Where I am now

When I sat down to review the visits and views of this blog, “A Simple Desire”, I couldn’t help but notice the views and visits have been increasing, as if people are trying to search and figure where I am. Maybe I am wrong about that. But if it is true, that the absence of postings here is causing an up surge in activity, I want to remind established readers and new visitors that I have moved to a different WordPress site, “Pondering From the Pacific“. And it has been business as usual there, where I post 4 times a week, and more often when the Revised Common Lectionary has special celebration days. Because I have not posted anything new here (excluding this) since October 4th, I have to conclude that people are reading “older posts”. I want to remind you that anything written since January 2015 is on the site “Pondering From the Pacific”. Anything older than that can be found only at “A Simple Desire” which is where I am posting this note.

I am gratified that the older posts are still being read, and I encourage you to do so. But I also want to make you aware that new posts are debuting elsewhere. And I hope you come visit me there as well!

As of November 1, 2017 I am planning on “dismantling” the “Follow” button here .  .  .  because there is nothing new to follow! But please keep returning here! There is a vast wealth of commentary and scriptural thought here, and I am hopeful it will continue to be available for years to come! Shalom!

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An Invitation

“Pondering From the Pacific” [https://ponderingfromthepacific.wordpress.com/ ] invites you to move over to that site to continue following the post that had previously been available on on this site, “A Simple Desire”. Sometime later this year “A Simple Desire” will no longer have new posts but function as a repository of the posts from 2007 until fall of 2017. At this point, posts from “A Simple Desire” are no longer posted to Facebook, but posts that are on the site “Pondering From the Pacific” are posted. It is the same sort of content that has been posted on this site since 2015, that is scripture passages from the Revised Common Lectionary. And it is the same author at “Pondering From the Pacific” who has been posting on “A Simple Desire” since 2010.

I did notice a drop in followers, seemingly overnight. And while I can understand that, considering the changes that are taking place, I am hopeful that those who have been following here at “A Simple Desire” would move over to the new site, which actually had its start in 2012. It is now going to be my only active blog site come fall of 2017. Thank you for your interest over the years! And shalom!

Everything Under One Roof

I do not mean this to be a long post or an involved post. It is simply to let you know that I have successfully exported, then imported, all of the posts from 2015 onward. It means that all the posts I wrote as comments and reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary are now on “Pondering From the Pacific.” It is the next logical step in moving operations from one site to the next. And it was step I was not sure was going to work out! It took a couple of tries to get the mechanics involved to work correctly. Once I figured out the correct steps, it did not take much time. I thought I would be laboring for hours to get it done correctly.

I do not say this to tout my own horn, but to compliment and acknowledge that WordPress is a good place to set a blog. I have been grateful over the years that they have made maintaining a blog and easy one. And to you too, beloved and gentle readers for following the blogs as you have.

This next step in the transition means that it becomes more official that posting that was done on “A Simple Desire” [https://asimpledesire.wordpress.com/] will be moving over and posted only on this website, “Pondering From the Pacific” [https://ponderingfromthepacific.wordpress.com/]

The next step, beloved and gentle reader, is for you to switch where you read the posts. And that is actually the part and portion I am most worried about. If you are reading this on “Pondering From the Pacific” I am hopeful you have signed up to follow posts placed here. If you are reading this on “A Simple Desire”, I am hoping that you will switch over. My original plan called for only posting  on “PFtP” (to give it an acronym) at the beginning of 2018. With the ease of each step, that might happen at the beginning of Advent. To reassure all, the posts currently on “ASD” (another acronym) will still be there as long as WordPress allows the site to exist with no new content. It was my “simple desire” to have the overlap of posts only be those related to the Revised Common Lectionary, from 2015 onward.

I am reminded I promised this to be a short post. I have talked previously about my decision. I hope, beloved and gentle reader, you will join me at “Pondering From the Pacific” as we continue to make our way through the lectionary year. Shalom!

