows me to stand with my sister and brother and work hand in hand until all … all are free.
And so a lesson from Simeon, enjoy a good celebration but be ever aware of the concern that goes along with it. Keep watch at the doors of freedom and justice lest they are not open to all, speak when it is time to speak, stick close together, and know God is with us and will not let us go.
It is one of the many ways we seek to be faithful to the Spirit and one another here at the Hill, where you are one of the family. Here where there is always an open door, a safe space, a warm welcome, and a place at the table.