Should the two become one? [What does it mean to pray about something? Part Two]

(This post appeared on my other blog, “Pondering From the Pacific”, on July 17th. It was the second part of a two part reflection on my decision to move from posting on “A Simple Desires” scripture and reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary, and have only one blog as my sole blog. You can see the first part at What does it mean ot pray about something. Part One that I wrote on July 4th on the blog“Pondering From the Pacific”. The readers/followers there have been aware, if they have chosen to read it, that I have been thinking about this. Just recently I started making pragmatic plans and preparations. I discovered that some aspects at first seemed difficult, but with perseverance and not a small amount of luck, the arrangements have been working out very well. I chronicled that in the post Pragmatism, Theology, and Relatively Minor Miracles! . I wrote and posted that July 30th. I imagine that will serve as unofficial notice of the move. I have already started posting the August entries for the Revised Common Lectionary posts on “Pondering From the Pacific” The official move date will be sometime later in the fall. I invite you, before the official move, to explore the site [https://ponderingfromthepacific.wordpress.com/] and sincerely hope all of you will move the move with me. )

 

It started with an idea, a vague unformed idea. And from that idea came a desire. Not a simple desire but a rather complex one, actually. When I first started this blog [meaning “Pondering From the Pacific] (my second one, in addition to the blog “A Simple Desire” that I inherited since after a time I was the only one writing it) my reasoning was that I was not just a ponderer and writer based on scripture passages, but an observer of all facets and aspects of life. And I wanted an outlet for my other thoughts and observations. I had hoped there would be time for me to write for both blogs. But time is an elusive thing. More fleeting than I thought it would be.

Back in 2012 when I started this second blog that you are now reading, “Pondering From the Pacific”, my other blog “A Simple Desire” commented on scripture that was also posted on Third Way Cafe,  a website that MennoMedia created and ran as a part of the media outreach of Mennonite Church USA – to give the context. Third Way Cafe posted on a daily basis “A Sip of Scripture” and that was the source of the scripture passages I and others had been wrote about. (In 2010 I went solo.) However, at the close of 2014 I switched from using their scripture passages to writing on the Revised Common Lectionary. And starting January 2015 I posted exclusively on the Revised Common Lectionary changing from a daily posting to posting 4 times a week. However, that did not result in posting more often to my other blog – this one. As I said above, time was more fleeting than I hoped it would be.

So for 5 years I have been straddling writing two blogs; giving most of my attention to one and sadly neglecting the other. My idea was to try somehow to combine my writing efforts. And the desire was to have a blog that was from start to finish my very own. Not something I inherited from someone else, but for good or for bad was all me. Much as I appreciated the gentle soul who handed over the blog “A Simple Desire” to me without any backward glances (and the other writers who made worthy contributions), I always felt I was standing on the shoulders of another. I had made the choice when I became the solo writer to continue host the postings that were not mine but the efforts and thoughts of  others. Good thoughts, inspiring thoughts .  .  .  . but not mine. I felt more and more strongly that I wanted something that was just mine.

But I will admit it was scary thinking about truly foraging out on my own. “A Simple Desire” as a blog has amassed a formidable following. I remind myself in the past seven years since it has been just me, it has grown in readership; that has truly humbled me. And since writing on the Revised Common Lectionary, the growth has been even greater which I am also humbled by. How can I just walk away from that?

The issue is complex because I do not want to eliminate the work of others, pretending that their work has just disappeared; I want to honor their contributions. But I also want to move forward under my own power and see what I can do. In the past weeks and months I have been torn over what to do. And more importantly when to do  .  .  .  .  whatever I decide to do.

My fledgling plan is to move my posting on scripture passages over to “Pondering From the Pacific”, clearly announcing my intentions, and hope that the readers (my readers) will follow me over the the new site. “A Simple Desire” would continue, but I would not add anything new to that site. In this way I hope to honor what has been written in the past, but move forward into my own future, on a site that is truly my own. Just me. It is scary to think about – well maybe not scary in the chills up and down one’s spine; but daunting to make such a change. And why? For my own self-image? That’s not why I started writing either blog in the first place.

On the other hand, I don’t feel the need to be part of a “bunch.” I am ready to stand out on my own, come what may. I am pretty sure I can handle it; and what I can’t handle .  .  .  . well, let’s just say that my faith is strong enough for whatever may come, in spite of what my pride and self-image might quake at. Actually, that might be exactly where my crux point is – my faith on the one side and my pride/self-image on the other. And I am pretty sure I know which side is going to come out on top. Shalom & Selah!

The election is over; now we start on the days to come

Throughout the day I have been logging into my Facebook page and generally checking in with everyone I connect with on social media for their reactions and responses to the surprising results of the election. I do not chose/use the word “surprise” as my own description but as it was described by others. For some it was a pleasant surprise and for some it was not. Amongst the circle of people I connect with through social media and face to face, the majority feel it was not a pleasant surprise but something they feared and continue to fear. And is so often the case, when one fears, one lashes out. And I have heard/read a lot of lashing out. But I have also read/heard voices of hope and determination to make the best of it and work towards compassion, acceptance and unity.  And that is good.

But . . . but . . . these voices of hope and determination also tell me there is great pain and fear underneath. That they have not turned to anger but love and caring is a good and positive thing. It still, however, speaks and indicates the presence of pain and fear.

I have written a time or two about fear and that God does not call us to a life of fear. Not that the Divine does not acknowledge that we fear, but that the Divine does not wish us to live in fear, but in hope and courage. And not because we fear, are afraid and act out of fear but that we banish fear and replace it with trust in God/the Divine.

This is not the first time the nation, individually or as a group, has feared for itself and others. And without being a pessimist or doomsayer, it will not be the last. We, as a nation have lived in fear and through fear. Fear may be out hope, determination and courage – but it does not always bring out the “best” of us. That is what I hope in the days, weeks and months to come we can do – bring out the best of ourselves and bring out the best in others. We can do that by not letting our fear spread and multiply; no, our fear must be set aside in favor of traits that lead to care, compassion, acceptance, understanding, and unity.

This is not “new” exhortations or encouragements. In fact, this sort of encouragement is pretty biblical. I do not have any bible verses to back this up, and these are not reflections that come from the Revised Common Lectionary. Indeed they are kind of extemporaneous in nature. But written from the heart. And these are comments not just from a national perspective, but global. While this election took place and directly impacts the United States, the U.S. is part of the global community and what happens has impact in other parts of the world. The days, weeks, and months to come will be played out against the backdrop of the global community, and the global community will also impact us.

Living in the United States but being a Canadian citizen means I did not have a part in the election process but I still live in the outcome of the election. It has been a interesting position to be in. I feel both a part of the global community and a resident of the United States – not having a voice but still being a presence. In other words, my opinion did not and does not much matter. So I have not shared much as to what I have felt inside.

What I hope has come across is hope in the Divine, and a desire to see love, compassion, caring and peace spread to all people. In the grand scheme of things, a very simple desire. It is my hope and pray that those traits are what fill our nation and the global community. And I hope and pray, beloved reader, that is your desire too. Selah!

 

Monday of Holy Week: Christ’s journey begins. How will we travel?

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching.” (Isaiah 42:1-4)

I was reminded of these verses when we were reading the Passion story. Remember I said there were so many things I wanted to say and comment on? One of those things was to point out that Jesus did not say much to Pilate or Herod, that he did not defend himself when mocked. But took all those things upon himself.

Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the LORD, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols. See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.” (Verses 5 – 9)

This is the purpose of Jesus Christ, to take on all things for our sake. And Christ then, and our Lord God for evermore is faithful in this.

“Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O LORD. How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. O continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your salvation to the upright of heart! Do not let the foot of the arrogant tread on me, or the hand of the wicked drive me away. ( Psalm 36:5-11)

From the beginning of God’s relationship to humanity, the Divine has sought to teach and instruct humanity how to live, and how to follow God. God desires above all things to dwell amongst as it was in the beginning. But we, through human flaws and missteps have made gaps between us and the Divine that the Divine has tried to bridge and mend. And to find a new way for humanity to enter into relationship with our Lord.

“But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God! For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant. ( Hebrews 9:11-15)

It is during the days of Holy Work that Christ came ever closer to time that the gap would be bridged and mended – from the Lord’s end. We still need to reach out to God in our spirit and in our hearts. Listen to the two ways, out of many ways, that humanity relates to the Divine.

“Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus. ( John 12:1-11)

There are those who hate Jesus, and all that he stands for. And seek to destroy that which the Lord does and instructs us to do. And there are those who remain faithful to the Lord, not letting anyone or anything come between the Lord and themselves. And then . . . there are the rest of us . . . who try to do what we should. Failing at times, and succeeding at other times. We continue to try to make wise and God- filled decisions. Oh beloved reader! Let us chose carefully what we do and say. Let us see clearly what our Lord and our God desires of us. Let that be our plan and intent for the first day of Holy Week. Selah!

Short Note of Welcome

I have noticed in the last few days several additional people have “stumbled upon” this blog. I am very glad you came by and am honored if you have decided to follow. I am pretty busy myself and do not have much chance or time to visit other blogs/websites.
And if you have been a long time reader, I apologize that I have not done more in the way of greeting and welcoming you. While it is gratifying just to have a place to put down one’s thoughts, having others interested enough to read it is an extra blessing. Please “wander around” as you would like. This blog has been running since 2006 and has had various contributors over the years. So look around in our “Blogroll History” which is our archive section. And again, welcome!